Sunday, March 29, 2009

Singing the Blues...

There was a song that was number one the month and year I was born long ago and far away...(yes, there are sites where you can find out this stuff!).
It was called Singing the Blues and was sung then by Guy Mitchell (words and music by Melvin Endsley).

"Well, I never felt more like singing the blues
'cause I never thought
that I'd ever lose
your love, dear.
Why'd you do me this way?"

Sir Paul McCartney brought it out on an unplugged special - take a listen:

It's actually a fun song to sing - not sad at all!

Don't know why, but it came to mind, and I was humming this while painting so I'm calling this painting Singing the Blues. On 1/4 sheet Fabriano Aristico coldpress 140#

Saturday, March 28, 2009

EARTH HOUR - March 28, 8:30 pm

On Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 8:30 pm, I am taking part in Earth Hour - a global event in which millions of people will turn out their lights to make a statement of concern about our planet and climate change.

Sponsored by World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour got started just two years ago and is now the largest event of its kind in the world. Last year, more than 50 million participated and the lights went out at the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the Coliseum in Rome, just to name a few. Even Google's homepage went black for the day!

This year, Earth Hour will be even bigger - already 250 cities in 74 countries have agreed to take part including Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Nashville with more signing up every day. Around the world cities like Moscow, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Mexico City will turn out their lights. But Earth Hour isn't just for big cities -anyone can participate.

To get a better sense of the event, check out this video at

Join me for this amazing event. To sign up, visit where you'll learn more including ways you can spread the word about Earth Hour, plus creative things to do when the lights go out in case you need inspiration!

Wherever you are, turn out those lights at 8:30 pm your local time!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Passion for Painting - Three More Award Winners + ONE

For this second set of winners, I've followed the same rules I set (yes, I broke the original rules - hey, that's what artistic people do!). So you get 2 of my favorites you can find on my blogroll and one new blogger/artist I have recently discovered and will be returning to again.


1. Joan Sandford-Cook ( - her work is lovely, whether it is in watercolor or oils; whether she is depicting her own garden flowers in her garden sketchbook, painting her village scenery, or just sharing some small things she's working on and showing how she has mastered yupo.

2. Nava Attia-Benoit ( - her work ranges from wonderful, loose portraits in gorgeous colors to life drawing workups and she has a good sense of color and composition that shows in everything she does.

3. James and Ona K ( over at Emotive Expressions share a printmaking (giclee) business and a painting blog with Ona's watercolors light and imaginative and thrilling to see. You have to pop over and read Operation Lemonade (what would happen if oranges in still life setups had feelings?!)

And for that extra person who deserves this Passion for Painting award - definitely, absolutely, without a question:
4. Margaret Storer-Roche ( Now why is Margaret Ann so special? Well, it's not just her artwork, which is divine and makes me envious and also happy whenever I see it - it's the fact that this woman will sketch while hooked up to electrodes for a stress test!!! No kidding! You have to pop over and see her latest sketch, Wired :) Love ya, Margaret Ann, love your artistic ability, your creativity and your strong spirit!

So, take a bow fellow artists and accept your award here:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grace - Finished; and Other Things

Finished with the white obi and a touch more on the hands - not too much so it stays soft and feminine. If you see something else it needs, please let me know.

Other things in the making that aren't really going anywhere but I'm painting - so there! ha ha

This first is from a poured painting that was begun and then sat there staring at me without much inspiration from me to do anything on it. Just didn't see anything. So began just putting in more color, darker colors, and then saw some things. Not sure where it's going - maybe the round bin!

Maybe this is one I need to take to class next week to have other eyes on it to tell me what it needs. What do you think?
Oh, and I'll be posting 3 more award winners for the Passion for Painting award tomorrow...want to pick 2 favorites and 1 new found artsy blogger again, like last time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Passion for Painting - Pass it On

My friend and artist PAL, Ann Buckner, just named me as one artist who should get the Passion for Painting award (originally created by Kim Ratigan).

I am always surprised and honored when I get one of these online awards. I do think I either have a passion for painting or an obsession with it - if I'm not painting, I feel I should be painting - even when I'm not inspired! And since this one is really true, I will pass it on and give you a list of 7 passionate things in my life:

1. My husband
2. Painting
3. My family
4. The sight of spring flowers bursting out of the ground after a nice gentle rainy day
5. Color color and more color, especially Cobalt Blue/Royal Blue/French Ultramarine Blue
6. A walk in a new landscape
7. My friends who are always there for me - online, offline, in person or by email :)

And now to choose 7 artists to pass this on to...which I will do after I make a list...

Thanks, Ann!

And I'm going to change the rules a bit. I'm going to list 2 artists you already know from seeing them on my blogroll - and you know they are passionate about painting and art in all its forms. Plus, I'm going to give you a bonus of one new artist/blogger I've discovered recently that is definitely passion about painting and art and that I think you should discover, also. So here is the first set:

1. Laura's Watercolors - Her work is soft, romantic, light, airy, and so much what watercolor is when it's pure and light.

2. Chris Beck and her blog, "I'm Painting as Fast as I Can" - Chris has become an online friend just since discovering her marvelous artwork. Now Chris takes watercolor to the extreme - intense colors, strong, bold and in your face in all the very best ways!

3. Gwen Buchanan from Desideratum - I just found Gwen and her work, everything from photos to sketches to watercolors to jewelry, Gwen has a passion for all art and I love her blog so I'll be returning again to catch up and put her on my blogroll in the future. You should check out her blog, too! Plus she lives in Canada near the Bay of Fundy - how cool is that?

So ladies, put on your best party dresses, hats and gloves, and accept your awards for your passion!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grace - Almost Finished

Just a bit more shading here and there and I think this will be done.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I haven't been feeling very creative lately. When that happens, I spend time going through art magazines or visiting blogs I haven't caught up on in a while. I happened to do some catching up at Mike Bailey's blog ( this weekend, and saw how he did a very interesting still life painting. He set up the still life, drew it once, changed his position for a different view, drew it again on the same paper, kept shifting his position. In this way, he got a rotating image that he drew on the same sheet of paper. Then he painted it.

Check out his latest works - his painting, Shattered, just makes me green with envy and makes me want to stand in front of it with my nose pressed closely to it and look at every little detail! I've heard that Mike's workshops really put you through your artistic paces. Maybe I need that now. Will have to check when he's in my area - or close. I think he has begun teaching at the Kanuga spring workshops but it's too late for this spring as it begun today.

So the only thing I have to share today is the colored rounds I made for the colorfulwatercolor group to show how Carol Carter (from the workshop I took) talked about shaping things using just color. If you like to watch paint explode and blend, you would enjoy doing these rounds using just your 3 primary colors and making one primary your central/center color with the other two around it. It takes some effort to keep the colors clean and that's what you want - no muddy blending all over :) You can tell from the black and white version (I just unsaturated the photo), that you really are shaping the rounds using just color.

And you can have fun painting just rounds and creating a real painting out of them - if you want to do that :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Day of Spring

Happy Spring

is being a tease
here in my part of the world.

So warm
you think summer
is just around the corner
on Tuesday and Wednesday,
as you take your daily walk
around the neighborhood
and view all the flowers trying to bloom.

Then Thursday
it turns a bit rainy and cold
and you have to dig out your winter coat again.
Today, 38F.
Fickle spring weather.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Once in a Blue Moo

Yep, you read that right!
It's called Once in a Blue Moo!
Also on gold gessoed watercolor paper (1/4 sheet).
Just something fun...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Moley Doodle Thank You

Just a couple of moley-doodles I used as Thank You notes/emails to family for birthday presents at the party Sunday. The moleskine does not take washes well in this book I have - maybe it's just for sketching? One was for Chris and Jenny and the other was for Donal, Moe and the kids :)

For my birthday I got:
A long-sleeved tee that says I'm cuckoo for cocoa puffs (fun!),
a book by one of my favorite authors, Anita Shreve (Jodi Picoult is my other absolute favorite),
a tiny little pin of a topiary with 3 oranges amidst the foliage, a cd of Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson singing Rattlin' Bones,

a Starbucks gift card with enough cash on it to keep me caffeinated for the year! Wooo-hooo!!!

Can't wait to wear my new tee - I don't know how Jenny does it but she picks out something for me I'd never pick myself and yet it soon becomes one of my favorite things! She used to buy me great earrings and they'd become my faves and then I'd lose one :( and I hated that! So I asked her to stop buying me earrings - I was getting superstitious about it but probably I was just more likely to lose them because I wore them all the time, not just once in a while.

After setting a date to get together (we celebrate 4 birthdays together usually in February), the kids got sick and we postponed and changed the time as well as the date. On Sunday, Jenny had to call and say, "Um...Rhonda? You are missing your birthday!" I'd forgotten the time change and was going in the evening, not the afternoon - or maybe it was a senior moment?

Anyway, thanks to Chris, Jenny, Donal, Moe, Jocelyn, Alaina and Devlin for the great gifts! And thanks to Jenny and Chris for the lasagna and to Ginny for the cake and to AA & John and Fritz & Ginny & Kate for the cards :) Plus it was a beautiful sunny day. Couldn't ask for more...

And today is just too glorious a day to be inside. Took a nice 1 1/2 mile walk throughout the neighborhood, checking out what was coming up in the yards and blooming on the trees; then actually did some work in the front yard in the mess that is supposed to be my flower garden but it actually just a flat space for holding lots of ornaments (I decided since I can't grow anything there, I'll just fill it up with tiles and gazing balls and other odds and ends - I could do like one painting friend who used to come to class who painted flowers and put them in her flower boxes instead of the real things).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More Work on the "hand study"

I worked a bit more on the study on gold gesso - if this turns into a real painting and not just a study, I'm calling it "Grace." We'll see if I can still work on those hands without losing the look of them. And I've decided to have the obi in white and gold instead of the paler blue. I think it will look better after I lift that and add the white (gouache). More to do tomorrow.

Enjoyed a very quiet day painting and reading and catching up on some taped shows while getting some exercise on the HealthRider.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all the Irish or wanna-be-Irish today :) I heard the most beautiful rendition of Danny Boy by Diana Krall on our NKU station today - it was so moving and the first time I'd actually heard the whole song.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Congratulations to Jerry (aka My Sweetie)

The TriState Photographic Society held their annual Awards Banquet last evening. Good food, good socializing, and awards for many of the photographers in the group. My Sweetie, Jerry, won
1) Nature Photographer of the Year
2) Pictorial Photographer of the Year
3) Overall Photographer of the Year!!!
He received very nice plaques for all of these and also came home with a multi-colored assortment of ribbons (for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th places in other categories).

Here is a sampling of the competition-winning photos that got him the top awards.

Not that I'm bragging but he won these 3 awards last year, too :) Yes, he's good. And he spends time taking photos based on each months' theme. He's also in charge of the field trips this year so is arranging them. His last field trip was to the Cincinnati Zoo to shoot "animals 8 feet and larger." Not as easy as it sounds to get a good photo of a large animal because, in the photo, it cannot show "the hand of man;" meaning - no fences, wires, anything that looks manmade cannot be showing in the photo. So what do you think he took photos of at the zoo?

Yep - the giraffes!

(I can show this one because it obviously has the hand-of-man in the photo that can't be cropped or changed but it's one cute photo!) Look at that tongue! ha ha

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Magazine Stuff

I finished my recent copy of Watercolor magazine, reading it cover to cover as I always do. I love that magazine! Here are just a few of the artists who were featured.

I would like to take a workshop from Pat Weaver someday - love her strong colors and values in all her paintings.

This man captures the feeling of fading species and the fragility of certain species with a humorous touch (if that is possible, he does it).

Love her portraits...

And this man's art blows me away! Such detail, such intricacy, such beauty, so many glazes!!! I could never have the patience for this but I love the look.

We have a busy weekend planned out with lots of socializing (with which I am not always that comfortable). I may have something to share by Monday...or not. I've decided to stop putting pressure on myself to put something on here every day or so. No one but the devoted Daily Painters seem to be this regular with their posts, so why should I? More time painting and/or drawing and less time on the computer should be a good thing.

Another thing, I may stop showing everything. If it doesn't work, why show it? I've found that most artists show their good stuff, their gallery stuff, their archived stuff that shines, not their bad paintings, their failures, their attempts that didn't quite hit the mark. So if I don't like it, I may not show it - that way you'll begin to think I am much better than I am! ha ha

Seriously, I just need a small break - consider it a spring break! I know all your bloggers out there understand :)


Instead of 1/2 sheet, I'm working on 1/4 sheet gessoed paper for this study of the hands. And now I remember the problem with the hands in the 1/2 sheet painting - I traced the drawing onto the gessoed paper using a blue saral (a type of transfer paper - not graphite) and I couldn't lighten the blue lines so when the hands were wrong, the painting was wrong. I used graphite this time and took more care.
It needs more shadowing and shaping of the hands and arm and more color on the kimono and umbrella still. I may get time to do that later today but it's going to be a busy weekend.
I still want to do the full geisha if this works out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Redoing a Bad Painting

For a while now, every time I walked past this painting that is so beautifully matted and framed and painted on gold gessoed paper - so much time and effort into it! - I saw the hands. They are badly drawn and badly painted. They bothered me. They called out to me to do them again - fix them. So that's what I have planned. Now, can I do a better pair of hands now? We'll see...
In preparation, I put a thin layer of gold gesso on Arches 140# coldpress watercolor paper and let it dry. You can buy gold gesso (and other colors, too) at and a small container lasts a long long time - unless you intend to do a hundred gold gessoed papers at a time.

Next, I need to get a larger version of the photo I used for this geisha and focus on the hands. I may just do the hands holding the umbrella for this one, and then redo the hands on the geisha painting after I work on this.

If you've worked on any gessoed surface, you know you can lift easily from it back to the original color - in this case, gold. We'll see how it goes.

I'm also starting another painting on the second piece of "bubble paper" from Sandy's class. The painting will be done horizontally, not vertically this time...

Catch ya later!
Oh, and I hope you are having an accident-free Friday the 13th.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why Do We Paint?

If you, like many others, wonder why we paint, perhaps it's time to follow the voice of the Zen master, Shunryu Suzuki, when he says:

"The most important thing is to find out what is the most important thing."

Sometimes you have so many ideas for paintings, you cannot possibly paint them all. At other times, you need to step back and decide what brings you joy. If you painted every day (or every week) and never showed your paintings to anyone, would you still have the same joy in painting? Would it take you in a different direction? Would you stop painting? Is the sharing one of the biggest aspects of the art? Not the selling, but the sharing - on blogs, websites, emails, classes.

Find out what is the most important thing, says Master Suzuki.

But then, the great painter, Alice Neel says:

"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is,because this is all part of experience, and the more experienceyou have, the better it is...unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far."

Ms. Neel seems to be saying it's all about the journey, not the destination. The journey won't always be spring flowers and gentle rains to wash away the dirt. It could be difficult, dangerous and filled with stress. Do you keep on going? Or do you sit down in the middle of the path and cry like a little girl? Maybe a good cry is just what you need!

Each day in this journey differs. Up, down, happy, sad, complicated, simple, easy, hard...pushing through may mean the difference between doodling and true art from a human heart and mind.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On the Vine

In watercolor class today, most of us used the blowing bubbles technique and then created paintings after the bubbles were on our paper. Most used hotpress paper but I already had mine started on coldpress so used it. I had picked a photo from the WetCanvas Image Referece Library (all copyright free if you are a member). The photo was by member "Intrigued" and was the best of the bunch (no pun intended), so I went with it to try to make the photo fit the bubbles and lines already on the paper. (I just learned that "Intrigued" is really Vicki Greene!!! It's a small small world :) and this is a lovely, luscious photo, Vicki.

The painting is on 1/4 sheet coldpress Arches 140# and I used my new Escoda No. 10 sable brush.

There were some very clever artists in class today who ended up with some great and some very fun (a lady in a big bathtub with bubbles all around and several pairs of pretty feet in the foam at the edge of the ocean) paintings created today!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Finished Paintings, I Think

For the color group, we were to do two paintings from the same photo but trying for a different mood in each. I'm not sure I succeeded with this one as the alternate to the blue - maybe I need to put more energy into the strokes, or something...oh well, each one can't be a winner.

I'm very happy with the blue hydrangea painting, "Am I Blue?" so that is enough for me for now :) I am finished with this one - not another stroke to go.

And got some more comments about the pitcher plant painting and what it needed or what I could do to make it better. I think it just needed a true center of interest (COI) and had to drop my attachment to the ruffled edges of the Twinrocker paper and crop it so the background was not competing with the flowers and there was a place for your eye to focus. So that's what I did. Better? I think so but I may give it another day or two to sit and let it sneak up on me what it still might need. Looking at it this way, I think I still need to push back the sides a bit - perhaps a light glaze of cobalt blue so the sides are not as pretty and prominent as the middle parts.

I don't have any ideas for new paintings so will take some time and read through my new Watercolor magazine that came yesterday :) Something in there always inspires me.

Oriental Brush Painting by Jean Vance

I finally finished the minutes and sent them to Sandy to put on our blog for the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Take a peek - check out some info on Oriental Brush Painting and the artist, Jean Vance, who shared her knowledge about this technique with us during Wednesday's meeting.


I'm going to be painting today - perhaps finishing up some paintings that weren't quite completed last week.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Blowing Bubbles

In class Tuesday, Sandy demoed how to blow bubbles of a mix of water, fluid acrylic paint and Dawn dishwashing liquid (I didn't ask if it had to be Dawn or not). Taking a large straw, you blow into the mix, creating bubbles coming to the surface. Then you take your watercolor paper and touch it onto the bubbles, transferring them to the paper. Easy! And fun :) Have no idea what I will do with these, though - I don't "see" anything there but I guess I'll look at some photos to get some ideas. Something under the sea? Perhaps some grapes hanging on the vine? Maybe a Labradoodle?

Check out Sandy's painting using this technique here:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Finished? In Class

Well, this still didn't become what I thought it should become. Are paintings like children? You have certain expectations of them and they do their own thing, no matter what you do? ha ha That's what this one did. However, I've painted on both sides of this lovely piece of Twinrocker so no other side left unless I can break the laws of physics! I think I may have to put in some whites and call this one watermedia - it's missing some spots of white to bring it to life, I think.

Click for larger image.

And did a bit more drybrushing on this one - but the class decided I actually have two separate paintings here. Since that would mean one of them is done, I may go with that - but I'm going to work a bit more on it first.
And just a few minor touches needed to complete the hydrangea (Am I Blue?) - nothing drastic. I'll show it again when it's done.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Busy Busy Bee

Well yesterday was class which lasted from 10 - 2:30 and so tired when I came home. Then today was watercolor society meeting and now have to type up the minutes and download the photos and try to remember everything the guest artist/speaker said and did - which was very cool because it was about Oriental Brush Painting techniques and she had such lovely things from carved chops to paper to those wonderful brushes and brush hangers and ink blocks and...well it's a whole technique built about patience and beauty and serenity :)

But I wanted to share what I got in the mail yesterday from Cheap Joe's. This is my belated birthday present (used by gift certificate from Mom). A pack of 5 sheets of Twinrocker paper, feather deckled edge, 16" x 20 coldpress + a Tony van Hasselt "Magic Muslin" brush (it's got a great sturdy round handle that short for moving the brush around and it's ox hair that's so soft (how can ox hair be so soft?) + a Size 10 Escoda Kolinsky sable brush! My PALS friends talked me into this one over another Kolinsky, saying the Escoda brand is just fantastic.
Art supplies make me so happy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Am I Blue? - almost there

Should the white center (at the top of the little bud there) stay pure white or should I give it a touch of yellow? It definitely takes your eye right there but does it make it stay there and not move around the petals? Guess I'll take it to class tomorrow and ask them, too. Opinions appreciated!

I've begun another one in warmer colors to use for the color group - setting a mood in cools and warms :)

I sure do love cool colors - I can tell by how much time I take with them, how I watch them spread and blend - with the warms, I just slap them on and move along! ha ha

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Let's Run Away to the Circus!

Just a few photos Jerry took (using my point and shoot camera - he wasn't allowed to take his good one in) at the circus of the girls and Jenny, his oldest daughter, who came to help us with the girls. I think they had a good time and were busy deciding which was the prettiest costume, which was the cutest guy, which was the best animal, etc. in the program in the car going home :)