Thursday, April 30, 2009

And So April Ends: Poetry

Laura and her lovely blog have brought me back to poetry. I signed up for a poem-a-day from and have so enjoyed slowly savoring each word as a start to my day before emails and replies and blog posts. I just discovered (I'm always late to the party!) that they have a project of putting verse on photos/with photos and posting them. So for this last day of April, I'd like to share this one with you.

Photo by Alison Altergott

From "Spring" by Edna St. Vincent Millay:
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers...

Check out others at:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Finished: Her Blue Dress

Did just a little bit more on it and I think it's done. I tried a bit of opaque white and cerulean splatter but it just looked too contrived at the end can't see much of it here. The trick is to splatter it - go for it - commit to it - then leave it alone!
And now time to print out some flamingo photos and start having fun with that for a while :)
I have to tell you that it has been delightful to catch up with most of the blogs on my blogroll as the days go by at home again. Afterall, I've missed a week of postings! Each artist in my sidebar brings me such joy, such contentment, such peace at times - you are all such special creations and I know this whether we have met face-to-face yet or not :) Thank you very much for being, and for blogging.

Last Holiday Snaps - Now Back to Work!

Just some odds and ends I thought you'd like - the last of my snaps. I am finishing the iris painting and will share it soon. I also intend to paint some of those pink flamingos - too cool not to try!

Gators - well, that's why they call it the Alligator Farm!

Water lily pond and giraffes at the Jacksonville Zoo. The kids were having a great time feeding them and laughing about their long tongues.

Carousel in a kids' park just outside the main drag of St. Augustine. It was kept in excellent shape and only $1 to ride :)

And, as promised, the American flamingos - so bright! (I have 6 or more of these photos - so if you're interested in painting some, let me know by email and I'll send some to you to try).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Northeast Florida Photos

Jerry took tons of photos of birds but hasn't gone through all his yet. I only took over 100 but he has about 700! So you have to look at mine until he gets all sorted :)

Every day at low tide, he'd go out and photograph the rocks and other critters (starfish, crabs, a little blue heron that fed on the fish that were stranded when the tides went out) in the rocky area left bare of water. Then at high tide, he'd go stalk the birds (Royal Terns mostly) as they came in closer to us to feed and squawk and mate (yes, right on the beach in front of everyone!)

Every morning the sun climbed up from the water's edge into the sky - sometimes clouds created some nice colors, other times it was much more subtle.

We went into St. Augustine and walked a bit, bought some things for my sister as a thank you for watching Smudge while we were gone. Went to the St. John's Pier to see the pelicans and other birds.

We walked the 219 steps up the lighthouse and saw a private gallery showing of oil paintings of parts of lighthouses (including the lens parts) by artist, Mary Shelton. It was private because the gallery was closed when we arrived Sunday the 26th but they let us in when I said that was one reason we came to visit (as we'd done the Lighthouse before). It is amazing how many women are terrified of heights, and yet, let their significant others (men) talk them into going up and out at the top of the lighthouse.

And we took some nature walks to view the flowers and other critters (leaping lizards all over the place). And, of course, spent a day at the Alligator Farm watching the herons, ibis, spoonbills, woodstorks, and egrets all building nests, watching eggs or raising chicks.

So that's all for now. Hope you enjoy them. Next batch will be from the Jacksonville Zoo (wait until you see the American flamingos!!!)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Holiday Snaps

Just returned from a very nice holiday. A few snaps until I can catch up with everything I need to do for a day or so...

We stayed just north of Marineland on the Matanzas Inlet (at a place called Mi Casa), just south of St. Augustine. And right ON the beach. Our unit (one of three) is on the left side.

High tide came up almost to the deck. Low tide went out for miles! Amazing tidepools and rocks and interesting things to see, plus shelling; and the birds would come in as the tide came in so Jerry was out there taking good photos every day.

And the sunrise woke us every morning, shining in the bedroom window across the bed from the upper deck. You could not wake up in a bad mood when this happened each morning!

More photos to come when I get them sized, sorted, etc.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sunset Palm

Is sunset any more spectacular when it's a sunset seen from the deck of a vacation cottage with a palm tree in the foreground?


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

This big guy is coming by to say, "Happy Earth Day!"

Take a walk today - look at the sunshine filtering through the trees. Or feel the rain-soaked grass beneath your feet.

Enjoy! And love your Mother Earth.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Photos

Some more photos to share (photographed by Jerry ) until I return to blog-land...

are the least elegant
of the birds,
or so I've heard.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What's in Your Wallet?

A little less will be in our wallet at the end of the month when we return from a short trip away to the St. Augustine, Florida area.

But we should have a lot of photos to share while staying here! And I should have a nice time watching the ocean waves rolling in...and out...calmly, peacefully, happily on vacation...

And we have sent George, our red-eyed tree frog, with all his accoutrements, back to his original Mommy for a while.

Photos from last year's trip to northeastern Florida:

A little wading bird, trying to keep his feet dry. And Spanish moss. (These two photos by Jerry).

I am happy anywhere there is Spanish moss hangs off the trees. Remember that Gordon Lightfoot song:

"Spanish moss, hanging down
Sweeter than the summer love we found."

I always find myself humming this when walking through gardens and live oaks draped with Spanish moss.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Her Blue Dress - Almost Finished

Just have to work on her "nose" a bit more and remove the misket splatters and it's good to go. I'll darken in between the pale blue a bit more, too.
Do you see anything else that needs work?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Her Blue Dress

This photo looked to me like a woman (with a decidedly large nose) in a pink dress. (Photo by Jerry). I thought I might try it, but change the colors. So I did. Now it's Her Blue Dress.

I started the painting on Wednesday while doing 2 loads of laundry. I'm building up the colors - perhaps too much granulation in the darker blues? - wet-in-wet and remembering not to prewet and paint petals opposite each other and then be amazed when the color runs across the middle! D'uh!

I may finish it by tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Analogous Agave, stage 3

What was done in class Tuesday. I think it may be finished at this stage.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Analogous Agave, stage 2 + Curly Cactus

Some more work on this one, darkening, shaping, blending...

I've decided I do not like Indigo by Daniel Smith - it's mixed with Lamp Black and it looks so flat and ugly when it dries. Time to retire that one and move on (Sandy M. said Indigo by Winsor Newton does not have black in it so may try it).
I worked more on it in class Tuesday, slowly building up color/value, and putting in dark background color (mixing the Indigo with Indanthrone and French Ultramarine Blue so it's not so flat). Will share that stage (3) later.

When I was at a point on it that I should stop and think more about it, I worked on the little piece of Indian paper Leslie brought each of us. She gave each person who showed up Tuesday morning a piece (she didn't know what it was called - just paper made in India). It was very absorbent, but fun to try to work out the kinks - paint and water sinks into the paper quickly so you get no time or no chance to blend well. Which means you have to work fast and wet. You can lift a bit but not much. So, in order to bring back some texture and lights, I added white gouache here and there and I kind of like it. From a photo in the Wet Canvas Image Reference Library by a member who calls herself Wendee.

Wendee's photo on left.
My painting on right (as if you couldn't tell)! Done without any drawing, just drew with the red paint to begin and then added the other colors.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Analogous Agave...Slowly...Slowly

My color group is working on analogous paintings for April. Just over 2 more weeks to go for this and I'm going to be building up the color slowly - and try for some areas pale and some dark and a nice background color behind the main leaves. We'll see how it goes!

The photo really caught my eye but it's very very pale (from the Image Reference Libary at WetCanvas by a member called ArtistGary).

And here is my first take on it (I miskited out the edges of the leaves to keep them white).

Don't know why but Blogger is awfully slow at posting photos and moving them within the text, too - seems to be taking forever!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finished vs Overworked?

Well, when I watched Janet Rogers give her demo last Tuesday in class, she noted that she likes her finished paintings to look like they are unfinished = not too perfect or complete but always knowing that less is more to the look of watercolor. Wish I could just stop and let it be at a certain point, too, when I'm still liking it. But that doesn't seem to happen with me - I charge right through to finishing it off farther than it needs.

Oh, well, still learning all the time. And I have another one started for the color group but I'm going to build up the colors slowly with that one - until I get bored and then start rushing again!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Did you go to sunrise service?

Did you get some Easter goodies when you came home?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ruddy and the Rubber Ducks

Guess who came to my house yesterday afternoon? Ruddy Duck, a painting I won from Chris Beck!!! Until he has a nice frame (he is already very nicely matted and ready (or is that ruddy) to go into a frame, he'll sit here with the other ducks and maybe they'll have a jam session at night with George, the red-eyed tree frog (whose aquarium is right under this shelf in the kitchen). What do you think of Ruddy and the Rubber Ducks? Pretty cool, eh???

Thanks so much, Chris!!! He was packaged so well and arrived safely, not a single feather was ruffled in the shipping :)

He's wonderful and I'll be sure to love him best of all the ducks :)

Chris sent a note with a copy of one of her hollyhocks paintings on it, too - an extra treat! It looks like the painting was poured, Chris - did you get that wonderful light and pale, fresh color by pouring the paint on this one?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some Changes

After some comments here and from the artists at WatercolorWorkshop, and after I checked this in black and white and saw that the values were so blah, I tried scrubbing out some color and then putting in some darks in the star - the main flower. I also "cheated" and used some Titanium White watercolor on the tendrils of the main flower. It's still pure watercolor BUT it's definitely a bit opaque in places. Oh, well...some you win, some you lose, some you think, "huh?"

Better? Does the big leaf in the upper right still take your eye there? I am really giving this Kilimanjaro coldpress paper a workout (and, of course, that was my plan all along - you are sooo welcome! ha ha)

I also worked a bit more on the blue one...Laura asked about the colors used and I'll check my palette and get back to you, Laura (and others who wanted to know).

This version was number 2 - and I didn't like the bg at all. It's too blotchy and too one-color dull and similar so.........

I took my trusty sprayer and, at full blast, I sprayed that color off here and there, leaving me with this version that I can work on. (This version number 3 was photographed in the sunroom so indirect sunlight with the white balance set on shade. It is actually a more acurate depiction of the true colors in the painting. I hate it when no matter what I set my white balance on, it doesn't get true color!) I also ran some more miskit calligraphy throughout the painting and we'll see what happens there when that miskit and the first run of miskit is removed. Could be a good surprise, could be a bad surprise...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tendrilled Trumpets + Rhythm and Blues

I think it needs something more - perhaps some calligraphy to punch up the tendrils? Some well-placed darks?

In the meantime, I've started another painting for my blue series. This one I'm calling Rhythm and Blues. The first thing I did was take miskit and scroll it over the paper in some curving ways, hoping that will look good later when I take it off. Then started with some different blues and violets.

I'm going to go in behind and around these with Indigo and other blues, I think. Hope to pop them out and tone down that cobalt blue shadowing = too much!