Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Leaving Land Between the Lakes area and driving northwest towards Paducah, Kentucky where they have The National Quilt Museum. This is not your grandmothers' quilts!! Artful, interesting, clever, and so amazing!!! We weren't allowed to take photos of the quilts inside - they were having a couple of shows including quilts from Asian countries and the winners of the yearly quilt competition from the last 25 years - wonderful examples of the creativity and the stamina (some were, indeed, hand-stitched and took years to make!).

Magnolia blossoms blooming right outside the front door...and stained glass "quilts" in the windows.

We were allowed to take a photo of a piece of a quilt that was carved out of basswood by an artist in Tampa, Florida. The little quilt piece is part of it and shows how it's made of wood...and the quilt on the wall (which even when you stood in front of it, looked "real," is the full carved piece. (I know the sign said to NOT take a photo of the quilt but just the quilt piece...and I didn't intend to until I was trying to get the quilt piece and words and saw that the full quilt was just in the frame, too...sooo.....)


Some photo odds and ends taken by me (just vacation snaps - Jerry takes the real photos! ha ha) along the way. It was a 6-hour drive down to southwestern KY and Land Between the Lakes...and, as I've said before, it was HOT and HUMID the whole time. But you can enjoy the photos in the coolness of your own home - no mosquitoes, no chiggers, no damp heat :)

We went to a place that had a little restored "village" with a waterwheel and a very expensive restaurant. Of course, I decided the week before to begin a very strenuous plant-based diet (can't eat anything with a mother or a face! and no dairy of any kind and no oil - if that's possible), so had a bit of a struggle finding things to eat that I didn't just take with me and fix in the microwave in the hotel. In this little village, there were ponds, animals, flowers, and a little chapel where people married - no wedding that day (the poor bride wouldn't have made it in the heat) but there were about 1/2 dozen of us walking around slowly.

Land Between the Lakes
is a boating area and park area so lots of little parks and places and historic areas, as well as plenty of water and marinas and B&Bs. All along the roadways (where were strangely deserted - were we the only ones crazy enough to be down there and NOT in a boat on the river?), growing beside the roads were mimosas. My grandmother had one in her front yard for years - full and lush and full of hummingbirds in the summer. The smell was wonderful! Took this photo along a pond that was full of American lotus flowers blooming - the whole area was covered with them so, of course, we took a mile walk around to take photos and get mosquito- and chigger-bit :)

Did you know that we have our own American Lotus blooming in the US? I didn't. They were gorgeous - lovely and pale yellow in a pond of blue...had to take a lot of photos here, of course (good thing I had my OFF towelette to keep the mosquitoes off me).

We also went to a Nature/Garden Center to see dozens of hummingbirds swarming around feeders, tethered owls and hawks and caged bobcats and deer.

When a group of children (about 9 plus 2 adults) came running up to the owls, the barred owl began hooting...maybe saying, "Slow down! It's too hot to be running!" or were they saying, "Too many kids...go away...go away!!" The little screech owl began huffing, too, and since she had just gotten dipped in a tub of water and was looking a little worse for wear, she wasn't in any mood!

We also tried to see the bison and elk herd in the park close by - but didn't go right after dawn or just before dusk (apparently, bison and elk are smarter than Rhonda and Jerry and are only out in the coolest parts of the day!)

Monday, June 29, 2009


This great set of art cards from soulbrush waited for me in the pile of mail brought in by my sister while we were away.

A very interesting and cool card plus the art cards I asked for in trade (hope she gets mine soon) plus itty bitty "inchies." Inchies are apparently for those artists who aren't challenged enough by the art card size and want to go smaller!!! No thank you, people, I won't be creating any of these BUT I do like the ones soul sent me :)
Thank you, soul, for these little pieces of yourself you send so readily everywhere in the world! I hope you are feeling well and happy this week.

And don't forget, if you're going to participate in David Lobenberg's self-portrait love-in, have your SP to him by...gulp!....tomorrow!!!
Now back to cleaning and laundry and all the stuff you have to do when you return from a vacation.


Who plans a vacation trip that is mostly outside walking and touring and seeing things in parks and beside lakes and at zoos, etc. when the heat index is above 100F? Well, I guess we do!

We have returned - without heat stroke (by nothing but sheer luck) - and I have photos to share. But let me get caught up first and then you'll have some photos to see of the things we saw.

Southwestern Kentucky and Land Between the Lakes was 95-98F with a heat index of 100F each day there but St. Louis, Missouri!!! was 98F-99F with a heat index of 105F each day there. The zoo animals were not even out, being much smarter than the few humans walking around and wilting in the heat. It felt absolutely refreshing to come home to 85F weather and a nice breeze.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I took a photo and played with it in my photo program and came up with something that looked like it might be fun to try to paint.

Photo here:

Painting here -

The painting is on Tyvek that I pretreated by brushing a thin coat of acrylic matte medium over it (so the paint didn't totally bubble up off the tyvek).

There are some things to change:

I don't like the white stripes I used to separate the colors because they seem too strong now, esp. on the right side, so maybe I'll carry the "black" through to the right side of the painting; and I need to shape the face a bit more but maybe it's about right.

What do you think? Love it or hate it? I'm doing anything to keep from doing a traditional self-portrait (out of fear that I can't do it?).

Well, do leave your comments BUT
I'm taking a little driving trip for a few days and will return soon to see what you've posted about this one. Be back soon!

Monday, June 22, 2009


David Lobenberg has created a new blog (http://spgloballovein.blogspot.com/). He challenged/invited artists to do self-portraits and send them to him through the month of June and he will post them all to see how artists see themselves. It should be fun and I, bravely/foolishly said I would join in. So I've been working on some things in order to have something good to share by the end of this month.

You've seen this SP on Aquabee paper in graphite.

I went back to it with Sketch n'Wash graphite (you put it down and can blend it out with water) and didn't like it that much (made me look like I had 1/2 a moustache and a beard!), so added up putting some paint on it. It's not a great painting by any means - the Aquabee is meant to have paint put down and left alone and I definitely didn't do that with this one. But it does look like me - somewhat/almost.

Comments welcome - I have until the end of the month to send something in and I'm working on something else that might be better. So let me know what you think of this one.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Whether you're a father, a step-father,
or a surrogate father for a child who is small,
or who has grown and has a child of his or her own,

Happy Father's Day to you!

Father's Song
by Gregory Orr

Yesterday, against admonishment,
my daughter balanced on the couch back,
fell and cut her mouth.
Because I saw it happen I knew
she was not hurt, and yet
a child's blood so red
it stops a father's heart.
My daughter cried her tears;
I held some ice
against her lip.
That was the end of it.
Round and round: bow and kiss.
I try to teach her caution;
she tried to teach me risk.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Soulbrush and I are going to trade art cards - what fun! So...how do I choose one of her cards? There are so many I like. Do you think she will send me all of them? ha ha Nothing greedy about me, right?!?

So here are a few of mine to choose from. I hope you find one or more you like, Soul, to make you smile!

Top Left = Ice Skating (watercolor)--- traded

Top Right = Snail Mail? (watercolor)

Bottom Left = The Spelling Bee (watercolor with some pen/ink) --- traded

Bottom Right = Untitled (but it's a sea nettle/jellyfish) (watercolor)

Next set coming up....

Top Left = Striving for the Light (watercolor with a bit of pen and ink) --- traded

Top Right = untitled but it's based on the Lunar New Year Stamp I got at the post office, so you get a little collage added of that stamp) --- traded

Bottom Left = untitled, it's hay bales in a field in Wales - hey, that rhymes, maybe I should add text to this one? ha ha (watercolor) traded to Margaret Ann/Waterblossoms

Bottom Right = untitled little lambie with rice paper over him to give him some nice texture
All cards will come in a handy heavy-duty card holder to protect them. If anyone else is interested in trading, just let me know and we'll work something out via emails.

Update: You snooze, you lose! Soul and I are trading 4 cards!! So off to the post office on Monday morning with a smile on my face to think that these little atcs will be travelling to her home and 4 of her lovely atcs will be coming to live with me :) I've marked the ones traded in red beside the descriptions above. And if you want to have any of the ones left in trade, just let me know. And I can always make more (wasn't that a Frito Lays slogan at one time?)


It's going up in the 90F's today - too hot for me and also very humid. Luckily, I have my latest Watercolor magazine and my latest issue of Watercolor Artist.

Check it out! The August issue features Chris Beck, one of my artist friends. You will get to read more about her process, her thoughts while painting and see some of her fabulous paintings - everything from her salt and pepper collection of duckies and other birdies to beautifully glowing florals. I just gone my yesterday afternoon so if you subscribe, you might be getting your issue any day!

Congratulations, Chris, for the great article!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Tuesday afternoon, I watched the Carla O'Connor DVD from Creative Catalyst I had purchased a few weeks ago. It is wonderful! I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about design and the process of designing/creating a good composition.

Now, nothing she said was anything I hadn't heard Sandy Maudlin say over and over and yet, even Sandy says sometimes you have to hear more than 1 person say it before the light comes on. Or maybe I had to mature to this step in my artwork for it to sink in and for me to be actually using it.

So...if you have the money, do buy this one. It is wonderful and the creative process she uses (gouache on gold gessoed watercolor paper) is wonderful and allows you to wipe back to gold, add color, glaze color, make textures, etc. But it's not just a gouache DVD - you can use everything she talks about in any medium because it's about design and seeing and making changes and arranging shapes shapes shapes!!

And thanks again to Teresa for the coupon!!

Here are two of the designs I came up with while listening to Carla talk and doodling and taking notes at the same time...

And I have my watercolor paper gessoed and ready to go (white gesso this time, not gold) and I'm going to use watercolor, not gouache (since I only have white).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


This is all I'm going to do on it. My goal was to get the paint to "stick" to the tyvek I have (not the kind Myrna Wacknov uses but the kind you use in construction and it isn't coated with anything to help the paint stay)...and to get nothing but greys in various colors throughout. I see I need to make that bill darker but that's about all with this...

What do you think? I think I'll leave the tyvek painting to Myrna - she's much better at it than I am!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I finally got around to finishing the front door. Had ideas, you see, and just couldn't get up and bring them to fruition. Now that I have, and from a suggestion from my dear friend Susan in Vancouver Island, Jerry wants me to paint a sunflower on the panels. Oh, and the sunflower goes from the top yellow panel to the bottom so at the bottom is the stem with, oh, yeah, how about a frog on it?? We're not getting too carried away here, are we?

Sorry for the warped view - it's obviously from above and inside the house and I can't get a good spot from which to take a photo inside to show the bottom of the door and all 4 panels.

So, if this was your door, would you paint on those panels?

Should I?

Here's the template that I can use for each panel - one facing to the right and one facing to the left (using the back side)...

Don't look for the frog - it isn't there yet and may not be - a little frog on a stem may be beyond me. Afterall, this has to be in acrylic and I don't paint in acrylic, just watercolor...and I have to paint this upright so I can't paint very wet and juicy unless I'm prepared for runs...and I can hear myself trying to talk myself out of this!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Well, look at what the postman delivered to me today! A wonderful bit of art work in the form of Margaret Ann's art trading cards plus her note card that is one of her designs, too, and a little sticker - that I will keep and never give away, of course (unless it comes back to you at some time in the future, that is!). Her work is so detailed and lovely and lacey and fine!

Thank you so much, M-A, for this beautiful work. Hope you get your little envelope soon and are as pleased as I am about my surprise from Surprise :)


Just a bit of tweaking on this yupo painting of the datura (Fallen Angels). Jerry says the bottom flower is much too close to the bottom of the paper - and he's right but not much I can do about it right now (or want to do about it since I don't want to wipe it all back and start over at the bottom).

And this is on Tyvek and is so hard to get the paint to just stay put - but it does make some interesting textured effects and I can work on this more - this is just the first stage of the swan, painting from the notan painting and photo and then putting in muted colors of grayed greens and grayed oranges, etc...we'll see what happens when I get to work on it some more.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Just a little doodle I did the other day. Something to look at until I get back to something bigger.

Right now, I'm painting our front door. Photo and explanation (!) to come later, but here's a hint: the inner panels looked like canvas/paper inside picture frames so...

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I had this yupo painting that I'd obviously washed off (stained here and there) to try again...so in class Thursday I thought I'd try again. I was in a "finish this" mood so didn't start anything new.

This is all watercolors on yupo. Daturas we saw in our only trip to New Orleans - or maybe it was from the trip to Vancouver Island and the Butchert Gardens? Anyway, from one of our photos. I still need to finish that bottom little one that got left out and it's done. Calling this one Fallen Angels (in case you go, ??? - because daturas are often called angel trumpets).

Friday, June 12, 2009


I am slowly going back to putting most of the blogs I visit back to the icon type listing in a row. It will take it down the whole side of the page but I miss being able to see when someone posts something new and can't do that with just the title and no icon to click on. So I'll get this done this weekend...slowly but surely. I may keep some blogs as just the title version so you don't get too overwhelmed with the icon listing - like a kid in a candy store, sometimes there are just too many choices and you walk out without choosing anything. (Really? Well, you get the idea!).

Just go to the bottom of the icon list, click SHOW ALL and the whole list will come up as icons.


I received some goodies in the mail yesterday when I returned from watercolor class. I had ordered these from Dick Blick art supplies for future printmaking fun. The Reeves watercolors are the kind Sharon used during our printmaking workshop at Marilyn's last Friday and they worked well - couldn't find the Pentell brand other than order from a shop in Canada and the shipping was as much as the paint so going to try this first. This book (I have glanced through it) has everything from monoprints to carbarundum (not spelling that right but not walking downstairs to get the book right now) prints and more advanced things. Hoping to get a good baren and a larger, harder brayer next and see if I can get a good piece of plexi at a hardware store - they cut pieces but doubt that they sand the front and edges.

And in class yesterday I put a bit more paint on the gold gessoed watercolor paper (hotpress) and then soaked a piece of hotpress watercolor paper and put it on top of this one - and brayered the image off = not enough pressure so it was pretty smooshy looking (that's not a technical term but you know what I mean = faint with soft edges all around). So added a bit more watercolor to it to brighten it up. I like the blue cow but not the brown one - maybe I should have made it more orange and red?

Since the one on gold gesso (which you've seen before) was called Once in a Blue Moo, I guess the print is called Twice in a Blue Moo? ha ha

I worked on a yupo painting in class, too. Will share that later. For now, rest time is up and time to get back to waxing the floors!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


In the colorfulwatercolor group, we are learning a bit about notan. Notan is a Japanese word and the closest translation seems to be no = light; tan = dark. So it is a design element using light and dark. As watercolor artists, we are always working on our values and trying to get our whites pure and sparkling and also having good, strong darks throughout our paintings. So notan fits right in.
What we are doing is this: taking a photograph and unsaturating the color completely in our photo program (whichever one we have) and then amping up the contrast to bring up the blacks. So we have a photo and then a notan photo showing just the whites and blacks.
Then we are to paint the notan photo - not looking at the colored photo, just the notan one as a strong value study with no mid-tones.
This is what I have.

The photo is one shared at watercolorworkshop by Yvonne Carter a long time ago. I thought it was a great photo and intended to try to paint it some day...and that some day is now!

The photoshopped photo (although I don't have PhotoShop, I used my photo manipulation program that came with my camera).

And the painted version of the notan photo, using my own mix to make black (Perinone Orange + Ultramarine Turquoise). I didn't make a big enough, or juicy enough, or concentrated enough puddle of black to work with so it looks a bit greyed in places. But it will work. And I certainly see where I cut too much into the white here to maybe I should do another before beginning the painting...I think I was rushing and not slowing down and looking closely enough.
We have 9 members in the group and it will be interesting to see how the others do their paintings and what they choose to paint.


Here are the photos Sharon sent of the stages I went through with my prints.

First, the thin layer of pure color to serve as an underpainting for the print. Marilyn said this color will show as the top layer when you pull the print (first down on the plexi = last up on the print), so you want to choose something you would start with like yellow or a pale pink or peach or...you get the idea.

I wanted to try 2 in different shapes and sizes just for fun. So I started one with warm yellow and one with cool pink. The paints were Pentell watercolors Marilyn had to order from a shop in Canada - the paints aren't expensive but the shipping is about as much as the paint!

By the Sea while it was still on the plexiglass, ready to be printed. The stamp I used (created by Marilyn) is at the bottom.

And My Creative Heart while it was still on the plexi ready to be printed.

While we were creating on the plexi, the print paper was soaking so it was good and wet through and through when we got ready to print. We just allowed the water to drip off the paper and then blotted it in between 2 pieces of newsprint until the shine was off the paper - then into the print on top of the plexi and through the press!

You've seen the final outcome but in case you missed it, here they are again:

By the Sea


My Creative Heart

Monday, June 8, 2009


Sharon sent some of the photos she took during our Friday, June 5th printmaking day with Marilyn Bishop.

Here are the stages of the color being applied to the frosted plexi.
First, Sharon's stages...(sorry, I don't have a photo of the finished print but it was wonderful).

Sharon put her first layer down much thinner than I did mine but it's still just pure color (a peach mix Sharon chose) on the glass using a flat brush.

Then comes the dabbing and adding with a soft natural sea sponge, thinking about what your composition is going to be.

Marilyn said you put down 3-4 layers so working on that 3rd layer now...here's where you can stamp or cut into the color, lifting some if you want or...you can put something over the plate before printing (which is what Sharon did) to create a resist on the print. Sharon put a piece of grass/willow over the plate and then printed it, leaving a great space to add color to later.

And here are Marilyn's stages - she's an old hand at this and knows what she's doing so knew she wanted to work with a grid pattern and some round shapes, too. She worked with sponges and a sponge roller to put the paint on the plexi and she splattered some paint on, too.

I don't have a photo of Marilyn's finished print, either, but I bet she puts it up on her blog soon.