Monday, August 31, 2009


Here are a couple of little things I've captured with the camera. Why? Because we often don't notice the little things that build this world. So stop, take a breath, and notice these today.

When you leave your bathroom window open all night to get the nice, fall-like air inside, you wake to find some interesting little things in your bathroom the next morning. Isn't he/she cute?

And outside, on a sunny day, this little acorn seems ready to travel far - what a journey that would be for this little one, so tiny with the world so large and looming ahead.

Some squirrel dropped this one, having his/her pick of the hundreds that line the sidewalk beside our house from our huge oak tree. When the wind blows, the sound of acorns hitting the roof on the sunroom is like a shot: POW!!! Enough to make you jump!

Off to the chiropractor's again today to be adjusted one more time. My back is better but I have to not stand for long periods of time, not sit for long periods of time, and I guess that means keep moving moving moving!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Using the photo most of you wanted me to paint, I did this on 1/4 sheet Fabriano Artistico 140# coldpress and transparent watercolors only (I was going to use just 2 colors: Ultramarine Turquoise and Pyrrol Orange but ended up using Raw Sienna in the skintones and I think the UT had some other blues in it seeing how it separated that way in the bowler).

My sweetie says it looks like me but he doesn't like the whites in the face - which is what I was proudest of!
Well, what can I say - he's a photographer, not a painter.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I received a little gem in the mail yesterday afternoon. This lovely card was painted by Sandy with beautiful thoughts inside and a thank you to me for Monday's day together - including climbing in the studio window! ha ha

The colors are my favorites and this paper is a handmade Indian paper, soft and velvety. The painting is expertly done - simple yet elegant. What a treasure!

Thank you, Sandy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


So I'm slowly bringing out the King of Hearts from the textured yupo painting started Monday from a scrapped piece of yupo. We'll see what happens. I can't paint right now - going to the chiropractor tomorrow (today was his day off) to get some adjustment so I'll be back to 100% in no time - I hope.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


With Sandy's eyes on me, I felt more able to step back and look and wait for this painting to evolve into what I thought it could be. Thanks, Sandy, for your extra eyes, your magic mirror, and your good input always :)

And then I took out a 1/2 sheet of yupo that had been painted on and washed off (since I had actually sealed this, I used alcohol to get off more and leave some texture to begin). So it was all about pulling out the toys to texture this sheet with no mind to what it might be later. And it was fun. Sandy had some great stamps she let me use and that did the trick in several places. I used China Markers (grease pencils), loose charcoal, watercolors in transparent and opaque colors, lots of stamps and things to make texture and got this, which I like.

Here are some close-ups of the textured bits here and there throughout the painting.

Now it's just a matter of bringing out what is already there...seeing it and working it to the surface...wish me luck!


Well, as some of you know, I got to spend several hours yesterday with Sandy Maudlin in her studio, talking, sharing a Starbucks grande, visiting, and playing with paint with no sense of destination - just a joy in the journey.

Kathy came by and we had to go out to lunch together and share more time visiting and chatting and eating while sitting beside the lake and watching the boats, the green of the landscape and feeling the soft touch of the breeze on our faces as we talked, ate and smiled.

I do have 2 things to share, including the finished (!!!) Queen of Hearts painting. It was a lot of touch the paper with this pigment/value, step back, think, look away, look again, touch the paper again here, step back, etc etc etc. But that's the way a painting gets finished and I find I need another set of eyes just watching me to help me get there and tend to rush and ruin on my own in my little art room. So just having Sandy there helped me stop and listen to what the painting was telling me.

Sandy shared a painting on her blog and talked about me climbing in the window - an exercise in my flexibility, to say the least! ha ha So I won't talk about that here. You can imagine - one leg in and body through and over but not before working on a stable platform that ended with my shoes caked in mud and my blue pants mud-streaked. And I didn't mind at all because it was silly and funny and it was done so we all could get back inside to our painting supplies!

I haven't photographed the work I did yesterday...but I will and will share it later today. But for now, I'm just enjoying the morning. Can you believe it gets down to the 50Fs at night now - in August? I love that it already feels like autumn sneaking towards us, day by day getting closer.

Enjoy your day - create something - call or visit a friend - hug your dog or cat or horse or guinea pig - have a lovely, rich, delicious drink to savor as you stand at an open door or window and breathe in the scent of autumn calling...

Sunday, August 23, 2009


This was the glazing experiment/exercise done and then a landscape painted on it (to cover up the blossoms at the bottom of the painting and behind the silo). Not bad. Anyway, it's done :) Trees are not my forte, as you can see!

This first download/upload (?) shows my camera version, taken in my little art room (believe me, it's too danged small to call it a studio!).

This second version is the painting (what would fit) put on the scanner and showing the colors. This is more true to the real painting. Guess I wasn't paying attention when I quickly snapped the photo and downloaded it.
I think delicate colors don't show as well on any setting on my camera and, as I walked through the house with this painting in hand, I could see more violets and then more blues and grays, etc. So I think a glazed painting would be different for the viewer, depending on the light in the room, etc. Anyway, time to move on.
I need to seriously start thinking and working on another portrait for David Lobenberg's SP Global Love-in Challenge (will try the one the majority of you wanted me to paint in a more traditional watercolor way).
And tomorrow I go and play with Sandy Maudlin in her studio, helping her with whatever she needs while also having a whole day to experiment and play with paint and paper!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I'm still playing with this one. I know it doesn't look like I want it to look. So...step back and think.

What don't I like? Well, that black stripe on the left, for one. So get rid of it.

Then why not get rid of the background around her as it does nothing for the painting. what?

Fiddling, playing, needs more whites so get out the gouache and opaque paints to brighten it a bit.

But now it needs some darks...but where?

Hmmm...still working and reworking. Do any of you go through this process or do you know where you are going as soon as you put down the first brushstroke?


The trip to the Taft Museum of Art on Wednesday was wonderful. We spent quite a while looking at Emil Robinson's paintings (4 in all, one a very large skyscape one could almost walk into). His delicacy and accuracy with the human form is to be envied! I felt I was standing at a window watching these 2 separate figures disrobe (or perhaps they were putting on their clothes?), and almost able to reach out and touch that piece of cloth, that strap of the bra, etc. Beautiful work and interesting foundation to paint on = aluminum.

I also slowly walked through more of the collection than I had done in previous visits and saw oils by John SInger Sargent, Rembrandt, and Joaquin Sorolla - all portraits. I even picked up a new journal at the gift shop (I have to have new journals all the time even though they go in a drawer and wait until I'm ready to use them - could be years!).

I've reworked the Queen of Hearts painting and will share it later. There were things I didn't like so gave myself some time away from it and have just done some little sketches lately to keep doing something and working through some new ideas for paintings later (maybe).

I need to get out more of my Pitt pens and use them on my sketches because most of these are just 0.5mm graphite sketches and are pretty faint in areas.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Just a couple of sketches done in my little Art Journal based on the

Ann has signed up for this and I might, too.

But right now I'm waiting to see what Manifest Gallery offers this fall to see if I can take any of their instructed drawing classes. But if you can't get to a live drawing class in your area, check out this site. You'll learn a lot if you can be self-motivated.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I watched the Carla O'Connor DVD again (Figure Design in Gouache: The Process) from Creative Catalyst. And gessoed (white) on a 1/4 sheet of 140# watercolor paper. Then began, like Carla does in the DVD, with watercolor crayons and drew my design on there, putting the color in with a wet brush smooshing the crayon lines. Then began with real color (the crayon was just a brown color). Have worked on this, off and on, for a few days - rare for me to spend this kind of time thinking and looking. Here's where I am and it's NOT finished because I need to have more design content than I have right now. I need to get some patterns in there and some better dark values and whites (you can lift out the color on gessoed paper IF you don't use staining colors).

I'm going back to my theme of hearts I had a while back. And this is my Queen of Hearts. Have some other ideas cooking right now, too.

This is the sketch I did while watching the O'Connor DVD the first time (has nothing to do with anything she was doing - just something that came up while I was working with figure + design).

Today, I'm going to the Taft Museum of Art to see Emil Robinson's paintings on display there. I'll let you know how wonderful these are (because, of course, they will be wonderful -- Emil is a fine draftsman and a real artist, creating works of such beauty and grace when he paints the figure.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Sometimes you keep fighting, like the Black Knight in the Monty Python Holy Grail movie. Despite arms and legs whacked off mercilessly, you say, "It's just a flesh wound!"

And then there are times when it would be so much wiser to admit defeat. I am admitting defeat with this glazing technique. It's bested me. Going back to what I know and not struggling so much with this.

I got a nice big blossom when I put in the cobalt blue glaze - don't know why more water seeped there, because I was working the same way as when I got the nice yellow and red glazes. So...I'll never be Catherine Anderson with her dozens of glazes. But then, I'll just be me and that's okay for today!

So your painting efforts have given you lemons, grapefruits and limes. What do you do? Fix the mistakes as best as you can and move on. Drink the lemon- and limeade (yum), pucker up and go out and kiss a Frenchman!

I'll pull the miskit off this and finish it but it won't be a great painting - not even a good painting. I bow to those who has mastered the layered glaze. Now time to move on!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Ah ha! I think I've gotten all the steps and tips right in order to do the wet in wet washes/glazes this time.

Glaze 2 - Quinacridone Rose (a cool red) over Hansa Yellow Medium (a warm yellow). When this dries, I'll try the Cobalt Blue over the first 2 glazes and see what comes of it.
Nothing more artsy today. I have 2 art magazines to pour over and then some veggies to prepare for a dinner and birthday gathering to celebrate the grands' birthdays (7 and 9 already? how can that be??)

Friday, August 14, 2009


"Watercolor is a medium of beguiling ironies. It takes great skill to control, yet must appear to be free of control. Physically it needs room to move easily, but without running away. Painting in watercolor requires a disciplined approach that at the same time does not stifle the results. You might compare the experience of applying a watercolor wash to that of throwing a ball a long distance and being there, perhaps a little out of breath, to catch it just at the right time." --- David Dewey
from his 1995 book, The Watercolor Book: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist

Now how appropriate is it that I received this book in the mail today, an order I placed a week or so ago! He has a nice set-up with photos and instructions on wet in dry watercolor washes (both flat and graded), and wet in wet washes (both flat and graded). Also a nice trick:

Put oxgall in your water container (just a few drops - I probably put too many but what are a few? 3-5 or 7-11? Anything under a dozen is a few, I think!). Yep, put drops of oxgall in your water and it causes the brush to dance lightly over the paper but no white spaces left - it's smoother and flows. That's what oxgall is supposed to do - and I just happened to have some.

So, here we go again!

1. Drew a simple shape and put Pebeo Drawing Gum over that to keep parts white or pale and let that dry completely

2. Wet the back side of the paper and the front and, putting a paper towel over the paper in places to protect it, I stapled the edges all around (the paper towel was to keep any grit and dirt scratching the paper as I pressed the stapler to the paper edges).

3. Let that dry but not bone dry. When I laid the back of my hand to the paper, it was cool which means there was still water in the paper that hadn't dried.

4. Using a Tony Van Hasselt Muslin flat wash brush (forgot I had this!), I put a thin wash of Hansa Yellow Medium (a warm yellow) from top to bottom and then tilted the board to let it all wash to the bottom. I cleaned off the edges and around the miskited area where it pooled, too.

That will dry lighter and then, when it's bone dry, I'll put on the red glaze/wash.

Thanks to everyone for their comments on how to do this better/easier :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Have you mastered the watercolor wash? The plain, overall, all one color wash? I haven't. I'm trying but it's not easy. In fact it is downright hard!

After some seriously warped starts and fits, I am now doing what I know I'm supposed to do =
- catching the bead of pigment and water at the bottom of the tilted paper (which is stapled to a board)
- not going back into the wash once I get it done from top to bottom
- using a large brush and putting lots of water in the mix for the wash
- wiping back the edges of the paper so no water seeps back into the paper while it's drying

And yet I still get uneven and tacky looking washes. The first one may be okay, not bad. But then I glaze over that and I get a mess.

So...I've begun doing what Catherine Anderson does and going back into the wash (a no-no, apparently) with a brush full of clean water and brushing up and down and down and up and thinning out the pigment so it's paler and keeping things wet all over the page. That seems to be working. Also, stapling the paper to the Gatorboard helped immensely (I was just taping the paper down and it still created hills and valleys when it dried, making an even wash impossible.)

So...any tricks and tips out there to share on this? Am I using the wrong brush (it's a large, flat synthetic and it will not distribute the pigment and water all the way across the paper but dries out about halfway through, leaving unpainted areas that have to be done over)? Is the coldpress paper the best to use or should I try hotpress again (tried it once and it was really a mess!!)?
The goal is to get a good, pale wash of color, the same from top to bottom of paper, let it dry completely and then get another good, pale wash of color over that with another transparent color.
Using (1) Hansa Yellow Light and then (2) Quinacridone Rose and finally (3) Cobalt Blue. Just those three colors. Just a simple wash - yeah, right!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Well, almost finished. When this dries, I'll remove the speckles of liquid miskit and see if I need to do anything else. But it's almost done.
Watercolor on 140# coldpress paper, 1/4 sheet (11" x 15")

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Yesterday, I colored my hair. It had been a long time since I'd done this as, once again, I was under the impression that, if I let my natural color grow out for a few months it would finally be all silvery and beautiful - not mottled colors. I could see my husband giving me that look (he thinks you should fight back aging with a power saw and ninja nunchuks as hard as possible). You know the look? When he talks to you he looks at your hair that is pulled back showing off all of mother nature's lovely lightening effects.

So I colored it. I used the same brand and same color I've used several times before. It must have been defective labeling or a mix-up in the bottles because now my hair is dark. Too dark.

The only thing I can think of to do now is try, after about a dozen washings, to get it to fade out - but it's permanent color that is supposed to last 6 weeks.

Or, I could head out to Las Vegas and join the Elvis Presley impersonators. So let's practice, shall we:

Lift that lip

and curl it on one corner

and say...

"Huckleberry Mush."

So if I'm not posting for a while you'll know I'm either in Vegas, baby! or busy washing my hair.)

Friday, August 7, 2009


The other paintings I took to class Thursday and worked on.

Self-portrait with Bowler, before (cropped to show less of the white background at the time):

Self-portrait with Bowler, after (this painting is on gessoed watercolor paper so I could work the shape of the face more to get a better shape):

And the American Lotus - pure watercolor this time,
before stages:

And will show the final stage when I make the two changes suggested in class. So stay tuned!


I had these at a certain stage before class Thursday morning. I took them all to work on them in class and got more done on 3 of them.

American Lotus Batik, b

American Lotus Batik, after (just a bit more warms and defining values in places on the rice paper and then did the line work with black ink since you could still see the pencil lines anyway):

Blushing Magnolia, before:

Blushing Magnolia, after (using 2 fluid acrylics - Dioxizide Purple and Quinacridone Gold - I painted the background area and then warmed up some of the petals with watercolor - New Gamboge, and brighted some of the leaves with watercolor - Vanadate Bismuth Yellow).

Blogger is sooo slow at uploading photos today, I'll post the other works I finished in class later.

Monday, August 3, 2009


In the mail today came this lovely little treat, a beautiful art trading card from Angela. She also included 3 of her business cards that are atc-sized, too :) Pretty cool, eh?

Thanks for the trade, Angela :) I love the flowing lines of this one.

Here's what Angela wanted in trade - it's a little art card that's watercolor and collage on rice paper over watercolor paper.

No painting for me today. On the phone a lot asking people to fill positions that will be open for our watercolor society. Getting a lot of no's - maybe I'm not cut out to be a telephone solicitor?

BTW, I was a big winner at the track but since Jerry was my betting agent, it all stayed in the same household and just rearranged whose pocket the money was in - so I didn't even have to bet at the window, just told Jerry and he covered my bet. Poor thing! Even though it was his birthday, he lost 5 out of 7 bets he took, including 4 for me and one for Jenny! Of course, no bet was over $2 so it didn't break the bank - or allow me to fly off to Paris for the weekend!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Today is my Sweetie's birthday and we're going to the races to watch the ponies run (and hope the rain holds out). His girls take him every year so it's girls and husbands and me and Jerry with a great picnic lunch and some money for betting on our favorites. A good time will be had by all...

so until Monday...when I'll try to get motivated again to work on the magnolia and lotus paintings...