Monday, November 30, 2009


During Life Drawing class, Marlene Steele sat in with us. She is a local artist and teacher, well-known and respected. She shared this limerick (I may be paraphrasing since my memory is not always exactly right):

There once was an artist named Judy
who was famous for painting the nudie.
She painted the breast
and all the rest,
but her favorite was the patootie!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Dexter posed for us today. He's been modelling for decades and his body is a fine machine...he exercises a lot, he teaches high school wrestling, and he eats only the good stuff (that means it may not taste great but it's good for you). He's short and compact. Not an ounce of fat on him. Which you would think would make it easier to draw, yes?

No. I kept seeing squares and triangles and the muscles in his chest and stomach and ribs and...well, just could not "see" it correctly. The drawing looked dead, lifeless, dull. I became angry at myself for not being able to get it "right."

Then Charles talked to me about the life-force inside and asked me to try to draw as if I'm capturing that life-force. That force rounds everything because it is pushing on the outer edges of the body. Then I could start to "see" it. (Damn, he's a good teacher!)

So I began again, after 2 hours of struggling with the first one.

Then, without measuring anything, and begining with his left knee and leg, I did this one. Much better!
See how the weight of body is pushing down on the pillows. See how that right leg has mass and strength but more roundness (roundness doesn't mean softness but I think it shows the mass of that thigh and upper leg).
Ah...another difficult pose. Another struggle. Perhaps the struggle never ends but it's always nice when a light goes off inside and you can see it and go beyond just draftsmanship to something more...I could have worked for another hour on this...or two!
Only 2 more classes :( before the session ends.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I added some pieces of a paper, lacy heart to the painting and then darkened more around the edges. I think it's done for now. Time to let this one go and look at it again later on. I might like to replicate the laciness of those paper heart pieces here and there in the background later.

But right now I'm also working on a portrait for the Colorful Watercolor group and I need to slow down and make this work...I tried to do it with dabs of paint like Jeanette Jobson, but I couldn't stop putting dabs here and there and then the skin was covered again. I think her style must take more patience and ability to know when to stop :)

Portraits look spooky if you show them before the eyes are done!

So I put them in and worked a bit more (will definitely change the yellow swirls that mimic her hair - don't like how that turned out and it happened because I was lifting off the color after adding more pigment to her hair while it was still too wet so it bled and blurred outwards - again, a lack of patience!)

There is still a dab of miskit in each eye and on some of her teeth.

I wonder if she'll know this is her - if she checks this blog? Hmmm....we'll see!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Don't forget to have a good time,

but eat and drink in moderation.

However, if you cannot control yourself

and your love of mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie,

I wish you

A Happy


(They are on my wish-list for this holiday season, just in case I go overboard after being good and healthy all year!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Placing some darks here and there and then around the edges and wondering what I'm thinking...I need to be thinking more and drizzling paint less.

At this point, I'll let it sit a while. Thinking about adding some collage bits and maybe some stamping or something...need to get more movement. I liked the idea of Paul's shadow shapes and will think about that, too.


Still using the TMC to challenge myself to do more drawing of hands - my own hand as I look in a mirror.

And more -looking-out-the-kitchen-window sketches to see what's out there. This time, a little squirrel sat for 15 minutes before hopping off (guess he'd picked out all the sunflowers in the seed mix I put on the table for him).

These are both done with graphite pencils in my Exacompta sketchbook (5 1/2" x 8") but they were on the same page so both are pretty small.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I admit it, I am addicted to certain blogs. Mostly watercolorists who really show me how far I must travel to get to where they are, already. But I so enjoy seeing what they come up, whether it's a landscape or a figure painting or a portrait or a cat in a chair. I love to see good watercolors...flowing, melding, blending, running, dripping, drizzling, making the beauty that watercolor makes in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing.

And that is why I miss Laura's Watercolors!! She's been without a new post for a month and, yes, I worry that she's in an artistic slump or a health crisis or something. I miss seeing her brush dance across the paper and create something so lovely and soft and real. Maybe if everyone goes over there, posts a message that she is missed, she will return?

So know this, favorite bloggers who are currently sitting on my sidebar - if you go missing for more than a week or two, I will miss you. If you go missing for a month, I will post a comment asking where you are and when you are going to return. If you go missing for longer than that, I will come and get you!!! Now come back, Laura.


I worked on both of these yesterday afternoon. Here's where they stand.

The Heart Journey needs some of that dark/blue/greyed color run throughout it to lead the eye around; and maybe some of those reds needs toned down a bit...will think on this and let it sit and rest tonight. Heart Journey is on 300# Arches watercolor paper and it's heavy so it curves as I'm putting pigment and water on it. I'll have to put it under some books to straighten it at the end.

And the Dancing Petals = glazing some cobalt blue to tone down some of the "too pretty" blues of the petals. There is more violet there than shows no matter what I set my white balance on in the camera so I've adjusted it a bit in my photo program to get it closer to reality. A bit more to do...a bit more darks to run through and around. And it will be done.

Here's a close-up of one of the petals to show I need to work on the centers more to give them some definition.

Monday, November 23, 2009


But you know what, it's still a good painting. I had a member at the last watercolor meeting tell me she walked into the room, looked around and immediately went to my painting to see more. If it has that draw from across the room, I think I did a pretty good job. I don't usually have the ego to say that, but sometimes you have to give yourself a pep talk. Since I didn't get a prize (no medal or ribbon to bring home and hang on the frame), and it didn't sell (in spite of the ridiculously low price), I'll just say I still like it and it will be quite happy hanging in the livingroom.

And here is the latest stage in the Dancing Petals I'm still working on. I'm not too crazy about the color right now so maybe will work some cobalt blue glazes here and there to tone it down.

No special plans for us this Thanksgiving. I may do our own little meal on Thursday, but it will be just another day, other than that. Hope you all enjoy your travels, your family, and your good food...and return to your homes safe and sound and happy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Using my own hand to try to get more practice, but used pastel pencils (which I am not used to using). Is there a sharpener I should know about to get these things sharp without breaking the "lead" every time?

This is a thin scrap piece of Canson Mi-Tientes paper in eggshell. Using the few colors I have of the pastel pencils - not very many colors, as you can see. And no, my hand is not that pink!

Then I got out my Exacompta sketchbook and did this while looking out the kitchen window. A male and female finch on the thistle feeder in graphite. They stayed there long enough for me to get a fairly good sketch of them...then when they flew off, I worked on the feeder.


Our model was lovely and curled up into this very challenging position after trying about a few others. As usual, I got the shapes and positions correct but the hand, especially her right hand, and her feet are too small. Ah, learning learning learning!

A neat trick Charles showed us: he took out small mirrors (about 9 x 11 size) for each of us and had us stand with our backs to the model and our drawings to get some distance on both and see them both in the mirror. You could see what was off almost immediately. Of course, then you had to turn around, put the mirror down, and try to readjust those parts that were off! ha ha

Cropped in to show more of her and less of her surroundings here...

Today I'll be using a mirror to draw my hand and/or doing another pouring on the Heart Journey painting.

Or I will be curled up on the sofa, feeling totally sorry for myself for some unknown reason: Hormone fluctuations? Just out of sorts? Coming down with something? Need more chocolate? Who knows?!?

Maybe I should also do another Twenty-Minute Challenge drawing...


I've gotta new mug
One that won't make me sick
One that won't make me feel too fat
One that won't make me feel too thick.

Paraphrasing from New Drug by Huey Lewis and the News :)

My new mug of choice is from Teresa Palomar Lois - she opened an Etsy shop and a Deviant Art shop and is selling her fantabulous watercolors in prints, on mugs, and other accessories. I had to have this starry night sky on a mug for my coffee.

The photo doesn't show up the great colors in it because it's coming through darker than it is but believe me, it's scrumptuous!

Check out her site if you like her style. She is selling holiday cards now, too.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Katharine Cartwright has a new blog. It's called The Twenty Minute Challenge and she challenges us all to paint or draw something around us (can't be a photograph, but something IRL) in 20 minutes, start to finish. Then size it and post it on her blog with the others. She's getting a good group together - heavy on the watercolors so far but I'm going to use this challenge as another way to draw more so only drawing for me for this one.

Come on over and join us.

Thanks, Kathy, for this great idea and new blog.

Here is my simple (looking out the kitchen window at the tree, birdhouse and bird feeders while the birds flitting all around) drawing. It's 6 1/2" x 5 1/2" in my art journal with graphite. Nothing compared to the artwork already on the blog but it's s start.

Here is another little ATC done - wasn't watching the clock on this one but I'm sure it's under the 20-minute mark. Created for my friend, China, after receiving a Thanksgiving card from her.

Now, I must get ready for Life Drawing class today!

For those in the Cincinnati area, the Eden Park Balluminaria is tonight! They place the hot-air balloons around Mirror Lake and light them up at sunset, creating some great photo ops! It shouldn't be too cold this year so try to get out there and see it - and take your camera! Jerry and a few of his photo group friends will be there...

Friday, November 20, 2009


To recap - I poured miskit on dry 300# Arches watercolor paper (1/2 sheet). Let that dry and then spritzed the paper and poured on Hansa Yellow Light (a thin mix of pigment and water in a baby food jar). Let that dry and respritzed and poured Quinacridone Rose. After that dried, I reapplied more miskit in heart shapes and spritzed it around. That dried.

Next step = Spritzed the paper and poured Pyrrol Red on the inside of the painting and a bit of Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet on the outside edges of the painting. I let that dry and then took a brush full of Cobalt Blue and put that into a little misting bottle, mixed it with water to fill it up and sprayed the edges of the painting with the Cobalt Blue to tone it down and push it back.

That has to dry and then I'm going to remove all of the miskit and see if I like what I have in those shapes. Then I'll do more direct painting and no more pouring. That's my plan, anyway!

Miskit is off and I like some of the shapes but I need to get some more of that blue back in there and bring out the hearts a bit more...little by little, I think, taking my time so I don't just slap paint over everything. With all the drawing gum/miskit off (it's a grey-blue color), it really changed the color of the whole painting!


In celebration of good news from the cardiologist Wednesday afternoon. The news? That I don't have to return for 6 whole months!!! YAY! I was beginning to think I'd be in there or having tests run every month for the rest of my life - since that seemed to be the norm for this whole year. So now...a time to rest and breathe and get back to living and not worrying about heart issues that need nothing done for them right now other than keeping the blood pressure on an even keel.

This is 1/2 sheet Arches 300# watercolor paper.

1. Poured Pebeo Drawing Gum around on dry paper, drizzling it from a dropper and creating heart shapes here and there and then spritzing it outwards with a spray bottle. Let that dry completely.

2. Spritzed the paper with clean water and poured Hansa Yellow Light (a mix of pigment and water in a baby food jar so easy to pour it on and around). Moved the paper and let the pigment and water run and move. Let that dry completely.

3. Spritzed the paper again with clean water and then poured Quinacridone Rose. Waited for that to dry.

4. Reapplied miskit, creating a few more heart shapes and spritzing it with a spray bottle to move the miskit around. Waited for that to dry before the next pour.

More to come later :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


During a recent trip to Shaker Village in south-central Kentucky, Jerry and I both got some photos of the wool. They had it displayed with tags to show what was used to dye it - all organic materials from onion skins, indigo, walnut shells, and different berries and barks. In May, they do the sheep shearing and dying of the wool. I may have to return the spring. And someone has to spin the wool into skeins to use for clothing. That is what this lady was doing, dressed in her traditional outfit and working to make thread out of the wool she was spinning.
I think "the good ole days" might have been pretty tough and pretty busy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Here are a few more ATCs (art cards which are 2 1/2" x 3 1/2") I've made lately. I decided I need to approach these as I do my paintings - with a good reference photo and a drawing first (on the card). Then think about colors to use or not use and PUT away those Darned Pitt Pens that look so childish and bright and can't be blended, etc. Yep, need to do that instead of grabbing them every time.

I like the one of the Shaker baskets and the hedge apples/osage oranges the best. Drawn and shades with graphite and then Pitt pens for color.
Sitting on the sofa today doing a few while "watching" a Masterpiece Mystery I had taped a few weeks back. Our DVR system allows me to tape so much I intend to watch later...then I never get around to watching it. But this one was good - from a novel by Val McDermid, it was called A Place of Execution. A mystery I could not figure out at all and, apparently, I've read the book...must have been year's ago because I don't recall a thing about it! Either the playwright changed the novel A LOT or my memory for whatever I've read is really shot - could be both?!?

Monday, November 16, 2009


I worked a bit more on this painting...still much to do. I think it needs more darks to add oomph but the bg right now is too dull so maybe have to wet it and drop in some blues and greens there. I'd like to have the curved petals leading your eye through the painting, too. I think this photo is a bit brighter than IRL, but it was taken out in the sunroom so sometimes things do seem brighter when taken that way.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I thought last week's pose was hard...then we had this pose! No one said art was easy...did they? If they did, they were wrong.

A sitting pose, torso twisted, one leg out to the side and one leg bent and, from my position at the easel, very foreshortened. Foreshortening is the Wicked Witch of the West!!! It messes with your mind. You "see" it...but you don't draw it that way. I'm so thankful for my kneaded eraser who does so much work for me. If I could learn to draw with a lighter hand - fine, light lines that shape things until they are about right and then darken - but I have a heavy hand and I may have to work hard to break that habit.

(I started this and wasn't getting it right, not getting the right leg out at the angle and thinning his middle and...well, I finally just started over.) apologies to Brian, our model, who did a fine job and really held that pose for long periods of time (I think he only took 3 breaks in the 3 hour session!). It doesn't look a bit like him but I will work on it to get the face more correct, using Brian's webpage photo.

Brian models for all the art classes in the tri-state, from the Cincinnati Art Academy to Northern Kentucky University's art classes and everything in between, including studio sessions with artists, one-on-one. He's been doing this for years and knows his stuff.
If you think, "Well he's just sitting there. How hard can it be?" Put yourself in this pose and then hold it...without fidgeting, without moving...for an hour! Then take a 5 minute break, or 10 minutes...and go right back and get in the same pose and hold it for another hour. I can't imagine how many of my limbs would be numb and how my behind would be in pain from leaning like that. Models...good models...earn their pay.
And it was a pleasure to find out Brian's been following my blog for a while :) It's always fun to find out someone has been watching your work and reading your chatter for a while!
Now, off to work on Brian's face so it looks more like him and less like a certain fromer U.S. president!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


A few more pages from my heart journal. I don't work on it every day or even every week, but come back to it when something strikes me - words from a song, a turn of phrase, a photo or something I see...

Friday, November 13, 2009


The names of those who posted comments on my blog from Sunday to this morning were put into my lucky bowler.

Jerry drew the slip of paper with the winner's name on it. I was going to let Smudge choose but he just would have eaten the slip of paper!


the winner of the watercolor/collage is...

Ginny, send me your snail mail address and I will get the prize out to you Monday morning!

Sorry everyone couldn't win but I'm so thankful for your friendship and continued support for this blog.

For those who didn't win, here is something beautiful...a few evenings ago was blazing like the sun was going to melt into the sky...I had to step out onto the deck and take a photo. And is it just me or does the sun and glow look like a heart?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Can you believe it? It's my 3rd bloggerversary already! I am busy right now so nothing more to say about that but

THANK YOU ALL for sticking with me, watching my failures and successes (since I've been told I'm brave to share the bad with the good, I'm calling myself brave! haha).

And for a special bloggerversary present and commemoration of your friendship and help along the way I'm going to be doing a give-away of a watercolor/collage on Friday. I will take the names of everyone who posts to my blog this whole week - so that means from Sunday the 8th through today - will put them in a hat and draw one name to win the prize.
I will contact the winner for their snail mail address.

The watercolor collage at the top of this page is what you might win. I started with watercolor and drizzles of misket and then color and lots of paper and ink and words and stuff on this one. And the words are so appropriate for you all - my blogger friends and artist buddies. Good luck to you all! (Painting is 1/4 sheet with 1 inch white edge around it and will be mailed unmatted, rolled in a mailer tube to you if you are the lucky winner.)

Closeups of the words:

Good luck to you all! And thanks again, for your support for 3 whole years!
Now...I'm off to type up the minutes from yesterday's watercolor society meeting in between cleaning the house (it needed it and Jerry's photo group is coming over tomorrow evening for an image review session so can't let the cat hair roll around on the floors any longer).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Well, I wasn't satisfied with the hands on wiped it all down again (it's on gold gessoed paper so you can do this without problems) and started over. I really want to carefully shape them and make them look real. I am getting there, using opaque watercolors to build up the lights and darks.

Still some fiddling before I overworked it and ruined it and had to wipe it all off again, I put it aside and did more work on the Dancing Petals painting. This is it, stage 2.

I've been scattered lately...unable to focus on one thing for very long so switching back and forth from paintings to ATCs to reading in my latest art magazines. Here are some ATCs I doodled while sitting on the sofa watching TV. I'm not crazy about them - they seem childish to me...not artful enough. But maybe it's just a way to get the energy out without working on a painting. I think I need to put the Pitt Brush pens down and go to colored pencil or watercolor pencils instead to get more values and depth.
As you can see, they all are still in the heart theme.