Sunday, January 31, 2010


I started this one when I started the other crow painting and then it got set aside for a while.

I'm back to working on it and this is where it stands today. And, no, I'm not sure why the geometric shapes are becoming a part of the paintings of crows. Maybe crows really like geometric shapes?
The masking tape is still on at the top horizontally and the angle down through the top crow.
I think, before I finish this one, I'll start another...crows crows and more crows!!! I guess you could call this a (gulp!) series??!!???
Happy last day of January - I, for one, am glad January is almost over.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I pushed the larger bird back with some Chinese White. I'm leaving it up to the viewer to decide what it all means because I'm not telling (or maybe I don't know!). And by being vague, the title seems to have two purposes!

I kind of like this one.

Now I'll work more on the second painting of crows.

And Your Point Is...?

Watercolor on 1/2 sheet Fabriano Artistico 140# cold press, Daniel Smith paints.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I picked up a new book at the library. Called Sunflowers, it's by art historian/professor Sheramy Bundrick, and tells a fictionalized account of the life of Vincent Van Gogh and the prostitute who received his ear when he had a breakdown in Arles. We all know - or think we know - that story. But Bundrick has taken it and made it into a romance story - the story of meeting, loving, and losing Vincent from the point of view of Rachel, the prostitute. It is a bit unbelievable in places, but also a bit sad, knowing the ending is coming for poor Rachel and Vincent and there is nothing either can do about it.

I enjoyed how Vincent's paintings and sketches became a character in the novel. Bundrick gives us an insider's view of Van Gogh that is more, well...normal, than portrayed in most things written about him.

I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the books of Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring), or Susan Vreeland (The Passion of Artemesia).


I can hardly believe they are still finding survivors of the Haiti earthquake this long (15 days) after the event! How is that possible? I remember being told you can only live without water for a week (at the most)?

However it's happening, it's wonderful news that people lost have been found alive, though battered, and can be healed. Once Hollywood and all the media stop posting telethons and calls for donations, don't forget...keep thinking about this island nation and its people. I'm going to make sure I stay up-to-date with the Doctors Without Borders site to see what they need. They have been having difficulties even getting their supply and personnel planes onto the island, but have now set up an inflatable hospital for all the injuries they can take on.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I don't know why but every time I hear the phrase, "Shut your pie hole," I laugh. So it's become a saying around our house. But you don't want to shut your pie hole now or you'll miss this delicious, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth-and-make-your-tummy-happy peanut butter pie, with just enough chocolate to make it interesting.

Sometimes a girl just has to have comfort food. And I'm calling this my birthday pie :) I had a piece on Sunday with my sister and another piece yesterday. I don't purchase a whole pie - I would eat it all in one sitting.

Maybe a pie series a la Wayne Thiebaud is in the mental work station? ha ha That would give me an excuse to have more pie...and more flavors...but don't worry - I'm not off my healthy diet except for this deviation for a day or so :)

Then back to the grind so I can keep my girlish Mii figure :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I haven't given up on the other crows...just wanted to start another. I'm not sure what it is about crows but I like them, like seeing them and like seeing paintings of them. So I'll be working on two crow paintings...or maybe I'll start a third? ha ha

So this is "Crow 2 Crow" and I don't know where it's going, I just know where it began...with artists tape and two crows and some splattering at the top that was fun (and maybe was just a way to release anxiety?).

On our way into the hospital yesterday morning for Jerry's heart testing, a single crow flew over and caw caw cawed at me - I took it as a sign that things would be okay. I think crows are messengers for be looking for more crows (and finished crows) to come in the days ahead as I get back to painting.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I know a lot of people - artistic people - who were born in the month of January so this is for all January babies:

“Fly free and happy beyond birthdays and across forever,
and we'll meet now and then when we wish,
in the midst of the one celebration that never can end.” --- Richard Bach

Today I am 53.
I don't have anything else to say about that.
I guess that means I'm speechless!

(Jerry says, "Remember, this is as old as you've ever been!")

Monday, January 25, 2010


I let this one sit for a while and then looked at it again and thought about colors...what color to use to offset the darks of the to use blocks of colors around them...

This is where I am for now.

I'm pleased with the look of the first finished crow but am wondering about that larger one that's cut with a block of color...may have been a mistake. We'll see...
Here's a closeup to show the first crow. There are a lot of different colors in that "black" but mostly cool colors so I played the warms off that.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


A little sketch done while freeing up space on my hard drive...took a while so I timed it and drew what is on the desk, left of my monitor. Didn't get the insert as dark as it should be because I kept veering off on other things, like the earbuds and the sticky notepad and the ruler...

Today is my friend, Susan's birthday! Happy birthday, Susan. Hope the weather in BC is fine! Wish I was there sharing a Nainemo (?) bar with you right now! But this virtual birthday cake will have to do for now...

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Well, I guess it's not wrong...yet. But I know that green strand is going to be the end of me unless I back off, get in the right mood, and do it time to move on to the others and see if they are more amenable to being shaped by me. I think the green is tooo green right now, too, so it needs some toning down and warming up and...well.....we'll see who wins! I am going to have to get in there with some opaques and do some better shaping of the orange, too. The blue one turned out well and I'm wondering how I even did that? Should have written something down!

And needing a break, I began something that was walking around in my head for a while and just came out. Started with a drawing on tracing paper and then traced that onto the half sheet Fabriano Artistico 140# cold press. And started on the crows.

Going to be playing with some design elements around the birds and also playing with lots of colors in the darks.

I'm calling it "And Your Point Is...?" Hope you return to see where this one has flown later!

Got some bad news: My Life Drawing Class didn't make it - not enough for the minimum class number. Sad :( I was so looking forward to that. Here I am, in an area where this is offered and I hear others out there wishing for this opportunity and not having it...too bad we can't all get together on this. I'm hoping it returns in the spring. Until then, I should devote one day a week to life drawing, if I can, just so I can keep my hand in. (Oh, well, more money for Starbucks when I get my refund!)

Friday, January 22, 2010



I just received a notice that Nicholas Simmons will be having a workshop in Ohio at the Town and Country Fine Art Center in Kettering, OH. The workshop runs from May 17th - May 21st, 2010 with a cost of $450 per person. If you're interested and you're in that area of OH, check it out and sign up - you won't be sorry. Contact Leonard Williams to register at and check out Nick's work at his site:

If you can't make those dates or are closer to the Cincinnati, OH area, check out his workshop at Sandy Maudlin's studio. Those dates are August 6th - August 9th, 2010 and will be in Sandy's Greentree Studio in Indiana (just across the river from Cincinnati, OH). Only a couple of spaces left for this $400 workshop, so contact Sandy at if you want to get in! (I am already signed up for this one so come on and join me!)

and if that's not convenient enough,

the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society is working on getting Nicholas to do a 1- or 2-day workshop for us right before his workshop at Sandy's!! So stay tuned for that.

So it will be all Nick Simmons, all the time!!! What fun :)
You should take the opportunity to jump on board and learn what Nick can teach you about reaching new heights in your water media (whether watercolor or fluid acrylics).

Here's info from Nick's blog on his upcoming 2010 workshops - perhaps you can get into one this year??

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Don't ask me where I found out that today, January 21st, is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. I obviously spend too much time surfing the web!

Here's a cutie out my bedroom window...watching me watching him (or her).

I love their little paws, clutched tightly to their chests, and boy! wouldn't you love to have an expressive, fluffy, beautiful tail like that?

Go out and appreciate a squirrel today...maybe even sketch or paint one.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


This painting finally talked me into going back to it and trying to get a bit more done. Jerry saw it propped up on my painting table and said, "I really like that painting you're working on...but it's a lot more detailed than you usually do." He's right about that! I told him this one may be my 2010 painting - one of these types per year :)

I do feel better now that I have a blush of color or more on each of the skeins so I feel like I don't have to look at all that white paper.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I tried to paint something on a piece of Unryu paper (also called rice paper but not made from rice). Much too blotter-like to get anything resembling a crisp edge. So I just tossed more paint at it...then blotted that off on a piece of printmaking paper and kind of enjoyed what I saw. (IRL, you can see the Unryu additions in the print...the bits that look like little bits of sticks or something embedded in the Unryu paper...creating some interesting textured look to the print.)
This is not going to be anything more...sometimes it's just time to get in there and throw paint around and try to find your way when you're stuck.

I'm calling it Waiting for the Light to Shine.
That seems to be what I'm waiting for
right now...and I'm kidding myself if I think
that is going to happen any time soon.

And this painting is still staring at me when I walk into my art room, telling me it's not even half finished and I need to get back in the groove and do something with I put it under some other stuff and ignore it for a few more days!

Nothing else to share right now. Not even a little Twenty Minute Challenge painting or sketch! LAZY...............

Friday, January 15, 2010


I've been catching up on the blogroll on my sidebar (remember when we didn't know what a blogroll or a sidebar was?). And, in the process, I've been seeing some beautifully painted shells: check out the gorgeous nautilus painted in oils by M. Collier over at Paintings from the Point...
and the demo on video Jeanette Jobson has done on her Illustrated Life blog.

Because of the synchronicity of the seashells, I've been looking at the shells we've collected over the years of traveling that are scattered all over the house. This led me to do another TwentyMinuteChallenge painting of the snails (well, they have shells!) that are a kitchen set of salt-and-pepper shakers I don't use but just have sitting on the stove.

Another on hot press paper - about 6" x 10 1/2". I had to put in the little snail slime behind them (well, okay, I didn't have to do that...but I did!).

And then this led to this...which just came from nowhere...

Jerry didn't know what it was. He looked and moved the paper and looked some more...

So a direction was taken...percolating and coming forth. And now I think I may have an idea for something for our first Life Drawing class coming up the 23rd...we'll see.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


A few sketches, done while taking a break from the Egon Schiele book.  The first one is in the style of Egon but isn't a copy of any of his work in the book.

The second was done while watching a Twilight Movie (New Moon).  I've never read the books and only watch the movies when they are on cable TV (so much teenaged angst gets me down).


The rubber ducky pirates were such a hit, I decided to get some more out and use them for models. Here are 2 more small paintings - both Twenty Minute Challenge watercolor sketches (from blank paper to finish in 20 minutes).

Land Ho! --------->
(7" x 10" on Arches hot press 140# paper)

And this one I'm calling
Butch and Sundance
(7" x 11" on Arches hot press 140#)

Hope you get a kick out of them and it brightens your day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I decided I couldn't keep myself motivated by just drawing in graphite/black and white for the Twenty Minute I just stopped. Then I was thinking what I really want and need right now is color to chase away these winter blahs.

So came up with a couple little paintings in watercolor - these are both on Arches hot press 140# paper and are small:

1. the cup (my new mug from Teresa) is 7 1/2" x 9" and I didn't do a very good job on it but it got me started again

2. the timer is 6" x 7 1/2" and doesn't seem to have much shape to it, either. And neither are very colorful so...

I looked around for something bright and colorful and small that won't take more than 20 minutes to do...

And came up with these...

This is what happens when good little rubber duckies go bad...ay, matey, they may be tiny but they're mighty!

Also small, at 6" x 7 1/2" on Arches hot press 140# paper, and the most fun to paint.
My husband has a bunch of these rubber ducky pirates, and plenty of just regular rubber duckies (although they do light up and blink colors) for photo props. I may dig into his stash and see what else he has that may be interesting to try in the future.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


There is a project painting to do over at WatercolorWorkshop (an online Yahoo group). It's a beautiful photo of a candy apple, lots of reds and blues and shine. I tried it on 1/4 sheet of Arches cold press 140# paper and wasn't that pleased - I think I overworked it (what a surprise!). The photo looks better than the painting does.

Anyway, I thought I'd just go for it on yupo and see what happened. I didn't pre-draw anything, but drew with the brush in red and then worked the rest of the color and shape in as I went. I see I need to refine the stick a bit more but I'm happier with this one than the other.

Again, this shows you what a difference you can get by just switching your paper surface and nothing else (although I did roll the bg table in the yupo painting with a sponge roller over the paint while it was wet).
Does it make you want a candy apple? Me, too!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


We are supposed to get our first "real" snow of the season today, dumping up to 7 inches on us. Again, another reason to hibernate until spring!

I recently watched The Little Chocolatiers on TLC, about a couple who own and run a chocolate shop in Salt Lake City. I enjoyed watching them create a huge garden using just chocolate. Then I watched a contest for the world's best chocolatier. Chefs came from all countries to try to win the coveted award. And the things they created with chocolate were amazing! Much too elegant and pretty to even eat :)

So, I've been thinking about chocolate! I decided to paint something with that in mind, found reference photos from Google Images, and painted this for an online group. Using the same 3 colors on different surfaces, I used Lunar Earth, Quinacridone Gold and French Ultramarine Blue on Arches 140# rough paper and on Yupo plastic paper. You can see the difference in the look. I like them both but they are very different :)

Painting on Arches rough 140# paper.

Painting on medium weight, white Yupo paper

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


No real painting happening here. Maybe it's the weather, the cold, the dark, the winter!! But I did start working on a little "lesson" for an online group about color and texture. After sharing some information from my books, I then took 3 colors (Lunar Earth, Quinacridone Gold, French Ultramarine Blue) and put them on 3 different surfaces (Arches 140# Rough, Arches 140# Cold Press, Yupo). Just played with getting textured looks without using a lot of stuff. I used just my round brush and pigment, a piece or corrugated cardboard and a dip pen with a metal nib. I also sprayed some swatches with clean water after applying the pigment and letting it dry a bit, and blotted off some color with a clean paper towel. All of these made different textured surfaces.

I was most impressed with the way Lunar Earth (a very granulating color from Daniel Smith) acts on rough paper, cold press, and yupo.

You really can't get this look on anything but Yupo or Tyvek (both slick, plastic-like "papers"). What could you paint using this color? The rough stone of buildings, rusted chains, the fine fur of an animal? I have something in mind to try...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Our meeting of the watercolor society has been cancelled. It is cold - bitterly cold - outside and snow has made a nice layer over the grass and sidewalks (the streets have been treated so that does melt away by afternoon). So no meeting. This would have been my last one as the official communications secretary so my 3-year term is now up. If you ever checked out our watercolor society blog, you saw what I did each month for each meeting.

I'm glad to be taking a break.
I think I'll hibernate now until the temperatures go back up to 40F.


Are you in the mood to see some beautiful watercolors? Then do stop by and see Jean Vance's work at the Middletown Arts Center in Middletown, OH. Jean is a member of our Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society and is a well established artist and teacher in Ohio. Bundle up and get out of the house and go see something beautiful to start your year!

Here is the info from the postcard:

The Middletown Arts Center
Cordially Invites You to the


Opening Reception
Friday, January 8, 2010
From 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Middletown Arts Center
130 N. Verity Parkway
Middletown OH 45042

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I finally got back to this portrait of Teresa, using some opaques to help mold her features. Then I found out there was an older, unfinished painting on the back! So gessoed over that rather thickly and hapharzardly with white gesso and let it dry. And then the artboard (it's painted on a piece of All Media Artboard) was a bit bowed in the middle so I tensed it a bit to straighten it and...

it cracked...

right in the middle...

right over her head!!!

I tried to fix/hide it by gessoing thinly all over the crack and around the white areas in the background. But the crack still looked like it was there when the gesso dried.

So I used white artist tape and taped it just at the crack and then painted the line to hide the tape (which it doesn't do well but I had to try something).

I wanted to mail this to Teresa for her birthday - her birthday is tomorrow and it has to go to Spain - so that isn't going to happen. Now I'm afraid if I don't wrap it in a dozen layers of paper and bubble wrap and stuff, it will get there in 2 pieces!

Such is life.

I have begun another, same pose, same photo reference...this time on 140# watercolor paper. Not sure it will get done, though, as lethargic as I am - maybe I should do a quick watercolor sketch on small paper?!?


Yesterday morning, the moon was still up at 7:30 AM. The sky was lightening a bit and the trees were blackened against the light of the moon. Once the moon begins to set, it happens fairly quickly that it dips down over the hill and I can no longer see it.

This painting is my take on moonset and early morning. I can't seem to get the blue correct in this - the blue is really more a warm, French Ultramarine Blue...but it's close.

Another small watercolor sketch = 5 12" x 15" on 140# coldpress paper.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Another blue moon painting - these are just quick watercolor sketches, meaning I don't spend a lot of time on these. I get a thought, carry it out, finish it and scan it (they are also small). This one became a diptych because I had to cut out the middle (two very amateurishly painted butterflies that were horrid). Small = 4" x 7 1/2" each piece.

I did not use salt on this - I never use salt. I waited until the shine was off the paper (hotpress 140#) and then spritzed it with water a couple of times to get the look of an icy sky.
Maybe I'll do these little sketches until I feel energized to do something more complex. Hope you can bear with me until then.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Blue moon of Kentucky, keep on shining...

With all the talk of a blue moon, I had to try my hand at one. Not sure where the mountains came from but they seemed to want to be there. Just a watercolor sketch on 9" x 12" Arches rough 140# paper, done quickly, within nothing in mind but the moon and the heart cloud (do you see it?)

I was up before 6 AM this morning and the moonlight was shining in the window, creating bars of light across the kitchen floor. I looked out and up and saw the bright, white moon shining behind the black, winter limbs of trees. So beautiful and serene.

(My mother was discharged from the hospital late yesterday afternoon and spent her first night since Christmas night at home in her own bed again. That's a good way to start the new year...and she actually is aware, this time, that the respiratory care physician saved her life. Thanks so much to everyone who expressed their concerns about this.)

And Barb, your painting and other goodie give-away stuff was mailed out yesterday. Vicki, your package is ready and will be mailed out tomorrow!