Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Frida stuff I've created or have been given as presents on my cork board.

(Yes those are Frida tattoos sticking up out of the box!)

And a dreamcatcher for my wall.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Quack Sparrow and his Pirate Crew

"They killed Kenny!"

Just something to look at while I'm cogitating on other things for a while...

What hangs out in your studio?

Friday, March 26, 2010


Darkening the moss hanging down. I put miskit (Pebeo Drawing Gum) on in drizzles and drips before I began and when I removed it, well, it's very white under there...and I'm wondering how I'll get this to look like Spanish moss. Luckily I have some photos from vacations past and I even have some Spanish moss around (I tend to stuff my pockets with it and bring it back home when I vacation in the south).

I may not have thought this one through very well - I had an idea and went with it. And maybe that's okay. I'll give myself room to breathe on this one and figuring out how to make it work, welcoming the challenge as long as I can work with it :)

Whether it works or not in the end, it doesn't matter because the main thing is more painting time (as long as my back will let me stand and paint, that is). I'll let this one sit a while and see what I come up with to rescue it...

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Whenever I travel into the south...South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida...that far south...I start thinking about Spanish Moss. There is something about Spanish Moss draping down from live oak trees. Maybe that was what was in my mind when I started this painting. That, and the thoughts of old cemeteries...ancient and moldy headstones. And, of course, a crow.

Here's a few steps on the way to a finish.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I drew Jim's name this time for my SWAP partner and my painting was mailed off to Florida. Since I'd been consistently flying with the crows, I did a small painting on gold gessoed watercolor paper, leaving the edges ragged and adding some words, etc. into the painting. It flew in to his house on March 17th and he has it at the framers right now getting the royal treatment :) I would normally paint something more traditional, but thought Jim would like something a bit different.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


My painting partner this time for the SWAP group lives in Australia and she sent me this lovely painting of a white egret (or perhaps it's a heron?) in a misty backdrop. It's so beautiful and the photo doesn't do it justice but I'm sharing it here and saying a big:

"Good on ya!" to Joy in OZ :)

She sent it along with a little companion piece, perhaps a chaperone as it travelled through the mail systems from Australia to the US...I'm calling him Curious George since he reminds me of the monkey in the children's book - looking for trouble, I think!

These SWAPs happen every few months and it's such a great treat to get something from far away, something very different and interesting to hang on my wall or put in my collector's book.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Thanks go to artist, Susan Roper, for her demo she shared with all the members of WatercolorWorkshop. I used my sepia and it's interesting to see how many glass bowls have been done - and how different they all look. Some look light and airy and some heavy and dense. I think mine is somewhere in between. And the photo looks better than the real painting but it is pretty accurate as far as color and values go. Anyway, it's finished and time to move on to something else...

Here is the original photo, taken by Vicki Greene. Vicki was generous with her photo and let us all use this as a reference for the monthly project (painting in monotone, especially sepia).

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Yesterday I was able to paint just long enough, in fits and starts, to finish up some parts of the Carolina Crows. I'm not happy with the puddles - they don't look like puddles but look rounded, to me. I need to set them down into the beach somehow - I kept putting in darker colors and then lifting them out, over and over so that's not the answer! ha ha

Here's a closeup of the crows...

And next I'll need to tweek (is that tweek or tweak?) the glass bowl so I can call it finished.

And, yes, I have something else in mind for the next painting. You'll have to wait and see...

Friday, March 19, 2010


Well, sunshine, warmth and blooming things all around and my back has decided to give me fits. The doctor yesterday for new meds and today the chiropractor for some adjustment. It's not as bad today as it was Wednesday (couldn't even dance an Irish jig!), and it won't be as bad tomorrow, I'm sure. Slowly but surely getting past the pain...stupid back...doesn't it know I have things to do?

Guess I'll have to just sit in the sunroom and watch the birds at the feeders and enjoy the sun.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Every once in a while I just want to change a few things on my blog. I do that. Then I often go right back to the way I had it before. This is a bit different but there are some things I like that will remain. Of course, I'm always discovering new blogs I put on the sidebar or moving those off that don't post regularly because I want this to be an active blog you can view and know you can get up-to-date stuff, even if you just visit the blogs on the sidebar.

So some spring cleaning and playing - and spending too much time sitting in front of the computer - was done today.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I'm not finished with either of these - but I'm getting very close.

The crows now have a title and I've been thinking about another crow painting - something a bit darker, this time. I need to finish up the puddle and the branch on this one.
(This is 1/2 sheet Kilimanjaro 140# cold press watercolor paper with Daniel Smith watercolors.)

The bowl is a project painting for WatercolorWorkshop (the Yahoo group created by Susie Short). Those of us who choose are painting the same photo from a demo shared by Susan Roper. My sepia is not the sepia she recommends. She says American Journey (Cheap Joe's brand) lifts back to white better and I have Daniel Smith. (This is on an Arches 140# cold press block of watercolor paper. )

Monday, March 15, 2010


Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Wallace Stevens

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.


I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.


The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.


A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.


I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.


Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.


O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?


I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.


When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.


At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.


He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.


The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.


It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

(Not quite 13 yet, but working on it...)

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I applied miskit over the birds and some other areas and then did more drizzling and dripping of the paint.

It's making me think of marshes and Spanish moss and...still not sure where it's going but it's going..perhaps with the beach and all, it should be called Carolina Crows?

When I removed the miskit, it took a lot of the color off the birds - so I'll need to reintroduce the darks there and work on the branch and beach.

I'm also working on a project from WatercolorWorkshop (the Yahoo group), which is a monotone (in sepia) painting of a crystal bowl. The photo is by Vicki Greene and Susan Roper did a pdf file of the demo so we all could try it.

I got started and drew a lot more than I normally do (actually, just traced over the photo so I knew I'd get it right).

Then did the first wash...

And when I went back to look at it after it dried, I couldn't see any of the lines!!! Frickin-frazzen-fuddle-ump!!!

This photo is the drawing - see how detailed I made it and I took such time and my back was killing me when I straightened up from the drawing board :( poor me - at this point I was testing colors to see if I wanted to use the sepia (far left), or burnt umber (that would work, too, but I decided it was too brown), or hematite (no way - too granulating and ugly for something so beautiful as the crystal bowl).

So now - what would you do? Start all over and make sure my lines are DARK - or try to fudge it and just do a contour drawing over this and be patient with lifting the lights (which is what this project is about)? Or maybe have some cheese with this whine??!?

Friday, March 12, 2010


I did this small (11" x 14" Arches cold press 140#) painting for a group that has a project to do a botanical painting. I did mine the old-fashioned way - white background, trying to keep the colors very pure, no surroundings to the plant/flower. But I've since seen paintings from the American Society of Botanical Painters that paint these in a lot of different ways and they are still botanical - and some artists call any plant/flower painting a botanical.

So what makes a painting a botanical painting? According to the book I have,

According to the book by Wunderlich, botanical watercolors began to be seen in the 16th century, resulting from Europe's growing passion for flowering garden plants. People wanted picture books showing the flowers they might want to grow in their gardens to replace the vegetables and herbs they were used to growing. Hence, the botanical illustration, shared in books and prints throughout Europe. Botanical illustrations are usually painted as close to life size as possible of the plant/flower being portrayed but you can do them in "octavo size" which is about 8" x 5" with the plants painted in miniature. You're going to need small brushes if you paint small.

So what does one draw and paint? Well, not just flowers. You can paint wildflowers, trees, ferns, mushrooms and fungi, dried leaves, bark, nuts, and all fruits. African violets, paperwhite narcissus, amaryllis, hyacinth, Boston fern and philodendron are among the household plants that will provide you with suitable subjects during the winter months. Or how about small cacti in pots or just regular fuits and vegetables if you have nothing growing around your home right now? Bulbs are good subjects and you can include their root systems - which often add a decorative part of the picture.

The main thing is, you must know the scientific name of the plant/flower/ fruit you are portraying so you can label your painting accurately. And you must try to draw your subject as accurately as possible. And drawing is done on tracing paper with hard leads (from 2H to 8H) because you want delicate lines and the softer leads will smudge. The pale silver color of the hard leads work especially well when working with a white petal or subject - you allow those lines to show and become part of the painting.

White gouache (also called body color) is perfectly acceptable to highlight areas of your subject and to depict hairs, thorns, stamens and leaf veining. You can tint the gouache with colors of watercolor to suit your subject.
It never mentions leaving a white background but most of the traditional botanicals I've seen have no color in the background at all. The newer ones often do have a light or splattered background.
Anyone having more info on this type of painting, please share.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I just got a little box of goodies from Dick Blick:

1. Two American Easel wood painting panels
- one is 11 x 14 and one is 12 x 16
(for future paper paintings/collage a la Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson - and check it out = she has a new hardback book of her technique that shares all the info on how to do this - I'm going to buy one (it takes 10-15 days to do the print-on-demand from Lulu) since I have the panels and now can go for it!
2. A new Winsor Newton Sceptre Gold Flat - 1"
- I needed a new, nice flat that will hold a razor point so going to try this on recommendations from other artists

3. A box of fun decorative papers - may not use them in the collages on panels but I may use them for other fun things

I'm just getting around to using the gift card my Mom got me for my birthday in January - sometimes I can be frugal and conservative with free money - but then I just have to have something new and interesting.
And today is a cleaning day so probably no more work on the last crows painting although I did miskit over them for more drizzly work to come...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I pre-wet the paper (1/2 sheet Killimanjaro/Cheap Joe's Brand 140# watercolor paper) after I put some miskit on the crows in places. Then drizzled the color down from the top to the bottom using a big, juicy brush full of wet color. Put the crows in last.

I like the start of this but not sure where I'm going with it...sometimes the painting just leads you so I'm waiting for it to do that. I may miskit over the birds, as they are, and then go a bit crazy with the drizzles to make them more distinct?

As I was posting this, I heard a crow cawing outside my window - does that mean he agrees with that option or not?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I'm in a restless mood: don't want to read, don't want to paint, don't want to go out for a walk or even sit in the sunroom and enjoy...the SUN!

Okay, maybe it's because I've injured my back again. This is something that will always come and go with me because it's a degenerative condition. Right now it's in the recuperation stage but still twinging enough to let me know not to overdo it.

How can I get anything done when feeling this way? Well, maybe I am getting things done and not giving myself credit...

Found this on another blog and had to share the quote, too.

“…There are always some aspects of the goal that got accomplished, but the [artist] was discounting them because it wasn’t all of the goal. I have come to believe that even if it’s one out of three, it’s still one more than zero. Small gestures matter — and it’s high time we start recognizing what we do instead of what we don’t do. We do a disservice to ourselves by not acknowledging even the smallest things we do accomplish…” –Summer Pierre, The Artist In The Office.

Sure sounds like something we all need to remember, yes?

Sunday, March 7, 2010


This one underwent some reworking and I think it's a better painting now. I enjoyed doing the crosshatching of the color in the sky. And yes, that crow's eye is green - I've never seen a crow with a green eye and probably will never see one but I liked the idea of greens and jealousy mingling.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Did you think I had finished with crows? Not yet!

This one is on 1/2 sheet size yupo "paper" and is watercolor only - so far. It's just a beginning idea, more than anything else.

I'm calling it "Jealousy"
and I want to get more greens in there
and my main idea is the real crow jealous of the sculptured/fake crow -
or maybe the other way around?
I'll be letting this one stew for a while so I can work out what I want, where, etc. I know the rule of having only 2 subjects - but sometimes you want that tension of just 2, yes? I'm going to work that "pedestal" for the sculptured crow, too.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Something created long ago.

Not a crow.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Katharine has asked that all submissions to the Twenty Minute Challenge blog (see sidebar for link) be in color now - so I did a couple of watercolor sketches instead of drawings. I did an underdrawing - just a bit of a sketch to get the lines where I wanted them.

These are both in my Exacompta sketchbook (5 1/2" x 8 1/2"). I love the texture of this book and how it holds up when water is used with it - not much buckling or warping at all.

Now off to begin another crow painting...
be - caws!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


This painting that began with white gesso on white watercolor paper has become
Dark Messenger.

I'm liking it but that doesn't mean it's finished.
It's 1/2 sheet Fabriano Artistico 140# paper, gesso and watercolor with some Inktense pencil marks here and there.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Well, now I know you can overwork a collage!

I'm going to send this to Elizabeth at Paper Paintings to see what she says about it and what suggestions she has for making a better one next time.

So....what did I learn?

1. Collage can be very meditative and calming, and you can do as much or as little as you want at a time.

2. You can fall in love with a color and go overboard with it.

3. Planning (values and colors and composition) is important from beginning to end.

4. Gathering your papers before starting is a good idea, and laying them over the painting before gluing them is also a good idea.

5. If you don't have the shape you want when you tear your paper, don't just use that piece - tear it correctly to get the shape you want.

6. Incorporate words from the beginning if you want words in your college - don't just tack them on at the end because you forgot you wanted them.

7. I should study how Elizabeth does her animal eyes and rounds her paper pieces at times to give her shapes a fuller look.

8. I need industrial strength hand cleaner to get the acrylic medium off - must ask Elizabeth what she uses.

9. Next time, leave more of the canvas/board and underpainting showing and try for a 75-25 mix to see how that works.