Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Here's where it's at so far. I'm going to let this one simmer...I feel like it needs more of something and I'm tempted to do something right now to it...but I won't. I'll wait and let it tell me what it needs next time I look at it.

Full sheet
Arches 140# watercolor paper
(22" x 30")
using Da Vinci and Golden
fluid acrylics.

What do you think? Are the white (pure white paper) boxes too pure, too bossy?

I'm also going to use the critique form the lovely Myrna Wacknov forwarded to me to see if it meets the criteria for a good composition. (Thanks, Myrna!)

I've already begun another but it's going to take a lot of drawing/tracing before it's ready to paint and I have to be patient or I'll ruin the foundation of the thing. A projector is looking really good right now!

I hope you believe that patience is a virtue (I'm not too sure about that one!), and will wait a few days for the new one to come up.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Four and Twenty =
Four Blackbirds (I wasn't going to paint 20 of the things!!) +
Twenty Blocks of Color

Why the figure? I guess maybe she's me - looking out from the other side of the painting!

I think it will make more sense when you see the next stage when I tweak some beaks and blocks (there aren't 20 showing yet but there will be), now that the miskit is off.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I went back to the painting. Everything was bone dry. I realized that I'd divided the painting in half with cool colors on one side and warm colors on the other so had to integrate that with the boxes more. Anyway, here's where I'm at right now...waiting for the paper to dry again so I can remove the miskit (but a few more boxes to do before that happens).

One good thing about painting with this taped to the wall in the basement/garage is that I'm always walking around there and can look over and see things I might not see if I was painting on it - because I forget to step back and look as much as I stand close and paint!
I have another painting I'll start this coming week - the deck chairs have been tweaked and revised and I took the photo on a cd to have it printed out poster size so I can just trace it onto my tracing paper and then get it onto my watercolor paper and then paint it - it's going to take a while and I want to be careful with the lines so I'll do that while waiting for Four and Twenty to dry in between paintings.
A tip Nick Simmons shared in his workshop: When working with fluid acrylics and wanting to get that fresh paint look back, just spray the whole sheet of paper (when the acrylics are dry) and look at it again - it rejuvenates the look of it and you get that look of just putting down the paint.


The second day of our trip away, it was cooler and humidity was not so high - a good thing, since we spent the day at the Indianapolis Zoo along with about 500 kids in various summer camp outings!!

The best part, for me, was watching the meercats do their thing. They were so cute and came right up to you (a glass in between, of course) to watch you as you were watching them. They'd run around, then flop down and have a rest.

I couldn't resist sneaking a shot of this little girl, her face pressed to the glass, totally delighted with the little critters.

They must have a pretty good breeding program at the Indy Zoo. There were plenty of young ones and the polar bear was pregnant (I just thought she needed to be on the diet until someone said she was going to have a little one).

The male yellow hornbill had romance on his mind: he'd catch a bug and try to feed his mate, getting her interested and showing her what a good provider he would be. She wasn't interested, although she kept going into an area where there would have been a nest - if she was so inclined. Poor guy kept trying, but she'd just twist her head away and pretend he wasn't there.

They had a very nice marine display, too, with penguins and sea lions and walrus and dolphins. Harder to get a good shot of any of those since they were the most popular areas for the camp groups.
And now...back to painting!

Friday, June 25, 2010


You are probably thinking I've been locked in my basement, working on the Four and Twenty painting...but you're wrong! My Sweetie and I took a day trip over to Indianapolis for a trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art (too hot to tour the grounds much but we did walk out to the Lilly House - home of Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant and a big employer in Indianapolis). Other than that, we spent over 2 hours visiting the paintings and having a wonderful early dinner at the cafe.

This was a beautiful little Renoir "sketch" in preparation for his larger painting. I like the sketch better - it's looser and shows such and energetic brush handling. I've always loved this painting. This little one was so small - about 5" square, you had to stand close so it was an intimate experience to stand close and view the couple in their eternal dance. (I believe he only has eyes for her...but who has captured her eye as they swirl and twirl around the floor?)

As I viewed the paintings, I wanted to think about what aspects drew me to certain paintings and I'm sure now - it's the light. The way the artist handles the light makes me envious and awestruck at the same time. For example, as I turned a corner and came into a room of Europen artwork, I saw this...and had to walk over to it first and see it better.

By de Monfried, an oil painting of the Mediterranean coast.

I've always been a fan of O'Keefe. This large Jimson flower acrylic painting was commissioned by Elizabeth Arden to be hung in a parlor in her spa. It was large and beautiful...the colors so clean and pure.

Sorry for the slant on this one - you could not stand back far enough to get a straight on shot because it was in a smaller room where there were several O'Keeffes and a Dove and a couple of Marsdens.

Here is a smaller O'Keeffe (in oil on canvas), one of her animal pelvis paintings called Pelvis and Distance.

Some shots of the Eli Lilly house on the grounds of the IMA...

It was hot and humid, over 90F, so we didn't walk outside much...they even had a 100 acre sculpture park - but we'll have to save that for another day.

That night we had booked into a place called Sybaris - a members only get-away place. We walked in to find rose petals strewn across the bed, and we had a swimming pool inside our cottage. Very private, very romantic! A chance to shut away the outside world and relax in the pool, hottub or sauna (yes - you get all of them inside your own private cottage).

The next day we went to the Indianpolis Zoo - will share some photos from that next time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I'm already learning things about painting bigger and vertically on the wall with fluid acrylics. I think I'd rather paint flat so I can get more juicy merges of color. We'll see. And the lights are so hot I feel like I'm in a sauna...maybe I'll lose a few pounds? ha ha

I really do have something in mind here, and have colors in mind for this - we'll see where she goes from here.
I like the way the blackbirds turned out, putting the pigment on and then letting it dry (which didn't take long in the lights) and then spraying off to get an old, scratchy look :)
There will be plenty of runs in this one, too - hey, what's the point of painting vertically if you don't let that paint run?
I should have gotten more done yesterday but got sidetracked by Wimbledon and Roger Federer's first match! Whew! That was a nail-biter!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I took some time today to go through my art journal created when reading Donna Zagotta's blog. She brings up so many things for you to think about regarding your art! Good stuff to write down and ponder. I highly recommend her blog.

So...I had a sketch in that journal that looked appealing to me - well, part of it did, anyway. So I thought about it...and thought some more...and came up with something I think may be interesting.

The title is Four and Twenty. I am not going to tell you why. You will see when it comes together and I begin painting more on it.

Before throwing paint (fluid acrylic mixed with quite a bit of water in a small container and then flinging the paint at the wall - really fun and freeing!)

After throwing paint. Using Hansa Yellow Medium, Cerulean Blue, Dioxazine Purple and a bit of Raw Sienna. The paint was thrown after the paper was wet with a spray bottle and a brush to wipe it down.

The bright spots are where I've put on Pebeo Drawing Gum to retain some pure white areas.

My Sweetie said it looked like Dexter (from the SHO series) had been at work there when it was over with all the plastic sheeting and the spatter!


Wishing all the
and grandfathers
out there a Happy Father's Day!

And...yesterday I spent working in the garage/basement and making space for myself! It's not much of a space but it's mine and I will use it for something new and exciting very soon!

That is a full sheet of watercolor paper (22" x 30"), and I can stand and paint this way. Just have to arrange a few things like my palette, a couple of good lights, my water and brushes and paints and...
I'll be ready to PLAY.
And this is just what I'm going to do, knowing that this, too, will be a learning process for me and a physical adjustment to paint standing with the paper straight up and down like this...what challenges will this bring?
(To start, I'll work on full sheets and nothing bigger until I adjust to that.)
I think I really needed this - a challenge, a new perspective, something to get the creative juices flowing again.
Hope you check back in and see what success or failure I encounter! And I want to thank you all for commenting on my recent laments and questions. Each comment was appreciated...each drop of water in the bucket eventually fills it to the top!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


1. Not feeling comfortable calling myself an artist - hence the painter title. This is a personal thing, I know, because I know many wonderful artists who still call themselves painters because they just don't feel like they are where they should be. That's me. I'm not there yet. But WHERE is THERE?

2. Not working on having a solid show schedule for my work so it can get out there and be seen...and possibly purchased. We all know we want our work to be seen, even if we say it doesn't matter. Otherwise, we'd be in our rooms, painting away, no groups, no blogs, no classes, just us painting and not showing our work to anyone.

3. The price of drawing and painting supplies (like everything else) going up so I feel I shouldn't buy that new tube of paint or that paper or... I feel like I should have enough money from my artwork sold to pay for my art supplies and framing, but I don't so it's always another cost I can't seem to justify to myself or others.

4. Not being able to stand back and realistically critique my own work. This is a big one for me. I want to be able to stop, stand back, and look at my own work the way I can look at another's work. I want to be able to take off my painting glasses and put on my critiquing glasses and see what needs to be changed/revised. This may be a matter of just slowing down, for me - putting something aside for a day or two or a week or two and then looking at it again another day, not just the day I finish it.

5. Learning something new and interesting which I think I want to incorporate into my own work, but being unable to figure out how to do that. I also want to know when to incorporate something and when to let it lie by the roadside.

Here is an iffy one for me:

6. Being unable to promote myself to the degree to move from feeling like a painter into the realm of feeling like and being an artist.
Promotion! You've all heard the talk: "She's so full of herself. He thinks he's great." Why do we say these things when an artist is simply promoting her/himself in a way to get the work out there to be seen by the most viewers? And if I feel that talking about my art and myself is an egotistical thing, how can I ever do it?

So, do I want to paint well and call myself an artist?
Do I want to show my work and sell my work?
Or do I just want the satisfaction of creating something beautiful that can make me glad I'm still doing this.
These same questions bubble up every now and then...and I guess they keep bubbling up to the surface because I haven't answered them.

And the big question: Are all these questions here just to keep me from doing my best work = giving me an excuse to not take that leap and jump into something different?

What are your biggest frustrations? It is space, materials, light, time, money, fame? I'd be interested in hearing what you think...

Friday, June 18, 2010


I painted a bit more on the Primary Daze painting...here it is with the paint still wet. I'll remove the masking fluid when it's dry enough. Then I'll darken bits of the chairs and work on the ocean waves and water.

(Breaking News: This painting is now ruined. You cannot use masking fluid - even the great Pebeo Drawing Gum - on printmaking paper. When you pull the stuff off, it takes a layer of paper with it.)

So...a redo it will be on hot press watercolor paper (I'll make sure I pull the right paper out of the box this time).

I hope you all are going to have a great weekend...it's hot as blue blazes around here and it's going to be in the 90Fs for the next few days.


I'm feeling frustration. Coming back from the Nicholas Simmons workshop and getting all those good ideas for fluid acrylics and wanting to paint big but not having the room. I've got to work on getting the space to really get this feeling out of me!

Go to his blog and take a look at this painting Nick did. He is standing beside it. Do you SEE how big this thing is? Can you imagine the power this has? It's a powerful image when it's small on a computer screen. This is one of my all time favorites of his. La Vida Breve...a short/brief life. Simply gorgeous!!!

And it is a short life. If we aren't painting/creating the way we want to do, we should DO something about it, not just continue in the same style, the same mode, the same surroundings.

OK, that's my rant. I don't feel any better about my little space but maybe I need to rethink what I need in there and what I don't need and do some serious clearing out so I have room to breathe.

What do you do when you feel a slowly building frustration taking hold inside you?

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I took the photo of the deck chairs when we were at Mi Casa back in March of this year - which seems soooo long ago!!!

And I've have begun a 13 1/4" x 15" painting of it on hot press paper - unless it's not watercolor paper (I have a feeling this is printmaking BK Rives paper and have never tried painting on it...hope the masking fluid comes off cleanly and that this turns out, but if it doesn't, it will just be a practice run and I'll try it bigger next time).
I'm naming it Primary Daze...
Now off to work on it and my SWAP painting which has to be mailed out this month.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


We took advantage of the break in the storms to go to the Cincinnati Zoo this morning. Spent a few hours walking around and looking at the critters. I seem to have focused on the birds this time, especially the peacock who sat beside us during a pre-lunch snack break and screamed every now and then - he was gorgeous so we didn't mind his bad table manners!

I also enjoyed spending time with the flamingos. Do you think of Alice in Wonderland when you see these fantastical birds? I do! These were very pale, just a bright pink under the wing.

I'm pretty sure flamingos were bad Pilates instructors in their previous lives...just look at the positions they put their bodies in and then hooooldddd it there for a long time...

No painting today but I've begun another painting I can share tomorrow...

...based on this photo taken at Crescent Beach this past spring.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Here comes the rain again...

This is getting a bit old. Thunderstorms, buckets of rain, clear and hot and humid, more thunderstorms and buckets of rain. The ground can't soak up more rain...so far only a bit of leaking from a hole in the wall (for the TV cable, I think) under the stairs. Need to level the front yard more.

Was planning to visit the Cincinnati Zoo today, but will put it off until Wednesday (although the forecast isn't changing anything until later in the week).

So I'll celebrate the rain with one of my favorite singers...Annie Lennox...


Sunday, June 13, 2010


This is the finished painting of the white iris. I could paint in some confetti colors in the white spots where I removed the mask...but other than that, I consider it done.
I've begun my 7" x 9" painting for our SWAP group - but I can't share that in case my SWAP partner reads my blog...so you'll have to wait to see that one.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Here is the next stage of the white iris painting - on hotpress 140# Fabriano. The trick is to just do a bit at a time to shape the petals...not too much and not too dark...just a tint of color. So far, so good. I need to push that bulb into the stems (right now it looks like it's outside it).
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


On a half sheet of Fabriano hotpress 140# paper, I drew the iris freehand using the photo as a guide. Then masked off some areas and splattered masking fluid around the painting. Then began with the background wall. I like that rough texture and used some Lunar Earth, Goethite, and a touch of Irridescent Copper there to get the granulation and variety of colors - tossed in some Bismuth Yellow to brighten it up a bit here and there.
This is where I am tonight. More tomorrow, I hope. Then I'll remove the masking fluid on the iris and begin painting some areas there as well as finish the stems and leaves. I'm enjoying dropping color in, wet-in-wet and then touching in more water to get a mottled effect - a technique I learned from Nick Simmons and actually remembered.


The monthly challenge for June at the WatercolorWorkshop yahoo group is to paint whites. Gina Hall is allowing us to use a photo of one of her iris flowers. I like the background wall as much as I like the flower :)

I've begun with the drawing on a half sheet (11" x 15") hotpress Fabriano Artistico 140# paper. I'll need to mask off some areas before starting with the paint and haven't decided if I want to paint in watercolors or fluid acrylics...guess I'll decide that after I mask off some areas.

Yesterday was World Ocean Day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


A compilation/composition of a volunteer worker, a white ibis, and a little cattle egret...and the water...always the water.

Closeup of the cattle egret in the bottom right of the painting.

The painting is on a full sheet (22" x 30") Arches watercolor paper 140#.

"The least movement is important to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble." Blaise Pascal

Check out the other paintings done for the Gulf of Mexico challenge created by Suzette McDermott over at her blog...see my sidebar for the link.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Last night and today, Blogger has been having a hissy fit. I couldn't post on my own blog, respond to comments or post a comment on anyone's blog.

So I did other things instead.

I think it may be fixed now...we'll see.

No more hissy fits, Blogger!

I'll catch up tomorrow.

The weather has given us a break and it's only 77F with a nice breeze so perfect for being out doing something - so no painting today.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I did get a bit more done on this painting. Slowly but surely...

And here are some closer views of the ibis and the cleanup worker...

Now just need to work on the little cattle egret at the bottom and I'll be done.
If you are in the Greater Cincinnati area this weekend, don't forget that it's Summerfair!!! Starts tonight and runs through Sunday - lots of artists showing their work and lots of food to eat - what more could you ask for (except for no thunderstorms like they are predicting). I hope I get to go on Sunday.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


"The real substance of conservation
lies not in the physical projects of government,
but in the mental processes of citizens."

--- Aldo Leopold

A start to a full sheet watercolor, titled
Louisiana Shoreline, Spring 2010

With the watercolor society meeting yesterday and my 15th Anniversary with my Sweetie today, I won't get more time on this until Friday.

But here is where it stands right now - masking fluid still on the birds and the whitecaps in the water.

I hope you come back and see what blossoms or flows or...

(Click the sidebar icon of the gull if you're interested in joining the group started by Suzanne McDermott to honor the Gulf and its inhabitants.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I finished the small lily pond painting. It's about 7" x 8" - very small to fit a square mat. I've started another, a bit larger so the only pad is a big larger in the picture plane.
And I've begun my Gulf of Mexico watercolor painting (22" x 30") for the Spirit of the Gulf Challenge from Suzanne (see my sidebar icon, click on it to go to Suzanne's site for information about joining in).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I just received an invitation from the lovely and talented Suzanne McDermott to join her and a few other artists to create something in honor (or horror) of the Gulf of Mexico and the BP Disaster that will forever change its shorelines, wildlife and human inhabitants.

Won't you join me? (I'd like to see at least 5 artist friends who read my blog join in with me over at Suzanne's for this Spirit of Gulf Challenge.)


Art can help us purge those feelings of helplessness, rage, pain and fear which this horror has caused in many of us. Get out your drawing, painting or collage supplies and create something out of this - you'll feel better - and who knows where it will go?

If you post your work on your blog, please link to Suzanne's blog and let her know you're in the group - all are welcome and we could use some masculine energy in the mix so I hope some of you guys will join us.

Thanks, Suzanne, for your good heart and gentle spirit - and determination to do something in an artistic way to honor the Gulf, its wildlife and humanity as it was...as it is.

Here's the info from Suzanne's blog, if you want to join in:

Find a photo or other resource depicting some living aspect of the Gulf of Mexico before the oil disaster or
Tap into your spirit and use your imagination
Make a drawing, painting or other piece of creative work with love and gratitude for the beautiful life of whatever you're depicting.
Post what you make on your website, include a link to this post:
Spirit of the Gulf Challenge (http://www.suzannemcdermott.com/2010/06/spirit-of-gulf-challenge.html) and put the icon below in your sidebar with a link to this post.
Invite 5 of your friends or favorite artists to accept this challenge, include a link to this post, copy this description of the challenge and the icon below for their sidebar.