Sunday, October 31, 2010


I seem to enjoy painting in the darkest darks first and then moving on.

The lilies will be shades of violet and purple with some surprise colors.

I seem to have popped out of my rut now.  I don't know what did it - what made me change.  Maybe I just stopped pressuring myself so doesn't mean I LOVE what I've been painting lately but they don't look so bad to me right now.

I never stopped painting but did go to flowers for a few days and that seemed to help with the pressure.  Maybe because I know I can paint a pretty flower?  (My inner meanie says, Yes, but it's just a pretty flower - and I hit her over the head with a family sized Hershey's chocolate bar so she'll shut up.)  I know a lot of artists who, when they get into a funk, paint pears.  I can't paint a decent pear to save me!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


More drawing with a touch of color.

His job has ended and winter is coming...

Friday, October 29, 2010


Drove over to paint with Deb Ward and Sharon (Sharon doesn't have a blog or I would list it here).  While Deb painted, Sharon watched me.  While Sharon ate lunch, Deb watched me.  While they were both busy, Stray (a big, friendly, gorgeous dog) watched me. 

So, it took 2 artists + 1 dog to help me get the daturas this far without overworking them.  They aren't done yet, but need little touches of darks here and there, which I will do when I'm in a better mood, I guess. 

I compared this feeling about my work to the skewed vision of an anorexic:  No matter how drastically skinny and sick looking she gets, she still sees herself as fat.  Maybe my brain chemistry is off about my painting right now, but I don't see beauty in anything I've done lately.  Usually, returning to flowers helps me break through that, so you may have to wade through a few flower paintings before I dig myself out of this rut.

Thanks, Deb, Sharon and Stray!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Tuesday was an unusual day.  A huge mean burst of wind and rain came through, spawning tornado warnings (not watches but real warnings - meaning go to a safe place now).  Nothing bad happened in our area but some people in Indiana and Illinois didn't fare as well.  This storm rushed through the midwest like a fast-moving train.  At least we got some much needed rain.

I'm trying to paint today.  But I still seem out of sorts and easily discouraged.  You know, I think there was something in one of the latest Robert Genn newsletters that really scared me.  In response to an artist who is continually dissatisfied with his work, Mr. Genn said:

"...there are four main types of painterly dissatisfaction:

"Amateur epiphany" is where it dawns on the artist that the work is now and will probably remain substandard. The artist may still enjoy doing the work, even occasionally getting paid for it, but the possibility of stellar quality looms unlikely. The popular antidote is to fool oneself that the work is okay. Lots of unsatisfactory work is delivered with the benefit of this delusion. 

"Journeyman jading" is where the subject matter or manner of painting loses its initial luster and is seen as shallow, unworthy or problematical. When motifs or ideas start to become boring or tedious, the artist becomes chronically dissatisfied and it's time to think again and move on.

"Workman remorse" is where the artist has high standards that are very often achieved, and yet there is a genuine concern for particular surface quality, compositional problems, colour weaknesses, and so on--just the sort of thing you mention. Re-dedication, re-thinking and "back to basics" may be in order.

I'm hoping my current dissatisfaction with all my work lately due to number 3 - workman remorse, and not number 1 - amateur epiphany.  I assume I'll work it out in a few days...or weeks. 

How long does it take you to get out of a rut like this?  Do you jump into something else and change direction, thereby fooling your inner critique.  Or do you think about it, wrestle with the questions and try to come up with answers that re-energize you and make you want to pick up the brush with renewed hope? 

What I've been doing lately:

A small tomato study that is bad...

A landscape using more Yellowstone photos.  This one in watercolor and not very good.  But it's just the beginning stages.

And a watercolor started of some daturas growing in New Orleans one hot summer day.

I began with the darks first, in the foliage, then the middle greens.  Haven't touched the flowers yet.

Monday, October 25, 2010


It's late in the month and I can feel, in the wind, a hint of what November might be like.  Having had no rain for months, but constantly being promised rain, we no longer believe the weathermen and women in their constant jumble of words.  Instead, turn to the truth of poetry and relish these last days of warmth and sun...and maybe a bit of wind blowing the last poor leaves off the trees (that, having no moisture, did not put on much of a fall show this year).

From one of my favorite poets...


by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,

Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!

For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes' sake along the wall.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Odd but interesting, these pin-ups would be welcome on an artist's wall - just think of all the practice you'd get working on the bone structure!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Was up early this morning.  Went to my little art room.

And painted on this until both the painting and I cried.  

After painting for 7 year's now, I think I should be learning, growing, reaching out and getting better.  Unfortunately, I keep making the same mistakes.  This is overworked and ugly.  Why?  because I kept going in with not enough pigment on my brush, trying to paint wet-in-wet with pale colors that never became anything but muddy.  Too timid and cheap with the colors.  Nothing bold and sure about it at all.  And there is no modeling to the things - they all look flat and ugly.  But other than that, hey, it's pretty good!

I'd like to think I learned something from this horror, but with my thick head I know I'll make the same mistake again.


We took a short road trip on Thursday to see the Middletown Arts Center juried show.  I recognized some names in the show (some friends, some not).  I saw some really powerful work (none of which placed according to the 3 judges for the show), and some pretty stuff and some intricately painted stuff.  It was another beautiful autumn day and I want to be out enjoying such days before the cold and rain comes in.

My favorite piece in the show (which consisted of drawing, watermedia, oil, mixed media and photography) was an ink portrait by Stephen Bischoff (he has a blog but it's mostly writing right now so you have to click this link to see his work but the link seems odd because it won't allow you to open the photos any larger, but try it and see =

The portrait of Ugly Man drew me back to look at it again and again. 

I think my definition of art is changing.  I need to see more than technique now and need to have a work move me, make me feel something.  And I need to stretch myself to get there with my own work.

In order to do that, I need to be painting.  And I'm in a lazy mood.  Perhaps I need a nice long road trip before winter to get me ready to bear down and get some work done that means something.  Perhaps I need to stop making excuses for not working and just keep putting paint to paper until something good happens.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


No one I know.  Trying to capture what I thought the face showed.

It needs a few darks - maybe.  But if I touch it again, I'll set a timer for no more than 15 minutes and then touch in some darks.  Or maybe it just needs some darks in the background...

Or maybe it just needs to be left alone! (Or add more green because, right now, he has a Frankenstein look to him.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


About every 3 months, my group of SWAP painters gets a name and address from me.  They then paint a small painting and mail it out to that person.  The recipient doesn't know until he/she receives it who got his/her name and who will be sending something his/her way.  It could be from any of our members - who range all over the world.  This is our 27th SWAP and the group has been going strong since the first SWAP in May 2003!

I mailed my SWAP painting out Monday morning Priority Mail (I always mail it Priority Mail if it's inside the US).  I wouldn't be surprised if it was in its new home today (Priority Mail takes 3 days, tops).  

I sure hope my partner likes it.

Should I show it here?


Then it wouldn't be

a secret.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Kathy has a new book she's reviewing and it is bringing up some interesting thoughts and comments from readers.  You might want to check it out.

The book is called
The View from the Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way in an Uncertain World

by Ted Orland (2006)

This bit struck me today:

One of the … truths about artmaking is that it’s more important to be productive than to be creative. If you’re productive your creativity will take care of itself. If you are not productive then how exactly is it you intend to be creative?

Is that true?  Perhaps.  If, while you are working at it, you are learning.  If not, it's a waste of time, yes?

Anyway, I always enjoy reading the book excerpts Kathy shares and the comments, which are an art education in themselves!

And me, well, I'm still working at it but I do seem to have walked off the beaten path lately and am somewhere in the midst of a wooded area with lots of trees and branches and brambles and other sticky things poking at me.  It happens.  I'll be back on track soon enough.  

Do we all have seasonal stopping points or stumbling points?  Mine do seem to come in the last days of autumn.


Still working wet-in-wet with the tomatoes, trying to keep it very watercolor-y but getting some more color and darks in.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I was talking to another artist and after mentioning the larger paintings I have been doing was asked, "What are you going to do with them?"


My answer:  The same thing I do with the small paintings. 

(Put them away, keeping some, tossing out others after reviewing them later on.  Maybe even trying to get into a show with one or two.  Or just letting them sit there because they are too good IMHO to throw out but not good enough to put money into matting and framing and hanging them around the house.) 

Maybe it's a matter of being a painter who doesn't have any shows and doesn't put her work out there in cafes, coffee shops, small galleries or other venues.  Maybe it's just that people wonder why you are painting big if you aren't showing your work all around the area and then some.  Well, I guess this blog is my venue - and it's the only one, for now.

So thanks for letting me share my work here.  And thanks for stopping and commenting once in a while (I do seem to have my dedicated followers who are always around for support and a word or two and a BIG THANKS to you all = you know who you are!)

The Middletown Arts Center's current show ends the 23rd and I've been wanting to drive up to see it.  Maybe I'll do that this week before it's gone.  If you're interested, check out their link here to get more information about the show.

(I mail off my SWAP painting to my partner today and she doesn't know it's coming from me.  Hope she likes it!)

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Today was another beautiful autumn day and I had an invitation from Marilyn Bishop to visit Brylan's in Newtown, OH to see some of her art in the gallery.   Well, nothing pleases me more than discovering new coffee joints (Brylan's Coffee Cafe) and seeing art at the same time.  And today was a beautiful autumn day (did I mention that?). 

So I drove over to Newtown to Main Street to visit Brylan's, a big yellow house that has some wonderful space inside.  The gallery is to the right as you enter, the cafe to the left, so you can stroll the gallery without walking around people sipping their lattes or having a bagel.  And Marilyn's work was well shown.  All new work to me as she's been delving into abstracts along with her printmaking.

(I liked how the paintings reflected in the glass case that holds another artist's jewelry.  There were 2 rooms with about 6 artists' works hanging or in cases.)

The garden out back has a lovely pond and gazebo area.  Although everything is on its last legs as far as flowers, I could see where it would be a beautiful green space in the spring - and was pretty nice today since it was sunny and 75F.  So here's a picture of Marilyn in the garden...

And Jerry said he was proud of me for going alone, finding the place and finding my way home.  I'm taking that as a compliment because, yes, I do often get lost when travelling to areas I don't know and yes, I don't like to go out to eat or sit and drink coffee by myself.  So I'm taking it as a compliment...I think.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


When we took our trip out west, beginning and ending with Salt Lake City, Utah, Jerry and I went to a Farmer's Market and saw these wonderful heirloom tomatoes.  There were red ones, green ones, and purple ones.  I bought several of each and we truly savored them although the green ones were a bit tart for my taste.

I started this painting at Deb's Thursday, and here's how far I've gotten on it.  Painting wet-in-wet for the tomatoes and letting the background bleed into the edges.

11" x 15" watercolor on Arches 140# cold press paper

Friday, October 15, 2010


I toned down/greened down the colors and I think it's almost done.  Going to let it sit a while and I'll decide then.

No time to paint today.  Cleaning the house a bit and then babysitting for our 2 year old grandson.  He should keep us hopping until we take him to his other grandma tomorrow.

Smudge is not happy - he just got past the granddaughters chasing him around the house and trying to grab his tail; now we bring in another grand to start all over! ha ha

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I had planned to paint with friends last Thursday but was slightly ill.  Sometimes mornings do strange things to my blood pressure or blood sugar or something and I'm not fit to go out.

So I hope to go out and paint with friends today, plus have a lovely drive in the country to get there!!

Here's something I began that has taken an odd route...

Banyan Buddha

21" x 35" watercolor and ink on Arches 140# cold press

The colors are too pretty and need to be toned down and the shapes of the banyan tree enclosing the buddha statue need to be more rounded so they look like roots...(the black ink may have been a mistake so I may have to do this one over).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I thought it would be a good thing to just paint my own portrait - if I really make a horror of it, it's my face and I won't get too upset (I hope). 

Gary Everest has been doing some outstanding portraits, working hard to get into a zone; his search continues and I'm enjoying seeing his work.  I know he's close to making a major breakthrough - how amazing will that be?  I was so inspired by his work ethic and his struggle that I wanted to try some of my own.

The outcome is not a pretty picture, but a pretty picture was not the goal.  

The Pressure of Another Day

11" x 15" watercolor on Arches 140# cold press paper

You Are Not Pretty When You Cry

11" x 15" watercolor on Arches 140# cold press paper

This one was done from a sketch I did a long time ago.  (Not me - I definitely don't have those beestung lips!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Time to take it off the wall and SLOWLY bring it to the stage I want to see.

Barren Beauty

35" x 37" on Arches 140# watercolor paper
DaVinci and Golden fluid acrylics
In process...

Monday, October 11, 2010


For some reason, 2 cups of coffee really got me going - feeling the caffeine buzzing in my veins and unable to sit still or focus.  Did not want to continue with the Yellowstone painting (I knew in that mood, I'd really mess up something badly).

So did a couple of little abstracts after finding starts of them under a pile of stuff on my bookshelf.  (Yes, I had so much caffeine energy, I actually cleaned up my art room a bit.)

I'm calling these Distracted Abstract No. 1

And Distracted Abstract No. 2

And here's a photo of Smudge, enjoying the sunshine...


That's it - I'm finished.  This world just isn't worth living in without Cadbury Crunchies!

I first sussed on to these delectable delights when I took a trip to Australia.  It more than made up for the Vegemite everyone tried to get you to taste - an acquired taste, if there ever was one!

I bought a lot in the 2 weeks we were there, probably having one every day (since we were doing a lot of walking, I guess I walked the extra calories off).  YUM!  I brought some home in my suitcase, too. 

And no more will they be made in the UK?  What?  Cadbury and the UK go together like Wimbledon and funny hats, like stiff upper lips and driving on the wrong side of the road, like G & T on a summer afternoon.

How sad :(  Guess I'll go seek solace in a stupid Three Musketeer Mint bar that tastes like flavored air...sigh...

I may have to boycott Kraft - seems they gave the workers in the UK the royal shaft!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

BARREN BEAUTY - 10/10/10

With the 4 photos and the watercolor paper gessoed and ready to go, I began the painting.

35" x 37" Arches 140# cold press using DaVinci and Golden fluid acrylics.

Learning as I go...

Saturday, October 9, 2010


It was just too beautiful to stay inside today, so my Sweetie and I drove up 71 North to Sharon Woods park.  First, we saw the gallery show of MasterWorks (paintings in oils, acrylics and watercolors/pastels by John Ruthven, John Agnew, DeVere Burt, Ann Geise, Linda Howard Bittner,etc.).  The work was mostly photo-realistic so didn't move me much.  Ruthven is a local celebrity and his style reminds me of the work of Audubon I've seen.  One of Agnew's paintings - a landscape - was gorgeous with light flickering through the very green trees.  Ann Geise's work was sometimes more painterly.  The show finishes tomorrow if you like nature art and are interested in seeing it.  The prices ranged from ~$100 for a small giclee print all the way to a very non-watercolor style watercolor priced at $13,000 (I like penguins but not that much!).  

After we visited the gallery, we drove over to the harbor and walked around a while, enjoying the heat of the day and the sunshine.  It could be the last beautiful weekend in the 80F's!  Here are some photos Jerry took to share.

This tree made me think of a Las Vegas dancer with an outrageous headdress, doing a high kick!

You can rent paddle boats and paddle easily around the lake, taking in the scenery.  Or bring your own fishing pole or canoe.  

My favorite scene - this says autumn to me, my favorite time of year. 

Hope you can get out and enjoy the weather in your part of the world today.  If not, pretend you're walking up this beautiful leaf-strewn path today, taking in the sights.  


"Only a mediocre person is always at his best..." -- W. Somerset Maugham

Have either been too busy with others things, or maybe just haven't been at my best lately so nothing to share right now...time to curl up with a good book or get back into a regular exercise program and study the composition basics more.

Autumn is just beginning, the trees starting to glow with oranges and reds and golds.  I hope it lasts for a few more weeks.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


One of these days I will be happy with a portrait I do.  But this isn't one of those days.

Oh, well, still practicing to get it right.  (If I'm not better and happier with this stuff in a year, I'll give up and leave the portraits to others who do it better.)

I began tossing paint at the large sheet of Arches cold press #140 - and had a nice start.  But then ruined it. biggie, this is definitely a learning experience, painting bigger on the wall with fluid acrylics!  So, turned it over, gessoed the paper, and began again.

Things I have already learned:
1.  You still have to have a plan when painting this way.
2.  I am not an intuitive painter, being able to pull something out of nothing but color on the paper.
3.  If you work with too much water, you will get drizzles and puddles and you can't control all of them all of the time.


Back to my Yellowstone photos and combined 4 of them into a cruciform shape that should make a good painting (design-wise).  And began by working from the background forward...and trying to control the water-pigment ratio a little better.  No throwing paint on this one - the texture and color will be all in the foreground and will be easier to let the water and pigment flow towards the bottom of the painting.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Getting some intense colors in there.  Now all I should have to do is put in the darks - a little here, a little there - and leave everything else alone (easier said than done for me).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Started another portrait for my weekly challenge to myself.

The summer slide girls, both coming down the bright orange tube of the slide together.

The circle of the tube got really wonky but I don't dislike because I'm making it more abstracted and focusing on the girls and that orange glow.

And here's a closeup of the Heartwood and Moon painting, showing the jewel colors dropped into the white "stars" in the sky.  (A trick I learned from Nick Simmons to jazz up the sky without people even noticing what you've done.)

Monday, October 4, 2010


I've got the roll of Arches 140# cold press paper.
I've got the new, larger brushes.

Now I'm waiting for the inspiration to step up and smack me in the face or give me a good swift kick in the bum while I'm not looking (hmmm...violent imagery perhaps coming from the fact I watched both grands play soccer this weekend - watching a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old going at it, toe-to-toe with girls twice their size is pretty amazing to watch).

A piece (35" x 37") has been cut (not that easy to wrestle with a roll that wants to stay rolled!) and is taped onto the wall in the garage.  My fluid acrylics are ready and waiting...

Tick Tock...
Tick Tock...

In the meantime, working on another portrait of the granddaughters.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


While the moon was still covered in masking fluid, I put on another layer in the sky to darken it and play up the blossoms even more.

And then I began on the tree...using lots of warms and playing with texture.

And then it went somewhere else...
so this is where it sits now and I think I'm finished with it. 

The painting changed so the title had to change.

Heartwood and Moon.



by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes' sake along the wall.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Today, I received a package in the mail - the return of my cd of entries for the Viewpoint Show.  Not one of the 3 entries got in.  But it was a nice rejection letter.

There have to be losers
for winners to be.
There has to be darkness
for the light to be seen.

So...maybe I'm in a Zen mood.  Or it could be the Vanilla Latte I had and the caffeine that's buzzing through my system right now (I don't do caffeine very often and when I do, I can feel it).

But I truly don't care. 

I may change my mind tomorrow.

But that's another day...

Here are the three paintings (all strong entries, I thought) entered this year...

Friday, October 1, 2010


While looking through my sketchbook, I saw this and it peaked my interest.  Tree Moon and Stars.  Very abstracted and lots of sharp lines.

I wondered what it would look like as a watercolor...

So I put masking fluid over the moon (smeared a bit so will have to fix that) and splattered some stars and then - on hot press paper - just had fun with the washes of color making big, juicy puddles and left it to dry.

I'll be bringing out the tree-ness of the shape today.