Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Another online design group has included my blog in a list of some outstanding blogs about art.  Now, if I get another one of these I'll have to start seriously considering that I'm pretty good!

(I had a link here but it's been discontinued so no more awards from onlinegraphicdesigndegree.  I was asked to remove the link September 2012, so I did.)

Several of my watercolor/blogger friend and artists who I follow regularly have been included in this list - like Nicholas Simmons, Kathy Nesseth, Susan Roper, Carol Carter, Brent Perkins, and Suzanne McDermott.  

I'm still not sure how we get on these things and why it's associated with design, but I'll accept the honor and just smile. 

I'll wait for that third one before I start feeling much more important!

I hope something about your day makes you smile today.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Back when I was working with models, this was one of my favorites.  She was always wonderful.  I really enjoyed working with her - she had a proud stance, crazy curly hair that was fun, and her mouth was a perfect bow shape.  I actually got the sketch to resemble her.

Unfortunately, I overworked the painting.  Just couldn't stop fiddling with it and it doesn't look like her at all.  But since you get the good and the bad, I'll show this one, too.  (Maybe the folks at webdesign will see this and take my name off their list??).

I think my main problem with this one was I started painting and lost my focus:  I wanted to work with blossoms to shape the shoulders, knees, etc. so I have to work with more pigment and then drop in that water and let it bleed out.  Instead, I just tried to shape the rounded bits using different color here and there.  It's okay, but not what I was trying to learn.

So, back to the drawing or painting board!

(At one point I thought about leaving her face white and making her a geisha since she was looking that way!)

Perhaps a good thing for me to do is write out my intention and then have it pinned to my bulletin board while I'm working on a painting?

Something better will come tomorrow...or the next day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Web Design Schools Guide Blog has links to 10 watercolor demonstrations blogs, 20 watercolor artists blogs, 10 art business blogs, and 10 art news and reviews blogs.  For some reason, they included me with the likes of Carol Carter, Thomas Schaller and David Lobenberg!!!  They must be crazy!!

But I'm definitely honored (and surprised) to find myself in the company of such great watercolor artists.


Check them out if you're interested in watercolor and want to learn more - and visit some great artist's blogs, too.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I think this one is finished (although there are things I would change if I spent more time on it). 

I don't know why I'm so attracted to dizzles but I am.

I'm leaving these as watercolor sketches more than finished works, thinking about doing larger ones if I like how the sketches turn out.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Finished this one.

And started another from the figures in my sketchbook.

I'm keeping the skintones pale.

This one is on 11" x 15" Arches cold press 140# paper, like the first.


The turkey is eaten,
the stuffing I refused.
I'm not rising at 5 
to buy half priced shoes!
I think you can call this 
the black Friday blues.

(Now all that's over - let's get back to work!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving Day

by Lydia Maria Child

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood—
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes
And bites the nose
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood
Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting-hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate.
We seem to go
Extremely slow,—
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood—
Now grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Well, I missed my own Blogger-versary which was November 12th.  I began this blog back in 2006.  It doesn't seem possible that it's been that long.  Four Years!!!

And since Thanksgiving is tomorrow here in the US, it's a great great time to say how very thankful I am to have you all watching, commenting, visiting, and hopefully enjoying what I'm sharing here on this blog.  I'm slowly building up viewers, which pleases me greatly.


I took out my sketchbook containing the figure studies I did when I took classes at Manifest Gallery/Essex Studios.  The sketches are mostly in graphite, some charcoal.

I'll be using them as reference material for small watercolor studies, trying to work on blossoms here and there in the body and nice combinations of colors - using the complements and keeping some of the colors pure.

If these work out well, I'll do larger versions in watercolor.

Here's a start on the first one - Standing Figure.  This is on 11" x 15" Arches cold press 140# paper.

Why go back to these?  I guess nudes were on my mind with all the news about Full Body Scanners at the airports and the 15% of the US who are adamantly against the intrusion and/or the pat-downs given if the scanner is refused.  Jerry and I went through 2 of these on our last trip - both times we were allowed to choose to go through or through the old fashioned kind - no hassle and no problems.  In fact, with Jerry's two replacement hips of titanium, it made our go-through even faster because prior to this option he always had to be taken aside and given what he calls "a nice massage" whenever we traveled.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A few years ago it was announced on one of my groups (WetCanvas) that it was World Watercolor Day (in November).  Susie Short also mentioned this to her group (WatercolorWorkshop) a few year's back.  This year, World Watercolor Day is Tuesday, November 23rd (according to what I have been able to find out).

The question is:  Have you even heard of this?

I believe it began back in 2004 in Ontario, Canada and was going to be celebrated every year with special art walks and gallery openings and shows.  But it sort of fizzled out.  A group member mentioned hearing about it this year and asked if we had heard about it and if "it was real."

So why not?
Why not celebrate World Watercolor Day today?

How should you celebrate?  Well, paint something!  Or go to a museum or a gallery and view the watercolors on display.  Perhaps take one of your finished watercolors in to a framer to be matted and framed.  Or teach a child or a class of adults about watercolor.  Or just take a walk about and see everything around you as if it were a watercolor painting - how would you paint your neighborhood?

So tell someone - share the news - let's not let this thing just die.  Why shouldn't we have a Day just like every other Day of the year - it's always some special day for someone.  Today belongs to those who love watercolor.  (Of course, I think every day belongs to those who love watercolor - and all water media.)

Happy World Watercolor Day!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Squinting into the sunlight.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I got too heavy-handed with the Lunar Black.  You need to prewet the area and then just lightly brush the pigment on and let it granulate and bleed and flow.  (Sorry, Teresa.)

I like the flower of this one better than the previous attempt but I like the other leaf better.  Time to cut and paste? ha ha

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Indiana is there to rescue big cats people stupidly think will make good pets - until they grow into lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, and leopards.  They rescue them from defunct circuses.  They rescue them from living their lives in small 7' x 7' travelling cages.  They have a very large and amazing space for the big cats who all have room to roam and play.  With a tour guide to lead you through, you can get close enough to pet (but don't do it!) a big cat who will slowly and stealthily amble over on the biggest paws you've ever seen to check you out.  They might even greet you with huffing sounds or throaty "mews."  I was most awed by the sounds the cats make - only cougars can purr like housecats (did you know that) and the lions began to roar throughout the facility, creating a primal fear inside me that was thrilling (but only because I knew they were all behind heavy-duty wire fencing). 

Jane, our guide, gave us a most leisurely tour and we even got to go behind the scenes to see some of the cats not on public display.  Overall, I think we spent 2.5 hours there and enjoyed every minute. 

The cats (all 210 of them on the day we were there) were all well-tended, healthy individuals, and there were times when you felt you could reach out and touch (but only a stupid person would do that).

If you get a chance to see this place and have a nice visit, do it!  It's just about an hour west of Indianapolis.

All photos but the first one were taken by Jerry Carpenter.

Friday, November 19, 2010


What a great road trip it was to drive to Mt. Vernon, IL and visit the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, a beautifull wooded setting with many sculptures and 2 galleries in 2 separate buildings.  Of course, I went to see Carol Carter's work and was not disappointed.  (Carol's Italy series one-woman show will be there in the spring of 2011 so think about taking a trip if you're within a few hours' drive).

Here are some photos from the brochure of the show, curated by artist, Mary Sprague.

Carol's sensuous swimmers and Mary Borgman's charcoal portraits were especially eye-catching.  Mary's work was on mylar and that, of course, gives me ideas!  Caro's were pure watercolor on paper, all the paintings floated and simply framed in black, which made the focus the painting and not the frame and matting.  All of her's were 30 x 40 framed size and she had 4 there.  Carol and Mary had the only two portrait/figure pieces in the gallery, admidst ethereal landscapes by Ahzad Bogosian and Dan Gualdoni (see photo below).

Work by Mark Weber, Andrew Millner and Joan Hall also caught our eyes.
Definitely worth the drive.  We visited the main gallery and then toured the second gallery which held the entrants from the juried photography show.  The winners were outstanding!  And then we took a short walk around the wooded area and pond to see several of the sculptures.  It was a beautiful day, a bit overcast but warm (in the 50Fs) so nice for a walk and a day out.

After we spent a few hours in the Cedarhurst Area, we then drove to Terre Haute, IN and got there just after dark, checking in, having dinner, and relaxing in our room until the next day's adventure!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Only a true red-head should wear that shade of green.

Wednesday morning, we got out of the house early and drove 4 hours down to Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon, IL to see Carol Carter's large watercolors of swimmers.  She has 4 in the show (all paintings and works are from St. Louis artists and there is some outstanding stuff there).  I admit, I am prejudiced towards Carol's watercolors and stood and looked at them for quite a while, getting a wonderful view of the way she handles those watercolors, blending, allowing for blossoms, mixing dulled colors with pure pigments on the paper.  Seeing how she uses the blossoms to model the shoulders, arms, hips of the figures = beautiful!! 

After a night in Terre Haute, IN, we left the hotel this morning for Center Point, IN and the Exotic Feline Rescue Center to see big cats and take lots of photos.  Will have some to share when we catch our breath from the long hours on the road.  Two busy days and we're home before dinner time = now that's my kind of road trip!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Still trying to keep up with my challenge to paint one portrait every week.  Sometimes I get behind and then have to catch up.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


What do you think about this:

If you show only the art work that is finished and ready to hang on the wall, are you doing a disservice to those artists out there trying to learn more about the process - and the pitfalls and ugly paintings that happen?  Or is it better to only show those finished paintings you would want everyone to see in order to further your status? 

If I never see a bad painting from you, will I think you never paint a bad painting?  If I show something every day, am I oversaturating people who would want to pop in once a week or so but not every day?

Just some things I think about every now and then.

What about you? 
What's your take? 
How is your work set out for public viewing?  Are you a daily painter and show it all?  Or do you post only the good stuff - the finished paintings that comes out of your studio, never showing the mistakes?


I think she's done.
(But don't tell her that.)

Monday, November 15, 2010


As Bill the Cat used to say, "Akkkkk!!!"

Went too dark on the background.  Should have just wet the areas and dropped in yellows, blues and greens, and left it at that.  So that's what I learned from this one.  (The yellows look flat here but they aren't IRL so not sure why the photo looks so flat.)

And when I peeled the artists tape off the edges of this one, the paper peeled a bit, too - the Canson Montval is definitely just for playing.

Since it was already pretty ruined, I spritzed off the darks as much as I could, keeping the yellows clean by blotting up the darks.  Then pinned it up to my cork board and painted a bit more with the paper wet and the paint running a bit.

And here is the start of a Datura of another kind...

Her name was Datura Sykes.
Like the flower,
a little bit of Datura would hypnotize...
a lot could prove deadly. 

Her daddy was Cherokee, right off
the reservation when he met her mama 
dancing in a club in New Orleans, calling
herself the Mississippi Delta Queen.  A lanky man
with cheekbones sharp enough to cut
paper, he killed himself in a car
wreck before he had a chance to drink
himself to death. 

Datura learned some of her dance moves from her mama.  The rest are all her own.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


From David Bayles and Ted Orland’s book Art and Fear:    
“The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is to simply teach you how to make the small fraction that soars.”

Think about it. 

And if you haven't been checking Katherine Cartwright's blog, you should be.  There are some outstanding, illuminating, and fun conversations going on between artists over there.  Check it out!


Here's the start of one...

I think the paper my mother gave me is Canson Montval 140#.  So far, so good with this paper.  I wonder about it, though.  Pretty darned cheap in the Daniel Smith catalog and when you remove the tape around the paper, it pulls some of the paper off :(
But okay for studies and working through things, I guess.  I won't trade it for my Arches or Fabriano (both of which I like equally well).


Go on, you know you want to!!  Take a walk on the wild side.  Step on over to Gary Everest's blog and see what he's cooked up.  A particular "visiting" artist is on his post today. 

Neither Gary nor I will comment on this yet.  We're looking forward to your comments on it - either at Gary's blog or here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Why the title?  I'm just naming things based on the songs stuck in my head at the time.  And Powder Blue Trans Am (by Amy Correia) was running through my head while I painted this one. 


Doesn't she look like she'd have one and drive it all around town?

Painted the blobs of color from a stencil (created by Mary Beth Shaw) first.  Then drew and painted, leaving part of the round blobs showing.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Not sure what I was after but the painting looks a bit "grade-school art class" to me.  I did like playing with that Lunar Black (from Daniel Smith).

Tall and skinny on a scrap piece of Aches.

My mother gave me a box of 22 x 30 watercolor paper.  I don't know what brand it is.  There is no watermark and the sides are cut, not deckled and rough.  It came from Daniel Smith (she ordered a gift card for me and they sent her a box of paper by mistake and told her to keep it because it was their mistake).  Now I'll have to look at the catalog and try to figure out what it is - because I used some and it has a nice reaction to the paint and water.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


The night is bitter
The stars have lost their glitter.
The winds grow colder,
and suddenly you're older.
And all because of the man that got away...

--- Lyrics by Ira Gershwin

That song is in my mind.  The best I've ever heard it sung was when Cher did it.  Yep.  Cher.  That woman can sing a smoky blue song!

Today is Veterans Day.  To all veterans out there: Thank you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I haven't painted anything since Sunday evening.  It feels like it's been weeks. 

What is this obsession with painting, feeling as if you aren't quite whole unless you've spent some time painting each day?  I don't lack the time but the inspiration right now.  I'm thinking more and painting less, maybe, and that should be a good thing.  And while I'm thinking, I'm waiting for something to inspire me - a photo, an idea, a sentence or two in a good book...

And we are experiencing unbelievable weather in the 70Fs each day this week and sunny.  So I have to get outside more than usual before this wonderful weather ends...

Monday, November 8, 2010


Well, it's not 2/3rd finished - more than that.  But I think I stopped before it was overworked (except for that closed bud that looks outlined. 

So then, with the 2/3rd rule in mind (well, not a RULE, but a pretty darned good suggestion), I did this next one...

I added a touch of Undersea Green (a Daniel Smith color) to Lunar Black (DS, also), for the majority of the water.  I prewet the whole water area and then let the color flow and used some lighter strokes like drawing lines with my brush.  I liked it and just added a touch of Prussian Blue mixed with the Lunar Black for the ligher areas.  I mixed a touch of Lunar Black with the red for the flowers, too.  Keeping everything dark but flowing was my idea and trying to finish before the painting was overdone.

I like this one - the flow, the looseness, the colors more muted.  Sometimes just playing with a scrap of paper and choosing a few colors make painting fun again.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


The Cincinnati Art Club Viewpoint Show, a national show, juried this year by Nita Leland, began Friday night.  This is a big deal, with valet parking and all the awards given to the winners in each category (oil, acrylic, pastel/drawing, watercolor).  I didn't go (I didn't even go last year when I got in the show).  Jerry and I did sneak over to see it Saturday afternoon (they are only open from 2-5 Saturdays and Sundays). 

It is a very strong show and a watercolor even got first prize!!  My friend, Sharon, got in this year with a fluid acrylic painting of a lock.  And a friend I used to take lessons with, Karen Pettit, got in with her beautiful zebra.  There were some outstanding oils, acrylics, pastels, and watercolors throughout.  A lot of different techniques - some on yupo - for the watercolors so we were well represented.  A few collage works (one got 2nd prize).

If you're in the Cincinnati area, do go see the show.  It's worth the trip! 

Congratulations, Sharon and Karen!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Thought I'd share this lovely poem with you today...


by Jeffrey Harrison

It's a gift, this cloudless November morning
warm enough for you to walk without a jacket
along your favorite path. The rhythmic shushing
of your feet through fallen leaves should be
enough to quiet the mind, so it surprises you
when you catch yourself telling off your boss
for a decade of accumulated injustices,
all the things you've never said circling inside you.

It's the rising wind that pulls you out of it,
and you look up to see a cloud of leaves
swirling in sunlight, flickering against the blue
and rising above the treetops, as if the whole day
were sighing, Let it go, let it go,
for this moment at least, let it all go.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Well, at least the start of one that I think is going to be better.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


A couple of starts...


Red-haired Molly

Still trying to keep us with my "one portrait a week" challenge to myself.  Took these from sketches in my sketchbook so no color to them, just shape.  Then tried to keep the paint light and painterly, not so heavy-handed.

Did you VOTE?

Monday, November 1, 2010


Well, I learned one thing from this.  If the background water is not as dark as the photo, it doesn't matter.  Stop looking at the photo and let the painting tell you where to go.  That thinking might have stopped me overworking the water so badly it looks like sewage!

Also, I could have omitted that tart green leaf at the top and I think it would have made the whites of the flower pop even more.  And I could have made that lower green leaf nice and warm like the little center one.

So...I may try this one again another day, with changes...or not.