Saturday, April 30, 2011



by Carl Phillips

There's an art
to everything. How
the rain means
April and an ongoingness like
that of song until at last

it ends. A centuries-old
set of silver handbells that
once an altar boy swung,
processing...You're the same
wilderness you've always

been, slashing through briars,
the bracken
of your invasive
self. So he said,
in a dream. But

the rest of it—all the rest—
was waking: more often
than not, to the next
extravagance. Two blackamoor
statues, each mirroring

the other, each hoisting
forever upward his burden of
hand-painted, carved-by-hand
peacock feathers. Don't
you know it, don't you know

I love you, he said. He was
shaking. He said:
I love you. There's an art
to everything. What I've
done with this life,

what I'd meant not to do,
or would have meant, maybe, had I
understood, though I have
no regrets. Not the broken but
still-flowering dogwood. Not

the honey locust, either. Not even
the ghost walnut with its
non-branches whose
every shadow is memory,
memory...As he said to me

once, That's all garbage
down the river, now. Turning,
but as the utterly lost—
because addicted—do:
resigned all over again. It

only looked, it—
It must only look
like leaving. There's an art
to everything. Even
turning away. How

eventually even hunger
can become a space
to live in. How they made
out of shamelessness something
beautiful, for as long as they could.

In all art, there must be emotion.  It's easy to convey emotion in words.  How does one convey emotion in their paintings?  This is something I'm thinking about.  Perhaps painting feelings for a while will create some breakthrough.  What I want to I want to say it...these things are on my mind.  Of course, everything would have to be storm grey and neon green right now to mimic my surroundings from all the rain rain rain! ha ha

If you haven't seen it on the sidebar yet, do go over and check out the Peeps Challenge done by Chris Beck and Pablo Villicana Lara!!  So creative and fun :)


In April 2009, I was introduced to  I am still enjoying getting a poem a day from them and reading about what they do each April to celebrate National Poetry Month.  In 2009, they created a Free Verse Project.  I used one of the photos then and would like to share it with you again now.

The photo was taken and the art created by Alison Altergott.  In 2009, there was no name on the artwork.  But Alison found this on my blog and was pleased that I had used her work and that it had gotten a good response.  Now I can give her credit for this work :)  It is magnolia leaves on which she has stamped the words of the poem.

Alison doesn't have a web site or blog of her own but you can find more of her work at

From "Spring" by Edna St. Vincent Millay:


Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers...

Check out others artwork from the Free Verse Project at:

And let's hope May brings a cessation to the storms throughout the US.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I've started something a bit somber.  Here's the sketch before I transferred it to watercolor paper to begin the painting.

For this painting, I'm trying out my new Saunders Waterford 140# cold press paper (if it's good enough for the Royal Watercolour Society, it's good enough for me).  It has a warmer color than Arches or Fabriano.

This one will be long and thin - a strong horizontal picture plane.  I've already changed my mind about the fruit (was going to have a lemon but instead pomegranates seemed appropriate).  

And a poem...

Dark Matter

by Jack Myers

I've lived my life as if I were my wife
packing for a trip—I'll need this and that
and I can't possibly do without that!
But now I'm about
what can be done without.
I just need a thin valise.
There's no place on earth
where I can't unpack in a flash
down to a final spark of consciousness.
No place where I can't enter
the joyless rapture
of almost remembering
I'll need this and I'll need that,
hoping to weigh less than silence,
lighter than light.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


The bad news is: 
My painting of the peeps didn't get into the Manifest Gallery show.  I really didn't think it would but you never know.  I don't think they want anything that isn't edgey and out of the box and the cuteness of the peeps might have put the jury off.  However, it was a most elegant and gracious rejection letter :)

The good news is: 
I received the Flashbag I special ordered, made from one of Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson's paper painting images called Raucous Ravens.  Isn't it fantastic???  The image repeats all around, underneath and even inside and it's sturdy enough (made from a heavy plastic/vinyl concoction) to hold a lot.  I may just make it my purse for a while :)  Flashbags are made by a company in Vermont and you can see what they offer - and which artists they offer - by going to their site.  They were wonderful to work with and I'd definitely return - and intend to do so - for presents in the future for all of my artsy funky lady friends.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I painted the bird and the shadow first.  Then I wanted to do something to look like sidewalk (or beach sand) with lots of texture and interesting blobs of color.  So I covered the bird and shadow with paper towels and went to town splattering with lots of different colors, using a toothbrush and then a paint brush.  Then spritzing with water.  Of course, I ended up with an outline around the bird (could be a crow of a different color?) and the shadow.  So I splattered more without the covering and went crazy.  I had to let that all dry and went back into the bird and shadow and reiterated the colors and shapes.  Used Goethite Brown (Brown Ocher) from Daniel Smith and Cobalt Violet Deep for the color on the bird - with a touch of Lunar Earth mixed with both colors to darken the underside.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I know, a strange name.  A title either comes to me immediately, or not at all.  She's just looking - perhaps thinking of flying out that window into the light of a sunny day?

I consider this one finished and will spray seal it with acrylic fixative (because it's on YUPO - 20" x 26") and call it done.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I had this one framed at Bowman's, my local frame shop.  It's 7" x 7" for the painting and the finished size with mat and frame is 13" x 13".

I should hear today about the Manifest Magnifient 7 Show and whether I got in or not.

(Sorry about the glare of the flash in the glass.  I just snapped the photo as it was hanging on the wall in the living room where it will stay if it doesn't get into the show.)

On a happy note:  My painting in the Woman's Art Club of Cincinnati juried show, And Your Point Is...?, is now SOLD!!!  Yay for me :)  I was happy to hear that the painting got a lot of positive comments, too. 

(You can find a larger version of the painting in previous posts if you search for the title.) 

I will now have to come up with two new paintings for the June show at the same location but featuring my watercolor society members.  But no worries, I have plenty of crow paintings!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


When I get into a rut, it's good to play for a while.  Explore without worrying about the outcome.  So picked up an old piece of YUPO and let the colors do their thing on it.  This is what came from just putting down color, splattering, rolling with a foam roller to smooth the texture a bit...

Might play with this a bit more.  The photo is showing more blue than is in the painting - it's more muted than this looks.  Since it's just play, I won't worry about taking a better photo. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Just saw the announcement of the winners who will be included in the Splash 13 book - the best of the best.  115 winners taken from over 600 entries!  How many names do you recognize?  That looks like a Ted Nuttall painting on the cover.  Wouldn't it be nice if, when someone saw a painting you had done, they said, "Hey!  That's a xxx xxx painting!"  I think we all want to have a signature style and look.  Or do we? 

Check out the list of winners here:

More storms.  More rain.
Dripping from the eaves.
Pooling on the sidewalks.
Flooding the low-lying areas.
We're being beaten with the winds of spring.


I was talking to my sister yesterday and the weather was mentioned.  This time of year, the weather is a big subject around here.  She hadn't heard the latest weather forecast.

I said, "Do you know how long it's going to rain this time?"

She replied, "Forty days and forty nights?"

I laughed.  But I think she was making a serious comment on the state of the world.

She is wrong.  The weather folks say it will just rain for 7 days.  I'm looking for my mask, fins and snorkel now.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Finished this one.

Arches watercolor paper 140# cold press
19.5" x 19.5"

Cropped to show the crows.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Reading Mike Bailey's recent post yesterday led me to Christopher Schink's webpage, which led me to this pdf file:

I downloaded it and printed it out and read it.  I like it.  I think you will, too.  I think you'll also like Mike Bailey's work and his explorations of watercolor. 

No painting being done but reading my recent Watercolor Artist magazine (lots of articles about adding texture to your work) and other things that I find from following my favorite blogs :)

No sun yesterday or the day before. 
No sun for a while has sapped my creativity.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Rain and more rain.  That's about the size of it.  Rain pooling on the sidewalk, rain dripping down your back, rain seeping into everything everywhere.  Flooded roads, hydroplaning.  Rain and more rain.  And more rain to come.  Not sure where all this rain is going to go and I'm hoping it stays outside.  Awakened this morning around 1:30 am by a flash and POW of lightning that had to hit something close to be that loud.  Tried to go back to sleep.  Then 2 firetrucks came down the road and the men ran over to the neighbor's house.  False alarm but plenty of excitement that kept me awake until 4:00 am.  And more storms coming through tonight.

I think to lift my spirits, I need to start something new in warm colors with bright hot spikes of red and yellows...just a thought.  Perhaps the flashing lights of the firetrucks this morning made me think of reds?

And today is Jenny's birthday!


Sorry about all the rain :(

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Fabliau of Florida

by Wallace Stevens

Barque of phosphor
On the palmy beach,

Move outward into heaven,
Into the alabasters
And night blues.

Foam and cloud are one.
Sultry moon-monsters
Are dissolving.

Fill your black hull
With white moonlight.

There will never be an end
To this droning of the surf.

Since I just returned from the northeastern part of Florida, I thought I'd share a couple more photos and this lovely poem.

I also want to thank my new followers :)  I am not at 129.  Most of the newest ones I haven't featured yet do not have blogs so I'll wait until I get 3 or more and then share with you all.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Another crow painting.  Calling this one A Difference of Opinion.  It's 21" x 21" on Arches 140# watercolor paper.

Started with a pale wash of Cobalt Turquoise mixed with Cobalt Blue towards the bottom.  Then splattered some Bismuth Yellow and water at the bottom to look like grasses.  I masked off some areas on the crows that will be violet, turquoise green and blue later.

Friday, April 15, 2011


We're half-way through national poetry month (

Here are some poets from Kentucky...

Robert Penn Warren

Born in Guthrie, Kentucky in 1905, Robert Penn Warren was the youngest member of the group of Southern poets called the Fugitives. He was named the first U.S. Poet Laureate in 1986.

Wendell Berry
The author of more than 30 books of poetry, essays, and novels, Wendell Berry has been the recipient of, among other awards, grants from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, and lives in Port Royal, Kentucky.

Other Kentucky Poets

Allen Tate
Mark Jarman
James Baker Hall
Maurice W. Manning
Davis McCombs
Jim Wayne Miller
Joy Bale Boone
James Still
Tony Crunk
Jesse Stuart
Jim Wayne Miller
Richard Taylor

And a poem for you today...
And it came to me all in a feeling how
everything fitted together, the place and
ourselves and the animals and the tools, and
how the sky held us. I saw how sweetly we
were enabled by the land and the animals
and our few simple tools.

– Wendell Berry, from A Place on Earth

Thursday, April 14, 2011


No, this is not the house we stayed in while we were in Florida.  It's the Carpenter's House within the Old Spanish village - the Dow Museum of Historical Houses - in St. Augustine.  I love St. Augustine.  I liked the lean and the shutters - those may be crows?

There is so much to see in St. Augustine - and not just the touristy things.  Get a bit outside the touristy areas and you find marinas and charming houses and streets where people walk their dogs and smile and say hello.  I think I could live there - as long as I didn't have to drive over the Bridge of Lions every day :)

Visited Marineland and saw how they train their dolphins.  Not your typical dolphin show, these are trained in order to be in the water with guests who pay a higher price than those who just want to watch, and they don't really perform but interact with the people.  They did look like they were having fun but you never know.  These animals are so intelligent and I always wonder if we have the right to capture and "train" and show off certain animals.  The kids seemed entranced by them and the dolphins seemed interested in the kids, too.  In this photo, the trainers were feeding the dolphins before the kids got in the water. 

Alligators at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.  A photographer's dream if you're into nature photography since they have a rookery there and the birds fly in and out (they are not contained within the park) to breed and nest every year.  Great egrets, snowy egrets, tri-color herons, little green herons, roseate spoonbills (last year was the first year they nested there).  The noise of all the birds squawking and making crazy noises, defending their turf, is incredible!

When you want to get noticed, fluff up your hair!  Because the birds are used to all the people coming by on the boardwalk to see them, they are often within touching distance from you - but I have never been foolish enough to try to touch a bird with a long, thin, sharp beak like that.

The high/low tide variation at Crescent Beach (where we stayed), just south of St. Augustine, creates wonderful sand sculptures and designs.  The white is from the wind whipping the top of the sand around, the darker sand is from the water having dried on it, and the hint of the golden color is the sells crushed and creating a more cinnamon color - almost a gold vein running through the light sand at times.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I finished Lean on Me
This will be the last of the peeps paintings for a while - maybe until next spring.  But I've enjoyed doing the few I've done in the past months.  I hope you've enjoyed following along with these little spring sweets.

I'll be going through my photos from the Florida trip to see if anything catches my eye for a big painting.  These small ones are fun but time to get back to full sheets (or at least 1/2 sheets).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Tomorrow is the deadline for the local Manifest Gallery entries for their Small Works (7" x 7" or less) show in May.  I'm thinking I may enter Just the Two of Us.  My thinking is that there will be a lot of good works in the show - but you can't get in unless you enter.

What do you think?  Yes, or too cute for a show that will have oils, pastels, graphite mostly?

I'll be returning to the peeps one last time when I finish Lean on Me.  Then on to something else.  Perhaps something from my Florida trip like the black boat-tailed grackles that were around or the alligators at the Alligator Farm or...

Monday, April 11, 2011


I'm sorry that I'm behind in reading and posting comments on my blogger friend's sites.  We have been in sunny and warm Florida, once again; and time got away from me.  When the beach and waves are calling, you don't want to spend a long time on the computer.

So now I will get back into the routine again and will catch up and comment :)

And with the choice of preselecting blog post dates in advance, you didn't even know I was gone! ha ha  But here's a view out our windows morning and afternoon - ahhhhhh, the bliss of the ocean!


The opening was well attended with lots of people milling about and eating all the goodies :)  Beautiful show with enough watercolors to make the watercolorists proud.  Here are some photos Jerry took for me to share.

This one is mine, of course. 

And the next one is by Shirley Knollman (our former President of the watercolor society and now chairperson of the upcoming art show our group will be having at the same gallery).

It's a batik and watercolor painting on "rice paper."

And this is me and Shirley hamming it up for the camera.

This was before either of us heard that we didn't get an award :(  After that, I went and ate some brownies - they were really good! ha ha

There were 20+ watercolors in the show and 20+ oils with the rest being pastels, acrylics, prints, photographs (2 of those), and even some fused glass and jewelry made it into the show.  73 pieces in all and it looks really good.  I would have had a hard time choosing the winning pieces. 

I know Deb Ward will have more information and photos on our watercolor society blog soon so check there if you want to see more paintings from the members of our group.

One of my favorite watercolors paintings at the show is by Karen Pettit.  Back when I was taking classes every Tuesday, Karen was 2 seats down from me.  She always painted something beautiful and this is no exceptiong - except it's not in her usual pale, pastel colors but has such a beautiful depth and color scheme.  I really loved it!  Karen is a sweetheart, too and it's always great to see good people succeed - and I would say this painting is a big success!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Today's the day of the Woman's Art Club of Cincinnati juried show.  Opening this afternoon.  Awards this afternoon.  If you're in the area, I hope you can come by and check it out.

(All info below).  My painting,
And Your Point Is...?
will be in the show, along with many watercolor paintings, oils, pastels, and acrylics from around the area.

If you can't make the opening but can attend another time, let me know and maybe we can arrange a meeting.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


My artist/blogger friend, Gary Everest, is painting an oil portrait of me.  Now, it's not your usual "don't show any wrinkles or sags, darling" portrait.  It's expressive.  Meaning, it should make you feel something.  I'm really enjoying what he's doing and how he's working on the features and colors and - well, not being an oil painter, I'm amazed at this process and would love to see it in action - but will have to just watch the blog and see it come to life. 

Go over and take a look and tell him what you think!

Friday, April 8, 2011


Our old blog kind of bit the dust, in a manner of speaking.  It became much too stagnant, for a variety of reasons, to be feasible to keep up so...

The Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society will now have a new blog site and will be managed by Deb Ward, the society's membership chairperson.  Deb has some good ideas about keeping the blog active and updating our monthly minutes more frequently.  I hope you check in later this month and see what's happening and what will be happening with our group, including upcoming shows.

Here's the NEW site URL:

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I know, we all tell ourselves that, just because we don't get in a juried show doesn't mean our work isn't quality stuff - and yet when we get that letter or email of acceptance, it makes us do the happy dance. 

So when I got this email yesterday:

Dear Rhonda
Thank you for entering the 118th Annual Juried Exhibit. We are happy to inform you that your piece was selected for this exhibit.

We certainly hope you and your family and friends will attend the opening reception, Sunday April 10 from 1 – 4 pm, with announcement of awards at 3pm. The exhibit will also be open April 14-17, April 21 - 24, April 28 - May1 from 1 - 4 pm.

I stood up and did the happy dance! 

Thanks for all the good wishes - I know that had something to do with my getting in :) and the fact that this painting is a good painting (in spite of not getting into the juried Viewpoint show last November). 

Crows rock!!!

(The title of the painting is:

And Your Point Is...?

and is one of my crow series paintings. 

Sweetie (AKA Jerry) says, "Put on your blog that I think you got first place!"  Now that's love :) ha ha

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


The Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society meets this morning in Mt. Adams for our regular monthly meeting.  Today's guest artist/speaker is Judy Anderson.

And today I may get an email saying my painting was not accepted into the Women's Art Club of Cincinnati juried show. 
 I hope I don't get that email!! 
I hope I get in... 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I got a new book.

I am intrigued by British artist, Jenny Saville's work.  Her figures, so big and fat in every sense of the word, makes a statement about a woman's sense of herself and her body; plastic surgery madness; and perhaps our very society that values thin and pretty and wants it so much.  All of her big mama figures are here; plus some other odds and ends of how she researches her work (clips from magazines and newspapers about plastic surgery, weight loss, etc.). 

While the book is mostly big full color prints, there are articles about Saville written by the following:

Saville's art makes me think:  As artists, are we supposed to/expected to comment on what goes on around us?  Should we make statements with our art?  Or is it enough to add something of beauty to a sometimes ugly world?  I love looking at something beautiful.  But I also love looking at something that brings an issue right smack into my face.  Maybe there's room for both and you have to follow your own path...

And perhaps if you want your work shown, you have to produce what is acceptable in your area.  I can't imagine doing something this bold and trying to show it here - it wouldn't get in!  I'm not in New York or Chicago.  I'm in a region that is very conservative and you would be surprised at how many people will not go to a gallery that shows nudes.

Just some thoughts while going through the paintings in this big, beautiful book. 

Monday, April 4, 2011


Oh, not another painting of peeps?  Yes, sorry, I seem to be having too much fun with these to quit.  Plus I'm learning more about colors that create the textures I'm looking for in the birdies. 

That Cobalt Violet Deep really makes the texture without a bit of salt added so won't add any to this one (it wouldn't work on the yellow, anyway).

This one is on a piece of Twinrocker paper, too - 9" x 10"

The yellow is really a bright lemony Hansa Yellow Light color - but it's showing up awfully pale with no oomph here - guess it's the camera's fault!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I have been entering all of Mary Beth Shaw's contests to win her new book - no luck.  So I got tired of waiting for my luck to change and just ordered it.  I am just into a few peeks at the first pages and it's wonderful!  I will definitely have to try out some of the setp-by-step exercises in the book (not sure if I'll try any of the recipes).  Recipes?  Yep!  It's about mixed media paintings and food :)

The colors are yummy and the recipes sound good and that's just the first section!  Then she has guest artists who show their work and talk about their process and share a recipe.
Mary Beth calls mixed media "art for those who can't make up their minds" and although I've made up my mind that watercolor is IT for me, I still like to dabble in other things sometimes to keep the creative juices flowing.  If you are like that, too, you might want to pick up a copy of the book.  And check out Mary Beth's blog to see when and where she's got a drawing for a book and some other goodies.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Well, I decided to go with the Apricot (American Journey) for the foreground.  And then I flipped some colors on it using the pink and blue of the peeps.  Then put in the shadows.

It's done.

On Twinrocker 140# cold press watercolor paper, 7" x 7"

Friday, April 1, 2011


April is National Poetry Month.

Spread the word to your friends and family.  And put poetry on your calendar.

In honor of the month-long celebration, the Academy of American Poets will be hosting 30 poets on their Twitter account during April. Throughout each day during National Poetry Month, one featured poet will post his or her daily insights.

You can check out the tweets on

Guest tweeters include:

4/1 D.A. Powell
4/2 Dawn Lundy Martin
4/3 Noelle Kocot
4/4 Richard Siken
4/5 Jennifer Chang
4/6 Joshua Clover
4/7 J. Michael Martinez
4/8 Mark Bibbins
4/9 Jennifer L. Knox

4/10 Randall Mann4/11 CAConrad
4/12 Ada Limón
4/13 Graham Foust
4/14 Evie Shockley
4/15 Jen Bervin
4/16 Ken Chen

4/17 Sherwin Bitsui
4/18 Noah Eli Gordon
4/19 Ronaldo Wilson
4/20 Nate Pritts
4/21 Danielle Pafunda
4/22 Amy King
4/23 Ching-in Chen

4/24 John Gallaher
4/25 Srikanth Reddy
4/26 Jericho Brown
4/27 Gabrielle Calvocoressi
4/28 Kazim Ali
4/29 Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
4/30 Dorothea Lasky


I like the smoothness of the Lamp Black in the background for this one.  Put the eyes in, too.  But unsure about the foreground color now.

I mixed up some Rich Green Gold and some Apricot (American Journey - opaque).  Tested it first, thank goodness, because I think it looks a bit too much like, um, well, baby poo!!  So I'm at a standstill right now, deciding what color I want there - something lighter than the black background but also pleasing with the pink and blue colors.

And look at how putting that mustard yellow next to the pink made it look warmer - interesting. 

I may rely on the pale cool green I used in the other painting of the peeps - or maybe a pale violet?  Guess I'll make some more swatches and see which ones work best.