Wednesday, August 31, 2011



(Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Playing with pears and grisaille painting - yep, you can do it in watercolor but I'm not sure why you would want to do it in watercolor.  This was a lesson shared on WetCanvas ( from a member who tried it and got a much better outcome than I - you might do a search to try to find it there, if you can (I'm not sure how long I've had this lesson lying around as a printout I intended to try sometime).  The member's name is Asel Syzdykova and she goes by the member ID Aselka at WetCanvas. 

In the demo, she used a mix of Prussian Blue and Burnt Umber (she doesn't say what brand) to create a grey underpainting, putting in the shadow shapes of the pear before putting in any color. 

My mix of PB and BU was a bit too greenish or too brownish and I never got what I would call a good neutral grey using Daniel Smith colors.  But I tried it anyway.

My front pear is done this way. 

The back pear is done using transparent colors of Hansa Yellow Light, Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Coral and a touch of Perylene Green.

Not a good painting but you get the idea - and the fact that, when doing an underpainting or grisalle in watercolor, you do lose what vibrant light watercolor has - if I went in again on the darker pear, I could get it more modelled and more like an oil painted pear but I think trying this has proven it's not something I want to do again.  I like the light of watercolor too much. 

Have you ever underpainted a watercolor painting?  What colors did you use?  Did it work out for you or did you think it muddied things up too much?  (Now maybe you have a lighter hand than I and can do underpaintings well - if so, you might want to give this a try.)

Monday, August 29, 2011


Sweetie (a.k.a. Jerry H. Carpenter) had a photographer friend come to the house Saturday morning to shoot froglets.  Not one was harmed - but they were held and positioned and taught how to be a good model :)  The photo shoot, using 2 different froggies, took 2 1/2 hours and here are a couple of photos for you.  Now, I don't know who these 2 are - they are all beginning to look very much alike - but we still have 7 froglets and Pokey is losing her tail and becoming more frog-like every day (but she's not eating yet).

Photos by Jerry H. Carpenter of our little 6-week gray treefrogs.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


For those of you who regularly check my blog, you know that I often highlight/focus on those bloggers who have joined my blog to follow me.  I usually wait until I have 3 new people who have joined, but I'm almost at 150 followers right now and it looks like many do not have blogs.  It doesn't seem fair to those who have joined up recently who have blogs to have to wait so...

I'm going to showcase 2 bloggers this Sunday.

One = Carol Holt.
Now, I've "known" Carol (a.k.a., Dabs) for years because we've been in the same online groups off and on and our names keep popping up with each other in groups online.  She has already lived 5 lives so she must be part feline :)  I started watching her work when she was living in Alaska and sharing her photos and paintings.  She has moved many times since and now, she and her hubby are long-distance truckers!!  So one of her blogs, which can be found here, is called Postcards from the Road.  Check it out and see her photos of the places they travel and her journaling and painting.  You'll enjoy it and you can travel around vicariously through her!

Two =  Judy ?
I didn't find a last name for her, but Judy lives in the Netherlands (pretty cool place) and creates lovely watercolors.  Her blog is called De Draad Aquarellen (that's The Thread Watercolours in English).  Why that title?  Judy art has always been the common thread throughout her life.  Do visit her work, you won't be sorry to spend some time there seeing what she's working on - right now, it's apples.

I hope you enjoy visiting both of these artists' blogs!

Now, I'll have to come up with something special for follower #150, won't I?  Perhaps a give-away of a small painting? 

(When I wrote this, I had 149 followers but one follower dropped out - sorry to see you go.  Maybe that means numbers 149 and 150 will get a surprise!!)

Friday, August 26, 2011


I got 2 entries ready and mailed for the Cincinnati Art Club's Viewpoint Show (both crow paintings).  I won't know until October whether one got in or not.  I got in for 2009 but not 2010 so it's anyone's guess.

There is still time to enter, if you're interested!

I also have 2 entries chosen for the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society show at Evergreen Retirement Center.  That is open to all watercolor society members that runs from September 25 - October 30.  I have chosen 2 smaller paintings (just less than 1/4 sheet size for both) for this show because I think only small paintings will sell.

Pink Peony and

Hot Pink Flamingo

I just need to get them matted and framed by September 22.

And, since I joined the Woman's Art Club of Cincinnati, I can be in their member show at The Barn in October.  So I have to have to choose 2 more paintings for that. 

I think these things always come up hot and heavy in the fall and in the spring.  It can take a lot of time and effort and $ to be in a lot of shows at the same time.  I normally don't do it, but I have the paintings so I thought I'd get them out there to be seen.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


It's still wet (which is why the magnolia looks a bit wavey). 

I think it's finished.  Just had a few areas to adjust and change and soften. 

This one is not finished. 

I think this is going to be a WIP for a while.  I went in with Caran d'Ache watercolor crayons this time and tried to pull out some features and fix the guitar and hands. 

It may still need work so I'll put it aside and go back to it again in a few days or weeks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


When I was having back issues 2 year's ago, my chiropractor, Dr. Cawley, worked on my back for months to get me back in shape and pain-free.  Now I'm having neck issues that are leading to some pretty bad bad bad headaches. 

I saw my x-rays today.

If you could see your bones as you stand sideways, you would see your skull and then your neck bones curving nicely but surely towards the front of your head and then curving outwards again as the spine curves out and then again (lower back) curving inwards.  A nice, delicate but distinct curve.
(This spine illustration is from Wikipedia.)

Mine doesn't curve.  The neck bones are flat - straight up and down after leaving the head.  Oops!  So now we know I have a problem there and we have a treatment plan.  We are hoping the plan works and, in a few weeks I won't be having weekly migraines and tension headaches.

Years ago I listed to Eddie Izzard riff on chiropractors after he hurt himself snowboarding.  He swears chiros are addicted to the sound of the cracking of bones.  Funny guy, funny skit.  I thought of that today as I heard my bones pop all up and down my back.  I wondered if Dr. Cawley says in his head, "Oh, yeah, today we get to crack your bones!"  

Unfortunately, he says we probably won't be able to get the neck into that nice curve - my spine is dealing with too many things to have it look like this nice curvy thing here on the left.  But we'll do what we can.  I'm hoping for a headache free day and will be piggy and hope for a headache free tomorrow, too.

Until then, take care of your spine - it's the foundation of your body and you need to keep it healthy and strong.  And if you can't keep it healthy and strong, find a good chiropractor who likes to crack those bones!

Monday, August 22, 2011


If you are interested in learning more about watercolor:  the colors you choose; the differences between transparent, semi-transparent, opaque, and gouache; what makes a warm or cool color; all that good stuff!!  Then hop over to Maggie Latham's posts about it and learn.  She's sharing a lot of good information there and it's priceless - and it's free!!  Thanks, Maggie. 

Anyone who's beginning in watercolor, or those who needs a refresher - or those of us who are color geeks and, until we learned better, had to have every single tube put out by a manufacturer (meaning me!) - will gain a lot by reading this post! 

Don't you just love how artists are willing to share their hard-earned knowledge and special insights with all of us, and all we have to do is spend a little bit of time reading, looking and trying it out (remember, you aren't going to become good just reading and watching - you gotta get those brushes in the water and paint and then onto the paper!).

Have a colorful day - and thank an artist today!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Well, you all know that we have 7 little froglets hopping and eating and looking so cute you want to wear them as jewelry!  And then there was Pokey - the last of the tadpoles who seemed unable to turn.  He had air in his belly and floated on his back and looked miserable.  We were sure he wasn't going to make it.


The air bubble went away, he turned right side up and began sprouting little tiny back legs.  He's going to make it :)

I guess there has to be a pokey in every bunch, right?

Maybe he just liked having all that space in the large container with water all to himself?

We haven't released any more of the froglets.  Sweetie wants to keep them and try to photograph them with a friend who will come over next week.  We will have to release them before he begins to get too cold, though, so they all make it.  If he gets any good photos, I'll share those so you see the full journey of these little ones. 

Friday, August 19, 2011


Had a wonderful time with Deb and Sharon painting and chatting and eating and talking and laughing yesterday!  And made more progress on the Caramel Magnolia painting.  It's not finished - still needs some little tweaks here and there - but almost there :)

Unfortunately, had a tension headache last night that sent me to bed, nauseated, around 10 pm.  Then this morning around 7:30, a migraine started so popped a Maltex (these are to stop the migraine once it starts and one 10 mg pill does work but makes me feel drowsy and a bit off all day).  They are expensive little buggers at 9 pills for...$50 (and that's with insurance paying the bulk of the cost). 

I had my appointment with my chiropractor, Dr. Cawley (who helped me when I was having back issues) this morning.  How amazing:  he asked lots of questions, tested my strength in both sides of my body and my balance and took x-rays of my neck (something my regular GP didn't think was necessary).  And I got the "tingler" treatment = the electropulse tabs placed on my shoulders and upper back that give you pulses of electrical current that feels like little pinches.  I felt much better in my shoulders and neck when I left so I'm thinking that, alone, might help - like a really strong, deep massage.  I will find out what the x-rays showed (if anything) at my next appointment, and get another treatment.  Better than scary pills! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I want to apologize to all my blog/artist friends because I haven't been visiting much, although I want to visit and read and see what you're doing.  Unfortunately, I'm having a bout of migraines - about 1-2 every week which is putting a real damper on time spent at the computer.  Each day I wonder if I'll get a migraine or be okay. 

I'm falling behind in visiting and knowing what you all are doing - but I will catch up when I can.  Right now, I'm timing myself to just 20 minutes here and there on the computer, trying to move around, sitting in a different chair while watching t.v. (have to keep up with the tennis matches!!) and painting just enough to keep up with homework for Suzanne's online course.  The doc I saw Tuesday gave me a script for Topomax - which, after reading the side effects, has me too scared to take the stuff.  I do not want to lose my sight or my mind although losing 9% of my weight would be okay - as they say, you can never be too rich or too thin, right?  They call this drug the Supermodel Pill because it makes you thin and stupid! ha ha

So one day at a time around here for me - with chiropractic help coming this Friday, and possibly some massage therapy, too.  Any suggestions welcome :)  I really don't know why they are so frequent right now - no diet change, no stress change, no change in anything but the weather (which is a welcome relief to have 80F days instead of 95F).

I will have some more of the magnolia painting to share after my visit to paint with Deb and Sharon today :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Still lifes are part of Suzanne McDermott's online course in drawing and watercolor.  We are in week 7 already of an 8-week course and 4 of us have decided to continue another 4 weeks!  I really recommend it if you want a refresher to your drawing and watercolor painting or if you are new and need help learning.  If you're interested and want more information, just go here for Suzanne's information on her September course - still time to sign up, I think!

I did this drawing in graphite earlier in the course.  Calling it Eat More Fruit :)

I ate the apples, Sweetie ate the bananas and the lemon is still in the fridge.

An artist friend, Jane James, says when she can't think of anything to paint she always paints pears.  Seems like a good thing to do.  They aren't too complicated and you can play with composition or not - or just paint the shapes.  In fact, you can probably just make up the shape of pears if you don't have one or two in front of you.

So I guess this one is called Eat More Pears (or maybe Have You Lost Weight?)

I did this with graphite, too, and it looks soft - I guess I don't like hard lines in my drawings so soften everything as I go along.  I don't mind the soft look but some people might.

Tomorrow, I'm going all the way to Indiana (yes, an hour's drive for me through ubiquitous orange barrels) to see Deb Ward and Sharon (she doesn't have a blog, bad girl!) to paint and gossip and laugh and have fun.  Haven't done it for ages and it's about time to get back to it - if I can stand the construction and crazy drivers who think 55 MPH Work Zone means that's just for me and they can play Indy 500 all they want along the way.  Anyway, I'll take my magnolia painting and finish it there, I hope.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


The Western Southern Open tennis matches started Saturday and, thanks to a generous friend of Sweeties (thanks, George!), we got free tickets to Center Court for Monday!!!

When you have tickets to Center Court (box tickets, anyway), you can go into any other court at any other time and see other matches.  So we wandered and saw our first match in Center Court between Verdasco and Bellucci (Verdasco won and made the ladies' hearts flutter :) 

There was even a girl with a sign in hot pink that said:  Ud. es caliente Verdaso - and, of course, she got on camera and he hit a ball to her after he won the match :)

These players are so amazing - you don't realize how fast that ball goes and how hard they hit it until you are on the court watching.

We had seats down front just 4 rows back from front row, and the weather was perfect - overcast with a slight breeze to cool us off.

After watching this match, we wandered over to the practice courts to see who was practicing (those who won't play until tomorrow).

Like this guy - Roger Federer!!  The court was packed with people standing on the bleachers (no one was sitting down), watching and hoping for a photo and an autograph after the match.  He stayed and signed a lot of things - very nice guy.

We also saw Juan Martin Del Portro practice for a little while and then went to see another match in Center Court between Alexandre Dolgopolov and Richard Gasquet.

Gasquet won but Alex is someone to be watched - if he can control his raw power he'll be a name to watch for in a year or two.  

I never saw anyone hit the ball harder than he did with serve and return.   Whew!

Had a great day - was there from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm and loved it all. 

And I met a woman from Tennessee who is a collage/altered book  artist and we shared blogsites and talk about art - what fun (hi, Eva!!).

Sunday, August 14, 2011


We had some rain last night/this morning so released a few more of the little hoppers - 4 more out into the wild of the backyard.  Here are some photos from Sweetie as they landed on the leaves in trees.  They are turning less bright green and more a mottled green and gray - hence the name:  Gray Treefrogs.  Cute little guys and girls, all the same :)

That means we have 7 more hoppers inside being fed and one that is not going to make it - I was calling him Pokey but Sweetie says he has air inside him and won't develop :(  So out of 23 tadpoles all became frogs but one.

The three photos above taken by Jerry H. Carpenter

Here's what's on the table now:  7 little froggies in a single container and one tadpole that won't turn (that is still in the large pan of water).  Once they have just back legs, they are moved to a container that has a little bit of water in the bottom; when they have back and front legs and the tail is being absorbed, they are moved to a dry container and fed tiny crickets - and in this clear container, they are cute to watch stalking and catching those little crickets :)


We'll probably have them for another week and then the tadpole to frog story will be over for this year.

I hope you've enjoyed following their transformation!


Thursday, August 11, 2011


Working on this one slowly, having fun with the wet-in-wet technique (which gives me plenty of time to drop in colors and tilt the paper and let the paint move).

I'm saving the flower for last and will need to darken some areas of the caramel leaves before moving on.

This is on 1/2 sheet Arches 140# coldpress.

And this is where it stands right now.

What's your favorite way to paint?  Wet on dry?  Drybrush?  Wet in wet?  Masking and pouring? 
A combination of all techniques?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Sometimes just writing in the blog that I am not painting makes me pick up my brushes again and paint something.  I think it's the over-achiever in me that says, get busy, do it!  So I did.

Having enjoyed the recent magnolia paintings of Carol Carter, I was thinking of them when I looked through some photos for inspiration and found this photo taken by my Sweetie on a trip down to Paducah, KY.  At least, I think that's where it was taken.  He takes so many photos, I often am not sure where the photo was taken.

Anyway, I don't want my magnolia to look like Carol's magnolia but I do want to try that lovely lavender color she used (Holbein Lavender) - which, it turns out, was pretty darned close to Cheap Joe's Periwinkle that I already had - who knew?

What struck me about the colors in the photo is that beautiful rich caramel/burnt orange color and I'll try to play that up before I even touch the closed blossom and then will use that Lavender and Quin Burnt Orange on it. 

This is on 1/2 sheet Arches cold press and I'm working very wet-in-wet, letting the colors move and flow and do what watercolor does best.  I hope to get some good blossoms, too :) 

And I have my homework done for Suzanne's online course!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I'm afraid I'm not painting anything but the lessons for Suzanne McDermott's online course right now.  I'm enjoying it thoroughly, but feel I should be doing something else - for me - in a larger size.  I have something in mind but the days end and I've done nothing but think about it.  Maybe that's okay.  Thinking is good.

In the meantime, I wander the web and view blogs I enjoy and find new ones, too.  Here's a favorite of mine (Randall David Tipton) and the painting he has up right now is absolutely delicious with color!!  Makes me want to step into that scene and live there.  Take a look and see if you don't agree. 

Although I don't paint this way, I would love to be able to paint like a colorist.  Color gets me - grabs me - captures me - takes me places that a more muted palette cannot.  I gues that's why Randall David Tipton and Carol Carter are two of my faves because of the way they use color - bold, sassy, crazy, wild, calming, unusual, zingy, fun, beautiful color!!!  Take a look at Carol's recent peppermint piggies and I dare you not to smile! 

And speaking of color, Suzanne McDermott has an itch to change up her palette and you can see the wonderful results here on her blog.

I tell you, the world is just so FULL of amazing artists and their work which fills our days with delicious colors, great values, interesting shapes and unique viewpoints.  And this just notes 3 of them!!!  Go out and view artwork - at a gallery or online - and see what might inspire you, challenge you, or fill you with joy.

Monday, August 8, 2011


On Wednesday the 3rd, the watercolor society got a special docent-led tour of the Cincinnati Art Museum.  Our guide was wonderful - funny, interesting, knowledgeable - everything you'd want.  She also recommended this book, which I purchased at Borders (they are going out of business and are having some sales plus I have a Rewards card so get a bit more off each time). 

The book, The Judgment of Paris, tells how impressionism began in France and who were the movers and shakers of the time.  It tells the story in the lives of two artists:  Ernest Meissonier, who was the most famous and well-paid artist of his time before impressionism took hold - and Edouard Manet, who was one of the leaders in the impressionist movement. 

Those of you who belong to clubs and societies know that all is never rosey when any group of people are involved.  Art groups are no different.  And it was quite a dogfight in those early days of impressionism with artists signing petitions against the newly instituted rules of the Paris Salon and even boycotting the Salon entirely!  What fun!

Although I'm only in Chapter 7, I'm enjoying it and learning a bit more of the history of the time, and what some of the artists were like - some were wonderful, open, sharing; others, not so much! ha ha  There was infighting and jealousy; and those that were at the peak of their careers did not want to open the doors to upstarts who painted quickly and without much detail :)    You may want to pick up a copy at your local Borders - or at the library.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


I had Sweetie take some good photos Friday while I "held" a couple of froggies. 

Aren't they soooo cute?  They all are looking alike - some more green than others, some more brown and mottled. 

They are all eating (at least, those that are froggies are eating), stalking and gulping up those little pinhead crickets.  Fun to watch :)  If it rains today, we'll release 4 or more this evening.  Time to let the babies go and hope for the best.

I've made sure a fingernail is in the photo so you can get a sense of the tiny little size of these babies :)

Isn't nature amazing?

Friday, August 5, 2011


My watercolor society has a new blog and new blog mistress in charge (Deb Ward) who is doing features of the members.  What fun!

I am this month's feature artist.  In case there is anything you don't know about me and still want to know (as if!), take a click over there and see the write-up and photos.

Thanks, Deb!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Wednedsay morning we had storms and lots of rain.  Kept the day wet all day so Sweetie decided it was time to release some of the little tree frogs.  The photos aren't great - when you got cose to them, you bumped the leaves they were on and off they went - boy, can they JUMP!

I hope they are happy and healthy and live long froggie lives!

Don't worry - this was only a release of 4 - many many more to grow and feed (yes, they are eating the little pinhead crickets well) and release soon.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Apparently, in my imaginary landscapes, there has to be water!  Maybe that's where all the little froggies live?  Or maybe it's just to cut the heat in my imagination?


by William Cullen Bryant

A power is on the earth and in the air,
From which the vital spirit shrinks afraid,
And shelters him in nooks of deepest shade,
From the hot steam and from the fiery glare.
Look forth upon the earth—her thousand plants
Are smitten; even the dark sun-loving maize
Faints in the field beneath the torrid blaze;
The herd beside the shaded fountain pants;
For life is driven from all the landscape brown;
The bird hath sought his tree, the snake his den,
The trout floats dead in the hot stream, and men
Drop by the sunstroke in the populous town:
As if the Day of Fire had dawned, and sent
Its deadly breath into the firmament.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Yep, just a few decades ago (well, he's just a baby in Galapagos tortoise years), my Sweetie was born. 

(Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter)

I'm very thankful for his presence in my life. (Even if he is a bit silly at times!)

(Photo by someone on the Galapagos trip Jerry took in May)

Oh, and what did he get for his birthday?  Well, we spent several hours yesterday at the Apple Store and he came home with a new IPad2 with a pretty blue cover and something for the camera hookup.  And, yes, it already has Angry Birds on it! ha ha

Monday, August 1, 2011


This one sat around for a while and I hadn't a clue what to do with it.  In fact, I tried to keep pushing it under other things so it wouldn't stare at me, faceless, saying, "What are you going to do about me??"  I have gone back to it and worked a bit more. 

I put in more gesso work that is heavier in the face and in the background as way to shape the face more without color; then I began again adding color to the painting overall.  I think it looks better but will let it sit again for a while before I decide.  I know I have to tone down that white around the guitar and reshape the head of it which looks off now.

And Mac sent me some small snippets of songs from the cd, but I didn't have any luck putting them on the blog  so you can listen.  But if you like jazzy bluesy stuff, you'll love this cd and for only $13 - yes, that's only $13, friends and includes shipping and handling - I will mail you a copy for your very own!

Oh, and Happy August!  Only 1 more month of summer (hot, humid, sticky, 95+ degree weather) here in the Ohio Valley and then relief.  Although now that the pool is open, I'm hoping it doesn't go right to 70F right away but gradually gets cooler as the days go on.