Saturday, December 31, 2011


Tonight we turn the page on 2011, putting that behind us.  We are placed on a fresh, new page of 2012 at midnight tonight.  Amazing, isn't it, how the days just keep rolling along.  Think about how many years you have walked this earth, how many days you've had so far.  Amazing!

Personally, the only resolution I'm going to make and try to keep is keeping a daily gratefulness journal.  Each day, writing down one thing for which I'm grateful may change my attitude (which has gotten more negative as 2011 went by).  That, and getting back to the meditation cushion.  I need that to keep me centered and sane.

So often we know exactly what we need (or don't need) and yet we ignore it.  Why?  I guess that's a question best answered by philosophers and psychologists, not me.

So today, as this old year wanes and the new year begins,
may you have health, happiness and contentment in your life. 
May you see the small things that make life worth living
and bear the big things that often throw us off course. 
Take care, my friends; and thank you so much for being with me for another year!

Happy 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011


I debated on whether to share this one - another exercise/lesson from the Ewa Karpinska book.  This one, however, did not go well.  I find I can do large shapes in wet-in-wet but when it comes to smaller bits, I overwork and can't stop fiddling until it's dead.  That's what happened with the bowl here.  I didn't get the shape right and then obsessed about the shape - when I should have just let it be a little wonky shape (it is, after all, just a study!!).  So the bowl shape was wrong and the shadow shape was wrong and I finally went in with watercolor pencils to try to fix them.  Didn't work.  I could have grounded the cherries out of the bowl but I kind of like how the bowl is tipped and the cherries look like they are either falling or jumping out of the bowl in mid-flight!

I hope this wet-in-wet practice and study helps me loosen up.  But my personality so often causes me to ruin something because it says, Do it right! Yep, I ruin a lot of things because of personality, I mean.  Perhaps in 2012 I will change my personality.  Can that be done, this late in the game?

So a bad painting to end the year?!?  No, I can't do that! 

So here's another I've begun (still working from the Ewa Karpinska book Wet-on-Wet Watercolour Techniques) and it's looking like more of a success at this stage but more to come...she begins with just the mail vase drawn out and then painted and then the wooden box on the right and the vase on the left and much more to come being painted in without drawing - scary!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Got to work a little more on the wet-in-wet cherries, using the Ewa Karpinska book Wet-on-Wet Techniques in Watercolour and doing her studies. 

I'm enjoying the process and learning when to go in and lift color, when to leave it alone, and when to let it flow very loosely.  By the end of the year, I may have this technique tamed a bit more :)

Her cherry stems are better than mine - she left the white of the paper for the stems and they really show up well but cherry stems aren't white so I mixed a brown-black and put them in.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Did you get any art supplies or art related stuff (books, DVDs, etc.) for Christmas?  Here's some artsy things I got - Santa was good to me :)

The Sumi-E set and instruction book are from are the DVDs (both of which are going to be challenging and fun to study and try out).

And this gorgeous book (full of drawings and sketches) is from my step-daughter, Jenny (she was my Secret Santa this year).

This is the one Myrna Wacknov is in.  Each version of Strokes of Genius (1 - 3) contains at least one artist I know, either locally and in person, or through their blog.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


This little beauty from a friend arrived Friday in the mail. 

Teresa Palomar Lois is an amazing artist who doesn't have time to do art full time (life and a job keep her away from her art supplies), but when she does sit down and create something it's always original and slightly dream-like or fantasy based.  This beauty is no exception.  A lovely little girl (perhaps an angel girl although you can't see her wings), holding and offering a captured star.  How wonderful!  And her writing to me says,
"One star, One wish, Mine is for all of yours to come true." 
Now, could you have a better friend than that?

And I will send that wish out to all of you, passing it on, because what could be a better wish than wishing for all of your wishes to come true for 2012!

Muchas gracias, Teresa!! 

See you all in the New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


We are now calling our swap group, who are sending postcards out to each other, The Naked Postcard Swap :)  Why?  Because we don't want the postcards put in envelopes and we want to see the postmarks on the card when it arrives.

Well, my first postcard arrived from Terry W. in the west midlands of England this week, and it's appropriate for the season - some quite jolly holly :)

(If she mailed it on December 1st, that means it's taking almost 3 weeks to get mail from out of the country and my other 2 are coming from the Philippines so I may have a wait for those.)

Thanks, Terry, for sending this lovely little gem of a postcard - the first one in my photo album of cards!

And my second postcard surprised me yesterday in the mail - coming from Ontario, Canada and Jan S., it's a painting of New Year revelry right down to the noisemakers and confetti!

Thanks, Jan, for this bright postcard of New Year's fun!

So to all of you, from me and Sweetie and Smudge (the cat),

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas
And a Bright New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011


The book by Ewa Karpinska that I have called Wet-on-Wet Watercolour, has 20 step-by-step paintings you can try, to hone your wet-in-wet technique along the way.  Her work is just gorgeous - so flowing and rich and wild, as if it were done effortlessly (which is how wet-in-wet should look if you don't overwork it).

<--- Here (from the book) is a step-bystep she shares of a painting of cherries on a table, the table just hinted at and the cloth flowing and very artistic. 

I have begun this one.  The first one I did of the apples on the table I could NEVER get right when it came to the apples.  I think the problem was I was drawing the apples too small.  You really need to have some room when doing wet-in-wet and letting the pigment and water flow so small things are best done in a more controlled way - just my opinion and from my experience.

As you can see with this start, I got impatient and began on the tablecloth before the cherries were dry enough (impatience is the thing that holds me back from painting this way and I KNOW how to do it, I just don't wait...bad Rhonda!!!).

Anyway, I don't mind that that red bleeding at the edge - it can be cleaned up (or I hope it can, anyway).  Not too much more to do on this - the leaves, more shaping of the table and then letting it be :)  The eloquence of wet-in-wet is that just a bit of work creates something truly beautiful - if you know when to put that brush down and let it be :)

I know many bloggers are taking time off now for the holidays and I wish you all a wonderful Christmas.  Here's to Christmas pudding, cakes and cookies, eggnog and spumoni ice cream, and many small overindulgences on these few days, especially when it comes to laughter, smiles, hugs, and happiness!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Now, I imagine I'll get a lot of viewers who pop over due to the title of this post :)  But it's just a painting, folks, sorry to disappoint! ha ha

Worked more on this one and I see it's almost done but that plate isn't right.  I'll have to look closely and carefully and slowly and get that ellipse closer to true.  Right now it's just not there.  The shadow shape needs a bit more work, too. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Our postal workers and UPS and FedEx folks have been busy on our street, and this morning early, when Sweetie looked outside, there was a package already on the front stoop (too small to call it a porch by any means).  The package, from, is Pam Johnson Brickell's new 2012 calendar I bought!  It is sooo cool and sooo pretty and I already have put up lots of things for the new year on the coming months and it's hanging on the wall in the computer room so I can look at it any time I'm on the desktop.

Thanks, Pam, for sharing your creativity with us and letting us have a little piece of your artwork every month for 2012. 

If you haven't received that perfect artsy calendar yet, you might pop over to Pam's blog and find info on ordering this one.

<<<--- This is the front cover.

<<<--- And here is January - isn't it lovely?  Lots of information about Pam's painting and where, when, etc. as well as what she saw on her walk that day.  Full moon listings are printed for each month, as well as special astronomical events like the Lyrids Meteor Shower.

Sorry I've been absent for a few days.  I'm not painting right now and life has gotten a bit busy - you know how it is this time of year with shopping, wrapping, sending cards, making plans, attending holiday gatherings.  I hope to have something new soon as I continue studying the wet-in-wet technique.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Yesterday, I drove over to Deb Ward's to paint with her and Sharon - we talked, we painted, Sharon even did a screen print and showed us how she created the stencil and the final print (pretty cool).  Of course, we had lunch together and a few sweets and then did some drawing and more painting and critiqueing of our work.  A good day!  I have a tendency to just hunker down at home and not go out but once a week or so and getting out just for fun and to be creative with friends is a good thing for me.

I did this study from the book by Ewa Karpinska (again, I highly recommend this book called Wet-on-Wet Techniques in Watercolor).    This is a copy of a lesson of rose leaves.  It doesn't look like her painting in the book, but I'm happy with it.

I did another one of the same thing while at Deb's - but I overworked it because I was talking too much and not paying attention to my actions (a fatal thing when working wet-in-wet). 

But I did start another - from my own photo of a pear I half peeled and laid on a blue glass plate with the knife.  I'm calling it Strip Tease :)  I did the background wet-in-wet and grayed colors of Prussian Blue and Quinacridone Burnt Orange + a bit of Orange (not sure what color, it was just a splotch on the palette without a name).  Then started the green peeling of the pear on dry paper and left it as is.  I'll go back and finish and do that cobalt blue plate wet-in-wet last.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Jane Minter, of Jane Minter's Sketchbook blog, has awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. 

She got her award from Irina of Irina's Paintings and Stuff blog - and Irina awarded me at the same time.  Jane is just catching up. 

So I'll just say thanks so much for thinking of me and my art when this came to you, Jane.  But I won't go into the things about me and the others I need to send to (already having done that the first time).

Tomorrow, I may go over to paint with Deb and Sharon. 

I'm also going to do a little more practice with wet-in-wet before starting on the Caw Girl redo, like the little leaves continuing below...

The next step in the book (the book is called Wet-on-Wet Watercolour Painting by Ewa Karpinska and I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more wet-in-wet techniques):  Actual paintings using the wet-in-wet techniques Ms. Karpinska demonstrates. 

The first painting is apples on a counter with a window in back.  I have the first bits of this done and next step is working on the apples. 

I'm using Saunders Waterford coldpress 140# paper for this and it holds the moisture well.  It has a warmer tint to the paper than Arches or Fabriano.  (I kind of like the abstract look of this at this stage :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I didn't feel like starting over on cold press paper so I fiddled with the hot press mess, trying to do the wet-in-wet technique.  Even though the paper was very wet, it still left hard edges on this hot press paper - I think it's okay for more dry techniques but I'm going to the Saunders Waterford paper for the wet-in-wet. 

I did a little practice on the leaves from the Ewa Karpinski book.  She has you lay down the shape with clean water, then begin putting in the colors at different stages.  She talks about the mirror stage, the cool matt stage and the dry mat stage.  It's a matter of timing with wet-in-wet, apparently, and I need more practice.  Rather than start on something big, I'm going to do a few more of these to get the feel of it before tackling the revised Caw Girl 2 on better paper.

When working on these little leaves, you have to stay and wait and watch the water on the paper and go in at the right time to get the look you want.  I was getting tired by the 4th one and took a break - for too long - so when I returned, the 4th and 5th leaves were dry.  I will rewet them and go back in and do more...

I definitely have a huge respect for watercolorists who work wet-in-wet and get beautiful results!  I'll get there someday - just not today.

My back is flaring up - the upper back now which never hurt before.  I guess this is just going to be a constant thing with me now :(

Sunday, December 11, 2011


This is a lovely book, full of good information and gorgeous paintings.  I've had it for some time now, but am just now getting around to sitting with it, reading it, and looking at the examples.  I'm going to try to create a few lessons for myself using her techniques and see if I can get that watercolor look.

I really want to become more proficient in wet-in-wet style painting in order to get ready for my Carol Carter workshop in February 2012.  Plus, I just really love this style of watercolor more than any other - but it takes more learning and practice on my part, plus an ability to let the pigment and water do their thing without too much fiddling!

I began a drawing on tracing paper, of the next Caw Girl painting.  I didn't realize or see until I'd begun the painting (on hotpress paper - what a mess!) that the crow is WAY TOO BIG!!  So...since this will be a do-over on 140# coldpress, I'm going to take some of the Ewa Karpinska wet-in-wet techniques and play with this and see what happens.  She doesn't work on hotpress so it may be a struggle but it's just paper, right?

That's masking fluid (Pebeo Drawing Gum) all around that I'll lift out before doing more playing.

Now, is that one HUGE crow or is that one TINY woman? ha ha

Saturday, December 10, 2011


After spending the week going back and forth to the hospital to watch over my mother and help her (she was admitted Tuesday morning to emergency with a BP of 280/190 and labored breathing), I am glad I had a few things preset to post.  Sorry I couldn't comment on many things but I will try to catch up now (Mom was released yesterday afternoon and I got her home and got all her meds).

Hope you all are having a good weekend.  The sun in shining after days of rain and cold.  It's cold every morning with frost on the birdbath, but, heck, it IS winter!

After catching up on my work at home, I hope to be able to take some time to paint a bit so check back later...

Thursday, December 8, 2011


What Is Rohatsu?

In Zen Buddhism, December 8 marks the morning Buddha achieved realization. 

We are told that, if a man called Siddhartha Gautama could attain enlightenment, so can we.  Siddhartha struggled and worked for many years and tried many types of meditation and ascetic practice before attaining enlightenment.  However, he didn't have computers, Yahoo, Twitter, texting, emails, IPads, apps, television, Black Friday sales or baking cookies to take him away from his goal of attaining enlightenment.  But he did give up princely weath and comfort to go into the world and learn. 

I think it's harder these days to even gain a modicum of stability in one's life - but it's worth trying to achieve, for what does it all mean if one cannot be content in life and understand that there is more to life than just things and more things and newer things. 

To find a solid center. 
That is the goal. 

If you're interested in learning more, go to this short article on BeliefNet...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011



Photo by Rhonda H. Carpenter

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Here are a few of the postcards I've been doing to send around the world to a Yahoo group who are sharing postcards.  It's easy, it's fun; the hardest part is trying to paint loosely in this small a format - and I haven't been able to do that yet, so some of the landscapes are painted larger and will be cut back to the required 4" x 6" size.

My first two were mailed out December 1st (we are supposed to mail out 2 each month).  One went across country and one went far far away - wonder which one will arrive first?

Monday, December 5, 2011


Well, I didn't toss or pour a bucket of water on her (as Nick Simmons suggested), but I did take a very powerful spray bottle full of water and washed off the bottom of the dress as much as possible.  This was a technique from Nick's workshop.  Hit it really hard with a hard stream of water and it takes off any watercolor that isn't staining.  Unfortunately, the red (I believe it's Pyrrol Red from Daniel Smith) was a staining color.  So had to really darken that dress to make it work.

She's done - in more ways than one!

The dress is not that heavy looking IRL, but isn't showing up in the photo so I cropped in to focus on the dress and got a better version.  It's a mix of Ultramarine Turquoise and the Pyrrol Red to get a good dark velvety look.

I lifted some areas in her face too where hard lines were, but I still like the cronish look of her so leaving it as is.

Thanks for all the comments on this one.  Nothing more to do in watercolor with it - there are areas, already, that are overworked and show the roughness of the paper (especially on the dress area).

Seeing the cropped version, I'm thinking cropping it down this far might be a good idea - more impact.

I was going to post this early this AM but got a migraine instead.  Had to take a pill and go back to bed with the blankets over my head and sleep for 2 1/2 hours!  Feeling much better now (first migraine since October so not too bad for me).

Sunday, December 4, 2011


"The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new."
                                                                Pema Chodron

In our artwork, we cling to certain things we believe are true.  We believe we know where we stand in terms of our own knowledge, ability and creativity. 

When we create, even if we tell ourselves differently, we commit to that creation.  Each brushstroke is ours and that painting becomes more ours as we continue to work on it.  It becomes too precious; especially if we had a really good idea in the first place.

So what do you do when a good idea doesn't show on the paper or canvas?  Are we too invested in something we've done to be able to change it to try to make it better?

What truths do we cling to in our art?  What "truths" do we need to throw out to make room for other "truths" in the future?

Are you good at composition?  Value?  Color choices?  If not, is it because you are stuck where you are because you have too many beliefs clogging up the works?  Can you take an objective look at your own work and see the good and the bad?  Can we hear and/or learn something new?  And, can we hold on to the beliefs which are true without letting someone else have an opinion that makes us challenge everything?

Is it easy creating art?  No, it's not.

Is it worth every agonizing moment you spend being unsure or confused?  You bet your bright pink macarons, it is!

Now - go create something!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I finally felt like going back to this one - it was a shift in thinking and working to go from small 4" x 6" postcards to this full sheet (22" x 30") so I had to be in the right mood.

The background is untouched so I cropped it down a bit, making this almost a square (so it's not really 22 x 30, closer to 22 x 25).

Although she's not finished, there are just some tweaks to make it dso (softening here and there, adding a darker value  here and there, etc.).

Honest opinions, please!

Caw Girl #2 is started and is in the drawing stages so I'll be working on that this weekend.  I intend to do at least 3 of these, maybe more.  Maybe at the end of the year I'll have a big crow show on the blog :)

Friday, December 2, 2011


Carol Blackburn has been doing giveaways of her ACEO paintings - including the little easel they sit on so they can be displayed.  I recently won her painting of feathers and will display it on my bookcase - it looks really good there!

Thanks so much, Carol, for being so generous with your work!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


This is a small painting I fiddled with and, finally, added the ornaments using a product called Puffy 3D Paint by Tulip (it's a craft paint you get at Michael's or Hobby Lobby).  I bought a bunch a long time ago at a yard sale on my street and have used it in the past on Christmas cards.  It was just the thing this boring tree needed (yes, it needs more depth, too, but that's not gonna happen now).

doesn't everyone need a Christmas Crow?

Other than the few postcards, I've been in a painting rut and I think I feel a New Year's Resolution coming on that's keeping me from anything right now other than small stuff.  I won't say what it is yet - afterall, we have another month before we have to start thinking about that stuff!

I hope December is a good month for everyone.  Snow, if you love it; warmth and sunshine, if you don't love snow; a warm place to stay, a friend to talk to, loved ones near you.  All the basics - plus some good painting supplies to keep you going through the end of 2011.