Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Blogger has removed one of my favorite blogs - Sadami's Graffiti blog!!!  What is going on with that?  Is it against the rules to post art studies of nudes on an art blog?  Is that why?  I can't imagine another reason because there is not a nicer or a more supportive person I know than Sadami and her blog always makes me smile, not just from her excellent watercolor work, but from the way she's always lifting others up all the time.

Sadami says Roger Oncoy's art blog is missing, too!  What???

So, Blogger, fix this problem or at least let someone know why this happened so we can all get back to enjoying her artwork and posts!  And if anyone knows how to contact Blogger without going through all the hula-hoops of trying to find the correct place to post, let Sadami know, if you can.

Monday, June 25, 2012


I worked on this little Indigo Bunting painting - another small (eighth sheet) painting.  Right now, it's definitely at the ugly stage!  Sometimes it's hard not to give up on something like this - but I know with just a little bit more TLC, it will be fine.  Just need to do a rhinoplasty on that beak that got too big (how did THAT happen?), and then soften those feathers so he doesn't look pasted on the background (that's what happens when you do the background first and then paint in the subject). 

I finished the little landscape painting (that was a lesson for my beginners) by just getting out my sponges and dabbing the color on and then spritzing and splattering a bit. 

Sweetie's sister is coming for a visit so won't have much painting time this week.  But hope you all have a great week and a fantastic weekend.  We're moving into July with lots of hot, hazy, humid days.  But that's summer!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I have two new followers to feature for Sunday Sharing.  You'll enjoy seeing the artwork from both of these artists and you may just discover a new favorite!

1.  Atelier Design is a new blog from Russian watercolorist and illustrator, Regina Jershova.  Her work is amazing.  I don't need to say more.  Go there, you'll agree.

2.  The View from Harmony Hills is what artist, Debbie Nolan, sees from her Carroll County, OH home.  Check out her latest birds and flowers in watercolor - so beautiful!!

I hope you enjoy both of these, and that you have a good Sunday. 
Today is my mother's 74th birthday.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Today is the Summer Solstice, the first official day of summer.  It's been hot all week so sure has felt like summer this week.  Beautiful, warm, sunny weather!  Hope you are enjoying your summer (or winter) wherever you are in the big world.

I have a new student in my beginner class (but lost a student, so I am still teaching 2).  I needed to get her going on what we were working on previously, so didn't have time to complete my own painting of this summer landscape.  I worked on it a little yesterday and will put the foliage in using sponges today or tomorrow.  (I don't like to leave things unfinished.)

We began a still life painting of pears Tuesday morning in "class" and they both did so well!  Not finished, but almost.  And here is my version.  I was teaching them about creating darks that are varied and how to do a vignette style in the foreground.  (And, of course, working those greens!)

This is from a photo from WetCanvas from a member called watergirl.  Great photo!  And pears are always a good subject.  In July, we'll be working on water scenes and they both seem excited about that possibility.  I think I'll use some of the San Salvador Island scenes but also some cold water scenes so they get an idea of the colors in water, depending on season and place.

I went to Deb's yesterday and caught up with Sharon and Deb and we laughed so much, it was very therapeutic. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012



Photo by Reeda Hart

Perhaps a bit of explaining is in order for this photo.  One word just won't do it.  This was taken by Reeda Hart, one of our travelling companions, in the water off San Salvador Island in the Bahamas, just this month.  I think it was taken on our anniversary - our 17th anniversary.  Aren't we a glamorous couple?  (The hair is sargassum seaweed that was  in the water and looked interesting - so we had to try it out as mermaid and merman hair).  Jerry is in his thin wetsuit, so he stays warm; me, I've been in the sun for 2 days and am now wearing a teeshirt over my swimsuit so my back doesn't fry.  Believe me, comfort is more important than style in this situation!

Thanks for the crazy photo, Reeda! 
And Happy Birthday today!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Here is the rosy-breasted grosbeak, finished after some softening of the red into white and the dark into red.

This is a small painting,
7 1/2" w x 11" h
on Arches 140# watercolor paper.

I will put it up on my Small Works blog for sale this week.  So if you are a birder, or just love birds, fly over to the Small Works blog and add it to your collection!

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Miss P's drawing just had to have a touch of color to show her red hair!

This is in my Moleskine watercolor journal,
5" w x 7 3/4" h

And I began two bird paintings - no, not crows this time - before going on our trip.  I'm getting around to finishing them up after beginning with the drawing and just the background.

Here is the rosy-breasted grosbeak.

And here is the indigo bunting.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I went to Deb's to paint yesterday and finished up some little things.  Still have some to do but I did get this little postcard pirate finished and ready to mail off today. 

Since I finished it on flag day, this little pirate - isn't he just ducky? - has planted the flat on his section of the beach (it's a real flag stamp cut down and then with a flagpole added).

I hope my partner likes it when it gets to her in Washington state :)

And I got this postcard in the mail from Ohio; a lovely bunch of spring grape hyacinths.  Thanks, Norena!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Vickie H. gave me permission to show this drawing I did of her grandgirl, Miss P.  I am always taken by red hair. 

I took my Moleskine watercolor journal and the photo, along with some drawing tools to the Bahamas.    Even though I took my time with this, turning the photo upside down to make myself see shapes, not "nose" and "eye" and so on, and even measuring, I still aged her and made her face less full that it is in the photo.

Thanks, Vickie, for giving me permission to show my results on the blog.  It kept me sane for 2 days on San Salvador and I do appreciate that.

And I am behind for my June postcard SWAP paintings.  I still have one to do but this is the one that will be mailed out this week.  It's going to Ohio, so it won't take long to get to its new home (I hope).

I painted it and then used some pen and ink to get some of the flowers a bit more interesting.

I know you are all waiting for beautiful seaside landscape paintings from me.  I'll print some of the best ones out and try - but, so far, I've been unable to capture the beach and sea to my satisfaction.  But I'll try (afterall, I couldn't do landscapes before I started teaching my beginners and now I'm doing those! ha ha)

I had a new student come Tuesday to my beginner group - but I lost a student (I think she will return, but unsure).  So still just 2 for now, which is fine.  It gives me plenty of time to really help them and talk to them and ask them questions about what they like and don't like about what they are doing so I can give them suggestions for fixing things they want to fix.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012



Photo by R. H. Carpenter

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Just across the road from the GRC, there is this beach.  White sand, beautiful turquoise waters.  This boat is always moored there.  This is where I went when I was left alone each day while the others looked for the cave.

If you walk northwards on this beach, you reach the busted dock and North Point (if you are willing and can climb up the hill overlooking the area).

When I was there last (in 2007), the dock was not broken down like this.  When something breaks on San Sal, it is almost impossible to get parts or manpower or materials to fix it, or it is too expensive to try to ship things in.

This made a nice site for snorkeling, though.  The day we snorkeled around North Point and around the dock, we saw a little green sea turtle, a small yellow stingray and tons of blue tangs, french grunts, bluehead wrasses, and other beautiful little fishes.

Here is a view of the new buildings on the north end of the beach.  You can see the GRC white block buildings far away just right of the middle of the photo.  These new buildings were not here the last time I was here; I think they were set up and freshly painted for the Independence Day celebrations (July 10th) and there was even a swingset for the kids.

A railroad vine (like a morning glory) growing along the rocks toward a lookout tower (long abandoned but one used by the US Navy as a lookout post). 

In case you can't read the sign it says
San Salvador Cyber Center.  The arrow is pointing towards a vacant lot - or maybe it's under that tree?

This is in Cockburn Town (the main town on San Sal that consists of a few homes, a good "convenience" store on the main highway, a smaller store that was almost empty of goods - waiting for the boat to come in with supplies; and a drugstore).  A lot of the homes were abandoned as was the Children's Care Center (used to be a daycare center with a playground).  You want to pack your meds, your bug spray, your sunscreen, your aloe and your...well, just pack everything you think you might need while you're there!  Because if you forget something important, you might as well sit under that tree and wait for the Cyber Center to be built around you.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Wednesday morning, we got a taxi to the airport in Nassau and caught our Bahamasair flight to San Salvador Island (just about an hour because they didn't stop at Deadman's Cay first - so I didn't get to see any pirates!).  From the window the the smaller plan, one could see beautiful reefs and waters of turquoise, teal, cerulean, ultramarine blue and indigo.  I love this flight - you are only in the plane about an hour and you get to see the islands and reefs as you fly over.

We arrived in San Salvador and the new (since 2007) Director for the Gerace Research Center (GRC) met us with a large blue truck (open except for the cab) where we loaded all our stuff in the back, sat in the back on bench seats (wooden), and got our first taste of San Sal as we drove to the center.  We flew over with another university group of 14 students and one professor and they, too, were with us although 5 students did not get their luggage :(

We were given our room assignments - we got lucky room number 7.  I'll let you decide how lucky it was:

The Research Center used to be an old Navy base for men stationed on the island.  When I say old, I mean probably 1950's  - and the rooms have not been upgraded since then.  I think the furniture may even be the same!  And the buildings are all white block buildings that hold the heat of the day well into the night.

Notice the lights coming through the curtains?  That's where they are worn through.  We paid $10 a day extra to have the air conditioner installed in our room which you can see in the window.

The shower. 
I kept my sandals on when I showered - I was not going to stand in there barefoot!
The brown thing to the left in the shower floor?  That's a large American cockroach that was not going to move out.  I asked Jerry to kill the thing before we turned in for the night.  Not to worry, there were others throughout the week that came and went :(  I can't say I got used to them but I was told they would not get in our luggage and travel back to the US with us (I hope that's true).

The toilet. 
The floor was concrete  and there were pipes running all around. 

Quite a change from Sandyport Resort. 
I was grateful for the air conditioning which took the room temperature down enough to sleep at night.  I even liked the little gecko that stayed in our room (about 2 inches long which I named Gertie). 

This was my home away from home from Wednesday, May 30 through Thursday, June 7.

This trip was taken so Jerry could do follow-up research on a new species of cave brittle star.  He went out with 3 people Thursday morning (May 31) and they couldn't cut their way through the brush to even find the cave - the ground cover and trees were so overgrown the path was nonexistent.  They all came back dehydrated and exhausted, and, from the stories, it seemed they were lucky to make it back at all.

Friday (June 1), Jerry went out again with the 2 students and a woman who lives on the island (who had been close to the cave area before and thought she could find it).  They found the cave, but by the time they did, there wasn't time to go in and collect.

Saturday (June 2), Jerry went out with just the 2 students; he and 1 student spent 2 hours in the cave (the woman didn't have the upper body strength to get down and up the safety ladder into the cave) - and they didn't find a single brittle star.  Apparently, the salinity was such that they had gone deeper in, or had died or something. 

While Jerry and the 2 folks who traveled with us were doing this for 3 days, I was at the base.  I got out and walked the beach, but there are no vehicles (except the blue trucks for teachers and classes) for me, so I didn't walk far.  The heat was pretty intense, and I was trying not to get burned to a crisp the first few days so didn't want to be out between 11:00 and 2:00.

Sunday, June 3 was our 17th anniversary. 
Ladies, you haven't lived until your husband takes you to beautiful Gerace Research Center on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas for your anniversary!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


We had a few easy flights to get from Cincinnati to Charlotte and then from Charlotte to Nassau in the Bahamas.  Our taxi took us to the Sandy Point Resort where we spent the night (we couldn't get to Nassau in time to catch the plane to San Salvador Island). 

We stayed in the yellow building, top floor, overlooking the swimming pool.

Sandy Point was a nice place - lots of pastel colored buildings and their own beach area as well as a swimming area (small but with a water slide).
Some of the buildings are vacation time shares and some are the hotel itself.  The hotel staff were wonderfully friendly and helpful. 

Walking out towards the ocean, there was this little white gazebo, where you could sit and watch the sunset (and we saw a stingray swimming along under the pier).

After some nice meals cooked out right there on the beach at Sandy Point, we had a nice sleep (although the electricity was off for about 1-2 hours in the night but it was off all over that part of the island for some reason).  Got up the next morning, breakfast (also on the beach), and then taxi to the airport to catch our Bahamasair flight to San Salvador Island via Deadman's Cay (arrrrrrr, mateys!!!).

Before I show you what the Gerace Research Center is like, I'll leave you with these lovely photos - what you expect when someone says, "I'm going to the Bahamas!"

This is our group having coffee the morning we left, with Lady Sarah (Sandy Point's manager) joining in for the photo shoot :)

Friday, June 8, 2012


Those of you who regularly follow my blog probably realized I was leaving comments sporadically and not going to your blogs this last week.  Why?  Well, I traveled with my biologist/researcher husband and 2 former students/friends of his to San Salvador Island in the Bahamas.  To do research for them; to bake and sweat and snorkel and walk and whatever at the Gerace Research Center.  Before you get all: Oh, how lucky you are!! on me, this is a research facility - you pay $10 extra a day to have air conditioning and hope it keeps out the majority of mosquitoes and no-seeums from your room because you can keep it closed.  You hope the air keeps the room temperature down below 90F so you can sleep at night.  You are there with 165 other university students and faculty, all doing research and going out walking and caving and collecting, etc.  You stand in a line of 165 people for breakfast (7:30), lunch (12:00) and dinner (5:30) and you hope the snack bar is open at 8:00 pm so you can buy a cold soft drink.  And that you can get into the library because the 2nd day you are there, lightning from a huge storm that dumped torrential rain all over (including inside your room so standing water there you had to mop out), it takes out the WiFi for the faculty.  Because of that, you have to sign up - along with 165 others - to get 10 minutes on the internet computers (6 of them) there. 

Anyway, that's where I've been.

Photos to come later. 

And I will catch up on all the blogs this weekend :)  By then, I may have stopped itching from all the bites all over and have settled back in at home.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I went back into the prints - those one dimensional, wrong colored prints - and added a bit of sap green and ultramarine (both Open acrylics).  Then reprinted over the first layer.  And added some stencils pressed into the wet paint. 

I like both of these more now. 
What do you think?

Monday, June 4, 2012


I was so anxious to begin using the Open Acrylics and the gel printing plate.  Turns out, there is a pretty rough learning curve and I'm not pleased with any of these.  I put a bit of the acrylics in the middle of the plate and rolled it all over.  Then "carved" out the whites, as well as I could see them.  But the woman looks absolutely scary and the Indian Yellow acrylics used for the man just don't work.  So here are some beginning things I've learned:

1.  Choose your colors carefully to work WITH the subject
2.  Slow down and see the whites and lightest parts of the photo you are using so you can wipe that up from the plate, creating your whites and lights on the print.
3.  If you don't like the look of the print, go in immediately (before the acrylic dries) and fiddle with it, making it look more like what you want.

Oh, and
4. Accept what you get and realize it's all going to be opposite of the drawing or photo you are using.

The crow should have been done, not in Vandyke Brown but in Black!

I do, however, like the clean way the dry paper prints so I won't bother with pre-wetting the paper (140# Arches hotpress) from now on.  And I will do more of these and think about the subject matter and the color and how to add in more printing (like the background of the crow) using stencils and other odds and ends.

Happy June - summer is on its way (if you haven't already experienced it in the way of high temps and high humidity in your part of the world).  It's going to be a strange year of strange weather.  Stay safe!