Monday, December 31, 2012


Another painting done from a photo and without any drawing done beforehand.  (A challenge to myself for these last few days of December.)

Saturday, December 29, 2012


After reading - and enjoying - the Hazel Soan watercolor book I got for Christmas, I decided I wanted to get back to painting without drawing and see if I can get better at moving my brush (and not overworking areas).  You can tell by reading Ms. Soan's words that she loves watercolor - everything about it.  But she has also spent a lifetime working with watercolor to master what can be a very difficult medium to tame :)

Using photos Sweetie took, I am working in my Strathmore watercolor journal (140# cold press paper).  I try to look carefully at the photo and then begin painting without any drawing on the paper at all.  It's a challenge, but I want to do it and I think it will help me get better at seeing before painting!

Sweetie is out taking photos today of the snow - we got snow on top of snow so it's heavy and dense and pretty.  It would be prettier with a bit of sunshine but just grey skies today.  I hope, wherever you are, you are safe and warm and have some time for creating art.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Did you get any art supplies for Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa? 

I got a lovely watercolor book of Hazel Soan's work (The Essence of Watercolor) from my step-daughter, Moe!  I love it!

Ms. Soan loves watercolor and just reading about her enthusiasm about the medium makes me feel energized again and want to put brush and paint to paper!

My little artist grandgirl, Alaina, was happy with her new block of Arches paper, a new set of brushes (DaVinci Cosmotop Spin rounds) and her bamboo brush holder.  She said, "This is just like your's, grandma!"  We'll be planning a painting day soon. 

We extend our celebrations to today, when my sister and BIL come over to visit, exchange presents, and play Monty Python's Monopoly game:  "Bring me some shrubberies!!"

Wednesday, December 26, 2012



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Well, my sister put off her Christmas shopping until after the 21st - just in case the propaganda was correct and the world ended yesterday! ha ha   I decided we were still going to be here so did my shopping early except for an extra for Sweetie (a cell phone). 

 According to the Mayan predictions and calendar, we are entering a new world - not the destruction of this world but a new paradigm shift - and, boy, could we use it!

In case you get to thinking about the end of the world again any time soon, here is a wonderful poem from one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost:

Fire and Ice 
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Friday, December 21, 2012


I added just a little detail on these to bring out the depth of the gourds/pumpkins and show off those warts and strange shapes. 

What do you think?  Should I stick with the white background or do a pale color there?  I'm leaning towards staying with the white.

My wish on this winter's solstice is for all of us to have the comfort of warmth and safety, and the security of peace as we come closer to the end of this year.  The church bells tolled for those murdered twenty-six at 9:30 this morning.  May our shared sadness bring us closer together as a nation. 



Wednesday, December 19, 2012



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


It's been a while since I've painted anything but class work or Christmas cards.  I've set up some of the gourds Sweetie and I purchased at the Rising Sun Navy Bean Festival back in the fall and took photos during a sunny day.  I finally got around to using them for a painting.

Using a 4 x 6 photo, I drew out the 3 gourds I wanted to use on a piece of tracing paper.  Then I transferred that to a sheet of Arches 140# cold press watercolor paper (fourth sheet size = 11" x 15")

Then I began painted in the gourds/pumpkins and the dark shadow shapes (which is what I found so interesting about this set-up).

I need to bring in some more colors and depth on the pumpkins and get those "warts" on there, too.

I'll do more later...but today, class is coming and they'll be doing more Christmas cards.  Out of 5 students, I always have 1 missing so, for me, it's worked out with setting up in the kitchen.  If I ever have 5 students coming all the time - or 6, I'll have to find a new setting or get a different set-up so everyone has plenty of room.  But I'm not complaining.  It's fun to share what I've learned with others and to see their growth - and it's fun to just have a reason to study some technique and paint different things.  

Monday, December 17, 2012


I forgot how time consuming and labor intensive these guys were.  I made 3 dozen to take to various parties and places before Christmas.  I have enough ingredients to make 3-4 dozen more, but not sure I will. 

I took some to a party Friday night and they were a big hit.

You can find the recipe if you Google Chocolate Covered Cherry Mice. 
I just call them ChrisMice :)

Do you have all your presents bought and wrapped?  And your holiday baking done?  Or will you be making the mad dash this weekend to finish up?  I think I'm finished.  Even got Mom's recumbent bike put together Saturday for her so she can begin using it (FedEx delivered it earlier than scheduled, leaving it on her porch instead of helping her in with it).  Sweetie did most of the work and figuring out what piece goes where - I am not good with that kind of thing. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I saw many lovely works at the Colored Pencil Show at The Barn in Mariemont - the majority were very photorealistic (or close to it).  However, there was one that looked more like a watercolor that caught my eye.  I was told that the artist probably used turpentine to wet the colored pencil on the paper and move the color like watercolor.  The look appeals to me.  If I took up colored pencil, I'd probably do it this way.

It's the painting at the top,
called Woodland Light, by Margie Hopkins
and it is even more beautiful in person
(just couldn't get decent shots that didn't have reflections in them).

Ms. Hopkins also won 1st place for her hyperrealistic painting of the man and dog.    Some of the small landscapes were looser, too - you could see the pencil strokes (which I like); and one man does colored pencil, building up from squiggled lines and those lines show in all his work.  Can't recall his name, but I think it was Mike Paolercio.

And here are a few from the last batch of Christmas/holiday cards for me...

Have a great weekend.  Only one more full week before Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012


Here are some more of my favorites from the Colored Pencil show at The Barn:

Sorry about all the reflections - couldn't be helped, especially in a dark mat and frame.

I liked the delicacy of this one - it was small and would make a perfect gift for someone.

We arrived at the same time as 3 other ladies.  We discovered later that one was a colored pencil artist and she had several paintings in the show - Helen Bohler.  It was a pleasure to talk to her about art and the colored pencil group.  Here is just one of Helen's paintings (she had 2 portraits of dogs and one of autumn leaves):

And another interesting one that caught my eye:

Pelvic Thrust
by Jeff Acus

Mr. Acus has 2 more in the show, all interesting and visually appealing to me = 2 large paintings and one smaller one of the Eden Park water tower using a dark reddish brown paper - very cool!

The show is a large one, so you'll just have to visit to see the rest.  It will be up the rest of the month at The Barn in Mariemont.  Go see it, if you're in the area.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Yesterday, Sweetie and I drove over to Mariemont to see the Colored Pencil Show at The Barn (the Woman's Art Center of Cincinnati gallery).  It was a gorgeous show and I highly recommend it.  Take a drive over and spend some time seeing a great selection of colored pencil paintings from the Cincinnati Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America. 

Here are the top award winners:

First Place:  Who Rescued Whom?
By Margi Hopkins

This little dog looked like he was about to jump at you - or bark!  And you could see every little detail, like the hairs on the man's arms, the softness of the blanket, etc. 

Sorry for the reflections - lots of lights shining down meant reflections in just about every painting, when you tried to get a photo. 

Second Place:  Rock Garden
By Jean A. Malicoat

These Hens and Chickens always remind me of my grandmother, who grew them inside a rotted trunk of an old tree in our yard and inside an old tractor tire, along with cactus that bloomed every year.

Colored Pencil folks love detail - the more, the better :)

Third Place:  Love Comes to Light in a Blessing
By Debbie Hook

A scene many would look at and ignore - light streaming through the shutters on a window - but how beautiful in the hands of an artist.

Our blogger buddy, Katherine Thomas, had 2 paintings in the show - both can be seen better on her blog here.
But here they are, taken in the gallery:

By Katherine Thomas

By Katherine Thomas

Tomorrow I'll share some more favorites from the show so come back to see more - and do go over to see the show if you're in the area

Wednesday, December 12, 2012



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I had the cards drawn but didn't put paint to them until yesterday afternoon. 

All of them need a little tweaking (just some darks/shadows here and there) and they will be done.  I think I have 9 cards now and I may make a few more - what I don't give out this year, I can save for next year.  Once you start, this is a very enjoyable thing to do.  I recommend giving it a try.  Just use some envelopes you have (I seem to have lots of odd sizes) and cut your paper to size.  Then draw a little or just get right into painting whatever catches your fancy.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Where do the days go?
When I began this blog, it was important (to me) to post something every single day.  
Now, not so much.  But still, I start to feel lazy if I haven't posted anything for a couple of days.
Of course, this time of year finds one
putting up the tree and getting out the decorations
buying presents
wrapping presents
researching presents online
emailing friends
receiving and sending Christmas cards
planning lessons for my beginner students
painting things for my lessons
exercising (well, I'm trying to make it a routine - we'll see what happens)
reading (my mother loaned me her Ken Follett books from the Century Trilogy and I am hooked)
raking the last of the leaves (I hope)
going to soccer games (Alaina's game last night began at 8:40 and the next one begins at 9:30 - pretty late for a bunch of 10-12 year olds)
baking cookies (for holiday parties)
visiting with my little sister (who turns 50 today!!) to give her presents
going to the hospital for MRIs and ultrasound tests (hopefully, this is a minor thing and I'll tell you about it if it becomes something more) so that adds more
phone conversations with doctor's office and insurance company and hospital

When you add it all up, I can see why I have started some drawings for more Christmas cards but haven't painted a thing since Sunday of last week.

I hope your weekend finds you well, happy, enjoying the warmer weather (and not too wet) that is around right now.  
Perhaps you went to an art show this weekend?  I'm planning to see the Colored Pencil show at "The Barn" in Mariemont this coming week. Maybe you'd like to go?  Or perhaps go over to Manifest Gallery and see their latest exhibitions.  And I think the Cincinnati Art Club is still having their weekend art sale this coming weekend.  So much to see, so much to do.  December is a busy month!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I had to come up with some ideas for Christmas cards yesterday since I had planned for my Tuesday morning class to do some.  I was lucky and my Strathmore blank watercolor cards came in just in time! 

Here are just a few of the ones I did - they are like Hershey kisses - you have one, then two, then three and before you know it, you have 7 or more! ha ha  And once you make you, you think of something else to do and make another, and another, and before you know it, an hour has gone by :)

I stopped painting cards for family members a few years back (I used to have an original card for each person) when it got to be too much and I was running out of ideas.

But there are always simple things you can do - like a single ornament with some extra things glued on.  (Although Sweetie says this looks like a bomb!)

Put some real or glass candy canes in a small or tall glass with some real or fake greenery (or tinsel) and paint a simple card, using black ink to draw around the candy canes if you leave the background white.

Or play with gessoed paper - did you know they make gold gesso and others of various colors.  The gold is fun to work with when you are doing ornaments.  Just paint right on the gessoed paper (once it's dried) and you can lift off anything you don't like.

And, of course, there's always pine cones or holly with red berries or snowmen and women or...the list just goes on and on!

The class seemed to have a good time.  They each brought some ideas or drawings or photos to use, or used inspiration from the table where I'd set up snowmen and various paper and card designs and showed them photographs of snow or ice-covered things.  

I had a new student come today.  I think she had a good time and will return next time to finish another card.  She did a great job and I can't wait to see her finished painting: a single pine tree in snow with a large star in a star-spattered (using liquid miskit) evening sky.

Do you paint your own Christmas cards?  Do you have them copied and send everyone copies or give out originals?  Is it hard to come up with ideas and paint your idea on a small size?  There is nothing like getting an original card from someone - I save them all - but I know how much work that can be.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Time for Sunday Sharing, a day where I highlight blogs of those followers who have recently signed up.  

1.  Cuca Muro is the blog name of a Spanish artist.  I assume her name is Cuca but can't seem to find more - unless her name is Cuca Wall - which is the translation of Cuca Muro.  You can see her lovely work here.

2.  Watercolors by Celia Blanco is the blog of artist, Celia Blanco.  Lovely, light watercolors!

3.  Stacey Zimmerman has a blog called An Artist's Canvas.  Colorful, fun and full of paintings, artwork and photos, too.

All three of these blogs are worth spending some time visiting.  Lovely seascapes, a variety of watercolors and lots of photos abound!  Do go visit one or all three of these - you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Deb drove up, with Sharon and I riding shotgun and backseat passenger/GPS reader all the way.  We all talked so much, the drive seemed to go by quickly.  The hardest part was in Columbus, finding somewhere to park and taking the right roads around - we got lucky and parked right across from the Riffe Gallery building (which is pretty darned impressive).

This is Karen Pettit's painting of a zebra on yupo on the postcard - beautiful!  Karen and I were in a watercolor class (Sandy Maudlin's) year's before and Karen's work has been getting local and regional attention in all the major shows lately!

As you enter the gallery, here is what you see on the first entrance wall:

Pretty cool to use the photo on the postcard in the entryway like this.  If I remember correctly, Karen used photos from a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo of the zebras there - and this was painted in 2009.

Of course, we had to get Deb beside her painting, although I apologize for the shot of Deb - she's fuzzy because my camera focused on the painting and not on her!

Deb's painting was in a great spot to showcase her beautiful roses and all that delicate lacy background.  Of course, the gallery was so great that no painting had bad placement.

This painting drew me in from across the room when I turned, seeing it on an adjacent wall.  And when I read the artist statement, I was even more impressed and touched by it.

I could have sat and looked at this next painting for a long time.  The depth of the window, the shadow play on the wall, the texture of the walls - all showed me the work of a master watercolorist.

I have to say, there are some very talented watercolorists in the OH/KY/IN area.  There were even paintings from artists in MI, PA, CA, and NH, and all had interesting artist statements about the painting or their process to get to the painting.  Some of the artists were names I recognized:  Fred Graff, Judy Anderson, Fran Mangino, Christopher Leeper, Trish McKinney, Bruce Neville.  But many of the names I did not know and there was a large sampling of paintings in watercolor, gouache, acrylic, watercolor crayon, watercolor on yupo and on gessoed paper, etc. 

It was an easy drive up and back with a nice lunch in between and I was back home by 3:30 - before the Friday night rush hour traffic!

I'll finish up with Deb's painting, fluid acrylic on paper, called Oriental Roses:

Congratulations, Deb!

The show is permanent here at the Riffe Gallery in Columbus but will only be there until they choose 30 of the paintings (out of the 65 in the permanent show) for the traveling exhibition and it will travel all over Ohio.  Sometimes, the places it is shown are great and sometimes not so great (too dark, not enough room to stand back and see the paintings, etc.).  So, if you can, see it before it leaves Columbus.