Friday, May 31, 2013


I'm not a busy artist.  It just seems that things fall together the same few weeks every year! I don't know how artists who enter a lot of shows do it and keep it all straight.

This morning, I drove over to Mariemont to drop off 2 paintings for the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society show which begins with an artist reception/opening this Sunday, June 2nd from 1-4 pm.  The Barn is on Cambridge Avenue and is where the Woman's Art Club of Cincinnati meets.  Do stop by, if you can.

And I just finished my online entries for the Cincinnati Art Club Viewpoint show.  Juried entries, so one never knows but we were allowed to enter 4 with the possibility of 2 being accepted.  Juror who decides = John Ruthven (who paints wildlife like Audubon painted wildlife).  

After all that time spent on the large painting of crows and such, I decided it wasn't that strong a painting so didn't enter it.  Oh, well!  That just means you get to see it.  
(I thought it was too heavy in the middle and too light on the bottom so would rearrange the "round" things if I did this again).  
My intent = to use the crows as the "X's" and the rounder things (stone, full moon, egg, silver ball) as the "O's" in the game of tic tac toe.  It's a full sheet and I called it Tic Tac Crow.  

I won't show the others until I find out if they are or are not accepted.

So today, emails to get ready for next week's watercolor society meeting and visit from Carol Carter and then just relax, watch some tennis, and enjoy the day - windy and warm so far today.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 30, 2013


The next to the last lesson and video for the Strathmore Online Workshop (that is now finished, I think, having gone for 4 weeks), was to draw, on toned paper, the male figure.  

This is what I came up with after watching the video and copying (somewhat) his version.  Mine looks a bit thin - perhaps he needs a hamburger?  The darks could be darker, too (looks like the photo is a bit blurred but that's just the fault of the photographer).

The next (and last) lesson and video is a female figure and I'll do that after I get a handle on these paintings I'm still working on.  (I actually have one full sheet done and another half sheet almost done and I have 2 more days before the deadline for entry.)

On another note, are you watching the French Open at Roland Garros?  Is your favorite tennis player still in the game and winning?  So far, so good, for Roger Federer and David Ferrer and I've enjoyed seeing Gael Monfils and his exuberant play.  I wonder if watching tennis is boring unless you played - like me with golf?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013



Photo by me from some cherries I bought today

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Just a few bits from the larger painting I'm doing (full sheet).  Will show the whole thing once I get it finished and entered at the end of the week.  Wish me luck!!

While doing some reading about crows, I found out that crow eggs can be a lot of different colors, from a beige or green background with mottled bits to a reddish color with wine and maroon mottles.  The most boring ones are beige with olive mottled bits on it.  I chose to depict the prettier version.  Have to have some "round" things to make my painting work at this stage.  My friend, Sharon, recommended something shiny (which crows like to collect) so I will make the small ball more shiny using irridescent paint and darkening the bottom.  And what would crows be without a full moon?  Or a pretty stone dropped on the ground.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Have a busy week in front of me.  Not bad.  Just things to do and things to make happen.

Class is Tuesday (the first one of this month since one student has medical issues/family issues to deal with and can't be here - and another is getting called in sporadically for jury duty! - one other student will return in June).  

Friday I have to take 2 paintings to The Barn in Mariemont for the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society show which will run from June 2nd (opening 1-4 pm that Sunday) through the end of the month.  I do hope you can get over to see it, if you are in the area.

Saturday is June 1st - the deadline for the Viewpoint entries.  They can be done online this year and that's what I'm going to do.  But I have 2 paintings to finish first!  One is almost done, the other is going to take another few days.  I am going to enter 3 and hope that 2 get in - or not! ha ha  One never knows.  The judge this year is John Ruthven and he is very famous and does work in an Audubon style.  I may be making a mistake painting crows for this since he does birds - very detailed like Audubon - but that's what I wanted to do and I'm doing it.  After I get those entries ready, I'll share them here.  

And this weekend I have to get the guest room cleaned and ready for a special guest:  the one and only Carol Carter is coming to visit and give a presentation at the GCWS on Wednesday, June 5th.  If you can't be there, you are going to miss a great program!!  Carol is driving over Tuesday, will spend Tuesday and Wednesday night here!  I am so excited!  (Can you tell by all the exclamation marks??!!??? ha ha)

So all this blather is to tell you that I may not be posting much this week.  Or next week.  But I'll be back soon with work to share and other stuff (reading and perusing another Mary Whyte book that is gorgeous and had me wanting to visit South Carolina again very soon - maybe in the fall.)    

Friday, May 24, 2013


Sometimes you have to start over.  You go too far and ruin something.  And then you just have to realize you can't crop it and make it look right.  You have to start over.  

This one actually looked more like the model, a long, lean, lanky girl with a long face and thin limbs. 

(I took this to Deb's yesterday; she and Sharon both said it's not ruined.  They saw the version where I cropped it down to her waistband (cuts off that hand, which I did quite well but also cuts off all the orange).  We'll hold on to it and see what the new one brings.

But I just took the photo and drew it out again on tracing paper (I never draw on my watercolor paper when I know I'll be doing some adjusting and/or erasing as I draw).  Then I traced the drawing onto the watercolor paper - 300# cold press Arches - and began again.

And for some reason, I drew the crow facing the other way this time.  

But the first thing to think about is the color - will not stick to the turquoise and orange that was in my mind the first time.  Go more traditional.  Black and white with the black being a mixture of colors to make a dark blackish color.  And less of those darned diamond shapes will give me less fits.

The other painting is coming down the wire and I could feel myself tensing up and thinking I could still ruin it.  So began this one to help me take the pressure off of that one.  It will be done before Memorial Day (Monday the 31st)!  And I may even have this one to enter, too.  

Went to Deb's to paint, talk and eat with her and Sharon and a new member of the group, Linda :)  Had a great time.  We did get a little painting done but there was a lot of catching up and eating to do, too! ha ha

Wednesday, May 22, 2013



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Just some bits and pieces of what I'm working on. 

I would like to have something new to enter into the Viewpoint juried show - deadline June 1. 

Not cutting it close, am I? ha ha

Slowly working every day, but not spending more than an hour at any one time on the painting.


What are you working on?   Whatever it is, good luck; I hope it is a success and that you enjoy planning, drawing and painting.

Friday, May 17, 2013


I have been slowly savoring this new book by Mary Whyte.  It is beyond wonderful.  Yes, it does have the usual stuff about her tools and what her palette contains.  It also contains her triad of colors for painting skin tones.  And, of course, it shows many of her paintings.  But there is more here than meets the eye.  This book is like sitting down and talking to a good friend who also happens to be an artist.  She shares her thoughts on the work, the struggle (even she, she says, tears up 1 in 4 paintings!!!), the determination and the joy of being an artist working with people as her subjects. 

I love her work even though my style is not like her style.  She was born in Ohio, lived and attended art school in Pennsylvania (where she met her husband, Smith Coleman); they moved to South Carolina to open a gallery and framing shop after her battle with cancer in 1991 and he supports her every day, not just by showing her work in his gallery but by making frames for her work that compliment the beauty of painting (I would love to see a show of her paintings in real life).

After reading this, I can't say I learned any new techniques.  I'm not a beginner - but if you are, you will learn some new stuff here.  But I do feel like I have learned more about Mary Whyte as an artist - how she lives her days, what she works on and how, more about models and most of all, it gave me a feeling of joy to read.  She truly loves watercolor - everything about it, including the mistakes! - and it shows in her writing.

If you like her work, you will love this book.  It will be a treasured friend on your bookshelf, waiting to give you confidence and support when you need it.  I can see myself picking this one up again and reading Chapter Nine: Life as an Artist whenever I need to boost myself up a little or just remind myself that it's not all sweet tea and cake but the work that gets you there in the end. 

And I have been working.  I just can't show you anything yet.  I'm past the planning stage of a full sheet painting for my Viewpoint entry but am still in the drawing on tracing paper stage.  I'm taking it slow and easy and trying to not stress but do the work a little every day.  I may have something interesting.  And Mary says:

"Improving your work takes effort and time.  It will not happen in a day, but when you are engaged in an endeavor that truly interests you, there won't be enough days in a week to satisfy your appetite to learn more."

"If you want to get better at doing anything, you must be willing to experience failures.  Every seasoned artist I know has done many paintings that were failures...When you make mistakes, you have two choices:  Give up or try again."

This life of art is not for sissies!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I am enrolled in another Strathmore online workshop.  These are great and they are free!  They usually last 4-6 weeks and you have a new lesson every week.  I am a bit behind - or not - since you can go at your own pace and watch the videos whenever.  

This workshop is about learning to draw on toned paper.  I bought 2 Strathmore toned sketchbooks for it and some white charcoal.  This portrait was done after watching the instructor and is a copy of his.  The only drawback I saw while watching this was he didn't show the reference photo or the model while drawing so you just copied his sketching technique until you got approximately what he got.  While he was working, I was wondering why he was drawing a garden gnome! ha ha  Turns out this is a person who dresses up and does Viking reenactments, hence the hairiness of the model.  I don't know if he used a live model or a photo reference since he never said.

Using the toned paper, you just put in your darks and the white charcoal are your lights so the toned paper is your midtones.  The next lesson is drawing a male figure and I'll share that one, too, when I get it done.

If your're interested in any online workshops - for free - just click on the link and see what's on offer this time.  They have various workshops throughout the year in all kinds of medium and styles.  If you don't like what you see this time, get on their mailing list and they'll let you know when others come up.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Painting this on 300# paper made it easier to paint, I think.  The brush can skip over the paper and leave some lights here and there.  I still need to return and get some lights in the violet rows but that won't be hard. This was from a PaintMyPhoto challenge for the month of May = painting a complementary landscape.  My complements I tried to keep yellow/green and violet.  There is even violet in the sky but the photo isn't showing it as much.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Freedom in Ohio  
by Jennifer Chang 
on my birthday
I want a future
making hammocks
out of figs and accidents.
Or a future quieter
than snow. The leopards
stake out the backyard
and will flee at noon.
My terror is not secret,
but necessary,
as the wild must be,
as Sandhill cranes must
thread the meadow
yet again. Thus, autumn
cautions the cold
and the wild never want
to be wild. So what
to do about the thrum
of my thinking, the dangerous
pawing at the door?
Yesterday has no harmony
with today. I bought
a wool blanket, now shredded
in the yard. I abided by
dwelling, thought nothing
of now. And now?
I'm leopard and crane,
all's fled.

Jennifer says this poem was written on her 35th birthday, just 3 months after she moved to Ohio and heard about a man in Ohio who released his menagerie of 50+ exotic animals and then killed himself. She felt haunted by the sudden perilous freedom of the freed animals whose presence that day was marked by highway signs warning 'Caution Exotic Animals.' 
Jennifer says, "The greatest dangers may be the ones we can't see--the rustling in the woods one reporter noted months later that could've been the wind or an ornery tiger, or the wonderful and terrifying future which seems to get remade with every new decision we make."

I'm sure those of us in the Ohio Valley region remember this event and the horrible slaughter of the animals who escaped, knowing no better than to run wild in the suburbs.  Don't we all want freedom, even if we cannot illustrate or define what that means?

May you find your freedom!  
And kickstart your week with care for all others, 2-legged, 4-legged, winged or gilled.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Happy Mother's Day!

Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

If you've got a few minutes, click on my friend Carol's blog and see the latest in her watercolor series of painting her son's portrait every year of his life!  What an amazing thing to do.  Carol's son will be 27 soon and Carol has painted 26 portraits of him from babyhood to teenage years to adulthood!  Here's the link:

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I'm sure you're all busy.  Aren't we all?  Getting ready for upcoming shows means either matting and framing your work yourself or sending it out to the framers to do it.  I took 2 pieces to Bowman's Framing yesterday to be done and ready for the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor member show coming up soon.  We drop off our paintings the last day of May and the show begins June 2nd at The Barn (the Woman's Art Club of Cincinnati in Mariemont) from 1 - 4.
And I have a deadline coming up soon and haven't even painted anything good enough to enter!  Yikes!  (The deadline for entry into the juried Viewpoint Show is June 1st and I got nothing but an idea.)

And then there are family birthdays (shopping and wrapping and ordering cake), and Mother's Day (I can't tell you what I bought for her since she now reads my blog every day! Sorry, Mom! ha ha) , 
and handymen coming to do some work around the outside of the house (Monday) 
and class day (Tuesday) which means a day of cleaning beforehand.  

But I still find time to watch the Madrid tennis matches on t.v. (what happened to Roger Federer??  and is this truly the end?), 
and finish reading a wonderful book by Rosamund Lupton called Afterwards - what a story!  I recommend it (and her previous book, titled Sister).  Strong strong women in her books and the inner workings of the mind which is fascinating, especially how she works it into a dreadful scene of heartache and loss and anger.  I pass on some of my books to my Mom, so she will be getting this one and some others I've recently read.

How do you spend your days?
Where do your hours go?
How much time do you get for yourself, alone, to read or write; to paint or draw; to plant a garden or take a walk in a park?
Don't forget to read something that stirs you; paint something that makes you happy; write in your journal; or draw something quickly while you talk on the phone.  Sit and watch the birds feeding and see if they have babies yet (are they late this year with babies?).  Water your garden vegetables or flowers and watch them grow.  

Most of all, take time for yourself.  And remember, we're all in this together.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Sweetie and I drove up through the rain to the Bethesda North Hospital last Tuesday evening.  They were having the artist reception for the works put in last September.
For some reason, we were left off the mailing list and I have to keep asking a friend (thanks, Jean!) to tell me what's going on and when.  I read my entry form (the copy I kept) to find out how long the pieces are left there and when they are picked up.  Seems like they are picked up the same time new work is dropped off - so I guess that will be September of this year.  

It was an interesting night.  The paintings are all over the place on the first and second floors; our guide had a list of where our paintings/photos were so she took us around to see them hanging.  Then we were allowed to walk around, looking for the other works.  No map or anything, we just all walked around.  The weather (it was pouring down just before we arrived) may have kept some people away but I did see a few people I know and met a pastel artist I admire.  

Good food and drink and great desserts (but I was good and only had one - Sweetie had two).  

The opening lasted from 6 - 8 and it took almost the whole time to walk around, find all the work and then spend some time snacking and chatting with other artists.  It was a fun night but I was disappointed that you can't tell others to go see the artwork because some are in consulting rooms, some in dressing rooms, some in out-of-the-way places you would not be allowed to enter unless you were being treated  there at the time.  So not an art showing of your work you can invite family and friends to - unless they come with you to the reception.

The top painting was inside a radiology consulting room on the second floor.

The left one was in a hallway on the 2nd floor (both my pieces were on the 2nd floor where the mammograms and sonograms are given).

Jerry's photos were on the 1st floor, one in the lab waiting room and one in a dressing room.  He had the sunlit lotus and the great white egret, both of which were some of the best photographs in the show.

 I guess it's about being seen by those who are going there for services.  Not for telling your friends and family to go there and see the work.  I was glad to find out where our pieces were hung.  And I was happy that a friend, Susan Grogan, won a purchase award :)  And what else are you going to do with paintings hanging on your walls for no one to see but you?  

Do you look at the artwork on the walls when you visit a hospital setting?  Is any of it original work - or are they just the usual large prints?  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


My students and I have been painting sunflowers from a book of flower references.  It was fun and great to be painting sunny things for a few weeks.  

These are the finished pieces from




Pretty great, yes?

And Linda brought in a finished painting she did of her little doggie and best friend.  This one is so precious :)

I think she said her doggie's name is Holly.  (Sorry for the reflection in the photo - hard to get away from the lights in the kitchen when I took it.)  

Great work, girls!!!!!  I am so proud of you and hope you are proud of yourselves.

(They both joined the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society and I'm trying to convince them to put one or two paintings in the upcoming show in June.)

Monday, May 6, 2013


The WetCanvas group had a Weekend Drawing Event Saturday and Sunday and since a friend, Li Newton of San Salvador, Bahamas, was hosting, I had to participate!  She posted several of her great photos from which to choose and I picked 3 - but only did this one of the peacock.  Couldn't resist those blues!  And wanted to make it like stained glass behind it.  

Thanks, Li, for the great photo of the peacock in all his wonderful plumage!

And the monthly challenge from the group, PaintMyPhoto, is to paint any landscape in the photo albums using complementary colors.  I chose this photo (by Mrs. Sue Smith) because of the violet and yellow-green already in it.  All I need to do is go back in and add in some darks and define some things a little bit more. I may make the sky a bit more violet, too.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Each time I travel, I pack my little Holbein watercolor kit with the very nice palette and water bottle inside, the travel brushes in 3 sizes, and some extra 5 ml Winsor Newton tube paints.  I pack something to paint on.  Sometimes I even pack my watercolor pencils.  

And then I don't use them.  I don't take them out of the backpack.  I just take my sketchbook (my wonderful Exacompta which is no longer made) and draw - usually with graphite pencils.  I only packed 3 hard lead pencils this time so these are just sketches done while looking out on the water.

I guess I shouldn't be disappointed with myself for doing this because I do come back with something I could work on and which might become a painting in the future.

After 3 days and nights with wind and waves, I see in the left top corner that I called this sketch
Free Floating Anxiety! ha ha

Do you pack a lot of art supplies on your travels - and then don't use them?

If you need something to spur you on to draw or paint, WetCanvas is having their regular Weekend Drawing Event (WDE) at their site.  Here is the link - you can join for free or just sign in if you are already a member and haven't been over there in a while.
Choose the WDE May 2013 forum and go on from there to find the photos and the place where you post your work.

Also, the PaintMyPhoto challenge for this month is Landscapes!!!  You can paint any landscape in the photo library with one stipulation - you have to use complementary colors in the majority of your painting.  What fun!  You have to be a member to see more than the front page but it's free to join this group, too.  Just go here.

And when you need a break, don't forget the Kentucky Derby is running this evening!!!  I've already picked out the winner :)

Friday, May 3, 2013


I forgot, until I got the notice this week, that I had joined (months ago) one of the Strathmore Online Workshops (Workshop 2 just started Tuesday).  If you're interested, these are all free.  You get plenty of information and videos from the teachers.  Depending on the class, it can be very busy with everyone posting and talking - but if you only have time to watch and do the work, you don't have to join in with all the questions and talk and you can work at your own speed.

Here's a link to the latest workshop - drawing on toned paper.

I have some toned Canson Mi Tientes paper I may use until my Strathmore toned journals and white charcoal pencils arrive.

Join in, if you're interested in working on your sketching in dry media.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Last week on Wednesday night we were supposed to see the full moon.  I thought it would be gorgeous over the water.  But it was a pale, unimpressive thing and then the clouds covered it up.

We had to wait until Thursday night for the really big show - an April (Pink) Moon. And it really was pink!  I was like a kid being shown a really neat toy for the first time, telling Sweetie, come here now and take some photos for me!!  It had to rise above a pink cloud bank just at the edge of the water and really looked pink when it came up. 

And keeping with the pink theme, here were some other pink things we saw during our trip.

A roseate spoonbill at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine.  The huge number of alligators they keep there are protectors of the birds, keeping predators away from their eggs and babies, so thousands of egrets, wood storks and roseate spoonbills nest there and raise their young every spring - what a racket they make!!


A beautiful little "pink" ibis at the Jacksonville Zoo (we spent 3 hours there walking around before our flight home that evening).

And everyone's favorite, the elegantly pink flamingoes, swimming towards the shore to get their flamingo food (did you know Purina makes all kinds of animal feed, including flamingo feed that keeps their feather so pink when they are in captivity and can't eat the crustaceans that make them pink in the wild?).

I hope you are having a pink day - pretty, fun and easy-going :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013



Photo by me off the deck of our condo unit at Crescent Beach, Florida (and yes, that's high tide and the water is coming up on the deck and blowing like crazy - what a roar!)