Friday, September 27, 2013


I was reading a Swedish murder mystery and a person of interest in the book was an artist who painted her canvases all in black and then scraped back using sandpaper - and let whatever happen, happen.  She created very abstracted pieces that were without color - just black and the white of the canvas when she scaped down to it.  It got me thinking about painting on black paper.  So I used black gesso on watercolor paper (300# Arches).  When that dried completely, I began painting the crow the round glass ball, just seeing what the colors would do, if anything.  I used irridescent pigments, too.  I'm not crazy about it.  You have to have light hitting it just right to see it well and the crow looks mostly white.  I think gouache in colors would work okay with this - and I might wipe this off and try again with pigment mixed with white gouache since I don't have any gouache colors.  

What do you think?  It doesn't photograph well at all - the black of the paper is much darker than it's showing here and the subjects aren't this bright.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Tuesdays class working on the shiny shaker again to get the values and shapes right so it looks like something shiny.  Here is my version.  You really need to stand back from this and compare it to the photo reference A LOT to get the shapes right.  This one needs a little more fiddling and then it will be done.  

Martini, anyone? 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013



Old black and white family photos found while clearing out my grandmother's house.
It's amazing how very young my mother and father look here - and, of course, they were very young then.  And yes, that's chubby little me in the top photo with my Dad.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Sunday, after grocery shopping and deciding to forego cleaning the house, we drove up to Evergreen Retirement Center to the opening of the GCWS Fall Show.  My painting was right above the sign-in book and everyone noticed it and commented.  I got a lot of positive comments about the painting and about how it looked on the postcard :)  So happy about that!

But you have to see this - this painting (center) is one of Deb Ward's and it's gorgeous!  Plus it was so well displayed over the black piano (with that little bunch of flowers chosen to match) and the two rice paper paintings on each side by Diane Marra.  What a great way to display those paintings together!  (Sorry about the glare, there was no way around it).  Sweetie must not have been in a photo-taking mood.  He had the only camera and I told him to just take some photos.  He only took 4 different ones, including mine!

This one is a little watercolor batik by Susan Grogan.  She and her husband were at the opening so we got to chat a little while.  I also got to chat with Marilyn Bishop, the woman who started the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society in 2007 with a handful of artists interested in having a watercolor group locally.  

This one, another by Deb Ward, was one of Sweetie's favorites.  

If you get a chance, do visit the Evergreen Retirement Center on Galbraith Road and see the show.  I'm sure you'll find something you like - and a lot of the pieces are very reasonably priced so you might get a bargain bit of art, too!

My sister, my mother and my cousin came to see the art show and support my work :)

I don't have Mom's permission to share this photo but I really like it and she'll just have to ground me! ha ha  She is doing so well, she able to cut back on the time she has oxygen on - she's exercising and gardening and staying healthy!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Saturday Sweetie and I drove up to Bethesda North to pick up our works that didn't sell.  It was nice bringing them back home - like old friends come back to visit :)  They were very organized for the pick-up, too.  

Then we stopped at the Dollar Store for some gumballs.  I'm addicted.  Not good for my teeth, I imagine :(  And 2 doors down from The Dollar Store was an adoptive pet event.  It was hosted by the SAAP (Stray Animal Adoption Program).  They had doggies outside and kitties inside.  We looked around, petted a few dogs and then walked in to see the cats.  Sweetie got the idea of photographing them and donating the photographs to the group to put online!  And we were off and running.  They gave us a room in the back away from the hustle and bustle and I was the cat wrangler for the day while Sweetie was the professional photographer.    Here are just a few of the kitties that posed for us (some more reluctantly than others! ha ha):

Yes, I fell in love with this little girl named CleoKatra.  She was a lovely little 2-month old and I can't understand why she hasn't been adopted yet.  The good thing is, all of these animals are taken from strays found around interstates and major highways or behind dumpsters looking for food, or from kill shelters - and they are kept in foster homes until they are adopted.  And the SAAP has these events every weekend in various neighborhoods.  They said they would we at this location near us every Saturday and Sunday for a while.  

A pair of black and whites, Callie and Cassie, were more of a handful, but still fun to work with and try to get good photos.  Cassie didn't like to be held as much as Callie - I'm sure they are sisters as they are both 4 months old.

Callie says, I likes Halloween candy!! ha ha

Cassie says, Are kitties supposed to eat Tootsie Pops??  Maybe they are!!

(No candy was given to the kitties - it would be bad for them.)  But they made good props.

And this one, named Werther for the caramel candy - how could you not love this big lovey?

After she settled into the routine and realized she was safe with us, she came up with some wonderful poses.

And then there was Eddie! ha ha  Um, a reluctant poser, to say the least, I had to hold him in place more of the time and when I held him (which he did not like), he generated so much heat, I was almost sweating!!  

Cat wrangling is hard work!

If you are interested in adopting one of their kitties or doggies, check out their webpage and see all the pretty things that could become part of your family.  Or maybe you'd like to volunteer to be a foster mom or dad for an animal waiting for a new home?  

Sorry, dog lovers, but the lady in charge of the event said cats are harder to place and that she needed photos of them instead of the doggies.  In fact, 3 of the doggies were adopted that day!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Storm Ending
Thunder blossoms gorgeously above our heads, 
Great, hollow, bell-like flowers, 
Rumbling in the wind, 
Stretching clappers to strike our ears . . . 
Full-lipped flowers 
Bitten by the sun 
Bleeding rain 
Dripping rain like golden honey-- 
And the sweet earth flying from the thunder.

We've had storms and rain.  Heavy rain, streaming down the street with the potential of creeks becoming.  Unfortunately, many people in Colorado and in Mexico have been flooded with rain and mudslides.  Lives and property have been lost.  A warm end-of-summer thunderstorm can turn deadly.  

We're going up to Bethesda North hospital today to pick up the photos and paintings that did not sell during the show.  Artists whose work that was accepted into this year's show will be dropping off their work at the same time (neither Sweetie nor I entered this year).  I was very pleased to sell one painting out of the show this year.

And tomorrow is the Evergreen opening of the GCWS member show - artist reception from 1:00 - 4:00 pm Sunday, September 22, at the Evergreen Retirement Center, 230 West Galbraith Road, Cincinnati.  

A busy weekend and a rainy weekend, according to the weather guessers.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Some more colored pencil works from the Colored Pencil Society of America District Chapter 119 show currently at The Barn (The Woman's Art Club of Cincinnati gallery) in Mariemont:

This realistic painting that was a masterpiece of shapes and reflections was created by Donna Schwarz.  Ms. Schwarz achieved her signature status (meaning she has been accepted into the CPSA International Juried Exhibition at least 3 times in 10 years).  

This was one of Sweetie's favorites - and he doesn't even drink alcohol!  I know he really liked the reflective surfaces.

There were 3 works on tiles - two of them were framed and one was hung just with clips.  They all were interesting to me.  I had to get close and see the texture created by using the tile that had built in texture lines and cracks.  For the one that was unframed, you could see the size and depth of the tile.  A very cool surface to work on if you want some texture without a rough surface.  

This one was by Diane Harm.  She is a colored pencil teacher and I wondered if this is a surface she introduces in her classes and workshops and the other two artists learned from her?  I really liked all of the ones on tiles but only got photos of two of them.

This one is by Jean Malicoat.  Ms. Malicoat also achieved her signature status in the CPSA.

Both of these were interesting in that they go outside the picture plane, making it even more 3 dimensional.  

Sweetie was fascinated by them, too, wanting to know if I could paint in watercolor on granite tiles - I don't know how I could but told him there were ways to get textured surfaces to paint on - like rice papers and tyvek paper and even rough watercolor paper.  I guess he likes texture, too!

And now I have to share the works of Katherine Thomas, local colored pencil artist and fellow blogger...

Katherine won an Honorable Mention for this work, a lonely, abandoned building amides a few scraggly trees.

And this one is called Over the Rhine (a local area of Cincinnati that has a lot of historic buildings which are being bought up, rehabbed, and sold to the young, upwardly mobile of the new millenium).  You can tell from Katherine's subjects that she is drawn (no pun intended) to historic buildings and areas.

I believe Katherine was working with the Fibonacci "rules" of natural shapes when she came up with this one, called Fibonacci's Garden.

And here is just one more (by John Middick) that caught my eye at the show because of the unusual way it was done on black paper...

I wondered about the difficulty of working backwards (for a watercolor artist), starting with black and putting in the mediums and lights to get this very delicate portrait of a young girl.  

To see the other works at the show, you'll just have to drive over there and see them!  There is a large selection, a varied selection, and enough to make you wonder about colored pencil work and if you should try it!

And why the Depth of Field title for this post?  I was wondering how a colored pencil artist gets good depth of field - a sense of distance and three dimensions - in his/her work.  And is it okay to have a more flattened painting with everything seemingly on the same plane?  I saw works that were done both ways in the show.  And I know artists of all media flatten images on purpose, so it started me thinking about shaping, shading, and the creation of values in colored pencil work.  

This piece, especially (by John Smolko with his signature scribbles), comes to mind - when you stand in front of it, you see the scribbles and places where the neutral greyish paper shows through, and the hard edged lines (a lot of them in bold red).  But when you stand back about 3 feet, you get the full impact:  a 3 dimensional portrait with good values and highlights, and the scribbles become skin tones that cause the person to be sitting there in front of you!  How is that done?

Maybe some colored pencil artist can enlighten my ignorance about the medium?

Thursday, September 19, 2013


A grey and rainy day.  But Sweetie played chauffeur and got me to Evergreen Retirement Center to drop off my painting for the watercolor society fall member show - opens Sunday 1-4.

And on the way back south, we took a side trip over to Mariemont to see the Colored Pencil show at The Barn.  It's the member show of District Chapter 119 and I recognized a few names I'd seen in a previous member show and in the International Colored Pencil Show that was held at the Carnegie in Covington, KY last year.

Here are the First-Second-Third place winners:

First Place went to John Smolko's portrait.
John Smolko has his own signature style with his scribbles creating extra interest in his paintings (I always have a hard time calling colored pencil or pastel works "paintings" but I'm sure that's what they are called).  He is a teacher (I know someone who took a workshop with him and was very pleased) and has been juried into the International Colored Pencil show 10 times - quite an achievement!  He had 3 paintings in the show - all large and all in his signature style.  What I like about his work is that, standing close to it, you see scribbles in various colors - you stand back a bit and then you get the full vision of what he's working towards and see the values and colors created with large scribbles!

Second place went to Michael Paolercio's painting.  I like it when someone takes something "boring" or "ugly" and turns it into art.  I like the shadow shapes and rusty colors against the blues but think it could have popped more with some stronger value shifts and darker darks in the painting.  But that's just my opinion and, apparently the 2 judges thought it was perfect, as is.

Third place went to a landscape painted by Margi Hopkins.  She, also, had several paintings in the show and I liked them all. Again, you could see the strokes made (and I like that about any artwork) but it didn't look unfinished at all.  Nice value shifts and green and violet always sing, don't they?  (Ms. Hopkins won the First Place award in last year's colored pencil member show.)

And my favorite in the show as this one of seagulls on the beach, a painting by Tom Kinarny.  He also had a few other paintings in the show.  
Why was this my favorite?  Perhaps I had an emotional reaction to the painting - I could see myself there with my toes in the sand.  Mr. Kinarny has a delicate touch with the colored pencil with good mark-making showing.  The painting was completely finished without being overdone or underdone - lovely texture in the sand and a delicate palette of colors made me really like this one.

I'll share more later - but will have to resize and upload more photos first!  

Blogger buddy and artist, Katherine Thomas, had several paintings in the show. Although I had previously seen them on her blog, it was more interesting and enjoyable to see her pieces up close and personal.  She also got an Honorable Mention for one of her paintings!

Twenty-one artists had paintings in the show and it runs through September 28 at The Barn in Mariemont.  It's open for viewing every day but Monday (and if there is an event scheduled at The Barn during the weekend).  If you like colored pencil work, you'll find a good variety of styles and techniques and subjects in the group show.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

(This is an albino peacock.  There were 2 of them when we visited the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, FL this spring.)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I took my painting to Bowman's Framing. He did another nice job on the mat and frame for this one.  You can't really tell from the photo, but the frame has a metallic look but it also has a color running through it that matches the blue-violet of the flowers perfectly.  

This is the one that going to Evergeen Retirement Center for our Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society fall member show.  Drop off is this Thursday and then I may stop over to The Barn in Mariemont and see the Colored Pencil Show.  

The opening for the GCWS Fall Member Show is Sunday, September 22 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.  The show will be on exhibit from 9/22 - 10/27 and can be viewed from 12:00 - 4:00 daily at 230 W. Galbraith Road, Cincinnati.  

Monday, September 16, 2013


I was really happy with the papaya painting I sent to my friend, Gary, in Hawaii (or I wouldn't have sent it to him!).  So I thought I might look at the the photos he sent of his papaya breakfast and paint one for myself.  This is where I am.  Not finished, of course.  I am not sure what I was trying for the table - it's a glass table and I think I should have ignored that.  

I used Prussian Blue for the bowl this time - I like that color.  So this will be Hawaiian Breakfast No. 2 :)  There is just something luscious and very enjoyable about painting that papaya!!


Friday, September 13, 2013


The week goes and I'm not sure how I spent all those hours.  Certainly not painting!!  

Tuesday, I had a lesson plan ready for the class - shiny silver stuff.  It was a simple silver shaker and we did the background first and then put in the midtones at the bottom of the shaker, incorporating the background colors.  (This came from a very good beginner book by Hazel Harrison called Watercolor Class.  It's a great book if watercolor is new to you because she shows you a lot of techniques and styles throughout.)

I thought a single shiny subject would ease their fears a bit and let them focus more on the darks needed and the shapes to bring out the shiny aspect of the object.  I did the dark shapes in class so they could see me do that and see how dark I got - they often have problems getting dark enough because they don't really load up the pigment.  It's good for them to see how much pigment and water I use.  When you're just beginning in watercolor, there is so much to think about - drawing or tracing something correctly; composition and where things sit on the paper; soft or hard edges; values!!  No wonder it seems overwhelming and stressful at times.  I hope having me there to talk to them and help them when they are struggling is teaching them to stress less and know what to do when a certain technique is needed.  Afterall, all we really teach are techniques - we can't teach someone to be an artist.  That's either in someone or it isn't.  

I'm not sure where Wednesday went or what I did.  But Thursday I drove over to Indiana to Deb's and she, I, Sharon and Linda all worked on our art together and talked and ate and laughed and had a good time.  It was a good day even though it rained :)  And I began 2 small paintings there which I may share later...

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.  Autumn has arrived to my part of the world with cooler temperatures and less humidity.  Perfect!!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Monday, September 9, 2013


I'm not finished with this.  Putting this much visual interest behind the still life seems to be taking too much attention away.  I think I'll just push it all back with a wash of cobalt blue and hope that helps.  I'm happy with the colors of the still life objects themselves.

When I began this one, the little objects just seemed so lost and needed something to give them more punch.  Perhaps I overdid it?

What would you have done?

Tuesday and Wednesday in class we'll be doing one single silver object in order to practice our shiny and reflective things.

The haulers came Saturday to my grandmother's house.  Everything that is going to be taken out - for now - is gone.  I looked for some mimosa pods Saturday but didn't see any - I read that you can start mimosa trees from the pods once they are hanging off the trees in the fall.  I'll keep checking or dig up a sapling soon.

Friday, September 6, 2013


Wednesday, we were very fortunate to have Ohio artist and teacher, Yuki Hall, give a demonstration to the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society.  Yuki paints landscapes and cityscapes.  She says she struggled with trees in her landscapes so moved into painting cityscapes with buildings, cars and people because "it was easier" for her.  We were very pleased to see how she paints one of her half sheet paintings (which win awards in the Ohio Watercolor Society shows and the Cincinnati Art Club Viewpoint shows), from starting value sketches and plans to finished painting.

Yuki was born in Tokyo, Japan and spent the first 2 decades of her life in Japan.  Her approach to watercolor reflects her eastern influences (she took calligraphy and brush painting in school and hated it at the time but now sees that the foundation that was built then helps her with her calligraphic marks now in her watercolors).

Her intention with painting a scene is to paint the impression she had of the scene or the atmosphere of the scene, not the literal scene she saw or photographed.  

She does this in a very organized manner, starting with working on the shapes, from large to small; and then working with a solid tonal value pattern.  

She says her art got better when she began creating value sketches (just small ones in a small sketchbook) before going right into painting.  She often paints a small (fourth sheet or less) monotone painting of the scene before she does it in color, too.  This is another way of working out her shapes and values and these monotones are beautiful enough to mat and frame on their own.  

When she starts to paint, Yuki has her drawing on the watercolor paper, her paper tilted a bit so the paint and water run down, and then she begins with a large, pale wash of color over the painting, moving from warms to cools, and maintaining the whites she wants to leave pure white in the painting.  

She mixes large puddles of "greys" which are made from a variety of colors, often Cobalt Blue, Yellow Ochre or Raw Sienna, and Brown Madder or a bit of a dull red.

She contines to work from these large puddles when she puts in her first wash, and again when she puts in her stronger mid-values.  (She always paints on dry paper so the first wash has to dry before she begins her mid-tones.)

Yuki says that tonal value is the most powerful tool for her in creating depth on 2-dimensional paper.  This is why doing a value study is such a crucial part of her painting and planning processes.


After the mid-tones are drying, Yuki goes back in with her darks, using darks as a way to tie her shapes together in the painting.  She doesn't think, "I'm painting a car now," but thinks, "That big shape there can tie in with that big shape there and go across the bottom of the painting."  (See how she uses a scrap of paper as a test piece before putting a color down on her paper?  I like that idea and wish I would incorporate it into my work.  She did this especially when moving to a new color mixture and when going into the painting with her darks so she had a dark enough mix on her brush.)

Yuki did a beautiful job and shared many paintings and value sketches with us.  We are all pleased to have this very talented artist share her work with us!.  And if she left me with only one thing, it was that you need to see and think shapes and tie those shapes together, rather than do coloring-book filling the object type of painting.  Tying those shapes together with darks or with a certain color, works wonders for a painting.  

And, as Yuki says, 
"The true quality of watercolor will be most evident when it is allowed to take its own course.  As with poetry, less is more."

Thank you, Yuki, for driving down to Mt. Adams and sharing your work and her technique with us!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013



Photo by Jerry H. Carpenter

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


A small, fourth sheet, watercolor of a water strider.  The reflections and shadows attracted me when I saw the photo by Sweetie.

Tomorrow, the GCWS is having Yuki Hall, a well-known artist and teacher, from Ohio, give our monthly program.  It will be well worth attending, if you're in the area and want to attend as a guest.  We'd love to have you!  1021 Parkside Avenue, Cincinnati (the Mt. Adams area) from 10-12.