Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I think she is finished.  I think she is looking down at her reflection in the shadows (which I should have made more colorful, now that I think of it!!).  Ah, second guessing again :)

Everything here in northern KY is so green and pretty and lush.  I would miss this season if we moved to Florida, but I wouldn't miss the winter.  I guess you cannot have it both ways unless you have two separate homes.  I hope, wherever you are, you are having a beautiful season - spring or fall.

Now time to go through all those vacation photos and see what is inspiring.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Just returned from a beautiful week in the St. Augustine/Crescent Beach area of Florida.  Watching waves, birds, people; filling my shoes with beach sand and my pockets with seashells.  Now just catching up on things but here are a few photos to share from the trip.  Enjoy!

High Tide from the Deck

Low Tide from the Deck

Shell on the Beach, Tide Coming In

Collected Shells on the Table

Sweetie is a Last Born child.  The rules just don't apply to him!

This was taken - busted!! - at the St. Augustine Pier and beach.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Well, what else could I call this beautiful crow?  She seems to have stolen the jewels from the neighborhood ladies and used them on her feathers :)

Don't ask me what colors I used, as I just picked up this and that, cool and warm, lots of darks.  She still needs the little shadow shape under her done to ground her and she'll be finished.

What do you think?  Too much?  Not enough?  Does she still look like a crow or does she have too many colors in her wing?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Using a soft 1 1/2 inch hake brush, I put in the graduated wash (in Cobalt Teal) behind the covered (with masking tape and masking fluid) crow.  

Then removed the masking tape and fluid.  

Next, time to start on the crow in some colorful pigments!

Monday, April 21, 2014


He's finished.

Peek-a-boo Lizard

11 x 14 Arches 140# coldpress paper
Daniel Smith pigments

And from a neat technique Carol Carter shared in the workshop I attended, I drew the crow and then used masking tape to tape the larger parts of the subject with masking fluid around the small edges to get it all covered.  

Next comes the wash behind it (and here's hoping the paper is good, unlike the piece I got in the workshop that was splotchy).

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Painting the lizard now.  Removed the masking fluid and will soften some of those spots.  He also needs just a bit more darkening to finish. 

While I'm finishing this one, I'll begin another.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Starting to pop the reds on the hibiscus flower the little lizard is peeking from.  Will finish working the flower and then start on the lizard - in Quin Burnt Orange and brownish-orange colors.  We'll see!

Peek-a-Boo Lizard
11 x 15
Arches 140# cold press paper
Daniel Smith pigments

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


All our weather guessers said it was going to snow Tuesday and I kept saying, "Sure it is."  "Give me a break!"  "Wrong again."
They were right.  Of course, it wasn't a huge snow in our area (although I heard some areas in the Northeast US got 3-4 inches and really cold temps.  

We got just enough to show off the little bird tracks as they hopped around the deck  :)

Or were they out dancing last night during the Full Blood (lunar eclipse) moon which we couldn't see because it was raining and cloudy when I woke up at 2 am?  Perhaps a little ecstatic dance to honor the eclipse of the full moon and the (hopefully) last snow of this winter?

Did you get a peek at the lunar eclipse and the red moon in your area?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


The Littlest Bird is almost done.  Looking through the red glass that determines values, I can see it needs those grey colors much darker so will do that here and there.

And I began another 1/4 sheet painting of a little lizard peeking out of a red flower (probably a hibiscus, judging from the curving petals and the fact that this little guy was photographed in Nassau.

Lots of bold color on this one, working from the background forward to the main character - the little lizard - and dropped some table salt and popcorn salt into the background while it was wet to create the interesting texture.  It looks overpowering right now but wait until you see the reds on the flower.

Watercolor class meets today, I have a busy week but hope to get him finished this week in between other things.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Started my own colorful bicycle in the last day of the Carol Carter workshop.  Did not finish mine.  As coordinator, there are some extra duties I have to take care of during, and especially towards the end, of the workshop, so I was getting tired by the afternoon of the third day.  I didn't want to continue and ruin this good start so I told Carol I'd stop here and do more later - or another version on my own.  Not an excuse, I just know myself and my stamina (or lack thereof!!).

Then I took a few days off from painting - didn't even get anything out but was percolating some things to do when I felt the inspiration strike and the energy level rise so...

For myself and from a photo I've used before (and one I've painted before), I began a little bird.  You know I gotta try some more color on the birds, right? ha ha

Hansa Yellow Light around the bird and then Shadow Violet (the Daniel Smith color I love now) around the outer edges.  Then I wanted to move that yellow around like it's birdsong - you may see lots of birdsong in the air this spring or you may just hear it :) but it's there!!  Our birds are so loud and they are busy calling for mates every morning and evening now.  Beautiful!

I am doing a couple of things from the workshop:
1.  weighting my paper down as it's drying and watching it a bit more
2.  putting a towel underneath the paper to absorb the excess water and also help with puddling, etc.
3.  painting in sections and keeping some sections dry in oder to make cleaner areas here and there - and, hopefully, maintain some white sparkle in areas

This is not finished - but getting close.  Need to add in some more feather shapes and ground him underneath with a little shadow shape.  

Arches 140# cold press paper, 11" x 15"
Daniel Smith paints

The Littlest Bird Sings the Prettiest Song

Friday, April 11, 2014


Our third day of the workshop we had a new painting to begin.  This one was so interesting, so colorful, and something I haven't seen before.  Yes, I've seen bicycles painted by many artists over the years.  But look at this colorful, bold, almost "a rainbow of Skittles" type of bicycle!  Whew!  You can bet, if you rode this thing, you'd get lots of attention :)

Again, working wet-in-wet with lots of water, and beginning from the background and working forward, Carol created a lovely yellow glow around the center of the painting, changing the color towards the outsides of the paper - to keep our eye in the middle of the painting - with the beautiful Daniel Smith Shadow Violet (which is a mix of 3 colors - Pyrrol Orange, Ultramarine Blue, and Viridian).  These three colors, when put into a wet wash, separates into some really beautiful colors you can get no other way (in my opinion), plus it's always a surprise what colors you get - more pinkist in some areas, more greenish in some areas, more violet or blue in other areas!  Depends on the amount of water and how little or how much you brush the pigment around in the water on the paper!

So background forward.  Weight down the paper as it dries to control ridges or buckling paper.  Then moving forward, using the same yellow and shadow violet.

A few places on the bicycle were masked over using Incredible White Mask before painting around them - just to keep those areas white paper when you go into them with pure color later.

Then Carol began painting parts of the bicycle - just parts, not the whole thing!  Parts just large enough that she can control the washes.  And then doing other parts - a bicycle works perfectly for painting in sections and stopping wherever it seems right and then going back to another part (like painting one petal of a flower, then painting another).

Color color is the goal!  Look that that shadow shape!!! WHEW!!!  The paint there is still very wet into wet water so it's still flowing and merging.  Using 3 different colors, she made 5 different colors, not getting dull or grey unless she wanted it that way.  Beautiful!

Seriously, you must take a Carol Carter workshop if you want to paint wet and juicy and amp up your colors (and, no, she is not paying me to say this! ha ha)

The workshop was just 3 days long, meeting from 10 am - 4 pm and we had people still painting 15 minutes before the final day ended = that tells you how much we wanted to soak up and learn and practice before we had to leave.  

How many times have you been in a workshop and had half the class leave after lunch on the last day?  Not this group!  They were dedicated, excited, and wanted to keep seeing those colors merge and bleed and blossom and glow!  I hope we all can remember and use some of the techniques we learned and incorporate them into our own style and palette choices to create something beautiful.

Thanks for following along.  Now...back to the art room and do something of my own.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


A few souvenirs I got from the workshop.  
Notecards, stickers, tattoos!!

The black and white napkin is just one brought in that has birds on it - so I had to bring one home :)

Carol sells notecards, tee shirts, books, and gives out tattoos (which says Good Girl Bad Girl) with her swimmer portrait on it, and little tie-tac pins; she sells books and smaller paintings so there is no reason not to take little bit of Carol Carter art home with you after a workshop!

This little book has her Small Intruder paintings inside - lots of deliciously pretty and fun insects!!

And, of course, all of her watercolor paintings call to me.  It was hard to choose, but I chose this one of shallots and carrots because it really shows on the painting what she showed us in the workshop - the flow of the colors, the bold, pure colors, the shapes, etc.

This one will be matted and framed and hung on my wall and loved every day.

But artists cannot live on painting alone! 

So I picked up a few yummies at the local Party Source store to keep me energized and happy.  Bourbon and chocolate - what more is there to say?

More to come from Day 3 of the workshop next - stay tuned!  Oh, now that I'm talking and thinking about it and reviewing the photos, I wish it had been a week long event (but at the time, my feet and legs from standing all day were telling me three days was plenty and time to sit for a day).

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Our second day we got off to a slow start for some reason - maybe there was a feeling that we knew what we were doing this day, or maybe we just knew each other better and there was more chatting! ha ha  But even though we didn't jump in all bright eyed and bushy tailed, we still came up with some GORGEOUS Datura flower paintings by the end of Day Two.  What a bunch of beauties!

We each chose to have our background in the Cobalt Turquoise Light like Carol demoed, or another color to try.  Aren't they something??

Again, Carol demos a bit as we watch and listen.  A lot of us (especially the the second day) stood around her table watching to see those washes and pigments flow.  Then she stops at a good point, we return to our tables, and try to do what she's just done.  When we reach a good stopping point, we get back up and watch Carol demo more.  

(Always working on wet paper, sometimes really wet wet wet paper.  Letting the colors flow into the water and blossom and flow into each other.)

The first thing was the background - a graded wash.  Carol used Cobalt Turquoise Light (a Winsor Newton pigment).  You can find her pigment list on her Facebook page.

Again, as the pigment is drying on the paper, she weights down her paper edges - something I am going to do, too, in the future, and see what a difference it makes for me.  

Once the wash was done (of course, you had to mask off the flower completely before you painted anything so you had free rein to do a big wet wash without worrying about cutting around the flower parts), she started the flower, painting from background to foreground.  So the flower parts and foliage farthest back in the painting were painted first.  She kept working each section wet-in-wet, and let that dry before going on to the next section, moving towards the front.  If she gets hard edges where she doesn't want them, due to painting in sections, she just takes a damp brush and softens the edges.  

She used Aureolin Yellow and Burnt Sienna for the flowers; Aureolin Yellow and Prussian Blue with some Cobalt Teal Blue (I think) for the foliage and stems.  That's all!!

Although I still have to do the tiny parts that were masked out to finish my datura, I was really pleased with it.  I felt like, for the first time, I GOT it - I knew what I was trying to do and why - and how to get it to look the way I wanted.  I used very different colors from Carols' version, but the colors are a personal choice for me and a way to make my painting more mine (even though it's still a workshop painting and you CANNOT put a workshop painting in a show, calling it your own - especially since Carol gave us the templates and color photos of the paintings we did.)

I have some photos of daturas taken during a trip to New Orleans and will print those out and try this again, using different color combos.  I am really happy with those greens!!!

By the end of Day 2 we were all letting the water and pigment do it's thing (which is what makes watercolor so gorgeous) and checking our values by using Carol's red acrylic "screen" which we look through to take away the colors and show the values.  It is surprising how much color tricks our eyes into believing we have the right values when we don't, especially our darks.  

I got a bad piece of Arches paper, which is why there are blotches on the background violet wash, but since it was just a learning painting, that's okay.  I still learned a lot on this one.  This is cut from a full sheet of Arches 140# cold press paper.  I don't know why it was blotchy like that in the background wash - guess the sizing was bad.

Tomorrow, I'll share the painting from Day 3.  

Three Days of intense painting and I was exhausted, but happy!  I would do it all over again next month! ha ha  Check out Carol's Facebook page for photos from the workshop and her trip here, plus information about her upcoming workshops in Acadia, Maine and Door County, Wisconsin this summer.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I spent yesterday catching up with things, doing some laundry, unpacking my art materials, replying and sending some emails, downloading and sorting and sizing photos from the workshop, etc.  And resting without having any demands on me at all.

So I can share a little bit about the 3-day Carol Carter workshop we had here in Cincinnati over the weekend.  It was sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society and I coordinated it for them.  

It was fun to meet artists who traveled from outside the area - one flying from New Jersey to attend (Laura Starrett who is a pleasure to be around with a great laugh, easy smile and attitude).  

And poor Carol drove for many hours from St. Louis to the Cincinnati area to get here Thursday night through terrible thunderstorms and hit-or-miss tornadoes!! (The life of a full time working artist is not easy.)

Day One was all about color and shaping objects with very few colors, making those few colors work like powerhouses to do extra work as they blend and merge.  Carol's paintings are known for their inner glow and she showed us how she gets that glow in the orb demo by using just 3 pure, transparent colors (the yellow, red, blue primary colors) to make 5-6 colors that shaped the orbs.   Using our masking tape rolls, we traced 3 orbs on our watercolor paper (Carol prefers Arches 140 or 300 but she does like Fabriano, too).  Then we started from the middle of the orb out, painting a base color and using the other 2 colors to go around and blend and shape the orb. One orb began with a base color of yellow (Carol uses Aureolin); one orb began with a base color of red (Carol uses Alizarin Crimson); and one orb began with a base color of blue (Carol uses either French Ultramarine Blue or Prussian Blue).  She prewet the entire orb and painted in the base color - everything is about working wet-in-wet with Carol's style so you never paint into dry paper.  You then paint the other 2 primary colors around the outer edges of the circle, top and bottom separated.  So you'd have a yellow base circle with a red top and blue bottom (example).  

Because the subject (the entire orb) is wet, the colors bleed out and into each other, but you keep the middle area clean by manipulating that paint a little more - still while it's wet.  If you want until it's dried, you get brush strokes and lines.  In the end, you want to see all 3 colors pure and then mixing towards the middle and no mud.  This sounds so easy - but it's not!  Try it and see for yourself.  In the above photo, you can see the orbs Carol did and the pears she did, using the same technique.  Look at those pears!!!  They are neon glowing powerful pears, aren't they?

You really need to SEE Carol paint to know how she does this and how she works.  (So if you can, do take a workshop from her - you will be happy you did.)  
But, as she says, there is no secret or mystical element to it - it's just how she applies the pigment into very wet areas at a time.  For the pears painting, we painted from the background forward (which is how Carol always paints) using just 2 colors.  Yep, just 2 colors - Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine Blue.  The 2 merge towards the middle to make a greyed color behind the pears - which makes them pop even more when those colorful pears are put in front of the greyed area.  
I do have to tell you, those of us who were using Daniel Smith Burnt Sienna were not happy with our more brown results - the Winsor Newton Burnt Sienna (which is what Carol uses) was a prettier and livelier color and did not look so dull brown.  

After the background was done, we prewet the area underneath the pears and painted in the same 2 colors, leaving a few areas for pure pear colors (which were Aureolin Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, and Cerulean Blue).  We painted the pears the same way we painted the orbs - color from the inside out within a very wet shape, leaving areas dry that will be the white of the paper to shape the pears.  Carol uses a lot of little white areas to help her control her wet washes and to give her some visual pop in the paintings.

Carol babysits her washes as they are drying so she will know how a wash is drying.  If something is going in a way she doesn't want, she has time to change it without going back in when it's dry.  And she weights down the edges of her paper (even if it's a small sheet of paper) so there are no large buckles or ridges forming in the paper or with the pigment puddling, etc.

So just 5 colors make those glowing paintings of pears - of course, you have to know how to do it and practice practice practice!!  I wasn't so happy with my orbs or my pears but I wasn't going to tell Carol that - no negativity allowed!!  We had to say, during the end of the day when we taped up our paintings for everyone to see, what we liked about our painting or what we learned that we didn't know before.  

With this much color being used and talked about, there was a lot of excitement during the 3 days!!  And this was just Day One!!! ha ha

Here are my versions of the orbs and the pears.  The pears didn't get finished and they may not be (still need to soften the white edges and put in the stems), but I did learn and will try to incorporate this way into my paintings, perhaps choosing different color combos but remembering to use pure, transparent colors most of the time, especially when trying to get good clean - and colorful - mixes.  (I added some red into the Daniel Smith Burnt Sienna to make it prettier but then that ruined the cleaner look, I think.)

If you want to see more from the workshop, check out Carol's Facebook postings - she has photos of the group, the paintings, her demos, and even the Cincinnati skyline on the evening she arrived.

I'll share a few more photos from Day 2 and Day 3 later - I really like my Day 2 painting of the Datura (something I've tried to paint several times and never gotten something I'm pleased about but this one makes me smile).

Thanks to Carol, 
to those artists who traveled from out of town, 
and to those GCWS members who made this a fun and exciting workshop!

Thursday, April 3, 2014


My friend and favorite watercolor artist, Carol Carter, is coming to Cincinnati to give a 3-day workshop beginning Friday morning, April 4!!!  Lucky me.  And lucky ones who are going to learn so much in this workshop for 3 days!

I know it's going to be hours of talking and sharing information about watercolor and how it works; lots of sharing fun, food, drink and talk - with Carol and all the workshoppers.  

All but three of the participants are from the local area and all but four are current members of our local watercolor society (GCWS).  

I can't wait to meet Laura Starrett, a fellow blogger I've been following. I'll be picking her up at the airport and I know we'll have time to get to know each other over the 3 days.  It is always fun to "meet" someone through their blog and then get to know them in person at a workshop or a meeting.  I already love her work, so it will be fun for me to see her paintings in person.

I will, of course, share a few things from the workshop when it's over and I've rested my brain :)

If you've never taken a workshop with Carol Carter, you really should.  She's wonderful with a capital W!  Her blog is full of workshops for the spring and summer - take a look and see if there is one you can attend.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


More work on this one - I'm not moving too slow, but trying to leave things undone, walking away and then going back to look more carefully.  

And using the red viewfinder to see the values better.  I've darkened areas where it should have been left lighter, according to the photo.  Of course, I could just choose my own light path and try for that. 


Half sheet Arches 140# cold press paper.

What do you think?

Tropical Plant Forms