Saturday, May 31, 2014


On Tuesday, a student (the visiting sister of a student) was working on this photo (from a Google image, so we talked about her not being able to use it for anything but practice).  She was having problems since she's an oil painter and wants to use black and white instead of using water to lighten and darken with complementary colors, etc.  I was trying to show her how to soften edges and not get so many hard edges from the paint drying before she decides to go back in with another color.

So I, too, printed this out and worked on it myself to show her next time.  Maybe it will help her see how to work on her own - if she brings it again next time!

The photo was on a site called and seems to be a wallpaper for your phone.  I found it by just doing a Google image search of cut fruit.

Can you believe that tomorrow is the first day of June??

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Still I Rise

Maya Angelou1928 - 2014
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


On full sheet (22 x 30 inches) Arches 140# cold press paper.  

I will save the rest until finished and entered in the show - just to be on the safe side, considering how many people copy others' work these days online.

Had watercolor class this morning.  
One of my students couldn't come but one student brought her sister, who is visiting from Arizona (and isn't happy with the humidity here!).  I've got them all doing their own photos or reference materials now and I think they'll learn a lot doing it this way.  More thinking involved in composition, colors, technique to use, etc.  

Friday, May 23, 2014


My art room is overrun with roseate spoonbills - drawings and paintings of various ones from photo references.  There's been a lot of planning in this outcome, which I hope means the final thing will just paint itself :)

I have drawn the larger painting - a full sheet (22 x 30 inches) size - and put on the masking fluid.  Now waiting to do the background when that dries.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Well, it could be better.  

But time to quit practicing and go on and start the large painting - which I've decided I do not want to do in a huge size but will do a full sheet size instead (22 x 30 inches) - which actually fits on my work table.

So that will be what shows up next - maybe.  I sure am getting good at putting that off.  Why?  Pressure to do well?  Fear of failure?  What?  Just DO IT! 

Monday, May 19, 2014


Traced the drawing onto the Arches 140# cold press paper.  Then began with the background.  I didn't know exactly what I was going to do - or how I wanted the background to look but wanted greens in cool and warm colors.  Stopped at the water line/reflecting part and put in a touch of the pink that will be the reflection.

Then worked a bit more.

Unfortunately, at this stage, the painting is telling me, "You can't do this."  I think we all get to that stage in a painting - someone once called it the teenage stage!  

I know I want to soften those hard lines in the outspread wing (some, not all), and get a good straight line between the water above and the water below.  We'll see where it goes...

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


This study is done.  I like the water splashes and the little bits of white all around - done with masking fluid before putting any paint on the paper.  

I'm learning as I do each of these.

I laid the large sheet on the kitchen/dining room table today and cut it even (it was a bit off here and there).  Then I traced the large birds on the paper from the tracing paper drawings I had done previously.  I let that sit a while and realized it didn't look right - I want the spoonbill with her wings up to be closer and larger and the other spoonbill (wings down) to be higher, farther away and smaller on the picture plane.  So - did some more drawing.  Then set it aside again.  

And now I'm doing another study, this time on a half sheet (15 x 22 inches) of Arches watercolor paper.  Here's the drawing (on tracing paper which I will trace onto the watercolor paper).

There is no splashing water on this one - just an elegant pink wing and reflection I am calling 
Rose Adagio.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Next step on the study.  I've removed the masking fluid and will need to refine the water and put in some darker areas.  I don't like the hard edges in the back of the wings and I'll need to soften those and put in some water at the ends of the wings on the viewer's right side.

I've cut the large sheet of Arches from the roll I purchased years ago.  Hard to handle but I think it will do.
33 x 45 inches
Drying on my kitchen table.

Watercolor class this morning.
I hope you are doing something creative today!

Friday, May 9, 2014


Here is the first painting, cut back to get rid of the tree, and all that green behind it.  I have the drawing done on 19 x 24 tracing paper and will transfer that, along with the 2nd drawing, onto a large sheet of Arches (I have a roll I may use and just cut it to the length I want).

And the second small study (fourth sheet = 11 x 15 inches), is beginning.  

I used Pebeo Drawing gum to mask and splatter and when that dried, I rubbed some areas off, leaving open spaces in larger masked areas (if that makes any sense).  In essence, I broke up the large masked shapes so there are small holes in them making them more airy.  Hope it looks good when I remove the masking (after I paint the bird).

I have the second full drawing done - now just have to think of how to best combine them and make them sort of "in your face" coming towards you with water splashing everywhere...

Have a great weekend.  Mother's Day = Sunday.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


We have our monthly GCWS meeting today.  Supposed to be a gorgeous day with temps in the 80Fs and sunny :)  So will be very nice driving over to Mt. Adams this morning, and back this afternoon.  We'll be awarding our annual Young Artist Award to a deserving art student from Cincinnati this morning.  The Young Artist will receive a check for art supplies and he or she will bring a few paintings to share with the group - and there will be cake!

Marilyn Bishop, the group's initiator and creator, will be giving the program this morning - on how to save a bad watercolor painting using various media, including pastels.  And I hope some people bring the paintings they did in the April Carol Carter workshop to show off - since Carol will be returning next month to GCWS to give the program.

Carol is also hosting a workshop in her St. Louis studio this coming June!!!  For more information, pop over to her blog or Facebook page and get the info - or email her.  She is a good teacher, enthusiastic, energetic and has such good information to share with her students.

Monday, May 5, 2014


To work towards an idea I have and to get to larger versions, I am going to do a couple of small study paintings first, to try to work out the kinks.  This one, a 1/4 sheet (11 x 15 inches), showed me what I need to change in the larger version - if I go that way.

So what needs to change?

1) lose the tree in the left side
2) lose the grey-blue shape (which is a fallen tree branch) in the background
3) bring the bird up more towards the top of the paper instead of having so much green behind - so I can put in some more water underneath with pink reflections 
4) work on getting smaller blobs and drops of water using various tools with masking fluid
5) make those changes and then draw it out larger

My idea is to have two birds on one large sheet for the final - working towards that.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  
(I had my margarita yesterday - yum!)

Saturday, May 3, 2014


I'm not painting right now.  I am thinking about a large painting I need to do to make the deadline for the upcoming Cincinnati Art Club Viewpoint juried show.  Deadline isn't until July 1 but you know how that goes - if I don't start thinking and planning and maybe doing little studies now, I won't have anything for the show.  So...I have some ideas.  Now to do some drawing and small paintings to see if those ideas work.  

Until then, here are a few more photos from our recent trip to the St. Augustine, Florida area.  This first one was actually taken of a Roseate Spoonbill (gorgeous bodies, UGLY faces!) at the Jacksonville Zoo.

I love the way the water carves the sand on the Matanzas Inlet beach where we stayed all week.

Mother Nature sculpting such interesting shapes!

Ducks doing their morning yoga at the Jacksonville Zoo.

Woodstorks making a nest in view of the waning moon (at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm).

Have a great weekend!