Saturday, November 29, 2014


Some of you still have snow on the ground.  (Some of you have A LOT of snow on the ground!)  Some of you live where there is never a hint of snow.

Our snow has melted with warmer temperatures and rain washing it away. 

Here's a couple of photos of Papa Red before and after the ~4 inches of snow we did have this month...

Thursday, November 27, 2014



I hope you get time with family and friends, and have many things for which you are truly thankful.

I am grateful to all of my blogger/artist friends.  Thank you
for taking time out of your busy lives to stop by
and comment on this little effort of mine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


A few more birds sketched in my sketchbook as I go through The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds.

I don't elaborate on these simple sketches because it's really about the shapes and positions of tails, backs, beaks, eyes.  I may add color to them later.

One of my favorite birds is the Carolina Wren because it's so round and has its tail upright almost all the time = perky and quick, coming to the feeders and gone in a flash of tawny golden brown.

The class today continued to work on their poured paintings.  Looking good!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014


A few more birds sketched in my little sketchbook - from the Laws Guide book.

Not sure I'll remember the various parts of a bird later, but I'm practicing a little at a time.  Maybe some of it will stick?

More to come later as I continue through the Laws book.  

Friday, November 21, 2014


In my sketchbook.  
A distant horizon over black water.

Hopeful Horizon

A cropped version, showing the skyline a little better with greys and whites to indicate a passing storm, perhaps.

Hope is not always the "thing with wings" which Emily Dickinson described.  Sometimes it can be a vast amount of dark water, but the promise of a lighter horizon.  All we have to do to attain the bright promise is keep sailing towards it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Since the month of November is always full of ghosts for me and my family, I found this poem especially evocative of missing those who have gone before...

To One Dead

Maxwell Bodenheim
I walked upon a hill
And the wind, made solemnly drunk with your presence,
Reeled against me.
I stooped to question a flower,
And you floated between my fingers and the petals,
Tying them together.
I severed a leaf from its tree
And a water-drop in the green flagon
Cupped a hunted bit of your smile.
All things about me were steeped in your remembrance
And shivering as they tried to tell me of it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


He just looked a bit forlorn sitting there in my sketchbook without his lovely orange I got out the watercolor pencils and added a little color here and there, brushing on water to blend and make the color come out.

Much better!

In case you want to hear the song Rockin' Robin (the original 1957 version), here is the YouTube link:

And here is the Jackson Five version YouTube link.

Now tell me that doesn't make you want to get up and dance?!?

And here are some bird pics from the recent snow - our first real snow of the year Sunday night/Monday morning = 4 inches on the ground and cold - but beautiful.  Have to put out extra food for my bird friends :)

A female Downy woodpecker.

Two goldfinches keeping an eye on the male Downy woodpecker on the tree.

And the resulting bird-shape in the snow from a hawk attack.  I was looking out the window when he or she swooped down, grabbed a Mourning dove, and took off, leaving this imprint in the snow.  It happened quickly!  (The cycle of life and death, all animals have to eat.)

Monday, November 17, 2014


Another sketchbird in my book, using the Law's Guide.  In information he gave on his website, he recommends using a Prismacolor Blue Col-Erase pencil for initial sketching.  It's light blue and you can erase lines.  

I bought two of the pencils from Dick Blick, used it on this robin sketch and then erased a bit and made changes as I went.  I went over the lines with graphite after I had what I wanted with the blue pencil.  You can see some of those lines because I didn't erase them all.

Although I don't remember, I have been told that I danced to the song, Rockin' Robin, in my crib when I was a tiny thing.  Apparently, all they had to do to make me happy was play that song and let me dance.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Deb Ward asked me if I had ever finished that blue flower.  I hadn't; instead I sat it aside and looked at it often and didn't know what to do with it.  So I began the stamens inside, trying to go slowly and do a good job.  Now, it's done - I think - but I'm still unsure about the finish.  Too much emphasis on the inside?  Should have been a different color?  What?

Maybe it just needs to sit a while longer for me to like it.

Full sheet watercolor paper (22" x 30")
Nothing But the Blues

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Just a few more of these past days.  I'm trying to pick up the sketchbook and do one a day - or more.

Monday, November 10, 2014


I was honored and thrilled to be asked to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop by artist and blogger buddy, Carol Flatt.  (Do hop over to read Carol's post on her blog hop day - last Monday - to learn about her and see some of her work - it's gorgeous!).  I am thrilled to have this go around and include me.  The hardest part is answering some of the pretty in-depth questions (which I usually don't do because I don't THINK about my art so much as DO IT).  However, I'm supposed to answer a few questions, like:

1. What am I working on?
Since I am always trying to learn and expand, a lot of time in my art life is spent reading, studying, practicing.  Whether that's a new water media technique I just read about in an art magazine, or something someone mentioned in a watercolor meeting - or just something I wanted to try and perfect like drawing and painting birds birds birds - I keep pushing and trying to get better.  Because if we're not getting better, we're just getting older, right??

So, right now, at this moment in time, I have begun working on more birds in my sketchbook and trying to get the shape and size and patterns of them without making them too stiff - nothing worse that a bird that doesn't look full of life, whether it's the tilt of the head or angle of the leg or ruffle of the feather.  Working hard, hardly working, either way, thinking and wanting to be better better better still.

And a few doodles get thrown in here and there!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I can't really say it does differ.  I work, primarily, in watercolor.  I don't often add a lot of this and that and stuff but get texture the old-fashioned way, by spritzing the paper with water after I lay down the color and before it dries, or by using granulating pigments.  Although I rarely use salt or collage, I do enjoy playing with different media or extras at times.  It's just not my initial work style.  Also, I want to paint something that pleases me and although I'm happy when someone else likes what I've done, it's not necessary to my well-being for you to like what I'm doing (because I'm doing it for me).  

3. Why do I create what I do?
Gosh, that's a good question!  Why?  Why not just sit around and read romance novels and eat bonbons or go shopping for shoes every day?  I guess there is a creative spark inside me.  I didn't have it when I was very young - didn't have a single art class in school because art class was where the stoners went! ha ha  So...I saw and fell in love with watercolor years ago and said, "I want to do that."  Then, "I want to do that" turned into "I have to do that" and it's an obsession to get better and to learn more.  I do so enjoy learning something new.  Although I haven't found my niche yet, I feel it's closer all the time - and has to include organic things and things with feathers :)  A bird makes me happy - a thing with wings, a splash of color, a light in an eye...there is so much in the natural world that calms me and also energizes me.  

4. How does my creating process work?
I normally work on watercolor paper (either 140# or 300# cold press or rough press) and begin with a drawing I do on tracing paper.  Then I trace that onto the watercolor paper and go, working from back to front and trying to get in some good colors and a few drizzles or drips or splatters or something energetic.  I am still trying to maintain my whites and think more before putting down the brush.  I figure by the time I get to be 90, I'll have this watercolor medium licked and can move on to something else!

And now, here are two artists I follow and admire.  They are so different in style but both are wonderful watermedia artists who, like me, always want to get better and stronger in their art - and they are both doing a great job of that!  Seriously, you should be following both of them and enjoying what they share!

1.  Deb Ward.  
What can I say about Deb Ward and her journey?  She is creating a name for herself in this fickle art world by getting accepted into some pretty major watercolor society shows enough times to gain signature status in many of them, plus winning awards so people are becoming aware of the artist, Deb Ward.   She a real waterMEDIA artist, painting in watercolor, acrylic, fluid acrylic, casein and just about anything else that mixes with water.  She works hard, teaches others, and holds workshops locally.  If there is a local watermedia show, you can bet there is one (or two) Deb Ward paintings in it!  

Deb doesn't know how much she amazes me with her dedication to her work (and it does take dedication and commitment to getting ahead in this genre and showing people what you can do).  

Plus she has a great sense of humor and always looks at the funny parts of life so there is always lots of laughter whenever we get together.  

Do yourself a favor and visit Deb Ward's blog!

She will post her blog hop posting next Monday so tell her I said Howdy! 

2.  Laura Starrett
is a watercolor artist I began following years ago.  I was enthralled with her lovely, light, lively birds, and sensed that she was like me in her struggle to always try to be better and better.  She takes online classes and workshops (we even got to meet in a Carol Carter workshop here in Cincinnati this past year).  Laura has a love of nature and lives close to one of the best birding places on the east coast of the U.S.  She is open, caring, fun, interesting and so very talented (although I don't think she knows that).  

I never am disappointed when I visit Laura's blog to see a new posting, and I really do miss her work when her day job takes her away from her blog. 

If you want to see some lovely, loose gems of paintings, do visit her blog and tell her I said Hi! 

She will be posting her blog hop post next Monday.

I see both of these artists and the differences in their work and style, and am so happy that watercolor can hold both of them securely and happily  -  and we viewers and fans get the benefit.  I so love this wonderful medium called watercolor and the artists who are working to keep it so strong!  


Sunday, November 9, 2014


There are some paintings that just want to beat you to the ground.  No matter what you do, it looks bad.  This is one of those...

I keep doing more - more color, some plastic wrap in the background, some more color, some more shaping of the berries...

And it still looks bad.

Should I just admit defeat, gesso over it (it's on 9" x 12" canvas) and do something else?

This has salt on the leaves, Chinese White on the berries, and phthalo blue watercolor ink in the background.

And it still looks bad! ha ha

Oh, well....

Where is that white gesso?

Friday, November 7, 2014


Using the book, The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds, by John Muir Laws, I am copying some work there and reading/studying the good information included about the anatomy of birds.  

Here are a few sketchbirds I've done so far...going slowly through the book and reading/studying a bit each day.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Well the watercolor painting on the 9 x 12 inches of gessoed canvas started okay, using watercolor pencils to draw in the shapes.

And then, somewhere along the line, it became sooooo green!!!  Ewwww!

Not to worry.  I can tone everything down.  Especially if I get paint over the watercolor with fluid acrylics.  

But right now that green is giving me a headache!!!

We had a good meeting of the watercolor society yesterday, with Deb Ward leading as each member (well, almost all members) put up one painting for critique.  Each critique lasted no more than 5 minutes and I think everyone benefited from it.  It's amazing what a few more eyes on a painting can do - you look at something enough and you don't see what is obvious to another person.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Come on over to the Mt. Adams (Cincinnati) meeting of the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society Wednesday morning.  We start at 10 am and this month's meeting will be led by Deb Ward (multi-award winning artist and past President/Program Chair and current Membership Co-chair).  

Deb will give each member a critique of one painting in order to push your painting from a B to an A!!  Each member is to bring one or two paintings (two will be critiqued if we have the time).    Deb knows what jurors are looking for, having been accepted in many watercolor society shows over the last 2-3 three years and gaining signature status in many, including the Georgia Watercolor Society, the Ohio Watercolor Society, the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, and the American Watercolor Society.    

Bring a painting - or just come and listen and learn...see you there:

1021 Parkside Place, Cincinnati OH (Mt. Adams)
from 10 am - 12 pm or so...
Bring your materials and join us for a friendly, open paint-along time after the meeting, if you choose.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


I imagine that everyone who loves and reads poetry, thinks of Emily Dickinson when they hear about the female poet of Amherst, Massachussetts.  
But what about this other female poet of Amherst, who also published poetry in her lifetime?


Helen Hunt Jackson
This is the treacherous month when autumn days
With summer’s voice come bearing summer’s gifts.
Beguiled, the pale down-trodden aster lifts
Her head and blooms again. The soft, warm haze
Makes moist once more the sere and dusty ways,
And, creeping through where dead leaves lie in drifts,
The violet returns. Snow noiseless sifts
Ere night, an icy shroud, which morning’s rays
Will idly shine upon and slowly melt,
Too late to bid the violet live again.
The treachery, at last, too late, is plain;
Bare are the places where the sweet flowers dwelt.
What joy sufficient hath November felt?
What profit from the violet’s day of pain?

Helen Hunt Jackson was born and raised in Amherst, Massachussetts, in 1830. She published five collections of poetry during her lifetime and Southern California's most enduring historical romance novel, "Ramona".  She was a schoolmate and friend of Emily Dickinson.  Jackson grew up in a literary environment, and was herself a noted poet and writer of children's stories, novels, and essays before turning her intellect and energy to investigating and publicizing the mistreatment of Native Americans, especially the Mission Indians of Southern California.

Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830.  While Dickinson was extremely prolific as a poet and regularly enclosed poems in letters to friends, she was neither publicly recognized nor published during her lifetime. Dickinson was a recluse who never left her home after 1860.  Her family discovered forty handbound volumes of nearly 1,800 poems after her death in 1886.  The first volume of her work was published posthumously in 1890 and the last in 1955.  

Monday, November 3, 2014


Since I wasn't thrilled with the berries and leaves I did as a poured painting, I began this one - simpler with just a few leaves, and on 9 x 12 inch canvas that has been gessoed and painted with watercolor (drew with watercolor pencils).

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Hope you survived the Hallow's Eve celebrations and did not eat too much candy.  The raven says rain and cold coming our way (low 35F!!!), beginning last night with rain turning to snow flurries - but just cold rain while the Halloweenies were braving the windy wet weather to get their candy treats.  I guess we couldn't put off colder weather forever.  This morning = big, fat, fluffy snowflakes falling down.  Cold!

Who's going to eat all this leftover Halloween candy???