Friday, February 27, 2015


This began as a simple sketch in my sketchbook (which is almost full now).

The title came as soon as I finished the sketch:

In Love with an Elegant Line

Then I decided to paint it using the gold gessoed watercolor paper.

The next step is to put some color on the gold tree to soften areas and give it more interest.  If watercolor doesn't do it, I may pull out the watercolor pencils.

Still cold cold cold here and about 6 inches of snow still on the ground and piled around where snowplows have cleaned off middle of streets and people have shoveled out their driveways.  More ice and snow coming Sunday morning - what fun.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


The birds are pretty active around the feeders, trying to get their bellies full on these bitterly cold days and nights.  I'm putting out extra so everyone gets a chance to eat.  Here are some photos of the birds (and one squirrel who was braving the snow).

This little red finch, looking a bit disgruntled to be out in the snow.

A nice drink after eating at the suet feeder is always nice.

That snow is piling up on the table.  Gotta dig down to get to the good stuff.

We've been seeing this Rufous Sided Towee coming around to eat, too.

What do you mean, goldfinches only?  That's discrimination!

Monday, February 23, 2015


What have I been doing?  Nothing.  Nothing but watching the snow pile up around the house, around the cars, in the driveway, on the trees.  Nothing but watching the weather channel so I know exactly how cold it is out there right now - and how cold it will be tomorrow.  (Why this matters, I don't know, but I seem mesmerized by all the photos and words about traffic at a standstill and power outages and snow depths.)

My car battery is dead.  I tried to move her before the last snow (6 inches more on the ground and then a little icing on top of that) but it wouldn't turn over.  So it's sitting on the street.  Dead.  Doing nothing.  Being plowed in each time the snowplow comes by to clean the road.

This weather makes me do nothing.  Nothing but watch t.v. and read = escapism.  

My little art room is cold = we have to open the garage door from the downstairs to the garage to keep the water pipes from freezing when it gets down to -20F.  I don't want to go into my little art room to do anything.  So I do nothing.

I hope the temperature rises soon and the snow melts and we begin to see spring buds only took a week to put me into a real slump and another week of the same to come...winter is not my favorite season.  I hope some of you out there enjoy this snow.  As for me, I could do without ever seeing snow again - ever.

I did some sketching in the my sketchbook (possible plans for future paintings).  I didn't have to get off the sofa to do that.

And the two Dean Nimmer books I ordered have arrived.  I've begun looking through them but not doing any exercises from the book yet.  Maybe it will be a spring thing...

Come on, Spring!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


I had planned for my students to paint on gold gessoed watercolor paper this week - but the weather had other ideas.  We had a big snow all day Monday through Tuesday morning and then the temperatures went down to -7F.  Yes, I said MINUS 7 degrees!!!  Didn't want anyone to get out in that who didn't have to be out because they didn't do a great job of cleaning any secondary roads due to the blowing snow Monday.  

Have you ever painted watercolors on gessoed paper?  Same thing as that, only this gesso is gold.  Daniel Smith carries (or used to carry) lots of colors of gesso so you could play with a lot of colors other than white.  And with gesso on the paper first, lifting watercolors back to white is easy.

It would make for some nice Asian-inspired paintings or anything that had some bold colors like black, red, dark blues, oranges, etc....leaving the gold showing through in places makes for a pretty piece.  

Not saying this is a pretty piece.  I just wanted to see what I could do with gold gesso over the TerraSkin "paper" I have.  It does stick well with acrylics.  Once the paint is dry, it doesn't come up unless you scratch it up with an exacto knife (which I don't recommend because TerraSkin is not paper but a stone paper that is heavier and has a bit more tooth than Yupo and is less slick.  I got some for Christmas and will be using it, experimenting and playing to see what it will and won't do.

The best thing about this is the palms and how I just brushed the black gesso (yeah, black gesso, not paint) down with the flat brush, creating those fronds.  The worst this is the bottom, the strange shaped wings of the blue heron/egret? and the afterthought of the red sun in the tiny portion of the edge of the paper which would be cut off if you frame it.  But this is just a play and experimentation piece and learn, right?

I hope you are inside, safe and warm.  This last snowstorm cut through the midwest and through the south and then up to poor blasted Boston again, making sure everyone had a taste of snow, sleet, ice, blowing wind, etc.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


What I got for Valentine's Day (plus chocolates and two cards and a slice of peanut butter pie - YUM - from my Sweetie!).  

I had to put the flowers in another vase because this one, although cute with the candies around the center, had a very small area for the water in the center of the vase, and they were drooping a lot - needed more water.  So put them in the blue vase I got from my sister last month.  

What we got for Presidents' Day:
snow and more snow and cold.  But a lot of birds as soon as I filled the feeders and threw seed on the table.  

Why do Cardinals always look so red in the snow?  There must have been a dozen out there at one time.

We keep a heater in the birdbath, so it stays unfrozen no matter how cold it gets.  The water attracts every bird in the area who needs a quick drink or a little dunk to wash off the feathers.

There are twice as many males as females in the Cardinal group we have here, but this couple seemed to stay together, all puffed up against the cold but well fed.

Enjoy!  And stay safe and warm.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Coming up with ideas and titles from my sketchbook drawings, this one is called 

Stone Soup.  

I remember it from a children's story - the title - but don't remember much about it so should look it up and see what the story is.  Was it an Aesop's fable or a Grimm's fairy tale?

If I plan to continue with these acrylic abstracts on paper, I need to invest in some good acrylic tube paints so I have more variety in my colors, or just paint in the fluid acrylics I have (I seem to have a bit of those lying around, waiting for me to do something with them.)

Not sure where this one is going and it doesn't have the good lines the sketch had...something seems to get lost in the translation from sketchbook and graphite to paper and limited amounts of acrylic paint.  I did watch a pot boil (it's not true that a watched pot doesn't boil!) the other evening, wondering how to incorporate those bubbles into this one.

I am reading a book on Georgia O'Keeffe which my sister bought at the Indianapolis Art Museum (they are having a show of her works with the southwest still lifes of other artists at that time).  Looking at this, it could be a southwestern landscape (if I get rid of the stones) = mesa and sky?

Saturday, February 14, 2015


I just couldn't BEAR it
If you wouldn't be my VALENTINE.


Friday, February 13, 2015


This one is finished.  
Do you know how I can tell when one of these abstracted/simplified paintings in acrylic is done?  It's done when I'm bored with it and want to do something else! ha ha

I find that the outcome of this one is pretty amateurish and simple (not simple in a good way, but not defined, not elegant or subdued).  Maybe I'm better off not having an idea before starting and painting.  But this is the time to NOT judge so harshly yet - give this baby some time to grow a little and start walking - right now it's at the rolling around on the floor stage, sucking it's thumb and wanting attention stage.

In the Depths of Winter, I Dream of Summer
Acrylic on 11 x 15" Fabriano Artistico 140# cold press watercolor paper

If I did this again, I would change the flowers to something less childish looking and round - and also the stem would be just a flowing elegant line - not so thick and one dimensional.  My favorite part is the bottom where I painted and then scratched into the paint and smooshed it upwards with a dry paper towel to push some paint up and blurred at the top edge.  So maybe something next time with more scratching into the wet paint?  We'll see...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Beginning another abstract.  

I first did a small sketch in my sketchbook, working out the color scheme, and a title came to me:

In the Depths of Winter, I Dream of Summer

Then, I started putting it on paper with my acrylic tube paints (some are heavy body acrylics and some are open acrylics I've accumulated over the years).  I slowly added bits and thought about how to convey the sketch on paper into texture and colors.

This is acrylic on watercolor paper (11 x 15 inches). 

I see why abstract artists use acrylics - you can remove, add, change colors, add collage or texture, all without ruining it.  

The next stage of this was defining the color blocks more and getting in some texture by stamping with a small stamp I handmade in a Myrna Wacknov workshop when she taught at Kanuga (NC).

At this stage, I knew the yellow was too yellow and the blocks were too defined and hard edged - time to change that and soften some things...

Before doing that, I drew the flower circles on a piece of scrap watercolor paper, put acrylic paste medium on them and scraped into them, then painted them yellow.  When that dried, I cut them out into circles, placed them where I wanted them, ready to glue onto the piece to represent the flowers in the original sketch.

Time to get some of the browns into the bottom - a perfect time to scratch into the wet paint and create the look of dried weeds and branches there.

Then an idea of adding a bit of black India ink to some areas came to mind to add pops of a strong contrasting color...

Perhaps in the yellow-green areas for pop and the center of the yellow flower circles, too...

(See what I mean about acrylics?  Anything goes and anything can be changed after you start.  Of course, that DOES NOT mean I am giving up my watercolors - just taking a creative break to see where it leads me.)

I am also in the mood to do something nice for Valentine's Day for my Sweetie.  I have a lot of nice papers painted and inked for card decoration.  Do you ever make cards for people you love?  

Monday, February 9, 2015


Pressure on Skin

12.5 x 17.5 inches 

Acrylic and graphite on TerraSkin "paper"

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Back to watercolor on paper...


11 x 15 inches

Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 140# cold press watercolor paper

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Scraping off some of the white to get down to the blue, then reinforcing those lines with graphite and smudging it.  Then scraping some more and wiping off the alcohol wipes.  Then...what color to try?  

Many of the shapes became egg-like again, but I didn't really want to have that so...mama bird showed up, instead...

Egret Ascending
11 x 15 inches (fourth sheet) 
on Fabriano Artistico 140# cold press watercolor paper

What do you think?  Successful, or not?  Not as abstracted as the first one, that's for sure?  
Which one do you like the best - 
this one or the Birds Nest Soup painting - and why?

So you don't have to search back for the previous painting, here is Birds Nest Soup again.  It is a half sheet painting (15 x 22 inches)

I do believe, as a pure abstraction, the first painting worked better even though it doesn't have many of my favorite colors in it.  Maybe not having a solid idea when you are working is a good thing?

I have ordered a couple of books to further my studies:

Art From Intuition
Creating Abstract Art:  Ideas and Inspirations for Passionate Art-Making

Both books are by Dean Nimmer.

I hope they inspire me to do more of these.  If they do, I may have to buy more acrylic paint and mediums. In the Fall 2014 issue of Acrylic Artist, they have a lot of beginner information about acrylic paints and mediums and some seem like something I may have to try - like Pouring Medium (because I love my drizzles) and String Gel (because I love my drizzles).  

I hope you are enjoying my exploration of a medium I know NOTHING about - and wouldn't turn up my nose at any ideas or information you acrylic artists out there might have to lead me in the right direction :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


After the blue acrylic dried, I put down a layer of white greyed with black.  (Used Titanium White and Mars Black)  

I greyed it more than I like but used it anyway (I only have a little bit of acrylic to use so don't want to waste it).

The next step, once this dries, is just another layer of pure white and then that will be scraped through and the adding and subtracting of color starts.

Since it's an abstract, I don't know how I'll place it - vertical or horizontal.  We'll see when I begin scraping into the color, washing some off with alcohol, and putting more on.  I guess this is when the painting begins to come through on its own :)

And guess who has a cold - again!  The last one ruined 2 weeks of time in Florida for me (especially the 2nd week of the cold), and lasted almost 3 weeks.  This one just started Thursday morning early, when I woke up with a very sore throat and that "feeling" you get when you know you're getting a cold :(  By Saturday morning, I knew we had to cancel our trip back to Florida - which we did :(  

Oh, well, there's always another time to go, right?

Maybe I'll feel creative enough in a few days to finish this one and see where it goes...