Sunday, May 31, 2015


After the Winter

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
    And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
    Have sheltered for the night,
We’ll turn our faces southward, love,
    Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire to shafted grove
    And wide-mouthed orchids smile.
And we will seek the quiet hill
    Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
    And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there
    Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
    And ferns that never fade.
     ---Claude McKay 1889-1948

Friday, May 29, 2015


Still pondering whether to darken some areas in the bottom of this one...

This one is just in the beginning stages - lots more to do...and more blues in this one.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Almost finished.  
Just a bit of bringing out the center petals and yellow bits in the middle of the petals (not sure what those are called) to finish.  

Center Light

Monday, May 25, 2015


As I continue to work on the hydrangea painting, I've come to the conclusion that the name I gave it initially does not fit.  So...I am changing it from Movement in Blue to Center Light.  Makes more sense, I think to convey the center parts which are the light and yellow petals.

And I will save the Movement in Blue title for the next one - which will be very blue!  
(Here is a sneak peek of the initial paint on the paper.  No whites in this one, just pale pale almost there cerulean blue.)

This one is a half sheet.  I prewet the paper and let the blue flow around, leaving the yellow centers and some pale green leaves showing here and there.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Got a newsletter/email from the Smithsonian Institute.  Apparently, it's World Turtle Day!  

Turtles are amazing critters and so cute.  Seems everyone likes them.  I remember once, being a bit overwhelmed when getting in the murky water of Hawaii for a snorkel and finding myself amongst large sea turtles.  I put my fingers under my arms, afraid they'd try to take a bite of one or two! ha ha

My aunt always kept tiny turtles she bought from a pet store.  She only bought one at a time, calling each one George.  I remember visiting and seeing him (or her, who can tell?) having a daily swim in her sink.  

Sweetie always brings home turtles, saving them from being run over in the road.  He intends to photograph them and has had many turtle (and frog) models over the years.  Right now we have a little female I've named Tilly.  She likes worms but it seems a struggle for her as they wrap themselves around her face as she tries to bite them on the end (never the middle).  Counting the growth rings on her shell, it looks like Tilly is 6 year's old.  (She gets to stay in my paint tub - which I used for pouring paints = colorful drips and splatters!)

A friend of ours is part of the Turtle Rescue group on Anna Maria Island, Florida.  She gets to go out and tag the turtle nests and even gets to see the little ones digging out and heading to the sea (the volunteers help if they seem to need it and then they count the remaining unhatched eggs).  I would like to do that sometime.  Not much is cuter than baby turtles heading towards the sea.

Have a good weekend, everyone.  

(PS I have temporarily solved the caterwauling cat problem = I chased her off each time she came around the house yesterday afternoon and evening so she was less likely to set up camp under my bedroom window; then I took a sleeping pill last night so I wouldn't hear her yowling all night.  I really didn't want to take her to the pound.  It's not her fault that her owners have abandoned her.  I talk tough but don't really want to hurt an animal - wouldn't mind giving the owners a piece of my mind, though, wherever they are.)

Friday, May 22, 2015


Here in the US, we have a 3-day Memorial Day weekend coming up.  Usually, the pools open and people use their grills for the first time.  We had hot weather that turned very very cool (down to 45F at night) but it's warming up again.  Sun is shining, flowers are blooming, I am still slowly adding to the hydrangea painting and have another one begun (drawn out) which will be pale blues with touches of pink. 
My hydrangea by the front door is turning very purple.  I am reading how to get it to change back to blue.  

Last night, two cats were making love or war outside my bedroom window all night long!!!  Every time they quieted down, and I fell asleep, another YOWL woke me.  The skinny black female even hung around this morning, walking around the house howling.  On my walk this morning, I stopped and she stopped, we both looked at each other, and I told her, "If you spend one more night outside my window howling like that, I am taking you to the pound.  I'm serious!"  She seemed to ponder that and then turned away as I turned away from her.  We'll see.

Now, I don't hate cats.  I like cats.  Unfortunately, we have 4 cats in the neighborhood who roam freely and none of them have collars so I don't know where they belong.  But I do know where they do NOT belong = outside my window at 3 AM.   

Dog owners have to have their dogs on a leash to walk them or they have to keep them in their own yards.  Why are cat owners allowed to let their cats free to roam the neighborhood, killing birds and smelling up the ground (using it as a litter box)?  

When we had cats (2) they were never allowed to go out.  They didn't know to want to go out.  They had pretty good lives inside and didn't really pay much attention to the birds even if they were out in the sunroom, able to watch them. 

What would you do if you have no way of knowing where this cat belongs?   

Thursday, May 21, 2015


This one is not finished yet.  I started it for my watercolor students for Cinco de Mayo.  They painted similar things - one did margaritas in different glasses and one did a mix of fruit and both will finish their paintings next class (my class only meets every other Tuesday so they have time to work on their projects in between or start another painting, using the things they learned in class, etc.)

The way I started my Cinco de Mayo painting was:

Using Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground as a texture medium, I dabbed with a round brush around the tops of the glasses to imitate the salt.

I painted the background using Daniel Smith Moonglow, cutting around everything.
Next, the fruit.  
Then the margaritas and fruit in the glasses.  

To finish this, I'd have to do the apple slice and work a bit on the lime slice.  Plus, I'd have to cut around the salted edges to make them look better.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Just outside the front window in a shrub, a mother Cardinal raised her 3 little baby birds.  It was easy to tell when Mama and Papa were feeding from the peep peep peeping.  Finally, they began fledging, one by one.  No more in the nest now.  I hope they all do well.

I was taking pictures from the window and the sun was shining in...but you can see the outline of the second little brave one, out on the limb and away from the nest in the darkest thicket part...

This one made it's way around the house to the side where there are lots of trees and shrubs, but when I went looking, it panicked and jumped down into the grass, peeping like crazy for Mama!!  She was there - and so was Papa - keeping watch the trying to lure me away from the little one.  I walked away and it was soon back in the trees.

At this time of year, you can hear babies calling for food constantly throughout the trees around the neighborhood!

It's odd, but I never see a baby cardinal at the feeders - lots of others being fed by Mama and Papa from the suet and seed I put out - but never any cardinals.  Wonder where they go and do they begin to eat worms right away and insects instead of seed?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Listening to 
The Lone Bellow 
and painting hydrangeas, 
getting lost in the music and the colors...
and saving the best for last...the center lightfilled yellow-green-violet petals.

Enjoy, and have a great week.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Next steps on the hydrangea painting, Movement in Blue.  I cropped the edges and now it's 15 x 18 inches (got rid of some of the green that didn't add anything to the painting).  Working the blues and violets and pinks in now and leaving whites...going slowly to get it right.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Half sheet Arches 300# cold press

I started with the background greens.  I'll be calling this one

Movement in Blue

From photos I took of the hydrangea Sweetie bought me - such a pretty flower and you can go in for a macro shot, changing shapes and positions easily by just moving around the flower (or by turning it in its pot).  

Friday, May 15, 2015


In the latest Daniel Smith newsletter, a well known artist lists her latest favorite DS watercolors.  She says Opera Pink is great for painting roses.    

Here is what Daniel Smith tells us about Opera Pink:

Product Description

The most vivid of all pinks, has long been requested by DANIEL SMITH customers. A primary magenta with a hint of fluorescent pink granulation producing some of the most brilliant glowing mixes you have ever seen.

Try mixing Opera Pink with our New Gamboge for fiery oranges or with an Indanthrone Blue for stunning violets and glowing purples.
  • ASTM Lightfastness Rating: Fugitive
  • Granulating: Yes
  • Staining: Non-staining
  • Transparency: Transparent

This is a pet peeve of mine:  when an artist suggests I buy a certain color because it's pretty, but does not tell me that the very pretty color is a fugitive color.  

Maybe you've never heard of Fugitive Colors.  Here is what it means.  It means the manufacturer gives you 0 guarantee that the pretty color you put on your painting today will remain that color in the next year or so - in fact, they tell you right up front it is fugitive and will change over time.  

I once fell in love with the organic color Rose Madder Genuine (also from Daniel Smith).  I used it on a few paintings when I first started in watercolor - before I learned which colors to avoid, no matter how pretty they are.  

Maybe avoiding fugitive colors only matters to me.

But isn't the "nonpermanence" issue one of the major drawbacks mentioned by those who put watercolor paintings on the low end of art materials?  Don't they say watercolor pigments won't last - they are too delicate - they can't withstand the test of time like oils??  And don't we buy right into that criticism when we use colors we KNOW are not permanent?   And we know better.  Because the manufacturers tell us which colors they put out (due to customer requests) that will not stand the test of time.   

Educate yourself on those colors to is a link to the Daniel Smith chart of watercolors that tells you which are rated Fugitive (or not).    

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


EDiM #8 - Something with a Handle

After I drew it, it looked like a bunny so I'm calling it The Magic Bunny Cane.

The Magic Bunny Cane helps you heal from all mishaps where you now have to use a cane to get around.  In no time at all, you'll be hopping around like a bunny in a clover patch!

EDiM #9 - Something with an interesting label

Nothing more interesting than this set of face cream, toner, and serum from Japan called kakon juka - which, according to the site, means flower root tree fruit in Japanese.  Don't know if that's true, or not, but the containers are so pretty I couldn't resist.  

These may end up being a present to someone because I've yet to open any of them - did I just buy them because they are pretty?  What a silly woman!!!

Don't know how many more of these I will do...since I now have A LOT of photos of the new hydrangea Sweetie bought me last week.  So pretty, and still blooming in a large pot beside the front stoop.  They are calling my name....

Monday, May 11, 2015


My favorite I've done so far - not from life, from a photo...done in graphite from an iPad photo while sitting watching t.v. - multitasking in the 21st century!

EDiM #6 - Something with Bristles

(I won't tell you who it is - if I did a fairly decent job, you may recognize him.)

EDiM #7 - An envelope or envelopes

Back to simplicity...

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Since I didn't have a card for Mom, I drew something she said she needs and then painted in watercolor.  ha ha  We'll go shopping for some new undies for her soon.  Until then, she got a new pair of jeans and with the discount and sales price, she got a new pair for $21 - pretty good deal!

She left the card in my car so I got a photo of it (forgot to do that before I gave it to her so now she'll get it later).  

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers and caregivers who mother someone in life.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Here's what I've done so far...

EDiM #4 - Spices in jars or containers

(Sorry the photo is a bit blurred.)

Pulled out a few spices from my cabinet, set them on a table, and sketched them out.

EDiM #5 - Something Hot

My morning coffee in my Starbucks
mermaid tail cup (love this cup!).

Thursday, May 7, 2015


On a scrap piece of paper, I worked to create a birch tree - on the left side, plain; and on the right side, with texture medium inside the treetrunk using a palette knife.  I like the way the texture medium made the paint do its thing easily and create a nice tree shape and look.  I painted the background greens after I painted the trees.  This looks better in person when you can actually see the texture on the trunk on the right.

You don't always have to be painting a masterpiece to get your brushes wet and feel like you're still progressing...just paint something small and interesting and see what it becomes.  Could become a little card or insert to a card to a never know.

I think the tree without texture medium would have turned out more "textury" if I'd painted with a flat, dry-ish brush.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Well, for some reason, by telling myself I wasn't going to participate in the Every Day in May drawing/sketching challenge, I am actually participating! ha ha  Strange but that's the way it's working so far.

So...I did redraw the Nearby Tree for EDiM - May 2 while sitting in the sunroom and looking out the windows at a tree in the neighbor's yard just past our fence.

It doesn't look any better than the first one I did without looking at a tree but the goal is not to spend hours on this - just to sketch quickly and get some color in (or not) and be done with it.  I accomplished that goal.  

Drawing with the Pitt pens and putting the color in with watercolor pencils.  I did use a Niji travel brush and blend the color a little.

And here is my EDiM for May 3 = Curtains is the word.  I don't have any interesting curtains in my entire house so picked these out online - pretty, elegant, and I wouldn't mind having these if they fit in my house anywhere.

More to come later, I think...we'll see.  I've only done 3 and I have more to do to catch up.  May have to do 2-3 a day?  And this is where the pressure begins that one puts oneself through on these challenges.  No, don't have to do any at all or just do the one that appeals to me and move on...

Sunday, May 3, 2015


I have been seeing blogs where the artists are joining in on the Every Day in May challenge to draw every day.  This year, they even have guidelines:  one word to be a theme or the challenge for the day.  I am not going to do this to myself.  It puts too much pressure on to get it done even if you don't have time or energy, plus I'm against one word themes to constrict me even more.  Okay, those are my "excuses" of why I'm not joining in.  

However, I did read Katherine Tyrell's latest post about it and, after visiting the Flickr site where the artists participating are posting their work, I did one drawing.  Then I did another (but I cheated because I'm pretty sure you're supposed to be drawing from life whenever possible and there are plenty of Nearby Trees - the second challenge word - around me to use as life models).  

If I truly participated, I would do the second day's drawing over from life, sitting looking at a nearby tree.  (And not sure why this is so blurry - perhaps the skitchy background threw off the camera lens?)

These are both done with black Pitt Pens and then colored with watercolor pencils - no water.  And in my little 5 1/2 x 7 inches ESP journal (not the greatest paper for anything but dry media).

What about you?
Are you going to be drawing/sketching Every Day in May?
(I believe this was originally begun a few year's ago by the artist, Danny Gregory?)

Friday, May 1, 2015


Another painting, 11.5 x 15 inches on 140# rough press paper

April Skies No. 2

Will there be a No. 3?  Probably...

Happy May!