Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Did you all see the total eclipse of the supermoon on Sunday night?  I did go outside (we had a good view while standing in the front yard even though there were some clouds) about every half hour from 9 pm onward and saw it become darker and then a deep wine red color by 11 pm.  After that, I went to bed! ha ha  

And speaking of the moon, my friend in Australia, Sadami, has illustrated her first book, Moon, and had her opening night last weekend.  She is so good with watercolor and watercolor "sketching" as she calls it, of portraits and people she sees everywhere.  This book was a work from the heart and she spent 2 years on it, bringing it to completion.  

Here is the book, Moon.

And she sent me a copy!!  There are so many wonderful watercolors inside this book, I will treasure it and am so honored that she mailed me an advance copy.  

Plus, inside the copy was a little surprise - one of her gorgeous seascapes.

I had it matted and framed and it hangs on the wall now.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a great photo of it (you can see my reflection a bit), but I thank you dear, sweet Sadami!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


I have a student who was in the Carol Carter workshop with me back in spring of 2014.  She asked if we could do Carol's bicycle painting again because she wasn't happy with the way her first effort turned out.

So that's what Tuesday's lesson was about...

This is a photo taken at that workshop.  Carol had drawn out the bicycle on the watercolor paper, using the photo of her original painting above, and was ready to add the misket to block out the whites before putting down juicy wet color.

After that, the color goes on wet paper all around the bicycle in Aureolin Yellow and Shadow Violet to the outside edges, letting the paint merge.  Then paint the bicycle when the first wash around it has dried. 

This is my latest version to share with the class.  At this stage, the misket is still on and just Hansa Yellow Light + Shadow Violet were painted wet-in-wet on the paper and are drying.  

This was one of Carol's bicycles from the workshop, almost finished.

The trick is to make the shadow pretty but not too much red or it looks like someone was killed on the bicycle and bled out!!  (That's what my student said her first effort looked like.)

I reminded them that this is a copy of one of Carol's paintings using her photo - so no selling anywhere or putting in a show, but they can use it for their own home or give it away to a friend.  (I always tell my students the rules because it seems a lot of people don't know it (or that's their excuse). 

I was just looking on Etsy recently and saw an "artist" who splatters watercolor paint over prints of the Beatles and other famous folks and sells them.  The prints are just printed from photos of the Beatles taken in the past - not her photos or drawings.  I am no longer surprised that people still think photos are ok to steal and use.)

Here is my version from the workshop, finished at home while waiting for the other version to dry.  So the students will have the drawing and the 2 versions I've done as guides to help them along - plus what I remember from the workshop.  I've taken 3 workshops from Carol Carter and have learned something in each one.  I will never paint like her or have her bold color sense, but it's fun to add some extra techniques and tricks and colors (I always pick up a new color or two from a workshop) to your own style and techniques.

Remember, we want to paint like - US!  We just want to know how to do all the things we run into with watercolor.  And we want to have the best paints and paper and brushes, of course! ha ha


Sunday, September 27, 2015


During the last few days, Sweetie and I toured the Nina and Pinta ships that docked on the Ohio River (the Kentucky side), walking through and hearing - to my horror - how some of the volunteer crew had been crew members for years.  Years?  As a volunteer, sailing up and down the U.S. rivers?  I mean, these are TINY ships with just room below deck to eat and stow some things with a few bunks for sleeping but mainly the crew sleeps on deck with the stars for a blanket.  Yeah, sounds romantic and sweet and....cold!!!  

Mostly young men, a couple of older gents and a few young women were crewing this trip.  These replicas of the originals go from place to place all year long with a 2-month break only during the winter months.  During the original voyages, Columbus had a crew of 24 on the Nine and 26 on the Pinta.  Don't know where they put them all.  Today, the Nina has a crew of 7 and the Pinta a crew of 9.  The current crews are volunteers from all over the US and the Caribbean.  You, too, can volunteer, if you have a hankering for such.  

Come on, now, we all learned this... 
"In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue...."

Being of Native American blood, Columbus and his crew were not my favorites due to the treatment of all native peoples wherever they landed.  But I did visit while the ships were here just to see them.  They moved on down the Ohio to Wheeling, WV and then on to their next port of call (they came from Louisville, KY to get to Newport, KY).  You can look up the information if you want to see them when they are near your town by checking here.

And we walked the Purple People Bridge from Newport on the Levee over to Cincinnati, OH...seeing that they now have locks along the bridge (like they had in Paris before the locks became so cumbersome and threatened to tear the bridge down on which they were hanging).  There were just a few dozen here so I think it will be okay for a few years - but a cute idea.  Sweetie said I should set up shop at the bridge and sell the locks and engrave them - I'm surprised someone hasn't done that so I imagine the city of Newport doesn't want that to happen.  But many of these were engraved, some professionally and some privately and some painted with the names of the couple.  

While Sweetie had his photography group meeting, I went to the final Friday Art Walk in Ft. Thomas and found this lovely ceramic "mug" made by a woman who had a booth set up.  I should have purchased more but only had a little cash on me.  This may find itself in a painting someday.

There is a new art co-op which opened months ago in Ft. Thomas and this was the first time it was open for me to walk through.  It offers the opportunity to show your work and sell it, plus gives some classes.  I didn't see my old friend, Joyce Friedeman, who teaches there, but I did meet the owner/operator of the gallery.  Unfortunately, I've forgotten his name.  

Ken Bowman's Framing was having a show by an artist and he told me Thursday (when I picked up a framed painting sent by my friend, Sadami) that they sold 17 of the paintings the artist put out - most of the $ went to Ft. Thomas Education funding so that's great.  

We also spent a day with our grandson, who played Wii games, went to the park to swing and play Grandma and Grandpa a game of basketball, painted a few pieces of paper, had some lunch, watched a cartoon and played with a toy construction set Grandpa had in the garage - a pretty full day!

Include a tough Pilates session from Mistress Kelli (that's what I'm calling her now!), a checkup with my doc, and shoe shopping, and that's why I haven't had time to paint or post...

And what have you been doing??

Friday, September 25, 2015


Yesterday, while reading a few blogs I learned that we lost artist and musician, Nicholas Simmons.  Nick was definitely one of a kind - brash, bold, opinionated, funny, sassy, caring, sharing, sentimental - all the things rolled into one package that was fun to be around.  Our history goes back about 10 years.  

I "discovered" him posting on WetCanvas (where he liked to say he was kicked out because of his opinions), and we began talking and emailing.  Then I told my watercolor teacher at the time about him and convinced her she should have him come and do a workshop - and she did (twice).  So we met in person then.

A few years later when he was establishing himself as a workshop instructor, I took a workshop with him in Ohio (along with friends, Deb Ward and Sharon Roeder - in the photo at top) hosted by the Western Ohio Watercolor Society.  He was funny, witty, with lots of stories, entertaining, and shared all his tricks and techniques, holding nothing back.  

The class threw water and paint (fluid acrylic) on the paper taped to the wall, splattering and letting the paint do its thing (which is what Nick was all about - not controlling the paint but letting it do its own thing).  We all painted a geisha based on his drawing (his own original geisha painting won him a top prize in a watercolor society show).  

A year later, when he returned to the area for another workshop, he and I (along with Deb Ward), met for a fun dinner and lots of catching up.  I hadn't seen him since and know he just kept getting more famous and climbing higher and higher in the art world, not just the watercolor world.  

Nick painted in watercolor and fluid acrylics, he got a deal with DaVinci paints after using them for years and raving about their pigments, as well as having Escoda make a line of Nicholas Simmons brushes.  He was married to Olga, a Russian girl he met on a trip there many years ago.  He had many stories to tell about their meeting and the train trip where he thought he was going to be shot as a spy.  They had a beautiful daughter, Larissa (11), whom he adored.  It will be so hard for them without him.

His bright light will be missed.  There really was no one painting in watermedia the way he did, creating some interesting paintings that just kept pushing the boundaries of watermedia.  He threw paint on the paper, sprayed it away as it dried to create a batik-like look, took full advantage of PhotoShop to manipulate, twist, turn and recreate interesting images from original photos. 

No one who has posted about him has said what happened.  I read he was ill and had to cancel some workshops in August.  Perhaps it was something that happened quickly.  

You think someone is always going to be around don't you?  But that isn't always the case.  

Since Nick was sensitive about age, I won't say how old he was when he passed but the rumor is he was 47 - he would love that! ha ha 

You can find his work on his blog, on Facebook and on his webpage....start by going here and enjoy.  

As for me, today I'm going to go throw some paint around in memory of Nick (I once had finished a nice painting and showed it to him and he said what it needed was for me to get some white gesso and throw it on top of the finished painting and see what happened!!!  I was shocked and offended because I thought the painting was very nice as it was - of course, it just didn't have that extra pizzazz he was looking for.  As he said whenever he judged a show, "I'm looking for something I've never seen before!").

Monday, September 21, 2015


A cleaner, fresher looking version of Plant Life: Female No. 2

so this one I'll call

Plant Life:  Female No. 2A

It's a fourth sheet (11 x 15 inches) on Arches 140# cold press paper.

A busy week scheduled so I may not get anything else finished quickly, but I do have another half sheet painting stay tuned.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Plant Life:  Female No. 3

On Arches 140# cold press paper, half sheet (15 x 22 inches)

Thursday, September 17, 2015


I purchased this beautiful nautilus print (No. 5 of 10) from Lisa le Quelenec's  Etsy shop. 

Love it!  

This is how it looks in one of my favorite frames from my framer (Bowman's Framing in Ft. Thomas).  The frame is not metal but has a metallic look with a matching charcoal line running through it that matches the darks in the print :)  Ready to hang and enjoy.

Thanks so much, Lisa!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Another painting found that was unfinished.  So worked on it a while - done.

Half sheet (15 x 22 inches) Arches 140# cold press paper

Plant Life:  Male No. 4

More females coming soon...

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Another in the Plant Life series - this time another female version on a half sheet (15 x 22") Arches 140# cold press paper.

Plant Life:  Female No. 2

I think I might do this one again, using a lighter hand and fresher paints...we'll see.

Friday, September 11, 2015


While sorting out my little art room over the long weekend, I found two paintings that were unfinished - both will fit the series I'm working on for the "male" versions.  So I have to find more "female" versions of plant life to paint.  I do have one I'm working on right now so stay tuned for that...

This one =

Half sheet (15 x 22 inches) Arches 140# cold press

Plant Life:  Male No. 3

And, biologically, I know that a flower has both male and female parts but I'm just going on the obvious (or not so obvious) shapes to guide whether I call these male or female plants :)  Hope no one is offended but gets the humor - it worked for Georgia O'Keeffe, didn't it?  Of course, she wasn't happy and always said others saw things in her macro flowers that were NOT there (and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, Sigmund!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Plant Life:  Male No. 2

On Arches 140# cold press, half sheet
(15 x 22 inches).

Monday, September 7, 2015


I started by painting the background, on 140# cold press watercolor paper (Arches) that had been brushed with a gesso mix to get some interesting textures.  Then the leaves and flowers were painted.

This one is

Plant Life:  Female

On Arches 140# cold press (half sheet = 
15 x 22 inches)

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Tuesday in class I had the students make up 2-3 different blacks, using their own pigments.  With a little help and discussion, we all came up with some mixes to use to paint a black bird.

This is my version.  A black swan.

And here are my mixes prior to painting. 

I decided to use the Sepia + Indanthrone Blue mix due to the warmth of the Sepia by itself and the warm black when mixed.

What do you mix to make black?

Thursday, September 3, 2015


I have been working on two paintings.  Plant Life:  Male  and Plant Life: Female.  I think you'll get the titles when you see them.

This one, is 

Plant Life: Male

Half sheet (15 x 22 inches) on Arches 140# cold press

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


When I look at this photo of clouds, I see a woman reclining on her side, her hand up behind her head.  

Perhaps she's posing for a life sketching group?

Do you see it?

Happy September!