Sunday, November 29, 2015


When the Hansa Yellow Medium wash dried completely, I rewet the paper (flowers and pad are masked off) and gently brushed in Quinacridone Rose.  This gives the background a nice, warm rosy glow.  

This has to dry completely before doing another wash/glaze.

I thought the color was too pale and not pink enough, so I glazed another layer of Quinacridone Rose and let that dry completely before going in with a layer of Cobalt Blue.

The layer of cobalt left a nice, muted grey but not flat color.  When this dries completely, I remove the masking and begin on the individual elements of the painting, hoping to keep a light hand as I go...

The next step will be to remove the masking fluid and begin painting the subject.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Thanksgiving is here in the US.  A busy time for those who plan to visit relatives or friends, or plan for their own visitors = cleaning, cooking, celebrating, and watching football!  

I wish you all in the US who celebrate a very Happy Thanksgiving, safe travels to grandma's house, and may there be chocolate pie on the table when you get there :)

Monday, November 23, 2015


So, here I am again, back to more traditional watercolor painting on watercolor on paper.  Still working towards completing a decent water lily painting with a delicate background and soft colors.

First, I flipped the original sketch so the pad is in the upper right, got rid of all the extraneous leaf and lines and redrew it on watercolor paper.  Then I masked out everything but the water.

I decided I needed to do light glazes to get the water to look pale and delicate so...

I prewet the paper with a big flat, soft brush, then gently brushed on Hansa Yellow Medium to get a good but light coverage.

Each glaze has to dry completely before going back in with a second color.

Some people have the patience for glazing layers and layers - as long as they keep using transparent watercolor pigments - and still get a rich, deep color.  I may glaze 4-5 layers or so and see how it goes, making sure I'm choosing clean, transparent colors at each stage.

So...after the Hansa Yellow Medium dries completely, I will add Quinacridone Rose to this to get a nice warm glow.  Then I have to see what it looks like and what it needs before going on with...a blue?

Saturday, November 21, 2015


The colors began too garish, too much.  So I wanted to tone things down, leaving a little pop of red but not so overpowering.  Still not sure, but I do think it's better.  It's closer to the original in my sketchbook.

On half sheet Arches (15 x 22 inches) 
painted with fluid acrylics.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Thinking about abstracts and working on things in my sketchbook.  

First, I just sketch in the book, a small Aquabee sketchbook ( 6 x 9 inches).  Since Aquabee can accept watermedia, I then add some color and texture using my Graphitints and Inktense, using muted color.

The inktense and graphitints go on dry and can be wet with just a wet brush so I can work on the colored abstracts, using smooth and textured bits as well as color.

I have a tendency to cover every section with color and I need to learn to leave open and quiet spaces.  
So, that this point, I go back in with white gouache and recover some whites or lights.  

Then I'll use these as guides for actual large paintings (at least fourth sheet or half sheet) on watercolor paper and fluid acrylics.

Again, too colorful!  And I went beyond the guide of the sketchbook version.  That's okay, but I want to tone things down- mute the colors I use.  

I liked the sketchbook version, so will get closer to that but allow myself some red - maybe.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I began this blog back in November 2006 - nine years ago.  How is that possible?  I am surprised that this has kept my attention and that I have connected with so many artists online because of this blog.  

So this is my Happy 9th Anniversary.  Will it last until the 10th?  How long have you been blogging?   Have you added Facebook and Pinterest and all the other social media apps or have you moved your work to Facebook (seems like a lot who began with Blogger and Wordpress - what happened to Wordpress? - have started posting more things on Facebook).  

So - 9 years and counting...

And here are the latest alcohol ink paintings on TerraSkin that was coated with acrylic gloss gel or string gel to get a texture the inks would sit on.  If the TerraSkin is not coated, the ink just sinks into the "paper" and you can't move it.  Someone suggested I put pure alcohol on first and then drop in the inks - will try that, too.

Autumn Days

Under the Sea

I am enjoying collaging bits onto the TerraSkin and then using the alcohol inks to reinforce some shapes and colors.

Autumn Surprise

Drizzled acrylic string gel onto the TerraSkin and then dropped the colors in = interesting!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


November 8th was Hermann Rorschach's birth date.  You know what he was famous for:  the Rorschach ink blot test, those odd blobs of ink on white paper that are supposed to look like something.  It was even mentioned in an early Batman movie (Val Kilmer as Batman seeing a Rorschach on Nichole Kidman's wall) when he said, "Are you into bats?"  And she, being the snarky psychologist, said, "The question is, are YOU into bats?"

Here is one of the original Rorschachs.  In the 1960s, Rorschach's inkblot test was the most prominently used projective test in the United States; it ranked eighth in the list of tests used in U.S. outpatient mental health care.

Here is my own version.  Now...I wonder if this has extra meaning because I created it myself?  Hmmm...

I've never played golf, but I see two men breaking two golf clubs over their knees at the bottom of this - now what does that mean? ha ha  You might say, "Why is she doing this?"  But hey, it beats watching another football game.

What do you see?  I promise, I won't judge you.

I have no idea why my type is doing this and can't seem to fix it - sorry!!

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Terrorists attack Paris - again.

Friday, November 13, 2015


Having tried the alcohol inks on Arches hotpress watercolor paper, Tyvek, and Yupo, I've decided Yupo is the only reasonable substrate to use with this stuff.  And since I don't have any Yupo and probably won't buy any, I think the few alcohol inks I bought will remain in a box and be used just for additional elements to other things...unless.  There are some demos in the book, Pigments of Your Imagination, that use tar gel and even glue over paper...might try that before giving up on these.

Until then, 
here is Sweetie's experiment on glossy photo paper with a background printed on it (4 x 6 inches), 
and a jellyfish on a small scrap of Yupo.

He gave up after a few tries, saying it was more fun to watch me work with it than do it himself :)

So I worked with a few colors on scraps of Yupo (mostly the Yupo has the remainder of bad paintings on it, front and back, but you get the idea).

When the ink dries, it seems to be permanently stuck on the Yupo but I haven't tried to remove it using rubbing alcohol yet.  

This is the only one I liked - but it's still just abstracted playing with colors and seeing what the inks will do.

Have you ever tried the alcohol inks?  What did you think about them?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


I didn’t have to go
Because you did.

I could stay safe at home
Because you went.

I didn’t have to bleed
Because you did.

You hid your scars from me
Because you could.

Because you went,
Because you could,
Because you did,

I thank you.


Using the book, Pigments of Your Imagination (see last post), I went through a few descriptions and tried my hand at different papers.

The alcohol inks don't smell strong but the smell does linger so make sure you air out the room a bit while working or after...

Tried a test color on:

Arches hot press - soaked right into the paper like a blotter = no good

Tyvek "paper" = also soaked right into the paper like a blotter = no good

Then tried putting the inks down on TerraSkin directly and on a styrofoam plate and "printing" the image onto the TerraSkin (just made a blob - a pretty blob but still just a blob).

Putting it on TerraSkin directly, it smooshed and softened a lot.

More experiments to far, nothing special for me in this medium so maybe just a toy to add to something sometime...

Monday, November 9, 2015


I missed the September program of the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society when the member, Louise Allen, demonstrated how she works with alcohol inks. got me thinking about them and I've seen some online folks use them.  Looks messy and uncontrollable and worth a further exploration.

So I bought a book that teaches you the techniques (Pigments of Your Imagination by Cathy Taylor).
And I bought some alcohol inks from Cheap Joes.
And I was ready to go...

The colors are intense and saturated and people mostly use them on slick Yupo or TerreStone "paper" to play with the uncontrollable aspect of them.  The colors are prettily named like:  Mermaid, Clover, Sailboat Blue, Sunshine Yellow, etc.  You are supposed to mix, water down, and work with them along with rubbing alcohol (the book says 95% although the regular stuff you get in the drugstore is 75%).  And make sure you aren't standing over your workspace breathing in the fumes - this is stuff that can harm your lungs if you don't get enough air circulating around you.

I'll share some explorations later...I'm going to try them on glossy photo paper, Yupo, TerraSkin and hotpress watercolor paper.  Since these are teeny tiny bottles, I hope a little goes a long way!

Saturday, November 7, 2015


This was a painting that was too clean, too uninteresting except for the color on the I went in and messed it up, creating some movement and some mystery?  

Flamingo Pair

Friday, November 6, 2015


Sweetie and I went to the Cincinnati Art Museum over in beautiful Eden Park yesterday.  It was a gloriously golden autumn day (even though it's November, Mother Nature seems to have stalled in warmer than usual days and sunshine).  We went, specifically, to see the photographic exhibit of Jochen Lempert, a German photographer who started his career as a biologist.  Since Sweetie is a biologist who is also a photographer, I thought it would be interesting.

It was interesting.  Lempert still uses only film cameras and prints his own prints in black and white on some kind of grainy paper.  So nothing was sharp with high contrast (things Sweetie loves).  There were some lovely pieces, some interesting pieces and some pieces where Lempert was just playing around, experimenting with "what ifs" like the one of the glowworm moving across the photo-sensitive paper in a darkroom, creating a trail of lights.  

All of the photos were unmatted and unframed - just the photo paper taped to the walls.  I thought it would look unprofessional, but there was something very interesting in the starkness of the rooms (three rooms devoted to his work, and there was no extra charge).  

You were probably not allowed to take photographs of the work, but they had a free booklet that included many of his works you saw on the wall.  

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Pulling out old paintings that were finished but not interesting...and throwing paint, lifting off, changing, etc. 

The goal is to have something interesting.  Would this make you walk across a room to look at it more closely or would you just glance over it and move on to the next painting on the wall? 

Caw Girl:  Gossip Birds

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Some Sunday thoughts by Ira Glass, host of This American Life:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have.
We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Sometimes I think, "Why do I continue to struggle with this feeling that I can be better when I could just quit?"  Do you ever feel that way?  

La Rouge
watermedia on half sheet Arches (15 x 22 inches)

I guess the best thing is to just not quit.  Just keep working at it, going on, getting a little better each time you try.  I am soooo much better than I was when I began this journey but sooo much farther away from where I want to be.  So...keep on working at it (and stop whining when it gets hard).  But sometimes you just want a piece of pie and hot cup of coffee and a good book :)

My goal is to create pieces of work that evoke feelings - good or bad - but not indifferent!!  I don't want someone to look at my painting and say, "Wow, that must have taken her a long time to paint that."  That, to me, is not art.  I really want to convey something of myself - you know, we all have something inside ourselves that is ours alone.  I think my "something" is trying to break out - or maybe this is just a phase I'm going through!  Time to spend some time cogitating and asking hard questions about what my work means to me and what I want it to mean in the future.  I only have another 25-or-so years to go (if I'm lucky and stay healthy) in order to get where I want to be!