Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Not painting in my little art room these past few days, but trying to paint the deck.  It was power-washed before we went to Savannah for a week, but rain and rain and more rain kept us from buying the stain/paint and starting it.  So we thought we'd get it done when we returned from Savannah, but guess what?  More rain.  We're supposed to have a 48-hour period of dry weather to paint it and let it cure and so far, we've had rain at night/over night.  So only about 1/4 done. 

It also took a few trips to the hardware store to pick just the "right" color, which is called New Redwood but looks like milk chocolate in the can.  Turns out it's a warm brown with just a hint of red in it and we've got 3 gallons.  It looks good on the deck but it's a slow process, painting the uprights, using the ladder to paint the outside bits, and then painting the floor.  

Rain rain go away!!!  We want to get this done before storms coming through this weekend and then Sweetie's sister is coming for a week (which means I have inside cleaning and sorting to do to make her feel comfortable here).

I hope it doesn't rain out Summerfair this weekend!

Saturday, May 27, 2017


When you have so many reference photos from a trip, it's often hard to focus on what you want to paint from them all - but it was easy this time.  I chose the magnolia photos Sweetie and I took.  This one struck me because the background is so dark and the flower is so light - I hope I can capture that in watercolor.  

So we begin with the background.  

Wet-in-wet and lots of dark greens, a touch of deep dark quin gold and cerulean for the "sky holes" around.  

Then I decided to darken the background in order to really make the "white" flower pop when I begin working on it.  

A lot of Holbein Shadow Green and some Daniel Smith Pyrrol Green with some Dark Quinacridone Gold in the background, and re-emphasizing the cerulean blue skyholes.

This is on a full sheet (22 x 30 inches) Arches 140# coldpress.

And the other day I heard something hit the windows in the sunroom (it happens once in a while even though I have things hanging down from the windows inside to let the birds know it's a barrier.  I walked out and saw nothing...until I looked down by the deck post and saw this.  I had no idea what bird this was and had never seen anything like it here or anywhere else.  So I sent the photo into Merlin Bird ID (an app from the Cornell Lab).  You crop the photo, send it in and get an id.  Anyone know what it is?  (See below for answer!)

He/she was about the size of a bluejay, lean looking and that beak (?) curving with grey on top and yellow on bottom with big black eyes.  It was stunned enough to let me get close enough to take a quick shot but when I squatted down to open the door, he/she flew off and I swear I saw a bit of ruddy red somewhere underneath that grey and white (but I could be wrong about that).

Turns out I was right about the ruddy red flash I saw - it's a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo and has a rufuous color underneath.  First time I've ever seen this bird anywhere.  I was so lucky to see it on our deck (and it was so lucky not to be injured but just stunned).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


On Wednesday of last week, we met with nature artist and friend, Pam Johnson Brickell,  and her husband, Rob, at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens to visit and see more of the place than Sweetie and I saw Monday.  We actually got to see everything except one tall lookout tower that no one wanted to climb :)

And I so enjoyed touching base with Pam again while we were in her neighborhood (she lives in South Carolina but not far from Savannah).  

While we were in the orchid house with Sweetie taking tons of photos, Pam got out her watercolor sketching kit and tried to capture those crazy mean-looking orchids!  I just tried with my camera and I couldn't get a decent shot but you get what you get. 

After a nice lunch together, catching up, we all went our separate ways, but I hope to visit again with her next time we are in her area.  She is so talented - and she and her hubby are good people!

Some more interesting homes in Savannah for you.

Sweetie really liked the Victorians, especially their doors and all the pretty work on the porches.

This lovely green cottage on Jones Street was abutted up to a house that was falling down.  The windows were boarded up, the shutters were falling off and it hadn't had a lick of paint for a long time.  Savannah prides itself on its ghosts (every older home "claims" to have one), and I'm sure if there is one, it's in this house!

So I'm calling this:
The Neighbors are Rattling Their Chains Again, Dear!

And while this is not a pretty house, it is the place where the southern author, Flannery O'Connor, got her start in Savannah.

And right beside it is this little lending library = cool!

Open the box, leave a book and take a book :)

I've tried to read O'Connor's work but can't seem to get past the frequent use of the N word in her stories - it just jars on me and I always put the book aside for another time.  I know it's a sign of her times, but...

On Thursday, we visited the SCAD Museum of Art to see the work of Chiharu Shiota, who works with old items/relics and threads (mostly red and black).  Here is her installation created just for the SCAD Museum of Art.  It takes up a whole room and each thread is hand tied and placed.  It was a mesmerizing thing to walk into and around it.

The piece was called
Infinity Lines.

I purchased a book of her other work and love the ones with white dresses and black threads - look her up.  There is something really elegant and hypnotic about her installations with thread and dresses, thread and old suitcases, thread and old shoes, etc. 

On Friday, we visited the Oatland Island Wildlife Refuge and saw their wolf pack, more honeybees and hives, owls, hawks, wood storks nesting around the pond, lots of blue-tailed skinks in the leaf litter, etc.  Then time to start sorting, packing, and thinking about the early morning drive to the airport to head home.  

It was a pretty full week of doing something all the time!
We had a wonderful time and I have plenty of reference photos to use for future paintings so...time to get back at it!

For those in the US, have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.
And for those in the Cincinnati/NKY area, don't forget, Summerfair is coming June 2-4, our weekend art fair at Coney Island.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


After the Savannah Bee Co. tour, we drove out to Tybee Island and took Dr. Joe Richardson's Eco-Tour on the beach.  It is always fun when there are kids involved - they get so excited to find things and bring them to the "aquarium" Joe sets up on the beach to educate us about the critters discovered.
Mostly, we got hermit crabs in all shapes and sizes of shells, but there were some interesting finds, too...

Including this "soft coral" related to sea anemones.  It's called a sea pansy because it's shaped a bit like a pansy flower and is violet/purple on the other side.

And this scary looking guy (or girl) called a Hairy Wharf crab.  I wouldn't have picked this up but a young girl did and was so excited about it even though it pinched her.  

After searching among the rocks and on the beach, Joe takes out a net to see what can be brought up from the water.

Mostly silversides, but a tiny pompano and an anchovie were about all the discoveries made there.  But while we were waiting to see what was being brought up, there was a pod of about a dozen dolphins that came up close to our area - maybe they wanted to see what we were catching, too?

And this was just Monday!

On Tuesday, we just strolled around Forsyth Park, visited Blick Art Supplies (of course!) for a few little things just because one cannot go to an art supply store without buying something - and the the SCAD student/alumni gallery in town.  Had an easy day because Wednesday and Thursday were going to be busy again.  SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design has purchased a lot of the old buildings, keeping them from being torn down.  Then they repurpose them for classrooms, galleries, even shops where students and alums sell their work.  What great places to attend college and learn everything from traditional painting and photography to videography/film and dance.)

How would you like to take classes in an old repurposed train station?  Pretty cool!

Monday, May 22, 2017


When not strolling around Savannah streets, we took day trips outside the city to see some interesting sights.  Some things we've done before (like the Tybee Island Eco-Tour done by Dr. Joe Richardson on the beach) and some things were done for the first time (like the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens.  

More photos for you to enjoy.

Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens (55 acres of bamboo, water features, an orchid house, crepe myrtle allee, magnolias, a white garden, mimosas, ponds, camellias, cottage gardens and rose gardens) is still called The Bamboo Farm by locals.  

The land started as a USDA research farm growing and testing nothing but bamboo.  It became the Botanical Gardens when the University of Georgia took over the running and began adding beautiful plants and flowers throughout the acreage.  It is well worth a trip!

I think this large pond, with mimosas growing along the banks, was my favorite, while Jerry spent a lot of time in the orchid house taking photos.  

Our first full day in Savannah was Sunday, May 14th, and we took advantage of the late opening (noon on Sunday) to spend 2 hours walking the grounds, taking photos, and enjoying the various areas - and we didn't even see it all in 2 hours, but were getting a bit tired by then.

On Monday we took a tour of the Savannah Bee Company, seeing the indoor hive and learning some interesting facts about the life of bees from Henry Givens, tour guide extraordinaire.  We saw the outside hives (one standard and one unusual one that can be set up in your backyard - if your town will allow it).  

The hive is inside the store - and how do they get in and out?  They come in through a pvc pipe in the outside wall that goes into the hive so there is a lot of activity going on.  Henry pointed out the queen, the wagglers, the workers, and how the queen works to keep the hive growing and flourishing.  

Outside, after putting on our beekeeper hats (we all looked so elegant), we saw a traditonal hive and this interesting and unusual one called a plank hive (if I'm remembering correctly).  The top opened up and there were wooden slats (like a zylaphone) over the top of the hive (which had a glass front below the slats so you can see the activity).  Each slat lifts up - and there is the honey.

I, of course, then loaded up with goodies from the store - honey, whipped honey, honeycomb, honey straws, honey hand soap, etc. 

We got a lot of photos to use as references for more bee paintings!

More to come...

Sunday, May 21, 2017


We just returned from a week in Savannah, Georgia, one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S.  

Everywhere you turned, there were lovely, aging historic buildings (most built in 1800's or earlier).  White blooms covered the magnolias and every corner was perfumed with their soft scent.  On the streets, thirty-foot live oaks, dressed in spanish moss, curved protectively over the cobble-stoned streets and sidewalks.  There is something beautiful at every turn, even if it's just another style of home with metalwork on the windows, lovely doors and doorknockers, and black metalwork balconies.  It was a wonderful week spent in this gorgeous, warm, inviting city, and I'll have several photos to share.  Here is just a taste :)  

Even though it was warm (at least 80F every day), the trees made for lovely shaded walks.

The most photographed place in Savannah = Forsyth Park and it's huge white fountain in the center.  The water was spraying, creating coolness on a hot, sunny day.

Is there anything more beautiful than the bold beauty of a magnolia blossom in full bloom?

Savannah homes are decorated with metalwork and pretty doors, arched entryways and stairs.  Shutters on every window whether the homes are brick, wood painted in muted colors, or stone.  

Savannah folk let the ivy grow up the houses, along the sidewalks, on the tree trunks - wherever.  And it adds another architectural aspect to the whole.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


I was feeling stress about NOT finishing this painting so went into my little room on a rainy morning and finished it.  There really wasn't that much to do, so not sure what was holding me back.  But...done!

Virginia Bluebells

16 x 19.5 inches
on Twinrocker 140# coldpress 

Friday, May 12, 2017


I took this to my framer, Ken Bowman, last week and picked it up today!!!  

If you remember, this is the Delayed Pollination painting done by Randall David Tipton.  I loved it and he sent it to me!!!  

So I took it to be enhanced beautifully by Ken.    

I think it looks super!

Here is a closeup of the frame, showing the bit of textured look to it which sets off the painting well.

Thanks so very much, Randall 💛

And I did pick out 3 paintings to enter into the Kennedy Heights annual juried show, but won't hear news until June 1.  Will let you know when I know - and will show the paintings, then, but no sneak peek yet!

And you're probably wondering WHEN I'm going to get back to finish the Virginia Bluebells - me, too! ha ha

Friday, May 5, 2017


Just about finished - some blue on the bells (with some pinks and violets).  And then some shaping of things to finish it.

(It's odd how the camera picks up whites and makes the bg darker (before I put color in the bells) and now the bg it looks lighter in the photo.  It hasn't changed a bit and is darker - just Daniel Smith shadow violet.

The Kennedy Heights Art Center (Cincinnati) is having a juried show coming up - entry deadline is May 19 (online).  I think I may try to get one or two paintings into that (you can enter three).  I haven't done much of anything since the GCWS member show last summer.  I have been painting but no one but my blog buddies gets to see anything I do unless I get it in a show in the area.  

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


A bit more done on this.  The bluebells will be blue-violet-pink.