Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Correcting Watercolor

                                           Pears and Apple  9x9 watercolor

This little painting was stuck in my portfolio for weeks because I didn't know what to do for a background. Then one day I was leafing through an older copy of one of my watercolor magazines when I found an article by Ann Abgott. She's the one who inspired me to paint the fruit in the first place. She had a still life of fruit with a really dark background. It made the fruit just pop on the page. So, I decided to try it. First I tried Payne's gray on a wet background. Not only did it look dull, the paint started to seep into my nice pristine fruit, and they were dry! I sat a babysat it, dabbing away at the seeping paint until it dried enough to stop. When it was completely dry I went around all the edges of the fruit with a masking fluid. Then I mixed my own dark with Windsor green and alizarin crimson. I was much happier with this color, it just seemed livelier than the Payne's gray. The next mistake I made was painting the background down to far on my painting which caused the apple to look like it was floating. I had nothing to loose so I decided where the line should be and started scrubbing all the dark below that line, 3 or 4 inches. All those staining colors were very stubborn, I attacked with a Mr Clean Magic Eraser sponge. I got off as much as I could, burnished the poor bruised paper and coated it with Aquacover Liquid Watercolor Paper. You have to be really close to see the correction but I cropped the painting quite close and into a square shape to minimize the visible amount of correction. Who says you can't correct a mistake in watercolor?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Snowing Somewhere

                                           Christmas Tree 5x7 acrylic on paper

Nice, gentle snowflakes falling softly on Christmas eve. That's the ideal picture in so many minds. That may happen in some part of the country this year. A fresh snowfall is hard to beat when it comes to a beautiful sight in December. To wake up in the morning as a child and to look out the window to that sight of all that white stuff covering everything is an amazing thing. Children don't think of shoveling or scrapping car windows. It's just the wonder of the change in your world overnight; from dull gray and brown one day to pristine white the next. I do miss it just a little living here in Florida, especially this time of year. However, I don't miss the cold or wearing heavy coats, gloves, boots, hats and scarves. Wherever you are, cold climate or warm, enjoy the blessings of this season of Christmas and the wonder of it all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oh the Weather Outside...

                                       Coconut Palm acrylic on yupo 12x15 frightful, so that song goes. Maybe in some parts of the world it is but here in Florida beautiful, warm weather greets us each morning. Not that we don't get an occasional "cold snap", perhaps even some freezing, but that's not the norm. I painted this palm while sitting outside the gallery a few weeks ago. The parking lot did not make a very good background so why not a beach instead? I used my liquid acrylics like watercolor to get the loose, watery effect along with a quick spray of water. On a cold and dreary winter day come and sit under my palm in the sun.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Card

                                    Christmas 2011 5.5 X 7 Mixed Media

Every year I try to come up with an image that conveys my beliefs about the true meaning of Christmas. This year's image came out of a rather randomly done collage. As I was looking at it, the possibility of a figure emerged in the blue collage piece near the center. I painted in the face  and added a halo of shiny gold colored paper, painted the manger and added the gold paper "beams". I was thinking of the 3rd verse from the Christmas carol "Silent Night".

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Then I thought of the angels that sang after announcing to shepherds the birth of a Savior. Their song was "Glory to God in the highest..." My card illustration was complete.

I wish all of you a very happy and blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Tyvek Wallets

I haven't posted for awhile so I thought I show what I've been up to for the last week or two. I was very fascinated by these Tyvek envelope wallets that were demonstrated on Myrna Wacknov's blog. She had posted a 4 part video on her blog several weeks ago about how to make them and I got totally hooked. The envelopes can be purchased at an office store. You paint one side of the envelope and then by folding, cutting and taping with double stick tape you end up with a wallet for credit cards and folding money. Since our grandchildren are of an age where we send them a gift card or check on gift giving occasions I thought this would be a clever way of packaging the gift. Myrna decorated her wallets with stencils so that's how I have done mine. It's been a learning experience, especially when it comes to folding them so you have the openings where they should be. I think I watched video 4 at least 6 times and stopped it and started it and repeated it. Finally I made my own instruction sheet and marked on a white envelope the folds and cuts. It's all fun from the painting to the cutting and folding. Myrna's blog is

Friday, November 25, 2011

Poinsettia on Yupo

                                     Poinsettia on Yupo 5x5 acrylic

This is another quick painting done on Yupo with liquid acrylics. I felt that the white background was too white and plain so I decided to use a rubber stamp that has calligraphy on it to fill in some of the blanks. I brushed gold metallic acrylic onto the stamp in random places and stamped it onto the painting. I like the look of calligraphy in a painting and this is an easy way to add it. I think the words are in another language so they don't make any sense to an English reader, they are just random shapes in the background. It's very subtle and just breaks up the white. I also added some of the gold to the center of the flowers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Experimenting with Yupo

                                  Blue Fish 5X6 acrylic, mixed medium on Yupo 

I did some experimenting on Yupo which is a slick plastic product that you can paint on. It comes in different weights, in opaque and translucent. I have painted on it with acrylic inks and with watercolor. This time I decided to try liquid acrylics that were thinned with water. My thought was that this would be more permanent than the watercolor and perhaps more controllable than the acrylic inks. Of course, for control-ability it depends on how much water you use. After the painting was dry I decided it needed some texture so I dug in my "toy box" for some stringy stuff that was already the color of my painting and stuck it on with some matte medium. I think it makes an interesting piece. The red lips add a bit more whimsey.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ceramic Bird

                                Still Life with Ceramic Bird  Watercolor 4X6

I found a couple of ceramic birds that belonged to my mother when I was recently cleaning my china cabinet. I was about to put them in the thrift store box when I realized that these would make fun still life objects. (Maybe this is why I can't get rid of anything). They are small so they fit well with fruit and other small things for easily managed arrangements. This was a fun execise that I did on a watercolor postcard.
The postcards come in a pack and are glued on 4 sides with a little spot where you can insert a small palette knife to separate them once it's dry, just like a watercolor pad. They are really handy to take along on trips because they are small and easy to pack with your travel kit.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Mermatron

                                "Mermatron" 5 x 7 mixed media on paper

On one of my collaged backgrounds I decided to paint a mermaid. I drew her the way I thought I wanted her and went in with the acrylic paint. She got a little chubbier than I wanted her to be but then I thought that maybe mermaids get older too. Maybe they gain a little weight like the rest of us. Maybe they don't keep a girlish figure. A little extra around the middle must be why they call it "middle age" don't you think? In that case she would no longer be a mermaid would she? In a wedding an older, married lady is called the matron of honor instead of maid of honor so my mermaid must be a mermatron. I'll bet she can still flip her tail, though.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Paint, Collage, Paint

                                 Rocks and Sea 5 3/4 X 7 Mixed media

I tore up an old watercolor painting into small pieces and decided to put hand made collage papers over them all using Yes glue. This piece was already a rock and sea painting so I just added to it by putting dark papers over the rocks and lighter blue papers over the water. When this dried I added paint to make some details, a horizon line, light in the waves and top of the rocks and a few birds in the sky. When that was dry I coated it with matte medium. The other collages are more colorful and I'll post them in the days to come.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Collage and watercolor

Fluers de Paris  watercolor and collage on gessoed paper 11X15

I guess I still have Paris on my brain since our trip. There are the most incredible flower shops there. They display their flowers almost like they are tumbling out the door for the abundance of them. I think they must know how irresistible they are to those who pass by. The blooms are the freshest arrangements possible. My background was painted in the blues and purples then a layer of thinned gesso was applied over the top. I painted the bouquet next and when that dried I applied another layer of the gesso which I textured with bubble wrap. I started with my collage papers next, some I've made myself, some are torn from colorful napkins. The red/orange bird, also from a napkin, was added for interest and whimsy. I added watercolor here and there as I thought it was needed. If you look carefully you'll see a little Eiffel Tower to the left of the bouquet.

Monday, October 24, 2011

20 Minute Postcard

I found some watercolor postcards in my stash and decided I should paint on them and send them to friends. I made up this scene of a clump of two palms on a beach at sunset. The water is calm as it so often is on the gulf coast of Florida. There is a rosey glow from the setting sun and the palm fronds are picking up some amazing reflections from the waning light. Perhaps I used a little artistic license for that but then, I do have an Artistic License. It's signed by Kathleen Conover, AWS, NWS. I guess that's official enough for me.
(Also posted on 20 Minute Challenge )

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ripe Pear in 20 minutes

                                    Ripe Pear 31/2 x 5 1/2, watercolor

Sometimes I just have to remind myself that a little quickie to send to 20 Minute Challenge is better than not painting at all. I love to paint pears and have some artificial ones that look almost like the real thing. I can get one out and paint it over and over and there are never two that look alike. When the paintings are this small I can always use them on little note cards. People always seem to appreciate a hand painted card. I keep telling myself that there is really no excuse for not painting. Take the 20 Minute Challenge!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Swan Afternoon

                                          Swan Afternoon Watercolor 15x22

It feels really good to be able to paint regularly again! I started this painting last spring with the drawing from a photo that I took. I did a little painting on it this summer and finally finished it (I think) this week. I was really fortunate that the liquid mask that I put on at the beginning, several months ago, didn't ruin the paper when I took it off. I only masked the sparkles in the water and a little bit on the head and neck, the rest I just painted around. I think it would be fun to do something more interesting with the water but for now I think I'll leave it and go on to another.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Brushes Still Wet

                        Yellow Daisies in a Blue Vase, watercolor, 5 X 7

So far my plan is working. My painting table is still cleared off and my brushes are ready to go. I love working with blue and yellow so I took these daisy like flowers from a supermarket bouquet and put them in a little blue vase. Working with small containers is a trick I learned from Ann Abgott. It takes fewer flowers, cherries or whatever you are painting in a still life set up if you work small. It seems to simplify things as well. The copy of my painting came out with much darker yellows than are on the painting and the upper left corner should be white. Since I copied it by scanning maybe there is something I can tweak on the scanner. If any bloggers out there have an idea about this please leave a comment. All comments are appreciated.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Keeping the Brushes Wet

                                   Plums and Apple, watercolor, 4 1/2 x 6

I'm still working on the organization of my home studio, it's a slow process as I decide what I can and can't live without. In the meantime I want to keep my painting table open for painting and my brushes wet. It's so tempting to pile things on the painting table while trying to find them a home. If I have a painting in progress on the table, I can't put anything on top of it. That's my strategy anyway. I set up a little still life of plums and apples with the thought of painting them in 20 minutes but it took a little longer than that to get the deep colors of the plums. The idea is just to keep the table clear, the paper ready to go, and the brushes wet. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Been a Long Time

                                  Chocolatier in Brugge, Belgium

It's been a long time since I last posted a blog but I have a good excuse. My husband sprung a trip on me. Our 50th Anniversary is coming up and he arranged a trip to France and Belgium. We just returned two days ago and are just starting to come out of the jet lag fog. We spent 3 of our days in Brugge, Belgium. What a delightful little town that is! It's very picturesque; I took lots of pictures during our walks around town every day. One day we stopped at an outdoor cafe and noticed a darling Chocolate shop across the street. The shop was nestled on a corner and one had to step down into the shop. I think the other buildings were built around it in order to preserve it. I had my little painting kit along so I painted it in my 3.5 x 5.5 Moleskine. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Home in Florida

                              Cat on Porch of the Pines at Dresden

I was able to do just one little watercolor sketch on our trip back to Florida. We stayed in Dresden Ohio at a B & B, The Pines. It was a delightful place with very congenial proprietors and guests. The cats on the premises tolerated the guests but were not particularly friendly. I used to have a plaque that said, "You're nobody until you've been ignored by a cat." This cat definitely ignored me but that was a good thing because then I could get my little sketch done. Next to the wicker, the cat was easy. I don't think I've attempted to paint a wicker chair and table before, and probably won't again. Did you know that the word wicker comes from the same root word at wicked? I was reminded of that as I tried to capture the look of it. My next post I'll tell you a little about Dresden OH and what we found there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Details of the Blues

                                                                   Upper Right

                                                                   Upper Left

                                                              Lower Right

                                                                      Lower Left

I did get a request for seeing some of the details of my painting "He's Got the Blues". I especially like the first one, the upper right; maybe it's because I'm right handed that I like to put some interest there. In this case the calligraphy is stamped on very thin paper and then glued onto the painting. That way I can move it around, adjust the size, and decide where I want it by looking at it before gluing it down. I also use Yes paste which is water soluble and can be removed. It also allows me to easily paint over it which is more difficult with mat medium, a second choice for adding collage.
This may be my last post for awhile, we must begin our transition to Florida again. I don't think there will be time for painting but I will sneak a peek at the blogs during the week. 
Thanks for all the encouraging comments!

Monday, August 08, 2011

He's Got The Blues

                                        He's Got the Blues, watercolor/mixed media, 16x22

I painted this to be an entry in the State Fair Fine Arts Show. They get several thousand entries each year in every category that you can think of. This year it was one accepted work for each ten entered. Not bad odds if you're playing the lottery but not good odds for getting into an art show. Mine didn't get accepted so now I've got the blues! I've only gotten accepted once at the Fair and it was the first time I had entered. So, like a lottery player who wins once, I keep entering. Oh well, I had fun painting him; I made my under painting with lots of textural materials and then added some of them back as I painted the picture. My photo doesn't do it justice because you can't see all the fun things in the background. I may try taking pictures of parts of it and posting it in segments in the future.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Collage

                                          Untitled Collage  6x8

 The last day of the workshop we were to work on an old painting to make a collage. All my old paintings are in FL so I got to pick one of Karen's as the background of my collage. By the time I was finished there was very little resemblance to her painting except some of the original colors. The dimensional effects of this work are not appreciated in the photo, which is too bad. We built our composition and then added the dark areas to draw the eye to the center of interest. I enjoy adding the little bits of "bling" at the end but I have to be careful not to overdo the calligraphy, gold ribbon, and gold dots. It's  hard to know if you're doing too much until it's too late.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quilt Abstracts with a Silhouette

                             Frog Silhouettes In a Quilt Abstract 5x5 each.

On the third day of our workshop we used an abstract design and put in a subject of our choice. Some ideas for subjects were birds, leaves, people, fish, simple flowers, animals or symbols. The idea is to have two or more separate paintings that can be hung together or individually like the previous day's paintings were done. First we drew our abstract design and put a light wash of our colors on it. I had a photo of a frog that I manipulated on the computer until it was the right size and traced it to my paintings so that they would be the same on both paintings. The subject was placed into the abstract and then some areas were painted negatively around it. The darks were put in last to make the subject "pop".

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Doing Fun Things- Day 2

                            Quilt Squares with a leaf motif 5X5

This is, for me, the fun stuff. I love adding collage elements to paintings. The second day of our workshop we were to start with an abstract design, do an under-painting and then add our collage elements. One of the elements was to be a skeleton leaf or two. These are natural leaves that have been treated so that just the veins remain and then they are coated with something to give them either a metallic or plain color. What gives these works "punch" is the dark areas that lead the eye to the subject. The class had great fun exchanging art papers and colored napkins to use in our future collages.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quilt Abstracts

                                     Two Quilt Squares    

In the afternoon of the first day of our workshop with Karen Knutson we developed our abstracts into 5X5 squares. These are designed to be framed separately, hung together but are not diptychs. You could make as many squares as you like as long as they are related in color and design. My designs reminded me of a Southwest or Native American motif. The thumbnails above show the design that I was working from; the colored square is a section from a magazine advertisement that I used for my design turned and used in different directions. This is the springboard for the design, the rest is all imagination. It's a good way to get a start on your abstract design but the formulas for design that you find in design books seem to work the best for me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Four Day Workshop- Day One

This week I had a four day workshop with Karen Knutson in her home studio. The first day we were to make some abstract studies using magazines to locate little abstracts with a 1 inch view finder. Once we found one we liked we used it to make our little studies which were colored with Prismacolor or Tombow markers. For our colors we were to use a picture of a room from a decorator magazine and notice how there were punches of color in a fairly neutral setting. The room I chose had tans for the neutral colors and punches of blue with accents of shades of orange. Complements! How clever! These were my studies, or thumbnails. They are each 3X3 inches.
Karen also challenged us to do one 30 minute thumbnail like this everyday in a dedicated sketchbook. Am I up to the challenge? Time will tell.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Oregon Cherries

                                                 Oregon Cherries

We visited our daughter and son-in-law in Oregon over the Independence Day holidays. It was a delightful trip with fine weather and views of the surrounding mountains every day. The cherry trees are full of cherries this time of year and are too beautiful not to paint. I managed to pick a bunch with some of the leaves for a little still life painting. I love painting cherries and these with the leaves were an interesting change from the cherries in crystal that I painted last time. I started with yellow and added reds while it was still wet to mingle the colors being careful to leave the little highlights. For the leaves I also started with  yellow and added greens and blues and let them mingle with the yellow.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I painted something!

I know, it's not my usual painting format, but I finally had a brush in my hand. Ever since coming to Minnesota for the summer I've had one excuse or another for not starting a painting. This excuse was a class in making concrete leaf shaped table tops which I attended with a friend. The wet concrete was pressed onto a rhubarb leaf and allowed to dry overnight. After the leaf was removed the concrete was painted by my friend and me. I had a brush in my hand and it felt good! So, today I got my paints out and wet, I'm ready to go. I hope I soon have something else to show you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011



I've been trying to paint Klyde for several months. I'll work on him a little and then go on to something else. He showed up again during my annual organizing of art things to take on the trek up north for the summer. I think I need some more practice with painting animals, it's not something I do very often. There's a trick to getting the fur to look furry, and the expression to be just right. I'll get a chance to try another picture this summer because he's my "granddog" and he will be visiting. The fun thing about dachshunds is that they stay puppy-like for a long time. I've always enjoyed their unique personality. It will be awhile before I can post again, but I hope to do some little paintings on our travels and have something to post when we are set up.
I'll be back on blogger in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Coneflower with Butterfly

                             Coneflower With Butterfly, 2x4, W/C pencil

By making small paintings with my watercolor pencil I can fullfill my obligations to my various art leagues for the miniature donations each year. It's such good practice for a new medium. It seems that most artists that use the pencils tend to keep the works small, under 8X10. I'm still finding it difficult adding darks after the initial layers have been put down. I find that the under layers seem to get picked up if I try to add wet pigment to the top.  I may try to mix regular watercolor with the pencils for an expanded range of values. I think I will enjoy using the pencils when I travel because of the need to simplify my what I carry. There's no need to worry about liquids when you carry pencils.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mangos II

                                   Mangos II, 3x5, watercolor pencil

This time I used a smooth paper, Vellum Bristol paper, to work on. I liked it better than the cold press I used for the last picture. It was easier to get a smooth look and to diminish the look of the pencil strokes. I decided to paint fewer leaves; I felt they cluttered the background and detracted from the simple mango shapes. I also left the background white which for this small format is OK. On a larger composition I would probably have added one.
I'm starting to get the hang of how much pigment to use and how to layer the colors for the effect that I want. I'm finding that after a few layers, the paper seems to be "full" and it's difficult to add anymore pigment unless it is added with a wet brush. That's something  that pastelists complain about, paper without enough "tooth". I think trying different papers and materials is consistent with any medium that one chooses to work with. It's what makes the whole process enjoyable.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Watercolor Pencil learning curve

                         Sun Dappled Mangos 4x6 watercolor pencil

This is my first attempt at a whole picture using watercolor pencils. It's an experiment, I haven't really learned the way to proceed with the pencils. So it's pretty much trial and error. The top mango blended much better than the bottom one. I tried burnishing the bottom mango before using a wet brush. Burnishing bruises the paper and makes it difficult to blend the colors with water. So, that was lesson #1. I haven't quite got the hang of how to get soft edges, I'm hoping to figure that out. I've got to wait until Monday for my next class. I think I could have painted this in less than half the time with just watercolors and a brush, and I found myself just taking the pigment off the pencil with the brush and applying it to the paper.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Watercolor pencils

                             Exercise #1, watercolor pencils

I'm taking a class in watercolor pencils. Although I've had them for many years I've only used them slightly. I thought this class would give me some ideas for how they can be used effectively in my art work. We spent most of the class time making color charts with the pencils that we had, diluting them with water, and basically just seeing how they work. The homework assignment was to make spheres in squares. The primary colored spheres with the complimentary color as the background square and the shadow a combination of the two. All of these were finished by wetting with a brush. They are really much more versatile than I thought they would be.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Quick Geraniums

                      Quick Geraniums 5.5X7, watercolor on gesso paper.

I've been frustrated lately with the paintings I've been working on. It seems like they just aren't coming out the way that I'd hoped they would. Sometimes I just have to put the big stuff aside and do something small and quick. This afternoon I brought a geranium pot into my studio and painted it on a little piece of paper that had been textured with the "gesso juice". The painting looks like more pot that flower but you should have seen that poor little geranium before it got some TLC and fertilizer! Doing paintings like these puts the joy back into painting for me. I was about to change my name to "strugglingartist" instead of "joyfulartist".

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nasturtium II

                                              Nasturtium II, 7x7 Watercolor

This is the second nasturtium study I did last week. This week I worked on a larger painting of nasturtiums since my friend brought in more flowers. It seems like there's a loss of "freshness" with each subsequent painting. Why is that? Wouldn't you think that the more you do the better you'd get at it? Perhaps the trick is to keep changing the view or the light the way that Monet painted the haystacks. I would be interested to know if other artists paint the same subject but change something about it.

I hope all my fellow bloggers and blog readers have a very blessed Easter!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quick Nasturtiums

                                       Nasturtiums, watercolor, 7x7

A fellow artist brought a little vase of nasturtiums from her garden for a still life painting. I decided to join her in painting them. I set up a larger painting and while I was waiting for the background to dry I did a couple of quick paintings for practice and to get the feel of the flowers. This is the first of the two paintings and I think the better of the two. I did it in three stages, the initial loose laying in of color and form with no drawing first, after that dried I added some darker areas in the flowers. Lastly a few shadows. I didn't want to loose the freshness by getting too detailed. It's always interesting to me that these little warm ups, or less serious paintings turn out to be so pleasing. I need to do more of these small quick paintings, I really enjoy them.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Paris, watercolor photo, 5x7

I did another watercolor photograph. This time from my favorite foreign city, Paris. It was printed on watercolor paper in black and white and then painted. The trees came out so dark that it was difficult to get them to look green like they did in the colored photo but it still has that antique postcard look that I really like. Except for the modern cars and dress of the tourists it could almost pass for one. This is fun and quick, almost instant gratification except for the hours it takes me to look through my photos, choose and edit one for painting. The painting part is always the fun part.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Watercolored Photo

Victoria and Albert Museum Courtyard, mixed media, 12x12

I found this idea in the July/August 2010 issue of Sommerset Studio magazine. The article was by Angela Cartwright. She explained how she printed black and white photos on watercolor paper, painted them with watercolors and then mounted them on canvas boards or wrapped canvas. I thought they looked interesting to do, so I set about trying it. I found a picture I had taken on a trip to London. It's from the courtyard of the Victoria and Albert Museum. I didn't have the watercolor paper that is manufactured for printing in a home printer but I did have some Aquarius II, 80#, by Strathmore. I cut it the size of printer paper and printed out my black and white photo. Painting it was a dream because the Aquarius paper doesn't buckle or pucker from water, the photo already had the dark and light areas. Once painted it reminded me of old postcards before color film. The canvas was prepared by painting it lightly with green/gold acrylic and then wiping on a cream white after it was dry. When that was dry I attached the picture to the canvas with matte medium, coating under and on top of the picture being sure that all the edges were secure. The next day I decided a little gold paint rubbed in a random way around the painting would be fun to try. I will probably coat the whole thing again with a UV protective varnish.
I've tried to add a link to Angela's web site. I hope it works.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Yellow Crested Night Heron

Yellow Crested Night Heron, watercolor on acrylic, 11x15

This handsome fellow hangs out near the gallery where I was painting. He was trying his best to convince his "lady" that he was really the one she should choose. He shows his long yellow crest feathers and brings twigs and sticks for a nest. He looked quite sincere. They flew away before we found out what the ending to the courtship would be. They are very striking in appearance, with their black heads and white spot and yellow crest. I painted it on one of my watercolor papers that had been coated with the gesso juice and then had a pale olive green wash on top of that. The dark green background is supposed to hint at the denseness of the mangroves they like to sit in.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sea Grape Leaves II

Sea Grape Leaves II, 11x15, Mixed Media

So I had to go and do some adjustments after looking at this painting on the easel for awhile. I decided I wanted a little bit of the yellow on the right side and to add some shadows to make the leaves look more individual. Working on paper that has gesso on it is similar to working on Yupo. What watercolor is on the paper can be lifted so easily if you try to paint something on top of it. Even with paint on your brush it tends to go to the white of the paper instead of putting color down. It's a learning curve for sure. The advantage is that if I don't like the changes, I can try to take them out and replace the original color. But, you still have to problem of taking it down to the white of the paper. The whole thing is an experiment at this point. Do you think it worked?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Time at the Gallery

Sea Grape Leaves 11x15 Watercolor over gesso-paper with collage.
This is one of my favorite subjects to paint. I love the way the Sea Grape leaves become such a range of colors from dark green to orange, yellow and red. I painted this while at an outdoor set up at the Wildchild Gallery in Matlacha Florida. We had pretty nice weather, the temperature was in the low 80's F. About 28 C. There was a nice breeze most of the time and very bright sunshine. The 7 artists all had big umbrellas for shade so we were quite comfortable.
This paper had a coat of the gesso juice that I mentioned in an earlier blog. It seemed to work well with the subject since it also had a layer of multi color watercolor as an under painting. I put a little bit of calligraphy collage in a few places just to add a little mystery to the painting. I had nice comments by folks who were visiting the gallery about the paintings I had on display which makes it all worth while.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm Still Here

Passages, Abstract 1, 11x 15 watercolor

I'm still here, I'm still painting but it seems like I'm not finishing things, just starting things. This abstract was started in Kathleen Conover's workshop but, of course, I've had to fiddle it to death. Abstracts are like that for me; I'm never quite sure when I've finished. I think I've got this painting where I want it after adding and subtracting for the last two weeks.

I had a demonstration week end at the Wildchild Gallery so I painted for two days straight and have nothing to show for it. It's hard, no, impossible, to keep your concentration when you are having to interact with people who come by. One is expected to "schmooze", I'm not too good at that but I try. It's fun to meet and talk with people but I can't make any art that is worth the name while I'm doing it. I have another such week end coming up this Friday and Saturday. So, if anyone has any ideas of how they paint and converse I'd like to hear how they do it. Sometimes I paint on yupo because I can wipe it off and start over and not feel like I'm wasting too much. I can do the same with paper that has gesso on it and that is something that is interesting to the people who come by and only know traditional watercolor.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Mixed Media Heron

Mixed Media Heron 11x15
I'm finally back to posting. Not only was my bout with the crud long, I had a 4 day workshop in the middle of it. I didn't want to forfeit my payment for it so I dragged myself into the studio and did what I could. There was a day of sort of messing around with acrylics on fresh paper and old paintings. We learned different ways of getting a variety of textures on the paper which would be our under painting. After that there was a lot of emphasis on composition and design. It seems like that has to be drilled into my head on a regular basis because I get these neat under paintings and then I don't know how to develop them into art that really works. I think I work more intuitively but that is so unreliable. I'd like to be able to make a plan and stick to it. Anyway, this heron painting was one of the paintings that came out of the four days. This was done over an old painting and coat of "gesso juice" (1 part liquid gesso, 1 part matte medium, and 2 parts water), textured with a plastic card. The dark blue background is thick watercolor, the heron is gesso juice and watercolor. The workshop instructor was Kathleen Conover. Look her up, she does very interesting work and I found her to be a wonderful teacher.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons

When Life Gives You Lemons, 11.5x15, watercolor.
This is another still life that I set up and photographed. I love blue and yellow together and I thought this might be a challenging subject to paint. I was right on that! I don't know how the lemon drop jar got a little lopsided but it did. Except for that I like the results. It was done with the same techniques that I learned doing the cherry paintings. The colors are blended on the paper which is 300 lb. cold press. I finished this painting several weeks ago and wasn't going to post it because of the slightly tipsy results but since I have the "crud" that has been going around it sort of describes how I feel; a little tipsy and full of lemons (I drink a lot of hot honey and lemon water). I admire people who can paint when they don't feel well, unfortunately I'm not one of them. I'll know I'm getting better when I feel like picking up the paint brush again.


About Me

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I started watercolor painting earnestly in 1991 after I moved to Florida. My husband and I are retired, and we are both artists. We both have works displayed  at the Wildchild Gallery in Matlacha Florida.