Thursday, February 27, 2014


Well, I guess I shouldn't paint when I'm tired and not enthused about what I'm painting.

I put some more color on this and it looked too wimpy to me.  (It actually looks better in this photo than it did in real life.)

So pushed the colors a bit behind him.  But I made some mistakes and had to go in with Chinese White (the horror!) to lighten some areas on him.  

As the Jedi Master, Yoda, would say, 
"Overworked, it is.  Lesson learn, you must!"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I've come across a very nice series from Britain called the Art Forger.  I've watched several of the programs and like them all.  In it, the artist (and forger) John Myatt, takes 3 artists (usually an art student, an established artist, and a self-taught hobbyist) out into the field and has them paint (in acrylics) their version of the scene based on copying the style of a certain master (Monet, Hopper, Hockney, Van Gogh, etc.).  It's an interesting concept and fun to watch the artists try their best to do something totally outside their comfort zones.  And some good paintings are made when the artist "gets it" and stops fighting the process.  They only have 6 hours from start to finish.

It's called The Forger's Masterclass because Myatt actually spent time in Brixton Prison for art forgery.  They have discovered most of his paintings but not all of them.

If you want to start watching this, just go to Youtube and search for The Forger's Masterclass (I didn't think my link was working but you can find it easily this way).  There are 10 programs in all.

As for me today, I am planning on having my students come to watercolor class.  It's been weeks, due to horrible weather, since we've all met.  So keeping my fingers crossed for no last fling of Mother Nature's white dress our way today!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Well, I'm just using Holbein Mineral Violet with a touch of Daniel Smith Alizarin Crimson with a touch of Daniel Smith French Ultramarine Blue.  Close enough.

I was going to do this in a single color - the violet.

But then saw Jane Minter's blog post of the hellebora and that gorgeous, juicy, lime, tart green and thought 

Green and Purple 

work well together so....

I just had to get out my sap green and green gold and play with the green and purple colors together on this one.

If you want to see a painting that makes your mouth water, go over to Jane's blog here 
and see her lovely painting of hellebora.  

Friday, February 21, 2014


Last week, I received a lovely work of art - charcoal and gesso on pastel paper - from Derek Jones.  It arrived quickly from the UK (Scotland) and it's even more beautiful in person than my photo shows.  But it's going to look wonderful in my dining area (with the yellow walls).  I'll try to get out to the framer soon and choose something appropriate for it.  

Thanks so much, Derek!  I do love your work and am glad I could purchase this one (for myself for my birthday).

If you want to see more of Derek's work, just go to his blog here.  Very affordable beauty for your home!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Yesterday, for the first day in weeks, we saw the ground underneath all the snow and ice we've had for 3 months.  People were in a better mood.  I could actually get out and get the haircut and color I've been putting off for 2 weeks!  

The melting began Monday but Monday night's temperatures went down below freezing again - so all that running mushy water became ice again.  And, once again, my car was frozen on the driveway with sheets of ice all around Tuesday morning - so I had to cancel my watercolor class again (I think this makes 3 times I've had to cancel due to weather).  

But Tuesday and Wednesday were warm - about 50F!!!  A real heat wave after cold for weeks and weeks.  So what does today bring?  Spring storms and possibly tornadoes.  

Ah, Mother Nature, you are NOT a lady!

An artistic slump has settled in for me.  

Are you still frozen in - or are you having hints of spring?  Will we have spring this year?  It's been such a strange weather pattern of a year so far, I'm unsure we'll even have regular seasons this year.  Who knows what will come next?

Wherever you are, whatever you do, be safe!

Maybe I'll try to match the new 2014 Radiant Orchid color in something...

Monday, February 17, 2014


In case you missed it - or just don't care! ha ha

Pantone's Color of the Year for 2014 is....

Radiant Orchid

So add that to your palette and get going - you don't want to be left behind!!

As an orchid, it does look lovely, but I'm pretty sure there is nothing in my house that is this color.  Oh, dear!!!  

It would make a lovely, peaceful bedroom color, wouldn't it?
What would you like to see in this color?

How about....


Gotta get me one of those little Radiant Orchid skulls - one never knows when a Radiant Orchid skull will come in handy!  (Is that a loaf of bread at the top??  Radiant Orchid bread? thanks!)

Both of these photos are from the Pantone site.  I guess, since they want you to put things of this color on Pinterest and other online sites, they won't mind my sharing the color and stuff here.

Do you think there are any Radiant Orchid-colored birds out there?

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Since I was going to be away on my actual birthday, I painted this crow before I left.  I wanted it to be my birthday painting so I splattered masking fluid (Pebeo Drawing Gum) and then lots of bright colors around to simulate confetti. 

Then I left town.

When I returned, I removed the masking fluid and colored in some of the white spots in yellow, just for fun.  So here is my 
Birthday Crow
Arches 140# cold press watercolor paper
Daniel Smith watercolors + Dr. Ph. Martin's Fine Art Watercolor

It's so dark from just 3 colors over the watercolor I did have on there = 
watercolor inks in Phthalo Blue + Deep Red Rose + Gamboge
(I bought the colors for a Myrna Wacknov workshop a year or so ago and didn't use all of the inks then so...time to get them out and make that crow really dark.)

My birthday is past, but I wanted to share my latest crow painting.  I've been hearing and seeing 5 crows flying over the house lately, cawing as they go :)
So many birds,
so little time!

Friday, February 14, 2014


Just want to say 
Happy Valentine's Day
to all my blogger/artist friends.

Hope you get something sweet,
something pretty,
something special - either from your sweetie or for yourself -
to celebrate YOU today!

Happy Valentine's Day to you All 

Mother Nature is sending us a Valentine:  3-5 more inches of snow on top of the 3 inches of ice that still hasn't melted (except to melt and refreeze into treacherous patches all over).  Thanks so much!  No box of chocolates for you, Mother Nature!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I told the owner of The Olive Oil Outpost, as she was making up my small order of four mini macarons (after making me another delicious cafe con leche for the morning) that I was going to paint these before eating them.  I made it, but am not that happy about this little painting, so it's a good thing that I took a few photo references so I can try again.

We spent Saturday-Saturday on Anna Maria Island in a nice home we rented for the week.  The last few days were rainy so Sweetie and I went outside to take photos of the rain streaming down the screens over the swimming pool area.  It made for some interesting photos, abstracted by the water in the screens and showing the trees outside the pool area.  

Sweetie was brave (or crazy) enough to get in the heated (at 80F) pool while we were there on a sunny day.  It was too chilly for me but I did dip a toe in to test it.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Once I got in the habit of leaving my sketchbook and watercolor kit out on the kitchen counter of the house we rented on vacation, it was easy to make a habit of painting something every morning before going out, especially when the weather turned a bit iffy with colder temps and windy days the last 2 full days on AMI.  It definitely wasn't as much fun to walk the beach with wind whipping around you and when it's too cold for just a hoodie.  And then there was the rain.  Of course, back home they were having below 0F temps and more snow so I was not complaining but still feeling pretty lucky to have a week away - plus I had time to paint!

Nothing special about this one.  Pears are always a go-to when I have nothing else to inspire me.  This little one was modelled by a little pear we bought at Publix.  Never saw one so small and it was sweet when we ate it (after its modelling session). 

I have to tell you, I wish I had gotten this sketchbook out sooner.  It has such a lovely surface that it's a pleasure to use it and I'll take it on trips again (I have another fresh one in the wings when I go through this one).

Monday, February 10, 2014


Since I've been sharing the little paintings I did in my new Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, I thought I'd share a little info about the books for those who haven't tried them.  This is just the Beta version (they have 7 different "series" versions - for various media usage - so you have to choose what works for you).

I think I bought mine from and it's the 6 x 8" version (I have a 7" x 10" version, too) of the Beta Series.  It's heavy weight paper and good for watercolor washes and sketches as well as for drawing or pen and ink work.  

I had to buy one after Pam Johnson Brickell (see here for her nature blog) recommended it.  So I bought one.  Then I forgot all about it and bought another one.  Good for me, they are different sizes! ha ha

The first time I got the book out was for this latest trip to AMI and I'm glad I took it.  

From the reviews about it online, people describe it as rough press - but it's not rough press like watercolor paper rough at all.  It's smoother than that.  One reviewer described it as somewhere between coldpress and hotpress and I think that may be more accurate for the feel of it.

I tried to take a decent photo of the paper itself, to show you the texture on it, but it's not that great.  But I'll share it here, anyway.

The hardest part of the purchase is deciding what series you want and if you want the ring binder or the book binder type.  But it's fun to decide, isn't it?  You may want one of each series! ha ha

If you're interested in these, just go to  the Dick Blick site here
and do a search for Stillman & Birn and all of the versions will come up.  Happy hunting!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Just a few pictures taken while visiting Anna Maria Island in January (we were there in December and just had to return before this winter made us crazy).

Anna Maria Pier.  
A restaurant at the end and a dock where people fish and birds flock (pelicans, herons, little ruddy turnstones, etc.)

This was the view from Bay Beach, where we walked and saw...

Lots of little white ibis, walking along the shore and eating crabs.

Those same white ibis (I think) surprised us by showing up outside the house we were renting in Holmes Beach (just outside of the Anna Maria city limits), hanging on the wires going to and from the houses.

It was rainy and a bit windy and that little one on the lower right is having a problem with balance! ha ha  This was taken from our front steps.

Someone's boat had run aground on Bean Point (the northern end of AMI), and we saw it like a ghost ship while walking the beach on a foggy morning.

Because some people will feed wildlife, no matter what you say, this great blue heron and wood stork were hanging out around the neighborhood because they were being fed by a neighbor lady.

And something sweet to end this post - mini macarons I bought at the Olive Oil Outpost on one of the days I stopped for a cafe con leche there.  I have seen these in blog posts but never had the chance to try one - pretty good but I think I'll stick with chocolate :)  They were pretty enough to paint, though - which is another post! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Again, a little painting in the Stillman & Birn watercolor sketchbook using my Holbein watercolor travel kit.  

Some beach finds I picked up from a walk on Bean Point on Anna Maria Island the day before.  Models on top, painting on bottom.

Another day in warmth and sunshine with a cafe con leche and then a walk on the beach.  How wonderful it was to get away from below 0F temperatures for a while.

Friday, February 7, 2014


I was glad I took my little Holbein watercolor travel kit because I painted a few days while we were gone.  I usually would paint something in the morning that I'd picked up - or that had inspired me - the day before.  This is in my brand new Stillman & Birn watercolor sketchbook (such lovely watercolor paper in the Beta Series - a lovely, smooth feeling when painting on it).

Sweetie gave me a birthday card with these two lovey birds on it (a photo he took when we were on Anna Maria Island (AMI) in December - so this was my first reference and inspiration.

Here is the finished painting with one of my travel brushes and a little piece of fake sea glass on the paper.

Aren't they sweet?

Then we drove up to Sarasota to see the John and Mable Ringling estate, art museum and circus museum.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I had enough questions about the Shadow Violet I used in the last sandpiper painting that I thought I'd get some information together for you about it and then you can choose to buy (or not buy).  I don't get a kick-back or a commission or a discount from Daniel Smith - it's just sharing information and I like the color.

So - the color I used for the Sandpiper (see previous post) was only Daniel Smith's Shadow Violet.  It is a lovely granulating and separating color that separates into the 3 colors that are used to create it.  

It's made from a mix of:
Pyrrol Orange PO 73
Ultramarine Blue PB 29
Viridian PG 18

For some reason, when you put it out on your palette it's a dark violet grey color.  Then, when you add water to it, it separates and lightens and it becomes really beautiful.  

It really has become one of my favorite colors for backgrounds and other greyish things where I don't want to mix my own colors to get a nice greyed look.  

Another fine color from Daniel Smith is Moonglow.  Now isn't that a luscious name?  It's a mix of the same Viridian + Ultramarine Blue, but they add Anthraquinoid Red (PR 177) in place of the orange.  It is a darker, more intense color, but still separates and greys out beautifully.  

As you can see here, it's more violet and can go really dark, but you can see that Viridian peeking through like you can with Shadow Violet.  

So - your choice.  You can get one, or the other - or both!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


This little one, with his legs in those positions, looked like he was dancing.  Pretty little sandpiper of some kind.  Very greyish so using only Shadow Violet as the body color.

No drawing, just painted in the background water around him, leaving some whites where he would be, then painted him.  More to finish to darken up some areas and delineate the water from the shore (he's right on the edge).

I think this one is called a Red Knot, brown in the summer, but grey in the winter.  I really don't know the wading birds all that well so to me they are all either egrets, herons, pelicans or sandpipers (although there are many different sandpipers).

Painted on 140# cold press Fabriano watercolor paper.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Yes, folks, another winter storm is on it's way.  We are supposed to get icy conditions (up to 1 inch of ice when all is said and done) - and once that is laid down nicely, Mother Nature is going to frost is all up with about 3 inches of snow.  Schools are closing early and I hope businesses have the sense to do the same.  Fortunately, I get to stay inside and safe.  Perhaps paint something.

Had watercolor class for the first time in weeks today!  It felt strange being back in teaching mode but it was good to be back, too.  

We had to cancel the GCWS meeting and Carol Carter's trip over to give the guest artist talk - just too nasty and scary when listening to all the weather predictors.  But Carol and I have rescheduled for June so the watercolor society will get to see her then for a one-day talk and showing of her beautiful paintings.

For today, stay safe and warm, wherever you are.  

Monday, February 3, 2014


Another version of the little Goldfinch on
Lanaquarelle 140# cold press paper
6" x 8"

Still no drawing, just looking.  I didn't muddy up his feet in this one and left out all the extraneous trellis bits that ruined the first one.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Well, my Sweetie flew me away to Florida again for my birthday.  Born in 1957, I turned 57 this year.  How is it possible that I am this old?  Well, there is no denying it when I look in the mirror!  I guess I can worry about looking older or I can worry about something else.  I told Sweetie I am such an excellent worryer and that the only thing I don't have to worry about is always having something to worry about!  

I told my sister I'd bring back some warm weather from Florida, and I did - it was 52F when we landed at CVG airport!  Rainy yesterday and today - but it's not 52 anymore - and another snow expected today, just in time for everyone's Super Bowl parties.

I have lots to do the next few days, getting ready for Carol Carter's visit Tuesday evening (she is coming to give the guest artist program to our watercolor society Wednesday morning) - weather permitting (but it doesn't look likely, with icy weather predicted for Tuesday evening!!!).

I did take my Stillman & Birn watercolor sketchbook (a beautiful surface to paint on!!!) and my Holbein travel kit and some pencils - so have some small things to share because I did paint once in a while before heading out in the mornings to the white sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island :)  Sweetie got some bird photos for reference, too, including white ibises we didn't see last time in December.  I will miss seeing the white egrets, the white ibis and the sandpipers of all kinds.  

Winter still has KY in its talons and won't let go. Stay safe and warm, my friends.  And thanks for all the birthday wishes.  It was, officially, January 26th.  I am a winter baby - and have always disliked winter.  Hmmmm....something not right about that! ha ha

Have a great Sunday, wherever you are - and especially if you are travelling today.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Had a really good dinner at Mom's and some presents (art books and mysteries!!! yay!!!) for my birthday in January!

I got several art books, and am especially loving these two by Shirley Trevena (one from Mom and one from my sister).  They know what I like!  And I'm taking my time going through these, reading and learning.  Shirley has such a vivid color sense and definitely has a style all her own, not caring about perspective but putting shapes where she thinks they look best.  It must be fun to watch her set up a still life and then paint it, making changes as she goes.  

I got the latest Daniel Smith sales catalog and knew immediately that it was a Shirley Trevena painting on the cover - she does have a signature style.  

Happy Groundhog's Day!!!