Monday, March 31, 2014


Another half sheet started to get myself in gear for the upcoming Carol Carter workshop.  While looking at the 5 x 7 photo, I just drew the shapes I wanted on the watercolor paper, not putting in every little thing but focussing on the stars of the painting and the supporting characters.  

When it was time to get the paints wet, I was thinking hot color!!  (I tend to use cool colors and prefer cool colors so haven't as much experience with hot colors so I need the time spent playing with warms and hots to learn how they work.)  

This is the place where I tend to get lost in a painting that is all shapes and colors like this.  Think values as well as shapes - where should the darkest darks go to set off the stars (those upright leaves of whatever this plant is) and where should the boldest colors go.  Playing with reds against greens can muddy quickly if I don't keep an eye on the bleeding of the colors!  Lots to think about in this one.  

While I love Carol Carter's work and her signature style, I don't want to copy her style - probably couldn't if I tried.  But I would like to play enough with wilder color choices so I can start automatically seeing and choosing more colorful, fun choices in my palette when painting.  And I think that can be learned, just like composition can be learned.  

Wish you all could be with us at the workshop this weekend!

Saturday, March 29, 2014


This one is finished.  Half sheet, Arches 140# cold press paper.  

(The light on the upper right is the light shining from above, not the way its painted.)

I need a new overhead light in my art room - the one I have is flickering and I think it bothers my head even if I don't notice it when the 2 daylight lights are on at the table.  Or maybe I need a new head?!?

Have three soccer matches to attend today. The grand-boy starts soccer today so all 3 grands are playing now - all on different teams and in different age groups.  I'm not sure how their Mom and Dad are going to keep up with 3 teams, 3 practice times and dates, 3 match times and dates, etc.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I don't know about you, but I think I'm tired of the birds for now.  Plus, I want to be thinking more about color color color for the upcoming Carol Carter workshop.  
So...with that in mind...

Here is a half sheet painting of driftwood, just playing with color.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Used my last sheet of Lanaquarelle 6 x 8 cold press watercolor paper for this little spring robin.  This guy was getting so FAT because he figured out how to eat from the suet feeder.  He'll need to go on a high protein (worms) diet this spring!

Has spring arrived in your area yet - or are you still having snow and cold?

Sinus pain and pressure still hanging on if I stop the sinus pills and ibuprofen - might have to break down and go to the allergist and see what's happening here.  DO NOT want to be ill when the Carol Carter workshop begins next week!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Found a half-way decent photo of a robin taken on the deck, but started this small one (7.5 x 11) first.  A pelican from our Anna Maria Island trip last winter - or maybe this winter since winter still seems to be hanging on with colder temperatures, blustery days and snow?? 

Really??  Snow at the end of March?  What a winter this has been.  This little pelican doesn't have to worry about that, though.

I think, since I've begun painting these birds, I like about 1/3 of them and 2/3 I'll throw away.  My goal is to paint these looser, either by not drawing or just drawing lightly and being looser with the paint application.  I've only succeeded in about 1/3 so far.  But practice know...

Friday, March 21, 2014


No painting of robins yet, but driving home yesterday afternoon, I saw 9 robins in the neighborhood - so spring must be just around the corner.

Dealing with sinus or allergy issues right now so not feeling like painting: pain and pressure in my head makes me just want to knock myself out and sleep until I feel better.  I sure hope it's not a sign of a rough spring to come and more trips to the allergist.  If I had a whole month without a headache (migraine, sinus or tension), it would be a real gift. 

Enough of that - time to think about spring flowers and robins and the chickadees singing and flitting around the feeders :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Spotted-breasted thrushes are typically slightly smaller than robins.  Their dark eyes, shorter tails, and spotted breasts distinguish them from thrashers.  They prefer the forest understory; eat insects and berries.  All are fine singers. (From Golden Books A Guide to Field Identification: Birds of North America).

The wood thrush is the common nesting thrush in eastern deciduous forest and suburbs.  It has an olive body but a rusty head and the spotted breast all thrushes have. 

The thrush alone declares the immortal wealth and vigor that is in the forest.
Whenever a man hears it, he is young, and Nature is in her spring.
Wherever he hears it, it is a new world and a free country, and the gates of heaven
are not shut against him.   -   Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, March 15, 2014


A Blush of Shyness
Arches 140# cold press paper
1/4 sheet

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Working a bit more on the flamingo painting.  Putting in the eye will really bring it to life, I think.  But isn't that such a pretty color?  Just Permanent Alizarin Crimson with a touch of Scarlet Lake to warm it in places.

A bit more to do.  I don't want to have the light and dark feathers so different in value so might lift a little from the neck and also touch a bit more color on the body feathers towards the right bottom side of the painting.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Each experiment in art should teach you something.  Whether it's something good you can use next time, or something bad you want to avoid next time, it's good to learn something new.  With this painting, which began with Dr. ph. Martin's watercolor inks as a base (the background and darks in the owl), I learned:

1.  The wc inks are not permanent when they dry but will still rewet and smear when you put watercolor over them (this was a "bad" thing I'll avoid in the future)

2.  Even when you experiment, you should do good work and not rush

So my finished little barn owl is here:

Not great - maybe not even good, but it was a learning experience.

Next time I try this, I'll use fluid acrylics or acrylic inks as the base - those, I KNOW, are permanent when dry and won't move and smear when I put on the watercolor over it.

And how is your week going?  (Back to the pink flamingo for me...)

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Yesterday I got out on a beautiful sunny day (our 3rd in a row!!), ran some errands and picked up the Derek Jones' artwork I had matted and framed at Bowman's Framing.  Ken always does a good job and I think it looks great.

It was "glued" onto the matboard in order to show the ragged edge of the paper Derek worked on (I think it is Mi Tientes pastel paper in a beige-y color.  

The frame works well with the textured look of the piece as it's a bit rough and textured, too.

I'm pleased with the artwork and the way it looks now it's in its new home :)  It is now hanging in my dining/kitchen area and I'll enjoy it for years to come.

Thanks, Derek, for all your beautiful artwork - and for making this beauty so affordable!

Friday, March 7, 2014


Using and adapting the Ken Landon Buck technique of putting down India ink before watercolor and colored pencil in a painting, I used my Dr. ph. Martin watercolor inks - just the 3 primary colors I have (red, blue, yellow).

The background was done in Red and Blue to make a dark violet blue color.
Then I added a bit of yellow to get a black and painted inside the owl, including the eyes.

This barn owl photo is one Sweetie took at a raptor show somewhere and I think he has such a cute face and would lend itself to this technique.  The flamingo is on the back burner right now until I work on this some more and see where it goes.

The next step is using regular watercolor paints to paint the rest and see what happens.  I don't think I'll use colored pencil - but I might (or maybe pastel pencils if I need to lighten areas).

More to come later...

Winter is over!!!  We are actually having sunshine and temps in the 50Fs!!! YAY!  I'm going to my framers today to pick up the Derek Jones charcoal and gesso piece I had framed :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Today, at our Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society meeting, we had a wonderful demo and talk by Ken Landon Buck.  Ken is a well-known and respected local teacher and artist who works in watercolor, acrylic and pastel.  He has signature membership in many of the state and national art societies, and his work is always intriguing.  Ken opened our minds to creating paintings in a "different" way = using permanent India Ink to draw the subject and get in the darks first.  Then working dark to light to finish.  
He let the India ink dry overnight, then went in with watercolor paint, painting over the ink (which is why he let the India ink dry overnight to be sure it was bone dry and wouldn't "move" under the watercolor).  And yes, you could see the watercolor over the ink.
So - India Ink first.
Then watercolor, covering some but not all of the white and some of the darks, adding in some rich colors.
Then to finish up the painting, Ken added colored pencil work on top, creating texture and lightening areas.  He said he was thinking like a sculptor to shape the subject matter.  

It was really interesting and I'd like to try it - you can be heavy with the ink or light (he had a musk ox that was very dark but also had a finished painting of a sea turtle on the beach done the same way but with less sections of the India ink).

I'm afraid I forgot my camera - had a lot to remember today - but I know Deb Ward will have some photos on the GCWS blog soon :)

After the program, we had a chocolate cake with raspberry filling from Graeter's, as a thank you to Deb for her past work as President of the group and for all the other work she's done for the group since she became a member.  

And then we all brainstormed ideas for future programs since we have no Program Chair for the coming years.  Some interesting ideas were tossed around and we'll see where it goes from June (when I have the last guest artist/speaker scheduled).  

Monday, March 3, 2014


No, not college basketball, but the weather!  We got another coating of ice over everything yesterday before it began snowing and snowing and snowing - again.  This morning, about 3-4 inches of snow.  Shoveling out and using up the last of the pellets to break up the ice.  What fun!

Here are some interesting visitors to the feeders...

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I don't know why, but pinks, violets, and blues, rather than make me sad, lift my spirits.  I don't get the blues when I paint in blues, but feel "at home".  The same with a touch of violet or some pinks.  I guess we all have our favorite colors we choose over and over = part of our painting style.

So I thought about painting a nice, soft, pink flamingo, a shy thing, tucked away under a wing, dozing.

I'm using 2 different photos taken by Sweetie, as reference photos for this one and changing as I go along.  

So far, so good.  It's a fourth sheet Arches 140# cold press and using Daniel Smith Permanent Alizarin Crimson + a bit of Holbein Scarlet Lake to warm the pink a bit in places.

I'm calling it 
A Blush of Shyness

The background was done first and is just Daniel Smith Sap Green + Green Gold with a touch of Quin Gold here and there for warmth.  I spritzed it with water from a spray bottle before the bg dried.  

I'd like to keep this one delicate and soft with stronger color in the head and eye.

If we are snowed and iced in for a few days after this latest winter storm comes through, I'll get this one finished, I think.

Are you waiting for another winter storm - or has it already hit your area?