Saturday, October 31, 2015


La Rouge

Watercolor on half sheet (15 x 22 inches) 
Arches 140# cold press paper

Just breaking from the flowers and plants for a minute or two.  

Give me an honest opinion, please.  I didn't get much feedback when I showed this to my students so I think they didn't like it or didn't know what to think of it.

FYI, I started this a long time ago and put it aside - didn't know what to do with it or where it was going.  It was from a photo I took while watching something on t.v. but I can't find the photo now so I just pulled this mess out and started messing with it.  Yes, it's a mess.  Yes, her little thin arms and hands are tiny compared to her full figure.  So...the uptilted head and reds I like.  The arch in black and curves around (but cannot be easily seen = a mistake).  

What else?  What would you change?  Or would you just put it in the round bin with the others done lately?

Friday, October 30, 2015


Inktober is almost over and here is my last set of doodles...

This was in color in a sketchbook, so I added the ink around the color to come up with this silly bird.

A display of art genres on the page - with an additional bit of this and that thrown in! ha ha  Sometimes I wonder about my mind and how it works.  (Need more cowbell???)

Scribbles the Dog?  
And fields of something.  
With a woman who has a tree growing out of her head.  

Please don't try to analyze me!  It might be scary!! ha ha

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Not sure why, but I seem to be overworking a lot of paintings that get torn and sent into the round bin (or used for scrap paper on the backs).  

This began okay but the water looked muddy to me so...I mixed up a large batch of cobalt teal blue and just poured it over the whole thing (while the flower and pad were masked off).  Did this until I got a prettier loot to the water.  

The lily pad at the top left has watercolor paint and watercolor crayons on it.  The lines need more color (they are underneath the water).  I like the purplish color of the stem and shadow (and I did crop off some of the bottom so I don't have a full shadow of the flower there). could I go wrong?  Well, apparently pretty easily!  Because when all the masking fluid came off and I began on that flower, I just kept putting pigment on wet on wet and let it run and didn't have any indication of segments and...just kept doing it!!  I think my problem might be lack of attention to the painting because I'm watching things on Amazon Prime while I'm painting and maybe that it not a good thing!

Trust me, this one looks better here than in person where it's a mess!  (Went in with watercolor pencils and drew in the separation between petals and there is nothing delicate about it.)  The only good thing about it is the water.

So...another sheet of paper, another start...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


In the Moleskine sketchbook (I used all the pages in the last sketchbook and put it on the shelf with the other used ones).  Have a few pages in this sketchbook before it's filled.

Put an acorn (from a bowl) on the arm of the sofa and sketched it (had a deep shadow shape I liked).

The other is just an imaginary doodle that became a wooly worm (caterpillar)! ha ha

And this is inspiration from our recent Penguin Encounter at the Newport Aquarium.

This makes 12 sketches...need to do a few more to catch up to the date if I'm to have one each day done (or maybe I'm on a one every day schedule...yeah, that works!)

A mishmash of doodles...a caramel apple, a pumpkin, a faded flower, a feather, other whatnots.  If I count each one, I'm at 21 now! ha ha

Doodle number 22?  But still behind...

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Well, I worked on some value changes (getting darks here and there and more pop to the painting).  I still don't care for this, even though I cropped off the busy left side that did nothing for the painting.  

Sometimes you win...sometimes a dog is still a dog!  Maybe I still have problems with greens?

So put this aside and began on a water lily painting from a photo Sweetie took.  I wanted it to be soft, serene, pale...

But I'm in a rut of mistakes and overworking, it seems. 

I ruined this one so badly I just tore it to pieces and it went in the round bin for all time.

And I began again...with a single flower...on a smaller sheet of paper...

Friday, October 23, 2015


Since I did all those Plant Life series paintings, I've felt like playing with greens. The background top and middle done.  Going to paint each element as a cell = wet just the element (leaf, branch, etc.) and paint that, step by step.

This is a fourth sheet, Arches 140# cold press paper.

More color - but definitely needs more variety in the values to get this one to look okay...

I don't know what this is - something growing on the top of a cliff on San Salvador Island, Bahamas, the last time I was there.  Yellow-orange round fruit and white flowers all on the plant at the same time.  

I wonder if any of it is left after Hurrican Joaquin ripped the vegetation off the island (so much so that birds are without nests and food and are so disoriented, they are flying into windows and vehicles :(   It is still a long rebuilding process for those people living on San Sal although we won't hear about that here, in the U.S., at all.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Just a few more ink doodles while celebrating and participating in Inktober 

Would you like to be a mermaid, swimming in the sea?

Or would you rather be a fire-breathing dragon?

I gave my love a cherry...

I see it's past the mid-point of October and I only have about a dozen Inktober doodles done...behind, as usual.  I need to find a new small sketchbook to do more...

Monday, October 19, 2015


Sweetie and I went to a program/talk by a marine biologist given at the Newport Aquarium a few months ago and Sweetie is so lucky, he won a Penguin Encounter.  What is a Penguin Encounter?  It's where you go behind the scenes and get up close with the penguins and hear what they are all about.  Since Friday, October 16 was a day all three grandkids were off school and their mother could get the day off, too, we went!  A big group of 7 of us, but the penguins didn't think it was too many.

And it was a great experience.  Allie, the animal husbandry employee, gave us the little tour and lots of information, telling us many facts about the African Penguins (also called Jackass Penguins because they make a braying sound just like a donkey and it wasn't long before we were hearing that sound!!).  She answered questions and told us about her many trips to research and study penguins and other animals. 

Being introduced to Blueberry, Red Pepper, Green Bean, Sandy, Speckles, Randi, and Simon (those are all I can remember and I don't know how long it would take a keeper to remember whick bird was which - but they do have colored tags on their flippers to help with identification).

You really can't help laughing when they make their donkey braying sounds to get attention from Allie!

Allie took our photo with two of the penguins - I think it was Simon and Sandy?

Although some of the penguins have male names (Randy, Simon), the African penguins at the Newport Aquarium are all females.  This is because they don't want captive breeding in the group due to the genetic pool these sister and cousins are in.  When a male from another zoo or aquarium is ready for a mate, one of our females will go on a date with him and see if they get along :)  Because these are endangered creatures, they want to keep the gene pool "flowing" and not interbreed.

Thanks, Allie, for a great time!!  

After the program, we toured the Aquarium, taking our time and letting the grands do whatever they wanted to do; then  a walk across the plaza to lunch at Dewey's Pizza - yum!  And walking around Newport on the Levee was great because it was a gorgeous fall day on the river! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Sweetie was my chauffeur Thursday morning, driving me up north to Middletown, Ohio to see the Ohio Watercolor Society show at the Middletown Art Center.  It's a beautiful venue with a lovely gallery setting for the show.  Unfortunately, they were setting up for a private event and had pushed some of the middle "walls" back into the "real" walls so there were a few paintings you could not see at all!  How silly!

Anyway, I (as usual) did not agree with the major award winners and chose to walk around a couple of times and snap what caught my eye and then a slow go around to choose my own favorites - it's too bad I am never asked to judge, I would really shake things up!! ha ha

So here are my top picks:

Earth Song 
by Billie Richards
of Kirtland, OH
won an OWS Award of Excellence

but I would have given this painting top place.  Because it is watercolor in bits that are stitched together like a watercolor quilt (it's paper, not cloth), and there was so much interesting texture and visual interest, not your usual watercolor painting at all!

(Sorry about the reflections in some of the paintings - it could not be helped.)

Detail of the above painting to show the stitching (in gold thread) with gold acrylic marker in places to carry on the painting, etc.  

This was a beautiful painting.

A Time to Reap
by Christine Misencik-Bunn
of Fredericktown, OH
won the OWS Award of Distinction

but, again, I would have given this second place overall.  It was pure, transparent watercolor, and it was masterfully done.  There was so much depth in the darks - and that sky and the man's teeshirt!!

Heart Break Falls
by Sally Emslie
of West Lafayette, OH

I don't know why this very inventive and visually imaginative painting did not win an award.  I would have given it third place.

It was not pure watercolor (I wish the artists had to name their media on the title card because you can paint in watercolor, gouache, casein, acrylic, etc. for the show - and paint on gessoed paper, yupo, canvas, etc.), so I assume it was acrylic with gesso (?) to create the wonderful texture you cannot see in this photo.  That flowing waterfall is all white gesso flowing down into the water...really a good painting and clever.

Eleanor's Barn
by Gary Brooks
of Amelia, OH

Another masterfully painting pure watercolor with tons of texturing in the wood and window to draw you in - which didn't win anything.  I would have been in my top 5.

Egret II
by Sharon Eley
of Chillicothe, OH

This was a delicate, beautiful, romantic image of an egret surrounded by loving half-scenes.  Loved the colors used and the delicate touch of the artist.

Definitely in my top 5.  And I found the hanging of this one (high up so you had to crane your neck to see it and could not look closely), unfortunate.  

More of my favorites:

Just Incredible
by Phyllis Lawicki
of Cleveland, OH

A brightly colored, highly textured, piece that was very eye-catching whether you were close to the painting or across the room.  Everything flowed well in this one.  

by Robert Moyer
of Rocky River, OH

I loved the creativity of this one - clever, fun, and well painted in an unusual way.  Very appealing!

If you get a chance and are in the Middletown, OH area, stop in and see the show and tell us your favorites!

Thursday, October 15, 2015


by Helen Hunt Jackson

Bending above the spicy woods which blaze,
Arch skies so blue they flash, and hold the sun
Immeasurably far; the waters run
Too slow, so freighted are the river-ways
With gold of elms and birches from the maze
Of forests. Chestnuts, clicking one by one,
Escape from satin burs; her fringes done,
The gentian spreads them out in sunny days,
And, like late revelers at dawn, the chance
Of one sweet, mad, last hour, all things assail,
And conquering, flush and spin; while, to enhance
The spell, by sunset door, wrapped in a veil
Of red and purple mists, the summer, pale,
Steals back alone for one more song and dance.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Just some fun stuff on scrap pieces of Arches 140# cold press paper...

When life gets tough, as it sometimes does, just make like a mermaid and keep swimming!

Love this quote from Paul Klee:  "Colour possesses me. I don't have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour. Colour and I are one. I am a painter."

Sunday, October 11, 2015


The first one I did.  It started as a balloon...with a face...and then tied into a hole in a tree...have no idea where it came from.  Makes me think of Gabe Kaplan (Mr. Kotter) of Welcome Back, Kotter!!

Been going to a few soccer games in which the grandkids play.  It's getting colder in the evening and I'll be glad when the indoor schedule begins.

Odds and ins on a page...
I like my ice cream cone and my dressy demon lady the best.

Finished reading Bill Bryson's book, 
Notes from a Small Island,
and thinking about tea.  

A hilarious book, highly recommended, especially if you have lived in the UK.


Best one yet.  Trying to make different marks to get the pigeon looking right.

A very wonky table and chair.  Oh, well...

9 out of 11 days = not too bad for me.

Friday, October 9, 2015


The Mermaids from Weeki Wachee Springs, FL have returned to the Newport Aquarium for a short visit.  Their last day is Monday, October 12.  If you have little ones who want to see mermaids, take them and see the shows and have their photo taken with a "real" mermaid!

This little boy got to kiss a real mermaid! 

The mermaids are great at interacting with the children and adults while swimming in the coral reef tank of the aquarium.  

The water at Newport Aquarium is warmer than their natural habitat at Weeki Wachee, but Weeki Wachee water is fresh water and this at NAQ is salt water, so they can't stay in too long before their eyes are burning.  These are tough ladies and they put on a good show for all.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


I really think this is the last one.  I did 5 "male" versions and 5 "female" versions and I think it's time to move on to something else.  Someday, who knows, I may have a show of these? 

This one is titled

Plant Life:  Female No. 4

On a fourth sheet (11 x 15 inches) of Arches 140# cold press paper

Monday, October 5, 2015


Sometimes the Way it Rains Reminds Me of You
by Colleen J. McElroy

these days I speak of myself in the past tense
writing about yesterday knowing tomorrow
is no more than mist crawling toward violet mountains
I think of days when this weather meant you
were not so far away   the light changing
so fast I believe I can see you turning a corner
the rain comes in smelling of pine and moss
a kind of brazen intrusion on the careful seeds of spring
I pay more attention to details these days
saving the most trivial until I sort them for trash
or recycle   a luxury I’ve come to know only recently
you have never been too far from my thoughts
despite the newborn birds and their erratic songs
the way they tilt their heads as if dowsing for the sun
the way they repeat their singular songs
over and over as if wishing for a different outcome

Colleen J. McElroy is the author of Sleeping with the Moon (University of Illinois Press, 2007) and the forthcoming Blood Memory(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). McElroy is professor emerita at the University of Washington and lives in Seattle, Washington.

Sometimes a poem breaks your heart, just a little.  This is one of them.  I can picture her, standing at the slightly open window, listening to the rain drizzling and watching the day become fogged and misty, missing someone while the rain painting the trees calls out the name of someone who will not return.  Since it's been raining for a few days (even here in KY, we are feeling the effects of the hurricane), this seemed appropriate for this week.  

I previously said the U.S. was not hit by this hurricane, but was reminded by Elizabeth that the U.S. WAS hit by Hurricane Joaquin in the form of unimaginable rain falling for DAYS on South Carolina and along the eastern coast of the U.S.  I don't know how many homes flooded.  So although the hurricane did not make land on our southeastern coast, the U.S. was damaged. Let's hope that this is the only bad storm for 2015 (seeing the people rescued from rooftops was too reminiscent of Katrina in 2005). 

My husband is a marine biologist.  He has been taking research groups and students to the Bahamas, to San Salvador Island for decades.  We always stayed at the Gerace Research Center (GRC).  As word continues to come in, we learn that the GRC is still standing but many homes are destroyed, roofs are off, water damage is immense, and cleanup from twisted trees is unimaginable.  Hurricane Joaquin hovered over the islands for three days with 130 mph winds.  Send your thoughts and prayers to them - and to the many who lost their lives in the cargo ship that went down during the hurricane, as well as those on our own southeastern coastline who are facing major cleanup and repair.  

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Plant Life: Male No. 5

Half sheet painting (15 x 22 inches) on Arches 140# cold press paper.

I cannot believe it is October!  
Where has the year gone?  

Thursday, October 1, 2015


started by artist Jake Parker in 2009, 
is an annual month-long challenge to do one ink drawing a day for the month of October. 

Jake created InkTober as a challenge to improve his inking skills 
and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide 
endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year. 

Anyone can do InkTober, just pick up a pen and start drawing.

Learn more about InkTober & artist Jake Parker at

I am not going to commit to every day but I am going to keep the sketchbook (small) and Pitt pens handy and doodle every now and then...and if I get anything that isn't cringe-worthy, I'll share!