Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wishing You A Blessed & Prosperous New Year & Nude Sketch

I do hope each of you enjoy the New Year festivities in your area whether it is out and about or with family and/or friends. As 2008 ends, it is a good time to ponder the past year but an even better time to think of what we would like in 2009.

My goals focus on my family, friends and art. One art goal as mentioned previously, is to learn to draw better. By that I mean not only with a pencil but with a brush. In essence drawing for me means "seeing" better, the relationships between shapes and values, coordinating the eye to hand or maybe I should say brain to hand. Thinking and planning more not only prior to a painting or drawing but before each brushstroke or mark. Appreciating the look of a stroke or mark for its unique appearance and knowing whether that mark works.

You know the old saying, "slow down and smell the roses"? Well that is another of my goals when it comes to art. When I paint or draw I always have the feeling I must rush, when actually the only time table is of my own making.

You can see the rushed, unplanned look of this sketch I did from Hogarth's book. The only part I halfway like is the right foot. The benefit of this drawing though is teaching me what doesn't work and that I must break the bad habit of marking before actually knowing which mark to make, the size of the mark or which direction the mark should go. Plus, overmarking is a bad habit I have.

I'm saving the sketches done during 2009 to see if I can see improvement at the end of the year.

What goals or plans do you have for yourself in 2009? Whatever they are, I hope you find as much true joy as I do when I'm painting and that they come to fruition.

Head Studies after Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Figure Drawing Sketches

I'm back to doing more drawing/sketching studies. My goal for 2009 is to improve my drawing/sketching skills hence, improving my painting skills of the human form.

These sketches were done in conte, using sketches on pages 10 and 11 respectively, of Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Figure Drawing. They look nothing like Hogarth's sketches but that is the purpose, to teach me to draw/sketch in my own style while learning the shapes of the human head and/or figure.

This sketch to the right is of my granddaughter, Sadie, holding her puppy. The photo reference was taken by my daughter and was sketched on typewriter paper using a conte pencil. Notice the lines at the top of the head and across her chest? For the head I drew bascially a square or a slight rectangle first, then sketched the head. The diagnoal line across the chest was to show the directional tilt of her shoulders.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Landscape Practice

Using left over oil paint from the Grandma's House painting, this landscape was formed from my imagination, practicing brush strokes and the mixing of greens. The colors for the greens were cerulean blue, yellow ochre, naples yellow, cad. yellow. Then added in some darker blues, ultramarine and cobalt along with transparent red oxide, alizarin crimson. The Ampersand board was first wiped down with Transparent Red Oxide and mineral spirits to tone the board. There is also a bit of Mars orange mixed into some of the mixes.

Grandma's House Finished?

I initially called this Swingin' but changed it to its current title as it is a painting of the grandkids playing at Grandma's. A photo has been sent to the client (my niece) and am waiting for her feedback. She had specific items that had to be in the painting which were the fence, the slide and swing, the house and of course, the kids playing. The painting is 16" x 20" on stretched canvas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday Morning Armchair Traveling

This morning started off with a lovely cup of coffee and viewing blogs. I enjoy reading about what is happening in different parts of the world through other artists' blogs. I started off with Making a Mark which always has interesting tidbits and lots of links to other sites. Through a link from Making a Mark, I found Ancient Artist: Developing an art career after 50 by Sue Smith, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I then went on to view Sue's blog about her artwork, Sue Smith's Studio. Such a neat way to start off the week as these blogs offer tidbits, questions, and ideas plus, artwork. I'll be posting Sue's blog links to the side bar as I intend to visit her blog frequently.

Digging back into the archives here is another Christmas painting done in 2003, just to provide a little Christmas cheer. I love snow globes because they are bring out the wonder a child has when the globe is shaken and snow fall over the scene. The painting is watercolor and done from a still life set up. I was learning to paint in watercolor when this painting was done and am still learning, *grin*.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Self-Portrait Sketch

Did this sketch this morning on tracing paper. In this sketch my head is tilted back a little as I look down toward the mirror. The lighting is from overhead fluorescents slightly to the left with some natural light from the window on the right.

Notice the eye underneath the hair on the viewer's left? I thought I would concentrate on doing contour drawings of each feature until I get the hang of doing these. I watched Charles Reid do a contour drawing of his model in a video, on watercolor paper and believe me, it takes lots of experience to get a likeness, which he did very well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I'm not sure I will ever get the hang of blind contour drawing. In this one I totally missed one eye ha ha and I tried to go ever so slow. Then I went on to sketch myself while looking in a mirror, wrinkles and all.

Contour Drawing Practice

I think I have only tried contour drawing one or two times previously, so yesterday, using a .09 mechanical pencil, I tried it again. These were done very quickly and the results are hilarious. The first drawing was using a photo for reference; the rest are self-portraits while viewing me in a mirror. After looking at these, I thought they could possibly be used as a basis for an abstract.

Most were blind contour sketches where I didn't take my eyes off of the subject, not looking at the paper. Aren't they comical looking! Contour drawing is actually to be done very, very slowly, barely moving the pencil while looking at the small area being drawn. Concentrating solely on that area before moving on to the next area.

In the book by Kimon Nicolaides, "The Natural Way to Draw", his first exercises are on contour drawing and recommends 1/2 hour for one drawing. Obviously, I didn't take that time with yesterday's sketches but plan to today, if I can make myself draw that slow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas, From the Archives

Wishing Each of You
A Most Blessed

This painting was done in 2003, while remembering my childhood. I would lay on the couch, without my glasses, and get lost in the wonderland of lights and Christmas daydreams, believing anything is possible. Every time I run across this card, I still get that same feeling. Besides, purple is my favorite color and always make me feel good too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Semi-Nude Drawing

An update on the drawing I've been working on. The Fabriano paper is soft press but does have texture which shows in some of the strokes. The first image is a close-up of the face; the second shows the full view.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Semi-Nude Graphite Drawing, In progress

Below is the semi-nude graphite drawing I've been working on the past few days. It is drawn on 18" x 22" Fabriano soft press watercolor paper. I'm waiting on comments from the client so there could be more changes, such as a smoky, darker background and maybe more work on the drapery, waistline and hip. This is art so I hope this drawing is not offensive to anyone. I find it beautiful myself.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2nd Drawing

Waking up in the middle of the night has its advantages as the house is quiet and I can concentrate. I erased the first sketch and did this 2nd sketch over it, of the same woman with a more frontal view.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cherokee Rose, In Memory Of

In Loving Memory
Today, a life long friend passed away. She lived across the highway from us for as many years as I can remember and when we were young, she would babysit. Lorena was also the model for this painting done in 2006. I so wanted to capture the gentleness of her spirit along with the visionary look in her eyes. Her eyes held a hint of sadness or maybe it was a yearning. My heart weeps.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Drawing WIP

A work in progress using grapite on 18" x 22" Fabriano Soft Press 140# watercolor paper. The paper is a soft white and I haven't adjusted the photo at all as far as lights/darks, etc., so the paper has a slight reddish tint in the photo.

The model for this drawing is a lovely lady with a great personality. I began with the face because getting the features right is the most important part of the drawing to me. There is still much to do with the features, especially the eyes, and the shading. This drawing will be a semi-nude and it should be fun (meaning interesting) getting the drapery right.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Nude Sketches

Today was "practice" day with graphite and charcoal. Four studies of the same pose were done, and believe me they aren't anything to brag about. I'm sharing these simply because practice studies like these are important for working out kinks or problem areas. They help one to become familiar with tilt, angles, shapes, measurements, foreshortening, etc. , of the body. It takes hours and hours of doing these studies to become proficient at both seeing and drawing the human body. In these studies, I haven't tried for an actual likeness as I was more interested in the overall measurements, etc.

Because some people are offended by nudity I have chosen to place them on my website, so click HERE, if you want to view them, then click on the photos to enlarge them.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Swingin' Update

I've been working on this the last couple of days trying to get it finished. I still need to work on the tree shadows as I'm not pleased with them and add the fence back in as well as lighten some of the grass near the house that is not in shadow. This photo has been sent to the client for her general comments. Hope she is pleased with the progress.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dec. 1st, World Aids Day

Monday, December 1st, is World Aids Day and to further awareness here is a postcard from the World Aids Campaign organization. One can also do a search and find a list of organizations that are fighting this devastating disease.

On Painting . . .

I have been painting in oils today but don't have anything to show for it. I don't consider days like this a loss at all. By the time this painting is finished, the one thing I will have learned is how many color mixtures there are for grass and foliage from the color palette I'm using. I love the creating, watching the strokes as slowly the subject emerges. Trying to impart excitement, impact, or the soft visual quality that entices. I'm trying to find my painting "voice" so today was practicing the scales with notes of green.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Peace Rose, Watercolor

Instead of adding a new post I decided to update yesterday's post with additional photos after the corrections were made. A bit more definition/shape was added to the petals in the third row from the bottom and in a couple of other areas. I personally like it better now and hope you do too!. For those of you that commented and didn't want me to touch the painting, I hope you find the minor tweaks an improvement. I do appreciate your comments/feedback and hope you keep them coming, but sometimes one just has to go with one's own gut feeling.

Peace Rose

6" x 6"
Paper size 10" x 10"
Fabriano Aristico Soft Press

Happily I got to paint today in between household tasks. Before this painting is signed I will let it sit awhile to get a fresh view. I think some petals on the viewer's right, third row up from the bottom, maybe need a little more separation/delineation.

Hope Your Thanksgiving is Bountiful

Wishing you and yours a most blessed Thanksgiving.

Photo of the north pasture taken in November, 2005. The bottom of the photo was cropped because it had the date on it in large numbers.

Peace Rose Update

This photo is showing some of the underpainting done last night. The palette so far consists of New Gamboge, Rhondonite Genuine, Quin. Pink, Rose Madder, Perm. Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Turquoise, Cascade Green, Cobalt Blue

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Peace Rose, The Beginning

I loosely sketched a Peace Rose on a 10" x 10" piece of Fabriano soft press paper. I taped the edges in two inches on each side for the area that will be covered by a mat. The sketch is so light but hope you can see enough of it to tell it is there. I chose this size painting specifically as I have a square gold frame that I have been wanting to use.

Next, I went directly to the center of the rose and a couple of other areas, placing Quinacradone Gold. These areas will be the darkest area of the rose. Because the rose is set in a grassy setting, I used Yellow Ochre as an underpainting around the rose.

The rose bush was a gift from friends in Wyoming and I hope it survives the winter. I took a photo of the rose in September, this year and am using it for reference. In the photo, the grass is rather dull and the day was a bit overcast so no strong shadows.

To the right of the painting in the bottom photo you can see the edges of two porcelain trays (there is third large porcelain tray that isn't shown.) They are perfect for mixing washing and clean up beautifully. One tip I learned from Tim Tyler is to write the name of the color on the rim so I know exactly which color I'm using. Then when I'm finished painting. The paint simply washes off. I purchased these trays at Crate and Barrel, on-line, for a very reasonable price and has been one of the best purchases I've made.

Depending on how much available time I have inbetween shopping and Thanksgiving preparations, I hope to have more steps to post.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Trellis Roses, Watercolor Update

Here is an update. I added more foliage, darkened some of the leaves and darkened a couple of areas in the flowers.

There is both a cropped and uncropped version. As you can see, the painting has been signed yet I hope you will feel free to give feedback.

Trellis Roses, Watercolor

Trellis Roses
6 1/4" x 7 3/4" on 1/8 sheet
Fabriano Aristico Soft Press Paper

Painted from a photo I took of the roses that grow by the carport. I have to admit that I'm pretty happy with most of this painting simply because it shows the practice with shapes and values has helped. I may go back in and darken the interior of the larger top rose near the yellow stamens (I think that is what they would be called).

Posted also is a cropped version of the painting with the second rosebud removed. Which version do you prefer? My person preference is the cropped version.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Turkey, Watercolor Fun

6 1/2" x 8"
Fabriano Soft Press Paper

Joined in the fun at Paint Friends for the November Paint-A-Long. The turkey was really homely but it is even more so in the watercolor study. The shape of the bird isn't even correct but it was fun painting it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Strawberries, Watercolor


7 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Fabriano Aristico Soft Press Paper

Comment Moderation & Another WC Study of Reds

I'm a big fan of comments and appreciate the feedback from all those that comment. From this morning on though, I will be monitoring comments before they appear on the blog. Comments that appear to be advertising will not be allowed. No spamming. That's my rant for the day.

Now on to the main subject which is the beginning of another watercolor study of reds. The image below is of the stem part of the strawberry. This has been painted wet on dry paper which gives a little more control. Where this ends up is anyone's guess. I am using a reference photo of locally grown strawberries that I took earlier this year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Strawberries Take 2 (revised version)

After comments at Paint Friends, to add some darker values under a couple of the berries and glaze some olive green color in the upper portion, I went even further. I added cobalt blue, magentas, greens and more reds and did some negative painting. The berries are not as well defined but I like the leaf areas better and the ground work. What do you think? Do you prefer the original version or the reworked version? Don't be shy about commenting. *smile*

Playing with Red, Strawberries

It is always a challenge playing with reds as I still didn't achive the value changes or leave enough light on the berries. I also realized there isn't much breathing room around the berries and added too many. I just love painting practice pieces. Painted on an 1/8 sheet Fabriano paper cropped to 9" x 7".

Monday, November 17, 2008

Playing with Reds and Roses in Watercolor

Today was play day in a less structured way (no drawing or pre-planning). Using watercolor, different red paints were labeled at the top of the watercolor paper and a square of each color painted. I found though that I pretty much stuck with certain colors: Deep Scarlet, Anthraquinoid Red, Quin. Red, Permanent Red and Scarlet Lake with maybe swish or two of the other reds. The greens: Undersea Green, Pthalo Green, Sap Green. The blues: Cobalt blue or Cerulean. The yellow used was New Gamboge.

The studies were painted below the paint squares and were done to study the gradation of values, the tones of red and simply to get the look of a rose. I love their soft, velvety texture, their scent, their shapes and the soft transitions from dark to lighter reds. Capturing those attributes with paint is still eluding me, at least so far but what a pleasure to try.

Getting values in reds takes some doing. For lighter areas, used less paint, more water or left the white; for darker areas, I used the complement of red, green. You can see what I mean about the values in the grayscale of the studies I did today.

From the Painting Archives, "Hand Cream"

Hand Cream

Since I haven't painted in a couple of days, with minimal progress on the kids' painting, I thought I would share this still life that was painted on unstretched canvas in 2006. It was painted from a setup in my studio and later mounted on a panel.

I am also happy to say that my sister came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. She looks ever to much better and feels better too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Swingin' WIP Progress

Swinging' WIP
16" x 20"
Oil on Canvas

Yesterday was great because I had some time to paint. This photo was taken under warm/cool fluorescent lights and is showing a bit of glare plus the grass is a bit more green. There probably won't be time today to work on this as we took my sister to the ER last night and then was transported to a Tulsa hospital that specializes in heart problems. She was stablized and feeling a bit better when I came home in the wee hours of the morning.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Here is a link to a quick graphite sketch of a male nude placed on my website as nudity may offend some people. This way gives one an option to click or not.

Not much painting or sketching done these last few days after a bout with a stomach virus. In a few minutes though, I am going to put some paint to a piece of watercolor paper just to get past the "white paper, what do I do syndrome."

I have spent some time reading Artsy Fartsy News (what a name lol) published by Robert Burridge. He always has interesting reading. Then, I visited Italy via Sandy Maudlin's blog. I just love her paintings. They are always so well designed and painted. I also watched a bit of video by oil painter David Darrow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Onions Anyone

Onions Anyone
6 1/2" x 9"
Fabriano Aristico Watercolor Paper

I belong to an online art group known as Painting Friends and each month a member gives a demo and we try to learn the techniques shown in the demo. This painting of onions was for the month of October and I'm late painting it. I had never painted an onion before and even though I'm posting this painting, I will look at it again and decide if a few changes need to be made such as more definition or contrasts, sharper or more diffused edges. The watercolor is painted on a 7 1/2" x 11" piece of watercolor paper but I am going to crop it to 6 1/2" x 9" when matted.

Impressionism Exhibit in Oklahoma City, etc.

According to the Tulsa World newspaper, an exhibition of Impressionism from The Phillips Collection will be on display at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art through January 18, 2009. Childe Hassam, Maurice Prendergast and John Henry Twatchman are a part of The Phillips Collection. What a wonderful experience it would be to see these in real life. A newly discovered painting by Gifford Beal (1897-1956), On the Hudson at Newburgh, is part of the Collection and can be viewed online at:

While browsing the Arts section of the Tulsa paper this morning I read about the Art Smart Club. A new internet based venture, designed to help children develop their creativity. One of the things I like were the downloadable drawings that can be colored or painted. One of their goals is to help work out the steps needed to accomplish goals. Pretty cool, yes?

The Signs of Aging: having a doctor's appointment, getting dressed, fill up the car with gas, check the appointment to be sure you are on time, realize the appointment isn't until tomorrow. I'm still laughing!

Monday, November 03, 2008

In The Mood to Organize

I must be in the mood for Fall Cleaning. Last night and today was spent cleaning up my website, adding keywords and other attributes like "Comments" beneath each painting. I was trying to setup my website so it could be read by an RSS feeder but after spending hours reading, typing and failure after failure, I finally called my ISP to see if it could be done. The short answer was "No", not using Image Cafe, which is what I used to set up the website. I have FrontPage so may set up a website using it to see if it can be done that way. But, only when I have some spare time.

The other house cleaning has been in listing my artwork with pertinent information in a database. I am listing a few paintings at a time as it is time consuming too.

If only I had a magic Genie that would clean up my studio. It needs to be sorted, rearranged so there is space to paint and draw. I am such a clutterbug and like to have whatever I need at the moment, close at hand. The computer in front, coffee pot on the left, watercolor table on the right and behind me, sits the oils easel and table. Every wall has storage/chests, shelves, and cabinets which contain still life objects, paper, adhesives, sprays, videos, cds, books, etc., etc. So every surface is covered with whatever is needed for that task. And no, I'm not posting photos as I don't want to shock anyone ha ha.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fall Foliage Photos

These photos were taken before class yesterday morning at Tim's place. The first set shows an amazingly beautiful canopy of Fall foliage as I knelt beneath this tree and looked up. These photos don't do justice to the light filtering through the leaves, creating a beautiful glow.

The next set of photos were taken for reference material to see the shapes and colors of the leaves. I like the composition especially in the first photo

This set of photo is a wonderful example of 1-point perspective. I wish I had taken better photos with slightly different viewpoints.
Then in class I took a photo of the teapot thinking I would bring the class painting home to finish it. Well, I forgot the painting but still, isn't that a great looking teapot. I began a new still life study using the pot and oddment in the second photo. Aren't the reflections in the glass wonderful. Those reflections aren't as noticeable when looking at the still life set up in real life. I was meeting a client for coffee when I left and forgot to take a photo of the new class study. The nuances of color in the vase are absolutely beautiful, reds which can be seen in the photo, and the greens, ranging from a frosty/hazy green to a deeper richer green.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Since I began the painting of the house I have been facing perspective issues with the painting. Not so much with the house and barn but with the addition of figures, the slide and swing set into the painting. First question was where do I put them? How tall would the children be in relation to their surroundings? I began by drawing the horizon line/eye level on the photo and then running the diagonal lines which can be seen in the following photograph. The painting photo that was posted in the last post now has light perspective lines, ghostly children and slide, with the swing set slightly now askew. It sounds technical and boring doesn't it? Well, in some ways it is both but in other ways I feel excited because some of what I have been reading since I did the perspective on the house photo above, is finally beginning to sink in a little.

A big, big thanks to the Drawing & Sketching Forum at Wet Canvas and their Classroom threads which has Beginning and Intermediate Perspective. The time and effort put into teaching these lessons is outstanding and the people involved deserve all the applause and gratitude one can give. That goes for the people utilizing the classes available because it is through their questions, showing their efforts, and having explanations given that helps us all to work through some of the same questions or problems. If the question isn't answered there, you will find among the threads posted other links to different sites that give demonstrations of perspective. Wonderful, wonderful.

Am I an expert now? By no means! I barely understand it. It is only through practice and more practice will perspective truly sink in to this brain of mine. Just think about what perspective means to an artist. The edge of buildings, a hilly road, roof tops with different angles/views, people (yes, even people are drawn using perspective, i.e., how tall, how wide, placement of facial features, waistline, pelvic area, etc.), and their relationship to their surroundings. Perspective is a "wow" factor when one can finally draw or paint an object without fearing it is incorrect in size or placement or in relationship to its surroundings. I haven't gotten there yet without all the planning beforehand which can be tedious and painstaking. The more practice though, the quicker and better at eyeballing a subject I will become. Believe me, learning this stuff doesn't come without lots and lots of frustration and wondering if I will ever get it. I'm math challenged if it isn't 2 + 2 and anything that even looks like what we use to call a "thought" problem, throws me into a panic attack and my mind simply blanks out. The answer I'm learning, has to do with having a start place. One has to know where to start and work out each step slowly. If it isn't correct, then I have to begin at the start place and go through each step until I find where my measurements went askew.

I've been reading about perspective at different websites since Saturday's class. Tim Tyler, my oils instructor, helped me and lucky me, I video taped part of his instruction so I can keep reviewing it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Swingin', WIP

16" x 20" Oils on stretched canvas. I have done a lot of painting, scraping off and repainting with this WIP. Lots of corrections to do yet and additional children, etc., to put in. The reference for this painting consists of my own photos.

As children we spent a lot of time skating up and down the sidewalk and off of the porch as well as playing in the barn. The next generation came along and they played on the slide and swing set plus climbing trees. It would have been great to paint this outside in front of the house but it is just too chilly for me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

10-18-08 Oils Class

Ken is beginning a new painting. The sun was so bright my camera bleached out the grass in the sunlit areas. Note the gorgeous tones in the foreground grass.

I'm walking toward the next painter who is concentrating on capturing the view in front of her. She is using a Guerilla Pochade box and the easel is one of the sturdiest I've seen.

Ken has blocked in the scene before him and did a terrific job. I could tell he has painted plein air before as he didn't waste any time in getting the scene down on the canvas.

This photo of the light shining through the pine tree captured my attention before class. I was in awe of the way the light filtered through the needles and the beautiful color. The worst part was the crick in the neck from looking up for so long.

The photo of my plein air finished in class Saturday, was taken Monday in full sunlight. I had been taking photos in the shade but Tim suggested taking them in full light.

I took in the British Columbia Lodge painting for Tim's review. He suggested adding some of the green that was on the hill side as a break in the trees above the roof of the main lodge building. Another suggestion was to put more wave movement in the water near the plane.