Thursday, December 31, 2009

TMC #20, Tootsie Rolls

Wanted to do a TMC so grabbed this kid's Tootsie Roll bank my twin gave me because she knows I love Tootsie Rolls.  One would think this would be a simple subject to do but with all the writing and the little tootsie rolls on the can it wasn't that easy. You can see I didn't have time to finish or even correct much.  Still, it was fun and challenging, especially the ellipses. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dusting of Snow

This is  a very early morning zoom photo of the area up the hill from the back of the house.  Love those cedar trees and the light dusting of snow.

I have begun a small watercolor by dripping and spritzing color, starting with a very pale yellow, then added quin. coral.  Once that dried, viridian and cobalt were added to the outer edges.  What is the painting going to be?  Right now I haven't a clue but wanted to try something different than my usual method of using a brush.  Maybe it will turn out, maybe it won't but my next step is to draw the chosen subject. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Barbara, Charcoal

8" x 9"
Charcoal on gray tinted paper

Tomorrow is my sister-in-law's birthday and this is her gift.  If their subdivision roads are clear they will come for a visit.  They had so much ice and snow they couldn't get out of their driveway. 

Barbara has the most beautiful silvery, gray-white hair and lovely cheek bones.  Not only that she cooks & bakes like a dream and has more energy than anyone I know. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

TMC #19, Handbag

TMC #19
4 1/2" x 6 1/2"
Gessoed Bristol Board

Wanted to get an early start today so set this fabric handbag on my paint table.  I wanted to practice painting the folds and shadows.

Christmas Eve morning, and all is quiet.  Mornings are a special time, any morning.  A wonderful time to listen to the quiet, all the things we don't normally hear in the rush of daily living.  A time to reacquaint ourselves with our most cherished dreams, a time for thanks.  I'm hoping we all find a moment of this refreshing quiet time. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sisters Finished

 Three Sisters
Each matted to 11" x 14"

I put some studio mats on the graphite drawings of my nieces as protection for delivery to my sister.  The drawings are what she requested for Christmas.  Now the waiting begins, to see whether she likes them or wants changes.  They do look like the girls but the resemblance isn't as close as I would like. In other words, they aren't spot on lol.  Maybe in a year's time my skill will have improved. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

TMC #18, Erasers

TMC #18, Erasers
1 3/4" x 2 3/4"
Watercolor & Ink

This subject was challenging to paint since the erasers are white or gray and one covered with charcoal erasure areas. I used ink to do a bit of line to delineate the erasers.   The grays were mixed with Indanthrone Blue, Burnt Sienna combination , or French Ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, changing the color by adding a bif  of quin. magenta or lemon yellow or more blue or more brown. 

Countdown to Christmas - wishing each of you good things in your day to day journey.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa, Merry Christmas Everyone!

Being in the Christmas mood, had to paint Santa this year.  5" x 7" watercolor and gouache, painted to the edges of the Fabriano watercolor paper. 

Wishing each of you a life filled with health, happiness, prosperity and love, and praying for peace.  

Saturday, December 19, 2009

TMC #17

The darks in this TMC are Indanthrone Blue, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Lemon Yellow.  The golds are Spanish Gold Ochre and Quin. Gold.  French Ultramarine Blue used in the background.  The powder belonged to my sister and those are nail clippers beside the powder.  Because these are 20 minutes it was a challenge to even get close on the ellipses.  The other thing that runs through my head when looking at the finished TMC is that there are so many different ways this could be painted or drawn, emphasizing line or shapes or colors.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Before Daylight

These items were sitting on the window sill and could see the reflections in the glass.  Painted on 5" x 7" Fabriano watercolor paper. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Steph, Graphite

Graphite on Bristol Board
8 1/2" x 9 1/2"

Graphite Portrait

7 1/2" x 9"
Bristol Board

Instead of doing the 20 Minute Challenge every day I have been working on my portrait skills.  Carol's personality shines through in her smile and I hope I captured that.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

TMC #16, Feather Duster

This was painted a few minutes ago in acrylics and I don't like it but am showing it anyway.  It is a Pledge can and a duster.  

Then yesterday the only thing I painted were these two little things in watercolor as i was thinking of Christmas.  Just had to get my brushes wet and play a little. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

TMC #15, Tools Again

This time gesso was applied to bristol board and  the subject matter was painted in watercolor.  The pliers are better this time I think and added screws for a bit of interest.  Still need to work on shadows and their shapes.  One of these days will start applying backgrounds, as time allows even if it is just a swish of the brush.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Watercolor Portrait for CWC

Finished painting

Underpainting in Terre Verte

I used one of my niece's photo as a reference to paint this for the Yahoo colorfulwatercolor art group hosted by Rhonda Carpenter.  We were to do a monochromatic painting first then overpaint the same painting.  I chose terre verte (green) by Holbein as my underpainting.since I wanted that color in the shadows. 

This was painted on bristol board and kept getting hard edges as the paper absorbed the paint so fast.  It was hard to soften the edges without beading the paper.  I couldn't get smooth transitions.  Maybe I should have wet the paper first then dropped in paint.  BTW, this does not look like my niece but has some similarities.  Still, it was all a learning process. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

TMC #14, Hand Tools

I grabbed some hand tools and however they landed on the table was how I was going to paint them.  This TMC is a bit confusing when it comes to separation of the tools and some of the shapes are unclear.  The black handle has areas of light that are barely seen in the photo but are much more distinct in real life.  Tools are fun to paint and even with all the irregularities, I would paint this again. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hand Sketch, Graphite

Did this hand sketch this morning as a warm up.  I didn't time it so it won't count for the 20 minute challenge.  Yesterday, I worked on a portrait, my third try at drawing this person.  It is heading for the trash bin.  It was a case of almost right but some shapes were wrong.

I will start another one today and hope to start with a very light line drawing to be sure the shapes are correct.  I have a very heavy hand so this will take diligence to keep it light until the values are gradually shaded to create the form. 

Last night I watched a hand tutorial at  Drawing Tutorials Online and one of the things learned is that the first two phalanges (from the tip of the finger) equal the length of the third phalange.  Hopefully, I learned a lot more as I also watched two portrait videosl.  My thinking is that the more often I watch the videos, more information will sink in and, the more I practice, the more the information will be firmly embedded in my subconscious and the hand/eye coordination becomes more in sync. 

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dirty Dishes, Still Life Study

There were some dirty dishes that needed to be taken to the kitchen, instead I used them for this 9" x 12" acrylic painting.  It has probably been a year or so since I have painted with acrylics andI had forgotten how fast they dry.   The palette consisted of Cad. Red light, Cad. Yellow Deep, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Dioxazine Purple, Cobalt Blue and gesso for white.   My plan is to do a 20 minute painting using acrylics.  Wonder how much of the subject matter will get blocked in during that short time frame??

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Christmas Candy

This 4 1/2" x 6 1/4" painting is my first Christmas painting this year.  I have had the reference photo for a couple of years but wouldn't paint it because I found the plaid napkin and the filigree mirrored tray rather daunting.  I still do but gave it a try anyway. 

TMC #13, Iron

TMC #13
5" x 7" Fabriano paper

Friday, December 04, 2009

Portrait Sketch

I did this quick portrait sketch using vine charcoal on bristol board this morning for practice. I eyeballed the measurements and came really close.  The left eye is just a bit high but overall I like it.  Doing these practice sketches is helping to train my eyes and hands.   

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

TMC #12, Scissors

I felt rushed through this TMC.  You know the feeling, so much ground (paper) to cover and so little time.  The one area of learning that keeps reenforcing itself when doing these little studies is that painting is all about values and shapes.  Design and color also play an integral part. 

Worked more on the first graphite portrait yesterday.  Today I will revisit the mouth area.  I'm at the point where it looks like the person's mouth but still isn't quite right.  The Christmas client says it looks just like the person though so that is a big plus.  Did you notice I'm not saying whether it is male or female?

Monday, November 30, 2009

TMC #11, Tennis Shoes

 Tennis Shoes
5" x 7"

At the end of 20 minutes I have one almost finished shoe and sock and one unfinished.  I really enjoyed painting this. Before painting this, I took the time to study the shoes and socks so that when the timer was turned on, I was ready to paint.  That is one of the lessons I'm learning - study and plan first, then paint.  I had good intentions of beginning the day with the TMC but here it is, 9:00 p.m.  Hopefully my good intentions will be filled with tomorrow's TMC posted early.. 

Today was filled with working on a graphite portrait.  I have four to do before Christmas and won't be posting any of them until after Christmas.  Don't want to spoil the surprises.   Plus, I want to join in the portrait project at the colorwatercolor group.  

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Implements of the trade, painted on 2 1/2" x 4" 300# Arches wc paper.  I quickly sketched in the shapes and began laying in color.  I didn't have enough time to get the kneaded eraser in that was placed between the green pencil and the pencil sharpener, overlapping the sharpener.  Just use your imagination and place it there lol. 

Friday, November 27, 2009


3 1/4" x 3 5/8"
Watercolor & Gouache
Arches 300# Cold Press paper

Cuties are a brand of very small oranges which I thought would be quite sweet.  I liked the size and the color so arranged them on a piece of paper this morning and began painting.  The first photo shows the painting at the end of 20 minutes.  I like the fresh look of the whole oranges.  I knew when I began this that I would keep painting rather than stop at the end of 20 minutes and do not consider this as part of the Twenty Minute Challenge.

The 2nd photo shows the finished painting.  I had to use white gouache on bits of the orange slices and on the orange peels.  Then I decided to scrub out the orange peels with a bristle brush.  I like the look of the peelings much better now. 

TMC#9, Harmonica

5" x 5" Watercolor & Ink
Arches 300# paper

This is a toy harmonica which came in a colorful purple box with yellow lettering.  Didn't have time to paint the yellow. 

I hope everyone created some good memories yesterday.  I decided to take the day off and didn't paint or draw.  Does that mean I have to paint two TMC's today???

Waking up at midnight, wide awake, did some doodling from the Loomis .pdf's.  I also drew circles, going over the same circle trying to not go off the original line.  Try it, this takes practice.  According to Michael at, this will create better hand/pencil control. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

May your Thanksgiving & All Year Be Blessed & An Oldie

This barn was drawn in charcoal for my sister three years ago and I may have posted this before.  (We all know how memories are.)  It is reminiscent of the old barn on the place where her husband was raised.   I haven't taken the time yet to do the 20 minute challenge nor drawn anything.  Being Thanksgiving it may be later before any artwork is done. 

I want to take this opportunity to wish each of you a most bountiful life with peace in your heart & soul.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

TMC #8

The flowers were picked from the flower bed outside my door.  I think they are crysanthemums.  I get so tickled because the first thing I zoom in on are things I would change, such as the water line.  It is a little lopsided.  I wonder what would happen if I took the time to sketch the bowl first? 

What do I like about this?  I like the freshness  and the variety of yellows in the flowers.  I didn't take the time to paint or shape the petals so they look like any flower rather than crysanthemums.  I have to admit that this is the way I enjoy painting flowers, so that is what I learned today. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TMC #7

I painted the pipe and the Prince Albert tobacco pouch because they remind me of my step-father and brought back lots of pleasant memories.  I had a late start painting today's TMC and I didn't plan it or paint it very well. 

The peroxide bottle is almost kissing the edge of the Prince Albert and the shadows are all over the place.  Need a few lights on the Prince Albert pouch and pipe plus the edges need to be sharpened on the bottle.  I may have to paint this one again  sometime down the road.  So now you know what I learned from this. .  .  plan better and don't put darks against darks or near values. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

TMC (Twenty Minute Challenge) #6

This morning's sketch is of a sweatshirt jacket with the wrong side facing out, hanging on a closet door.  Again, on 5" x 7" watercolor paper using a water soluble graphite pencil.

Last night, I practiced figure drawing a bit without measuring.  I'm determined to show the good and the bad and believe me, these two are way out of proportion.  I used a reference photo from  I am a member and read and try to practice a lot of what is being taught.  I know these sketches/drawings don't do his teaching justice but someday!  There are small areas in each one that I like though.  These were drawn with watersoluble graphite on computer paper. Each of these are 20 minute drawings.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Daily 20 Minute Challenge #5

I decided to paint these grapes before they were eaten for the 5th 20 minute challenge.  Again, I used a bit of ink.  I was just working on the tabletop shadows when the buzzer rang, so I had to stop.    I took time to dry the paper too.  Next time though, I won't do that because I could have used that time to define the clusters a bit more and lighten and softened some of the cast shadows.  

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Daily 20 Minute Challenge #4 & Foreshortening

These 20 minute challenges are quite fun and interesting.  I am painting these on 5" x 7" watercolor paper and dating them so I can see what progress was made through the length of the challenge.   This morning's painting is from a set up of a package of crackers placed on round ceramic palette.  I was concentrating on the angles of the packaging and the subtle color shining through the paper.  I wanted to be sure that the tiny pin holes in the crackers came through because they help define the object.  I'm learning to look at the objects as a flat color and shape against a white background.  That can give one a better idea of the angles and curves of the overall setup pattern.  Next I was trying to be more aware of the darker areas as that sets the objects firmly on the ground surface and gives contrast to the lighter areas, which helps to create form.

Last night after finishing the 20 minute painting of the palettes and brushes, I watched a tutorial on foreshortening at  Below are squiggles done as I tried to absorb the information from the tutorial.  I used a Ritmo charcoal 3B pencil on newsprint to sketch these.  I really like that pencil and will have to get more.  It doesn't have the dust that regular charcoal pencils have.  Maybe it has a wax base??

Friday, November 20, 2009

Daily 20 Minute Challenge #3

I had to make myself paint the 20 minute challenge as I'm tired after a busy day.  I wasn't sure what to paint then decided to paint a plastic watercolor palette and some of the round ceramic dishes filled with watercolors because they were so cheerful and colorful, along with a few brushes . 

I laid in the watercolor then put on the ink.  Everything is out of round and out of perspective.  The question at the end of the challenge is always, "what did I learn from this?"  I learned that I have a tendency to scribble, going over and over a line.  The other thing is I need to know more about painting wet in wet because there isn't time for the paint to dry. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Daily 20 Minute Challenge

This morning's warm up is a 3 1/2" x 4" watercolor.  I set up in front of the East window, a small glass bowl with water and a paint brush sitting on a Viva paper towel. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Same Figure, Conte Pencil

I'm still trying to come to grips with drawing the figure using the same pose from Wet Canvas Figure Forum Workshop 4.  I'm trying to find which way works best for me in getting the measurements/proportions correct. This time I more or less used the head length to measure the width and length of the body segments, as well as just eyeballing it.  The thoughts running through my head . . . hmm that doesn't look quite right so if I lift that or fill in this. . .   You get the picture lol.  The hands are terrible in this sketch, especially the left one and the forearm doesn't have any volume to it.  Amazing what one sees once the photo is posted.  

Foliage, Twenty Minute Challenge

5" x 6"

I have decided to join the Twenty Minute Challenge hosted by Katharine Cartwright.   I feel the 20 minutes devoted to this challenge is a good way to warm up.  Not only that, it will help me to learn to paint the essentials instead of focusing on details. 

Using a photo imaging program, I decreased the reds and increased the greens.  I think this more accurately reflects the watercolor.  

In this small warm-up, my concentration was on the colors I saw in the hillside as I looked out my East window.  I wanted to express the essence of what I was seeing.  The yellows are muted but light and lively.   I also omitted the houses as my focus was on nature and not man-made objects. Next time, I will put in some of the houses.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Measuring Practice

Just doing the measuring, erasing, and reapplying charcoal took me 135 minutes.  Am I slow or what ha ha.  I will start over and do this again.  Practice, using angles, areas that line up, such as the nose with the back of the right heel, using head length to measure portions of the body, and the envelope (the lines enclosing the figure) all contribute to being able to see better the proportions of the figure or any subject, for that matter.  By using the envelope one can check positioning and negative spaces. 

The reference photo used is from the Wet Canvas Figure Workshop 4.   The goal is to get a fairly accurate line drawing then do the modeling of the figure - all within an hour or so.  I have lots and lots of practice to do before I can do this within an hour.  The great thing is I get so lost in the effort that time just flies by.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Charooal Sketch

18" x 24" charcoal on newsprint.

I've spent the afternoon playing with charcoal using a reference photo from Wet Canvas Figure Forum Workshop 4. My measurements are way off but doing sketches like this does help to become more familiar with the figure in the photo. The goal is to do an hour timed drawing using charcoal, trying to get correct measurements and tonal quality. Nervous about doing it right?? You bet, but I am thoroughly enjoying myself.

Carol Update, Comparison Photos

I worked on Carol's drawing before she took it with her this morning. As you can see I deepened the shadows which slenderized her face more, moved in the hair line just a bit on each side and added more height to her hair at the top. I think the hair line around the face is reading better, don't you. Now this looks like Carol. Thanks for looking!

Next, Lawrence's wife requested I darkened his hair on his drawing just a bit. Will get that done so it can be delivered tomorrow. Here is a photo of Lawrence holding his drawing. It isn't the best photo but it certainly captured his pleasure with his present.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Carol, Graphite Portrait

9" x 11 1/4"
Bristol Board Smooth

Last Friday was Carol's birthday. I worked all day Friday on a drawing only to have it turn out not resembling her at all. So this morning I started this second portrait. This one does look like her but I will set it aside until tomorrow so I can look at it with a fresh eye to see if there needs to be more changes. Luckily I have until late tomorrow afternoon to make any corrections.