Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011

Wishing each of you the very best in the coming year.  It has been a wonderful year and I feel very fortunate to share with you a love of art.  Thank you for your encouragement, support and friendship. I look forward to our continuing art journey and can't wait to see what all of you have in store for us in the coming year. 

With many Blessings wished for you,

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Indian Territory
Wishing you a merry day with your family, friends and loved ones with many blessings in the years to come.  A special thanks to each of you for your continued support and encouragement.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Delightful Card from a Friend

This surprise card came from one of the sweetest cyber friends I have.  Teresa of the Lost in Wonder blog, sent this card and it looks even better in real life.  Teresa has a way with a brush that I admire and her personality is reflected in each of her paintings.  She is a zany, humorous, kind, and delightful person with a "straight from the shoulder" way of looking at life.  Thanks Teresa, you are a blessing!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Peanut Butter Jar cont'd

Slow progress on this one.  One thing I had forgotten is that acrylics dry darker.  At least it is colorful. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Five Minutes Worth

I haven't painted or sketched this week so spent five minutes this morning using a 1" brush to thinly apply acrylic to a gessoed canvas pad sheet. My goal was to get the initial mass shapes down and to practice using a larger brush.  It has been so long since I've used acrylic it will be fun and a challenge to shape this knife and peanut butter jar.  Can you see that the shadow direction needs to be changed?  The set up is right beside my easel and I'm looking down on the jar.  There is no direct light on the setup but is bounced light from the lamps pointing up to the ceiling. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oops, I did it again

Where is that icon for an embarrassed face.  Not paying close attention, I managed to delete most of the watercolor blogs I had in the sidebar this morning.  With time I will be adding to the sidebar (again) because I enjoy visiting other artists' blogs.  It is a wonderful way to see what is happening around the world. 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Bed of Thorns

This painting was done for a Christmas card exchange and is now in North Carolina. The image size is approximately 4 1/2" x 5 1/2".  I used a photo by idahoeditor at Morgue File for the baby and looked at photos from the Wet Canvas Reference Image Library for ideas on the holly.. 

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Child Sketch

This sketch is from a reference photo by Babasteve (Steve Evans) on Flickr with his permission to use for our online portrait group practice. I can see that the shadow dark on the nose is a bit too dark or the shadows around the eyes and right side of her face are not dark enough.  Now I will look at it and do a comparison with the photo so I can get a more accurate line drawing for a watercolor portrait. 

Chatter & TWSA 2010 Exhibition

This is a cropped photo taken last winter. I love the shape of the tree and how the snow has decorated it.  Perfect look for our Christmas Holiday.  Did you notice the "S" shape of the graceful snow covered branches?

I've been looking at artwork again this morning while a photo of a young girl I want to draw simmers in the back of my mind.  Check out the TWSA 2010 Exhibition and enjoy the fine artwork.  Click on an image to enlarge and enjoy the show.

For an aspiring artist like myself, seeing such fine work is an inspiration and always brings the question, "how did they do that."

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Playing with Red & Green

Do you ever have days where it is hard to settle to doing any one thing?  That is what is happening with me today so I decided to just doodle.  Being Christmas I wanted to paint with red and green so I tried painting ornaments, mistletoe and then a ribbon from my imagination - plus a crocheted doily.  The painting is a mess but still I like the clean reds and some of the greens.  I liked the metal top of the front ornament before part of it was covered with my attempt at a ribbon.  All in all good fun even if it is being discarded in the round file. 

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Baby Sketch

Sketched this little baby on tracing paper using an H and 4B pencil.  It measures approximately 4" x 4".  The copyright free reference photo used was by idahoeditor at Morgue File.   

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Painted Coffeebreak on a piece of  3 1/2" x 5 1/2" Fabriano Aristico wc paper.  Lost some areas and had to use white gouache, again.  Palette was pthalo blue, cobalt blue, quin. violet, quin. burnt orange, cad. red light, quin. rose, yellow ochre, cobalt turquoise and white gouache. 

Coffeebreak Sketch

A quick 4" x 5 1/2" sketch of Coffeebreak, who was my sister and brother-in-law's dog.  They always dressed him up for Christmas. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Snowy Trees

I'm trying to get into the spirit of Christmas by painting snowy trees.  I lost most of the white so had to resort to white gouache.  I used pthalo blue, indigo, cobalt, yellow ochre, quin. burnt orange and carbazole purple. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Watercolor Portrait, Final

I'm calling this painting finished for the most part. I may go in and correct the area of the nose between the eyes which needs to recede just a bit. Many thanks to Morgue File for the reference photo. 

Painting this brought home to me how much control I lack when it comes to painting with watercolor.  When I say control, I mean paint to water ratio, which brush stroke to use, when to paint wet on wet or when to paint dry.  Perhaps it is the effort to learn all of that is what makes watercolor so fascinating to me. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Blessings & Watercolor Portrait Update

Work in Progress

Before commenting on the WIP, I hope today and everyday that your blessings are plentiful. 

This WIP is getting overworked but I will continue on, shaping the features since it is good practice.  I saved the drawing so it can be painted again if this goes from bad to worse lol. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Watercolor Portrait, Adding Color

I flipped the drawing so it is reversed for the painting.  In the first photo,  I began underpainting the shadows using cerulean and cobalt blues along with quin. violet.  The second & third photos show skin tones over the underpainting. For the skin tones, lunar earth, English Red Ochre, Transparent Brown Oxide and Yellow Ochre were used.  The dark brown that is showing is not that dark and not that brown, more of a reddish tone.  This may not turn out to be a successful painting as I've rather lost the shape of the face and features so will redraw them so I can see how to paint them.   

Wishing each of you a Blessed Thanksgiving and thank you all for continuing to hang in with me even when the posts are sporadic. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chatter & Fall Photo

I took this photo this week showing the last of the Fall foliage in our yard.  I love seeing the carpet of leaves and expect to see fairy dancers performing a dance to the miracles of Fall.  Very little painting or drawing done this week, only cleaning and sorting in preparation for a busy Thanksgiving week.  Family coming from New Jersey and Texas.  Hopefully, the preparations will be completed by tomorrow and I can get back to what I love most, painting and drawing. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

November Sketch Changes

I made some changes this morning as can be seen in the comparison photo above, based on a couple of critiques received at our portrait group.  I shortened the nose just a bit, raised the lips just a little and shortened the chin.  I also darkened areas and lightened some others. It does feel more finished to me and will use this as a base for a watercolor painting. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November Sketch

I belong to a private portrait group and our November reference photo is by chilombiano at Morgue File.  Did this sketch today and am now waiting on critiques.  Since you don't see the reference photo I will tell you that the right nostril shape is off and I think the overall nose shape needs to be improved.  Once the sketch is critiqued then I will trace it to watercolor paper for painting. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chatter & Photo

It is rainy this morning and it brought to mind baking smells in the kitchen in day's past when the weather was similar.  I love Mom's apple pie and this jar is of her canned fruit, but I can't tell whether it is apples or peaches ha ha.  The bowl and the wooden rolling pin are close to 50 years old if my memory is halfway accurate. 

Not much chance to draw or paint but my SIL did look at her charcoal portrait and she thought it was too dark.  That means there will be a third drawing which hopefully will be one she likes.  One of the pitfalls from working with photos is that the darks (shadows) can be really dark which is misleading.  It helps me to lighten the photo and also I need to look more carefully at shadows on people in real life. 

I've been procrastinating about painting with acrylics and oils yet when I think about painting with them I get an adrenalin flow.  Must get them set up so I can just walk over to paint area and start instead of just thinking about it. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Daylen Sketch

Made some corrections to the sketch and am calling this one finished.  

This morning's sketch of Daylen.  As can be seen I have the angles wrong on his features - the length from the top of the head to his forehead is a bit too long and some work needs to be done on his ear. 

Thanks everyone for the comments each of you have left on the different posts.  You are appreciated.

Friday, November 05, 2010

A Quick Note

The view across the street from the hospital.  
Do you see the person taking a sun break?

I won't be posting for the next few days.  Mom is back in the hospital after her fall two weeks ago.  Her lung had collapsed 40% but happily today it is now only deflated 15%.  Great News.  Will be back soon though. 

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

My Next Subject

Meet Daylen, a little boy I met in the Emergency Room when Mom fell.  I was given permission to draw/paint this little boy so he will be my next practice piece.  Also, there is a photo from Morgue File that I want to draw and paint that has wonderful shadow and light.  Plus, I have four sisters still to draw/paint.

Painting shadows, especially in watercolor, is a challenge for me as I am so heavy handed and have a tendency to have muddy colors. In Mary Whyte's video she painted a wash of ultramarine blue in the shadow area then while the color was still wet, she went in with a bit thicker wash of a reddish color and let those colors merge and blend.  Mary has her paper upright on an easel and it was a thrill to watch those gorgeous colors do their own thing.

I've spent an hour this morning at the website of Scott Burdick & Susan Lyon looking through their travel journal and demonstrations.  From their website, I armchair traveled to the Waterhouse Gallery to view work in the Great American Figurative Artists 2010 show.  Hope you enjoy the websites and show as much as I have.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Barbara Portrait Comparison Update

I posted this drawing at and they gav me a very helpful critique.  As can be seen, the skin tones were lightened, the area between the left eye and ear was widened, as was the neck.  The left eye was corrected so it is looking in the same direction as the right eye.  I'm not happy with the left ear so will correct that.  Overall though this looks much more like Barbara. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Barbara, Portrait

Conte Pencil
8 1/4" x 10 3/4"

My next portrait effort is going to be in charcoal.  I found in this portrait there were too many hard lines and I was wanting more of a smoother look, especially in the shadows. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Portrait WIP, Conte Pencil

This morning I began a portrait using a black conte pencil.  The paper is bristol vellum which has a slight texture.

I am trying to utilize the approach in Susan Lyon's drawing video which is to mass in the darks and blending areas.  I have been measuring the features but need to measure again. 

In the second photo the nose appears too long.  The third photo shows the nose shortened a bit.  What I am not liking are some of the hard lines and I may be going too dark too quick.  Still not much detail done yet, as I am still massing in the darker areas. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Art Videos & Practice

This one looks spooky too doesn't it -  fitting for Halloween weekend.  Early yesterday I had the chance to view to art videos on  One by watercolorist Mary Whyte and a drawing video by Susan Lyon.  Both are excellent and will view them again as soon as I can. 

The photo above is a quick practice of the technique Susan Lyon uses but please, don't judge her video by this 15 min. practice piece of mine, because she is an excellent artist and instructor.  She begins with the eyes and in the video she used a conte pencil while I used an H pencil.  She takes her time to measure each small area (which I didn't do) and uses a paper towel to blend/smooth areas (which I didn't do).  She also begins with the dark areas using light strokes.  I hope to begin a drawing of my SIL today and will be using a black conte on bristol board vellum. 

On another note, Mom continues to improve.  She is moving easier, is able to play Canasta and is getting a bit grouchy ha ha.  Thank you all for your kind thoughts and well wishes for her. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pears Watercolor, Overworked Stage 2

You can see how overworked the paper is and areas of muddy color.  This might be saved using pastels or acrylics but first I'll go back in with watercolors to see what can be done. 

As can be seen in the cropped close up below, the pears still need lots more work  The pear on the viewer's right that stands alone (in the above photo) needs even more attention since it is a ghost outline of the pear. 
I was trying to go slow on the pears while I went fast over the back and foreground areas.  I am such a stick in the mud when it comes to the way I paint.  I rarely try painting "outside the box" but I was trying with this one *smile*.  I'm hoping to get in more painting time today which has been a bit sparse lately. 

I'm happy to report that my mom is doing very well.  Thanks all of you for the well wishes for her.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pears Watercolor, 1st Stages

I woke up at 2 a.m. and decided to use the time to start a painting of pears.  The pears were picked from a tree in the back pasture, then photographed.  I'm using a couple of new green paints, Rare Green Earth and Bohemian Green Earth by Daniel Smith.  I have also mixed some of the greens using yellow ochre, azo yellow, and cerulean blue.  Ultramarine Violet was used in areas of the cast shadows.   

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chatter & An Unfinished Painting From The Archive

This is an unfinished acrylic painting from 2005.  If I remember right, the reference photo was from the Wet Canvas RIL. 

It has been a busy week again.  Spent the day yesterday traveling to and from Joplin, MO.  Then spent the time today at the hospital with my mom.  She fell this morning but happily she is doing pretty well, considering.  She will be in the hospital overnight and my sisters and niece will rotate hours so she isn't left alone.  We think it is a positive event because the dr. found fluid around her right lung and cloudy so he thinks she has pneumonia.  She didn't have any of the symptoms of pneumonia so we feel fortunate to have it discovered early.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Skin Colors

I'm posting this photo of some of my skin tone color practice.  Looks terrible doesn't it.  The reds in the lower shadows look more saturated than they are in real life.  Shadows have been difficult for me and I'm trying to overcome that along with practicing washes.  So I did this incomplete face using transparent red oxide, yellow ochre, azo yellow, quin. pink.  In the lower quadrant i did a wash over the warm shadows with cerulean blue.  One thing I am pleased with, even though it isn't accurate, is the placement of the features.  I did this without sketching first or measuring so when it actually resembles a human I am tickled. 

We had company over the weekend and yesterday I took a break, doing nothing.  I'm really good at that.  Today I had to push myself to even do these washes but once the brush was wet, everything felt right again.  I received an order from Daniel Smith with Bordeaux as a new red for me.  It is rather a magenta color and works great in skin tones.  Now, I need to get serious and do more portraits and glass work.  Just have to overcome that procrastination bug which is fear in disguise. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More Eye & Nose Practice

 Left eye
 Right eye
Warped nose

]I took a dime and drew circles for the eyes. My initial thought was to paint an eye without the lids, with the goal of getting the iris/pupil to look round using values.  But the thing to remember is the upper lid covers part of the eye so I put in upper and lower lids.

Fall Card Exchange

 The front of the card
 The back of the card
The inside of the card

I participated in a Fall Card Exchange at  It was sent to Tricia, who lives in the UK, and she informed me she received the card, so now I can post it.  I am rather a messy painter and had paint on the back and on the inside so I just applied more paint.  I used a reference photo posted by Jim Roberts from the Wet C. RIL for the front of the card.  The other is just from my imagination. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Protrait Sketch Beginning

This is the beginning of a sketch of my sister-in-law.  She has these lovely prominent cheekbones and gorgeous silver hair.  Does this beginning sketch look like her?  Not at all.  I do these practice sketches to warm up, to practice drawing the features, and to become familiar with the current subject.  Of course, I want the end result to be a likeness of the subject but if it doesn't achieve that goal it has helped me learn more of what to do and what not to do.  Every drawing, sketch, painting is a step forward, even if it is a failure, when we can learn from it. 

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Watercolorist I Admire

I don't often post twice in one day but I've been admiring the work of a masterful watercolorist, Fealing Lin.  I love her work, especially her portraits.  There is such light, movement and color in her paintings, they are a joy to view.  I would post a photo of her work but because of copyright, I won't.  I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.


I bet you are wondering why I would post such poor photo?  This was my grandmother's house and this photo was taken sometime before 1954.  Actually I think it was in the late 40's.  The area in the foreground is a strawberry patch with some of the strawberry pickers working.  Did you notice the old cars and trucks? 

Thanks all of you for the comments on the watercolor portrait of my brother.  Your encouragement and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.  A couple of suggestions made in a couple of online art forums was to check the left side shadows and to enlarge the pupils.  Isn't it wonderful to get such helpful feedback to improve a painting. 

Friday, October 08, 2010

Eye Practice

Not much chance to paint today but have done a few swatches of graded washes using three primaries and then this eye.  The colors used to paint the eye were Indanthrene Blue, Cerulean Blue, Quin. Rose, Cad. Red light,  Yellow Ochre and Azo Yellow. 

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Portrait Finished

The painting was signed this morning and met with my brother's approval.  His comment was, "too bad it looks like me" then grinned.   Now, on to the next portrait and eye practice. 

Monday, October 04, 2010

Portrait Study Update 2

This photo shows the work done this morning.  Still more to do but have to work on "honey do's" sometime today.