Tuesday, December 25, 2012


This is a charcoal drawing of my niece, Elizabeth, given to her by her mother-in-law (my sister) as a gift.  The drawing was matted to the cropped photo shown on the right, above.  Elizabeth loved it, thankfully.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you the best of Christmas throughout the coming year, full of love, joy, peace, and prosperity.  Thanks for visiting the blog.  You all have been great!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Winnie & Wallie

Winnie & Wallie
11" x 14"
Acrylic on Board

I've found it hard to get a good photo but this is basically finished.  I've signed it and will get it varnished so it is ready for its trip to California.  Thanks for looking!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Winnie & Wallie Part 4

Have made progress but much, much more to do.  Have to shape the top of Wallie's head a bit more and work on the ears.  Darken some lights that shine too bright - you get the general idea.

I'm using a mixture of acrylic paint brands this time which include Golden and Golden Open plus Chroma Interactive.  I took part in a test of the Chroma paints and they very nicely sent me some tubes as a thank you, so thought this would be a further opportunity to play with them. 

Friday, December 07, 2012

Winnie & Wallie WIP, Next Part

It looks pretty rough doesn't it but it is colorful.   I'm waiting on daylight to begin today's session.  Hope to begin tying the palette together and making more sense out of the dogs' features.  Have to get this done so my niece can hand deliver it to California, so the pressure is on.  

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Christmas Poinsetta

 Christmas Poinsetta

First, thanks to lisilk for use of her reference photo from the Wet Canvas Reference Image Library. 

This poinsetta was painted for the Christmas card exchange at paintingfriends.com and went to Deb in South Carolina.  I am so glad it arrived safely and that she liked it.  The painting is on a quarter sheet of Fabriano Aristico soft press paper. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Winnie & Wallie WIP 2

A quick update to show where the painting is currently.  Painting in shapes and some tones on Winnie's face/head.

Winnie & Wallie WIP

I've been asked to do a double dog portrait for my niece to give to her boyfriend's family.  So I'll begin by posting the reference photo and showing the subsequent changes to the photo fo create a usable reference. 

The Original:

A lightened version:

An equalized version:

Then a version showing the poster edges so that general shapes can be seen:

I then toned an 11" x 14" gessoed Ampersand board using Golden Fluid Acrylics, Quin. Burnt Orange and blocking in the general position of the two dogs. 

I have a small easel sitting on my desk so I can paint from the computer screen and be close to eye level.  Hope you stay tuned and offer any advice you wish as painting dogs isn't something I do very often. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Practicing Facial Features

I decided I need more practice before starting the actual drawing so did these charcoal sketches.  I still need to do many more as I'm not getting the look I want.  If I slowed down and planned each stroke perhaps that would work better. 

At Painting Friends, we exchange original Christmas cards and I'm waiting to hear from my recipient that she has received her card.  I hope it doesn't get lost in the mail as it has been almost a week.  Every day, I check the mail with anticipation as I eagerly await the card being sent to me.  Once, the cards arrive, I'll post the one I painted here.  It's like Christmas every day, seeing the cards as they are posted at paintingfriends.com

Friday, November 30, 2012

1st Sketch, Elizabeth

This is the first quick sketch done this morning of my niece by marriage, Elizabeth.  She has this gorgeous flowing hair and a beautiful smile.  No, this does not look like her at all but it did help me to look more closely at her features before getting down to a more accurate, finished work. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Today and every day, I'm giving thanks for these hands that have loved and nourished me through childhood and adulthood.  For the family that shares the ties that bind.  For all of you that have shared this blog by viewing the work and your encouraging comments.  Thank you from the heart. :)

Monday, November 12, 2012


8 1/2" x 11"
Fabriano Aristico 300# Watercolor Paper

For the last few days I've been practicing painting portraits using Golden Open Acrylics.  I used a reference photo of a friend of mine at a family get together because she always has the sweetest expression. 

This looks like her yet it doesn't.  So this painting will sit for a few days while i keep looking as to what is throwing the resemblance off just a bit.  I think it is the shape of the forehead. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Peace Roses Study

Peace Roses 
300# Fabriano Aristico
9" x 13"

In an ongoing effort to learn to paint roses, I cut some Peace roses from the bush and placed them in a Mason jar, then took photos of them.  I've been painting all week trying to capture their shape and look.  I didn't like how the outer roses were looking and those two areas quckly became tired and overworked looking.  So I decided to use gesso on those two outer roses to bring back some whites.  I managed to "fog" the roses.because I didn't let the gesso thoroughly dry.  It is all a learning experience no matter the outcome.  I don't think of these paintings as failures but as doing the best I can at the time. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Morning Glories - Reworked

Instead of pitching this painting in the round bin, I decided to learn from it and keep painting.  The painting was posted at paintingfriends.com and they suggested adding darks and maybe a few more blooms.  I took their suggestions to heart and did just that after I soaked areas of the painting and removed loads of paint.  Next, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser was used to lift some of the staining colors (reds and purples).   From there I decided where I wanted some of the flowers than began to paint the leaves.  I was trying to make sure to vary the colors as well as color temperatures (warm/cool).  Another point to be made here is that I didn't go back to the photo - I just painted what I felt was needed and tried to create interesting shapes, sizes and variations.  The last thing I did was to use small areas of darks to help connect the darks from side to side around the area of the main two flowers and in a few other areas to create a bit more interest. 

The 1st photo above is the original photo of the painting taken in front of an East window.  It has too much of a blue cast and looked lighter than the painting looks under normal lighting so I took it into Photoshop.  I did a remove color cast so that the greens in the bigger leaves would reflect the warm tones.  Then I adjusted the blue by desaturating it a bit and darkening the value of the blue.  My camera takes bright photos so then I had to desaturate the whole photo an actually darkened the light, dark and medium values one or two clicks.  The changes are quiet minute but they did make a difference and at least looks a bit more like the painting.  Oh, the magic of Photoshop. 

I may even decide to varnish this one to really make the colors pop. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Morning Glories - Round File

I'm showing this painting even though it is going in the round file.  I totally lost it and the more I painted, the more frustrated I became, which shows in the work.  So it is back to a clean piece of paper and try again to come up with something I like.  Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Morning Glories WIP

Hope you will tag along with me as I finish this watercolor.  Using a photo taken last Monday of Morning Glories that looked a bit shriveled in the morning cold air, I quickly sketched the general shapes of the leaves and flowers. 

Using a palette of Indanthrene Blue, Cobalt Blue, Quin. Violet, Quin. Rose, Viridian, Sap Green, Quin. Gold and Quin. Burnt Orange, I began slowly laying in paint.  You can see from the photo how lightly the first layers are.  I wait until an area is completely dry before going back to work in more color or change values or shapes. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tea Party Portrait Study

Tea Party Portrait Study
6 3/4" x 9 3/4"

Finally, plied paint to paper using the line sketch posted the other day.  I wanted to get the eyes and the mouth as best I could but still have a ways to go before accomplishing that goal.   The nose is a little off too and I could go on an on.  Still, it was fun and a learning experience painting the skin tones, with more intense colors in areas.   I lost the whites in areas but managed to keep some light which is always a plus in my book. 

An artist friend from Painting Friends shared Mike Bailey's website where he has a wonderful list of articles to read and absorb.  One day I'll reach the point where I'm concentrating more on design, values, line, contrasts, patterns, shapes, etc., instead of just trying to get a reasonable likeness of the subject.  Just viewing his work is exciting and a learning experience.  Hope you enjoy his site as much as I did. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sketches & Chatter

These are sketches of the same little girl, using a reference photo from the tea party that were taken last year.  The first sketch is very quick while the second sketch took longer as I was trying for a closer resemblance and a more finished look.  The last sketch is basically a line drawing as I need loads of practice doing those.  I will use the line drawing to trace onto watercolor paper so I can get back into painting.  I did overlay the line drawing  on the photograph and it is fairly close in accuracy. 

I've been away from blogging and painting for the last month, going through a severe slump which continues to haunt me.  The only way I know to get past it is to do little things such as play with color, o graphite sketches or do imaginative sketches, look at other artists' work, read.  Then sometimes walk away and let it all percolate. 

I'm happy to say the cataract surgery oo my left eye went very well and I can now see distance.  Until the right eye has been corrected, I am having to switch between two pairs of reading glasses; one for computer work, one for reading.  I'm so willing to do that though just to have the joy of being able to see.

Also, my Mom had a bit of surgery and is now scheduled for a 2nd one the 9th of October.  The first one went very well and she did an amazing recovery.  Hopefully, this time it will all go just as well and they will remove all the tiny spots.  We consider the surgeries a blessing because if they hadn't done the first one they wouldn't have discovered the cancer until who knows when. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Roses Finished

7 1/4" x 10"
140# Fabriano Soft Press Paper

I just couldn't leave the roses alone, especially after it was put up for critique at Painting Friends.  They are offered great suggestions to improve the painting.  Another person I want to thank especially is Nora from Painting Friends.  She sent me one of her delicate rose paintings which I keep looking at but have never been able to capture her delicate look. 

Thank you all that visit this blog and those of you that have made comments on the various posts. You are wonderful to take time to visit and share your thoughts.  it is much appreciated. 

In the comparison photo below, you can see that more darks were added especially to the roses.  The bud was toned down just a bit and changed the look of the foreground a little.  Also, edges were softened and some of the outlines were softened or broken.  Initially, wax was used to preserve some of the lights then I would back in and used a Proxa brush and a razor blade to bring back some of the white/lighter areas to help create more more. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Roses Study

This was painted from a reference photo taken a few years ago.  It is really a practice piece as I needed to l) practice painting reds, 2) practice leaves, 3) learn better control of paint to water ratio and, 4) learn more about creating form. 

There are some hard lines that need to be broken or softened which came about when paint was lifted and then the area repainted.  There is always something to learn, isn't there.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Monday Sketch

Today's pencil sketch from a photo taken of the trellis roses outside my door.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pears Rework

I reworked or should I say overworked the pears this morning.  I lost some of the freshness that I liked. So what do you think, an improvement or not? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oranges 2

Oranges 2
9" x 12" 
Watercolor on Gessoed
Ampersand Board

In this photo those darks look really dark, but there is variation of color and values within them.  I am calling this one done even though I may go back in and work some of the smaller oranges at the top or I may just leave them and go on to another painting.  The next step is to seal the painting so it doesn't bleed.  That should be interesting. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Oranges 2 In Progress

The first photo is showing the rework of the original.  When I say rework, it is actually a new painting as I totally washed off all the paint on the original.  I learned so much from the first painting about how the paint and water works on the smooth surface.  One of the most important things I learned is to dry the paint in an area before working an area beside the wet paint, otherwise it bleeds and flows like crazy.  In this second painting, I am trying for a more organic look with calm areas in the shadows for resting the eye but with enough movement to cause the eye to follow the flow of the design.  When the paint is moving it is all a guessing game with some control created by tilting the board or leaving it flat so the paint remains stationary. Fun, fun!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Oranges On Gessoed Ampersand Board

This is a terrible photo of a painting of oranges that I've been working on.  This is watercolor on gessoed Ampersand board and was a challenge for me to even get it to look like this.  The colors move because the board does not absorb.  I'm learning though that the trick is to go in with thicker paint and paint in one go.  (Reminder to self) I need to do that when painting on regular watercolor paper too.  

Thanks Cindi from PF for the use of your reference photo. 

The painting does not look like this now because I took a spray bottle and washed down the board to start over again.  I'm sure that some things learned from the first painting will help with the second painting.

It has been quite a couple of weeks.  As you may know, I've been in one of the longest painting slumps I've ever experienced then we lost a family member last week.  I'm finding that painting helps even if the paintings turn out to be less than stellar, like the oranges shown above.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Flowers Practice

Practice is always a good thing and when one has a desire to learn how to paint roses and other flowers, practice is necessary.  One of the things about painting red roses is that red is a rather dark value so leaving whites is important in getting a good value structure to create form.  It is not only the value but how the form is painted that is important - this is where brushwork is so important so as not to create a static or lifeless looking flower.  One of these days, I will surprise myself and paint a rose that captures the essence rather than just form or structure. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 20th YOP

On the 20th of each, we post a painting, for the Year of Painting challenge.  Because I was doing a WIP of the Phlox flowers shown in the previous post, I decided to use those for a base for this painting.  The goal was to do an abstract/negative painting.  As can be seen, there isn't much that is abstract or negatively painted.  Goals for me to meet in the future.  All of this is from my imagination except for the flow of the Phlox flowers.  There is a lot that could be improved, changed, cropped or whatever but overall I love the color. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flowers Watercolor WIP

Only a little more painted today, painting in some of the flowers, trying not to get too detailed or refined.  There was so much activity in the background that some larger shapes/areas were needed to calm it down yet retain some interest.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flowers Watercolor WIP

Began this 11" x 14" watercolor this morning using a reference photo taken of flowers by the pasture fence.  Palette so far consists of Fr. Ultramarine Blue, Manganese Blue, Hookers Green, Sap Green, Bohemian Green Earth, Yellow Ochre, Quin. Gold, Azo yellow, Quin. Rose, Quin Violet.

I don't have much patience so hope I can do justice to those flowers when it comes to shaping them.  One thing I liked about the photo was the play of the cool pinks against the warmer tones in the pasture. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Flowers Sketch

Today's sketch is flowers based on flowers growing by the pasture fence row.  I'm not sure what they are but they are a pretty pink and quite fragrant. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


Yesterday, I took some small pieces of watercolor paper (3 3/4" x 5 1/2") and decided to play with color.  Both these sketches are done using the same palette.  Cobalt blue, Azo Yellow, Quin. Gold, Sap Green, Sepia, Lunar Earth.  I wanted to explore dry brushing, using more saturated color,  and, looking at shapes within the trees. 

Saturday, June 02, 2012

An Artist's Work, Chatter

I've been quickly looking at different blogs this morning and a blog I visit fairly often is "Art Talk" by Julie Ford Oliver.  There is something about her work that simply intrigues me plus, I enjoy her writing style.

Maybe it is the way she lays down her brushstrokes or how she places color or it could be the way she uses color to bring out the best of the subject.  She has a firm understanding of design, values, transitions, edges and she shares tips on how she achieves them.  All the info she offers is useful in any medium.  Thanks Julie!

On a health note, my left eye hasn't improved much but is at least staying the same instead of getting worse. No doubt the eye drops are helping with that.   I'm waiting on an appointment with a cornea specialist, hoping that he can help with the dryness that is affecting the cornea.  In the meantime, I'm still able to paint, read, and do other things so that is a huge plus. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Steer Wrestling

 Steer Wrestling
11" x 14"
Acrylic on Board

This is pretty close to finished.  I will set it aside then look at it again later to see what changes, if any need to be made.  .

Monday, May 28, 2012

Steer Wrestling WIP & Baby Birds

 As you can see some progress has been made while some set backs have happened.  I haven't painted every day on this but managed to get some time in on Saturday.  I bet all of you are as tired of this painting as I am so am going to begin another painting so I can look at this with fresh eyes. 

In the meantime, we had four baby birds born last Thursday.  I think they are Mockingbirds but don't have any real knowledge of birds.  I inadvertently tapped the post when I rested my hand on it to take the photo and the babies promptly opened their beaks.  It was so cute to see.  I felt for them though because their Mom wasn't there to feed them.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Steer Wrestling WIP, cont'd.

 After a week I finally have gotten back to painting.  I know, it doesn't look like much progress but truly, there is some. 

Below is a photo of my palette.  I use an old tupperware container, lay in a damp paper towel, place palette paper on top of it.  Next I roll up paper towels, soak them then squeeze out the excess water.  Then I lay out the paint on the damp paper towels.  The paint has stayed moist and usable throughout this painting, adding more paint as I need it.  The trick is to make sure the first layer of paper towel stays moist beneath the sheet of palette paper.  Notice that I am using a combination of warm and cool primaries with the addition of burnt umber for help in mixing darks.