Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sunset Gate

Done on Lama li using Holbein paints. The paints are in a seminar palette put together by Holbein for Tom Lynch -- pretty neat little set that I'd not used since the workshop I took in September. This is my very first attempt at painting the Sun. I found the reference photo at Yotophoto. I usually don't paint this dark, so that's a couple of new things for me. I don't know if it's the Holbein paints or if it was because of the pigment rich mixes, but it sure took a long time for each section to dry!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gate 7

Off Kilter Gate. Lama li paper and DS paints. I used DS Kyanite Genuine over a mix of sepia, UM, and Quin Red to get the blackish asphalt and deep shadows inside the fence. There were several challenges with this painting. I masked the gate and the top of the fence and discovered that masking does NOT work well with Lama li - the paper pulled off with the mask. What a mess that was!! Rather than trashing the piece, I decided to just fix it as best I could. I have a limited palette of DS so many mixes were made! I don't mind mixing, actually I enjoy it, but I found that I'm lacking in some basic pigments that would've made mixing much more effective, if not easier. Hmmm, I wonder if DS has "after Christmas sales." I like DS paints, but find that I still favor WN so not sure if I should invest in more DS or not. And truly, there is no reason why I shouldn't mix the two!! LOL!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gate 6 - Rusted Gate
Done on Lama li with WN paints. The barn came out too dark and I tried to lift some pigment. Lama li doesn't lift too well, it starts to peel! This was done very quickly, I'm trying to get a looser look and not fuss with it too much. I like how the posts and the gate came out. . . well, except for the scroll work on the top of the gate, not crazy about that part!! I'm still enjoying working on this series.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gate 5 - Winter Gate

This is my first attempt at anything "snow." It was actually more work than it looks -- very difficult trying to define the shapes of the snow clinging to the branches of the tree was a challenge. For a first attempt, I'm pretty happy with it. I'd like to try some more snow scenes. I used Cerulean VERY WATERED DOWN and then did some outlines in a cool gray that I mixed. Now to decide on the next gate.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gate 4

I really liked the reference photo for this (found on Yotophoto), but it's one of those where the painting didn't live up to what was in my mind. It just seems "flat" to me and I'm not sure why. I'm not going to try to fix this, I'm just going to "keep on keeping on," and I'm real inspired to start the next gate in my series. This was done on Lama li (I think I'm going to do all of these gates in my Lama li book) and I used all WN paints.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Easy - No Sew Throws for Christmas!
I've made four of these for Christmas gift giving and plan on doing at least two more. Here's how!
Purchase 1 1/2 yards each of fleece in a print and a solid OR you can do two coordinating prints or two solids -- doesn't have to be a Christmas print. Trim the selvages off of each piece of fleece. Lay out the the pieces with wrong sides together and make sure they are the same size - some trimming may be in order. Using a piece of 2" x 4" cardboard for a template, cut through both pieces of fleece making 2 inch wide and 4 inch length "fringes." On the corners, you will cut out a 4" x 4 " square. Tie the front to the back by tieing each "fringe" into a square knot. I cut one side and tied it and then cut the next side and tied it and so on -- it broke up the cutting and tieing and helped to rest my fingers. The finished size is approx. 46" square and it took me right at 1 hour from start to finish!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Gate 3

Well. . . ANOTHER lesson learned! I had visions of a clean, crisp metal gate with wonderful golden rolling hills behind it. I very mistakenly thought my Sepia Pentel Brush Pen was waterproof. . . thought I'd checked it out months ago when I purchased it. The first step I took was to use this brush pen on the metal gate, after all it would make it so much easier to paint the rolling hills in the background if I could just paint right over that gate - LOL! As we can all see, as soon as I started painting that sky, I had BLEED!! Rather than trash this little scene, I decided to continue painting it anyway and to just chalk it up as another lesson learned. So here it is!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gate 2

My immediate goal with painting is to have fun. I'm not striving for perfection, I'm just "playing." As I started painting this gate, it occurred to me that I had goofed BIG TIME on the first gate and all of my online art buddies were too kind to point it out. Well folks, I realize now that I had mixed up my cool and warm placement and put the cools in the foreground and the warms in the background - Yikes!! What in the world was I thinking. . . or rather NOT thinking!! LOL!!

This gate is from a ref photo I found on Yotophoto and it is of a gate at Stevens-Coolidge Place, Andover, MA It is done on Lama li and I used all WN paints. One major flaw I see is the rock fence on the right looks like it's on the ground -- just didn't get the perspective right or something on that. Possibly it's fixable, but I'm ready to go on to the next gate!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gate 1

I've been away from my blog for far too long! Several reasons why. . . my daughter, who lives in Las Vegas, had her first baby on Oct 27. A beautiful little girl they named Katie after my mom. I stayed with them for three weeks to help out. What a joy it was!! Another reason I've not done art is simply because I ran into a HUGE creative block. Actually it was more than a block. . . I really questioned WHY I spend time on something that will not bring any financial gain and that I probably won't even use as a tangible gift to friends/family! While in Vegas, I had one of my periodical read-a-thons. I read 8 novels, which I enjoyed immensely. As I was reading, it occurred to me that reading is not going to bring me any financial gain and it's not producing a tangible gift! So, if I'm willing to spend time on reading, why is it that I'm guilt ridden with time spent on art? I learn things when I read, even it it's fiction. I learn things when I do art, especially when it is nature---intense observation brings knowledge. So I started looking through some of my art books with a freedom that it's OKAY to do something I enjoy just for the pure pleasure of it all! I got inspired to work through another book, then I got inspired to work on a series. I found some good reference photos for gates that got me excited and so this is my first gate. It's done on lama li and I used all WN paints.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Huntington Gardens - Agapanthus Path

This is my second attempt at this scene. The first was posted in July. I wanted to try it again and think I've gotten a better sense of depth. I also wanted to see it in a higher key. It was painted on Arches CP block using DS paints. I think the canopy of greenery is wisteria and I would like to paint this same view when it is in bloom---the agapanthus will not be in bloom, but the hanging wisteria should be just beautiful!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cedar Wood Journal
Yesterday I went to a class at the Huntington Gardens to make this journal. This is my first experience with any kind of bookmaking and it was an absolute delight! The teacher, Wendy Poma, did a fantastic job of teaching. About half of the class were ladies who had taken some of Wendy's other classes and the other half of us were newbies! Wendy is phenomenal. . . she had prepared the materials ahead of time and each work station had every single thing we needed to make our journals. She even cut all the paper, the cardboard pieces, the faux suede - and we had a pile of cedar tiles from which to custom choose our very own. She laid out beautiful papers for us to cut for our cover sheet -- lovely colors and designs, as well as decorative paper punches and embellishments. It would take PAGES to describe step-by-step how we did these journals, so I'll just put it in a nutshell. The heavy cardboard front and back were covered with faux suede CONTACT PAPER - can you believe such a thing exists? It is amazing to work with and really feels and looks like suede. It comes in a roll - just like regular contact paper. Wendy got hers at The Container Store in Pasadena, but she said she'd heard that Lowe's carries it. Then we covered the cardboard spine and then using 1/4 inch super sticking double stick craft tape (NOT scotch tape) we attached the spine to the covers. Using the same double sticky tape, we laid five rows of strips down on the front cover and placed our cedar tiles - VERY carefully and then pressed firmly into place. We used water based varnish to finish the cedar tiles. Wendy had cut all the paper and each of us had enough to make two "pads" for our journals. We got our stacks of paper (with a light cardboard on the back and our decorative cover paper on the front) into nice, neat stacks and then held them together with large binder clips. Then we painted on a nice substantial layer of "Padding Compound" onto what would become the spine -- and this is really cool. . . we moved the binder clips to the padding compound painted side and then set our stacks upside down using the grippers of the clips as legs -- how cool is that? The padding compound is thick and doesn't run easily, but setting it upside down assures that it won't run too far into the pad. The next step was to use strips of the faux suede and wrap the "pad" of paper and then decorate the cover sheet however we wanted. One pad was glued (with strong glue stick called UHO) onto the inside back cover. When the pad is filled, you just grip it and pull it off of the back cover and then you can glue in the refill.
I did a google on "padding compound" because I really want to use it for making watercolor journals and found it on Amazon as well as several other places.
If anyone lives in southern CA and would like to take a class from this incredible teacher, she has classes on Sept 22 to learn Embellishment Techniques and More at Mimio in Pasadena (phone number 626-685-9090) and on Sept 29th is a class on Double Slide Closure Journals at Stampin' From the Heart (phone number 310-391-0466). Then on Oct 6th at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena (phone number is 626-449-5320) is another class on the Double Slide Closure Journal, on Oct 13th at Descanso Gardens a class to make an Organizer Journal, (phone number is 818-949-7981). She also has an all day Embellishments Class on Oct 27th at Stampin' From the Heart (phone number 310-391-0466). In November, on the 3rd is a Pleated Spine Journal at the Univ. of CA, Riverside (phone number 951-827-1637) and on the 10th of Nov a class to make Three Gift Books at Glendale Community Collegee (phone number 818-240-1000 ext 5015).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Kate Johnson's online watercolor 2 class - week 4 is on Weathered Wood, Lichen and Moss. This is my "moss" exercise done on Cotman 8 x 5 watercolor pad using WN paints. Some of this is wet-in-wet and some is dry brush. The slim portion of background (on the right) is darker in real life, don't know why it didn't scan true--the rest of it scanned just fine. I guess some pigments are more reflective? I've done trees and tree trunks before, but this is my first "moss." I am pleased with the result, but we'll see if Kate suggests any improvements. It's always amazing how she can find things that can be improved upon--usually just a little bit here or a little less there.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Week 3 - Kate Johnson's online watercolor class

This week's lesson is on "Earth, Pebbles, Sand, Rocks, Grasses and Weeds" and the reference photo I used is from Death Valley. I painted this on a Cotman sheet and it is 8 x 5. It sure was fast and easy to paint of this paper after working on the canvas and the hot press recently!! The pigments used were all WN and they were Burnt Sienna, Payne's gray, Indigo, Raw Umber, Sap Green, Cad Yelow Pale and Cad Orange. I masked the little plant, then I washed the background and then used several colors for wet-in-wet splatter. After the rocks were painted, and before I removed the mask, I dry splattered very finely with a toothbrush. It was a fun exercise and I enjoyed working on something rather simple.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Watercolor 2 Class - week 2

Week 2 of Kate Johnson's online watercolor class was about water, reflections, and foliage. The reference photo for this was one I took of a pond at Butchart Gardens. It was done on Arches block, hot press, 7 x 10. I absolutely love Arches blocks, but am not crazy about hot press paper. But, like many materials I don't care for, I am determined to try, try again!! This project was tedious - I used multiple layers of glazing in many areas and it was almost entirely done wet-in-wet. The foreground is supposed to be waterlily pads -- a plant I am very fond of and have not been successful (either here or on other works) at getting the foliage to look like what they are supposed to be!! On a positive note, I was pleased with the variety of greens I was able to mix - another of my weaknesses that I really worked on here.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kate Johnson's Watercolor 2 Class - Lesson 1b
Now THIS was fun!!! It's done on Yupo, which I haven't worked with in MONTHS and it was just a delight. Same reference photo and same DS paints as the one done on Canson--what a difference that Yupo made. For those of you not familiar with this strange watercolor "paper," it is not paper at all, but plastic. The paint obviously cannot soak into the plastic and so it just kind of floats and flows basically wherever it wants--I DID control some of it by tipping the sheet. I'd never tried salt on Yupo, so this was a first. I did the water first and loved the salt on it so much, I repeated that technique on the greenery of the mountains. The other technique I used is a bit of spatter on the mountain on the left. I used DS Buff Titanium for the misty clouds and dropped some pigment down on the mountain tops after they had dried completely. Since Yupo is plastic, it's a bit tricky to add layers because as soon as you put a wet brush on the dry area, the existing paint rewets and wants to run all over again. I did this tricky "layering" on the water also. I love the darker areas on the mountains and those were created simply by letting the paint flow and settle -- just a little coaxing on my part by tipping the paper. This affect is purely a Yupo kind of thing, which is why I really delight every time I use it. It certainly makes me loosen up any "control issues" I have with my painting. LOL!!
Kate Johnson's Watercolor 2 Class - Lesson 1

This week's lesson is on the four "S's" -- spatter, scrape, salt and sponge. The reference photo, taken during the Alaskan cruise my dh and I took at the beginning of this month, is of a misty fjord. This version is done on Canson watercolor paper and the techniques I used were sponging, scraping and salt. It was done with DS paints, which are just yummy!! I had some struggles with this and it DOES look a bit overworked. I used DS Buff Titanium to try to get the misty clouds at the mountain tops and got a bit more "run" than I wanted. Sponging in the greenery was tricky as it was such a small area to try to control that sponge in - ha ha. I DID tear the sponge up into small pieces, but oh my!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My friend, Lin, over at View From the Oak gave me this award! LOL! I don't know how "rockin" I am, but I'm flattered she thought so!! Here's how the game works. . . I need to give this award to four of my friends. All of their blogs are on my blogroll, please do pay them a visit!!

Irene, who was a blogging art buddy and moved to a MERE 6 MILES FROM ME so now we are face-to-face art buddies! Check out her wonderful blog, Just Crazy About Dogs.

Mary, at Emma Pod blog, we share a past life of working in the medical field and therefore having a rather sick sense of humor sometimes!

Andrea, who lives in Wales and reminds me so much of an old, dear friend whom I lost to cancer several years ago. I always smile when I visit her blog, Andrea Joseph's Sketchblog, and see her invitation to share a cup of tea!

Casey, from rue Manuel bis blog, is a huge art inspiration with her ink and loose watercolor style that I envy so!

So ladies, you are hereby Rockin' Bloggers!!

P.S. I don't know if I did it right, but it worked. . . I saved the photo icon in My Pictures and then uploaded it to my blog.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Alaskan Cruise

My dh and I are off tomorrow morning for a cruise to Alaska. I'm taking some art supplies and plenty of SD storage for my camera! We fly from southern California to Seattle tomorrow and then set sail on the 3rd. I'll have time in Seattle tomorrow afternoon to grab a taxi and take a trip over to the Daniel Smith store -- I just might be as excited about THAT shopping excursion as I am about the Alaskan excursions!! I'm looking forward to all the sightseeing and with our hot summer temps, I'm also looking forward to coolness.
We'll be celebrating my birthday while we are gone--actually we'll be in Victoria on that day and Buchart Gardens is on our schedule. So YIPEE!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lidzey exercise.

I did this simple painting THREE TIMES! It really gave me some fits. Then. . . when I finished it, I realized I hadn't done it as directed in John Lidzey's book, "Watercolour Workshop!" It was supposed to be a small area of my garden (which it IS) and using only Fr UM, Cad Red, and Cad Yellow (which it ISN'T). Actually, I didn't use ANY of those pigments -- aaghh. I think I did do the first two correctly, but it was weeks later that I finally did this one and I erroneously did not re-read the instructions. Ah well, I actually like this one the best. I'm still striving to get dimension and depth and also a looser style. This was a very quick sketch and an equally quick watercolor--lots of wet-in-wet and I pretty much let the paint have it's own way. I was busy with some other things around the house that enabled me to leave this alone while each layer dried thoroughly. I know some watercolorists do not use black, but I like black and I used it--just little itty bits dropped in to give depth to the underbush part. The white blossoms (it's an oleander bush) were masqued out to protect the white paper during the painting. Then after removal of the masque, a very pale wash of cobalt blue was dropped in here and there to give some shading.

I'm excited that Kate Johnson is offering a Watercolor II course online and, of course, I was one of the first to sign up! We will be using her book, "Creating Textures in Watercolor" and I'm very much looking forward to getting started on Aug 12th. I'll try to get a few more exercises done from the Lidzey book before then.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Agapanthus Path at the Huntington Gardens
Life has been busy and kept me away from art for a month! It felt good to fill up my water containers and dip those brushes again. Irene, from Just Crazy About Dogs blogspot, and I went to the Huntington Gardens last Thursday and then to Dick Blicks - talk about a wonderful "art date!!" I did attempt a plein air at the gardens, which I'll not post here - ha ha. I took some photos and this lovely path was a photo I took. It is on Lama li.
My home remodeling is done, I still have to touch up the paint on the baseboards and also need to paint a bathroom. I am so happy with the end result and am anxious to get the final decorating items in place.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lidzey Exercise 4 - Still Life

The book, "Watercolour Workshop" has exercises, demos and projects. . . I'm referring to all as exercises and assigning numbers just to keep it all uniform on my computer. Having said that, this was really a step-by-step demo. It's done on the Lama li paper - which I'm getting a bit more used to - and several pigments were used. I'm fairly happy with it, as always there's bits that I'd do differently if I do it again. I guess that's what learning is all about anyway. Ever since I worked through the Pike book, I've gotten more comfortable with flat brushes and find myself using them more than my old beloved rounds! It's always nice to step out of our comfort zone and find we like the alternative as much as or even better. I did NOT like the flats the first several times I used them, but I perservered and it's been worth it. I'm also using as large a brush as possible for as long as possible. I do think that has helped me get a bit looser, although I've quite a ways to go to attain the level of looseness I desire.
Well, the wood flooring FINALLY came in and was delivered yesterday. The workers are scheduled to start on Monday -so, yipee!! I'll be in a mess again all next week, but we are in the final stretch and I'm SO READY!!
I took our new (2 week old) grandson to the doctor yesterday as he's got a head cold and we were starting to get concerned. He doesn't have congestion in his lungs (which is what I was fearful of) and my "home" remedy of using saline solution and an aspirator is exactly what the doctor said to do--so we will continue with that care and watch him CLOSELY! I'm afraid I was rather firm with his mom -- ABSOLUTELY NO SICK VISITORS!! I'm picking them up and bringing them to my house today -- maybe it's my "control" nature, but I feel better if I see him for myself and administer some good ol' fashioned granny care.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lidzey Excercise 3 - An Exterior Door

The wonderful photo reference was taken by Karol and you can see it here

Thanks, Karol!!!

This was painted on lama li and while I really LOVE the texture of this handmade, cotton rag paper, I found it was too absorbant to get the tree branch shadows to bleed well. I think I'll give this a go on some good Arches sometime soon! I almost just gave up working this particular painting, but decided today to just "do it" and get it finished I didn't do a tonal study of this before I did the painting and I'm really sorry I didn't. Honestly, I just didn't think about it--I guess it truly is by mistakes that we learn!

I'm so behind on artwork and am finding it quite frustrating. Just too many things going on, life can sure get busy and overloaded. Our house remodeling is at a standstill as we wait for Lowe's to go cut down some trees to fill my wood flooring order - at least it seems as if that's what they are doing. It's SUPPOSED to come in today, at which point I will have to schedule the installation with my contractor. I still need to get up to Northern California to see my mom. My sisters have been helping her tremendously as far as going through Dad's stuff and getting his truck, motor home and boat sold. I feel guilty that I've not been able to help. I'm still not regulated on thyroid meds--hopefully the next dosage change will be the "one" that works. I'm too busy a person to be tied down with fatigue - ha.

Our new grandson, Austin, is such a sweetie and I've been helping with him the past few days. He's not quite 2 weeks old and got a cold. We are watching him closely! You can see my little sweetie on my flickr here

Hopefully, it won't be WEEKS before I get some art done and posted. The next Lidzey is a still life and I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Open Window
From the book, Watercolour Workshop by John Lidzey, this exercise was to paint a sunlit, open window from the outside looking in. It was to be done as a tonal study, which I did do and can be seen on my flickr
I decided to paint this subject again adding Cadmium Red to the Yellow Ochre and French Ultramarine Blue that was used in the tonal study. The brown of the window frame is a mixture of all three pigments. The reference photo is from Karol at who is a fantastic photographer and so graciously gave me permission to use this for my study. For a real treat, check out her work!
I painted this in my new Lama Li sketchbook. I found the cotton rag paper to be very absorbant, which will take some getting used to. I DO like the texture of this paper and look forward to working with it more.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I've been tagged!

Mary, over at and Lin at have tagged me to list 7 things about myself that others may not know.
1) When I was in my early twenties, my grandmother taught me how to tat - I still enjoy this little hobby/thread craft and have even entertained the idea of teaching a class - then I look at my already full schedule and don't see how I can possibly add another activity!
2) I enjoy driving, even in heavy LA traffic. I especially like to drive in the rain, just so long as it's not a Texas style "raining cats and dogs" type downpour!
3) I love to read and usually am reading at least three books at one time. I go through periods where I feel like I'm going to run out of time before I can learn as much as I want. During those periods, I speed read and usually read at least one book a day - crazy huh?
4) I love to cook and bake. I collect recipes and cookbooks and am always sharing. I don't believe in keeping a good recipe secret. I'm almost always game to try new things -- DH and I just got home from visiting DD and SIL in Las Vegas, went to a fabulous Thai restaurant that served tempura dipped fried bananas with coconut ice cream - ABSOLUTELY TO DIE FOR!!
5) I was horribly addicted to cigarettes for 30 years - kicked that habit 7 years ago and know without a doubt that I will NEVER touch another one of those nasty things again!!
6) I would pick a camping vacation over a 5 star resort anytime, anyplace. I love being up close and personal in nature and enoying this wonderful world the Lord God has created for us.
7) I sincerely enjoy encouraging others. I don't get jealous of other's abilities and gifts, I love being challenged to improve my own skills and am thoroughly thrilled when I see growth in others as well.
I am going to tag Carol Irene Nelda Marilyn
I KNOW it's only 4 tags - but everyone else on my list has been tagged and double tagged!

Now, if you've read all these 7 things, that means you probably check in on my blog once in a while, so . . . I would like to add a little note. I've not been on my blog or the computer much of late because my dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on April 27th. He, my mom, and my youngest sister were vacationing in OK visiting family and friends. I had to fly from CA to OK, get my mom and youngest sister on a plane and then my other sister and I drove my mom's car home. It's been a very sad shock for us all. We have the comfort of knowing he is in heaven, but are still so saddened he's no longer here with us. Also, I've been eyeball deep in some home remodeling and naturally, not all has been going as planned! We've had a few setbacks, that basically just mean more time (and more frustration). I do hope to get back to my art, and especially the John Lidzey book ASAP!!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Lidzey Exercise 1
I'm working in John Lidzey's book, "Watercolour Workshop" and this is the first exercise. This was a "tonal" study and the first still life was done with French Ultramarine and Yellow Ochre. Great fun mixing and I was amazed at the variety of color and tone those two pigments gave me. The instruction for the second was to do the same still life, but with color. I decided to stick with the FrUm and YO and just added Cadmium Red. Isn't it amazing what just one more pigment can do? The coffee pot is straight FrUM, the apple is CR with just a teeny bit of YO and the shading has just a bit of FrUM. The background is pretty apparent, it is YO with a bit of CR. I used mask (spatter method) for the white spots on the pot. The first was done on Raffine, my first experience with that sketchbook and I really liked it - thanks Lin!! The second was done on Cotman watercolor - not my fav watercolor paper, but is the one I grabbed and it was the right size for scanning two books side-by-side.
The Lidzey book is going to be great fun! It has exercises AND projects. Rather that having a finished work to try to copy, as in the John Pike book I just finished working through, this book tells what type of subject and I'll pick my own reference. These subjects can be plein air or photo reference.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pike's Exercise #13 - Troubador's Rest Stop

This is the final exercise in "John Pike Paints Watercolors." I like this one and it was fun to work on! I like the simple subjects and the rustic feel of this still life and love the punch of color the bottle gives. Done on Arches Rough (my first experience with the rough) and I really can't tell much difference between it and the regular block. A very limited palette was used.
I'm in the midst of some home remodeling and didn't think I'd get time to work on art at all for a couple of weeks. The contractors seem to be doing just fine without me and so I jumped at the opportunity to paint today. Actually, I think they prefer it when I am out of the way - LOL.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pike #12 - Colombia, Fisherman's Cove

Done on Arches block (10 x 7). Ever since my first watercolor class, I've loved painting trees. There's just something about the variety of trunks and branches that makes trees appealing to me. I don't particularly like the straight branch that runs off on the right side, but that's how John Pike's exercise was and I'm trying to stick with his exercises as they are shown in the book. The sky is Fr UM and Alizarin Crimson, the tree is a combination of Fr UM and Burnt Sienna and Fr UM and Burnt Umber. The leaves are Fr UM and Cad Yellow Pale and also a teeny bit of Fr UM. The sea is Fr UM and Pthalo Green. Mixing is so fascinating and interesting to me, especially when the ratios are changed just a bit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pike Exercise 11, Mykonos Church

Mykonos Church is in Greece. This one was more fun than I thought it was going to be. I was dreading trying to get an animal in this that looked remotely like a donkey, but it wasn't as difficult as I thought it'd be. Very limited palette was used again, I guess John Pike liked those limited pigments and mixing and mixing and more mixing! I did use mask to protect the upper areas of the building from the sky and was able to try out a "rubber cement pick-up" that I recently purchased from Dick Blick's. What a neat tool!! No more tender fingers from rubbing that stuff off.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pike Exercise 10

John Pike called this "Venice, Mother and Chicks." This is one exercise that I almost gave up on several times. I'd wait a while, look at it and then add a few strokes here and there. It's not my favorite, however I did learn from it. The sketch is much looser than I usually do, which made it difficult for me. The steps and techniques for painting the building were new to me and I did enjoy them. I think I'm getting better at portraying water and the reflections and I'm not as fearful of loose sketches of figures. Several pigment mixes were used, primarily Pike's favorite French UM and Burnt Sienna and French UM and Burnt Umber - both in varying ratios to get the different values. I'm really getting comfortable with mixes! Also, I'm sticking with using flat brushes and am getting more confident with those.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Pike Exercise #9

This is called Dubrovnik, Old City and is of a coastal village in Yugoslavia. This was a bit time consuming, especially the architectural sketching. I DID cheat a little bit by drawing it on a grid, of course, I'm not sure that would technically be considered cheating. The past several Pike exercises have been rather gray and I didn't post #8 here or on my flickr as it was such a disaster. I tried it twice and decided I basically just didn't really like the scene. I love to learn and I love challenges, but when my art becomes too much like "work," I'd just as soon pass it up - ha ha. I have decided that I absolutely LOVE Arches blocks!! I do NOT like the hot press, though. I just got some Arches rough that I am anxious to try.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pike 5

This exercise is called Irish Clouds and was the fastest Pike exercise I've done thus far. I didn't time it, but I think it took about 30 minutes. It is done with only two pigments, French UM and Burnt Sienna. I'm beginning to think these were John Pike's favorite pigments as all of the exercises I've done so far have used them. It was done on Arches cold press block, which I'm becoming VERY fond of! This was done without any sketching whatsoever - which was a first for me! Also, I'm using flat brushes and while I'm not as comfortable with them as I am with my beloved rounds, I feel I'm getting more confident with them.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pike Exercise 4

Abandoned boat done on Arches Hot Press. This is the first time I've ever used hot press and I'm not sure if I like it or not. It's smooth like the bristol that I love, but the paint didn't go on as smoothly - not sure why. All in all, I'm not very happy with this for several reasons. First, I don't really like the scene that much and second, I don't particularly like the colors. I didn't get a good "roundness" to the hull of the boat and the broken parts were difficult for me to portray. From a positive standpoint, I like the distant shoreline and I like the looseness - something that is VERY difficult for me.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pike Exercise 3
As I continue on through John Pike's book, this exercise was the most time consuming and difficult thus far. It is a night scene of Burano, a small island near Venice. Although it's not the type of scene I'm fond of, I did find the different elements to be interesting and challenging. John Pike explained that the moonlight is reflected and bouncing - the moon would actually be behind the viewer; and to complicate the light in the scene more, there is the light from the shop window and an unknown light source coming through the archway on the right. The sidewalk and cobbled street are supposed to be wet. Whew - I don't know if I got all these elements right, but it was definitely a learning experience.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pike 2

This is my second exercise from John Pike's book. It's supposed to be a snow scene (in case you can't tell - ha). John Pike's grays were actually darker than mine and yet his looked like snow. Maybe I need to have more variation in the gray and also more drift patterns. I like my foreground trees and was pretty happy with the people. I've always avoided putting figures in landscapes and found it not quite as daunting as I expected.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pike 1

I've started working through "John Pike Paints Watercolors" and this is the first exercise. There's lots wrong with this. . . but there are a few things right - ha. I really like how the tree trunks turned out, particularly the one in the foreground. I recently purchased an Arches block and this was the first painting I've done on it. I really like how the paint flows on this paper, particularly wet-in-wet -- the tree trunk I like was done with a very watery wash of gray made from French UM and Burnt Sienna, then while it was still wet, cad yellow was dropped in on the sunlit sides and an itty bitty bit of cad red was dropped in along the center, then a heavier concentration of the gray dropped onto the shaded side. After it was dry, an even heavier concentration of the gray was dry brushed and then a very small amount of dark green was dry brushed. I have a tendency to grab my #6 round and really need to start grabbing a larger brush! I'm looking forward to the next lesson in this book!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Coastal Village
This was the workshop project on Art Academy Live last week. The scan on the bottom was my attempt during the workshop. The teacher, Sterling Edwards, has a much looser style and also his pigments weren't as saturated as mine. This was supposed to be impressionistic! My second attempt (the scan in the middle) was sketched with my new Pentel Brush Pen (NOT the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen) and the ink is brown and I found out REALLY fast that it is NOT waterproof! Wasn't happy with that one either, although it was fun to try the new drawing toy out. So I tried a third time and while it's not as "free and easy" as Sterling's, it is an improvement over the other two. I think I'm done with trying this scene. All three of these were quite a struggle for me, and while I like to see a bit of impressionistic work, I don't seem to be able to get the looseness required to pull it off. Ah, must be one of those "practice" things.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sunlit Canyon

Yesterday, I took an online watercolor workshop through Art Academy Live. Basically, it's an interactive live streaming video class. A supplies list is provided to enable the student to prepare for the class. On the date and time of the class, the student logs in and is directed to the classroom. There is the artist/teacher/demonstrator and also a moderator. If students have questions during the workshop, they type the question on their keyboard, the moderator reads the question and the instructor answers the question. Very slick! The classes are from 75 to 90 minutes long and the time flew like it was only 20 mintues! I had my palette loaded, paper ready, brushes laid out and was still hustling to get my painting done. It didn't turn out very good, so I redid it today and the redo is the one I've posted. This was an excellent exercise for me on painting without sketching, using flat brushes (I'm REALLY partial to rounds!) and mixing colors on the paper rather than on my palette. I think I have a better grip on saving whites, having the lightest and darkest areas next to each other for the center of interest and creating the look of sunlight on rocks and vegetation. If anyone is interested in checking out these workshops, go to

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cat on Post

This was done on bristol with Derwent Graphitint used for the post and the fence and Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils for the rest. This was difficult and I'm not very happy with it. I decided to quit fussing with it and just post it! LOL! I think there are 4 layers on the cat's body, just couldn't get it to come out like I wanted. Onward I go with working through Kate's book.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


This was done on bristol paper using the Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils. I found the reference photo on WetCanvas. I'm in the chapter on painting animals in Kate's book, "Watercolor Pencil Magic." I chose a photo that was just a head shot rather than the full body of the animal because I'm not very confident that I could get the whole body drawn with correct proportions. I've never really been around horses during my life, but I've always thought they were such majestic animals. The few I have been around were very old and gentle. I think this horse has a very gentle look about him!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Watercolor Pencil Rose

I just got a set of the Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils and a Richeson atomizer, so this is the first thing I've done using them both. The AD pencils are fabulously creamy, even on this Cotman paper - I'm rather anxious to try them out on bristol! The atomizer took a bit a manipulating, but I finally realized the tubes slide and they must be in just the right position for it to work. At first I tried to use the atomizer in one of my palette wells, THAT was awkward and messy!! After a bit of thought, I came up with a wonderfully simple solution. I used one of those little plastic water vials that cut flowers come in sometimes. I put the pigment in the vial, put the atomizer pipe in the vial and held it together with one hand while holding up the watercolor pad with my other hand. It gave me much better control and not nearly the mess. Another thing I tried on this, I painted the flower first, then I traced the flower onto a piece of tracing paper, cut out the paper and used small bits of double-sided scotch tape to fasten the tracing paper onto the watercolor paper. Then I sprayed with the atomizer and removed the tracing paper -- I guess this could be considered reverse stenciling. If anyone is interested in checking out an atomizer, here it is:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Waterscapes done with Watercolor Pencils
The rocks in the waterfall picture were done with Derwent Graphitint, the remaining objects (including the water) were done with Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils. The ocean scene was done with the Inktense only. I REALLY liked the graphitint for the rocks, I used 3 different pigments and colored them dry and added water with a brush. I think the graphitint really added a texture quality. I had some difficulty with the ocean scene - which is from a photo taken by Joe Philipson on the island of Oahu. You can see Joe's photo here:
First of all, I really messed up on the sky and on the rocks along the shoreline. I had recently read over at WetCanvas that Magic Eraser (the cleaning sponges made by Mr. Clean) worked well to lift watercolor. Watercolor pencils are actually more permanent than tube watercolors and I wasn't sure if the Magic Eraser would work or not, but decided to give it a try. It DID work, although I had to rub a little bit and did get some slight paper damage. I think a lighter touch would work fine with tube paint and will definitely keep a piece of this sponge in my paint kit!! I cut a small piece off of the Magic Eraser, dampened it with water and then rubbed the area I wanted to remove. I still had trouble with the rain clouds in the sky, even though I did the wet-in-wet technique by wetting the paper and then running a wet brush over the tip of the pencil and then dropping the pigment in. I think this particular seascape would be better if done with tube paint and may try that. I'm ready to continue on in Kate's book, Watercolor Pencil Magic!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sandstone Rocks
These were both done with the same watercolor pencils but on different paper. What a difference! The one on the top is Bristol paper and the one on the bottom is Cotman watercolor paper. Both were sketched with Graphitint pencils; the darker lines are Inktense pencil. A wash was applied with DS watercolor (Sedona Genuine) using horizontal strokes to portray the sedimentary layers.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Watercolor Pencils

I'm continuing to work through Cathy (Kate) Johnson's book, "Watercolor Pencil Magic." This was done with Derwent Inktense Pencils on a 9 x 12 bristol sheet. The flowers were outlined with dry pencil and then a small, wet brush was used to blend the pigments. The vase was lightly colored and blended with a larger wet brush. I have a horrible time with shadows! Although the one on the right is from my scanner as the sheet was too large to fit flush on the flatbed. I'm thinking maybe I should hatch in shadows with a pencil, which I could erase if needed, before I add color. Duh!! Working with watercolor pencils reminds me of those coloring books I adored as a child, where the color was in the paper and it came to life as a wet brush was applied - gee, I wonder if they still make those.

Yesterday was my 33rd wedding anniversary - wow, time certainly does march right along. Our anniversary, except for the milestone ones ie. 25th, 30th, are usually pretty low key. We rather overdid Christmas this year, so a beautiful card, a lovely silver bookmark and a great dinner was the extent of our celebration. Since my dh is pursuing a second career and attending law school at present, we can't do much traveling unless he's on a semester break. I'm so thankful for the 33 wonderful years and look forward to many more!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Watercolor Pencils on Yupo

Well this was fun! I am so fascinated with yupo and I'm working through Cathy (Kate) Johnson's book, "Watercolor Pencil Magic," and thought hmmmm, wonder what would happen if I used yupo. So I decided on the simple little ref photo I recently used for one of the gesso experiments. I first sketched the horizon line, the flowers, and vaguely sketched the area of the sky where the light is. I used Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils and lightly colored the whole thing. Inktense is usually very bold - at least on paper! - so I didn't want to apply the color too heavy. Using brushes dipped in clear water, I started blending. I started with the sky and immediately found that I had not applied the pencil heavy enough. While the yupo was still wet, I scribbled in some more color and blended some more. I let the sky dry completely. The swirls appear all by themselves as the water dries. I added more pencil to the foreground (2 pigments were used) and then applied the clear water and blended using up and down "streaking" strokes. I let that dry completely and then I used a very small brush that was damp-wet and lightly stroked the flowers and stems. What I learned: yupo is FUN and watercolor pencils on yupo is even FUNNER!! I think it is the unexpected that appeals to me with yupo - you just never know how it's going to dry.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gesso Experiments

I saw this technique on WetCanvas. The process is to sketch and then mask the sketch. Apply gesso and texturize it. On the Christmas Cactus, I sketched the blossom and leaves and then masked them. A light coat of gesso was applied to the background and using a 1" flat brush, I brushed in a cross-hatch pattern. The gesso was allowed to thoroughly dry. The background watercolors were applied and allowed to dry. The mask was removed and the blossom and leaves were painted. I didn't think the textured gesso was as prominent as I wanted so decided that two coats of gesso would work better. On the grass with yellow flowers I sketched the flowers and then masked them. I applied two coats of gesso, combing each coat with a plastic hair comb with the intent to have the texture look like grass. The sky was then painted (and here is where I goofed -- too dark on the blue and it wouldn't lift very well). I removed the masking and painted the flowers and leaves. I like the gesso on this one - it turned out just as I wanted. This is a fun technique!