Monday, November 18, 2019

Private Shore

"Private Shore"
Image size 5" x 8"
Monoprint with colored pencil

I tried another monoprint this week.  I inked the entire surface and then removed the black ink where I wanted it lighter.  Drawing directly into the ink without the ability to erase my mistakes is very scary.  I'm struggling with that and the removal of the ink and haven't really figured out a way to control what I'm doing.  That's why this house looks a bit wonky.  It is a fun process though, and I will continue to experiment with this medium.

I used Derwent Inktense colored pencils to add color to the print.  On this print (above), I didn't add water to the pencils.  Living up to their name, when water is added, the colors become very intense.  I did a second print, which I've posted below.  I lightly spritzed the printing plate with water and used a damp piece of mulberry paper to make the second print.  Then, I used the inktense colored pencils and added water to the paper.  You can see how different the colors are.  Personally, I prefer the softer colors in the first print.

Not much to say about my clay mural except that I'm continuing to work on it.  I'm starting to choose the glass circle that fits best into the holes and grinding the clay to make some of them fit when the circle is too small.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Pear Monoprint

"Pear Monoprint"
Image size 6" x 8"
Monoprint with colored pencil added
I'm playing around with a new medium.  I have done a couple of monoprints in the past but didn't really get into that medium.  Now, I'm very interested in playing around with the inks and adding color using other mediums.  This is my first experiment.  I used mulberry paper, which was wonderful to print on, but it seemed to pill while I was adding the colored pencil.  I think I used the wrong side....
Anyway, this was really fun and I can't wait to try it again.

My clay mural is still chugging along slowly.  Nothing exciting to show at this point.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Italian Cypress

Italian Cypress
Image size 7.5" x 7.5"
I used my pastels for this week's painting.  I enjoyed the theme of last week's painting, so I used the same idea but concentrated on the sky as a focal point.  Of course, the cypress trees draw you into the painting, but hopefully, the sky keeps you interested.

I used a dark blue mat board with a coating of pumice gel as my substrate.  None of that color shows through because I have many layers of pastel covering it.  I really enjoy the tooth of the pumice gel as it allows for multiple layers before the surface is slick and won't accept more color.

Well, I'm finally finished cutting the clay pieces for the murals.  That feels really good!!  Of course, I'm still a long way from being able to fire everything and start glazing.  I have about 120 pieces that I need to carve and fit into the mural.  That takes a long time so that will be my focus for this week.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Italian Vista

"Italian Vista"
Image size 14" x 8.5"
Acrylic on rice paper

I had a piece of paper that was covered with an interesting rice paper that I found in my studio.  I had added some initial colors a long time ago.  I decided to see what could be done with it and this is what I painted.  I really like the texture of this rice paper.  It looks like it has short sticks in it, which adds a lot of interest to a painting.

I used acrylics I thinned to a consistency a bit thicker than watercolor and began adding layers of color.  The underlying colors still show through, which give it a bit of a dull look.  Usually, I wouldn't like that since I really love bright colors, but it seems to fit this scene.

Finally, on my tile mural, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I have only 16 pieces left to cut on the large side and have bisque fired almost 200 pieces.  In the pictures below, the white pieces have had their first (bisque) firing and are ready to glaze (paint).  I still need to carve a lot of the pieces to fit before I can continue firing, but it feels like the cutting will be finished soon.  I have to cut about 60 pieces on the small side, but I'm hoping to have all cutting and fitting for both sides finished by next week.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Pacific Coast

"Pacific Coast"
Image size 8" x 10"
I took a 1-day workshop on Saturday that was taught by Rick Delanty.  I've attended workshops with him before and have always learned a lot.  

I really fought with this painting and I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I'm finished working on it.  Time to move on to the next painting...

My clay mural is still slowly moving forward.  I had the elements replaced in my kiln, so it should take less time for each load to fire.  I will try it for the first time tomorrow.  The kiln is loaded and ready to turn on.  I was able to fit quite a few pieces in it.  I might be able to do all of the bisque firing in 4 or 5 batches.  The slow part will be when I'm firing all of the glazed pieces.  I'm still a long way from worrying about that though!

Monday, October 14, 2019


Image size 17" x 24"
Acrylic on TerraSkin
I'm having so much fun working with my acrylics.  This TerraSkin surface is great for achieving these textures by manipulating the thinned paints on a non-porous surface.  My friend just told me that this product is no longer available.  I still have some, but when I run out, I think Yupo will work the same way.  Both are non-porous and although I like the surface of TerraSkin better, for this painting technique, I think the results would be the same.

The white circles in this painting are from using resist before I started painting.  The white squiggles are a product made by Golden Paints called Tar Gel.  It is a very stringy fluid that gives a continuous stringy drip when dropping it from a palette knife or similar instrument.  It comes clear and works very well straight out of the jar.  Unfortunately, I've found that after some paint is added to it, it doesn't dribble as well.  I need to call the company and talk to them about it.  Maybe my paint to Tar Gel ratio is off.  Probably, when less paint is added, it retains its original consistency.  I only added the amount of paint I thought was needed to make it opaque.  Anyway, I like the effect.

Nothing to show on my clay mural.  I'm still cutting and fitting the pieces...SLOWLY!!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Santiago Canyon Poured Painting

"Santiago Canyon Poured Painting"
Image size 8" x 22"
I haven't painted a poured watercolor painting for a long time.  I have always liked the look of poured paintings.  They have a glow that isn't usually achieved with direct painting.  I did a little too much direct painting on this one to really get the full feeling of a poured painting.  It probably wasn't the best photo reference to pick, but I think it turned out okay.  

Poured paintings are very graphic since resist is used between each pour to save the lighter areas.  I happen to like that look a lot.  It does give a "pasted on" feeling, but that's part of the appeal.

I'm still cutting, cutting, cutting clay pieces.  I work on the mural every day, but it doesn't feel like I'm progressing as quickly as I think I should.  Since I am cutting the pieces larger and have to trim them to fit, it is very slow going.  The other day, I worked for 3 hours and only got 12 pieces carved to fit.  Sigh.....I'm really ready to paint this project.

I'm getting new elements put into my kiln.  It took 10.5 hours to fire a load of bisque and it used to take about half that time.  The tech said that is because the elements are so old and failing.  He checked my serial number and told me that it is 35 years old.  I guess I've gotten a lot of use out of it without it needing maintenance.  It will be nice to get the elements changed.  I will start firing loads as soon as that is fixed, even though everything isn't cut yet.  I've got at least 250-300 cut and ready to bisque fire.

Monday, September 30, 2019


Image size 16.5" x 6.5"
Watercolor, rice paper
I found a piece of paper that had an interesting feel to it so I tried painting some watercolor on it.  It was immediately evident that it was an unsized paper, but I thought I could still get a good result.  Some of my favorite paintings have been done on unsized paper.

As I was working on it, it began to pill.  That wasn't good!  I found this fanciful rice paper that I've always wanted to use and attached it over the fragile paper using matte medium.  The medium seals the paper and along with the rice paper, it is now a sturdy substrate.  After it dried, I added darker colors and different colors than the underpainting which gave it a nice depth.

I'm continuing to work on the tile mural.  The weather has cooled off so it's much nicer working in the garage now.  I've probably got a third of the large side to cut still.  I can move my extra tables to the other side of my large work tables now and hopefully, I will finish cutting the large side within a few weeks.

I've started re-drawing the smaller side, making the fish larger.  I am able to use about 35 of the original pieces I cut for that side.  I've placed then on the pattern and will draw around them, then create the rest of the pattern around them.  By using them, I will save a lot of time and clay.

So far, I've used 175 pounds of clay and am estimating that I will need about 75 pounds more to finish the project.  Of course, a lot of that ends up as scraps as I cut around each pattern.

Monday, September 23, 2019


Image Size 12.5" x 17.5"
Acrylic on TerraSkin
I'm painting on TerraSkin again.  I'm so glad that I rediscovered this surface.  Working with acrylic on this surface is perfect for me.  I thin the paints down and use them like watercolor, but unlike watercolor, the colors don't lift off of the surface when I add layers.

I'm diligently working on my clay mural.  It is taking forever, but now I'm getting to the skinnier part of the mural so it feels like I'm progressing more quickly.  I'm cutting everything on one side of the mural and then I will work on the other side.  With my two tables put together, the surface is 16 feet long.  I've set up a couple of skinny tables to use for rolling the clay and cutting the pieces since there is no room on my regular work tables.  Once I get everything cut on this side, I will move the skinny tables to the other side to finish my cutting rather than having to walk from one side of my table to the other.  It's a long way!  Also, the space between the tables is so narrow that in one area I have to step side to side to get through.  And another point, I'm too lazy to make all of that extra work for myself.
Here is a picture of my progress and you can see the skinny tables and my cramped working space.
From this picture, it doesn't look like I've done much, but those clay pieces that are cut are taking up the length of an 8' table.

Monday, September 16, 2019


Image size 17" x 24"
Acrylic on TerraSkin

I decided to play with TerraSkin again this week.  It is such a fun surface and painting multiple layers with the thinned acrylics gives a wonderful sense of depth.

I'm still plodding along with the clay mural that I've been working on for a couple of months.  It's really still too hot to work much in the garage, so not much is being accomplished at this point.  I did get the practice clay painting fired and it is really to glaze, but I am going to wait until I'm ready to glaze the large mural so that I can remember exactly what I did and what I need to change.

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