Monday, December 30, 2013

Wild Spray

Well, this was a fun experiment!  I have a lot of pieces of plexiglass that are long and narrow that wouldn't work for framing my watercolor paintings but I couldn't bring myself to get rid of them because they seemed like they could be used for something.

I decided to try painting one side with acrylic and use the unpainted side as the 'glass' to protect the painting when framed.  To have this work, I had to paint "backwards", meaning that the details in the foreground of the picture needed to be painted first, which was the spray and foam, and progress toward the colors behind.

I wasn't expecting much but I'm really happy with the result.  I'm sure I will be trying this technique again.

Wild Spray
Image size 8.5" x 29"
Acrylic on Plexiglass

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mixed Media Waterlilies

This started out as an interesting experiment.  Several other watercolor artists and I get together once a month to paint and this month we decided to play musical easels.  We each arrived with a drawing on a quarter sheet of watercolor paper.  We started painting on our own painting and every 10 minutes or so we would rotate to the next painting.  We didn't look at the photo references so we didn't know what the original artist intended.  We just added whatever we felt the painting needed.

Unfortunately for my painting, I chose a piece of paper that had lost its sizing….again.  I wonder how many more pieces of bad watercolor paper I have in my stockpile.  Anyway, everyone was challenged when working on my painting because the paint just soaked in and couldn't be blended or controlled.

After we decided that all of the paintings were finished as much as they could be, I covered my painting with gesso using the technique that I learned from Kathleen Conover.  I knew that the paper needed to be sealed before the painting could move forward.  After the gesso dried, I proceeded to overwork the poor painting to the point of no return.

This will go in my pile of non-successful paintings but I know that if the paper had been normal, it would have been a very cool painting created by my very talented friends.

Here is how it looked before I added the gesso and gobs of paint:
It looks better in this photo than I remember it looking in person.  It was pretty washed out as I recall.

Here are the other paintings that we worked on during our painting day.
Peggy Moore's painting

Peggy Minger-McCants' painting

Sue Foat's painting

Susan Gale's painting

Usually when we get together each month, we each bring paintings that we are working on and we share our opinions and try to help and encourage each other.  It was fun to pick a project that we could do together and we all really enjoyed the experience.

I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and thank all of you that support me by visiting my blog and commenting on my paintings.  It means a lot to me.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Colimilla Dock

The reference photo for this was taken in Colimilla, Mexico.  I loved the way the sun bleached out the wood and cast the interesting shadow.  I've painted this dock before but it had more detail in the painting.

Colimilla Dock
image size 15" x 22"

Here is the first painting of this dock:
This one was done as a poured watercolor where I applied resist, poured paint, applied more resist, poured paint, etc.  It gives a totally different look and, of course, this first painting has a lot more going on in it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Palm Trio

It's always relaxing to think of palm trees on a secluded beach during cold weather.   I know the weather we are having isn't considered to be cold by most standards but I'm freezing!  Painting this scene made me feel warmer.

The craziness of the holiday season has kept me from painting very much but I was able to finish this small oil this week.  Hopefully, I will be able to paint more this coming week.

Palm Trio
Image size 6" x 12"

Monday, December 2, 2013

Autumn Sky

Here's a small study of clouds.  I want to paint a series of cloudy skies using different mediums.  I think I will probably do some large ones in oil but I thought I would start small.  I want the sky to be the center of attention so I just painted a sliver of ground with some loosely painted trees changing color.

Autumn Sky
Image Size 4.5" x 11"

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tuscan Sky

This is the third painting that I've done from the same photo.  I'm happiest with this version.  Now maybe I can put that photo away for awhile.  The first two that I did were 6" x 6" and this one is 8" x 10".  All three are oils.  Here is the first one I painted:

Breaking Through the Clouds

And here is the second painting:
Breaking Through

As you can see, I'm not very creative with my titles.  Also, I must have taken a lot of artistic license with each one because the skies are totally different and in the one above, I must not have been liking those Italian cypress trees.

Anyway, I'll leave it to you to decide which one you like the best and I will try to come up with a more original painting next week.

Tuscan Sky
Image Size 8" x 10"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I'm so excited!  One of my TerraSkin paintings has been chosen to be on the cover of the TerraSkin Multi Media pads of paper along with the work of three other artists.  Mine is the one in the lower left hand corner that says "Liquid Acrylics" on it.  I also found out that TerraSkin is available through Amazon as well as on Etsy and at Cheap Joe's.   I've listed the links below in case you are interested in trying this stone 'paper'.



Cheap Joe's

Monday, November 18, 2013


Foxgloves are such cool flowers.  I've never grown them but I admire them in other gardens.  In my photo reference,  I liked how the top flowers had a lot of yellow in them and the lower flowers were much cooler.  I don't think this photo really shows that very well but the color change is there.

I used Fabriano Artistico paper for this painting and was disappointed in how the paper pilled when I tried to lift paint.  It's definitely not the workhorse that I'm used to when using Arches paper.  It does give a very soft, velvety looking finish though and it is easy to lift the paint so I guess I will use it again.

Image size 22" x 11"

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pink Plumerias on TerraSkin

Here is another painting done on TerraSkin.  I drew this a long time ago on both TerraSkin and regular watercolor paper because I wanted to see how I could change the technique on the different supports.  They will probably end up looking very similar but I'm hoping to do the next one in a very loose, watery style with white and yellow flowers.  We'll see if I can manage to let go of my controlling nature and let the paint do what it wants to do.  Obviously, I didn't let loose on this one.  : )

Pink Plumerias on TerraSkin
Image size 18" x 20"

Monday, November 4, 2013

After The Break

I love painting waves, especially in watercolor.  The photo that I used as a reference for this painting has such a sense of power that I knew I had to try to paint it.  This is a pretty large painting.  It is a full sheet of watercolor paper which is 22" x 30".  It is painted using only transparent watercolor.  The whites are the white of the paper.

Most of this was painted on a very wet piece of paper but I was careful to allow for the color spreading and was able to save the white areas.  I used Fabriano Artistico 140# paper because it was the only paper I had that was really white.  It was easy to work on but it isn't as strong as some other papers that I've used.

After The Break
Image Size 22" x 30"

Monday, October 28, 2013


When I began this painting, this was NOT what I had in mind.  I soaked a piece of Winsor Newton cold press watercolor paper and began painting a wave in a horizontal format.  I could tell as soon as I wet the paper that the sizing in the paper was no longer there.  I've probably had this paper at least 10 years.  I've had problems with sizing before with other brands of paper and found out a few months ago that sizing is a plant based substance and it does degrade over time.  I can't remember if I've told you that before or not so if I have, I apologize for repeating myself.  The loss of sizing does not harm the paper and has no effect on the longevity of the artwork, but it does alter how paint reacts on the paper.

Anyway, I've got a lot of older watercolor paper (I had a little too much fun buying art supplies for awhile) so when I start a painting and the sizing is no longer there, I coat the paper with matte medium which seals the paper.  It creates a different surface than sizing does because when the paper is sealed, the paint sits on the surface, which can be good and bad.  Lifting paint becomes very easy but care must be used when glazing so that previous layers aren't lifted.  Also, it's harder to build deep darks.

In this case,  I didn't seal this paper.  I had really saturated the paper with water and when the wave didn't seem to be working the way I had intended, I decided to paint an abstract.  I really do love abstract paintings but don't paint them too often because I find them hard to do because I'm such a literal and realistic painter.

This is painted with transparent watercolor and I also used some watercolor crayons and Derwent 'Inktense' watercolor pencils.  Such fun!

I think I like the painting with this orientation the best but I also like it in a horizontal format with the darker part on the bottom.  Which way do you like best?

Image Size 22" x 15"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Autumn River

A friend from my school days and I just returned from the east coast where we were visiting another childhood friend.  She lives in New Canaan, Connecticut which is a beautiful town.  Actually, I didn't see an area of that state that wasn't beautiful!  We took a day trip north to go apple picking and to find more trees that were changing color.  A lot of the trees had already started to lose their leaves but we did see some great autumn color.  We stopped at a spot in Kent with a covered bridge above this river.  The covered bridge was nice but I thought the river was much prettier.

This is another oil painting but I think I will be switching back to watercolor.  I enjoy it so much more.  I feel like I'm always fighting with oil paints and I really prefer the flow of watercolor and thinned acrylics over the thickness of oil paint.

Autumn River
Image Size 12" x 6"

Monday, October 14, 2013

Torcello Bridge

I started this painting several years ago.  I'm taking an oil painting class for just 6 weeks so I thought I would take this in to the class to finish it. After dusting off the cobwebs, I toned down the colors and finished painting the foreground.  It looks a lot better than it did but I think I will re-try this one in watercolor.  Oils are still a challenge for me.  The shadows look much darker in this photo than they really are in the painting but the rest of the colors/values look pretty true.

I've always loved the photo from which this was painted.  It was taken in Torcello, Italy which is one of the islands by Venice, near Burano and Murano islands.   Each of those three islands are completely different and each has a special charm.  Torcello is a very quiet, calm island with very few tourists, which was a nice change from the rest of our vacation.  This funny little boat really did have that unusual shape.  Those Italians are very creative.  : )

Torcello Bridge
Image Size 16" x 20"

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lakeside Reflections

I put that gesso mixture on another old painting and of course I forgot to take a picture of what it looked like  before I added it.  It was a wishy-washy watercolor.  It's no masterpiece now but I do like the textures I was able to create.  I still have at least 10 more paintings that are major rejects that I plan to re-work using this process.  If you missed the post where I talked about this you can find it here.

Lakeside Reflections
Image size 15" x 22"

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fuchsias on TerraSkin

Fuchsias are such delicate looking flowers.  I really like them but I don't have any planted in our yard.  They seem so fragile and I think I'd probably kill them if I did have them so I appreciate them in other gardens.  They look like they are dancing as they hang on their delicate stems.

This is another painting done on TerraSkin.  I painted the background first so I could play with the textures.  I was able to lift the stamens out instead of painting around them which is one of the benefits of using this surface.

I was contacted by Lea at Mitzart to do an e-mail interview about TerraSkin, which I was really excited about because as you have probably noticed, I'm pretty passionate about this product.  When I first found out about this surface, the only place I found it was on Etsy.  Now it's available at Cheap Joe's but there are some other weights available on Etsy.  If you are interested in reading the interview, you can find it here.

Fuchsias on TerraSkin
Image Size 6" x 4"

Sunday, September 29, 2013

SDWS exhibition

Last night was the preview opening for the San Diego Watercolor Society's International Exhibition.  I always look forward to this show each year.
At the opening last night, I received my signature membership for SDWS.  An artist has to have had a painting juried into the exhibit 3 different years to receive that designation.  I am excited and honored to now be part of that group!  Here is my painting that's in the show:

If you are in the area, please go see the exhibit.  It will be on display until October 31st.  Visit their website,  for all of the information about the show. 

We are fortunate to have three international watercolor shows in the Southern California area each fall.  The other two coming up are exhibits by Watercolor West and the National Watercolor Society.
Along with the exhibitions, there are demos given by incredible artists and I usually sign up for most of them if my schedule allows.  It's so inspiring to hear how different artists approach a blank piece of paper.

Today, I'm attending a lecture given by Dean Mitchell for the National Watercolor Society.  I'm very excited because I've always admired his work.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Red Sweet Pepper on TerraSkin

Red bell peppers are one of my favorite foods whether they are raw, sautéed or roasted but before this could be used for dinner, it begged to be painted.  I really like its twisted form.  Earlier in the week, I was picking out red peppers to use for stuffed peppers.  For those, I was trying to find full, straight peppers.  Then, two days later, I returned to the store to look for a pepper that had an unusual form that would catch the light in an interesting way.  If anyone was watching me pick out this pepper, they probably thought I was a bit nutty because I spent so much time picking out just one pepper and it was such a weird looking one, but I'm very happy with my choice.

I've been wanting to try using oil paint on TerraSkin so this seemed like a good subject for a quick painting.  TerraSkin has a slicker feel than most traditional oil painting surfaces so I wasn't sure how the oils would behave.  At first, I didn't like the feel of the paint on the surface but after a few minutes, I began to like it.   I wanted the paint to be very transparent so that the glow of the paper would show.  I'm pretty happy with the outcome.  I would use oils again but only thinly as was done here.  I think that watercolors and acrylics benefit the most from this surface because a variety of textures can be achieved.  Of course, I have a very strong bias toward water media paintings.  : )

Red Sweet Pepper
Image Size 5" x 8"
Oil on TerraSkin

Monday, September 16, 2013

White Iris on TerraSkin

I'm playing on TerraSkin again.  The more I paint on it, the more I love it!  I think the textures that are created from the mixtures of water and paint are very interesting.  This painting is very small but I'm getting ready to do another large poured painting on TerraSkin using acrylics.  Also, I think I want to try using oils on this surface.  I'll probably thin them down a lot to take advantage of the properties of the surface and to get a sense of transparency.  I tend to want to make everything look like a watercolor because I love that look.

Irises are such delicate looking flowers and for this painting, I chose to paint a very dark background to make the white flower really pop.  I enjoyed mixing my variety of greens.  It's always a challenge to mix greens without them looking too intense and unnatural.  I'm not sure why the paint manufacturers make such fake looking greens but it is easy enough to tone them down I guess.

White Iris on TerraSkin
Image size 7" x 4"

Monday, September 9, 2013

Foxgloves in Colored Pencil on TerraSkin

Last week went to see the International Colored Pencil Society's exhibit at the Brea Gallery.  It was crazy good!  I think my mouth was probably hanging open in awe the entire time I was there.  I was able to see some work done by some of my blogging friends which was really fun.  I've always been amazed by art done by colored pencil artists.  I haven't used the medium very much but I have done enough to know how much time and patience goes into each piece.  

Anyway, seeing the show inspired me to drag out my colored pencils, wipe off the cobwebs and give them another try.  This piece is about as big as I'm willing to go using colored pencils and it still took longer to finish than a painting in any other medium twice the size.  It was fun to do though.  Using colored pencils puts me in a very meditative state.  It is a much less stressful medium than watercolor.

I wanted to try using my beloved TerraSkin for this drawing to see how it worked.  I really didn't expect much because it has such a smooth surface.  There is a little bit of a tooth but I didn't think I would be able to layer more than two layers before the tooth filled up.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Some areas have 5 or 6 layers and the surface probably could have taken even more.

I'm even more impressed with the TerraSkin now and that's saying a lot. 

The colored pencil show will be on display until September 13th.  If you are in the area and are able to go see it, I would definitely recommend it.

Image Size 6" x 4"
Colored Pencil 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wave Abstract

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a demo at the National Watercolor Society by Kathleen Conover.  She is really nice and an excellent teacher.  Her technique is really fun.  She does under paintings and then adds a mixture of gesso, water and matte medium and covers the painting creating texture.  Some of the old painting shows through and gives a nice effect.

As I was watching her demonstrate, I got very excited because I have so many paintings that are rejects that I can't seem to throw away but can't decide how to fix them.  This technique will work perfectly to reclaim them.

This painting started out as an abstract several years ago.  I had created a horrible color combination and a design that didn't work.  I wish I had taken a picture of it before I added the gesso mixture so you could see how it looked in its previous life.  Anyway, it had a dark line that suggested this wave shape so I went with that.  Kathleen used watercolors for her paintings but for this one, I used acrylics.

I'm really happy with this painting now.  I like the energy and color mixtures.  I plan to repurpose all of my unsuccessful abstracts using this technique.  It is really fun and I feel very fortunate to have learned Kathleen's technique.

Wave Abstract
Image Size 22" x 15"

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunflower Trio on TerraSkin

Each Friday, I try to get together with a dear friend who has been an artist for most of her 80 years.  Sometimes we paint, sometimes we just talk but we always have a good time and always enjoy a good lunch.  This past week, we painted.  I picked up some fresh sunflowers and we each did our artistic interpretation of them.  I took over a couple of pieces of TerraSkin for us to use.  My friend is a very loose painter, which I've always admired, so she didn't need to use TerraSkin to paint in an impressionistic way but it sure helped me.  This is really loose for me!

I just love TerraSkin (as I've told you before many times) but it's been awhile since I've used it.  No reason really - just too many other fun projects stealing my time.

And......My studio is FINALLY clean.  It feels so good to be able to work and know that everything is where it belongs and that I won't be wasting time looking for things when I need them.  I'm excited to start new works in my clean, uncluttered space.

Sunflower Trio on TerraSkin
Image Size 8" x 10"
Watercolor on TerraSkin

Monday, August 19, 2013

All Alone

I really love the photo that I used as a reference for this painting.  I've used it before and will keep using it until I get just the right feeling.  I've painted it in oil twice.  The two paintings look very different and neither one resembles the photo but that's okay.  Each time I paint it, I'm in a different frame of mind and I think it's pretty cool that I can use the same photo over and over with totally different results.  In the photo, the day is overcast and the colors are muted.

All Alone
Image Size 12" x 6"

Here is the first one I painted from the photo:
I used a lot of artistic license with this one.  The latest painting is much closer to the actual photo.  For the painting above, I just plucked the tree out of the photo and added the vineyard and put it on a hill and I made it a sunny, cloudless day.  The tree doesn't even really look like the one in the photo.  I guess the tree was just an inspiration and I didn't really use the photo very much but it was a jumping off point.

Lone Tree
Image Size 6" x 6"

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rocky Point II

Back in the 90's we went on a cruise to the Caribbean.  When we were docked in Barbados,  we asked a taxi driver to take us to the nicest hotel where we could spend the day.  He took us to "The Crane" in Crane's bay.  The hotel sat on a cliff and had such a charming atmosphere, relaxing pool area, and an old stone walkway down to the beach.  I've painted that before and plan to paint more from my reference photos of this area.  This scene was at the opposite end of the bay from the hotel.  I love that clear turquoise water of the Caribbean.  Someday, I would love to re-visit this spot but for now, I'll do it with my paintings.

I'm STILL cleaning my studio!  What a mess it was.  Half of it is done and the second half will be easier so I'm hopeful that this week it will be done.  I can't wait until it is finished and I will NEVER let it get so messy again!  This painting was an unfinished project that I finished this week so that is one less unfinished project out in the studio.  Only umpteen more to go......

Rocky Point II
Image Size 6" x 12"

Oh, here is the painting that I did of the stone walkway to the beach at Crane's Bay:

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Lot of Old Stuff

I've been doing some major spring cleaning in my studio.  Yes, I know it isn't Spring but in my usual fashion, I've procrastinated until the middle of Summer.  Since my studio is a disaster right now, I didn't have any flat surface (or easel) to use for my weekly painting.  Fortunately, I have one that I re-did a few weeks ago that I think should count.

This is a painting that I did in the late '90's and I liked most of it but there were some areas that bothered me.  Our son wanted it and I couldn't get myself to frame it the way it was so I did a little more work on parts of it.  Here is the new version...

And here is the 'before' version...
The rocks looked like they were floating at the waterline so I darkened them along with some of the water and the rock on the left in the foreground.  I left the sky and the upper rocks alone because I thought they looked okay.  It looks really nice framed and I'm glad that I won't have to cringe every time I see it when we visit our son.

As I was cleaning, I found some old, old projects.  This one cracks me up!
Yes, it's one of my unfinished projects and I can guarantee that it will remain that way.
Here is the reference photo:
Have you ever seen a sadder face?  This was taken when I was 18 and this project was for my art class my senior year.  Even though it was a long (LONG) time ago, I still remember that when my teacher was taking the picture, I was thinking, "Don't smile, you'll have to draw teeth if you do"!

I loved my high school art teacher.  He had such a creative energy and motivated all of us to try new things.  I'm assuming that this was an extra credit project since it's unfinished.  I was a bit of a nerd and always got mad at myself if I didn't get A's so if it was a required project, it would have been finished.  Obviously, I've had many years of practice not finishing projects.  That's probably why I'm so good at it.  : )

We drew a grid on the photo as well as on the paper to transfer the image.  I think this was done on Bristol paper because it has a very smooth surface.  We used all of the different pencils from 6H to 6B to get the different values.  We looked at the shapes rather that seeing it as a face which made it easier to draw.  This was all drawn using very small circular motions.  It took forever!

Here are two more projects that I found during my cleaning.  They were done in the late '80's using china paints on glazed tiles.  After each layer of paint, they were fired in a kiln to make the paints permanent.  It took many firings in order to get the depth of color.  China paints are dry pigment mixed with oil and the tile surface is slick so it was hard to get the color dark enough in the beginning because when I would try to add more color, it lifted the color that I had already painted.  It's not impossible to build up the color without firing each layer but it was impossible for me.
It's still going to take at least a few more days to get my studio the way I want it.  I've torn everything apart and am cleaning from top to bottom like it's never been cleaned.  I was getting so distracted trying to find things while I was painting because I wasn't putting things away when I was finished with them. I have soooooo much stuff out there that I found I was wasting a lot of time looking for the supplies that I needed.  It was getting so bad out there, I was afraid that someone was going to submit my name for that show"Hoarding; Buried Alive"!
Okay, I admit that when it comes to art supplies and fabric I do have some hoarding tendencies but I really do use the stuff that I save.  Our daughter loves it when she has a project to do and finds out that I have ALL of the supplies that she needs - some of them from when she was 5 years old.  She's 26 now so that tells you how long I keep things.

Along with the art supplies, I had a lot of tools stored out there from when I used to do a lot of fix-it projects around the house.  Because of that, in my mind, the space was more of a workshop than an art studio.  I decided that it was time to change my view and get all of the woodworking tools out of there, clean it up, and have a pristine art studio.  Well, pristine except for all of the unfinished projects and hoarded art supplies.  I'm about a third of the way done and I'm very excited with how it is looking.  My friends that come over to paint each month are going to be SHOCKED!!!!  I'm hoping that when it is done, I will be able to focus on my projects and have more time to work on them since I won't be searching through the mess for what I need.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tick Tock

This painting has a combination of pouring and direct painting.  I've really been enjoying using that technique recently.  I used a 260# Waterford hot press paper which is a really nice paper.  The smooth surface is good for the detail and straight lines in the design but doesn't show the beauty of the sedimentary paints that I used.  That effect shows better in a more textural paper.  I guess I can't have everything.  It  would have been really hard to paint the lines straight on a textured paper which is why I chose the hot press surface.

Tick Tock
Image Size 22" x 30"

Monday, July 22, 2013

Figure Drawing Class

Five weeks, twice a week for eight hours a day and this is the only drawing that I felt looked human enough to post from all of the drawings I've done during that time.  We actually drew this model from the waist us but in the interest of keeping this blog rated PG, respecting the modesty of the model and the fact that I drew her breasts leaning the wrong direction, I cropped the drawing to show just her face and shoulder.

This class has been brutal for me and definitely the hardest thing I've ever done.  The teacher is excellent, but there is so much to remember and I seem to have a hard time getting the information to go from my head to my hand.  I've always had a mental block about drawing people but I never realized how hard that block was going to be to break.  I can see that this is going to take a lot of practice to get to the point that I feel comfortable and happy with my drawings.  I plan to take another figure drawing class in the Fall, but I'll take one that's only three hours for each class.  That's stretching my attention span about as much as it will go and still accept information.

Taking such a class as a summer course was probably not a great idea.  Learning something that is so foreign to me in a compressed period of time made it an extremely stressful class.  We only have two classes left and I'm looking forward to what I will learn and also to the class being over.  : )  I need a break!  Who knew that art could be so stressful?

Anyway, I'm glad I finally took a life drawing class and who knows, maybe you will actually see some people in my paintings in the (far) future.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

If you happen to be at the John Wayne Airport, Orange County, anytime between July 10th and August 8th, check out the art on display.  I will have 13 of my paintings in the non-secured areas of the airport.  They will be located in cases next to the security entrances for all 3 terminals and in the 2 baggage claim areas, adjacent to baggage carousel 1 and 4.

All of the paintings are watercolors that I have painted within the past few years.  Although I finish a painting each week, it was challenging to pull together a cohesive group of only watercolor paintings that I felt would show well together and were the right sizes to fill the cases nicely.  

I'm very excited to have this opportunity to show my work in such an unexpected venue and hope that people will have the time to check out my art as they wait in line for security or upon arrival when they get their luggage.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Secret Cove

I had so much fun playing with pastels last week that I wanted to continue for this week's painting.  Last week's painting had an underpainting of watercolor and this one also has an underpainting, but I used pastels for this one.

Here is how it started.  I rubbed a light layer of pastel on Wallis sanded pastel paper.  This paper is very durable and can be used wet or dry.  Some pastel papers aren't so versatile.  One of my favorite pastel papers, Sennelier La Carte, can't tolerate any moisture at all or the surface will fall off.  Below is a photo of the first stage .
This looks pretty childish, doesn't it?  I didn't use much pastel because just wanted a light map of where the painting was heading and didn't want to fill the tooth of the paper.   If I wanted it to be darker, I would apply more pastel.  Next, I used a paintbrush and water to liquify the pastel.  I know a lot of pastel artists use alcohol but for me, water works just as well and is always available.

It looks just like watercolor, doesn't it?  Normally, I would probably use watercolor for an underpainting but I wanted to show another option (for you KimmieK) in case you don't have watercolors handy.

I used a combination of Nupastels, Rembrandts and Sennelier pastels for this painting.  My friend gave me the Sennelier pastels awhile ago as she was cleaning out her art supplies and this it the first time I used them.  They have a wonderful soft, buttery texture and are really nice to use.  Thanks Peggy!  I thought my Rembrants were soft, but compared to the Sennelier pastels, they seem like a hard pastel.

The reference photo for this painting actually had a very sculptural silhouette of a leafless tree in the foreground which is why I picked it for painting, but I was happy with the painting at this stage and was afraid that I wouldn't be able to describe the tree successfully and get the edges hard enough with the pastels.  I'll try that version with another medium in the future.

Secret Cove
Image Size 9" x 12"

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Hint of Sun

I was a bit of a slacker this week as far as painting is concerned.  I'm taking a life drawing class that is 2 days each week from 8:30 to 4:30 and it's really killing me both mentally and physically.  I've never done anything that is so frustrating.  I'm one of the worst students in the class.  I've always had a mental block when it comes to drawing the human figure which I'm finding is very hard to overcome.  I am getting a little better though.  The first 3 classes, I was close to tears by about 2:00.  The latest class I actually saw a little (very little) improvement and wasn't quite so depressed.

Anyway, cutting 2 days out of my week has had an effect of how much I'm getting done around here.  I'm also working on the final details for a show that begins next week.  I'll tell you about that in my next post.

So today, I found myself with no painting to post.  I decided to paint some figs that I picked up that were really beautiful colors.  I spent an hour and a half working on it and it was going from bad to worse - probably because I wasn't motivated to paint and it is also really hot and humid here right now.  I wiped all of the paint off of the canvas and now have a nicely toned surface for my next painting but an hour and a half is a long time to end up with just a toned canvas.

The painting above started as a watercolor.  I found a piece of printmaking paper (no sizing) and wanted to see how it would accept the paint compared to the piece of watercolor paper that I painted on a couple of weeks ago that seemed to have no sizing.  It was even harder to build the darks on this paper.  It wasn't a successful painting so I decided to add some pastel and see what happened.

I'm actually pretty happy with the outcome.  Below is a picture of the watercolor painting before I added the pastel.  I had to blend a lot to hide the texture of the paper.
I think it has a completely different feeling than the pastel painting.  The pastel is much more dramatic. 
I hope you like the pastel better than the watercolor because the watercolor is now completely covered by the pastel. :)

A Hint of Sun
Image Size 4" x 6"
Pastel over watercolor

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Giclee Prints

I am offering this image as a giclee print.  I've done prints for a couple of paintings in the past.  It's definitely not my focus but this particular image was used for the cover of the Tustin Garden Club Yearbook a couple of years ago and there has been a lot of interest in it.

I have cropped a portion of the original painting to use for the giclee.  I really like the contemporary look of the succulent up close with the square orientation.

This is available as a limited edition print.  It can be printed on canvas or archival watercolor paper.  Both are 20" x 20".  The canvas print is on a gallery wrapped stretched canvas and has the image continuing around the sides.  No frame is needed for this option.

Graptoveria Giclee

Canvas - 20" x 20" 1.5" thick gallery wrapped canvas    Price:  $125.00

Paper - 20" x 20" print on archival watercolor paper       Price:  $75.00

Monday, June 24, 2013

Really Ripe

Painting fruit can be so stressful!  Don't get me wrong.  I love painting pears.  However, I'm not used to painting something that has a short shelf life!  I'm used to painting from photographs (bad habit, I know) so I usually have no time limit for finishing a painting.  As you've probably noticed, sometimes my paintings don't get finished for years.  I don't know of any fruit that's going to patiently stay fresh for that long.

I started this painting one day last week.  Then I got busy.  Every day, I stressed about getting the painting finished before my fruit became a mushy, ugly inedible mess.  Finally, today I finished it and the pears seem to be the perfect ripeness so... guess what we're having along with our dinner.

Really Ripe
Image Size 8" x 16"

Monday, June 17, 2013

Breaking Through

This is a small oil.  It's been a couple of months since I've painted in oils and I've got a few projects planned in that medium.  It's fun to switch between mediums and practice different ways of painting.

I've painted this photo before but used much softer colors.  I wanted to give this painting some drama so I darkened the sky and used more color.  

Here is the painting that I did before of this same photo.  Which do you like better?  

Breaking Through
Image Size 6" x 6"

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