Friday, November 20, 2015


Every Line Tells a Story

I was anxious to finish this painting before our Thanksgiving trip which starts Sunday!   Now that I am looking at it as if from afar I see an area I want to change.  I guess that will have to wait until next weekend.  I put a glaze of very thinned down gesso over the reconstructed Tyvek surface and let it dry before starting this painting.  It is a subtle change but I really like how the paint reacts to this surface in a different way.  You can enlarge the image by clicking on it to see what I am talking about.  A more granulating effect is achieved.

I plan to take a small watercolor travel set with me and a sketch book.   I hope to have something to share with everyone when I return.  

This year I am giving thanks for a wonderful family, good health and the opportunity to create and share art.  I hope all of you have similar blessings in  your life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I just finished this painting today.  It is another watercolor on a reconstructed Tyvek surface.  I love how the paper impacted the final image.  This is a portrait of a lovely gentleman I met at the opening of the National Watercolor Society reception for the annual International show.  I asked to take his photo but failed to get his name.  If anyone recognizes him, please sent me more information.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015


I found another interesting profile to paint.  This one is on a torn and reconstructed Tyvek surface glued down with YES Glue so it would accept watercolor.  I love how the surface exaggerates the craggy features.   I am going to my studio today and prepare another sheet with the torn Tyvek.  I am inspired to start another portrait on this fascinating surface.  

If any of you have tried painting on torn and reconstructed Tyvek, please share your results with me!

Thursday, November 12, 2015


It takes a lot of courage to paint portraits in watercolor because it is difficult to make corrections.  That is why I show students how to paint on a gessoed surface.  Here is the demo I did for the portrait class I am teaching right now.  The lesson was on profiles so why not go for an extreme example!  By putting down a coat of gesso on the paper first, I was able to make lots of changes in my painting, with ease.  

I think gesso may be my favorites painting product.  You can make poor quality watercolor paper usable, cover over a disaster of a painting and start again, texture the paper surface, stamp with it, stamp into it, sand it smooth and so much more!  Be sure and purchase the extra heavy body type.   You can always thin it down but you can't make it thicker.  Be sure and save your expensive sable brushes for a different surface as gesso is too abrasive.   

Sunday, September 6, 2015



We were recently privileged to attend a wonderful wedding of two senior citizens who found love later in life.  The bride wanted a traditional wedding as it was her first!  It was a beautiful event, celebrating love at any age, new beginnings and life lived at it's fullest every day we are lucky enough to be on this planet.  

I decided to attempt a portrait of this special day.   This was supposed to be a preliminary sketch for a painting.  I loved the sketch but the painting was a total disaster.  After three attempts, I decided to call it a day.   So, this was framed and presented to the newlyweds.  Normally, it probably isn't a good idea to give a gift of this nature if not requested by the couple.  This can present a problem to the recipients if they don't like it.   We don't socialize with this couple,  so we will never know if it is hanging on their wall or hanging out in their back closet, so no pressure.   I enjoyed creating this portrait and I hope they get joy from reliving this special moment every time they look at it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015



I spent a wonderful week in Reno with the Sierra Watercolor Society.  I presented my Variations workshop and then on Saturday I had the pleasure of doing a demo for the entire society.  This is the painting I started.  Today I spent an hour finishing it up.  The surface is another torn tyvek collaged over a failed painting.  Here is what the painting looked like after the two hour demo.  Can you see the changes and refinements that I made?   
For the workshop, I have everyone using the same image and each day we create a variation with an emphasis on a different element.  Everyone has a different combination of major element, minor element, and color cord.  Here are my value element painting and line element painting.   The shape painting was a disaster!!   
Value Painting

Line Painting

Here are all the fabulous paintings that were created in four days. We were able to put them all on one wall.   Amazing variations and we were just getting started!   If you click on an image, you can see each photo in greater detail.  

Friday, August 7, 2015


War Paint
This is the first painting I have completed in MY NEW STUDIO!  A few more tweaks and I think I will submit it for the next California Watercolor Association National competition.  Deadline at the end of the month, so if you haven't entered yet, get busy!  This is always a great show and will be exhibited in San Francisco this coming year.

This is a painting of my husband whose face is shaded by a hat standing in strong sunlight.  The reflections from his glasses create an interesting pattern.  I liked the torn tyvek surface so much I decided to do it again.  I think I will continue to paint more images on this type of surface.  It is accepting paint in a great way and I am able to paint in a vertical manner.

I was not able to transfer the photos from Dropbox for some reason, so I gave up wasting my time. I have been keeping busy!  I drove down to Paso Robles to jury the awards for the International Society of Acrylic Painters (ISAP)  The show is up and looks great.  If you find  yourself anywhere near Paso Robles, stop by Studios on the Park and check it out.

 I have also been spending my time setting up my very first studio outside of my home!  I was fortunate to fined a space in the Peninsula Art Museum building in Burlingame, Ca, which is about 15 minutes from my home.  It is filled with wonderful artists, several fabulous gallery spaces, a gift shop, library and art school!   The room is 17ft by 12ft and I had fun planning storage and work space.  It also is for some display of my work.  This is a view taken from the open door to the studio.  I am right across from the kitchen space, so easy access to water.  Lots of good light coming through the 3 windows and good overhead lighting as well.
Studio 21 from doorway

Work and storage tables
I found these basket carts at IKEA.  I was also able to buy just table tops which are inexpensive and fairly light weight.  I just placed them on top of two rolling carts.  I can reconfigure the two tables to be back to back for a different work space.  I can also easily move them into the middle of the room if I want to be able to work from both sides of the table.  I love the flexibility of this set up.  Also the storage capacity is amazing and for a visual person, I can see where everything is.  Doing mixed media means I have tons of "stuff" so I needed lots of storage.  I am using the wall behind the table as a pin up board but just using blue painters tape that doesn't damage the paint on the wall.  I can't believe I bought another easel but this one is perfect for the space and not very expensive.  I need to be able to work both vertically and flat plus have work in progress viewed upright from a distance.  

Rolling Cart and paper storage

I also found at IKEA a rolling cart that was perfect to have by my side as I worked with those materials that I needed for whatever current project I was creating.  Boy, did I get good at putting these things together!  Notice the rolled paper bin.  It is a pop up laundry thing from my new favorite shopping place!   In the corner is a very inexpensive plastic shelving unit from Costco and you just stick together without any tools!  So lightweight that I could manage it myself very easily.  

Flat paper storage

My biggest challenge was to figure out how to store large sheets of watercolor in a flat manner.  I realized that if I put two shoe racks together it would be just the right size for the 22 x 30 paper.  I used velcro strips that stick to themselves to tie the two units together and place the whole thing on some bricks to raise units higher.  A flat plastic storage container fits underneath now.

Cozy Corner

A desk made from two cast off file cabinets and a desk top were given to me by the facility as they were going to be thrown out!  Timing is everything!  A small folding bookshelf, folding table and a cozy chair complete the ensemble!!! You can see some of my display wall.  I will be participating in two Open Studio events during the year and people come through and visit the artists' studios all the time.  All the doors have large windows in them so visitors can peek in.  An open door means stop and chat, a closed door means privacy please.  I hope some of you in the area will come by and stop and chat!

Next week I am off to Reno, Nevada to teach and will be doing a demo on Saturday, August 15th for the Sierra Watercolor Society in Reno.  It is going to be a fabulous week.  

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