Friday, October 30, 2009


I have been seeing many beautiful and interesting mixed media work that incorporates charcoal. I decided to try and see what charcoal on YUPO would look like. Vine charcoal is very faint but allows for correction, then I added darker charcoal. When I was satisfied with the drawing and shading, I started glazing with acrylic glazing liquid and liquid watercolor mixed in. The charcoal smeared a little but not as much as one would think. I started with new gamboge. The charcoal mixed in gave a subtle green quality to the glaze. I have quite a ways to go but it has been fun building up the image. I don't know how opaque I will get with the acrylic but so far it is very transparent. YUPO always adds an interesting quality to the finished work. I should be able to finish the piece tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Taking a workshop for a week throws off my schedule. Consequently, the following week seems to be filled with mundane but necessary tasks that were neglected the week before. It seems I'm not getting much art work done this week but my dreams are filled with ideas I am anxious to get to. In the meantime, I try to do some drawing each day. Here is one I did last night. I made about 5 or 6 drawings in my sketchbook and this is the best of the lot.

I did start a large charcoal drawing on YUPO today. I hope to finish it tomorrow. My idea is to do a detailed charcoal sketch then start glazing color over it with Dr. Martin's liquid watercolor mixed with acrylic glazing medium. We'll see how this idea turns out. I am wanting to experiment with charcoal combined with other media.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Outwin Boochever Competition Finalists

The waiting is over! Click on the title of today's blog and it will lead you to the winners and finalists in the Smithsonian's Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. They selected 49 out of the 100 semi finalists. There is a People's Choice award, so look them all over and pick your favorite. Be sure and click on each image as many of them have a lot more image than is showing up on the group page. Also, notice the size of each work (there are some real surprises to be found) and be sure and read the artists' explanation of their work. As always, you will not agree with all of the choices. I took the time to compare the different media, so here is the breakdown: 23 oil paintings; 12 photographs; 3 acrylics; 2 sculptures (both in a synthetic material) 2 Ink; 2 Video; 1 Pastel; 1 Waxy Chalk (what could that be?); 1 Egg Tempera; 1 Gouache; 1 charcoal and 0 WATERCOLORS!

This is a very major portrait competition held every 3 years and based on a similar type of competition held by The National Portrait Gallery in England. That competition is held every year. At one time it was restricted to citizens of the United Kingdom but now is open to artists in other countries. They still have the restriction of having to be under the age of 40. Rats, even my kids wouldn't qualify!

Since I love portraits, I am happy to see lots of support and interest in this form of art.

I am curious to see the other 50 semi finalist paintings and how they compare to the finalists. I would like to start a blog to post these images. Let's see what the power of the internet is. I do not personally know of any other artists that were semi finalists. If you know of someone or want to spread the word, have them contact me and I will start the Semi Finalist blog and create a link so all can enjoy.


Today was the reception and awards ceremony for the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society's annual show. It was a gorgeous day and there was an excellent turn out of artists, family, friends and patrons of the society.

First off, the committee did an outstanding job. The show is beautifully hung, the refreshment table, festively decorated, was overflowing with delicious treats. Wine was flowing, live music was playing as everyone was greeting old friends and meeting new people. Everything ran smoothly. This organization is fortunate to have such a wealth of active and exceptionally talented volunteers.

I was excited to learn that my painting was awarded 2nd place!!! It is a very high honor. There were so many truly outstanding paintings in this year's show. A very difficult job for the juror. We were fortunate to have such a national figure in the watercolor world, Christopher Schink, take on the task. The show is up for a month, so if you are in the area, be sure and stop by. Everyone gets a chance to be a juror and select their favorite painting in the show. People's Choice will be announced after all the votes are counted. The show is at the Rose Shenson gallery on the grounds of the Triton Museum in Santa Clara.

Friday, October 23, 2009

"KITCHEN SINK" Day at the Stroud workshop!

Well, here is the result of throwing everything at the painting, including the kitchen sink. Betsy's demo painting is below mine. It is spectacular. It is even more special because it is of a good friend, Jane Ferguson. I think I have a better idea how to go about this now that I have gone through the motions. The actual figure got away from me. Her hair and shoe are the best part. I may continue to work on this painting to see if I can resolve the figure better and produce better skin tones. The important part is that I learned a lot of new processes which I can incorporate into my own style of work (what ever that is !)

One of the exciting things we did was make collage paper out of newspaper! We also carved our own stamps. That is something I intend to do more of. Pretty easy with the few simple tools.

Another great week. Art fills my life with such pleasure. I feel very blessed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I found I had 4 out of 5 days available this week to take the Betsy Dillard Stroud workshop through the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society, so I signed up at the last minute. It has been a busy, busy week, but lots of fun and learning from one of the more innovative leaders in watercolor.

I felt a little lost on the first day, had to miss the second day, but started to pick up steam on the third day with two starts. Today we worked in some of the elements of a Matisse painting in our work with acrylics on watercolor paper. This painting is quite different than my usual work, but it was lots of fun. I need to make one small adjustment and then it will be finished. Tomorrow is "kitchen sink" kind of thinking, exactly! Should be a wonderful ending to a great week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


This is the demo painting I created for the Society of Western Artists on Saturday. It was a wonderful group of enthusiastic artists. I always have such a good time at demos.

Here is the problem: Because I work on Tyvek, a very slippery surface, I need to keep the painting flat so the watercolor doesn't slide right off. I draw the image on with a wet line, so the painting stays flat from the drawing on. There is a distortion that happens (slight parallax) and I don't discover it until everything is finished and dry! The first image is what I was seeing and the second image is what I actually drew and painted. Rats!!! I really like the head but the body and hand are too small (or the head is too big!) What to do? I have a few choices. The first is to try and scrub out the arm and hand and change it. Not too sure that will work with this paper. I could do a drastic crop. I could do it again. I think I will start with the first idea and work my way through the choices until the problem is solved.

The real question is how to prevent this in the future. A number of possibilities here, as well. First, I could draw the image on the paper with something that doesn't run so the paper would be upright and I would avoid the distortion. Second solution is to view my drawing in the overhead mirror before I start to paint. I think I would notice a distortion. The third idea is to print out the reference material with a parallax distortion and then I would automatically correct it when I drew it on my paper. The fourth idea is to use a "reducing glass". This is the opposite of magnification. It allows you to see the image you are working on as if from a distance. You can find this item in a shop that caters to quilters. They can't pick up their work in the planning stage as it would fall apart!

As with so many things, there is always more than one solution. I think starting with a distorted image is the one that appeals to me the most. Once I get started, especially with demos, I work fast and furious. I forget to slow down and check the drawing. Can't wait to try this theory.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Today was an amazing day! I was able to preview the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society Annual Show after a meeting of the participants. The show opens tomorrow and has some very spectacular paintings in it. The level of creativity and talent goes up each year. It is in the Rose Shenson Gallery on the grounds of the Triton Museum in Santa Clara. It's worth the effort to come by and see this show.

When I returned home from the meeting I found my two cartons had arrived from Minneapolis, safe and sound. I was very relieved! I had shipped quite a few paintings and lots of art supplies. I am always a little anxious until I have them securely back home.

Then I discovered a message on my answering machine telling me my painting "Put Up Your Dukes" which was in the Rocky Mountain Watercolor Society Watermedia Exhibition in Golden, CO. had SOLD! This is the most anyone has ever paid for one of my paintings. I feel very honored that someone would part with that much money to have one of my pieces. Everyone is always so complimentary about my work but I am always surprised when one actually sells. So, Wow, that was a an exciting turn of events.

Next, I received a call from SCVWS with the news I had won an award. The reception and awards ceremony isn't until Sunday, October 25th. I will have to be in suspense until then.

Tomorrow I will be doing a demo for the Society of Western Artists (SWA). They have a great new location in Redwood City on Broadway. The meeting starts at 1 PM and I will probably start about 1:30. The meeting is open to the public, so if you have the time, come on down.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


While I am waiting for my art supplies to return from Minnesota, I decided to do some contour drawings. This time I decided to try using my left hand (non-dominant) for a few. I was surprised how much control I had. I may spend more time drawing with my left hand. An interesting challenge. You might want to give it a try.

Monday, October 12, 2009


The last day of a workshop is bitter sweet. Texture is my favorite element and I always get a kick out of sharing my ideas and seeing what they come up with. Here is the result. Enjoy this great slide show.

It was a great week and I enjoyed working with this fun group of energetic. Thank you for a wonderful teaching experience. One of the greatest benefits for me is making new friends. I look forward to staying in touch.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Here is a painting I did as a demo. One of the students put too much red gesso on his paper so I transfered the extra and covered an failed painting that had lots of texture already on it. I finished the painting with oil pastels. Texture to the max!

Day 4 is color and we were working with Faber Birren's 7 forms of color. Lots to wrap your mind around. Everyone jumped in and gave it a try. Light bulbs started to go on and some interesting paintings were developed. The slide show follows.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Wednesday featured the element of LINE in all its manifestations, including perceived line. You can see texture is sneaking in although Friday is our Texture element day. I think I infect people with the texture virus. Watch out! I'm not sure there is a cure for it. The enthusiasm and comradarie are running high and all are producing great work. Here is a slide show of the paintings from Wednesday.

Tonight was a reception for the opening of the Minnesota Watercolor Society Fall Show. I was honored to be the judge of the show. It is always a difficult task as there were so many good paintings. I had the opportunity to meet the winning artists and make a few comments regarding their winning painting. If you happen to be in the Bloomington, MN. area, make the trip to the gorgeous Bloomington Art Center and check out the show. You get to do a little judging yourself and vote for your favorite piece.

Tomorrow is our last day of the workshop. I will miss this fun energetic group. Can't wait to see what they do with Gesso!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Here are the two demo paintings I painted today. One is on Tyvek and the other is traditional watercolor paper with some aluminum foil shapes, some acrylic medium resist and Dr. Martin's Hydrus liquid watercolor with GAC200 mixed in to adhere to the foil. You can make watercolor acrylic by adding acrylic medium to it.

Everyone was really into the assignments and did some fantastic work (as you can see in the slide show). Not everyone had their paintings at a finished stage, so I will be adding some more to the show tomorrow. Also, I am slow at learning names. I have left some names off for now and probably made a mistake or two assigning names to paintings. I was excited about the work and wanted to show it off tonight, but I will make additions and corrections to the slide show tomorrow. Be sure and check back! In the meantime, sit back and enjoy....

Monday, October 5, 2009


From San Diego, I flew to Minneapolis on Sunday. Today we started "Variations" workshop with 15 enthusiastic participants. Everyone is excited and working hard. I am seeing some great drawings and ideas emerging. Creating shape drawings in various modes fills the morning, then the afternoon is working on various value patterns for these drawings. Tomorrow starts the painting process. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. This is as much fun for me as it is for the workshop students. I will be doing a demo and then everyone will get to work. I will do my best to take some photographs to post tomorrow night.

Here are some variations and value patterns I created from one of my drawings to give you an idea of today's lesson. We are all working from the same image this week. Does she look familiar? I did a few paintings of this image the last few weeks as a warm up for the workshop.

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