Tuesday, March 19, 2019





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I am starting to hold semi-private lessons in my studio on the variations theme.   I have the luxury of stretching the lessons out and presenting one or two ideas each week instead of overloading so much information into each day which a short workshop necessitates.   We are discussing shape.   While researching images to illustrate my concept, I came across a series of paintings that inspired me.   The idea is to take an object and reduce it down to a simple shape and then create an interesting series using the elements and principles of design.  I decided on a bowl on a table top.  I also decided to explore the idea of incorporating personal symbols and use a square format.   My first symbol is a triangle, a straight line, and an O.  I have a beautiful hand made book of watercolor paper in a square format.   I decided to fill it entirely with this project.  I can decide later if I want to keep it in the book or present them separately.   I normally work large but I am enjoying this small format.  The scale allows me to use materials in a way that looks different.  I can also work more quickly.

Saturday, March 2, 2019


The Sonoma Watercolor Society kindly asked me to do a demo for them for their January Meeting.  It was a very stormy day when we drove the 2 hours to Santa Rosa but it was a wonderful turnout and I enjoyed sharing my new set of Primatek Daniel Smith paints I had received as an award from the California Watercolor Society annual national competition.   I was anxious to try them out.  The surface I prepared was gesso that had been texturized which made it extremely liftable.  That turned out to be the good news/bad news.    At the end of the two-hour demo, this was how far the painting was resolved.    At this point, my biggest dissatisfaction was the dark blue area under the beard.

After working on the painting back in my studio, I had resolved the background and garment to my satisfaction.  I liked the character of the pigment in those areas as well as the hat but I did not like the skin tone or look of the pigment buildup in the dark areas of the face. Soooo........

I decided I wanted to use more transparent and more vibrant colors for the skin and wiped out some of the Primatek pigment and liked the new color better but was not happy with the overall appearance of the facial features.   Soooo.....

I totally removed the color from the face and started over.   As you can see, there was enough of the eye placement and nose to not have to start from a blank slate.  My husband (the subject) was not happy that I had erased the original face as he liked it and told me not to "mess it up!"  but one has to be willing to take a risk in order to create the best version possible within one's abilities at the time.  If it resulted in losing a so-so painting, I was okay with that.  Basically, it is only a piece of paper.  The only thing lost is a few hours and a little paint. 

For the next week, I worked on the painting and struggled mostly with getting the nose painted in a way that I could accept.  I must have wiped out and repainted that area 25 times!  I wish I had actually tallied the attempts.  The liftability of the of the surface made it difficult to get the depth of color and edges just right.  I was determined to master this exasperating challenge so I soldiered on and FINALLY was satisfied with the last version.  
Here is the first and final painting side by side.

Sunday, January 20, 2019


LIFE DRAWING 1/18/19 #4

This was my favorite of the 3 hours of drawing.  I loved the fluid lines of the body and the beautiful shapes.  I was also happy that the digital marks were working in my favor.  It is still an experimental process, trying to select different tools and seeing what happens.  I deleted a lot of my efforts this time.  No sense in using up valuable space on my iPad.   I am already at maximum capacity.  Next time, I will purchase the largest amount of memory available.  It is amazing how quickly it seems to get filled up!

LIFE DRAWING 1/18/19 #3

This one seems off in proportion but right in the gesture.  The forward leg should be slightly longer and the head slightly smaller.  The length of the pose doesn't allow for making these corrections but it is all just practice, anyway.  Part of the experience is learning to judge these things as accurately and quickly as possible.

LIFE DRAWING 1/18/19 #2

I am fascinated with the vector drawing tool. Still trying to master it.  I think I am getting closer to controlling the shapes and creating lines.

LIFE DRAWING 1/18/19 #1

I find feet the most difficult.  I was happy with the foot on this one.
These drawing sessions are a wonderful opportunity to draw different body shapes.  Last week the model was compact, very muscular and had very round shapes.  This model was long in the torso, more angular and elongated lines.  Next week I think we will have a male model.  We have room for more artists to join us, so I hope some of you will drop in and give it a try. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019



I remembered that I had done this pastel a long time ago when Robert Mueller was the FBI Director but not very recognizable by most people, myself included.  I just saw this image and loved the interesting face and intricate finger pattern.  When someone told me who it was, I put it away because I wasn't interested in doing known people.  It has been buried in my stash of paintings.  I finally reorganized that storage area and unearthed the painting.   I wonder what he is thinking?

Friday, January 11, 2019


2 Minute pose using digital app SKETCH CLUB.  I found the Pencil stylus zoomed over the glass and was not pleased with the out-of-control feeling so I changed the drawing tool for the next one to the vector setting and played with that for the quick gesture drawings shown below.
Vector drawings are fun but different strategies have to be employed.  I was working very quickly and didn't take the time to correct and change lines and shapes I didn't like.  I will be practicing a lot with this tool until I can control it.  It has lots of potential.
This vector drawing is better but not there yet!

This one turned out interesting but more a lucky accident than intentional.

Total Mess!

Getting better at producing a line quickly!

Someday I will get the feet in!

I am not sure these are in order.  Mixed bag of control and poor shapes.

Once we got to 5 and 10-minute poses, I switched to brush mode and pen line.  

I sometimes think it is easier to quickly get the gesture and general placement by sketching the large shapes and coming back in with a correcting contour line,  

I am not sure, but this looks like I started with line and filled in with value.

Definitely, volume then line.  I am fairly pleased with this drawing.

Explored color with a longer pose.  Decided to reinforce some lines with a dark line but ran out of time!

Tried to express cool shadows but it was challenging as the model had quite a bit of tattooing and it was difficult to determine what was shadow and what was merely ink.  Fortunately, her skin tone and the ink were not so contrasting as to lose the form of the muscles.  Light skinned models with lots of tattoos are almost impossible to draw as the imagery hides the subtle shifts in tone,  If I had my way, I wouldn't hire a tattooed model.  One model at a session I attended had an entire peacock in color over her entire back!  Ridiculous from a drawing perspective.

A 20-minute pose gave me the opportunity to try and do a portrait.   I tried some different brush modes.  This one was like a pencil.  Too far away to get a good likeness but fun to play with.  I did some negative painting to establish the outer contours of her turban.

This one appears out of order of drawing.  Working on volume shading.  

This was the last pose of the day.  Starting to feel I was in control a little more.  Like most of this one. 

The session had 7 people attending the first week.  This week we had 10!  Even had a young mother with a two month old baby snuggled up in a device carried in the front.  When you are determined to keep up with things, there is always a way,   Looks like it should be a big hit and very popular once the word gets out.  

Monday, January 7, 2019


Last Friday we had our first life drawing session at the Peninsula Museum of Art!!  It has been a long time since I have had the opportunity to draw from a live model and it was a treat!!  I am excited that we will be having a 3-hour session every Friday for 10 weeks (to start) and I hope it is popular enough to continue on after that.  We had seven artists for the first session.  Most have studios in the building but it is open to anyone who would like to participate.  You can purchase the entire set of sessions or buy a punch card for a few dollars more per session or just pay a drop in fee each week you come with no obligation for any additional sessions.  If you live in the area and are interested, contact me.  It will be every Friday from 11 AM to 2 PM.  You will need to be there a little earlier to set up.  

This time I decided to work with charcoal on newsprint.  Next time, I am thinking I will try working smaller with ink in a sketchbook and I definitely want to try one session using my iPad Pro and work digitally.  Having the drawing sessions each week gives me the opportunity to try lots of approaches and different materials.  

Here are some of the other drawings from Friday.  We started out with 2 minute poses which tend to be about gesture and progressed to the last 3 poses that were 20 minutes each.  

Sunday, December 16, 2018


You know the old saying, "if you keep on doing what you are doing, you will keep on getting what you get".  Many people would like to break away from the same old same old but don't know what to do.  I have developed a fun workshop where I share some interesting ideas for making changes that result in new directions for artists to grow in their pursuit of personal expression.  One of the easiest changes is surface.  Here I have changed the surface and the media from the last set of paintings I shared using this image.  I have included all three together for comparison.  I enjoy the challenges of changing media.  If I paint this image again, I will change the scale to huge which will create its own challenges!

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