Sunday, December 30, 2007


This is the last one of the year! I used the same color combination: cobalt blue, cad red and chrome yellow. This is a bozzetto on Tyvek. I added some texture medium and it worked quite well on the Tyvek. If you have any December Challenge Images that haven't been sent, Monday is the final call.

I somehow erased the address book on my computer when I rebooted it. I know the information is lurking somewhere in the machine but I can't find it. My son tells me I don't have enough available memory so the computer is acting up. Could be the 9,000 plus photos I have stored in here. Anyway, I went out and bought an external hard drive today to back up everything and have extra storage for all the photos. If you would like me to have your e-mail address, phone number, mailing address, etc. please send me an e-mail with whatever information you would like me to have.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Here is one I did on regular watercolor paper using the Hydrus liquid watercolors. I wanted to try Shirley Trevena's technique of adding texture medium to part of the painting for additional interest. I also drew into the the image with a dip pen and Hydrus full strength. I had used up all of my color combinations so instead of starting over with additonal ones, I decided to experiment with different primary triad combinations. This one is Cobalt, Cad Red and Chrome Yellow. I have another with this combination on Tyvek which I will post tomorrow. Have to save something as I am working on a painting in preparation for January's challenge. I have the challenge all worked out and I think it will be as stimulating and exciting as December.

It is such a blessing to be able to have an activity that totally engages you. Today was gloomy, foggy and generally unpleasant but I had the best time staying in and painting.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Here are the latest contributions to the December Challenge. The month is quickly coming to an end. On New Years Eve, I will post a wonderful slide show of all the entries for the entire month including my own contributions. I have a few more that I haven't posted. If you have some paintings to share, e-mail them to me before Monday night so they will be included in the big slide show. I can always add to a slide show at any time but it would be nice to have them for the last day of December and 2007.

I am also working on the canvas with the absorbant ground on it. It lifts easily but I have to develop a little different strategy for applying the paint. It looks kind of dull but with a final varnish, I can put the sparkle back in it. I am using traditional watercolors but I may add some of the Hydrus line to the mix. Every new product takes some practice and experimenting. I really like the idea of having a nice deep gallery canvas as a watercolor, so it will be worth the trial and error effort to have the best of all worlds.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


This is the commissioned portrait I completed for a Christmas present. Now that Christmas is over, I can share it with you. This was my second try. The first wasn't a very good likeness. I painted on a half sheet of Tyvek. It makes a very nice size for a portrait. I used two reds, one yellow and two blues. By putting the photo through photoshop elements posterize I was able to create a much more interesting tie and shirt pattern which I painted loosely and had a more traditional handling of the face. It turned out to be a good likeness. I did darken the center line of the mouth after I took this photo and forgot to reshoot the painting. Overall, a satisfactory out come for all.

Today is the beginning of Aaron Brothers 2 for 1 canvas sale. I love the Gallery Wrapped canvas so I rushed over and stocked up for the year. I normally work on paper but I like to put the collage paper on canvas and paint with acrylics on top. I decided to see what would happen with absorbant ground applied to one of the canvases and then painted with watercolor. This is a way to increase the appeal of watercolor as many people don't like the idea of glass or plexi reflections on a framed watercolor. The canvases are quite a bit more expensive than a piece of watercolor paper but if you don't have to mat and frame them, they become a real bargain...especially at half price! I will post the results when I have finished the painting.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Mia Culpa!! We had 4 artists participating in the slide show this week. In my cold medicine induced stuper, I inadvertantly left out Rhonda and Hilda. I made the correction this morning. If you did not see their paintings in the slide show, take another look. Some great work.

A big apology to both of you. I love when you send me your work, so please keep sharing.

Today I sat at the Gallery Concord so I took the opportunity to do a large painting (19" x 25") on Tyvek. I chose 3 warm colors: Ultramarine Red Violet, Quin. Magenta and Chrome Yellow. They made the most gorgeous mixtures. I drew the image on with a watercolor pencil first, then splashed about with the 3 colors over the sheet and created some textures in the paint. When that dried I had to decide which cool color to add to the mix. Decided on Paynes Gray (looks like Indigo in this set) After I had painted the features and it was almost dry, I took a fine point dip ink pen using the Paynes Gray and drew the final lines. I really enjoyed painting loosely today and am happy with the results. I think I will put a mat around this one.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


My apologies to Kathy, Nava, Rhonda and Hilda for failing to get the slide show up yesterday. My sweet husband gave me his cold and sore throat and I was under the weather. I thought I was going to escape the germ because I held out for so long, but tis the season... Anyway, these are some great images and I know you will enjoy them.

I did a few bozzettos with the last color combination and now I am ready to do a big painting. I am sitting at the Gallery Concord tomorrow so I will have time to do one then. I purchased my second Shirley Trevena book and it arrived yesterday. This woman combines all the elements that I love....Gorgeous, glorious color, texture, calligraphic lines, linked shapes, a strong sense of abstract design. Every inch of her paintings are fascinating to me. After reading most of the book, I decided to play with some of her "tools" so I worked with drawing with watercolor pencils and played around with "texture medium" which is made by Windsor Newton. I tried it on Tyvek with surprising success. I wasn't sure it would stick but it did. Having both books by Shirley gives me a clearer picture of how she works. Now, if I can just translate some of her ideas into figures and faces....

Just in case I am not the last person on earth to discover this, I am going to share a discovery I made the other day. I always always search the internet through Google but I never paid attention to Google Image search before. Wow, what a great way to find visual information. Now I can spend even more hours on the computer, roaming around the internet and being inspired by all the incredible talent out there.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I woke up this morning to find this exciting e-mail on my computer.
"Congratulations on winning the 30-Minute Self-Portrait Paint-Off
competition. You may read the announcement on at the
following URL:

As a Paint-Off winner, you're entitled to a $50 gift certificate for North
Light Books."

There are lots of competitions on the internet and I enter some of them from time to time. Sometimes I win something, sometimes I don't, but it's lots of fun to play plus you don't have to pay anything and you don't have to mail a painting anywhere.

Here are two more bozzettos. I prepared the texture last night with the leftover paint. (I hate to waste paint! and Hydrus doesn't reconstitute very nicely once it has dried on the palette. Tonight I used walnut ink and India ink along with a dip pen and my sharpened wooden match to draw the image on. I think the less detailed image is more interesting. I am learning to be selective and not record everything I see. It's a struggle.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


These two paintings consist of the same colors. I was down to the last colors and there were 4 so I decided to put all 4 together. When I opened them up, I thought these were going to make a very ugly combination but I was surprised. I really like this combination of Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Quin Magenta and Permanent Red. I played around with texture for the background. The first image has no additional pen work or white paint but the second image does. I am not too pleased with the addition of the white paint. It looks too milky. I like the addition of texture. This is something I will definitely do on a larger piece. Hopefully this weekend, I will be able to start a full size painting.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Thanks for all the great comments. Overall, the consensus was that the red line wasn't a winner! I think, if I was to do it again, a pen line with red ink may have been a better choice. It would have been a texture contrast as well as a color contrast. I may try it again. Working this small has it's challenges. I find the fewer the shapes and values, the better the results. I am working with values, shapes and colors. I am not trying for expression or likeness or any other effect. It is interesting how these things appear but it is not intentional.

These were two very interesting color combinations. I thought I would get brighter purples and lavenders with the first combo but Alizarin Crimson is more muted than I thought. It was combined with Cobalt and Paynes Gray (which looks like indigo in the Hydrus line) This image had quite a few values and I struggled to define each one. This image, on a larger scale, would be lots of fun.

The last image was more subtle. Interesting triad of Deep Red Rose, Viridian and Gamboge. I never realized how strong Gamboge is. This painting turned out a little too yellow for my taste but nice intermediate colors and decent darks. I am really enjoying the harmony that comes with working with only 3 colors.

I am looking forward to everybody weighing in with your comments.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Here are the two bozzettos I painted today while working on the major painting project. The difference in feeling is amazing to me and a very valuable lesson. I feel very free to experiment, explore and just paint loosely, with abandon on these little bozzettos. The commissioned piece, I feel inhibited and am working much tighter. Consequently, I am not enjoying it very much and want to spend my time with the small pieces. I think I shall not take on this kind of work again. I don't need to and it sidetracks me from my true purpose.

I am working with the same photo but approaching it stylistically, from many different directions. I have altered the photo many different ways, each suggesting a unique paint application. I also decided to retire a color once I had used it in a triad. Last night I pulled 3 color sets and paper clipped them together until I had used up all the colors. When I complete this set of colors, I will put everything back in the pot and start over again and pull the sets all at once.

The first painting uses close to a traditional triad: Cobalt, Indian Red and Hansa Deep ( I actually got a blue, red and yellow!!!!)
I thought I would get some version of purple but Cobalt and Indian Red make an umber color when mixed. My photo "dude" has dreadlocks so I am experimenting trying different ideas to depict this look. Very tricky, indeed. I also floated some white into this image. Overall, I think it is a tad overworked but a color combination I would use again.

The next painting was done without drawing it on the paper first. It is all about shapes. I just painted the shapes, each value at a time and waited for it to dry so the edges wouldn't bleed. Couldn't believe I got a monochromatic color scheme: Ultramarine Blue, Thalo blue and Thalo Green. I am not a shape painter, per se, and I am not a monochromatic painter so this was a real challenge. I wanted to see the difference in the two blues visually on the paper. The liquid Hydrus colors don't have the granulating quality as tube colors do. The difference in hue between thalo blue and ultramarine in this line is not very great. Much bigger difference in traditional watercolors. I wasn't interested in mixtures on this one so I used strait colors at different strengths. When it was done, I decided to see how a complimentary color as an accent would look. Just couldn't stand to leave all that blue and green alone. Took a scarlet watercolor crayon and created some edges, then a light acid green. I think it was probably better before I messed with it. Kind of looks like Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. Well, the whole idea of making bozzettos is to experiment so no big loss. Would like a little feed back on this one. Let me know what you think of the red accent line...yeah or nay?

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Finally, some color combinations that produce beautiful mixes!!!! The first painting has Thalo Blue, New Gamboge and Yellow Ochre. I'm pretty sure Kathy Mitchell had a similar combination with 2 yellows and Thalo. I think this is a beautiful combination. I am sticking with 5 x 7 bozzettos for this December project because I can do them quickly and find many new combinations of colors. I am also sticking with Tyvek for the paper. I am going to be working with this image for a while, as well, because it is the image I have chosen for the workshop I am developing. This is a young man I saw in France this summer with dreadlocks, mustache and full beard. Very handsome and looks a little like a religious figure with a bad hair day.

The second painting has my favorite mix of colors so far: Indian Red (this color is so rich in the Hydrus line) Veridian (a color I am learning to love after pulling it three times so far!) and Hansa Deep (which is yellow orange in hue) The Indian and Veridian create a gorgeous dark brown and mixing the Hansa and Indian into the Veridian creates a wide range of natural greens. I would do a full size painting with this combination.

The colors look a little washed out to me on the blog but if you click on the image and view in another screen, the color is as true as I was able to get to the actual painting. It is never perfect, but I get close.

I drew the image on both paintings with the Elegant Writer pen. That counts as my black. I was really pleased how fast I am able to draw and paint these images because I can do at least one every day, no matter what. I was working on my commission at the same time. When one needed to dry, I worked on the other. This is a very good way for watercolorists to work. If you have something else to work on, there is less temptation to touch the painting before it is dry.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Here are some very interesting color combinations people have been working with. Not room to list the color combinations in the slide show, but you can ask me in the comment box about a specific painting and I will post in a return comment what the color combination is. Cecelia did the cross contour drawing challenge with great results. I saw some wonderful December challenge works on Thursday at a critique group. As soon as I get them in e-mail form, I will include them in the next slide show. As the holiday draws near, our resolve to paint or draw every day gets to be a greater challenge. I hope you are able to continue trying new color combinations.

I received the final approval on the sunflower painting, so on to the next one. Perhaps I can finish it this weekend.

I had an inspiration for a new workshop this morning! I am excited about the possibilities. I spent a few hours working on it this afternoon. I need to get ideas written down before they float away into the mist, never to be thunk again. Once I get it worked out, I will look at my schedule and find a time and place to try it out. Until then, the topic for the workshop will remain under wraps.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Here is the finished painting 12 x 24 on a narrow gallery canvas. I thought it might be nice to see the collaged canvas and then the finished piece next to each other. I threw in a detail photograph, as well.

I drew the image on the canvas with red acrylic ink and a bamboo pen after the collage material had dried. I then started painting with fluid acrylics. I wasn't too worried about making a mistake with the ink because I knew I could paint over any lines or shapes I didn't like. In the past, I have drawn the image on with vine charcoal. I could erase it with a soft cloth and redraw as much as I needed to until I was satisfied. Then I would spray it with Acrylic varnish to set it. After that I just paint on top of the charcoal image. With flowers, I didn't think it was so important to have that kind of accuracy and I wanted part of the ink line to show in the final painting. I use acrylic tube white because I wanted more opacity. I needed to make some changes in parts I had already painted but I didn't want to cover up more of the collage so I decided to collage some pieces on top of the painting. I had not thought to do this before but I really liked the effect. I can work back and forth and have a nice mixture of texture and painted image. The painting is a bit darker overall than I originally designed but I like how it turned out.

Now I am waiting for the person who commissioned this painting to approve the final outcome. I will then put one or two coats of clear acrylic over it as a protection. I love that acrylic dries quickly. I usually mix gloss and matt together. I used a matt varnish on two huge paintings I had done for my son and parts turned milky white. I was horrified and panicky that I had ruined it. I called a Golden rep in the area where my son lives ( I was varnishing it there) and she helped told me what to do to get it off. Fortunately, everything turned out well. I swore I would never "varnish" anything again. Anyway, she said what makes matt acrylic dull is that they add WHITE! Aha! That was what was looking milky. Now I don't do anything pure matt because of that incident.

I have this orange "Citri-solv" concentrated cleaner. It will clean brushes that still have some acrylic dried in the bristles. I needed to remove a dried drip of acrylic paint on my painting, so I put some of the Citri-solv on a tissue and rubbed and the acrylic dissolved! What are the possibilities here? Looks like some experimenting is called for. Can't wait to see what I can do with this idea.

Tomorrow is the slide show so be sure and send me what you have done this week so I can include it. Lots of interesting color combinations to share with everybody.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


The double sunflower was selected from the sketches, so I have started on the final painting. First I covered the canvas with a beautiful yellow. Toning the canvas gives a mother color to the painting, creating color harmony. I then used my sketch to glue down collage papers in the approximate place and color as my sketch. I covered the edge of the canvas with a green collage paper to create a visual frame and let the whole thing dry.

The first stage was done yesterday. Today I started adding acrylic color and form to the painting. It will be finished tomorrow. I will photograph it and then post.

I have been receiving more submissions for the December painting challenge. Hilda has even painted one on the foam sheet that electronics come wrapped in! I guess I have inspired some of you to really experiment! You never know what is going to be the next big breakthrough.

One thing I failed to post on my 5 things people don't know about me is that I invented a process of dying silk in the microwave oven. I also set a microwave oven on fire trying to dry wet dyed embroidery floss. Lucky for me it wasn't my microwave!

While checking out some of the blogs that have been "tagged" I came across something called "Elf Yourself". is the website. I created elves with my face, my two sisters faces and my brother. The resulting little show had me in tears I was laughing so hard. I sent it to lots of family members and to myself so I could save it. Now, when I need cheering up, I have the perfect remedy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Pablo Villicana-Lara has tagged me! What a surprise. I didn't even know he had a blog! Check out his blog and his website as Pablo is an amazing artist, and a lovely human being. He has been a great supporter, generous with helpful information and encouragement with my work and teaching career. So, the idea is that when you are tagged, you share 5 little known facts about yourself and then tag 5 others and a link to their blogs. This is a fun way to find new places to go for inspiration.


1. I have had many "careers" : Sketch artist at outdoor art shows; Needlepoint canvas designer; art to wear designer; hand painted scarves and jewelry designer; "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" instructor, image consultant, clothing rep, Mary Kay Sr. Sales Director (10 years 4 free red cars, no pink) and Weight Watcher Leader (6 years but a fallen example these days) and, of course, now Painter and Workshop instructor.

2. I am very messy and disorganized much of the time.

3. I ran the "Bay to Breakers" 12 K (7.46 miles) race twice and met my goal (To finish and not to be last! There weren't too many behind me but I wasn't last) For those who are not local to the San Francisco area, this is an annual event where you start at the SF Bay and run across the city up and down hills, through Golden Gate Park to the Pacific Ocean (breakers). It is a bizarre mix of serious runners, amateur runners, people in costume, people with out clothing, people guzzling beer while they are running, people hooked together (the centipedes) running as a group, etc. A true "only in San Francisco" experience.

4. I hated working in a office so much that I made my husband (then a law student) sign an agreement that I wouldn't have to work after I had children. Have to get things in writing for these legal types. (I always equated "work" with office filing, typing, shorthand, etc. ) We celebrated our first anniversary with a beautiful baby boy and the only office I have been in since is my own... which is a mess!

5. I have amazing powers of concentration and can block out unwanted sound and other distractions and stay focused.

Here are the people I have tagged. Their websites are listed in my links. Otherwise cut and paste these url's in your brower and check out their wonderful work. Sarkis doesn't have a blog but his work is fabulous, so be sure and look at his website if you haven't already. Mike's been tagged before by someone else.

Sandy Maudlin at
Abeer at
Nava Attia-Benoit at
Nancy Standlee at
Rhonda Carpenter at

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Here is the work I photographed on the last day of the workshop. Unfortunately, I didn't think to photograph a few more at the end of the session when they had worked on some of these some more. I particularly like that they made multiple attempts at the same image, making adjustments and improvements. Number 2 and Number 3 are always better. Watercolor can be adjusted and changes made but often times it is a better plan to do another one. One of my favorite sayings is "When the horse dies, get off !!"

I hope everyone enjoys seeing these paintings. I am very proud of the terrific work people are doing in these workshops.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


The painting will be 12 x 24 so the paper was perfectly in proportion to create some compositional studies. Since this will be in a kitchen, we decided on traditional imagery. No strange faces on the wall in the kitchen! The final painting will be much more muted as my collage papers seem to be less intense but I was really having fun going wild with color for the sketches. There will be a lot of visiual texture.

I used some watercolor I bought years ago. I don't even remember where I found it. It is Peerless Transparent Watercolor. The color is on a sheet of paper. You wet a brush and lift off some color. The challenge is the hue is on the back of the card and the concentrated color on the front is deceptive because it looks different that how is on painting. I was just guessing what color I was lifting off the cards. I had the cards on a ring and fanned out making it difficult to turn the card over to see the true color. It was hit and miss but lots of fun and full of surprises! This is a good format for paint to travel with. I am going to figure out a way to show the color on the front side.

Today was the last day of the Beginning Watercolor Class. Tomorrow I will post the photos I took today. What a talented bunch of students I have!

Friday, December 7, 2007


I spent the day in Concord at the Gallery. It was nice having 5 hours to paint. I worked on ink and watercolor sketches for one of my commissions. I used some interesting watercolors and really had fun painting loose with lots of wet into wet. I was surprised how nice the paint looked on the sketch paper. It is an Aquabee sketch book. I'm thinking it might be a good one to travel with. I will post the results Sunday because I wanted to show off everyone's work this week with a slide show today! I have listed with each painting that is for the December Challenge the colors used. See any new combinations you would like to try? I have decided to skip the weekly drawing challenge for this month as everyone has so many other pressing matters. For myself, working on the painting challenge along with 2 commissions and all the rest is keeping more than busy!

When I returned I found a message on my answering machine that I had been accepted into the Triton Museum's California Painting Exhibition. It was a competition for all forms of painting. My painting of "Rose" was the one accepted.

Tomorrow is the last day of my workshop. I can't wait to see what everyone has done during the last two weeks. I will make a slide show so everyone can see the results.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

DECEMBER PAINTING CHALLENGE #5: Permanent Red, Cobalt blue and Burnt Sienna

Well, finally a set of colors I liked! The permanent red was to the scarlet side so the purples were muted. Mixing all three colors together yielded some interesting darks. The Burnt Sienna mixed with the cobalt yielded a greenish hue so I was able to create a wider range of colors and intermediaries this time. The drawing was also improved over yesterday's version. Overall, I like this one. I would make a larger painting using this color combo. I will file it away for future reference. In fact all this little paintings could go in a sketch book as color mixture reference material.

Tomorrow I will be sitting at the Gallery Concord all day so I will have lots of time to work on my commissions. If you are in the area, stop by and say hello.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


This is the painting of the day, still a 5" x 7" bozzetto on Tyvek. This time the colors were Ultramarine Blue, Sap Green and Burnt Sienna. I only used black in the pen to draw the image as mixing all three colors together gives a blackish tone for a good dark. I thought this color combination was a little better than some of the others. I wasn't too happy with the drawing so I did it again on another bozzetto which I shall paint tomorrow.

I couldn't believe I kept pulling the same colors over and over so I took all the little strips and refolded them and put a paper clip on it. Then I put them in a bag and shook them all up. Finally I pulled some new colors. I shall reveal them tomorrow with the painting.

I am getting some truly fantastic paintings from a lot of you. Everyone seems to be enjoying this challenge as much as I am. There will be a terrific slide show on Friday. Remember, send me the colors along with the image of your painting.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


This is my second attempt at this image today. The colors of Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna and Venetian Brown are so close in hue and value that my first attempt was indistinct. I decided a different approach was necessary. I drew the image with a permanent ink pen and then built up the color a little at a time. I used black with these colors to get a good dark value and a cool tone. I didn't let the color puddle so much on this painting. I am pretty satisfied with the result given the colors I had to work with. I had never used the Venetian brown before. I usually mix my browns. Turns out Venetian Brown is more pink than Burnt Sienna. When you look at the bottles, the color looks almost identical.

I am finding it is impossible to get the color exactly right in the photo even with a lot of adjusting on my part. This painting is actually a little warmer and the red is brighter. I could probably get it closer in photoshop but I don't think it is worth the extra step. GOOD NEWS! The problem is fixed so you can now view the image by clicking on it and it will appear in another screen rather than a download. On my computer, the new screen shows this image full size.

I am going to go draw 3 new colors and see what the December paint lottery has in store for me!

Monday, December 3, 2007


I am still working with Tyvek bozzettos size 5" x 7" until I get a color combination I would like to make a larger painting out of. In the meantime, I am seeing different color mixes. I can't believe my second pick resulted in Viridian, Ultramarine and Sap Green! Here is the painting. I tried salt which looked great when it went on but after it dried and I brushed the salt away, it took most of the paint, also and didn't work well. Then I tried crushed plastic wrap on the wet paint but wasn't happy with that either so I scrubbed it off. This paper allows you to go back and repaint any number of times. The photo looks yellow in the left hand corner on the screen but it actually is more acid green. Sap Green has a lot of yellow in it. It was a busy day but still found time to do a little painting. I will keep these small sheets handy to paint on when time is short. Bozzettos are also good warm up exercises.

I have already received a December painting from Belinda which I will post on Friday. Abeer submitted her grid painting which I will post on Friday and add to the slide show. Don't worry if you missed the deadline. We all still want to see what you are doing!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I worked on odd projects today and went with a friend to the Women's Craft Fair at Ft. Mason. Surprise! I found another pair of earrings...who would have thought! I also bought a bookmark from a 10 year old entrepreneur who is doing some very nice work. I just had to support her efforts. I have a very young friend who likes to create art and I am going to give it to her as inspiration to believe in yourself, take a chance and go out there and make it happen!

I spent about 15 minutes on a cross contour drawing. I found a striped kitchen towel so I arranged it and then drew the stripes. I think I need to find a plaid. Naturally, I had some plaid fabric that I threw out when I cleaned up the studio. If we only had a crystal ball to know what to keep and what to toss.

I couldn't wait any longer. After dinner I wrote all my Hydrus Liquid Watercolors on strips of paper and drew out 3. I picked Sepia, Veridian and Thalo Blue. I found a bozzetto of Tyvek paper with a drawing on it, so I set to work and the above is what I came up with. What fun this challenge is. I never would have used these colors together under normal circumstances. I have a theory that there are no ugly combinations. If you can use black and white if necessary, the intermediary colors that are created from the mixing of the 3 colors will create a harmony and should result in a pleasing effect. I can't wait to try this again. I am going to pick 3 random colors each time and make a little painting. I am looking forward to seeing what all of you come up with.

The blogger web site is experiencing difficulties with opening the image in a separate window. They are working on fixing this problem, so keep trying. They posted a temporary "fix" which I tried but it didn't work or I didn't do it right. Anyway, now you can't even download this image. Sorry for the incovenience. I will let you know when the problem is fixed by blogger. Technology is amazing but can be very frustrating.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


I decided to do a close up portrait of the Duke rather than the three figures of the other grid paintings. I thought it would be too busy if I did the figures over the collage papers. I experimented with the Hydrus liquid watercolor on the collage papers. Surprise! The acrylic in the papers didn't resist the watercolor. I am very happy with this result. I hate how acrylics dry on the palette so fast. These Hydrus watercolor paints are very versatile! Now I will spray the painting with acrylic varnish and then brush on acrylic medium. By spraying first, the watercolor won't lift at all.

The drawing challenge for the week is to do a cross contour drawing of a crumpled piece of paper or any other object that interests you. Cross contour means that you travel inward and make a topographical map of the object. If you followed the stripe in a plaid pattern on a crumpled piece of cloth you would have the cross contour line. Create a number of lines going horizontal and some going vertical and some meandering around in random directions. I will do one tomorrow and post it for those of you confused by my directions. I am also going to continue working on my ink drawing. I wonder how many hours it will take to finish it?

Friday, November 30, 2007


Yesterday I installed the latest version of I-Life on my MacBook. Now all my photos are arranged in a new order which will take me some time to get straightened out. The format looks exciting and is going to be great but there is a small learning curve for me. I have created a slide show out of all the submissions for the November Painting Challenge. I apologize if I have left anyone out. If so, it is because of the way my photos are arranged right now. I shouldn't have any problems for future submissions. I want to thank everyone who participated. It is really fun to see different solutions and every one's efforts. I hope to have even more for the December Painting Challenge.

December is such a busy month, I thought I would keep things simple for the challenge. Any subject, any style but you are limited to 3 colors plus black and white. The way you select the three colors is the fun part. On separate slips of paper, write down each of your watercolor tubes of paint and put them in a jar. Shake it all up and then pull out 3 slips of paper. Those are your colors to work with. I have always wanted to do this, so now is the time! You can do this idea as many times as you paint a new image in December. When you submit your finished painting, be sure and tell me what colors you used. If you want to make it even more challenging, try this: Put each element of design on a separate strip of paper and pick one to be the main element of the painting. You can make a jar for each variable ie. mood, subject, style, etc.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I just had to start this painting. I have been dying to work with my collage papers since I cleaned up the studio. Now that I have the papers on the canvas, I hate to paint over them! Somehow they seem like a finished painting. I think I will paint on plastic first and see how it will look overlayed before I paint on the papers. I feel like I have all these starts but I couldn't help myself, the collage was definitely calling me today. I will muster up the energy to work on my ink drawing tonight. Then, I will get back to my commission tomorrow.

I am working on a gallery wrap canvas for this one. I have done this same technique on watercolor paper and it works well there, too. I drew the grid pattern on the canvas with my ultra wide Copic pen in a light orange. Then I decided to color in the various shapes using the markers in different colors. In the first image you can see some of this initial phase. Then I took tracing paper and made pattern templates for each shape and cut them out. I layed the paper pattern on top of the collage paper and used a wet brush with a fine tip and drew around the shape with water. The paper will separate along this wet line. I wanted definite shapes but not a cut edge. This technique gives me a torn edge. I glued the papers down with a 50/50 mixture of acrylic gloss medium and water. I always use an old bristle brush for this so I don't ruin a good sable and the bristle brush smooths out the paper. I made sure the papers wrapped around the sides of the canvas so I don't need to provide a frame when it is done. By coloring the shapes first, it influences the final color because the collage paper is tissue and therefore has some transparency.

I started painting my own collage papers after I discovered that the colored tissue available in the stores is not light fast! That was a rude shock to me as I had done a few pieces I really liked with colored tissue. Now I can have an art show in a closet! I used the video from Creative Catalyst Productions by Carrie Burns Brown. She shows some great ideas for coloring the tissue. Once I got started, I soon created some of my own techniques along with hers. Painting the tissue with acrylic makes it light fast and permanent plus gives the paper some body so it isn't quite so fragile. The great thing is you can't make an ugly tissue. It is so freeing to know there are no mistakes.

I have posted 3 images: the first is in the beginning stages, second the finished collage and the third a detail.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Creative Catalyst Productions make wonderful instructional art DVDs. They sponsor on-line art show competitions on their web site. It's fun and free to enter. If you win, there are product prizes from some of their sponsors. I received a free video and some pastel paper as a result of winning an honorable mention in one of the shows. This new show is titled "Treasures" and is being juried by a very photo realist artist so I selected the above painting to enter as it fit the topic and the style of the judge. I don't usually worry about the style of the judge in national competitions as they select a cross-section of styles and subjects, but in this case there is no jurying to get in, only for the prizes. It's a fun way to start getting involved participating in competitions. You don't have to pay a fee, mail a painting, worry about deadlines, have slides made, etc. If you haven't tried doing something like this before, now is a good time to start. Just go to their website: and then find the artshows and follow the directions.

I am pleased that I got a lot accomplished today. I did a detailed sketch of my portrait commission. Normally, I just plunge ahead and draw directly on the watercolor paper, but I wanted a true likeness so I drew on tracing paper the full size of my painting. That way, I can erase and correct and get it as accurate as I can. Then I transferred the drawing to the paper and started to paint. I decided that I am going to do two in a fairly traditional manner and the other more colorful and looser. The recipient can choose which one they like the best. It will take a lot of the pressure off of me worrying how they will like it. Doing commissions is very inhibiting.

I also booked another workshop today which will be held in San Mateo! It is sponsored by SWA and is only two days but it will cover the basics and get people started. It is scheduled for February 2nd and 3rd (Saturday and Sunday) of 2008. If you are interested, contact me and I will give you more information. I will be posting my workshop schedule on my website very soon. I will let everybody know when it is ready. I am also working on editing the video of the California Watercolor Society demo I did last year. I bought a new version of I-Life so hopefully I will be able to master the technology. When I get the video in reasonable order, I will burn DVD's. Stay tuned but don't hold your breath on this one!

I spent about 20 minutes on my ink drawing but didn't have the patience for it today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I really enjoyed painting in the studio today. Put on an exciting book on tape and here is the result. I still have some ideas for other variations - want to do one with the grid as a texture and another with the grid as collage papers but it will have to wait for next month. I have a commission portrait to do first. This will be my first commission in many, many years. The person who wants the painting is pretty flexible about the result, so we will see how it goes.

I have been thinking about the December challenge and I decided to keep it simple since it tends to be such a busy month for so many people. I will announce the new challenge on the last day of November, along with a slide show of all those paintings submitted to me.

The box of Tyvek paper arrived today!! I was really worried as the box didn't fair that well in transit. The paper survived with no damage. The box weighed over fifty pounds but with a little help I wrestled it onto a table top. Local people can let me know if you want some of this paper.

I was wandering around on the internet today and found some great sites. One was a art teacher and she had some fun sounding drawing assignments, so I will be borrowing some of her ideas and sharing them with you. I also found a wonderful interview with one of my all time favorite artists CHUCK CLOSE. It is a 21 minute interview on NPR by Terri Gross from 1998. He shares wonderful insites into his art. The one thing he didn't explain is how he knows how a square will read from across the room when he is working on it. This is the thing that most intrigues me about his process. Chuck Close has worked with a grid for almost 40 years. Since we are working on a grid this month, I thought you might enjoy listening to the interview. Below is the web address. Enjoy! (Chuck Close Interview on NPR)

Monday, November 26, 2007


Here is the drawing after 2 hours. I wasn't quite as restless working on it this time. Following a plaid pattern is stressful. Interesting, though. I used to sew and I noticed that this was a well made shirt because they matched the pattern perfectly. I am anxious to be done with the shirt. I think the most important thing I am going to learn from this exercise is discipline.

The week before Thanksgiving was very busy for everyone but my students still found time to work on their paintings. Here are their latest efforts. So far we have been working on full or 3/4 view and then profiles. Now we are working on infant/small children. My demo isn't quite finished, so I will save it for another time.

The end of the month is fast approaching. I need to finish my painting. I have been getting some wonderful work sent to me based on the challenge. I will create a slide show at the end of the month of all the "grid" paintings. Be sure and send me what you are doing so I can include it in the show.

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