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.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I decided I wanted to use a cartridge pen so I didn't need to keep "dipping". I figured I would need a fresh pen so as not to run out of ink. I went through the "Strokes of Genius" book to see what pens others have used and settled on a set of Staedtler pens with 4 different widths. The ink is permanent, archival, waterproof, etc. Found them at Staples. I decided to try a drawing on the Tyvek paper as I am going to really explore all it's potential. The pen works very smoothly. So far, so good. I couldn't decide whether to pencil in the figures first or just go for it....surprise! I decided to just go for it! I had fun putting my photo of a crowded market scene in a small country village in France through lots of Photoshop Elements configurations. I printed out a 8 1/2 x ll of the full scene and then a detail of the area I was going to start with. I started with the widest pen (0.7mm) and a countour drawing, then went to the smallest pen (0.1mm) to shade with. Interesting trying to get the intermediate values with pen lines. Working on the plaid took every ounce of patience I could muster. I kept looking at my watch to see how much longer I had to go but after awhile I settled into it and found myself trying different ways of marking etc. Well. this is how far I got in one hour. At this rate, I may complete the 24 hour challenge after all. I think this looks very old fashioned but it is challenging and I feel myself stretching.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Yes, it is Saturday, but I will still call it the Friday Challenge. I have been thinking about the 24 hour drawing and think I want to build up to that, so I figured I could work on a drawing for an hour a day and since I may miss a day or two I am making it a 5 hour drawing. The hour can be broken up into smaller segments throughout the day. It will be relaxing to sit and make marks. I need to go through some of my European crumbling walls and tiled roof photos for some complex, detail riddled image to obsess over. It should be fun! Anyone else want to try? I have posted some pen and ink drawings I did this summer in France to give you some ideas. It didn't take me nearly 5 hours, but you get the idea. Any subject is fine, but it needs to be something that has enough detail to spend a lot of time on it.

This has been one of the most exhausting weeks that I can remember. The studio was so trashed, I couldn't work out there and couldn't find anything, so I bit the bullet and spent three days going through everything and throwing stuff out, giving stuff away, rearranging all my books and supplies and now I am excited to get in there and really do some work! I was able to give Ronald McDonald House tons of craft supplies and took some art books and magazines to my students today so everything has a happy new home. After the big clean up it was on to cooking for Thanksgiving and then spending time with my visiting children and my grandson home from college on Friday. After teaching all day today, I am ready to retire early and start painting tomorrow!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I am excited to schedule my first Tyvek Workshop! SWA in San Bruno, Ca. will host a 2 day workshop where we will explore different ways of working on this interesting paper. It will be Saturday and Sunday, February 2nd and 3rd. They have a very big room to work in so we can accommodate a large group. If you are interested, let me know and I will pass your name on to the co-ordinator. This is process oriented, so any subject you want to work with is fine. Now that there is a reliable source for the paper, I want to push the envelope as much I can to explore it's possibilities.

In the meantime.....I challenged myself to do ellipses this week, so I thought I should get to it! I used a Micron pen in a very fine point. I think the pen is pretty much shot, but I kept going. I will probably need a new one to do the 24 hour drawing challenge. I chose to work in pen because you can't erase. I'm sure I could have done a better job if I could erase, but I wanted to train my arm to make smooth arcs. Lots of practice needed. Interesting that I could work in one direction much better than the reverse direction. I started shading and then thought better of it for this pen drawing. I don't know if it is possible to draw an accurate ellipse without a tool or template but I'm sure I can do better than this with more practice. Years ago, when I was attending San Francisco State University, I took a class in Chinese Brush Painting. Lesson two was lesson one and lesson two. Lesson three was a repeat of one and two plus three, etc. By the end of the semester, I was going through newsprint like crazy and drawing for hours. All that practice created a steady hand and sure movements to make the characters. Your arm is never braced for steadiness in Chinese brush painting, so it is miles and miles of brush stroke practice that produce quality results. The "Carnegie Hall" principle (practice, practice, practice). Painting Still Lifes probably helps as there are vases, bowls, cups et. al. often in the arrangements. It's interesting how certain subject matter gets some people all jazzed and others not too excited. If required, I can get involved in most things, but left on my own, images of people always win out. This image is an unusual small clay Chinese Tea Pot set on a round mirror with the lid sitting next to it. There is a lazy suzanne behind with a cast shadow so lots and lots of ellipses. I hope to do a small drawing each day this week with curves.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Oh my gosh, I can't believe how tired I am. I don't think I have ever spent as much time drawing continuously, either! I went to the Bay Area Model's Guild drawing marathon at the Palo Alto Art Center. I usually stay in the room with the long pose and do two paintings. Today I decided I wanted to do the fast figure drawing with gesture and modified contour, set up in a second room. I arrived at 9:30 am for the 10 to 1 session so I could get a good spot. It wasn't so crowded today, probably because of Thanksgiving coming up. Anyway, we took a break for 1/2 hour to eat lunch and then it was 1:30 to 4:30. I stand to work and sit when the models rest. I can't imagine how the models felt because they were fantastic and really contorted their bodies for great images. I have created a slide show of some of the gazillion drawings I did today. I took my phone book for the really fast poses. I used the really wide Copic marker in Brown to quickly mass in the gesture, then used the point to go back and do a contour line. These drawings were one and two minute poses. Then on the 3 minute poses I just used the Elegant Writer for strait modified contour. I switched to newsprint for the 4 and 5 minute poses. I used a large brush with walnut ink for the mass and then used a bamboo pen dipped in ink for the contour. I think these are some of my favorite. I switched to another paper pad that had heavier paper than the newsprint but isn't great for wet work. I was disappointed in this paper and wanted to use it up. I brought some acrylic inks to try. Not so great. Will leave them home next time. I also brought a watercolor set that had blocks of dry color. It is Cretacolor Aqua Brique XXL with 8 colors. I originally bought it thinking it would be great for travel but I was disappointed in the quality of the paint. Kind of chalky. I thought I would try it out today. It was perfect for a fast tonal massing and then I used an elegant marker to do the contour line. I like the look of these, too. I was playing around with different combinations and materials and luckily I had plenty of room to spread out. It is always good to find uses for stuff you buy and then don't like! I don't feel so wasteful now. If I can muster up the energy, I think I would like to go on a regular basis to the Tuesday model night at the Art Center to keep in practice. Drawing from life is very different from working from a photograph. Also, the poses are so intricate, one would never see them under ordinary circumstances.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Today was the 3rd session of my watercolor portrait workshop. Everyone was finishing up their first portrait. I always suggest painting it again if there is time because they always get better. Working with shapes helps everyone get a better likeness. We do a lot with color, shape and composition ideas. I thought I would share a slide show with everyone to show off these great paintings. For many, it is their first portrait, ever.

Rita Hellyer (the inventor of the bleeding Elegant Writer drawing technique) happen to bring in two incredible examples of the 24 hour ink drawing idea. I think she spent more than 24 hours total on each of these but it gives you one idea of an approach to take. Rita broke her image into two values - black and white - and then used the shapes that would be black and filled them with detailed root drawings that she did over a period of weeks. She used a fine pen nib. I start to see animals and other images in the roots. They are really amazing. Be sure and open them in a separate window for an enlarged detail view.

I am not ready to post my demo painting for today. It needs some work yet.

Hope you enjoy today's art show.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I am thrilled that the slide show is expanding as more and more of you are sending me your solutions to the challenges. Some great work happening out there!

I actually have two challenges for today. The first will take longer than the week so I thought I would put it out there and see if anyone besides me wants to do it. It is from a wonderful book of 100 drawing lessons from different college instructors. A number of the lessons require an entire class to do but this one struck me as an interesting challenge: Using a pen and a large sheet of paper (a full sheet of hot press watercolor paper would work) create a drawing (subject matter your choice) and spend 24 full hours to complete it. Break up the time as you have time to work on it...just keep track of the hours. I don't think I have ever spent this much time on a drawing but the concept intrigues me. You can't erase and you can't start over. Part of the idea is to find ways to cover up errors or parts you don't like, etc.

The other challenge is to do drawings of objects that have ellipses. I have a difficult time drawing them accurately free hand so I thought it would be good to spend the week getting better! Coffee cups and mugs from every angle and perspective, plates, vases, spoons, wine glasses, pitchers, what ever you can think of. Try different drawing materials, holding the mark making tool different ways, using your whole arm...or not!

A reminder to Bay Area artists. There will be a drawing marathon on Sunday at the Palo Alto Art Center. I am very excited that I can go this time. Most of the time there is some other obligtion in my life that keeps me from going. I usually do the long pose but this time I think I am going to do the fast paced gesture drawing, at least for half the day. I am going to bring a phone book to work in. Hope to see a lot of you there.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I spent yesterday morning traveling again! I am so tired of cramped airplanes, rediculous regulations (they took my yogurt away still sealed, that I had purchased at the airport - seems it is classified as a "liquid or gel") long waits, yada, yada, yada. I did take the time to do some additional sketchs of my old man from the Toronto airport as I intended to do another version for the demonstration for the Menlo Art League. I got home in plenty of time and enjoyed meeting everyone at their meeting. They were a very attentive group and were intrigued to see painting on Tygerag synthetic paper. I have posted the sketches and demo painting plus a detail. You can see them in greater detail by clicking on the image. It will come up larger in a new window.

As promised, here is the contact information for the Tyvek source I discovered. The company is Material Concepts and the Sales Specialist is Lisa Conway. This is a wholesale distributor of Tyvek products. The toll free number is 800 372-3366 and the email address is Company web site is The product that looks the most like what I have been using is Tyvek sheets for printing 7.5 mil (18#) I am going to order a carton of 500 sheets (that is the smallest order!) in the size of 25" x 38". That way I can do a large piece or cut in half for 2 pieces 25 x 19 which is a great size for me. I will be sharing this box with other artists in the area. I suggest others get together and share an order, too.

Tomorrow is the slide show. I have been receiving very exciting work from many of you. Everybody is really getting into the challenge and stretching their imaginations!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Here is the painting I did in my workshop today. I used the "shape" drawing and loosely based the colors on the "posterized" photo. I decided to leave much of the head undefined initially, but now that I have had a little time to study it, I may put in some light washes and move the right eye over a tad. This is painted on Tygerag and has to be flat to work on it so the paint doesn't run all over. It makes it harder to evaluate the painting. I need to prop it up when it is dry and evaluate things. Over all, I am pleased with the results.

I received the packet of samples of Tyvek and did a quick color study on it to make sure it is the same as Tygerag. Looks like we are in business. This company has rolls but you can also purchase a box of cut sheets with 500 sheets to a box. If you can get a group of artists together to share, it is very reasonable. A sheet of 25 x 38 runs $1. There would be a shipping charge to factor in but what a bargain! I don't have the contact information right at my finger tips this minute but I will post later with the info or you can e-mail me if you are interested.

I will be leaving Sunday morning on an a last minute trip and will return on Wednesday. I will be doing a demo for the Menlo Art League on Wednesday night. Looks like the next post will be Thursday. Keep drawing and painting and sending me your work.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Here is the challenge: Take one of your digital images - any subject - and open it in Photoshop Elements (or a similar program) Find the "posterize" setting. In Elements it is under image, then adjustments, then posterize. Set it to 4 or possibly 5. If you want smoother shapes, proceed to Filters, then "noise" then "median" and put in a low number. This simplifies the shapes. Print out the results. What has happened is the program has broken down the image into 4 or 5 values. Each value has become an interesting shape. Now, draw these shapes to get your image. Think of it as a puzzle. Once you start seeing "shapes" instead of "things" you will automatically draw more acurately. I have posted an example of what I am talking about. You can click on any of the images (including the slide show) and it brings up a new screen with a larger version of the image so you can check it out better.

I found this very cool sketch book with recycled paper which is tan at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Hillsdale Shopping Center. I used the Elegant Writer pen in brown and then a little in black for accent. It doesn't bleed as nicely on this paper but I like the effect.

When I am in a bookstore, I always check the art department. I noticed they did have a copy of the Kaupelis Experimental Drawing book if anyone is looking for it. I bought the book "Strokes of Genius" which is a fabulous compilation of different drawings by contemporary artists full of inspirational work and great ideas! It is a North Light book similar to the Splash series but this one is about drawing. Can't wait to try some of them. Especially the one where you partiallly wet the paper (outside in the yard) then throw powdered charcoal all over it then throw a bucket of water at it!!!!! How fun is that going to be! That would be such a fun summer party idea for a group of artists friends. I was reading through the book and found a wonderful drawing by Jane Ferguson. It is a big accomplishment to be published in a book!

The slide show tonight has some fabulous work in it. More and more of you are sending me what you are doing. Some of these images don't relate specifically to the challenges but I wanted to share them with you. Check out Mike's initial drawing for the November challenge. He has a more detailed explanation on his blog. Abeer has completed last month's challenge using Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso (my personal favorite) John Lovett and a few others. Great Job!! Nava and Joyce both are excited about color with rich results. Carrie and Bonnie are first timers on the blog and round out a great Friday show!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Here is the painting as it is progressing through two painting sessions. It is pretty bright right now, but I can always tone it down and it is impossible to go the other way! I hope to be able to work on it again tomorrow. I put some of that stretch and seal wrap over the watercolor palette to keep the paint from drying out. It works pretty well. The liquid watercolors don't reconstitute if they dry on the palette and I hate to waste them.

I received my book from Sarkis, yesterday. I was surprised (since he said he was self published) to see such a gorgeous professional book. I am thrilled with this gift. I really admire people who go out and make things happen.

Tomorrow I will put together the slide show of contributing works. If you want to be part of it, send me your images before evening.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Carrie Ross was nice enough to send me these sequential photos of the demo last Sunday. They are taken from the overhead mirror so the image is reversed and there is some distortion. (You can slow up the slide show or speed it up or stop it by clicking on the lower left hand corner symbols.) I felt like I was painting at a manic pace which makes things more intuitive than really thought through.

Carrie also sent along two drawings that she did in response to the challenge. I will include them in the slide show on Friday. Carrie was one of the new friends I met this summer when we were on the trip to France with Mike Bailey. She works mostly in pastel and does beautiful work. Her first show is going to be November through January. The location is First Street Coffee, 1211 First Street, Gilroy, CA They are hanging the show Friday. I do not have firm dates except for the reception date which is Sunday January 13th. I don’t have times as yet either. More to follow when the information becomes available.

I was able to paint somemore on the John Wayne painting today. I have been photographing the stages as I go along. Hopefully, I will be able to finish it tomorrow and will post the steps in the development of the painting. Since I don't often remember what the heck I did to get to the finished painting, the photography is an important process for me.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Yesterday, I started a full sheet painting by drawing with a stick using Hydrus Liquid Watercolor in Cad. Red. Drawing directly onto the paper without any guidelines except your sketches presents the problem that we see here! Placement and judging scale etc. The first figure on the left was so large that I only had room to put one other figure. Interesting composition but not what I originally intended. The paper absorbed the color so it didn't bleed much at all. It was difficult to draw smoothly on the watercolor paper. I decided to set this painting aside for the moment and start another on Tygerag. The stick slid over the smooth surface and was much easier to draw with. The paint bleeds out if it is still wet but seems to be rather permanent when dry. I decided to put in the grid first on the Tygerag painting and it helped with the placement of the figures. I had better luck getting all three onto the page. I was using photos where I had reduced the values to 3 - white, black and grey. This gave me interesting shapes to work with and simplified my choices. I am utilizing shapes created where the drawing and the grid overlap. I hope to go into more color tonight after I post. I will get back to the 2 figure painting after I finish this one.

I am hearing through the grapevine that some of you are confused about the grid ...what it is and how to utilize it. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions or clarification. Chapter 5 in the Kaupelis Experimental Drawing book has some fabulous examples of original work based on distorting a grid. Hopefully, you can find this book in the library or borrow from someone if you don't have your own copy and get some exciting ideas.

Tygerag synthetic paper is a favorite surface of mine. When I first started using it, almost every catalogue carried it. Now, it has disappeared from the market. I was able to track down a company today that carries all kinds of Tyvek paper by Monsanto. They are sending me a packet of samples so I will be sure to order the right product. The problem is it comes in 60 ft. rolls but you don't need a minimum order or have a wholesale number to order from them. Interested artists can share a roll. It works out about $2.50 for a piece 18 x 24. There would be a little more added on for shipping but you can see it is relatively inexpensive. I will pass on all the details after I check out the samples. The good news is that it will continue to be available.

For local artists on the Peninsula and South Bay, I received a newspaper article about an art project in downtown Redwood City. The revitalized downtown has many storefronts that are unoccupied. A San Jose woman, Cherri Lakey at is working with Redwood City to create "gallery space" with these windows. The project is called Phantom Gallery and she is looking for artists who would like to put their paintings in the windows. I e-mailed her today and I am in. If you are interested, just contact her.

I am scheduled to present my Watercolor Portrait Workshop in the Dallas, Texas area during the week of February 11 through the 15th at the Visual Expressions Gallery in Cedar Hills.

In March I will be in the Denver area doing two 3 day workshops back to back in Littleton on the 6th through the 8th and the 10th through the 12th.

April 5th, 12, 26 and May 3 and 10 I will be doing the workshop in Concord, Ca. I haven't decided whether that one will be beginning or advanced.

Monday, November 5, 2007


I am getting some really great e-mails from some of you and more of you are sending me your efforts. Today I am posting some of your comments to go along with the slide show. It is inspiring to me to see what you are doing. Keep it going!

Hi Myrna!
I'm sending you some things that I did from last week's challenge-scribble drawings with a contour drawing around.
I don't get out much since I don't drive anymore (flunked the eye test to renew my drivers license, due to Macular Degeneration and cataracts). But, I have plenty of wiggly subjects at home to work on!
This is one of my 21 year old Manx cat, Bitsy, who moves, as do my other pets, everytime I try to draw them!
Actually, I start out most of my people drawings with gesture drawings and do things like gesture drawings while I am at football games, pep rallies, and other places that I would rather not be!
Cecelia Heinrich

Took photos before the ink fades... ;-)

Dome on Bristol Smooth Surface drawing paper, mixture of colors, from the movie "Enchanted April", that offered a wealth of expressions and faces! These Elegant Writers are lots of fun, but I think they work best when you just let them do their thing, and not go over and over it to death, like I tend to do...

Not sure about #3 (the woman with the wrestler broken nose... didn't have time to finish it and better render the form).


I painted at the gallery yesterday and played around with my continuous line drawing on hp paper and used gouache. He looks a little like an Indian I used so many bright colors. He's taken from your image you put on your site. I'm enjoying your drawings and the info about your sketchbooks and how you manage the bulk. I've put some mat medium + water on a watercolor paper and drew in a self portrait with red ink (water soluble) and will work on sometime this week. Regards, ns
Nancy Standlee

Hi Myrna,
really enjoyed your demo yesterday, I find watching you very inspiring and your enthusiasm is contagious.
Here's a couple of sketches I did using the elegant writer. I can't seem to find the plain water pen so I used an old WC brush and water.

While looking at your web site, I discovered that you are the artist whose work I fell in love with in the Watercolor magazine. In fact you inspired me to do a painting on gesso which was stamped with a texture from an old curtain. I love the way the watercolor pools in the textural areas. (also won an award at an art show with it!)
Barb Sailor

Sunday, November 4, 2007


The internet is such an amazing invention. I continue to be in awe! I received a lovely e-mail from a gentleman, Sarkis Antikajian, who somehow discovered this blog and he sent me his website info. I fell in love with his figurative work - gorgeous, loose, colorful, expresive etc. I am putting his link on the side for you to discover him for yourself! He has self-published a book of his works and you can find out more information about that on his website, as well. Not an instructional book but just inspiration for your own work. I think he has already had an influence on me. I did my demonstration for the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society this afternoon and the piece that you see above seems much looser than normal. I see some of Sarkis in it!

I was thinking how I might get some of the effects of the Elegant Writer into my painting on Tygrag paper and decided to try drawing with sticks and a sharpened wooden matchstick using full strength Hydrus liquid watercolor (stuck the drawing instrument right in the bottle) and then wetting it with a brush. I decided I love the results. It has some of the Shirley Travena effects I was trying to get before with little success. Now all we have to do is find a new supplier for this wonderful paper. There was a large crowd at the demo and I don't mind people taking photos, so Nava sent me some of her photos for the slide show. It was a lot of fun and a very supportive group of people. I did have some trauma getting there...first I thought it was in San Jose not Los Altos. My class yesterday happily gave me the correct location. I have it on my calendar but you have to actually read things to know things!! I just had it in my head that is was going to be where we usually have workshops. So, I Googled Los Altos Library and got a map, etc. I arrived exactly on time to discover only one car in the parking lot. When I asked the owner of that car about this library, she informed me this was a branch, not the main Los Altos library. I got new instructions and off I went. After parking 2 blocks away and dragging through the library looking for the meeting, everyone breathed a sigh of relief (especially me!) when I showed my face. Nava did a great job of conducting a complicated agenda and then I was "on". Years ago I did charcoal sketches at outdoor art shows which was good training for painting in front of people. The hardest part is continuing to talk while you paint as it is working both sides of your brain at the same time. The good part is that artists don't expect a masterpiece painted at breakneck speed in an hour, so they are very generous if you get anything half way acceptable under the circumstances. I think we all just find it fun to watch other people paint. I know I do. What a joyful existence we artists have!!!

The image is from the Toronto airport 11 hour layover in September. I was roaming around looking for unsuspecting victims. I decided to use this image today because someone (Nava) told me an instructor had said to never paint hands with the fingers laced because they look like sausages. Oh yeah? Just watch me. I love doing fingers laced and so I did. I will probably continue to work on this piece or maybe do it again because I am not totally satisfied with it as it stands.

I heard fabulous comments and rave reviews on Mike Bailey's Color Workshop. This looks like a winner that he can share with others around the country! Lucky SF Bay Area artists have the special opportunity to take the "Beyond the Obvious" 10 week killer class, but we want to share Mike with the rest of the world, so the color workshop may be the way to go. Check his website for more information.

I was checking on a web search that sent someone to my blog as I was curious as to the connection to me. It was a search related to the Van Gogh book. What I found was a very interesting article on the man who made the paintings for the movie "Lust for Life". He describes the inside "scoop" on the making of the movie. I found it fun and interesting and thought you might like to read it, too. Copy and paste the web page in your browser.

Tomorrow I will post a slide show of all the work you have sent me. Come on and get in on the action. Send me your photos tomorrow and I will add them in.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I haven't been able to load images onto my blog for 2 days so I decided to do a slide show! You can click on an image to see it better.

I had fun painting this little 9' x 12" painting. I like how the Elegant Writer red pen looks and I really like the odd perspective of the figures. I am not too happy with the way the grid is worked into the painting. I think I need to paint each area in a flat style rather than try and model the shapes. I also grayed too many areas. I didn't plan a value pattern and it shows. Sorry Mike! I am ready to try a larger version. My goal is to keep more of the colors fresher and better integrate the grid with the image.

I am looking through my photos for an exciting image for my demo on Sunday for the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society meeting. I will do some practice drawings but not a preliminary painting. It adds to the excitement to be "winging it"! The hard part is to complete a portrait in about an hour. So many great painters will be there. It's a good thing I don't get nervous.

Friday, November 2, 2007


I thought I would make the challenge tie into the monthly painting challenge today. Keep a sketchbook handy all week and record grid patterns when you come across them. I am going to go through the Gee's Bend quilts and copy the grids I like into my sketch book. Grids are simply a way to divide up the space. Which artists can you think of that work from a grid. Chuck Close comes to mind and, of course, Mondrian did nothing but grids. Might be fun to see how different a painting you could create based on one of his grids. How about an arial image of farm land. Overhead wires of a streetcar intersection. When you focus on something, it is amazing how it appears all around you. When you find an interesting source for grids, be sure and let me know.

I have tried for the last two days to upload an image to the blog but there is a problem. Hopefully they will have it fixed by tomorrow and I can share my first trial painting for the month.

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