Thursday, July 29, 2010


I had a dental appointment the other day.  I finally found a reason to be excited about it!  The dental hygenist used a syringe to inject strong mouthwash into the deeper pockets.  It was the bent needle that got my attention.  I asked if I could have one of the syringes for my art work.  When he gave it to me, the needle was straight.  I told him I wanted the bent one.  He told me he bent it himself.  Duh! Why couldn't I have thought to do that?  Sometimes the simplest ideas evade us.  It takes a little practice to smoothly move the syringe to release the ink.  The bent needle allows me to draw at a better angle.  What fun !


My sister sent this to me this morning.  It is from my highschool year book.  She found it on a website called  It seems my yearbook was being featured today.  In September I will be attending a 50th reunion!  Good grief, where has the time flown.  Even my grandchildren are past this year in their lives.  Can you find me?  I didn't think  I looked like this photo even then.  

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I worked on this painting all afternoon.  With this process you could keep going forever.  It is a pretty dark painting but I like the proportion of light to dark, warm to cool.  The texture is fun.  I think I have totally covered over the initial collage.  In fact, I lost count of the layers of paint and paper.   I enjoyed trying some of the new tools and ways of applying color.  Overall, I think this has something of the feel of what I was trying for.  I want to try it again with a new image.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I was in Kepler's bookstore in Menlo Park last weekend and found two new art books.  Trying to compete with the big chain bookstores has got to be challenging so this store has mostly art books that are printed in the UK.  The title "Collage, Colour and Texture in PaintingCollage, Colour and Texture in Painting" by artist Mike Bernard was calling to me, maybe even yelling my name!   I have read it from cover to cover.  The challenge for me is to interpret some of these techniques into the imagery that excites me, figures and faces.  Notice I have used the image I have been working with lately.  One large benefit of working in a series this way is you already have a composition established so it is very fast and easy to try out different techniques and ideas.  

My first attempt was a total disaster.  This is my second try.  The first layer is abstract collage.  He uses newspaper and magazine sections plus other types of collage papers.  I like how the letters look in his finished pieces, so I thought I would experiment with some of that.  I normally like to collage with tissue paper that has been colored or stamped by me.   Next I drew my image so I had a sense of where things should be placed.  I hope to have some time this weekend to finish this piece and see how it goes. To be continued!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I decided to use my self portrait daily drawing challenge for numbers 6 and 7.  You can see them on my other blog, Drawn to the Mirror.  For number 8 in the series to draw from the previous drawing, I drew with the eye dropper in one of my cardboard books.  I liked the quality of the line so much, I almost didn't proceed to place patterns within the shapes.  I decided not to think of anything as too precious, so I proceeded as planned.  A nice evening project sitting in front of the tv.  It makes you realize how few minutes are worth my attention on any show.  So many commercials and air filler nonsense.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I decided I wanted to take up the challenge to do 30 to 50 drawings, each one drawn from the previous drawing.  I could only do one drawing from the original photograph.  This is a slight variation on an exercise in Robert Kaupelis' book Experimental Drawing where you have to do 50 drawings in a short period of time.  I couldn't deal with that stress!  The idea of working off of your previous work should produce some interesting results.  I started with a very detailed drawing, thinking I would drag out the distortions slowwwwwwwwly.  Ha!  Looks like I am moving too fast but I can't worry about what I will have left to work with towards the end.  I only need to think about the next drawing,  Think this is a fun idea?  Join me in the madness.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


This is #3 in a series (so far there are 4).   I just received word it has been accepted into the National Watercolor Society show this year!  I am very excited as this is one of my favorite shows.  Last year I didn't make the cut.  There are never any guarantees with so many excellent painters in the country.  Plus, every judge has their own ideas and opinions.  This show has 3 judges.  Does that make it easier or harder to get in?   I had to order another giant packing box from AirFloat to ship it.  Definitely the down side to painting so big (40 x 40 framed!) I need another house just to store this stuff.  Too bad no one has invented an inflateable carton that is puncture proof, sort of a blow up bubble wrap thing.   I now have two boxes for this size painting, so I might as well keep making big, scary faces!

Tomorrow is the opening reception and awards ceremony for the California Watercolor Society. 2 PM at the Officer's Club in the Presidio.  What a gorgeous venue!!   If you are in the area, be sure and join in the celebration.  I am looking forward to seeing the show and excited to congratulate the winners. The first of this series is in the show.  Karen Frey, who I studied with for awhile, took top honors.  Her work is stand alone fabulous.  I wanted to learn to paint like Karen.  She, wisely, just helps you paint like you!  By the time I took a workshop with her where she taught her technique, I had moved beyond wanting to imitate someone else, no matter how incredible their work was.  It must be a natural progression in artistic development...first learn how to make it look like a photograph, then how to make it look like a famous painter and finally how to make it look uniquely yours.  Some people get stuck in the early stages and never move ahead to authenticity.  Someone said you need to be your best you because everyone else is already taken!  

Friday, July 16, 2010


I have scheduled a ONE DAY TEXTURE WORKSHOP on Saturday, August 28th at the Sunnyvale Art Gallery.  This is a fun, fast paced exploration where I share ideas using gesso, tissue paper and stamps to create interesting surfaces for painting in water media.  Some of the techniques I invented and some are culled from various resources. 

Texture and Line are my favorite design elements. There are a million ways to create texture but we will focus on a few readily available materials to start with.   Come join me and discover some new ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
I set this up  yesterday, so it is not on their website yet.   There is  nice working space but it is limited to about 15 people, so  call and  reserve your space .
You can call 408-737-8188 for additional information.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


This painting is going places!  I had it packed in it's gigantic air float box ready to send to San Diego for their National Watercolor Exhibit when I received a letter yesterday from North Light Publications informing me that this image has been accepted in their publication "Strokes of Genius 3"!  It needs to be rephotographed for that, so the timing was very fortunate!  Had it been sent off already, I would have missed the deadline for North Light.  I have a wonderful friend in my critique group, Jane Peterman,  who does this kind of professional photography, so I unpacked the painting and took it over today.  I usually do my own photography but I don't have the equipment, skill or knowledge to do a proper job for publications.  The other fortunate thing is I had submitted the first and second stages of this painting because I wasn't sure if the painting alone would qualify for a book on drawing. I would have had to recreate the underpainting since those two stages didn't exist as separate pieces to be rephotographed.   I really dodged a bullet by having just the finished painting accepted!!

I am excited to be in the San Diego show.  I qualify this year to received signature status!  I have already scheduled my reservations to fly down for the opening of the show.  God bless Southwest Airlines for great fares and my wonderful son for his hospitality!  It makes visiting San Diego frequently easy!  

I will be teaching my "Variations" workshop for them in January.  I received word today that their website is ready to handle registration for the workshop.  You can go here to check it out.

Speaking of competitions, I was asked to be one of three jurors today for a local art society's annual show.  I thought I was the only juror, so I was very pleased to see that there were 2 others.  Both of these gentlemen are excellent artists and friends through the California Watercolor Society.  We worked well together, able to confer, express our opinions and agree upon selections without feeling pressured or compromised.  It becomes a wonderful learning experience for the judges as we share our viewpoints.  Watercolor Societies generally have very definite guidlines for framing and presenting work for a show, but it appears that art groups that have members working in a variety of media don't have these guidelines or rules, and many paintings suffer because of it.  We saw so many paintings that were ruined by the presentation.  We decided it would make a wonderful meeting or workshop for art groups teaching everyone how to best show off their work.  

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I was sitting at the SWA Gallery in Redwood City today.  My painting in their annual show received the Portrait Award!  I was excited to be so honored.  Each person in the show takes a turn at overseeing the gallery for a day.  I took my new drawing book and did a few exercises.  Yesterday I drew over 30 cats from my imagination.  Pitiful is the only word that comes to mind!  Today I drew faces with my non-dominant hand (left for me)  I had surprising control.  They looked better than the pathetic cats, anyway. Five hours is a long time to sit, so I decided to work on a patterned image.  I was pretty satisfied with it until I did an over-kill on the face.  That's why we have sketch books.  I like this sketch book.  It is small, lots of pages, easy to carry around and it doesn't feel precious so I don't mind messing it up with bad drawings.   

I think my next project is to do 30 or more drawings of the same image, each drawn from looking at the last drawing.  Sort of like that parlor game "Gossip" where one person tells the secret to the person on their right and by the time it gets all around the message has become very distorted.  

Thursday, July 8, 2010


My new book "Drawing for Mixed Media Artists  (52 creative exercises to make drawing fun)" by Carla Sonheim arrived today.  Lots of inspiring ideas, some old, some new. Just like a cookbook, if I can get one or two (or more!)  fresh thoughts from a book, my money was well spent.   She had this one exercise drawing with an eye dropper and ink then blotting with toilet paper. I hadn't drawn with an eye dropper before so I decided to give it a try.   I became excited about the line quality I was getting and the need to simplify. The drawings I made for my 365 self portraits project had real promise.  I am thinking a turkey baster may give the same effect on a large scale drawing!  I like the look of a line drawing on top of an abstract surface, so I pulled out my experimental book where I had collaged and painted some of the pages and did my ink drawing on top.  I am thinking of adding some paint on top here and there for highlights.  The best part of a book like this is you can keep going until you overdo and then you know where the stopping place is on a good piece.  

Monday, July 5, 2010


The is a wonderful store near me that has all these wonderful supplies for school teachers.  I love to check out all the interesting art supplies they have.  I have discovered lots of interesting items and most of them are very low in cost.  My last foray during their summer sale uncovered these blank puzzle cards in several sizes.  I wondered what it would look like if I painted several and then scrambled the pieces.  I bought the small size just to try it out.  Today I came across these little items and decided to see what I could do.  I had to use a small box cutter to separate the pieces as they were not totally cut through on the edges, probably to keep them whole until colored.  This was a fun little project.  I may try a larger version later.  The trick will be to cut all of the images at the same time so the shapes can be interchanged.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I usually don't post anything about my personal life in my blog, but my personal life and my life as an artist have come together in the most exciting way!  

This is a photo of my sister, Harriet, sketching in Las Vegas.  She lives in Hertzliyah, Israel which is a beautiful coastal town outside of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean Sea.  We have traveled together many times and have fun painting and sketching along the way.   I usually have an opportunity to see her almost every year and Skype has been an amazing way to stay in touch.  I have traveled to Israel 3 times in the 40 years she has lived there.  In order to entice me to come again, she has found a location for me to give a watercolor portrait workshop in Tel Aviv!  The dates for the workshop are December 5-9, 2010 (this year!)  It will be held at the Tel Aviv Artists House, situated in the heart of Tel Aviv.  This location also had 6 galleries with on going exhibitions and a branch of the biggest art store is in the building.  If  you know of anyone who might be interested, please pass on the information.  If you need help in locating a place to stay, Harriet said she could help.  I have put the contact information on my workshop page. Harriet is still in the States for at least another week but will be available to answer any questions through e-mail.   If you have any additional questions, let me know.  

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