Monday, November 22, 2010


I have spent the last few days fine tuning my first book. is a self publishing company that lets you upload their templates to create your own book. They publish it for you and handle marketing and sales . This book is a record of the work I did this year as it relates to my self portrait project. I jumped the gun a little, as the year is not over, but I am going to be doing so much traveling that I went ahead and finished the daily drawings. I am posting them one at a time up till the last day of the year. I decided to go ahead and get the book done so I would have some gifts for this year. Now I have to finish the other book I started on "Variations". I got bogged down and stopped working on it. The "Drawn to the Mirror" book mostly required me to upload and adjust photos with little or no text involved. "Variations" requires a lot more thinking, planning and writing. I do back myself into a corner every so often!

I have added the book promotion at the bottom of the blog because it was too big on the side and only part of it showed. I wish I knew how to resize these things.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Knowing how to draw and paint hands is critical when painting portraits.  Otherwise you are severely limited in your options.  The last day of the workshop we focus on ways to approach drawing hands and incorporating them into a painting.  This was my demo.  I decided to collage over tyvek since I had never done that before and wanted to see how it would behave.  This was the result.  The slide show is the student work for the day.  Great job!!

We had a wonderful week here in Gualala.  I hope I have the opportunity to come back again to teach.  This is a fabulous community and a charming place to spend some time.  Just south of Point Arena on the Pacific Coast amongst the Redwoods with the Pacific Ocean lapping at the shore.  Ah Paradise!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Today we worked on creating self portraits by looking in the mirror as opposed to working from a photograph.  I was impressed with the quality and output today.  This is a fun group of people to work with.  Tonight most of us went out for dinner and great conversation.  Tomorrow is the last day.  I will be sad to say goodbye to everyone.  Hopefully I will be back for another workshop.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Today everyone did a bozzetto sheet with various expressions of the same face.  I have a wonderful series of photos I took of Preston Metcalf, the assistant curator of the Triton Museum in Santa Clara, Ca.  He has a wonderfully expressive face and was generous in letting me use these photos however I saw fit.  I like to use them for this exercise because the expressions are genuine, not an actor posing.  I decided to do a sheet based on a children's book, Sesame Street Opposites featuring Zero Mostel mugging his way through the book.  Talk about over acting!!  I also thought it would be instructive to demonstrate adding some collage elements.  This piece doesn't photograph true to how it actually looks.  Another fun day with lots of great student work!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This is the demo I did for today's demo.  The idea is to change the lighting on the face you are painting.  It takes quite a bit of concentration to translate the light pattern you see on another image and transfer it to the one you have.  The following slide show is the result of lots of great work today.  Everyone grasped the concept and ran with it!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I have a small but enthusiastic group here in beautiful Gualala, California.  The Advanced Watercolor Portrait workshop is at the Gualala Art Center.  I will take some photos of the grounds and building and post later in the week.  It is a stunning venue.  Day one deals with the opportunity to explore various color ideas.  I have everyone work on a half sheet divided into 5 x 7 segments.  As you can see by the slide show, everyone really had fun with this concept.  I wish my photography was as good as their efforts!  I must do a better job of photographing tomorrow.

At the end of the day, my husband and I sipped wine, sitting in comfy chairs outside watching the sun setting into the Pacific Ocean.  A perfect ending to a wonderful day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Although I haven't been painting, I have been busy taking care of office work, entering competitions, matting and framing work and getting ready for teaching my Advanced Watercolor Portrait workshop in Gualala next week.  One of the topics is how to change the lighting on the image.  Ideally, you have a sculpture head that you can light in different ways to see how the light falls on the different features.  There was a small plaster  cast available through the Utrecht catalogue awhile back but I missed the window of opportunity to purchase it.  Now I can't find anything suitable.  I usually just keep a clip file of interesting lighting situations on various heads and work from that.  Tonight I was playing around with Photoshop Elements and discovered a tool called "Smudgestick" under filters/artistic.  I had never bothered with that one before.  Turns out it alters the light pattern on the image!  I have included a photograph of mine.  The top image I reduced the light on the face just slightly.   The bottom image I removed most of the shadow on the face.  

I will be sitting out at the Gallery Concord tomorrow working on my example of various expressions for the workshop.  Stop by and check it out if you find yourself in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


 I was sitting in the doctor's office reading the September issue of Art and Antiques when I came across this nifty little number!!!  How cool is this! At the turn of the last century, all gentlemen had a walking cane as an elegant accessory.  Some hid a sword, I believe, while others were actually guns. This one was an easel in disguise!  The handle came off and there was a metal tripod that dropped down through the bottom.  I hope you can see the space for the paints and next to that there was a water container.

I wish my dad was still alive.  Of course he would be 107 years old! but he was very clever and I know he could make me one of these.  My youngest son inherited this mechanical inventive gene but he is too busy.  Who do you know who could recreate this concept?  I'm ready to place my order!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Rhonda asked how I created several of my latest paintings.  The answer was too long for the comment section so I thought I would answer her questions here.

This last painting started out as a failed image.  I don't throw paper out, I recycle it into an acceptable painting.  With this one, I covered it with hand painted tissue paper collage.  Creative Catalyst Productions has a wonderful DVD instructional by Carrie Burns Brown on how to make these papers.  I then drew with a permanent Sharpie pen my images on white tissue paper that was cut into squares.  Using diluted matte medium (half water, half medium) I collaged the squares down, leaving a border around each square.  When that dried,  I painted the tissue using acrylic inks.  I also used some gold metallic acrylic around each head.

The Bleeding Heart painting started with a simple grid of squares and had a pale wash of various colors painted on the paper .  I then collaged tissue squares which had been stamped with different size heart patterns using white gesso instead of ink or paint.  I made most of my own stamps.  After the tissue collage dried, I painted on top with watercolor sticks from Daniel Smith.

I hope this information triggers some new ideas for you to explore.

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