Saturday, December 31, 2011


Hard to believe, but this is the last day of 2011.  Towards the end of the year, I start thinking about what I want to focus on for the coming year.  Keeping my attention on a few things and exploring them in depth helps me to be more creative and expand my expertise in these areas so that they become ingrained in my thinking and working without conscious thought.  I think of it as directed growth.  One of my focused ideas for 2012 is to have every painting contain an 80/20 ratio of contrasts.  When I look at art work, the ones that capture my attention the most are the ones with the greatest contrast.  To achieve this will require considerable conscious thought and planning on my part and seems like an exciting challenge.  I also plan to work with one image all year and see how many variations I can come up with.   This doesn't mean that it is the only image I will work with for the year but it will be the dominant one.  The last idea that I wish to explore in detail for the year is the integration of a complex and interesting background with the figure/head.  In traditional portraiture, the background is usually just supportive of the head and figure and non-descript.  I want to try some non-traditional ideas.

The last project I have for this year (today!) is to create a book of my work for the past year.  I think this is a great way to have a record of each year and is fairly simple to do with all the wonderful technology available on the internet.  I am going to use Blurb but there are a number of places that you can create these self published books.

Today I wrote out my goals for the coming year on a piece of paper.  I will put it away and check it next Dec. 31st.  A goal is only a dream if it is not written down.  Some of these goals require that I create a strategy to make them happen.  Some of them require that I only show up each day and work.  It is amazing to see at the end of the year how many things came to realization because I just showed up and did my part leaving the Universe to do it's part.

I am excited for the new year to begin!  I will be taking a new workshop from Gerald Brommer using tons and tons of 3-d collage materials, slathering it with gesso and then painting with watercolor or acrylic!  Then, I am taking Mike Bailey's Watercolor Beyond the Obvious class for the 4th time.  Some people have taken it as many as 12 times (I think that is the record).  People sometimes ask me why I am in a workshop when I teach them myself.  I hope I never get to the place where I can't be learning something new.  I love being the teacher and sharing what I know and I love being the student and learning from others, both the instructor and my fellow students.  I also learn new ideas for presenting my material in my workshops by observing different instructors.

In closing, I would like to share with you a quote from Edward Betts which expresses my concept of the kind of art I wish to make.  I am going to make a beautiful sign for my studio so I can be inspired by it each day.

"There is an obligation to go beyond craftsmanship, to push the medium beyond descriptive imitation toward the transformation of nature into solely pictorial terms, to form images that have urgency and communicative power and in which poetry or geometry is of more concern than an unimaginative list of visual facts."

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have followed my blog this year and been so generous with your support of my work and efforts.  May you all have a healthy, happy and creative year full of joy in
the making of art!

Friday, December 23, 2011


Jennifer Lawson holding our mutual portrait sketches
Jennifer's sketch of Me
My sketch of Jennifer
Wednesday I had the wonderful opportunity to get together with a friend I met through the internet.  It's like cyber pen pals!  Jennifer Lawson is an awesome woman in every way.  Not only is she an extremely talented artist but a world class athlete and adventurer!  With art in common, we spent a few hours visiting and looking at each other's sketchbooks and sketching materials, sharing our mutual admiration of various artists we found on the net and drawing a portrait of each other while sitting in the sunshine at the Cafe in the Cantor Museum on the Stanford University campus.  We gifted each other with the sketch.  What a special present of friendship with and through art.
Jennifer plans to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in a few weeks!!!  I will be cheering her on and looking forward to hearing about this amazing adventure.  I forgot to ask her if she plans to do any sketching along the way.  If so, they will be something to look forward to.

Friday, December 16, 2011


I had a call today informing me this painting has been accepted into the Western Federation Watercolor Society exhibition!  I was very pleased because it's one of my favorite paintings.  I was hoping to go to the opening of the show in April but it is a few days before my teaching at Kanuga.  Too bad as Las Vegas is a great town to visit!

I have been hearing reports that the January issue of Watercolor Artist is out but I haven't seen it yet.  The bookstore told me it should arrive by the 19th at the latest.  The painting from the CWA national show is in this issue along with the other 2011 winners from shows around the country.  The staff at Watercolor Artist asked me to write the Creativity Corner article for the April issue of the magazine.  I was honored to  be considered.  The creative challenge for me was in keeping to the 450 word text limit.  The staff at the magazine has been great to work with.   It will be fun to see what paintings the readers come up with after reading the article.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I was fascinated with the art of a British artist who calls himself Fabric Lenny.  You can find him on the web.  I tried to analyze what he was doing.  I loved how his figures fit together like puzzle pieces, his use of line and color and pattern.  The first drawing I tried to fill in the spaces with variations of my original drawing.  The second drawing, I created an uneven grid and then fit the images into the different rectangles.  Playing around with the shape of the sunglasses was lots of fun.  Not exactly Fabric Lenny but I had a great time.  I'm not so sure my son appreciated the effort!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Overall I am pleased with this sketch.  The head on the left needs to be bigger as it is closer than the second head.  I also need to move them a little further apart.  I did some other drawings but will post them tomorrow.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Here is the first sketch with the family members in place in the composition.  I am not totally  happy with the scale or the individual likenesses but it gives me a fair idea of how this will play out.  I am going to see how changing the sharp focus from one face to another will work.

Monday, December 5, 2011


This is a graphite sketch I did today which will be my composition for a new series.  I am going to replace the faces with my husband and three sons.  I am excited about this idea.  I need to photograph my youngest son in profile and full view and then I think I will have all the necessary reference material.  I love how the faces in in different focus.  I can play around with this idea and change which face is in sharp focus.  I can also work with different value patterns and that is just the beginning!

I had a real computer scare while I was sorting through all the photos on my computer and the auxiliary hard drive which has lots of older photos.  Somehow, the older version of iPhoto which is on the auxiliary hard drive replaced my iPhoto on my MacBook.  It seemed my currant photo library had vanished!!!  I have the "time machine" back up system so I was able to recapture the newer photos and just tonight accidentally figured out how to re establish it properly on my computer.  At this moment, all is back in order and I can breathe a sigh of relief.  It is times like these that I realize too much of my life is tied up in one mechanical device.  I need to make multiple copies of important work ....starting tomorrow!

To follow up with a few other posts awhile back, here is the painting of Amber, framed and hanging on the wall at my son's house.  Since they would never tell me if they didn't like the paintings I do for them, I have figured out that the faster they want to hang them is the true test.  This one went up in record time .
Jan Werdin was kind enough to send me her version of a Tyvek Wallet after watching the video I made.  I love that she added her own ideas and included some velcro to keep the wallet closed tighter.  You can see additional wallets she made on her blog at

Lastly, I was horrified to discover that there were seventeen comments from many of you that had not been published!!!  I don't know how this happened as I thought I had done so.  A HUGE APOLOGY to everyone who took the time to send me a comment and felt ignored.  I appreciate each and every remark that I receive and would never purposely ignore any of them.  I will be checking that page more frequently to catch any errors on my part.

Related Posts with Thumbnails