Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Bad to Better

Love Those Iowa Tomatoes
4x6" pen and ink, watercolor
Arches hot press paper

Funny how making art can elicit such fluctuations in mood. After I created the tomatoes above in just a few minutes, I just felt...happy! 

Yet prior to that I had worked for hours on the mountain/grasses painting below, and even though I learned a lot in the process, I felt dull and grumpy every time I noodled with it. Still, what I learned on that miserable painting informed what I produced on the top. (And did I say that one makes me happy?) 

These fluctuating emotions are not to be resisted as an artist. They're a valuable, shorthand compass for what to do more of, or less of; for what style suits us best for now; and for when to keep at it even though the payoff may not be immediate. It does take perseverance to ride this roller coaster as an artist...but I think it's worth it. 

Mountains and Grasses
9x12" Arches cold pressed paper

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Lotta Canna Going On

pen, ink, watercolor
Stillman & Birn Beta Series Sketchbook, 5.5" x 8.5" 

     Yes. There's just a whole lotta canna goin' on right now. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Canna Festival

Pen, ink, and w/c in softcover Stillman & Birn sketchbook, Beta series, 5.5" x 8.5"

Another pen/ink/watercolor inspired by Emily Weil. I raced home from the Frank Bette Center for the Arts and did this after the workshop, before the artist's-euphoria wore off. Thank you, Emily! 

Split Open

Pen, ink, and w/c, softcover Stillman & Birn Premium Sketchbook, Beta Series

At her workshop on using pen, ink, and watercolor recently at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts, artist Emily Weil talked about being creatively "split open like a watermelon" by her mentor, Leigh Hyams, now deceased, who wrote How Painting Holds Me on the Earth

It felt like Emily's workshop had the same effect on me. We used Speedball-type dip pens with the removable steel nibs with india ink and acrylic ink to create loose, bold line drawings of peppers...let the ink dry (acrylic ink dries faster than india)...and then added watercolor. Viola! It was fast and fun and it felt so freeeee.....!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


Kinda miss those old days of drawing with abandon and once in a while having the happy accident of making something that pleased me…but without really knowing why or how. For the past couple of months I’ve been taking a weekly watercolor class and slowly building up a foundation of knowledge about watercolor. I appreciate the learning, but it can seem like the more I learn, the worse my w/c paintings get.

Take this one, for instance, on which I spent more time than normal, adding layers and layers to the point of overkill. Good thing I know this is all part of the learning process. 

More About the Sally Project

I met Sally forty years ago when I was twenty and she was the one in her sixties. I was a waitress at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant on...