Sunday, February 23, 2020

Still Kinda Caught

Yep. Still kinda caught in that no-man's land I've been talking about, but still learning. I knew my reference photo probably didn't have enough dark/light contrasts, and I don't feel skilled enough yet to make them up.  Consequently the largest flowers in the forefront are less interesting than they should be. I find the right side of the composition more interesting than the left. That's why I'll fold this in half length-wise and make a greeting card out of it. Viewer will see the right side first. 

I make cards out of many (okay, most) of the paintings I create. They're not suitable for framing, but they're fun to send as cards. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Spring is here

More influence from artist Emily Weil after last Saturday's workshop. For the image below, I used a stick to apply the black ink -- Emily's influence. Thank you, dear Emily. Having fun with this. 

These orange flowers have popped out all around the island in the last few days; the yellows below just overnight and they're peppering areas right along the water and rocks. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

More Caughtness and Relief

Cherry Study II
Ink and w/c
6 x 9" Arches 100% cotton hot press paper

More caughtness and more relief. Relief is on top--something I created this afternoon with some ink followed by juicy w/w washes...after the a.m. caughtness on bottom -- those washes just didn't want to dance for me. Or I guess it's more accurate to admit that I didn't LET them dance. But once again, I learned something: when doing a wash over a wash, the bottom wash should loose its sheen before adding more paint--otherwise the top layer can spread too much. Also, it can help to use more paint (but still not too much paint) in the top wash than in the bottom wash. 

Maybe I also am partial to the washes that can happen on hot press paper??? Stay tuned on that one. 

Cherry Study I
7 x 10" Arches 100% cotton cold press paper

Sunday, February 16, 2020


Onion and Yam Conversation I
Ink and w/c
6 x 9", Arches Hot Press w/c paper

After wrestling with my attempts to control the Cheetah painting, it was such a relief to attend another three-hour workshop taught by Emily Weil yesterday at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts.  

Onion and Yam Conversation II
Ink and w/c
6 x 9", Arches Hot Press w/c paper

Emily helped chase my control blues away. This time she had us using sticks to apply ink (I used black acrylic ink by Daler/Rowney), let it dry a few minutes, and then add watercolor from a palette of only three colors by Daniel Smith: quinacridone magenta, hansa yellow light, and pthalo blue (green shade). 

Onion and Yam Conversation III
Ink and w/c
6 x 9" Arches Hot Press w/c paper
Emily is so permission-giving as a teacher/artist. I highly recommend her as an instructor. In fact, she's leading a retreat this summer in the North Woods in Wisconsin. Be sure to check it out! 


10 x 14" watercolor
Arches 140# cold pressed 100% cotton w/c paper

Meet Cheetah, my friend Lynn's horse. I'm not normally drawn to include animals in my art, but Lynn's photo of Cheetah was so wonderfully rendered that I had to try creating it as a painting. I figured she wouldn't mind my appropriation. 

My goal: to render a true likeness of the horse but also to use some juicy washes and let the watercolor take the reins, just like Lynn says feisty Cheetah likes to do. But as you can see, I got caught in the sticky nettles of control and the watercolor magic didn't have a chance. 

I might try to spray out some sections of this and try again, as Sandra Strohschein demo-ed in a workshop awhile back. (Yes, I still plan a post on that workshop very soon.) Or I might just leave it as is and chalk it up to a two-day adventure on this steep learning curve called art. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Negative Spaces

I tried to think in terms of painting the space around the flowers in order to block in their shapes. I was happy with that but then didn't do as well with the shadow shapes within the flowers. Same with the leaves--I rushed the process. Quite happy with the background and the shadows, however. Not happy with the full painting, below: I was in too much of a hurry with the bulbs. Also not crazy about the composition itself. I was intrigued with the way the left bulb extended so horizontally, but the overall composition is dull, with no clear focal point. BUT: at least I learned some things about the value of painting negative shapes. 

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Starting Over

So easy to get out of the daily painting habit and feel like you're regressing. So hard to get back into it. 

Today, after a gap of a couple of weeks and the gnawing feeling I might never paint again, I made myself start with a drawing of something close at hand--these sprouting bulbs. I started with pencil, then added some quick strokes of watercolor pencil and water, then a layer of watercolors with brush. It was all very rushed; I couldn't seem to make myself slow down and really see. After everything dried, I added black ink with my Sailor fountain pen with the calligraphic nib. That felt better. And then I added the words, and that felt even better. 

Sometimes getting back on the horse is clumsy and awkward, but that's what it takes to stay on a learning curve. But now, as the sun wanes, it's time for some of that chicken soup. 

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...