Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I've been tagged by R Garriott.

Here's my list of "Seven Unusual (okay, maybe not so
much) Things About Me":

  1. I had the good fortune to go to high school at the American School in London. We took art field trips to Paris and Amsterdam. It was an amazing experience.
  2. In college my first series of paintings was of Purina Dog Chow bags. (The old bag with the red and white checker board and the portraits of various breeds of dogs.) We were able to have pets on campus at my school, and I shared my dorm room with a cocker spaniel. His bag of food sat on my desk. I still like the folds and creases that distort the pictures and words on the bag. And I remember the tag line "All you add is love." Silly then and silly now.
  3. I tend to organize my books by color, I always strive for the rainbow... with colored pencils and markers too. I like having a variety of different colored post-its and high-liters, I need color!
  4. Due to a "series of unfortunate events" (scaffolding collapsing on my car) I rented a Mustang (a black convertible). I had no idea what it is like to lust after a car before this! I'm thinking I should be looking at a Prius, but I can't get that Mustang out of my head...
  5. My birthday is the same as A. A. Milne the author of Winnie-the-Pooh, who is still one of my best friends.
  6. My new favorite food is Vongole Pizza at Otto's in New York, fresh calms in the shells on top of the pizza. Is there anything like that in Los Angeles?
  7. I have a skateboarding cat. He hasn't learned to do it standing up yet, once he gets that down we will be posting the video on YouTube. I think he is the kind of cat that would wear a Halloween costume. As tempting as that is, I know it would be wrong (so didn't do it this year).

And now I am supposed to pick seven artists to tag, so they can join the game and play too:

My first pick is Kevin's Studio Blog with the hope that it will encourage him to actually blog!
Jelaine Faunce Studio
Ryan Studio
Ali Cavanaugh Fine Art
my fiddlestix
Susan Abbott

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Date Palm Detail

This is a detail of a watercolor painting looking up at a date palm. The full painting is all branches covered in dates radiating out of a center point. It is part of my Meditation Series: Natures Mandalas. I've always liked the painting but never thought it reproduced well. The digital image I have of the painting was scanned from a slide. Today I decided to take some close-ups of the painting myself. I am thrilled with the result. I included this detail of the painting in my 2009 Art Calendar.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

National Watercolor Society 88th Annual Exhibition 2008

I had the honor of having a painting accepted in the National Watercolor Society show for the first time. I missed the opening but finally made it out to Riverside on the last day of the show. The paintings were great but I was not impressed by the way the show was hung. When I was describing it later it occurred to me that perhaps there had been additional movable walls that had been taken out as the gallery was being set up for a wedding reception that evening.

Despite the difficult viewing situation I was glad I made the drive to Riverside and saw the paintings in person. I particularly liked Susan Stuller’s “A Balancing Act”, Irene Roman’s “Connected by Shadows”, Mary Ann Pope’s “Still Waters”, Bruce McCombs’ “Porch” Kay Carnie’s “Red Door” and Carol Hubbard’s “ In Your Dreams II” to name a few.

In case you can't find it on the wall. "Giant Wheel" is my painting that was in the exhibit.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Christmas Tree" Completed

I felt stuck for a long time and left the painting alone. It felt like it was time to add the metallic gold, but I knew once I did that I would be limited on the changes I could make… so I did nothing. Finally bit the bullet and did it. (Used mainly Daniel Smith’s powdered gold watercolors.) Santa was looking good but I felt I had to separate him from the rest of the painting to make him pop. So I darkened the area surrounding the ornament. I lost some of the subtle colors that I thought were really beautiful, but it was the right thing to do. I am pleased with the way Santa turned out.

As I mentioned at the start of this painting, it will be this year's Christmas card from Ken, Cameron and me. I have cropped the image for the card. The card card is available online at zazzle.com.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Christmas Tree" Stage Six

Building up the tree – brightening already defined areas and adding branches to fill out the tree. Also working on Santa’s face.

Deepened colors on Santa. Removed masking.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Christams Tree" Stage Five

Added more masking to the sparkling bits and deepened colors on the ornament.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Christmas Tree" Stage Four

I have been mainly working on the tree. Parts of the tree are drawn in detail, but I have left much loosely defined. I want to get it sorted out before I focus on Santa. I have a tendency to include everything & I don’t want to do that here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"Christmas Tree" Stage Three

I used Daniel Smith quinacridone gold and Winsor & Newton Scarlet Lake on the Santa ornament. Added more masking fluid to areas that have been painted to reserve more highlights on the ornament, to help create the look of glitter. Besides the ornament being covered in glitter I am faced with the challenge of working with my kitten in my lap. He has to learn to be a good artist’s cat, which means keeping his paws off my brushes!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Christmas Tree" Stage Two

Mainly working on the background, wet into wet. Also worked on the orange light bulb, a little Santa’s face, and a bit on the tree.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"Christams Tree" Stage One

Every year I do a painting to use as our Christmas card. This year I am painting a wonderful Santa ornament hanging on the Christmas tree. My inspiration is last year’s tree at my Dad’s house. The tree was beautifully lit by the winter sun streaming in through the picture window.

I began this painting with a light overall yellow wash. I used both cadmium yellow pale and cadmium lemon because the subject needs both warm and cool yellow. When the wash was dry I used Schmincke masking fluid to protect highlights on the Santa ornament, the light bulb and a little bit on the tree. Next I deepen the cadmium yellow pale on areas of the light bulb and the ornament and put down pale washes of Schmincke scarlet red and Winsor green on the ornament.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Three Apples" Completed

This is the finished painting. Prints of the painting are available at:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Three Apples" Stage 5

I've painted most of the basic pattern of the plate.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Three Apples" Stage 4

Continuing to work on the plate, I have added the strong blue shapes in the pattern. At this point, I can see how the colors are working together.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Three Apples" Stage 3

The apples aren't finished, but their basic colors are established so I have started to work on the intricate patterns on the plate. I had already painted some of the shadows on the plate before adding the details.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Three Apples" Stage 2

Started developing the apples and put down a wash establishing the basic color of the table.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Three Apples" First Stages

I started this painting without stretching the paper. I did use clear watercolor tape to give me a clean sharp border. I applied masking fluid around the edge of the plate. There is a thin white edge that has a blue stripe on it. Since it separates the edge of the plate & the darker brown table I thought it would just be simpler in the long run to to mask the white. After the masking was dry I put down some pale yellow washes. I used cadmium yellow pale, cadmium lemon and aureolin. When that dried I started establishing some of the shadow areas with ultramarine blue. I also began to put down some of the reds. I’ve used permanent rose, permanent alizarin crimson and Schmincke scarlet red. The paper, Arches 140lb cold pressed, is buckling too much to make me happy. I wetted both sides of the paper & stapled it to gator board to flatten it out.

"Three Apples"

I completed the initial drawing for this painting. The subject is a simple still-life, three apples on an antique Japanese plate. I took the reference photo last Christmas while I was in Houston at Dad’s house. I love the pattern on the plate. I also like the late afternoon winter light.