Enjoy life now... it has an expiration date.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas ATC's

Participated in Drawspace's December trade with a theme of Winter/Christmas. Gotta do something to keep my brushes from dry rotting during this time of year while there's so much going on!

Each card is 2.5" x 3.5".

Had a lot of fun with these...  I used Hot Press watercolor paper for the first time, and did the cards in pen and ink and watercolor. I really liked the super smooth surface of the hot press paper. Love experimenting with art supplies!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall and ATC's

 I think it is, as my Mother would say, "high time" I did a blog post. I'm posting a series of two sets of ATC's (Artist Trading Cards) that I did in trades on Drawspace. I'm a newcomer to Drawspace, but really like the smaller number of traders and they're a great bunch!

The first set (below) was for the September trade with a theme of "Let's go to the Fair!". The second set (above) was for the October trade with a theme of anything to do with Fall.

I've also been busy knitting. Started a sweater a few weeks ago and just about finished with the body. It's knit side to side so all I have to do now is knit and seam in the sleeves. Will post a pic when it's done!

Hope you're enjoying Fall... I certainly am!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Canadian Shoreline - after Grant Fuller

"Canadian Shoreline" after Grant Fuller
I am SO ready for Fall! I've about had it with gardening for this season. My enthusiasm for growing things has nosedived and I'm ready for a deliciously chilly frost! (Heck, let's be honest here... what I'd really like is to wake up one morning to a foot of snow in the yard :-)

As usual, I've kept a low blogging profile through the summer months...just not enough hours in the day to get around to everything. Didn't get much done in the way of art either, but I did purchase a watercolor instructional DVD entitled "Painting the Sea in Watercolor" by a delightful Canadian named Grant Fuller. Love his instructional style! Clear, easy to understand, and a gentle sense of humor. It's a pretty straight forward DVD, mostly basics really, but even so I still had several "A ha!" moments... specifically in the area of how much water to use.... which is something that's been hit and miss. The light bulb finally clicked on. 'Bout time!  I followed along with the sample painting, and my version of Mr. Fuller's painting is what you see above.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Painting a Mural and Gardening = A Busy Summer!

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth! Summer is a super busy time around here.....taking care of blueberries, tomatoes, peas, okra and lots of flowers. In the meantime I've managed to work in a mural for my grandson, Tyler. He requested a lighthouse scene to match the border of his newly redecorated room. The mural measures about 10 ft wide and 7 ft. high. I'm posting photos showing the progression. The second photo from the top shows the happy "customer" (Tyler is in the middle) with two of his cousins.

How I approach murals:

1. Draw the scene on the wall with pencil
2. I usually work from the upper left down, making sure that the main features are where they need to be.
3. I use artist's acrylics because they have good coverage and dry fast (the fast dry feature is a must when painting in a kid's room)
4. Play some really good music while I'm working... another "must" :-)
5. Seal the mural with a coat of Liquitex Matte Varnish

So sorry I haven't been able to visit lately and see what's going on with your blog... I'll be back as soon as I can to see all the lovely things you're making in your corner of the world!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In the garden, in the kitchen, in the studio!

This time of the year my garden exerts some strange kind of hypnotic force and pulls me helplessly outdoors where I happily slave and sweat while digging, planting and weeding! And that's pretty much what I've been up to the last few weeks. I'm posting photos of some of my garden, mostly flowers, although there is one shot of the field peas/okra patch. I've also got lots of tomatoes planted.

I've also done a little cooking (very little!) and a friend shared a recipe for a wonderful strawberry cake (pictured) so I'm passing it along to you. If you don't have fresh strawberries, I think frozen would work just as well.

Lastly, I'm posting a picture of some magnets I painted. These magnets are wedding favors to be given out to guests. This was a new experience for me! First the magnets were glued to the glass cabochons, then I painted the image using Liquitex Acrylic paints. Lastly, the magnets were sprayed with two light coats of sealer. The magnets are approximately 1-1/4" in diameter. They're now ready to hold notes on someone's refrigerator!

Been doing some reading too. I've just finished Cindy Agan's book, "Painting Watercolors that Sparkle with Life". Some good info in there.

So... that's what I've been up to! The blueberries are ripening rapidly (although we're officially in a drought so some of the berries dried up on the bushes) which means I'm going to enjoy some studio time before I'm pulled outside again. I'm ready to do some painting!

Darnell's Fresh Strawberry Cake

1 package Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix (or your preference)
2 qts fresh strawberries
1- lb container Cool Whip
1 large box (around 5oz?) Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding 

1. The night before you plan to make the cake, wash, cap and chop the strawberries. Add sugar (to your taste - I don't measure, just add then taste until I get it right) to the berries so that you get lots of strawberry juice.
2. Next day, place strawberries in a colander with a container under it to catch the juice.
3. Bake cake in three layers and cool.
4. Mix the Cool Whip, the instant pudding powder and 1/2 of the chopped, drained strawberries until well mixed. This is your frosting.
5. Place first cake layer on cake stand, punch holes all over  and pour 1/3 of the strawberry juice onto the cake layer.
6. Place a layer of the frosting on the cake layer, then sprinkle 1/3 of the remaining chopped strawberries on top.
7. Repeat step 6 for the second layer.
8. Lastly, frost cake all over, sprinkle top with remaining strawberries and, if desired, drizzle a little strawberry juice over cake.
9. Better after it sits a day or two. Keep refrigerated.
10. Enjoy! Yum-my!

P.S. If anyone can tell me the name of the purple flower in the top photo I sure would love to know what it is!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Evening Primrose, or - Paint the Dog Before the Fleas!

 Watercolor, 5 x 9

Now that the ATC's are all finished up, I'm back to goal-oriented painting. In other words, it's not so much about the subject, but painting regularly in order to build up a variety of techniques so that one day (hopefully!) I'll be able to paint without so much conversation in my head about how to accomplish this or that particular effect.

Course, it does help if you like your subject. I have Evening Primroses growing in lovely wild abandon around my house and I love 'em! I have a friend who considers them more of a nuisance than a thing of beauty (they're prolific), but being of the cottage garden persuasion myself, I take delight in finding masses of flowers springing up pretty much wherever they please. I'm not a neatly manicured yard/garden person- give me the cottage garden/woodland look.

Back to painting. The goals with this little painting:

1. No re-doing (remember that one from my previous posts? I'm still working on it!)
2. Keep the paint in light layers so as not to lose the white/light spaces. Easier to add paint than to take it away.
3. Think about what I'm doing so that when I put brush to paper I know the effect I'm going after. The Teresa of Old would sometimes put brush to paper and then apparently hope - usually in vain - that the paint somehow knew where it was supposed to go and how saturated/unsaturated it was supposed to appear. Guess what? It didn't. Turns out it needs a little more input from me.

But while I was focusing on these goals, I didn't pay enough attention to the drawing. And after I'm almost finished painting (that would be the time to notice glaring errors, wouldn't it?) I saw that I had forgotten a cardinal rule: Paint the dog before the fleas. In other words, get the basic structure of the drawing down - correctly! - before you start adding details.

While finishing up I noticed that: 1) the right side of the top left petal curves down to ... where? The curve of the petal should end/begin in the center of the flower from whence all petals spring instead of doing its own thing in a short curve off to the left; and, 2) the stigma and the stamens also don't grow from the center as they should. I was able to do some correcting with the stigma and stamens since the area around them is very light so I aligned them with the flower center as much as I could. The incorrect curve of the petal will have to stand as a lesson to take first things first (because I don't want to re-do - see goal #1) .... get the drawing right before getting the paints out!

But, mistakes aside, it was a delight to draw and paint and I thoroughly enjoyed my painting time :-)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ATC's.... last of the batch

Here's the last of the ATC's. Color is not quite true due to the late afternoon light when photos were taken. All these are 3.5 x 2.5.

I think there's a book called something along the lines of "Paint Small, Learn Big" and there's a lot to be said for that.

These mini paintings are wonderful for trying out techniques and subjects you might not be ready to tackle in a larger work. All in all, lots of fun!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Field of Lavender

Watercolor. 6 x 10

For an assignment over at The Painting Loft.

I'm learning that painting is more mental work than I ever dreamed.

I used to have this romantic notion that a "born artist" just sat down at the canvas, waved his/her magic brush, and hey presto!.... a masterpiece! I think I started revising that notion when I began to do some reading about famous artists and realized how many of them seriously studied art. If they needed to study.... well, hey... maybe there's hope after all!

It was another eye-opening revelation when I learned that there are several earlier versions of Mona Lisa under the finished one. What? Da Vinci changed his mind? Scrapped paintings? Started over? Dare I say it....made mistakes? What a relief! Permission to mess up, make mistakes, start over . . . granted!

Particularly with watercolor, I'm beginning to have some notion of how much planning goes into a painting before the brush and paints come out to play. I saw an article in the April issue of Watercolor Artist entitled "Lyrical Landscapes". I was mesmerized by the gorgeous paintings of Joyce Hicks. I loved the looseness, the juicy color, the sense of space and the seemingly effortless way in which the pictures appeared to have been painted. Then I read the accompanying article. Lots of planning. A quote from Ms. Hicks is highlighted, "Sometimes paintings look effortless, and that's because of all the effort that you go to before you actually pick up your brush to do your final piece."

There's that mental work again. Happily, it's very satisfying work. Whether the painting is a success or failure, if you painted something and learned something it was a good day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tara's Gerbera Daisy

Watercolor, 5 x 7

This is a painting I did sometime back but didn't get around to putting the finishing touches on it. I finally got in gear and finished it up! It's a gift to my son's fiancee, Tara - hence the title. She loves bright colors so I really went for some juicy reds and oranges on this one. Was rather fun to paint!

Still on activity restriction with the nerve/arm/neck thing (doc says nerves are slow to heal... sigh) but much better than I was. Does this mean I'm not as young as I used to be? Nah! Not me! :-)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I've made enough progress that I'm able to do a little bit on the computer and spend a little time on art (YAY!). The physical therapy is really helping- I'm faithfully doing exercises to strengthen my neck and shoulder muscles so that I won't have a repeat of The Neck Incident.

Before The Neck Incident whacked out my normal activities, I had started work on some ATC's (Artist Trading Cards- 3.5" x 2.5") but had not posted them. So, here they are. I like some better than others, but find doing ATC's very valuable. Gives me a chance to experiment, cover a variety of subjects, and the volume (I'll make 20 cards for this trade) gives me much-needed practice.

It's SO good to be back in blogdom! I've started visiting blogs and am enjoying catching up with y'all ("y'all" . . a most useful Southernism ;-). Thanks again for the visits and encouraging words... you guys are great!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...