Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ste. Geniviève Again

I love this little town.  It has so much history.  This is from a photo I took from my window at the Main Street B&B.

"Dropping In"
10" x 18"
Oil on cradled canvas

To purchase:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rainy Day Saturday

I love rainy weekends!   I stayed in and painted.  I have been wanting to paint this little scene for several years.  I don't know why I loved this photo so much. I snapped this picture  on a girlfriend trip to St Genevieve, Missouri about 5 years ago. I liked that the car was in the bottom corner - not where you would usually place a car in a photo.  But somehow the utility pole made it all work.  Here is the crazy little photo:

And here is my little painting:

Lonely Road
6" 8"
Oil on Panel

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another Plein Air

Last Friday the hubby and I went to Herb Parsons Lake, about 15 minutes from the house. It is one of our favorite outdoor places.  My dad used to take our family there to fish and to picnic.  When my husband was a senior in high school he caught his biggest fish ever there.  The fish still hangs on our wall (in a back bedroom on a remote wall.  Hey, the fish is old.) Anyway, hubby fished, and I practiced painting outdoors in a hurry before the light changes techniques. It was a unusually cool morning for July in the south.  I added the kayaks at home from photos I took.  I'm not sure I got those right.

6" x 8"
Oil on Panel
When I was a child we called the lake Fisherville Lake. I don't know when or why the name was changed.  Maybe we just called it the wrong name. I love the place.  It  has a 7 mile hiking trail around the lake that my husband and I enjoy, especially in the fall. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Plein Air!

Today was a magnificent day.  I should have been outside painting today!
Here is the finished plein air from a few days ago.  I did most of it outside, but had to finish up the flowers inside, because the weather would not cooperate!  I really enjoyed the experience.  I went out today and tried to scout out some areas for my next plein air attempt. Driving around takes up so much time, and I kept thinking that I could be home painting.  Oh well. . . . found a few promising places.

Morning Garden
8" x 10"
Oil on panel

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Finally, painting again!!!

I was beginning to think I would never get back to my easel.  I have been trying to be courageous and disciplined to be a "plein air" painter, but it is not easy in the heat of summer.  I started something a few days ago but could not finish before the sun moved too much.  I was going to go back to it yesterday, but the sun and clouds would not cooperate.

It was hot and very buggy.  The flies would not leave me alone!  However, I stuck with it and enjoyed it.  I will try to finish this next week, I hope.

So I decided to paint inside yesterday and finish something I had started earlier in the week.  When I try to jump start my painting experiences, I alway go to a car - especially a red and shiny car.

Beemer Princess
8" x 10"
Oil on Canvas

This was from a car show I happened across last year.  There were lots of old beautifully restored cars, but this little Beemer princess was sitting alone worshipping the sun!  Love her. 

If you wish to purchase this painting go to


Monday, March 10, 2014

Watercolor pencils

I spent several hours yesterday trying different techniques with my Prismacolor watercolor pencils.  Here is what I learned:

1.  You cannot expect to use them like watercolor.  Big broad loose juicy  watercolor strokes did not work for me.  When I used a very wet or sort of wet paint brush I moved the color around but the pencil mark remained.  I didn't like that look. My brush had to be slightly wetter than damp. (Does that even make sense?)

2.  It is better to layer colors and then wet the pigment to blend.  I tried putting on one color, wetting, layering on another color, wetting, etc.  Didn't like that.

3.  I had to think of them as colored pencils and not watercolor.  It is about mark making not about painting. It is a somewhat slow process.

4.  A smaller brush worked better for me.  I learned to use it like the pencils, watching my strokes and contours.  When I teach painting to my students, I always encourage them to be painterly and not to draw with their brush.  With this medium I felt like I was drawing with my brush. But that is okay.  It worked.

5. Just like painting, some of the pencil colors were more intense than others.  You have to experiment with these colors for blending.

6.  It is difficult to lift color.  I didn't try an eraser or an electric eraser.

7.  I liked smoother paper more than textured.  I had more success with a drawing paper than with a watercolor paper.

8.  The watercolor pencils would be nice for sketching on locations.  I used a small (#2 round watercolor brush), but a small waterbrush would work well too.

Here is my quick little practice painting from a photo I took many years ago:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Final Sketchbook Test

I have finished testing watercolor sketchbooks. (For now.)  This final book is a Daler-Rowney Cachet.  It is probably my least favorite.  The paper has a texture that I didn't care for and behaves like hot press paper. When I tried to glaze over a color, the first layer lifted or made water spots of some sort.  It did lift quite easily for corrections or refinements.  But, when I pulled up the artist tape I had used to create sharp borders,  it tore the paper badly.


 On the left side in the sky, the paper actually tore into my painting. (I think you can see it.) I freaked first, then I glued it down with some diluted fabric glue.  The glue said it would dry invisibly, which it did, except for the sheen!  I should have tested it first.  Also, as I was brushing the glue on very carefully, the paper started to disintegrate.  

The tear is on the edge to the left of the house.  
Oh well, it is just a sketch.  

This is a building on the island of Île d'Yeu.  I'm not sure if it is a house.  It was from a photo I took and I don't remember what it was. (Maybe JB will know.)

I also painted this next one earlier in the week when we were off for snow and ice.  I could not make this thing work, and I am not happy with it.   I will put some of the blame on the paper and some of it on the artist.   The only reason I am posting it is because I loved this place. 
It is from a photo I took in the south of France in a village called Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, which translated means St. Marys of the sea.  It is in the Carmague area along the Mediterranean Sea.  These people believe that Mary Magdalene and two other Marys landed there after the crucifixion of Jesus. There are many legends surrounding these women, so who knows?  Maybe it is true. There are beautiful wild horses that run wild in the salt marshes of the region.  AND there is a huge gypsy pilgrimage that takes place here every year!

It seems so overworked. Every time I tried to glaze and add a layer of color, the underneath color lifted.  I should have stopped and left it alone. 

So these are the sketchbook I loved the most:

My favorite is the Kilimanjaro by Cheap Joe's.  A close second was the very inexpensive Cotman.  And I think I did finally love the Moleskin.  The top sheet in the pad curled a lot, but the second one did not.  And at first I didn't like the texture, but when the little paintings were finished, I liked the way they looked. (See earlier post.)

So now I will try some watercolor pencil sketching on these three pads and see what happens.  I have both Prismacolor pencils and Derwent to try. I have never been very successful with the watercolor pencils.  Maybe I just need to practice.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Page #2 Altered Book

So, yes, I am very behind on my altered book. As I posted before, my students have challenged me to complete an altered book by the end of the school year.  This is an assignment I give my Art 3 students every year.  I started one at the beginning of the year with the students, but never made it past Assignment 1.  They have completed 11 assignments, so they told me a few weeks ago that I must have my second page done by Feb. 14.  Well, I completed it today, only 10 days late. The subject I chose was very difficult and took a great deal of time to complete. 

This is the assignment:
For this week’s lesson in acrylic paint I want you to recreate a famous painting to incorporate into your theme.  You may interpret this however you like.  Remember, this must be a famous painting.  If you are unsure about whether it is in the “famous” category, check with me.  You may create your own variation of the painting to include in your theme, or you may do a work of your own art with a miniature of the famous painting somewhere in the composition In your design “hide” the name of the artist.

My book is about the trip I made to Turkey and Greece a few years ago with  a close friend.  My famous art page includes the Deesis Mosaic from the Hagai Sopia in Istanbul.  The is a mosaic that I had seen in art history books for years.  When I came around the corner on an upper lever of the Hagia Sophia and saw the mosaic, I was surprised and excited.  I knew it was there, but had forgotten. The mosaic had disappeared for a while and had to be restored.  Much of it is missing, but is still breathtaking.

I decided to I paint Joy and myself in front of the mosaic. The prospect of painting the two of us made me very nervous.  We had not taken a picture of ourselves in front of the mosaic, so I had to find another photo of us to incorporate into the work. It was a fun trip and the painting was difficult but fun as well.

Also, I "hid" the location within the painting.  I used a very dark colored pencil on the very dark area on the right to label this "Hagia Sophia, Istanbul."  Here is what this looks like.

You have to turn the book to the light to be able to read it.  I tried to use a font that was similar to some that were in the museum itself.

The Hagia Sophia was a Christian Church from the 5th century until 1453 when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks.  It then became a mosque until 1931.  At that time it was made into a museum housing both Christian and Muslim relics.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Reviving Watercolor

I had a tube of watercolor that had dried up and was rock hard.  It wouldn't squeeze out of the tube. That doesn't usually bother me because I can just cut open the tube and rewet the paint with my brush.  However, my husband put some of these empty paint tubes in my Christmas stocking, and I have been dying to use them.

 So I put the hard cakes of dried up paint in a little dish and soaked it in water.  I covered the dish with plastic wrap for several days and left it.  It absorbed all of the water but was not completely soft.  So I put some drops of gum arabic on the cakes and mashed it all together with several makeshift tools.  I did not have a muller, but found some rounded objects and ground it all together.  Then I used a palette knife to blend it until it was a smooth texture.  I scraped it into the bottom of the empty tube. I poked down in the tube with a toothpick several times to release air bubbles.  Then I used a paper towel to clean up around the bottom opening.  I folded the  bottom several times and then took it to my husbands vice.  I pinched it with the vice, being careful not to pierce the tube.  Voilà- a new (ish) tube of Ultramarine! Not necessary but Fun.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

And Another kind of Watercolor Pad

I'm still trying out watercolor sketchpads, and I found one that I really like. This one is a Kiliminjaro pad from Cheap Joe's (www.cheapjoes.com) .  It has 140 lb cotton watercolor paper and sketching paper.  This could be a good pad for traveling and journaling. Paint on one and journal on the next.  I also used tape on it, and it came off without tearing.  I think this is the one we will use for our trip to France this summer.  I also like the size of this one.
The painting is once again from Île d'Yeu.  I had a beautiful lunch and lots of laughs on this sunlit patio with good friends.  (JB, does this house have a name?)

"Ker Chalon"
3" x 5"

Here is the pad I used.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Speed Painting

I tried to do one small painting in an hour tonight.  However, it probably took about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  This is another painting from Île d'Yeu in the same location as the previous post.
I used the little Moleskin sketchpad and liked it better this time because it didn't curl as much. I used the Koi travel palette and mostly conventional brushes.  I tried using the water brush, but kept picking up the old standbys, both from Cheap Joe.  I wanted a flat brush tonight and I always turn to the Golden Fleece by Cheap Joe.
Here's a picture of my set up as I worked from the computer screen:

Monday, February 3, 2014

More Watercolor

I start each of these little watercolors with the intention of "sketching."   But it doesn't look like sketching.  I need to work more spontaneously. Anyway, here is a little painting made from a photo I took on Île d'Yeu off of the western coast of France.  This was a little beach on the south side of the island called  Plage de la Pointe des Corbeaux.  I know someone (JB) reading this is impressed that I know the name of this beach! (I found it on Google.) This area of the island has these unique little cabana type buildings and boats with wheels on the back, so it was pretty easy to find once I Googled images for Île d'Yeu. This is a very interesting little island with monolithic and neolithic relics/stone structures. I love this island.  I could write several entries about the food and the pots of cream and the hydrangeas.

5.75" x 6"

Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Fun with Art Supplies

I continue to play with watercolor pads and paint. Today I painted from a photo of an old truck that I took in Northwest Arkansas. (There are more old trucks in NWArkansas than any other place in the country.)  Tonight I painted on a spiral watercolor pad by Cotman (Winsor Newton). It wasn't nicely bound and pretty, just a plain little inexpensive spiral.  I liked the paper because it was easy to lift out color, and I didn't like it because it was easy to lift out color. ???  I like the lifting to create highlights and to make corrections.  But color also lifted when I was glazing and adding layers. I loved the weight of the paper and there was little buckling.
I used my very old and very used metal travel palette which is filled with all of the colors and brands I love.  It is much larger than the cute little travel palettes that are available now and with which I have been experimenting. But it felt very comfortable and familiar. Of course I am trying to find a palette  the students will be comfortable using.  I know there are some  some plastic versions of these on the market today that are much lighter than the metal one I have.
Also a dear friend gave me the collapsible water bucket you can see in the picture.  It is a rubber and folds down to about 1 1/2". Love it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Testing Watercolor Sketching Supplies

I am trying to find the perfect watercolor sketchbook, watercolor palette, and travel brushes for a summer trip to France with 8 high school girls.  Last night I painted on a Moleskin watercolor sketchbook, with a palette I made from an old Prang watercolor kit filled with Utrecht watercolor paint. This is my result.

Oops, the picture has the Koi palette, but I used the Prang one. I didn't love the Moleskin.  Notice how the paper curls up.  The paper also had a texture I didn't care for,  and I wish the paper had been a little heavier.  It might have prevented the curl.  But the final result was not too bad. I did use masking tape to create a border and the tape stuck to the paper.   This sketchbook paper has perforations so you can easily remove the painting from the book if you like.  Personally I like to fill up a sketchbook.  I have other books and palettes to try.  I will post those soon.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Watercolor Sketching

I haven't painted in months!  Well, I do demos at school for my high school art student, but that doesn't really count.  I am taking students to France again this summer. (Tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.) We usually spend a week of our trip at a beautiful chateau painting en plain air with oils.  Unfortunately the chateau has closed, so this year we will be on the road for the entire trip and painting on the fly. So that calls for watercolors - my first love.  I painted with some Urban Sketchers in NYC last fall and they introduced me to some new tools and brushes.  I've been wanting to try them out before starting my watercolor sketching classes for my travelers.
Here the brush I used.  It holds water in the handle and is perfect for traveling.
And here is the Sakura Koi Pocket Palette.  Isn't it cute.  I have other brands but the Urban Sketchers were using these so I had to try one.

 I didn't think I would like these paints because they seemed a little opaque.  But they worked fairly well, because I tried not to overpaint.  The paper in the sketchbooks I was using did not work well with watercolor, so I'll have to look for something with real watercolor paper. 
I was only going to paint for a short while so I threw some still life objects on a table without much thought.  I wasn't happy with the layout, but I loved drawing and painting together, so I kept going.  I pulled out some photos from my trip to Greece and had fun painting from the computer.  Here are the results of a couple hours of playing with my new art supplies!  I can't wait to try this again tomorrow.  Maybe I can go out in the neighborhood and paint. 

It was a fun few hours and made me realize how much I miss painting.  I've got to make more time for painting.