Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Spruce Falls 2

After much thinking on this one, I decided that the pool didn't read completely like a pool so decided that since I had lifted too much from the reflections that I should add more dark streaks to the pool area to differentiate it from the falls and rocks. So, I did that and think it reads better now. I am not sure if what I did is correct, but I do like it better this way. At least it appears to be more level now, as water should be!

I am going to go back to working on two different paintings at once so I will quit pondering one painting so much, I think I over-thought this one just about to death. It helps, when I get too involved with one painting, to have another to switch to for awhile. I have another waterfall painting and a still life drawn on watercolor paper so will start those. I can still make changes to this one, however, if anyone has any good suggestions for me. Thanks to Rhonda for her thoughtful critique yesterday, what do you think now, Rhonda? I am hoping it also reads more like a pool to you now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Spruce Falls - Maybe Final

Well, I am at the point now where I have to decide if I am finished or not. There is so much going on in this painting that I am afraid I will overdo it, if I haven't already. I like the depth the draping trees gave to the scene and the bits of branches help up at the top. I still am conflicted about that pool, but will think on that one for awhile. Maybe if I go on to another painting and just visit this one occasionally, I will be more sure if this is done or not. Whatever happens with this painting, I am still lovin' the Yupo! My next victim will be on Arches 140-pound watercolor paper, though.

When matted, it will fit into a 22x30 gold metal frame, image size is 15 by 23.

Spruce Falls - WIP 3

Another day, another phase to ponder. I detailed the rocks better, added some of the yellows and greens to the water, purples to the foliage above the falls, misted water on the water to create sparklies and now it is time to sit and ponder and wonder if I need to re-do anything at this stage. I am not sure I like the water pool, but also am not sure I dislike it. My original goal was to not hold back on color and not to try to keep things so realistic, so I have to think on this some. Do you get the idea I am out of my comfort zone, here?

In the ref photo there are a few twiggy branches crossing over the sides of the falls, in front of the rocks, that have specks of yellow leaves. I am thinking of putting those in to bring some more of that yellow down to the middle area a bit. That would be especially effective across some of the deeply shaded, purple rocks since yellow is the complement of purple....Hmmmm. This is one of those paintings that looks better from across the room...I am never sure just what that means, but that's the way it is with this one.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Spruce Falls - WIP 1 and 2

I started another Yupo painting today. I am either going to master this stuff or quit reading Sandy Maudlin's blog! That woman just inspires me so with this Yupo. Then, I get started and mine doesn't look anything like hers or anything like I thought it would. Anyway, this is from a reference photo provided by an online Florida friend, Jim Pierce, who took this photo following an arduous (and dangerous) hike to get to this place (I think it is in the Smoky Mountains). I love the punched up colors of the place, and, as always, punched up colors always speak to me in Yupo-ese. So I did no drawing, just quasi-planning and picked up the brush and went for it with the underpainting. After the first WIP photo was taken I was assuming the "what have I done?" attitude. I then got out my little sponge paint roller, dampened it in clean water, and started, gingerly, lifting the paint to form the cascades and waterfall. If you think that painting negatively around objects to create shapes with darker paint is intimidating, try lifting out lighter shapes to form object shapes from the darker surrounding areas - negative lifting? I still have more of this lifting to do, but forced myself to quit and take a better look at what I have going on here. I have figured out that if I open the French doors into my studio and sit in the adjoining family room and look at my paintings on the easel, it gives me a far better perspective on what is needed for them. So, I have been sitting with my feet up, considering and critiquing this painting. Honest, I am not resting, but instead critiquing!

Lots of highlighting and shading needed on the rest of the painting and I don't quite like how the sunlit foliage turned out above the falls, but I think I need to add some purple shapes in there to integrate it with the rest of the painting. We'll have to see what happens when I next pick up a brush. This Yupo stuff is usually just a big experiment for me, so you never know.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Yarnell Photo Jaunt

I mentioned I would upload more of my Yarnell Photo Jaunt photos to Flickr yesterday and actually got that done today. They are at: if you would like to see more of them.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Desert Photo Jaunt

We felt like taking a photo jaunt this morning so got out before it got too warm and spent about five hours wandering up Yarnell Hill and as far as Skull Valley, turned around and went from Wickenburg to the Harquahala Valley and then home. I took about 200 photos, just playing around with lenses, etc. We haven't taken the opportunity to do any jaunts like this for awhile so it was very pleasant and fun to do.

I'm just sharing a few of my photos, I'll get them over to Flickr at some point later.

She reads the book!

For those who recall and read my "Ernie Goes to Alaska" book I wrote for my granddaughter, here she is reading the book. I am so glad to see her reading it. I am also glad they took the photo from this angle since it shows off her beautiful and curly red hair. Check out the hot pink tootsies, also...she is becoming a girlie-girl!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Iris on Yupo II

Thanks to the great critiques I got from the WcW gang, it was pointed out that my spiky iris leaves were not skinny enough and were too overpowering for the size of the irises. So, since this is Yupo and allows many goofs and corrections, I wiped out all the FAT leaves and started that part over. I am not sure this is finished yet, but will say that it (or I) am finished for now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Iris on Yupo

This is my latest work in progress. I thought I was submitting it for final critique by the WcW group, but in the photo I noticed that clumpy upper right leaf so I will wipe that out and do over or leave it out. That is one thing I appreciate about painting on Yupo, wipe-outs and do-overs are easy! I'll await critique on this and see if anything else needs to be done and then go with it.

I was inspired to paint this in this format and composition after seeing a similar painting, done in extreme vertical format, on Sandy Maudlin's blog last week. Of course, her painting does not contain clumpy foliage or any flaws at all, she is so good! At any rate, I admit to being inspired by her iris painting, had a frame in this odd size (18x36) and bought some purple matboard and am all set and ready to go. That is, unless I wipe most of this out and start over. With our humidity as high as it has been for a few weeks, waiting for paint to dry on Yupo has required patience. I should be doing two of these at once so I can be working on one while the other is drying. I may try that with some hollyhocks, I have another frame that will accommodate this long and narrow format and hollyhocks can be painted that way, so might just have to do another, soon.

Anyone see anything, other than that bothersome leaf at the upper right, that needs attention (or wiping out)?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Early Morning flowers

I was just fooling around with some early morning, sunlight-on-the-flowers photos this morning and here they are. I just love the contrast of bright light on objects such as flowers. These were taken with the macro setting on the camera and a macro lens. I may try to paint awhile today, but for now I will show you something pretty in the photo department instead of sharing any paintings.

I am taking my time with the Yupo iris painting so will wait until I am finished with it to share. With this being our monsoon, high-humidity time I am unused to having to wait so long between stages when painting on Yupo. It is an exercise in patience.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Happy Birthday?

I have to share with you a birthday card I received from Ann. She, Barb and I make up three bestest buddies, collectively known as "Tres Amigas". Since we live in the same retirement (excuse me, Active Adult) community this card is more apropos than just funny, but we all laughed so hard when I opened the card. This was too funny not to share with you all. Good find, Ann!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Silver Tea Pot in Sepia

This is a small study I did today, trying to work with paintings of silver. I may do this one larger, just trying out the techniques.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hermitage Peony

I am calling this Hermitage Peony since I took the reference photo of this magical, glowing flower three years ago when we were in Nashville. It was in Rachel Jackson's formal flower garden, near where she and Andrew were interred. This is my third attempt at doing this flower, I couldn't get the glow going before, but this time I did!

I used a macro approach and painted it to go into a 28x28 inch square frame. It is painted on Arches 140-lb, which I found better for the hard vs soft edges needed for this. The Kilamanjaro paper I have been trying just absorbs too much of the paint and doesn't give me the hard edges where they are needed.

I have so enjoyed my painting time this last month, it seems I can start a painting immediately upon finishing one and that is such a luxury. But, if I don't have some sales soon we will soon be run out of our house by all this inventory! Can't seem to stop, though. Thanks to the second infusion of metal frames for larger paintings from my friend, Woody, my head is swirling with ideas for more large paintings. I'll just keep on keepin' on with these.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Now, the comments function is working again!

I lamented the fact that my blog, inexplicably, was not showing the number of comments to anything and just had a question mark on the comments footer. Well, it due in no part to my expertise with blogs, corrected itself and is now working again. Thankfully! I had no idea what was wrong, but am thankful that all is running well again. Comment away!

Arte Y Pico Award

Rhonda has awarded me the Arte y Pico award.
Arte y Pico is a blog from Uruguay created by Ana, who also created this wonderful award. So what does Art y Pico mean? In explaining what Arte Y Pico means, I will quote what my nominator, Rhonda, found: " I'll take my definition from Nava, who contacted Ana, the award originator: "Basically, ironically, it translates into a wonderful phrase in Mexico, 'lo maximo'. It will never find its counterpart in English, but if it HAD to, it would be something like, Wow. The Best Art. Over the top."
There are rules attached with this honor. It is sort of a "pay forward" deal. Award recipients are to choose five blogs they think are deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself. Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award which is here: Arte y Pico.

I am thinking of how many blogs I visit daily, mainly those who participate fully in the blogging community and share their wonderful art with us often. I don't know if I will submit five people, but I will choose wisely.
Once again, I thank Rhonda for her focus on my blog and support she gives to all of us. Her blog address is:
Here are my nominees for this award:
Doris Glovier at Doris paints in all media, and paints very well. Her portraiture and figure painting is just so sensitively painted, you feel she is showing us the souls of her subjects. I follow her oil-painting as well as watercolors on her blog and am grateful she is always willing to answer a request for more information and appreciate her sharing her work with us.
Kathy Nesseth at Kathy is a watercolorist supreme who had a recent painting chosen for the homepage of our Watercolor Workshop, the online critique group with over two thousand members worldwide. Her attention to detail with a paintbrush needs no other illustration than to have you go to her blog and see that strawberry painting. Kathy and I also belong to another group, where we share paintings four times a year, it is Sharing with Artist Partners or SWAP. I had the honor of receiving one of her paintings in a SWAP a couple of years ago and it is a treasured painting on my SWAP painting gallery in my studio.
Shanti Marie at Shanti paints in many media, including very fluid watercolors that retain their vibrancy and life. Her favorite subject seems to be Koi fish, and before I started reading her blog I wasn't all that enthused about fish paintings, but her treatment of these beauties gives them souls. She is part of the Daily Painters movement and adds to her blog daily with her latest paintings. It is a very colorful blog and one I check on daily, I might miss something if I didn't!
Nicholas Simmons at Nick made a comment on my blog, came to that through several other blogs, and I am so glad he did. He is an internationally known artist and reading his blog introduces us to exhibits worldwide and is so interesting with tidbits on what he is working on currently, shows he is in, workshops he is instructing, and much more. His work is definitely "over the top" as the focus of this award suggests and his blog is so interesting to follow. I am so glad he made a suggestion on a piece of art I had on my blog, it was a valid and valuable suggestion and introduced me to another dimension in the blogging artworld.
I wish the rules would allow me to add the blogs of Rhonda Carpenter and her teacher, Sandy Maudlin, to my favorite blogs but they have already been awarded this trophy. These two deserve additional mention here, though. If I only have five minutes to spend on the computer I always check in on their blogs. They are very giving and talented artists who take the time to contribute to the art blog community, and contribute well and often.
Thank you again to Rhonda for this honor, I like the concept of recognizing those who make our art lives richer, more valid certainly more fun!


For some reason, the most recent comments are not showing on the blog page, just a question mark where it should show how many comments. But, it looks like if you click on the comment word that they are being saved and you can read them. Just be aware that if you have made a comment that I am reading them, and thanks for participating!

Strange happenings computer/blogwise lately. Not all of them are bad, however. In fact, my blog (and art) has received an award, the Arte Y Pico award. When I can get everything put together to explain this and brag a little I will do that here. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Shade on Yupo - Revisited (corrected)

I received some great critiques on this one from my buddies at the WcW. They noted that I had ended that tree trunk to the left of the umbrella pole at the umbrella canopy...a big no-no that I would have caught in anyone elses painting, but did I see it in my own painting? No! I also had a few floating table legs that needed to be grounded and while I was at it I added some dappled shadows on the outside of the yellow table leg. I like it better, although I was too blind to see the problems with it before. I hope that no one is afraid of criticism when painting so they don't want critiques, I see them as invaluable tools for artists to help each other and have learned so much by having my paintings critiqued, as well as doing the critiques for others.
Better now?

Shade on Yupo

This is the July project for the Watercolor Workshop where we are to all paint from the same reference photo. We can make some changes, but I think the thrust of it is intended to see how we all handle the composition and subject. The closest table in the photo was a green, which I didn't care for in this painting so decided to go with a yellow one and keep all the colors of the tables primary, also to integrate the background somewhat with the foreground with the yellows.

This was painted on an 11x15 sheet of Yupo, which was a joy as well as a challenge. One advantage, getting those table legs, that are all in front of each other and behind each other, correct, was a nightmare. So, when I got one behind the other in the wrong color, I just wiped it out and repainted it correctly. You can't do that with watercolor paper very well, especially with these bright, intense colors.

I am awaiting critiques from the group on this one, if anyone sees anything glaringly wrong, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Another color?

I think, from what I have heard, that a darker color is in order for the background of my blog. So, rather than go back to the black, I decided to try this deep purple for a few days and see what I think about that. It seems that a very deep color shows off artwork in a more dramatic fashion...we'll see.

Today, I have been working diligently on a Yupo painting, a Watercolor Workshop painting that demands bright primary colors and there is nothing that beats Yupo for vibrancy. So far, so good, but there is much to go yet, so stay tuned.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

It was a final....

The overwhelming critique was that my Islands in the Sky painting was a final version, so I will consider it done and move on. I am moving on to a Yupo painting so anything can happen with that stuff!

Any comments, critiques, suggestions for my new blog template? I discovered that you can create your own blog template by changing just about everything individually, background colors, text fonts, text sizes, colors of everything, etc. so I had some fun this morning. I did like the dramatic look of the artwork against that black background, but will live with this version for awhile, I can always go back to the other. I think it matches a lot of my Southwestern-themed art so will give it a try. I did, with some hints from my friend, Doris, figure out how to add my new favorite painting to the background of the header; that was fun! As my favorites change, I will be able to change that, as well. Wouldn't want to be boring or anything!

The first time I tried to change anything other than the default templates it would have been very difficult, but I now find that it can be done relatively easily so I think that must be a new feature.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Islands in the Sky - WIP 3? or Final?

I had planned on letting this "marinate" on the side for awhile as I considered what next to do, but I noticed I had misread the course of the Green River (aptly named!) and, thanks to Mr. Clean Magic Eraser was able to set it right. Duh....why didn't I see that? I drew it correctly but got lost and painted rocks over on the right side. After I corrected that I just kept on painting and had to force myself to quit, this one was a fun one to do.
Anyway, if anyone has an opinion on whether this is finished or needs something, speak up.

Islands in the Sky - WIP 2

Making haste slowly here. I painted the butte in the middle ground area by the river and then added some more depth to the canyon walls. Brought up the midground and foreground color a bit more and will slowly add more to those. Next, I will detail the canyon walls in the foreground.

I used Kilamanjaro 140-lb paper for this and it is much softer than the Arches and accepts pencil lead for the drawing more readily than the Arches does. Now that it was wetted and stretched, the pencil lines won't go away very well, this is a problem for me since I don't like to have any pencil lines showing through. For any paintings involving a more detailed drawing such as this in the future I will have to remember to use Arches paper....lesson learned.

Islands in the Sky - WIP

This is where I am with my half sheet canyon painting after a session at the Art Club yesterday with my art buddies. We always get so much accomplished at these sessions in addition to solving the world's problems, talking about grandkids, as well as laughing until our sides hurt.

My intent was to map out the difficult and intricate canyon paths with this underpainting, these are hard to follow from a photo! The ref photo was one I took a few years ago at Canyonlands Nat'l Park - Islands in the Sky district. That is the Green River which cuts its way through the canyon and it is indeed green. It will be greener than it is now when I am finished.

I had intended on keeping the underpainting pale and then going in and punching up the colors a lot. Now, I am considering leaving it soft as it is now and only detailing more of the mid and foreground areas to show atmospheric perspective better. I love how the watercolor did its thing by flowing together and whatever I do will only strengthen the colors where needed (foreground) but let the colors flow. Anyone got an opinion on this? I'd love to hear it....vivid or soft?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Back in Business - Almost

Thanks to an idiot hacker with a deviant personality, I have had two very bad days putting my computer world back together again after my spyware found a suspect file and tried to delete it. The attempted deletion of it set it in action against the registry of the computer and destroyed the boot up files so I could not boot it up at all. We got referrals to a great computer guy who chose the correct restore program to get me back up and running without losing most of my data files. All of my photos were stored in an external hard drive so those were safe, but all of the art notecards I had created and saved for reprinting, all my documents, all my art class files were at risk. Some were backed up and stored externally but many were is a hint....don't put off backing up important files! I didn't know until I was able to reinstall all my software programs how many of those I still had. My e-mail address list still is not completely restored and I have been unable to change that so far. Thanks to help from the computer guy (his name is Tom, also) and my Tom, I haven't had to do all of this myself; but mine has been the biggest share since I know how it was all organized before.

Today I will paint! If I had a photo of myself from yesterday to embed here, it would show me pulling my hair out. I love Thursday afternoons since that is my time to paint with my watercolor buddies at the Art Club. I am starting another canyon painting, a half sheet size. The last one I did has sold, this was the one where I started with a grisaille underpainting and that made it easier to not get lost in all those canyon depths. This one I will try without the grisaille and see which I prefer for canyon paintings as I have several of these to do for a possible future exhibit.