Friday, October 31, 2008

Nicholas Simmons

Nicholas Simmons is a renowned artist who has graced this blog with comments occasionally on my paintings posted here. He was a big award winner in the National Watercolor Society's exhibition and his Fresh Sushi painting is shown here, one of his award-winning paintings. This will be one of the featured paintings in the National Watercolor Society Annual Traveling Exhibition October 31, through December 14, 2008. This will be at the Surprise West Valley Art Museum during these dates. I plan to view his painting "up close and personal" and hope that many of you will, too. It promises to be a very good exhibit. Call the museum for details, see you there!

PS....If you would like to visit Nick's website it is at: This guy can paint!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Aubrey and GMa

We have had the pleasure of having our 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter, Aubrey, with us for a couple of days. She brought along her parents as well! We got in one painting session this morning and had a great time....she shows real promise! She painted a "life study" of Elmo, one of her favorite friends from Sesame Street. She really has good coordination and seemed to enjoy herself, I know for sure Grandma did! We held the painting session in "Grandma's Tudio" as she said. My tudio will be very quiet and lonely after today!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy-Susan Announcement

Last night was the meeting of Arizona Artists Guild, of which I am a juried member. This is a statewide organization of many accomplished artists from whom I have learned a great deal through their critiques and demonstrations. As part of each monthly meeting they hold an Artist of the Month competition and I usually bring along a painting to enter into this. Last night I asked my husband to choose which one to bring and he chose my Denali Tundra II painting. It won First Place, or Artist of the Month! I was so shocked when they called my painting number that I thought I had heard that incorrectly. But, my buddy Barb, who was sitting next to me, gasped out loud and grabbed my arm so I knew I had won. This puts me in competition for the annual Artist of the Year award with this organization! I always enjoy this competition since the caliber of art brought is so high and so lovely to see. Last year I won Second Place for my large rose painting in this competition and was so honored, never imagining I would win First Place, ever.
So, I share my feel-good news with you all. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Road to Crown King Pano

I stitched together 10 photos to create this panoramic view of the valley below when we were near the top of the mountain, where Crown King awaited. I still am working on improving my skills when taking the photos for panoramas. The Olympus E-510 does help me a lot on the pano setting.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crown King Weekend

We brought the motorhome to nearby Black Canyon City just for a getaway weekend. Saturday we spent most of the day exploring the road to Crown King. This is a 28-mile dirt road across the desert and finally up into the pines of Crown King. It was so picturesque that it took us 3 1/2 hours to travel that 28 miles because we made so many stops for photo ops. This road goes through cattle ranching country as well as abandoned mines from long ago. Crown King itself was much smaller and less interesting to visit than either of us had anticipated, but we both agreed that the destination does not matter as much as the journey there. This was proven again today as we found lots of little interesting spots to stop along the way. I loved the old wood in the cattle corrals and loading chutes, and we found a nice windmill and this windmill fed a stock pond complete with reeds, ducks and frogs. It was like finding an oasis in the desert. I even took some experimental photos that I hope to turn into some of those artsy-fartsy, avant garde, special effect photos when I can play with them. It was a good day!
We will return home this afternoon, after having lunch at the famous (since 1918) Rock Springs Cafe, known for their pies. Uh-oh!

Friday, October 17, 2008


This photo was taken by my good friend in Florida, Vicki Green. This 3/4-inch baby tree frog was happily living in her Mandavilla flower. If this doesn't make you smile this morning, there is no hope for you! Since my one attempt in painting this week produced more mud than art I wanted to post this awesome photo to share some beauty with you all.


By the is Vicki's birthday today....Happy birthday Vicki!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Apple Basket

This is one of the monthly projects for the online Watercolor Workshop group. We were to all paint from the same lovely reference photo provided and I almost chickened out on participating after seeing the first paintings submitted, they were so good! But, I also feel there is room for every approach in these projects and here is mine. I was going for a looser approach than I usually do and trying to pay more attention to the shapes within the shadows, value shifts and reproducing those luscious apple colors. It turned out to be a very enjoyable painting to do, despite dreading that basket!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

SWAP painting

I belong to an online group called Sharing With Artist Partners or SWAP for short. We are in the midst of one of our quarterly swap of paintings right now. I received this lovely painting from my SWAP partner this time, Crystal from Alabama. This will be a very nice addition to the Wall of Fame in my studio, reserved for my collection of SWAP paintings. I now have 12 of them and love them all.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Onions II - Final

This is the official end to my two-painting experiment to see which technique for painting onions I preferred. There are things I prefer in this second painting, such as the vibrant color of the directly-painted onions, but I prefer the onion shapes and details with the first version. The background was also better, in my opinion, on the first version. Oh well, nothing ventured.......and it was a fun project to try.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Watermark Test

I got the idea to watermark my painting photos that will go online from several of my artist friends, hopefully protecting them from being copied for commercial uses by those unscrupulous enough to try that with other people's property. I have the new software to do this and wanted to test it out on the blog before I do too many of my painting folders. This will be a big job!
Anybody have any opinions on how this looks? My goal was to make it unfit for copying, but not so obvious that the watermark would distract from the painting.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunrise 10/5/08

We did try to have our sunrise picnic this morning, but the anticipated red glow did not appear as it has in the three days prior. Must be a change in atmospheric conditions or, maybe, my karma because we waited and waited and it just didn't happen. That is not to say that it was a complete bust since we got some shots of great sunbeams such as these, so it was a good jaunt anyway.
When we came home, the sun was great for taking macro shots of my new hibiscus flowers. I just planted these yesterday so I needed to get some photos of them before the rabbits eat them, as could happen! This is called Cairo Rose and I also got a Cairo Red variety but the shadows weren't good on that bush this morning.

I love the angle of this one because of the shadow cast by the stamen. I used a macro lens and the macro mode setting on the camera for these.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Onions II

Well, I got part two of my onion experiment off my mind. I found that I much prefer both the process as well as the results of my more controlled, glazing approach that I used in the first painting. While I like the more vibrant, alive colors in this direct, wet-on-dry method, I find that I lacked the control I wanted and the results show this. I'll go back to my more instinctive, tighter approach for new ones. This was a worthwhile experiment and I enjoyed the process, learned a bit along the way, too.

An Honor Indeed

I am pleased to announce that the Onions painting (below) was awarded the honor of gracing the homepage of the Watercolor Workshop, an online critique group I have been privileged to subscribe to for nine years. When I consider the quality of the paintings from which they chose the homepage photo, I am even more honored to have mine chosen. Such a high honor for such a humble subject! The link to this homepage is

Red Sunrises

Here on the desert, it seems that as the mornings get "cooler" (that is a relative term here meaning the night time temps drop below 100-degrees!) the sunrises become more coral-colored so I love the Fall and Winter sunrises for their color. Since we are forecasted to have at least clouds this weekend, I am thinking it is time for another sunrise breakfast picnic tomorrow! Photos to follow if we do. This photo was shot at sunrise last year near Salome, AZ.