Friday, December 26, 2014

New Beginnings

With next week being the beginning of a new year, I've decided to step out of my comfort zone and do some paintings of things I wouldn't normally do - using techniques that I haven't used before. The way we learn and grow is by stepping outside the box and reaching for new heights.

As a beginning artist (I'm a 1-year old), I have so much to learn, but I find I get stuck in a rut just painting the same things over and over again and while I see improvement, I am bored. There are only so many flowers I can paint in a year. What really gives me energy and stamina to keep on going is to paint those things I've had an adventure around - so travel, doing something fun, and painting from my own photos is what gives me energy. When I know the story about what I'm painting I just can't seem to get enough. Where I'd really like to go next is painting dancers. My husband and I do ballroom dancing - it's wonderful! I've never done "people" before so this will be interesting and you'll see my first attempt below.

So this week, being Christmas week I did a few quick paintings. One is of Waddesdon Manor near London. The other I did using masking fluid to create a woodsy scene. For both of these I was experimenting with Twinkling H2Os, luminescent water color paint from ColourArte ( I'm always wanting to learn more about shadow and light so that is what these two paintings are all about. Bringing pieces of the painting forward and leaving the rest in the background. Making shadows and creating light. Oh, so many painters out there make it look so easy to do but it's the one thing I struggle with the most.

I also did not want to paint the building a horrible limestone color. I like for my paintings to reflect emotion, so I went with the colors to make it feel happy but regal - it was a happy time to visit the manor and the woods also make me happy. So that's why all the color!

The third painting is my first "dancers" painting. I think it turned out pretty good - It was difficult to control the Twinks from a flesh color perspective. I will need to figure out how best to paint flesh in the future - could be I need to use normal watercolor paints - although I really like the sparkle effect on the female dancer's tights! I also now see that the painting was not entirely flat on the scanner so there are some shadows in the upper right and right side.

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave me a comment - thanks so much.

Posting to Paint Party Friday, Friday Sketches and Art Journal Every Day (see the links on the right). Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winter Holiday

Three out of the last four winter holidays, we've spent in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It's such a delightful place; the residential area south of the Rio Cuale is teeming with ex-pats from Canada and the USA. Even though I speak Spanish fluently, my husband does not - but no worries! Someone speaks English within a ten-foot radius at all times.

The first year we visited PV, we spent half of everyday doing something fun and exiciting: swimming with the dolphins, jet skiing, parasailing, visiting the beaches on the southern end of Banderas Bay, and zip-lining through the jungle. The second visit encompassed walking the entire beachfront (along the Malecon) and inland in the downtown areas. It was hard climbing the hill to see Liz Taylor and Richard Burton's past homes and the famous pink bridge connecting the two. A visit to Mismaloya showed us where they made their famous movie (and thus putting PV on the resort map), Night of the Iguana.

This visit however, we chose to only hike and shop locally, spend time reading by the pool (between my husband and myself we finished 9 books!), painting and relaxing, which we so sorely needed. It was a fantastic reprieve from building our next home, working 65-hour weeks, and commuting. We always rent a condo from - where Eileen Key is the ultimate property manager and entrepreneur. Eileen will make anyone's visit to PV a dream come true.

So here are some of my works from Mexico! Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

I love the old, traditional style of architecture. Here is a home, just 3 blocks off the Malecon, with shuttered windows keeping out the heat and lovely balconies to sit and gaze at the ocean.

The condo we stayed in is also of traditional Mexican architecture. Each room is divided by these folding glass doors -  and these are the ones leading out onto the balcony/patio from the kitchen. 

Here is a plant, growing by the pool but not sure what these are called. I've been researching and just can't find any information on them. They have a 2" stalk that is just covered in spiny needles. The plant stands about 8" tall and the flower heads remind me of hydrangeas in how they form balls, but that is the only likeness they have. 4-5 small heads in the stamen area, surrounded by golden pigment. Bright pink and red petals. The day after I painted this, the iguanas were eating it. Two days later, the plant had no blossoms at all.

This water color pencil was inspired by the Puerto Vallarta Playa de los Muertos (Beach of the Dead) and el Dia de los Muertos (November 1st or All Saint's Day). It was just a fun, quick pencil sketch of a skull. Seeing skeletons and skulls at this time of year in PV is very common.

And, lastly here is a water wheel that I just completed this morning.

Happy Holidays to you all! I'm taking next week off, so Happy New Year, too!

This blog is linked to Friday Sketches and Paint Party Friday (see links to the right).

Friday, November 28, 2014

A season of gratitude

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. We spent the day together packing the upstairs of our house  since we are moving around New Year's. It's the only time we really had to make a concerted effort to get things packed. So we popped the turkey in early, along with the stuffing. At 4 PM we sat down to a simple dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing and a fresh spinach salad.

I didn't get much done this week in terms of painting as we are also leaving on vacation Tuesday (planned long before the house move). So here is my work in progress. I painted it from a photo reference I found on Google Images. It still has a long ways to go with the leaves and background - but it's getting there.

I'm so thankful for the instructors that teach me art - - - and I also appreciate those in class with me for all their encouragement and comments. I'm also thankful for people who stop by to see the blog and give me feedback on my work. THANK YOU.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Paint Party Friday / Friday Sketches!
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Purple Diversity

Here is what I've been up  to this week! I've been so busy with my sick husband, working full-time and packing to move, I painted away my stress every night...

The first thing I did was to paint some purple Gerber daisies for a friend for Christmas. I found a great steal at Michael's on wooden frames last night so that will work perfectly!

Still in the purple mood, I painted some Saskatoon berries using a very watery technique. I really like how they turned out.

Continuing with my purple theme, I did a few scenes on postcard size watercolor paper:

It's amazing to see all the purple in our surroundings. I hadn't given it much thought until I went through this week's work. Purple x 4. 

So on Thursday night I painted something blue. Enjoy! Thanks for stopping by!

Linking to Paint Party Friday hosted by the lovely Kristin and Eva.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Special Gift for Someone

I thought I would share this fun idea for those of you who work/live in a cubicle environment... It's always fun to exchange gifts with your cube-mates - but no one wants or can always spend a lot of money. You can make something like this for about $3 if you already have a hole punch, ribbon and some photo paper. These are also fun for teens for their rooms.

So to make this fun little art hanging gift for someone's cube:
1. Get some hints from their cube about what they like (dogs, horses, travel,etc.)

2.  Find 5-6 (or you can use more like I did here) great photos you already have taken in your inventory. Or how about your art? Scan it in, and use Photo Shop or  Picasa to edit.

3.  Crop your photos so they're about the size of a playing card showing your subject (or the size you want to use - just don't make them too big - not sure they would hang right)

4. Print your photos on photo paper

5. Use a corner rounder to make nice even corners 

6. Punch a hole (I used a grommet tool from my sewing kit) in the top corners of each card 

7. Take enough  3/8 inch of a color-coordinating ribbon to leave 6-8 inches on each end and lace through the cards with most of the ribbon on the backside. Tie a double knot in each end so the cards won't fall off. Use thumbtacks to push into the cubicle wall - or if there are hooks you can tie the ends into loops and hang on the hooks.

Cute! Hope you enjoy making a few of these! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Creative Inklings

It's late Sunday night. Everyone's gone to bed. I hear the house noises - the fridge is running and a clock is ticking. The dishwasher's timer just kicked in and water runs in to clean the dishes.

It is this time -well past 10:00 PM that I love. The quiet. The creative comes out to play. The later it is, the better I like it to play with my watercolors, inks, pens, and pencils. It's me-time. 

I've been playing with some inks and decided to create some abstract, mixed media pieces for my Society6 shop. You can find my art prints, totes, clocks, and throw pillows there. A great place to shop for holiday gifts this season.

Here are some of my late night inklings. I like to completely wet a piece of watercolor paper and take Dylusions Ink Sprays and spray a bit of color here and there and just let it run and do it's own thing. Sometimes I'll take a stencil and spray over it and then turn it upside down on another paper and get the "negative" or reverse image. You can have so much fun with these inks. I often will take other paint (usually watercolor or watercolor pencils) and add to mix - and maybe add some washi tape or other mixed media collage elements.

Cloud Burst

Aqua Flow

Dancing the Blues

Architecturally Speaking

The other thing I will do is create a large mixed media sheet and then scan it in, crop pieces out of it that are interesting and create them into their own abstract images.

Mixed Mania


Ice Cream ABCs

Paris Ozone

I hope you are having a creative day! Catch me next time when I will be doing some abstract watercolor flowers.
Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Doodle Time

I've been doodling my entire life. I have some exceptional doodle art from when I was very young.
What I love about doodling is how freeing of the mind and reality it is. I use it quite often in stuffy, boring meetings at work where people are just talking to hear themselves talk. I always keep my handy 8x10 quadrangle-ruled book with me "just in case". If something works out, I copy it on watercolor paper, use my pigment ink pens and watercolor pencils or paint to add some life to it.

Here are some of my doodles from this week:
Since taking Dion Dior's watercolor courses, I've discovered how much I love seeing birds in my art.

 Here we are, under the sea - couldn't resist adding a jelly fish. Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils done in a Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook.
Another sea shore inspiration - sometimes B&W is all it needs.

Inspiration from Dion's class in the water soluble series - feathers! They are so much fun to create and add texture. Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils on Pentalic Field Book Paper (140 lb).

A double bloom in ink and Sennelier watercolors on Stillman & Birn Zeta paper.

I've been experimenting with scanning in my paintings vs. photographing them. I seem to be getting a better quality product in the end. This weekend will be spent trying to figure out which printer and what paper will be best for producing prints. I'll share my findings next week!

Thanks for visiting - Happy Weekend!
Check out my gallery

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sweet Autumn

Here it is - October 31st already. While we move all our websites to the cloud, I've had to create a new blog site. I'm still fiddling with it - so please excuse the dust, misalignment, and design.

My smart phone informs me that I have 2031 days until retirement! Yes, that's just 5 years, 7 months away. So what are we doing to prepare?

  • Building our retirement house (should be completed in December sometime)
  • Taking watercolor classes (all I want to do is paint!)
  • Increasing our 401K and other investments
  • Bought our RV ( for extended travel
  • Downsizing drastically
and the list goes on.

It has begun to rain here in the Pacific Northwest. It seems earlier than usual - but I was able to paint a beautiful leaf I found earlier this month, using Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils. All my paintings here were done with watercolor pencils as part of Dion Dior's Water Soluble Art - Watercolor Pencils. Check out the link to the right to find out more about her other classes.

Autumn has been my favorite time of year for many reasons - cooler days after scorching summers; squash, pumpkins and the wonderful bounty harvested from our home garden.

I was surprised when I went out last weekend and I found this almost ripened tomato clinging to the water soaked vine. But the way the light fell on the green tomato was fascinating. I tried to capture it with my watercolor pencils quickly outdoors and then went inside to melt the pencil with water. 

And today being Halloween, my mind wanders back to when I was young, and my children were going out for their first trick or treats. Such fun!

And finally I want to share my sketch of Brunhilda, the good witch. I created this for the children of my watercolor instructor. Brunhilda was a fun addition to my October sketchbook.

Thanks for stopping in! I hope to see you again!