Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Heart Spring

With the pollen settling down and the temperatures swinging hot to cold (wish it would make up its mind already!), SPRING is happening in my yard!  

I love seeing the daffodils and tulips in full bloom...

The pansies are hanging on despite the warming temps.  I think because they want to see the lilies bloom. 

pansy, pansies, lily, lilies

pansy, pansies, pansys

 Not only does rosemary make food taste yummy, it blooms!

rosemary, cooking, herb

I hope your plants are smiling for you and that these pics bring a smile to your face.  :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Hate Green (and here's what I do about it)

Here is something new for my art blog--problem solving!  I love facing problems head on and coming up with solutions.  The video shows a common problem I have when painting my favorite subjects.  Enjoy!

Got an art challenge? Leave a comment now and Follow me to have your problem (and the solution) featured!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Daffodil Promise

I see daffodils sprouting up all over this week! Their bright beauty trumpeting to the world after so many months underground.  

The bulbs I planted months ago are in a shady spot so they are just peeking out as my painting shows.  I can't wait to see them and share a daffodil series of paintings soon!  

5 x 7 acrylics on stretched canvas

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies--Yum!!!

In my Top Five Snack Foods List (because I cannot name only one favorite!), chocolate chip cookies are a fantastic selection!  I made a batch a few nights ago and snapped some pics.  Here are three that were eaten shortly after I took the photo.  Evidence they did exist... :-)

Watercolor on 140lb cold-pressed paper

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Clean up Lesson and Prep Work: Underpainting

Yesterday I varnished four paintings ready to go to new homes (yay!).  I used a favorite wide flat brush to keep the finish smooth.  It did beautifully! I rinsed it out thoroughly and set it out to dry.  Well, I thought I rinsed it thoroughly...  

I picked it up tonight for underpainting a few new canvases (Cadmium fave!) and the brush was stiff as a board!!  After a flash of despair at possibly losing one of my favorite brushes, I got out the Pink Soap and went to the sink.  After a good fifteen minutes of swishing and washing, the bristles were nearly free again!  Whew!  So now the brush is soaking for a while to free up the last bits of varnish.  
Hoping for the Best...

So on to the prep work.  I learned several years ago that a stark white canvas can be less than inspiring...scary even!  So I started painting a light color wash first thing.  Used rinse water worked pretty well just to break up that blank white space.  My art mentor, Jill shared a similar concept of underpainting, but with a vibrant color (like Cadmium fave!).  This really makes the painting "glow".  I'm hooked!  9 out of last 10 acrylic paintings are underpainted Cadmium Yellow.  So perhaps an upcoming challenge for me is to try a new underpainting color...?  Stay tuned :-) 

Cad. Yellow Underpainting!

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

30 in 30 - Retrospective

I hope you enjoyed the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge as much as I did! It was fun and challenging to create a new work nearly every day for a month...something I have never done before.  I am SUPER PROUD that I DID IT! 

Thank you for celebrating with me!  Follow me to keep up with the fun to come!

Friday, February 1, 2013

30 in 30 - #30: Guacamole Party!

Before, I had avocados.  Now, I have guacamole!  I'm gonna dip on in to celebrate this last painting in Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge!  I am proud of "running THROUGH the finish line"...and proud of the diced tomatoes and cilantro on top. :-)

I make a fast guacamole by mashing two avocados and mixing with my favorite salsa until I like the texture.  To finish I add salt to taste and serve with blue corn chips.  

When I want to take the time to make it from scratch, I consult one of my favorite foodies: Alton Brown.  His version takes some prep time but is sooo worth the effort.  Try some this weekend for your Super Bowl party!  

8 x 10 acrylic on stretched canvas

30 in 30 - #29: Sunflower Fun

In honor of our sunny and brisk(!) day today...a fun sunflower!  

I can't believe this is the 29th painting I've painted in the past month!  I am proud to say "I did it!" :-)  One more to go...  

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

Thursday, January 31, 2013

30 in 30 - #28: More Love and Hearts :-)

More LOVE to celebrate my dear readers and the 28th painting for Leslie Saeta's Challenge!  

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

30 in 30 - #27: Avocados Much?

Before they went into the guacamole...

8 x 10 acrylics on stretched canvas

Buy this painting on Daily Paintworks

30 in 30 - #26: Love Love Love!

"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." -Mother Teresa

I heard the song lyrics "Put a little love in your heart!" and was inspired to paint this fun little gem.  Remember your Valentine(s) with some love from your heart!  :-)

My scanner blew out the background colors so here is a (too dark :-\) photo. You can see the "watery" watercolor effects.  I painted the entire space with water, then dropped watered down colors onto the surface.  I had so much fun I splattered outside the lines...that is totally allowed I say!  

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

30 in 30 - #25: Sunny Sunflowers

A set of sunny sunflowers to brighten up our blustery day.  

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

30 in 30 - #24: A Second Dose

If you didn't get well from the first post... :-)  Get well soon to all my friends with sniffles in this WILD weather!

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

Sunday, January 27, 2013

30 in 30 - #23: Echinacea Trio

Sending healing thoughts and a lovely little painting to my friends with the flu.  I hope you all get well soon!  

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

30 in 30 - #22: Festive Treasure

This is the final week of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge hosted by Leslie Saeta!

I have never painted jewelry before, but I think I will do it more often now!  I enjoyed noticing the light shining on the smooth beads.  The red ones are my favorite with the white ones a close second.  If you have a few fun baubles in your jewelry box I highly recommend composing a painting.  

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

Thursday, January 24, 2013

30 in 30 - #21: Hibiscus I


I photographed some fantastic hibiscus flowers outside my office building last summer.  The red was so bold I could not resist!  I enjoyed painting this after the sunshine we had today and before the alleged icy rain arrives tonight.  Is it spring yet???

I am very pleased with the values in the painting.  Value is the use of light and dark that gives depth and dimension to a piece.  One way I examine the values is to convert the scanned painting to black and white.  

Next time you see an object in your kitchen or under any light, notice the lightest/whitest spot where the light shines on the object. Follow the gradual darkness on the object's surface toward the shadow cast on the kitchen counter.  Congratulations!  You just did a value study!  Such an artful eye you have. :-)

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

30 in 30 - #17 - 20: One Two TREE...Four!

A graphic series to celebrate the Green Giant Arborvitae that provide a wind break during our cold and blustery days.  I like the soft, feathery visual texture of the evergreen branches (avoid touching them--they are prickly!).  Here I captured the tapered shape of the whole tree in four different arrangements.

6 x 6 acrylics on canvas board

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

30 in 30 - #16: Dirty Dog III

The third Dirty Dog.  I enjoyed painting the set!  See his friends here and here.  My scanner did not capture the sherbet orange of the background, so just imagine.  Then let your mouth water over the memory of a Push-Up orange sherbet pop.  Yes!

Watercolors on 140lb cold pressed paper

Sunday, January 20, 2013

30 in 30 - #15: Fore!

Golf anyone?  A fun little scene inspired by my favorite PGA pro.

8 x 10 acrylics on stretched canvas

30 in 30 - #14: Owl Pair

I saw some owl bedding in the kids' department and was inspired to create my own pair.  I think they turned out sweet!  

6 x 6 acrylics on canvas panel

Monday, January 14, 2013

30 in 30 - #12: Sightseeing

Have you ever stepped toward the edge, felt a little twinge of fear and excitement... then peered over the edge anyway?  
Yeah.  Me too.  

I find it interesting how paintings reflect the painter's mood.  This one seems mellow, which I'd say is accurate with all the rain and general mellow-ness (yes, it's a word now) of the past few overcast days.  

The wet days are tough on my paints...they feel gummy and put up a fight on the canvas.  Anyone else had the rain or humidity affect the paint viscosity?  

8 x 10 acrylics on stretched canvas

Sunday, January 13, 2013

30 in 30 - #11: Orange Pear Pair

I am enjoying orange!  Must be the warmer weather and sunshine this weekend. I hope you had some sunshine this weekend from the weather or a friendly smile :-)

8 x 10 acrylics on stretched canvas

Friday, January 11, 2013

30 in 30 - #10: Dirty Dog II

Day 10 of Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge is here!  And I made it too!  I'm glad you are here and appreciate your sweet comments.  :-)

This little guy is part two of the Dirty Dog series.  Did I mention when the dog gets wet the spots go away?  So cute for bath time with kids!  

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

Thursday, January 10, 2013

30 in 30 - #9: Spice It Up

I love growing herbs.  Oregano is one of my favorite fresh herbs!  Spaghetti sauces, breads, and chicken recipes are just a few foods that benefit from its slightly bitter taste.  If you want to grow oregano, I recommend planting it in a container.  Oregano is a perennial and quite prolific!  I planted a small oregano plant in my garden one year and it took over.  I like it, just not 4 square feet of it.  :-)  

This sprig is from the oregano plant in my kitchen.  I was inspired by the green and purple leaves, as well as the shape of the leaves.  The upside down leaf in the bottom right corner is my favorite.  

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper 

30 in 30 - #8: Just Beachy

The cold, overcast weather was bringing me down so I painted a small beach scene to warm up.  I intended to add more detail (sea oats, etc.) but wanted to avoid overworking the piece.  The beach is a place to play vs work...right?  

The bright yellow sand reminded me of childhood trips to the Gulf Coast and that made me smile.  :-)  Mission accomplished! 

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

30 in 30 - #7: Double the Fun!

I am having too much fun with the watercolor water droplets!  Here is a double feature...two colors, two droplets.  I worked a little too fast and had a few flows outside the lines (so to speak), but such is the nature of WATERcolor.  :-)

Try it yourself by following this demo by Barbara Fox!

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

Sunday, January 6, 2013

30 in 30 - #5: Orange Hot Cocoa

Day 5 and refreshing my color theory this week is blowing my mind!  

I was reminded by my current teacher and art mentor, Jill Saur, to mix complementary colors for shadows.  OH MY GOODNESS is this changing my painting approach!  Instead of reaching for a variety of colors to complete this painting, I used only red, yellow, and blue, with a little white*.  I wanted a vibrant background so I chose + yellow. What complements orange? + blue.  How did I make the brown for the hot fudge swirled in the whipped cream?  Orange + blue.  And since all of the colors are used throughout, they are harmonious.  

And yes, the actual hot cocoa was supremely tasty!  :-)

8 x 10 acrylics on stretched canvas

Buy this painting on Daily Paintworks

*Specific paints used: Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Ultramarine Blue, and Titanium White.  Liquitex or Golden brands, Heavy Body Professional Acrylics. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

30 in 30 - #4: Watercolor Water Droplet

For Day 4, I enjoyed a neat demo by Barbara Fox on Daily Paintworks.  
This water droplet creation let me experiment by painting with water, adding paint, and letting it flow to create a dark to light effect...a color gradient.  I did not have masking fluid on hand, so I was extra careful with the white dot at the top of the droplet.  I recommend trying the water droplet in watercolor for yourself!  

Friday, January 4, 2013

30 in 30 - #3: Charlie Brown Poinsettia

My watercolors were working again for Day 3!  

Throughout the 30 days I'd like to paint from life as often as possible.  Our Christmas poinsettia was on the kitchen table today so it became my subject.  The pot is covered in a dark red foil wrapper with many folds, which turned out to be not so challenging to paint.  Since my intent during the 30 in 30 is to loosen up my painting style, I edited the number of leaves and petals--er, bracts--to simplify the image.  Wow did I edit!  I promise the actual poinsettia has WAY more foliage than my "Charlie Brown" poinsettia, LOL. Lesson learned...and that's what I'm here to do. :-)

6 x 10 watercolors on 140 lbs cold pressed paper

Thursday, January 3, 2013

30 in 30 - #2: Dirty Dog I

Day 2 of the Challenge hosted by Leslie Saeta and I'm showing up strong!  

My subject is a toy pup from my kids' Dirty Dogs bath set.  It is super cute and the brown spots "wash off" like dirt when they get wet!  Highly recommended for fun during bathtime...check it out here.  There are two other dogs in the bath set so once all three paintings are complete they will be offered as a set so stay tuned!  :-)

I needed portability today so I used my Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Field Box.
The box fits in my purse and contains everything I need to paint: water bottle, brush, solid watercolor paints (called "pans"), and surfaces for mixing.  The lid holds water for rinsing the fine bristle brush.  I keep a few napkins or paper towels in a spare pocket in case I need to soak up any drips or smudges. 

I use the Arches Aquarelle Travel Album with 140 lbs cold pressed paper.  I bought it through Dick Blick Art but it seems they no longer carry the item.  Here is a supplier that carries it--I have not purchased through their site before. 

I enjoyed creating this piece today and look forward to using my portable paints many times during this challenge!  

6 x 10 watercolor on 140 lbs cold pressed paper

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

30 in 30 - #1: Follow Me

Welcome to Day 1 of the 30 in 30 Paint Challenge offered by Leslie Saeta!  

I have never done a painting challenge like this before.  Painting 30 pieces in 30 days seems daunting simply from a numbers perspective!  As I mentioned in previous blog posts, I want to loosen up my style and bring movement to my works.  By putting the pressure on to paint so many pieces I expect I will stop thinking so much about what I'm doing and just paint.  I got a taste of that feeling tonight with "Follow Me".  I arranged the pears on the table, chose colors, sketched quickly, loaded my brush and went for it.  I really like the result!  

I look forward to learning more through this challenge...some paintings I may love, some may be "meh", and some may be "learning opportunities" that will be hard to post. :-)  

So follow me and let's enjoy the adventure!

8 x 10 acrylic on stretched canvas

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

30 paintings in 30 days

I’m joining 240+ artists in taking the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge! I’m very excited to get to work on this challenge and I hope that you’ll support me along the way. Check out the challenge details by visiting artist Leslie Saeta’s blog by clicking here: