Friday, April 18, 2014


My first attempt at trying Carol Carter's method since I got home. I think I got somewhat too messy; I think because, painting at home, I sometimes (often?) rush too much and am not careful. When I go somewhere else to paint, like the art center or to a friend's house, I seem to be able to take my time better. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Masked with tape and miskit
Graded wash

The "glow": painted around the shapes while background is still damp
Start painting shapes ...
Drew and began another one; this one only masking the stamens; I'm going to paint the background in sections.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


 Have to get in a few forsythia paintings while I have the chance ... And with last night's snow the window of opportunity may be closing.

And this is a homework assignment I did for class ... and then missed the class to turn it in, so I'm posting here to get my credit. As in HS, I rarely do my homework, but this was kind of interesting. Sometimes I'd like to get away from "naturalistic" or expected colors, but I don't know where to go ... For this assignment (which was supposed to be about values), I painted the same simplified scene using four different tetrads (basically two sets of complements; the colors used are noted in abbreviated form to the left of the sketches), just working my way around the color wheel. So to find "unexpected" colors, spin the wheel.

Coming soon: Today I also started a painting--emulating Rhonda's excellent example!--trying to use the things I learned in the Carol Carter workshop before I forget.

Monday, April 14, 2014

from the workshop

This painting of datura--from a drawing of Carol's--was my best one of the weekend; others in the workshop may have felt the same way as all of the paintings were lovely, bold and bright.
Carol had us mask the flowers with tape and misket to apply a background wash (it was supposed to be a graded wash, oops); then she demonstrated, working back to front, wetting one blossom, painting it and waiting for it to dry before going to the next one.
The main thing she did, that I have to get in the habit of doing, was checking her values with a red screen, which she did numerous times throughout the painting.

I try not to whine about my paper, but this sheet really drove me nuts: too absorbent ... so I kept adding water. Which didn't help. The idea here was to have each pear a predominant color--red, blue, or yellow--but then to add the other two primaries to achieve the greatest range of colors possible within each pear. Not so easy; or, not so easy to not overwork.

Also from a drawing of Carol's, this was fun to work on this, adding bits of color to the bicycle and watching them mix. The shadow was a chance to get away from the usual color choices.
In the background Carol used a Daniel Smith color, Shadow Violet, which when you put it on, is a kind of dull gray but which then separates and granulates into greens, blues, and pinks. Carol uses it beautifully; I need more practice! But it might be fun to experiment with.

Fully recovered now and back to running full tilt. I'm looking forward to getting around to your blogs and seeing what you've been doing.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

cincinnati waterworks

Cincinnati Waterworks

Bridge from Newport, KY, to Cincinnati

In a bar ...

Finally getting around to a post or two on the Carol Carter workshop I attended in Cincinnati last weekend ... The last day, Sunday, I woke up with some bug that settled in my chest and sinuses; today's the first day I've been able to breathe through my nose.
First, thanks to Rhonda, who arranged the workshop and who picked me up at the airport and generally took care of me and made sure I was comfortable. Rhonda's also given a very thorough description of the workshop on her blog, well worth a read.
And to the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, a very congenial, aspirational, and hardworking group of painters, including Deb Ward. I wish I had such a group to paint with!
And Carol Carter: if you ever have the chance, take a workshop with her. It was great to see her paintings in person, for one, and her lessons were great too. Often, in workshops, I think it's difficult to try to to do what the teacher wants you try without becoming frustrated; but everyone in Carol's workshop went along with her method, and far from being frustrated, I think many were even pleased with the results.

Monday, March 31, 2014

tulips again

Lost some of the simplicity and freshness I was aiming for in the jars, but, as my mother says, not everyday's a winner.
And perhaps I'm distracted by delirium: Thursday I'm flying out to Cincinnati for a three-day workshop with Carol Carter! A dream come true--her paintings really floor me.
As an added bonus I get to meet and paint with two amazing painters/bloggers: Rhonda Carpenter and Deb Ward.
So you can see why I'm distracted!

Saturday, March 29, 2014



The last of the store-bought tulips, and daffodils on their way.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

last legs

My store-bought tulips are drooping and de-petaling. Though they were well worth the five bucks I paid for them.
Cut back the stems and put them in little bottles for my last exploration.
I'm beginning to realize that one key to being able to paint clear glass bottles is what you put behind them. I think if I try several more of these, I may be able to simplify the bottle in the way I've been envisioning.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

getting closer ...

 These tulips are being a cooperative model and hanging in there. And I'm trying to hang in there with them.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

a little crazy ...

Took a break from the tulips, which I just couldn't face!, and went back to this canna lily from a few posts ago.
I was, and am, stumped about what to do to the lilies to make them look like lilies (which is okay; there's plenty more watercolor paper in my closet), so I thought instead I'd just put in some kind of background, fill the space.
Looks a little crazy to me, but it's made me think I should spend more time "filling space": it's a good exercise for me in making decisions, since I usually go ahead without thinking and hope for the best.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

supermarket tulips

Supermarket tulips. Painted sitting down (above) and standing (below). I'm determined to someday figure out how to paint tulips, and their leaves, which give me even more trouble.


Hoping the bouquet will hold up for a few more days, at least, to give me more chance to practice. 

 Magnolia buds: coming attractions.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


Still pecking away at this iris painting ... trying to fill it in in little pieces.
On a whim this morning, looking at my basket full of paint tubes, I took out a tube of thalo blue (yellow shade) and thalo blue (red shade). I have never kept thalos on my palette: they are so strong; but I mixed the YS with a little yellow and the RS with a little blue and got a beautiful bright green and a lovely translucent purple. I used thalo blue in the background on the left and right.
And I'll be adding them to my palette.

Started another painting--it's supposed to canna lilies, but, right now, I can't tell what's what!
And finally, a few photos I took in my yard: house finch, Carolina chickadee, and house sparrow.
Saw a Carolina wren at the feeder today, but didn't get his picture.

Monday, March 03, 2014


I feel like I always mess up when it comes to the leaves ... I put in the wrong number, or in the wrong place. Will have to add a few more here--at bottom and showing at top--to balance it out.

More irises: wip.


Sunday, March 02, 2014

method + paper

I watched a couple of Birgit O'Connor videos on YouTube and thought I'd give her method--filling a petal or shape with water then putting in the color--a try. I found it to be harder than it looks!
My flowers are much smaller than the size O'Connor works, which may be a problem, but I really chose the wrong paper.
 When I cleaned out my studio I made a pile of papers to try out to see if they were worth keeping: this paper was one of them, and the paint just didn't flow on the surface the way it needed to. In the canna lily especially, I had to push the paint around, which made kind of a mess.
I'll try again with one of the papers I know better.

The fox sparrows I saw earlier in the week are passing through the Midatlantic from their southeast-to-Gulf of Mexico wintering grounds to their summer homes in northern Canada.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

fox sparrow

(I apologize for the quality of these photos; they were taken through a window and screen.)
Yesterday I glanced out the window and saw this little reddish bird I'd never seen before; there were two, actually. They would hop up, off both feet, and scratch at the ground in one quick sweep as they came down. Fascinating to watch. Consulting my field guides, I found they are fox sparrows.
I went outside with camera today, hoping they'd stop by again and I could get some better shots, but I didn't see them today. Did get to see one of my other perennial favorites, the white-throated saprrow.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Just a few roses, trying out different yellow/red combinations.
Left to right: aureolin and opera pink; new gamboge and permanent rose; Winsor yellow and quinacridone magenta.

Monday, February 24, 2014


We had a spring preview this weekend: temps in the 50s and sun, glorious sun!
The kind of weather that prompts attempts at home improvement; in addition to digging up some shrubs and getting up on the roof to help patch a leak, I tackled the overstuffed closet in my art room. I pulled a ton of stuff out of there--and found some brushes from a Chinese brush painting class I took many years ago.

 Next weekend: putting everything back in.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

fading away II

More practicing with the roses.
They actually get more interesting as they fall open and droop.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

fading away roses

I put down a wash of yellows and pinks, then tried to negatively paint to find the petals. 
I did some washing out of stems and leaves that I thought were too messy, then painted them back in when the paper was dry. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

wip: cherries

Another start ... I'm seeing a theme here: a lot of starting and not much finishing. Oh well, that's okay. As I always remind myself, it's the journey, not the destination.

I'm doing a two-day birding workshop in Cape May this weekend with Pete Dunne.
Yesterday we saw brown-headed cowbird, mockingbird, Carolina wren, American goldfinch, house finch, downy woodpecker, lots of sparrows and chickadees and many red-winged blackbirds. Then ended the day with a jaunt out to the Delaware Bay searching for a snowy owl that had been reported. There was a wet-snow gale blowing and we saw dunlins, but not the elusive owl; we all left happy, though wet and cold, feeling very intrepid.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

wip: lemons and crocks

From another reference photo by Lillian Bell at Paint My Photo, combining two of my favorite subjects. And a patterned cloth, which, being lazy, I usually avoid.
Once again, I'm feeling a little out of sorts with my painting ... I may need to push myself a little, try something more ambitious. In the meantime ...


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