Thursday, December 25, 2008


For the last couple of years I've been decorating my tree predominantly in gold and silver, but I have to have Santas. These are my favorites.

This one looks like my dad!

A nod to my birthplace, NYC.

Happy Holidays!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

try again



A couple of in-progress little paintings that I embarked on to give as gifts, but as often happens when I try too hard, I'm not happy with the way these are turning out. I may consider these practice and start over, hoping to not make the same mistakes twice!
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I saw this photo by Ruth on Don's blog and kept thinking I'd like to paint it. I think it was the blue-green window frame, or maybe the chickens. It's just a great subject ... I'd like to do it again!
Thanks Ruth, for the inspiration!

In fact there's a great photo of a cardinal on a snow-covered branch in the header to Don's blog ... very tempting!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

little winter scenes



No snow here yet, in fact today it's a balmy sixty degrees; happily I have many photos of a big snow from a few years back.

In the comments Casey asked how I make the snowflakes, and I thought I'd answer here, because it's kind of a trick I learned from my teacher Marie Natale.
If you use white watercolor paint, even if the painting is dry, it doesn't show up very well; it seems to mostly be absorbed into the paper. Instead, I use Dr. Ph. Martin's Bleed Proof White. It's a liquid, opaque watercolor that is meant to be used like Wite-out, to cover "mistakes"--though who wants to do that?
It's perfect for snow. I dilute it just a touch (because it is very thick, like heavy cream), then spatter away.
Your paper should be dry and the painting essentially finished, because once the Bleed Proof White is on, if you go back in, you're going to have a milky mess. Believe me.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

different strokes

This week's Different Strokes from Different Strokes challenge. Not a subject I'd have chosen, but that's what makes these challenges so, well, challenging, and potentially rewarding. Karin Jurick, the artist behind DSFDF, posts a new challenge every Wednesday night (or lately every other Wednesday); each one has been intriquing and the results posted by artists in various mediums astounding.
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Friday, December 12, 2008

I decided to finish this cardinal painting with a suggestion of distant trees and a sprinkling of snow. I love painting cardinals--so easy to draw and such a great red!
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december virtual sketch date

This was my first attempt, on hot press paper; it looks better--less flat--in the photo. Below is the second attempt, on cold press paper.

Visit the Virtual Sketch Date blog for links to other people's version of this reference photo.
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

catch up

Sorting through some watercolor paper I found this reference photo from Karin Jurick's Different Strokes from Different Folks--it's at least four weeks old, and I thought I had painted it, but turns out I hadn't! So I made a start today.
(5x7) This is the current Different Strokes challenge. I usually never use mask, but I took the precaution of applying some to the laces and lightstruck edges, becuase I want to be able to apply and manipulate washes without having to worry about these details. We'll see how it turns out; I find that when I use mask, it's always too obvious in the finished painting.
Finished paintings have to be posted 12/17, next Wednesday (and a new challenge will be posted that evening). Even though I've haven't yet posted to DSFDF, I do enjoy the reference photos ... when I remember to get to them.
(7x11) This month's Virtual Sketch Date is a quiet, snowy farm scene. To be finished by Saturday.
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Friday, December 05, 2008




I often download and have a go at Karin Jurick's weekly reference photo, but have never finished in time to post to her blog. For the reference used below we were given two weeks, but I still couldn't make the deadline, and wouldn't have posted. I thought this photo would be good for me to try--it's buddha (I collect buddhas, but not this one, the happy buddha) and it's dark (I need practice with darks).
Yesterday I worked and worked on it, and wasn't happy, so I kept going: still not happy.
Then I took out a fresh piece of paper and painted the cardinals.
On the bottom one I got too fussy with the leaves, overdid them.
The top one isn't "finished" but I decided to stop.


NB: Today this month's Virtual Sketch Date photo will be posted.

I also have to thank Nancy for tagging me. The paintings of shorebirds she's currently working are awe-inspiring--check them out.
I'm a little frazzled/scattered at the moment, but will get to fulfilling my obligations as a tagee soon. In the meantime, I continue to add blogs I come across and like to my blogroll, which is getting quite unmanageable, but I hope you'll follow a link or two.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008




From yesterday's class, the last until February. The bottom one's not quite done--I want to add something to break the relentless diagonal across the topn, but I don't know what to do yet.
The poinsettias were the dark red variety, but I was using an old palette and, as I prepared to paint, discovered a flaw in my color choices: the only two reds I had were cad red light and permanent rose. So, my poinsettias are the pink variety.
I have to say these were fun to paint. I drew the leaves but then didn't look at the plant again, and just painted using whatever colors or shapes I liked.
Our teacher, Marie Natale, painted a white poinsettia--my favorite--and it was so beautiful (I should have taken a picture!). I have to get a white plant and try it.
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