Sunday, May 19, 2019

Seriously beautiful Spring florals ...Capture them!

Spring flowers and Spring storms are a guarantee in Texas in May. But this annual bouquet doesn’t last forever...unless you capture it! That was our goal as we dedicated one day to paint together and create versions of Indian blankets that are dotting our roadsides. I found these showboats on a country road in Spicewood, Texas. They are the inspiration for my painting titled “ Texas Roadside Beauties”. I am delighted to announce it will be a part of the Texas Watercolor Society’s 2019 Show held in San Antonio from May 29 th to August 15 th.

My photo was used as a reference for the attendees with easy to see values. I often copy a color and black and white version for an easy value study.

We had a group of 5 gather at Galleries at Pecan Creek in Marble Falls on Wednesday, May 8 th despite a guarantee of stormy weather! On a pre sketched 11x15 ( quarter ) sheet of Arches 300# paper ( cotton rag), we started our process by adding any mask desired. I usually sign my paintings at this point using Pebeo masking fluid. Some masked the centers to protect them.

Please note this image can be painted horizontally or vertically as the focal point ( the largest bloom) is in a position that allows it. The tips of the petals can also be masked to keep the yellow pure. I did not. First, we lightly sprayed clear water and created an under painting using 3 transparent watercolors for this painting. Do not spray the entire area but use the white of the paper as part of the pattern. All 4 sides and corners should be different for the best design. We all used a variety of red, yellow and blue to give a cool or warm temperature for the next glaze. My selection was Quinacridone Magenta , Hansa yellow and Prussian blue. Just be sure these are transparent colors for the best outcome but do experiment with your favorites.

When dry, we began painting the second glaze working on each petal and it was immediately apparent that all of ours would be different. The obvious selection of colors and also the amount of water- to -pigment has a lot to do with this dynamic. I suggest using a pointed round that is larger than a detail brush at this point ( mine is Silver Black Velvet #8). This process can take awhile and hair dryers were used to speed the drying process. It was a humid day with a Texas frog strangler and lots of thunder outside our doors. We all munched and painted through a lunch break.

My original:

Moving into a third and very important phase of this , we began using negative space to create the tangle of darks in between the stems and leaves. The eye captures this lovely and interesting puzzle but it is tricky to repeat. I did demo each of these processes ( petal painting and negative painting using alternating shapes of darks) but tried to let each artist create their own. They all were diligent and suffered through the initial complexity of this stage in their own fun to see them figure it out.

Here are our finished paintings....a very successful one day work shop!

The next one day work shop will be August 14th at the new location of Galleries at Pecan Creek! 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Student paintings...and mine... from my work shops

Spring greetings! I have every intention of sharing my work with all of you in more regular intervals. Forgive the delay and the need to make this a rather longer than usual journal. Just got a little busier than usual!

I thought you might enjoy seeing some student work. I know I do. Students range from beginners to advanced ,longtime painters. But the truth is, we can all use new ways to look at a scene, promote a feeling and create in watercolor. It is why I continue to take classes as well as teach them. The more I know, the more I realize I don't know it all. I think the same is true for everyone!

Here is a Holiday painting class. Designed for beginners as well as advanced painters!

We were all in a festive mood and the artwork showed it....

January                     Jen's Facial Portrait Work Shop

I took a class on facial portraits in January at the BACA center ( very nice senior center in Round Rock) taught by my good friend and talented artist, Jennifer Polnaszek whose work I’ve long admired. Jen gave individual suggestions to each of 10 of us over 3 weeks in 4 hour sessions and here are some of the results in our class:

Week 1: we all painted the same face...and got 10 different outcomes. All very nice. While there we had to try Round Rock’s famous doughnuts and they were yummy! We treated the class and made new friends.
Week 2:

I decided to paint this adorable little girl playing dress-up. She is the granddaughter of a friend of mine who will receive this as a gift. Just a special mention that any work done in a class setting can't be considered for entry into a show. It is not entirely your own doing.

 Week 3:

 I chose to paint my son for his upcoming birthday.....following her excellent instructions, I kept the highlights, painted softly and added colors gradually. Lessons learned.Just FYI, teeth are difficult and should be non prominent.

                                    First, a good sketch taken from a recent photograph. For his skin color I combined New Gamboge with Alizarin Crimson. Jen gave us several color combinations to consider for the various skintones. My friends from the 620 Paint Group tried different mixes: Beth was painting Asian children and mixed color accordingly; Duke worked on a lovely lady who also needed a different mix; and Carol K had a very fair granddaughter who required yet another mix. Try them all until you find the match.

                                   Deepened shadows and beard highlights with ultramarine blue. Decided to use a sap green background on the darker side only.

Pretty good adaptation of Kevin at 45. I think he favors my Italian side of the family but many see his Dad in him. Good blend. Best of all, he likes this rendering!

March   My one day work shop   Marsha's Matagorda Boats

I borrowed a scene from a work shop I took from my talented friend, artist Marsha Reeves. She very kindly allowed me to use her photos which I provided for everyone. A color and black and white copy is a time saving way to have a value study when beginning. My March13 th work shop at Galleries at Pecan Creek was all about water and is my finished version of Marsha’s Matagorda Boats.

 Here is the progression from a masked sketch to the finished painting.

We started with the sky pre-wetting only the areas to be painted.Blue lines are Pebeo masking fluid used to preserve our whites.

Tree line was added

These same colors were then carried into the water
Shadowed areas were painted against the boats; boats were colored. Red seemed to be a choice for several but one painter used orange and it was equally impressive.

All colors used were dragged into the water for reflection. Details in the background and on the boats were handled .Such a fun scene to paint and even though none of us was familiar with all the rigging on these fishing boats, we made a believable , although slightly less messy, version of the pier.

Coming up:
Sun April 7th @ The Hive at Hill Country Galleria
Using Brusho on yupo/ all supplies provided $60
Wed May 8th @ Galleries at Pecan Creek
A floral based on my original painting Texas Roadside Beauties $50
 Contact me or the galleries for attendance information and to reserve a spot. Meanwhile, Happy Painting!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Everyday Texas Note cards are available....

Just in case you are sending notes and would like to share a little of your love of Texas...I have a few scenes from our great state available on card stock. Most are 5” x 7 “ and come with matching envelope. The inside is blank and the back has the Title of the artwork. All are suitable for framing. If you are in Marble Falls, stop by The Galleries at Pecan Creek to see a selection of cards, prints and some originals, too. In Austin , stop by The Art Escape at the Oasis on Lake Travis or in Georgetown on the Square at Art Escape. Or elsewhere, contact me directly.

Packs of 5 are $15.00 plus tax and shipping, if needed.

 “Steppin’ Out in Austin”

"The Star"

“Don’t Fence Me In”

"Deep Roots"

"Sunset Safari"

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Want to try a new watercolor product? How about Brusho...!

Happy 2019! Looking to start the new year by trying something new? Why not join me in experimenting with Brusho. This product, made in Sheffield in the UK, has been around awhile but is relatively new in the US. I saw a demo and knew right away I wanted to play with these vibrant and intense crystal of dyes and other blended pigments. They can be sprinkled on for less control or made into a paste as they dissolve in water and brushed on for a more controlled use. Either way, they are potent , dynamic and very wear some gloves or be prepared to wear some color. There are 35 colors available but I started with 13 that include lemon yellow, yellow ochre,  sandstone ( very orange), burnt sienna ( gorgeous color),lime green ( wow!), moss green, olive green, terra-cotta (very watermelon red), scarlet, ultramarine and cobalt blues. From a demo on Cheap Joe’s website by , I learned to never use more than 3 of these at a time because the dominating color will prevail and the result is mud....I tried it and it is true!

I chose this new method to introduce to students on January 14th at my one day work shop at Galleries at Pecan Creek in Marble Falls. Everyone will start as a beginner with this product but I hope some advanced painters will join us for the fun. The small towns in Texas have amazing art connections and Marble Falls is no exception...enthusiasm runs deep! It is far more important than talent, in my opinion.

This is the image I chose to paint. Another scene from the beautiful Filoli Gardens in the Bay Area that we visit whenever out there. It never fails to provide me with several scenes to paint. If you follow my blog you will know my “Show Off” bloomed from a peony that grabbed my attention while there. In this latest painting, I added a little sign to remind others to go visit this place when in the San Francisco area. And the title is simply, "Pansies on the Steps".

Here are my Steps to “Steps...”
                                     1. Masking fluid was applied to all whites and other shapes that needed
            saving. Then yellow ochre was sprinkled and sprayed to show the sunny areas on the steps.
                             Terra cotta was brushed onto the clay pots

Lime green was used for the mossy areas on the steps and I began adding grays to show the shadowed steps and the wall behind the pots.

This may be all that can be accomplished in a 5 hour time period but here are the results after adding my darks and finishing details ....I like to wait at least one day to allow drying and some less stressed decision making as I finish a watercolor.

I hope you enjoy my "Pansies on the Steps" is bright and a ray of sunshine in the Winter months.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It’s actually looking a lot like Christmas!

After years of designing an annual card, I decided I would take a break this year and just “promote”my past ones. I have quite a few. Isn’t that a smart business move? One look at my husband’s face and I knew that would not fly. “Oh” , he said, OK”....if you think anyone wants one of those”. So instead, I got busy and created 2 cards. Yes, I’m an over achiever. I like them both and they satisfy two of my Christmas requirements: must be fun and must be nostalgic! I love the scenes form the 50 ‘s or timeless scenes from a simpler time. Weren’t snow drifts taller? Santa’s more real? Sleds more common? Spirits brighter?

So here they are with my usual dedication to a strong name:

                                                      “Fixin’to Decorate”


 "Jingle Your Bells”

I so loved painting them! The farmhouse in snow may not look like Texas but we do get snow and I would love a white Christmas...had a few in McKinney! The Bells were real from a shopping trip to Fredericksburg. So I arranged and photographed them until I found this version appealing.

Then I totally made up the ribbon! Because this uses some tools such as salt to create the rustic Bells, I have asked my students to try them. In Marble Falls last week, I taught a one day work shop and had some lovely results.

Debbie , owner of the Gallery at Pecan Creek along with a true beginner , Tanya, who surprised even herself with this beautiful rendition.

           Valerie, a returnee to the art world after retirement, had no trouble getting into this scene
                                           ....        and Debbie is quite good herself

Be in touch if you are interested in my cards or , if you are in Marble Falls, stop by Galleries at Pecan Creek. Happy Thanksgiving on your way to a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Let’s paint that Fall Garden on October 17 th !

Here is my finished Fall Garden...the harvest was abundant and colorful! And the joy of creating it was a lesson in design, value and transparent blending that I would like to share with you.. I like the surface texture opportunities in this scene with the wood, straw and various veggie skins.  I will be teaching this technique which includes an under painting at a one day workshop 9:30-3:30 at Galleries at Pecan Creek on Main Street in Marble Falls on Wednesday, October 17 th. Contact Deb Heatley at (830) 265-7725 to sign up and get a supply list. I will provide the pre-drawn, pre-masked
( to protect the white of the paper) sketch on 140 lb paper.

Meanwhile, a group of 8 Waterloo Watercolor Group artists have a beautiful watercolor Show and sale at the lovely Lost Pines Art Center in Bastrop through the end of September. If you have not yet visited , plan a trip soon. Here is a special invitation for our reception on September 12th where artists will be painting at easels from 4:00-6:00. Wine, music and a demo are in store for attendees.

If you have time on Sunday, September 30 th, you don’t want to miss a free demo by internationally known artist, instructor and juror, Alexis Lavine. It is being offered by Waterloo Watercolor Group at the Apache Shores Community Center 2:00-4:00.

Alexis is in town from her South Carolina Home to jury our Fall Show and to teach a work shop the following week. It is full (and , yes, I am signed up). Contact me or visit to be on a waiting list. Here is one of her well done luminous watercolor paintings :

And here are my two paintings that have been selected by Alexis for the WWG Fall Show which will be hung at North Hills Gallery during the month of October. Both are available in reprint if you just have to have a copy.

"Deep Roots"                                                                           "Texas Roadside Beauties"

       11" x 30"                                                                                          16" x 20"


One last exciting comment with more details to follow: "The Hive" ( yes, in Bee Cave) will open on October 19th in Hill Country Galleria. It will be an all Art venue (4500sf!) with classrooms, Gallery space and a gift shop. This is very needed for both the artists and the Art pursuers in the Austin area.I will be teaching classes there. Stay tuned for my schedule.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Let's pour a Fall Garden!/ The start....

 I know, I's still summer but if your garden is like ours, it has stopped producing due to the intense heat in central Texas. We are already dreaming of the second crop, the Fall garden.  I am inspired to paint the luscious tomatoes, carrots, cabbage and squash that will be harvested because their colors are richer and more Old World than the bright Spring and Summer garden colors. I selected these veggie images from a variety of sources including our garden, the grocery store and my daughter Leslie's bountiful tomato plants in California which are healthy specimens and delicious, too!

This Fall Garden will likely be my subject for a one day work shop October 17th in Marble Falls at Galleries at Pecan Creek. I will provide the pre-drawn sketch and this method is beginner friendly. Also good for adding some new methods for experienced painters. So let's work on the game plan for that and for those interested in my current favorite paint process that uses just 3 transparent watercolors to create a vibrant, glowing painting. You can and should experiment with any transparent  red, yellow or blue combination you like but I selected these great mixers. Not all brands carry this red but M Graham does; good paint if you haven't tried it :
                                                 M. Graham Watercolors

                                      Hansa Yellow / Naptha Red / Prussian Blue

Step 1: Design and sketch your image on 140 lb paper that has been taped to a board. I use clear package tape leaving a 1/4 " border on all edges. Varying shapes and leaving openings for the viewer to enter your scene, mask white or highlighted areas. I use Pebeo masking fluid ( blue lines) and apply it with the back of my brush handle for easy cleaning. It must be completely dry before adding any moisture to the paper. The same is true ( of your paper) when removing the mask: it must be completely dry or the paper can tear. I recommend 24 hours.
 Step 2: Using a spray bottle to wet sections of the paper and a straw to literally blow the paints around, drop combinations to obtain the local color of the objects. For example, I used yellow and red to make the orange color of both the basket handle and the carrots. In the bottom right, yellow and blue to make the green of the cabbage; red and blue for the purple eggplant.

 Step 3: Complete your sprayed and "pushed" under painting. Use your fingers and any tools you like but don't use a brush. Don't over plan this too much...the  less you control this stage, the better the results will be.

                                    More to follow on the process to complete this painting.

 I do want to share that I used this method to do a 1 1/2 hour demo for the Center Art Club in Round Rock last week. Thank you to Janet Fulks and Tracie Storie who invited me after seeing my demo at Georgetown Library on July 9th. I was delighted with the attendance and the interest since these artists come from a variety of mediums including sculpture. And what a state of the Art facility they have to use! Round Rock has cretaed a beautiful environment for seniors ( over 50) to take classes, dance, create and even have lunch. Underground parking is also available at the BACA Center.

"Bath Time at the Oasis" is the completed demo painting done for Center Art Club:

 "Kauai Koi" is the completed demo painting at Georgetown Library started during a Waterloo Watercolor reception there:
Thank you to both of them for inviting me to share my ideas. Contact me if you have any questions about your painting or are interested in my one day work shops!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Jump in...the water is fine!

Never tried watercolor before? Or maybe you are an artist would like to explore a new technique? I think "splashing" ( a pouring method) is the perfect way to start a new adventure in watercolor. Thanks to a lovely group of artists from the Highland Arts Guild in Marble Falls, Texas, I was able to test my theory. I used two of my favorite paint subjects, water and rocks, to do a one day work shop. This is my painting of the image we all used to create 1) an under painting of local colors using only 3 paints, a red, a yellow and a blue 2) a rhythmic value study of light, medium and dark tones and with 3) varied splatters, brush strokes and shapes ...a fun , glowing painting.
Here were the supplies we used:

I supplied a masked sketch on 140# paper for everyone and will also included tape, straws and pipettes, stirrers and some plastic cups for mixing paints.
Each participant brought:
Any 3 transparent red, yellow and blue Watercolors. I use naphthol red, hansa yellow and Antwerp blue). All quinacridone colors work. The key is that they are transparent for mixing.

3 brushes for splattering

3 brushes to paint with ( I use a #6 pointed round, a filbert for blending and a liner or rigger)

Small pieces of watercolor paper to use for practice ( 4x6 or larger)

Masking fluid ( may want to add more than I have)/ and a mask remover if you have one

Gator board or painting surface to tape your painting

Spray bottle for water. You want a fine spray, nothing that is too wimpy or too strong

  Their imagination! 

With just simple instructions along the way this group of 6 risk takers ( Betty, Brenda, Evelyn, Gail, Marti and Sharin) , using their own 3 transparent colors ....jumped in! We knew from the start that all would look different as we completed them, it was amazing to also see their personalities show up on paper. Here are some of their results:

I hope they were as pleased as I was with the results. I look forward to teaching these ladies again in late summer when we approach a floral with this technique and an emphasis on negative painting. Contact me at of you would like to be added to our class list.

Seriously beautiful Spring florals ...Capture them!

Spring flowers and Spring storms are a guarantee in Texas in May. But this annual bouquet doesn’t last forever...unless you capture it! That...