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.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

"Paint what you want to see!" Lian Quan Zhen's advice is simple but rewarding

That's the message from internationally known artist, author and instructor, Lian Quan Zhen. I had the pleasure of attending his 4 day work shop this past week and my Art will be changed for the better. We traced two images provided by him ( 26 attended), one a floral and one a group of elephants. These two scenes allowed him to demonstrate his ability to use only 3 colors , red ( Naptha), yellow (Hansa) and blue (Antwerp) to create a multitude of colors and hues. He also wated to emphasize the immense changes in value that can occur with only 3 colors.  Using a TV screen that allowed him to zoom in on small details, we watched 4 or more demos daily as he taught his valuable techniques. He considers imperfect to be perfect and makes excellent choices to change shapes and values in his work. His use of negative painting may be the most imaginative tip I picked up...and there were many!
Lian Zhen Work Shop Feb 26-March 1, 2018

             Artists came from Georgetown, Fredericksburg, Dallas, Ft Worth, Colorado and even Panama to learn from Lian. It was a very fun, talented group.
Lian talking while he paints his lily pong complete with fish

             The photo is for reference only as he encourages all to paint what they want to see, not what they see
The elephant family at sunset lives in a lovely setting, warm at the top, cool at the bottom
Elephant eyes have a glint and lashes, skin is wrinkly and mud caked

Here is my version....all 26 students had a different one. Lian made suggestions to each of us for completing our paintings.

Can you believe all of these were done with only 3 colors??

As most artists do, he had originals and prints, CDs and books to sell. I purchased "Chinese Painting" and encourage you to do that as he demos several paintings start to finish. It may change your painting for the better!

It’s all about dogs...and some other animals, too

I have a connection to doubt about it. We are usually instant friends when we meet. I see the beauty of their shape and color, their full body personalities and the love and devotion in their eyes. I’m not opposed to getting a big juicy kiss, either. So I guess it’s only natural that I enjoy capturing them in a painting. 
Among my collection of painted dogs are those precious animals we have had the joy of owning and also some of yours. Here are a few.

My first dog of 2018 is Quinn:

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Have you considered pouring a painting?

Welcome to a fun new method of blending colors on paper. Throw away your brush or at least set it aside and get ready to have some fun! Whether this becomes an exciting new background for your paintings or the painting itself, I think you need to know about this rewarding technique.

My first introduction to this method was through a Kris Parins demo, a watercolorist whose background was in graphic design. I feel her paintings seem effortless and not as contrived, but a masterful hand and designer has planned her paintings well. It is easy to see that she understands the 4 color process used by printers to establish their desired outcomes. Here is one of Kris' amazing paintings, "Captive Audience":

After attempting this method several times, I finally realized a little study into the process never hurts. I am understanding colors better as I had to select my favorite blends from a large array of yellows, reds and blues. You should do the same.  My excellent guide ( aside from You Tube videos) has been Jean Grastorf " Pouring Light" ( thank you, Nancy Charbeneau, who is also an excellent pourer)...who explains this is also an exercise in value so fast forward to my teaching this to interested beginners in January ( 24th)  at my favorite Marble Falls gallery, Galleries at Pecan Creek. This will be a beginner class in every way; you do not need prior experience to participate.

Here is my teaser set of photos :

 Basically, I planned a river scene since part of the charm of Marble Falls, Texas is that it sits on the beautiful Colorado River. My sketch was masked ( I used Pebeo masking fluid on 300# paper). Once the paper was completely drenched in water, I applied a yellow ( I used quinacridone gold), overlapping a red ( Cadmium) and a blue ( Cobalt) so that these pigments create their own depth of color as they dry. DRYING is a key component to success. Each "pour" adds it's own new dimension to the rich hues that are developed. Each pour also has a richer percentage of pigment to water to enhance the darks and mid tones.

I hope I caught your attention and interest! This is the class list. Please sign up on the gallery website ( class limited to 8):

I will add to my knowledge base of this technique by taking a late February work shop from Lian Quan Zeng. Contact me for more information on this Waterloo Watercolor Group work shop in Austin. Waiting list only at this point.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

2017 Christmas inspirations....!

Where has 2017 gone?? For me, it has included a lot of travel to wonderful places in the US and in Europe. I discovered Wyoming scenery this summer and that became a part of my Christmas card this year. I always love a Cowboy ( who doesn't?) so that also became a part of my message. My sister in law , Kay, who was with me as I painted is sadly, no longer with us. She suggested the tree and a special angel in the sky ....thank you, Kay! You are the angel.

Have a Cowboy Christmas 

Just for fun, I painted a drippy version of a colorful guy I met in Wyoming. His beard and blue eyes were stunning! He made a great model ( always my intention) for this fun watercolor I just completed on December 14th.

                                                                   My Wyoming Santa

This is a commissioned scene for an international mining company, Weir International, Inc. Our 21st year of creating a Christmas card together!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and I hope you celebrate in every way possible with everyone you care about! Stay tuned for my pouring lesson in my next blog!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Steiner Ranch annual show is May 4th at Steiner Steakhouse

Hello, Art lovers! If you are in the Austin area on Sunday, May 4th, please visit the 2nd annual Steiner Ranch Art Show held on the beautiful patio at the Steiner Ranch Steakhouse. You can enjoy the very fine display of artistry that is being presented by local watercolor, acrylic , oil,  jewelry, and metal artists. Our sign was designed by one of the artists, Paul McGuire.

I will have signed and numbered reprints , note cards and originals at my booth. Please stop by to say hello. Other artists whose work I greatly admire including Rae Andrews, Nancy Charbeneau, Janine Martens and Martha Ruth, will have their award winning work on display and for sale. If you are a painter or just an art admirer or collector, this is a wonderful opportunity ...try not to miss it....and bring the family!  You can enjoy Brunch up until 2:00 pm but a food purchase is not necessary.

                                             Here are a few of my offerings that will be available in note card and reprint forms:
Steppin' Out in Austin

                                                                           The Star

                                                                 Don't Fence Me In

Visual examples of my portraits of families and pets will be on display for anyone interested in commissioning me for this lasting treasure.... I have some surprises,too! See you there.

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 Sheff...