Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's been a while ...

It's been a while since I posted, and I almost feel a little guilty.  But, like the rest of you, I have been slammed with getting ready for holiday shows, prepping for lessons, etc.  My blog just had to take a back seat to all of the rest!  I have missed my blog community.  Even though I haven't been around, I know all of you are here and will be here as I come and go!

I have held a couple of watercolor batik workshops in addition to my five weekly classes at three different Senior Centers in the county.  I have been painting up a storm, batik, watercolors, mixed media and plain old acrylics.  Love it all, but have felt the pressure!  I had to complete several new batiks to make a total of thirteen for my 2012 calendar.  Then, of course, Christmas cards, new projects, etc, etc and so forth!

One great thing I did for myself, well four great things since I have posted, I attended four mini weekend workshops that were wonderful.  Some more wonderful than others.  Funny thing, I didn't finish one painting in any of the workshops, but I was so inspired and really had a rush of creativity as I integrated lessons learned from all of them.  Will try to post a little more often as we near the end of 2011, and show a few pieces that were the result of some of my workshop lessons.

I'll start with a few of my new batiks, as those will be the first to make public viewing the first Friday of December at the Holiday Art Walk in Anacortes, Washington.

This is from a photo taken up at Shucksan in Mount Baker State Park  "December"  8" x 8" watercolor batik

Grapes on the vine from a photo of a friend's grapes on her deck "September" 8" x 8" watercolor batik

Watercolor Batik "November" for my calendar. November is when the snow geese arrive, and, yes, they are here! 8" x 8"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm Done!

Have spent too much time on this already, so  I think I can call this one done!  It may not be "finished,"  but it IS done! [Until I fiddle again.]  No, no more fiddling.  It "feels" better than the two previous posts.  Another opportunity for growth!  Onto the next.  Maybe I can knock one out tonight, now that I have worked out the bugs ... sort of.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What the hey, it's only canvas!

Never to do things halfway, I got a little nuts with my fiddling.  Too little?  Too much?  Have really gotten away from what I intended to do, but isn't that the way?  Take risks, punch through to the next place.  Sometimes it works, sometimes, not so much.  Will sit with this for a day or two ...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Just so you know ...

Yes, I paint in other media than watercolor batik!  Here's an 18 x 24 acrylic I just did for a local show related to "Mother Earth."  Will enter it next week.   At this point, I am just propping it up to look at it.  It needs a few tweaks, I think. seeing the image on my computer, the violet is too much and should probably be knocked down a bit.  The good news and bad news is that Photoshop picks up everything.  Will play with it over the weekend and re-post the results.

The weather should be great over the weekend.  I hope to get out to sketch a bit, but will have enough time to work on this before classes start again next week.  Happy Labor Day to all!  Don't "work" too hard!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Which One is Just Right?

Have been away for a while ... the hurrier I go, the behinder I get.  Am trying to finish up summer classes and prepare for early fall classes, and I get "clutched."  So, I went back to doing some watercolor batiks to relax into and play a little bit.  Well, of course, I am still clutched.  Got to punch through!

So, I took an old "blah" watercolor  of mine, and copied it onto some rice paper.  Was not thrilled with the outcome, so did two more.  Like Goldilocks I am trying to figure out which is "just right."  I am thinking that none of them are just right, but each of them have elements I like, and, of course, a few parts that I am not too happy with.  But, I am not going to beat myself up, because I am beginning to figure out how much of a drawing I need to do, how much spattering I want to do, and how much paint [i.e., value] I need to use.

Talk about needing to punch through, I look at several of my most recent posts, and see that they are all watercolor batiks.  I need to get back into doing some more serious [ not TOO serious] work.  I have a couple of acrylics I am working on, and I have done a few quick watercolor demos in watercolors that are "okay," but nothing that thrills me. 

Oh well, like I say ... the hurrier I go ... shows, classes, and a couple of workshops that I will be giving, and a coule I will be taking.  Woo hoo!  THAT'S what I need, some nurturing "me" time in a workshop I will be taking!  More to follow!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

First Place in WAG Truck Challenge

8" x 8" unframed $100 for the pair or $60 each  plus $8 shipping for one or both

 8" x 8" unframed $100 for the pair, or $60 each plus $8 shipping for one or both

Woo hoo!  I had no idea that I would win this challenge, because I really don't "know" trucks.  I did them more to practice watercolor batik than to compete in the challenge. 

Another nice thing happened.  I sold two paintings this week ... one from the Daily Paintworks Challenge's Weekly Challenge and one from our co-op gallery in Anacortes.  Either the economy is turning, or my art is getting better!  I want both to be true ...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Koi Batik

Watercolor Batik Koi Approximately 18 x 24 inches

Well, I couldn't wait.  Had to finish it.  Lately, with these batiks, my iron is getting more of a work out than it has in the last twenty years!  As I mentioned in my early koi post, I was concerned about a few little tears in the paper, but have solved the issue by cropping them out!  When in doubt, crop it out!  Am sort of pleased with the outcome of my first "larger" batik piece. 

Koi on rice paper ... soon to be batiked

Watercolor batik koi painting WIP 24 x 24 inches ~ Two waxings so far

Initial drawing in pen and ink with ultra fine sharpie

Am continuing to explore and experiment with watercolor batik ... a few steps forward and a few steps back.  One of my forward steps was that I sold my batik reflective glass set-up from the Daily Paintworks Challenge [linked to Daily Paintworks in a previous post].  This is an incentive for me to join DPW.  I love that site and love the challenges!
With a tad more confidence, I started a koi painting in watercolor batik on a larger piece of rice paper than I have in earlier paintings.  This is 24 by 24 inches, and the paper is much more fragile and thinner than what I have used up until now.  I am only half way through the process, and I have a few small tears in the paper.  Am sure they will seal when I apply more wax, but would sure like to know how to avoid the tears!  Really, I have been gentle with the paper, moving it gingerly so as to not tear it, but, there you are.  And I drew the koi so large, that a crop may not work.

Would love to hear from some of you batiking artists for some insights!  Have to say, though, I still love playing with batiks!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Whatcom Art Guild Monthly Challenge

With my "kitchen studio" permanently installed on the counter, I decided to do the Whatcom Art Guild Monthly Challenge in batik as well [see earlier post below].  I otherwise would not seek out trucks to paint, but it's the club challenge, so why not have some fun with it in watercolor batik?  And, yes, I had so much fun doing the first one, I did a second one today, as there were two views of the beat up rusty old truck.

Am pleased with having cropped out a lot of the garbage of the photos we were given, and resized the images in Photoshop, so I could create a "matched pair."

Truck view #1

Truck view #2

Another Reflection Challenge on DPW

Glass and fuit on a mirror tile from a set up similar to what I use in class
This week's Daily Paintworks Weekly Challenge is to paint reflections, so I did another batik.  Practice makes perfect!  So, I am a ways from perfection, but enjoying the process.  My kitchen has become my batik studio with a thrift shop electric fry pan and my "retired" iron sort of permanent fixtures on my counter. 

More to follow.  I have another challenge to play with ... The Whatcom Art Guild's July Challenge is a couple of photos of a old rusty truck.  I guess it was meant to be an either/or choice, but I did both.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Another Crack at Watercolor Batik

Heron in Watercolor Batik
Okay, I am working on it, and am going to call my foray into this fun way of painting, a WIP.  Do I get to call myself an experimental artist? I am sharing with you because I have no idea if these things are any good, or even "art" [I'm talking about my work, not the batiks of the many incredible artists who do these so well]. Love the process, and they are fun to do, and I am working on making them better as I go along.  Would love any input you might want to offer, and/or any insights on how I could perfect them.  Am not sure I can "correct" existing ones, but would sure like to know how to paint and wax in a more pleasing or marketable way.  What do you think?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This Week's Daily Paintworks Challenge

Double the pleasure, double the fun, I did this week's challenge on the Daily Paintworks site [Daily Paintworks Weekly Challenge],The Old Mill, in watercolor batik, and a new [to me] medium.  After reading the most recent "Watercolor Artist" Magazine, with a how to article on watercolor batiking by Kathie George, I have been doing a handful of practice batiks, with a modicum of success.  I sketched the mill on tracing paper, then traced the mill onto rice paper, then heated some wax and started laying in some wax, followed by layers of watercolor on the pen and ink tracing.  The fun part is crumpling the whole thing in a ball at the end [before one last waxing], then covered the whole thing with one last watercolor wash, and the final wax job. 

Then, I used what has become almost a relic, an antique, my IRON, to press the wax out with my painting stuck between several layers of newspaper until there was no more wax coming through.

A while ago, I wrote on my blog about feeling like a sketcher-phrenic, not knowing who I was as an artist.  I still don't know, but am having a lot of fun trying to find my place in the world of art making!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Upside Down Challenge

Well, this is it
This week's Daily Paintworks Challenge [ DPW ] was to paint a Revere bowl and a couple slices of watermelons on a reflective surface, with the reference turned UPSIDE DOWN.  It's a good lesson for learning to really SEE what you are painting.  Good stuff, and a lesson in humility.  I had to turn it right side up toward the end of my painting it to tweek it.  Stretching, always stretching.


UPDATE:  Somehow, after pushing buttons clicking numerous help buttons that didn't really answer any of my questions, crashing my computer, installing, uninstalling and reinstalling FireFox, rebooting,etc, I got a few functions to work.  I have no idea how I did it, but at least, I was able to upload the above image.  I don't know if I am out of the woods yet, but I am pleased to at least have the painting show up.  If I didn't have this, what would be the point of the blog?  Am keeping my fingers crossed!!!  :-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

More Polo Players

From 2010 Governor's Cup in La Conner, Washington Acrylic 18 x 24 on black gessoed canvas
These were a little more fun than the little project below.  It still falls under the heading of "experiment," because of the black gesso.  I like the effects of the black peaking through, but I have concerns that I might have left it a little rough.  Although I really am trying to be looser, I am not sure what looks "loose," or unfinished.  For me today, I am calling this done.  It may not be finished, but it is done! 

Ambivalence Abounds

Since I went to a Carla O'Connor workshop at the end of April, I have been experimenting with gold gesso.  Not too much success ... not enough to post, in my estimation.  So, I did this little demo in an acrylics class today, and am not sure whether I like it or not.  I think I have overdone it on the one hand, but it feels as if I missed something on the other.  Just am not sure I like it.  But, I will keep on trying, because I like the gold!

On top of everything else, it doesn't appear to photograph well!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Polo Player

Polo player from the La Conner, Washington team, July 2010 ~ Acrylic mixed media

Here's another polo player from the Governor's Cup last year.  I just so enjoy the matches!  I crank off at least two hundred images a day during the festivities.  Aren't digital cameras great?   

Art By the Lake Ski to Sea Show

This past weekend was the Whatcom Art Guild's Art By the Lake Show.  A lot of energy and a number of events packed into the four days, starting with set-up on Friday.  Friday night was the Wearable Art Fashion Show and Reception.  It was a first time effort by club members yet talent and creativity in the pieces designed and worn by members were spectacular.  Two members created wearable art and jewelry for other members who purchased and painted the various pieces and wore them in the show.  Although I love hats and bags on other people, I use neither, so I chose to design and make my own "pop-top poncho," and painted poppies on it, front and back.  I was really pleased with the outcome.  The fabric an ecru cotton knit, was a remnant, only $3.75, and I used my acrylic paints, plus a couple of fabric acrylics, as well as some Golden GAC 900, to make a pretty smart-looking piece that I won't be embarrassed to wear.  I got more great positive comments on my top than on my paintings!

On Sunday, I had signed up to demo, and took my acrylics to the show [first time with this club].  I was doing a small painting of a polo pony ref, and it was going pretty well, and more WAG members than show patrons came up to watch.  As I was painting and explaining what I was doing [which was sort of a mixed media over a black-gessoed "bad" painting], two members were standing there, and one said to the other, "Is she doing that right?"  Her tone was not what I expected, and I was a bit uncomfortable.  I said that was not a kind thing to say, and she said she was kidding.  It didn't sound like kidding, so, already a bit nervous about being in a new environment, I was taken off guard.  I finished the painting and left.  It was weird. 

The official at the Governor's Cup Polo Matches July 2010 ~ Acrylic, gouache, charcoal, conte
Even still, I liked what I did, and I enjoyed the rest of the show and the people there.  I "worked" the desk, and, as it was for everyone else, we sold a LOT of cards, not too many paintings.

At "break-down," I could sense disappointment from the other artists, as it takes a lot of energy, time and money to put on a show like that.  I am grateful that I sold a small painting, as there were a number of artists that didn't.  Hope the economy turns around soon! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My kitty cat with the coat of many colors

Have been so busy, I have been able to post for a while.  I have to make this quick, but wanted to share my kitty cat that I did for the Daily Paintworks Challenge this week.  Love doing the challenges, but have submitted only two.  I need to carve out more painting time for ME!  Am not complaining, really.  I am delighted that I am now teaching six classes a week.  Oh, the classes arent big, but I feel so committed to giving the artist the best that I've got, which takes some planning, and keeping at least one step ahead of them.  They are all such terrific artists, that I have to continually sharpen the "tools in my kit."  Doing the challenges are one way for me to do that.  Am so grateful for the site.  Check it out! Daily Paintworks Challenge

Monday, May 2, 2011

Busy, busy, busy, good stuff all!

Am just winding down from a really busy week, and, well, a busy month.  The past three and a half days [left early to teach a class], I spent in a Carla O'Connor workshop ... have been wanting to go to one of her workshops for several years, and found that she was doing one in La Conner at Dakota Arts this past week.  I couldn't pass it up!  Money was tough, but with gas costing so much, and not having money to fly or book rooms anywhere, it seemed like the right thing to do.  All my angst about money, etc., dissipated the very first morning of the workshop.  Carla is so lovely, funny and engaging, apart from her pure talent and generosity of sharing the work she does.  I intend to do more on the workshop in future blogs, but am so exhausted and want to "do" the workshop justice!

So, the other busy-ness had to do with our month long show ending, and finding out that I sold four paintings.  Am thrilled about that.  Three of the four paintings sold were done with the Dr Ph Martins Hydrus watercolors, which is sort of neat.  The fourth painting to sell was  the Tulip Picker, a palette knife acrylic from a photo I took several years ago, that was the image for the show's poster.  I was pleased to hear that the person who bought the painting is a local with a farm in the Valley.  Apropos, I thought.

Tulips of the Valley sold at ALN Tulip Festival Show

Monday, April 18, 2011

Limited Palette Study

I have been doing so much sketching with my Doc Martin Hydrus watercolors, I thought I might have forgotten how to paint.  I found a charming reference photo in Wet Canvas Reference Library, and did this while watching Upstairs Downstairs last night.

Girl in Gold Skirt on Purple Chair 6 x 8 on  gessoed "bad" painting
The colors didn't scan too well, and Photoshop didn't warm it up as it is in real life, but I still sort of like it.  In "real life," the skirt shimmers.  She reminds me of my daughter-in-law, which makes it even better for me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Only One From Life Drawing Worth Posting

A model new to our group, and I really didn't get into a rhythym with her until this 20 minute pose. [if that's what does or doesn't happen with artists and models ... I don't know, but that's the only way I know to express myself in this instance ...].  I said to my friend who was sketching with me, that I guess the learning has to do as much with who is put in front of you as to do with how well you think you are doing with process and interpretation.  Whatever, I DO learn each time I am there, and  will continue to "punch through," until I get it!  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Something new for me

Well, I did something for the first time ... I entered  The DPW Painting Challenge! - The Chicken Challenges, and had fun sketching a chicken. Out of my comfort zone, and into the fray. Gulp! What the cluck!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thursday Acrylics Class Self Portraits

Last Thursday, we scheduled a session of self-portraits in my Figures and Faces Acrylics class.  What fun it was!  I bought ten stand-up mirrors from the Dollar Store, and told the students that yes, they needed to plan on sketching a relatively good likeness of themselves first, and then, to get creative with their painting of self portraits ... bring hats, change the geometry of their likeness, use unusual color combinations, etc.  My students have such a great attitude and willingness to try anything and everything, that indeed several brought in hats, and chose to paint very creative compositions.  The results were wonderful, and made us all smile!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Catching Up On Life Drawing Sketches

A busy time last week and the beginning of this week, so I am a little bit behind in posting.  Art Bash, Art League North's offering to the Tulip Festival festivities, opened Friday evening to a great and supportive group of neighbor's and friends.  The economy must be perking up a tad, as there were a few sales, two of which were mine!  Thank you, local art lovers!

I didn't post last week's life drawing sketches, because I wasn't too excited about them, even though I always learn something and appreciate the experience.  I am not sure how "experienced" last week's model was ... not too inspiring, but she was fun to sketch in her silky black slip.  Her naturally curly hair and the filigree on her slip were fun to draw with my Doc Martin Hydrus Watercolor droppers.

Yesterday, Burt posed, and I like the results more.  I especially like the one with the sweat pants.  It seems to capture more the moment and the character.  

Too blue ... Avatar or Smurf?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Yes, I feel that I am a sketcher-phrenic.  I am enjoying sketching, and certainly have enjoyed the group I have been sketching with, and, I also enjoy the other work I am doing with different media.  I am a Jack [or Jill] of all trades and master of none, I suppose.  Coming back to creating and making art late, I want to do it all ... well and fast!  All that said, I feel a bit conflicted about sketching.

It appears that sketching has become a huge international movement, or maybe it's been going on forever, and I just recently became aware of it.  I love looking at the sketchings of others, and enjoy the process, for sure.  Sketching is clearly an art form unto itself.

And who can dispute that sketching/drawing doesn't increase overall skills, particularly on how one "sees" things. I sketch, and certainly encourage my students to take time, every day, if possible, to sketch and draw, and, to be sure, their skills, and mine, will increase and improve.

The frustration comes with, perhaps, the scarce allocation of resources, primarily time, and, frankly, materials.  I now have about four separate "kits" to lug around the various classes I give and take, including the re-purposing of an old computer bag on rollers for sketching.  The conflict also has to do with "simplifying my life," and making it more frenetic than ever!

To be sure, sketching and drawing are a huge part of my art-making, and an element of how I teach, to the extent that artists need to draw and sketch, as much to improve the ability to "see" and create compositions and good designs in their watercolors and acrylics.  I so enjoy painting with acrylics and knives, doing watercolors, and working with texture and now collage. How much time can a person take to do all things creative?

Do I continue to spread myself too thin, or do I try to "do it all"?  What do you do?

A couple of Whidbey Island Sketchers on a lovely sunny day in Langley 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Art Bash and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Yikes, the Tulip Festival starts April 1st, as do the many art shows in barns and other venues punctuating the acres and acres of tulips and daffodils in Skagit Valley. Art League North's Art Bash will be in The Farmhouse Restaurant [at the corner of SR 20 and La Conner -Whitney Road] for the second year. And I am not ready!  I have been SO busy teaching and running around the county in the name of art, that I haven't been able to get my act together enough to get everything matted, framed, mounted, etc.

I HAVE ordered some cards, and hope to have them ready to sell at least. In the last couple of years, more cards than original art works have been selling at shows, so I started having the cards made. At least the proceeds cover the expense of my entry into the show.
Anyway, I am pleased with a few pieces that I will be hanging in the show. Below is one of them. I started this as a palette knife demo in an acrylics class, and hadn't finished it until just a day or two ago. I like him.

Heron ~ Acrylics ~ Palette Knife

Every day, I see at least two or three herons as I drive through the Valley or by the Swinomish Channel. As often as I see the herons, swans, geese and eagles, each time I see any of them it takes my breath away. Paintings of these birds sell well. Am hoping someone will want to take my guy home from the show!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This Week's Life Drawing at the Depot

Cropped from a ten-minute pose.  She thought she could hold her neck like that, but found it was too much.  Glad I got it before she gave up on the pose. On Arches cold press 140# with Doc Martins Hydrus Watercolors and American Journey watercolor stick

Twenty minute from the mirror on Tyvek with Doc Martins Hydrus Watercolor and American Journey watercolor stick 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunny Saturday

This past Saturday was lovely and sunny, the day before the start of spring.  It was so great to see the sun, but, it was REALLY breezy with a little chill in the air.  It didn't matter, though, because the Saturday group of painters went outside and clipped a few sprigs of blossoms and painted them from inside.  Fair?  Not plein air, but close!  Here's a quick sketch that was fun light-hearted, and spring IS in the air ... cold or not!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sketching with the Whidbey Island Sketchers

I spent the afternoon sketching with some great folks from the Whidbey Island Sketchers group in Langley at a tiny little micro brew place.  As the new kid, I felt very welcomed and comfortable.  Since I haven't been out sketching with a group very much, I was a tad tentative at first, but shortly got in to the swing of things.  I brought my Doc Martins [paints not boots] and continued to experiment.  Although I have yet to master them, I had a lot of fun, and lots of excuses for being loose!  I guess the paints were a hit, because several of the artists said they are probably going to order some.  Hey, Doc Martin [and Cheap Joe] do you do finder's fees?  I understand a lot of Hydrus watercolors are being bought by Pacific Northwest artists!

Here's one more of Sue ...

Sue ~  A little overworked ~ Do you think they'll invite me back?