Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Encaustic Poppies

Encaustic poppies 20 x 20 on cradled wooden panel $175

These poppies were fun to do.  They are on a 20 x 20 inch cradled wooden panel.  The reds are so vibrant, and the poppies pop!  So many good things about working in molten beeswax!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Encaustic Heron

Encaustic Heron ~ 12 x 24 ~ $175.00
This morning I posted some trees I did with encaustics, and although, I really love them, they didn't photograph as well as I had hoped, so I am adding this one that I did at the same time.  This piainting was also shown at the First Friday Art Walk last night.  Art Walk was really pretty successful, as many friends and acquaintances came out to see our new work.  Several paintings were sold, two of mine, which made it an excetpionally lovely evening! [Artists included are Sharon Mecca, Nancy Vogel and myself at our small co-op gallery in the Champions Real Estae office at 8th and Commercial in Anacortes.]

I am so enjoying playing with hot beeswax, and ever exploring my new favorite phrase, "What if."

Encaustic Trees

Encaustic Trees 12" x 24" $175.00
After spending several weeks working on about a dozen of encaustic paintings, I finished the last of them [Trees shown here] this past week to hang for Ocotber First Friday Art Walk in Anacortes. Exhausted but exhilerated that I got them done and hung, I was finally able to check in with what happening in the art blogosphere. On Friday, I saw that Daily Paintworks Challenge for the week was Birches.

Birches, aspens, who knows? I know they are different, but now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, many folks speak of them as almost interchangeable. I have both birches and aspens in my yard, and they truly are different, but I see the similarities in terms of the light or white trunks and lacy leaves. I love the way the leaves on both trees dance in the wind. I enjoy the colors, both gold and bright. Whatever they are, wherever they are, they are two of my favorites!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Three Watercolor Batik Workshops Scheduled!

Samish Girl ~ Watercolor Batik ~ 18 x 24
After last year's Watercolor Batik Workshops I conducted, I had a number of requests for MORE.  More on how to do figures, more on how to do larger pieces.  So, I have scheduled two "Advanced" Batik workshops and another "Basic" one for those who have recently become aware of watercolor batik as a medium. 

As you might know, watercolor batik is an age-old art form of layering watercolor and wax, only the more contemporary way to do this is on rice paper.  Several years ago, after reading an article by artist Kathie George about her more contemporary methods of doing watercolor batik, I tried it, showed my work and began offering workshops in Skagit and Whatcom Counties.   Students loved the concept and now want more.

So, there will be a "Basic" workshop at the Burlington Senior Center on Wednesday, October 3rd, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, and an "Advanced" workshop at Dakota Art in Bellingham, on Saturday, November 10th, and another Advanced workshop at the Anacortes Senior Activity Center on Wednesday, November 14th from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.  Please contact Dee at  for further information about the workshops!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Under Every Painting There is an Abstract Painting

Acrylics Texturized Mixed Media ~ 12 x 12 ~ Still Life
Acrylics ~Texturized Mixed Media ~ Abstract ~ 12 x 12
Here's how that paradigm worked for me.  I did the abstract in a workshop and was not really thrilled by it, even though I folloowed the instructions pretty much as the instructor gave them.  For me, it lacks heart or "honesty."  I like absracts and I like trying to abstract [verb] my work sometimes, but this missed the mark a bunch. 

So, over the course of July and August, I have been doing classes I have called Art Camp for Seniors, in which we "played" with paint, gels, mediums collage papers, texturizing "tools," and, of course, buble wrap!  I told the students at each class, to think of these pieces as underpaintings until we arrived at a place where we were happy enough with the results, that they were no longer underpaintings, but "finished" pieces.  This gave everyone permission to let go of their expectations to leave each class with a finished piece, and to loosen up.  It worked very well for most everyone. 

As we neared the end of the series, I chose to do a set-up in my classes of fruit, wine bottles and glasses that they could do, only if they used some of their previously texturized surfaces.  I used the one above, and the results are at the top of this post.  I am pretty pleased with my fruit and bottle on a texturized surface, with the addition of a wine label, also texturized and "patina-ed" with Quin Gold and Quinacridone Burnt Orange.   Along with my students, I am beginning to really believe that a painting is indeed an underpainting until I say it's done!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another Encaustic

Flirty Lady ~ Encaustic ~ 12 x 12

This is yet another experiment with my encaustics.  After priming the board with a couple of layers of medium, I burnished the start of a pen drawing onto the board, and finished my little lady with layers of encausitc wax paint and fusion with a heat gun.  Not as easy [at least for me] as it looks!  I need a lot more practice, but it's a start and I am enjoying the process.  Again and still, it's all about "What ifs." 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Now you see it, now you don't!

Two Pears ~ Encaustic ~ 6 x 6
Well, I really did like these little guys, and did them as an experiment in the first place.  I was happy enough with them, but needed to continue experimenting.  Although I liked the texture I had created, I would have liked the piece to have been a tad smoother.  So, I had bought a second-hand iron at the thrift shop and tried to level the painting off.  Oh, the iron worked, and I was trying to get the hang of the iron on the wax, and got carried away, and I melted the whole darn thing off the board!  I am being brave about it, and not too upset.  I am getting better about pushing the envelope to see how far I can go with these new experiments.  So, this time I went too far, but will know the next time.

Just so you know, there IS a "special" iron for encaustics.  One brand is $40, and the other is $50.  Since I am on a steep, self-taught, learning curve, I am trying to keep "investments" to a minimum, so a $3 iron is what I am using for the moment.  I have read a bunch of blogs and instruction sites, and have seen most of the YouTube videos on encaustics, and some artists use a regular iron, and others say you MUST use the encaustics iron.  Do you think this is like other mediums, in that the better quality of materials and tools impact the results?  I am not sure ... yet ... but will let you know!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

It's been too long ...

I know, it's summer, and so many of us are taking a break.  I have been taking a break from blogging, but have been keeping busy with my art ... evolving, I hope, or shifting a few gears.  Do you find that happening to you in your work occasionally?  There should be a support group for that!

Although I still teach and love teaching so much, I have gotten in a little rut with my own work, but have been "detouring" around "what I do," or what I used to do, which has been pretty traditional watercolors and acrylics.  Occasionally, I teach a one-day workshop in Watercolor Batiks, which I so enjoy, and have found myself gravitating toward other wax works.  Have been messing about in encaustics and loving it, but have been shy about sharing what I have been doing. 

I started by watching a few How-toYou Tube clips and setting up my studio annex in my kitchen, and loving it!  But I haven't shown my new work publicly, so here it goes!

Poppies 2, Encaustic Painting, 12 x  12 on Board

Poppies ~ Encaustic Painting 12 x 12 on board

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pink Tutu Project

The first of my tutu project series ~ Acrylics
5" x 7" on paper matted $35 plus shipping and handling ~ Portion of proceeds to go to the Tutu Project

Two in pink tutus ~ Acrylics ~ 5" x 7" in a mat ~ $35 plus shipping and handling ~ Portion of proceeds to The Tutu Project

I don't know if any of you saw a clip about the Pink Tutu Project on any of the morning news magazine shows recently, but I saw this, and it really touched me.  Mr Carey, a professional photographer, started the project nine years ago, as much to make his wife, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, smile.  Mr and Mrs. Carey have started a foundation to help fund care for women with breast cancer who can't afford treatment.  Click here to see more ...

The Tutu Project
Photographer Bob Carey in Pink Tutu as part of the Tutu Project funding care for breast cancer victims who can't afford care

As a result, I thought it might be fun to do a little series of pink tutu figures, and donate some of the proceeds to the Project.   Fellow Artists ... What do you think?  Would you do a tutu or two?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Great Weekend, Great Show!

Am just winding down from the Whatcom Art Guild Art by the Lake Show that was part of the Ski to Sea weekend in Bellingham.  It was a good weekend over all.  First, I was awarded a first and a second [shown below],  and, I sold three paintings.  Woo hoo! 

For the first time, I had a half booth, which worked out to be just the right size.  I am getting a bit long in the tooth to commit to a full booth, in terms of staffing and in terms of building a larger booth by myself.  The thing I knew even before doing this half booth was that I don't ever think I will be doing another booth outside again, particularly in the Pacific Northwest where the weather can ruin your day!

In any case, the booth was good and I enjoyed myself.  I was pleasantly surprised that I ran out of business cards, because people were interested in taking classes from me.  Neat!  Now if they all follow up!

Anyway, with a good booth experience, and sales to boot, the awards were icing on the cake!

Carolina Girl ~ Watercolor Batik 18" x 24" mounted on canvas 1 1/2" deep sides
Awarded First Place WAG Art by the Lake Show  SOLD

Northwest Shopping Day ~ Acrylics 18" x 24" canvas 1 1/2" deep sides
Awarded Second Place in WAG Art by the Lake Show

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Dowager

The Dowager  6" x 8" Acrylics
$45 on watercolor paper in mat
Just entered this in the  Daily Paintworks Yellow Challenge, because I am finding that a number of my recent paintings have yellow backgrounds.  For me, yellow is light, happy and warm.  Am loving New Gamboge, Indian Yellow and Naples Yellow in my recent acrylic paintings. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Girls Night Out Demo

Friday night was "Girls Night Out" in Fairhaven [Bellingham, WA], where women of all ages had a night on the town in shops and eateries, with portions of the proceeds going to cancer research.  The ladies migrated from one establishment to another with "passport" in hand to be stamped while they shopped.

Three of us Whatcom Art Guild artists demo-ed, and, below are the results of my four hours "mooshing" paint around, and chatting with those who stopped by the Art Martket.  Good fun was had by all!

Midsummer's Night Dream Girl
Arycrlics 7 1/2 x 11
Girls Night Out
Acrylics 7 1/2 x 11

Sangria Anyone? Acrylics 5 x 7

Poppies and Pods Acrylics 5 x 7

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Girl Can Change Her Mind, Can't She?

Fantasy Lady in Fluid Acrylic with Alcohol and collage
11" x 15" on 300# Fabriano Paper

I said im my last post that I was not going to post any of the pieces I did in the Robert Burridge Workshop I recently attended.  Well, I changed my mind because, frankly, I was very happy with the result.  So was one of my students who ended up buying it.  She was very happy with the piece, and so am I, so here it is. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One Show, One Workshop Down, More To Go

I have been away from the blogosphere, as probably many of you have, busy with spring shows and a Robert Burridge workshop.  The "big" show that has taken so much time was the Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley, where the various art organizations show for the full month of April.  A few of the shows are still held in barns, which sort of added to the "ambiance" and nature of the Tulips Festival.  The group I belong to, Art League North, used to do "Art Bash" in barns as well, but we have been showing in in a very civilized venue for the past few years, the second floor of a Valley landmark , the Farmhouse Restaurant.  We don't have to use space heaters or wear long johns to work, but the lighting could be SO much better than it is.  Even so, I was pleased to sell four paintings and a number of cards.  I sold the heron in Stalking at Sunset the first evening at the reception, which pleased me no end!

I also attended a four-day Robert Burridge Workshop at the beginning of April here in the Valley, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was supposed to be Putting the Wow in Watercolors, but IMHO ended up being primarily a workshop that had a half a morning in watercolors, and the rest of the time we painted a great deal with fluid acrylics.  Not a problem for me, but the watercolor purists were sort of taken aback.  In the end, everyone learned a great deal and left with lots of Burridge-like paintings.

To that end, I usually recognize work done in a Burridge workshop, and really like it, but I don't want to show mine, because so much of the student work is the same. Pears, landscapes, figures.  Love 'em, but you can track them back to Robert Burrdige workshops.

So, I will tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed Bob and the workshop, and learned loads from him, and have, and will, integrate those lessons into my own work over time.   Bob, in his workshops and his DVDs, is absolutely wonderful and consistent with his lessons and "Bobisms."  As those of you who have attended his workshops know, Bob starts with warm-ups and doesn't paint from references.  Perfectly wonderful lessons for everyone, no matter what the medium! 

He spoke of the value of journaling, which reinforced, for me, the need to return to journaling, with a focus on my art.  Good kernels of wisdom, and I am benefitting from "morning papers" journaling again.

I am trying to do warm ups pretty much every day before I paint, which producesa mixed bag of results.  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  Below are a couple of today's relatively "good ones." 

Am hoping to get back in the groove of keeping my blog up to date, so you may see some more warm ups as I go along.

5" x 7" Acrylic Poppies Warm up #1

5" x 7" Acrylic Poppies Warm Up #2

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Stalking at Sunset

Stalking at Sunset ~ Acrylic with texturized underpainting ~ 12" x 24" 

I started this last November as a demo at a local museum.  HATED it at the time, because it was just "off."  Since I have been modestly succesful with a few of my recent works post-Jacqui Beck Workshop, I felt brave enough to take this on again.  Have to say that, in real life, it glows.  The photo doesn't ... glow, that is.  Still not my favorite piece, but I like it much more now than the way it was back in November. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

And The Series Continues ...

Coneflowers ~ Acrylic on Black Gesso 12" X 12"
This is the sixth painting I have done since last Thursday as a result of taking a workshop on Experimental Acrylic and Mixed Media with instructor, Jacqui Beck, who is also a creativity coach in Seattle.  She helped me loosen up and access a better creative me.  Doing a series and "beating it to death" is not an original concept, but I "got" it this time.  As well, I read a recent post by Skip Lawrence on painting at least twenty paintings of a series.

What I need to try for my next "go" at a series, is to paint the same thing over and over again different ways.  I have heard that before, and, being an Aries, I get bored too quickly.  Jacqui suggests that we paint the first one, and then paint from that first one, and then the next one, and the next one ... etc., always asking "what if." 

When the student is ready, the teacher appears!   

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sunflowers and Poppies

Stylized Sunflowers ~ Acrylics ~18" x 24"

Poppies and Pods ~ Acrylics ~ 8" x 10"
Am still "in the flow" of all that I learned in last week's Jacqui Beck Workshop [], although I felt myelf tightening up a bit.  I planned to do another painting today with a promise to self to stay loose and to not overthink.  Can I do it?  We'll see.  Am still enjoying the process and still trying to not be wed to the outcome.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daffodil Time Again!

Daffs ~ 11" x 14" Acrylics

Daylight saving time, spring equinox, taxes, art shows, and daffodils in Skagit Valley.  You know it's spring when the little green heads begin to pop, and pickers are out in droves cutting the "pregnant" stems just before they open, so they will be market fresh.

These have "opened" and are trumpeting the promise of spring! Part of me is SO tempted to get back into the painting and tweak and fix, but the new playful artist self in me says to leave it alone.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What if ...

This canvas is on its fourth iteration.  It has been trees, flowers, a figure, and now hydrangeas.  Isn't that a wonderful thing that we can recycle "bad" paintings by painting over them with acrylics?  The canvas has been texturized, stamped, stenciled, gessoed and re-gessoed, and I think this time it's okay.  Because it has been around the block a few times, I figured I would "play," and this is what I came up with.

Hydrangeas in a turquoise pitcher ~ 18" x 24" Acrylics Mixed Media
Even with all I learned at the Jacqui Beck workshop, I still drifted toward the traditional and ended up with the "star" hydrangea right smack in the middle.  So this morning, looking at my boring painting,
I said to myself, "what if," and started playing with my Dr Martins Hydrus watercolors.  I wasn't wed to the outcome, and enjoyed making squiggles with the droppers. Pretty soon, the main flower appeared to be a little offset, the painting winked at me and came alive!  Wish you could see it up close.

It's rainy today.  I think I will try some more!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jacqui Beck Workshop

Just got home from hosting  two one-day workshops at two of my teaching venues, the Anacortes Senior Center and the Burlington Senior Center, taught by Jacqui Beck [click here].  Not only is she a wonderful painter of intuitive, sometimes whimsical, often symbolic, acrylic and mixed media paintings, she is also a creativity coach, who is generous of spirit aside from being remarkably talented.  The two classes were full, and almost to a person, they want more.  We are hoping to schedule a TWO-day workshop in the area in the early fall, if we can secure a venue.

Last fall, I went to one of Jacqui's one-day workshops in Edmonds, and was taken by the way she approaches her teaching.  She is not a "how-to" instructor, she really does coach the students, and certainly helped me unlock a few of my creative places.  I just knew my painting friends and students would get a great deal from a day spent with Jacqui as I had.  And they did ...

And I got to be a student and particpate both days.  Woo hoo!  I am so pleased with all that I learned, and hope to really punch through again.  Yesterday's work was good, but I'm not loving it yet.  Today's was much better, because I allowed myself to play with absolutely no intentions.

Here it is ...

Sassy Tulips 18" x 18" Acrylics Texturized Underpainting

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

This Week's Daily Paintwork Challenge

This week is stacked up with so much to do and so much on my plate, but I really liked this week's Daily Paintworks Challenge, so I did a very quick acrylic sketch.  Not great, but I was able to "play with the others," andpost my little sketch.  I so enjoy wahat Carol and David Marine are doing with the Weekly Challenges.  It gives us all an opportunity to connect through art, and share with others.  Good on ya, Carol and David!  Good marketing, too!

"Happy Hour"  Daily Paintworks Challenge 8" x 10" Acrylics

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Batik Workshop April 4th in Anacortes

Just a quick note about my upcoming Watercolor Batik Workshop, scheduled for April 4th at the Anacortes Senior Center.  Workshop is also listed under the Workshops tag to the left of this post.  Would love to have you join us!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Good News Today!

Apparently, one of my paintings sold at the Whatcom Art Guild Art Market over the weekend.  I am so pleased, because I really hadn't expected it to sell at all.  It was a piece that has gone through a few false starts and a few experimental "what ifs" ... all of which ultimately "came together," to make a fun little painting.

I started this in a workshop in which we were experimenting with various gels.  I concocted and applied some Nova Lava Gel, then applied some gold leaf, which made no sense, then applied some black gesso, which made even less sense, then attached a high resolution laser print of a sketch I had done in a life drawing session, then I painted lava gel with some gold paint which really looked pretty good ... and then  oops, one gold drip right smack in the middle of the painting, so I dripped gold over the whole "mountain" and the figure.  All in the spirit of experimenting. 

Frankly, I really liked it, but never really thought it would sell.  Am so hoping the buyer will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it!

Mountain Goddess ~ Acrylic Mixed Media 12" X 12"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Another Batik for Workshop

It's my day off, so I have been working on a few small batiks to show at the workshop on Saturday.  This is another batik of model, Jill.  Maybe it's a little dark, but I sort like the "mood."  What do you think?

Batik Workshop on Saturday in Bellingham

Have been working on some "new material" for my all-day Watercolor Batik Workshop scheduled on Saturday at Dakota Art in Bellingham [there are still a few spaces available!].  I am finding that when I set up to do a series of batiks, I invariably have to do a "sacrificial piece" to warm up. My sacrificial piece that I did this morning will never see the light of day, let alone a space on this blog!  Terrible! But, that warm-up piece allowed me to do the one below, which pleases me.  Am hoping to have enough pieces by early spring to do a whole show in batiks.  We'll see. 

Radishes Watercolor Batik 8" x 8"
to show in Watercolor Batik Workshop

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This litte piggy

Here's another quick sketch I did at Ruby's on Saturday.  I guess I was really trying to work on saving whites!  I am finding that for me the best way to get the whites is to have great darks!  I may have to try this one in watercolor batiks.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Back to watercolor ... at least for the moment

Yesterday,  I painted with Ruby, almost niety-five years old, who will forget more than I will ever learn.  We did some tulips with a hard edge, then sprayed the other edge.  I have done a little of this before, but not enough.  It was good to laser focus on one aspect of painting in washes.  I intend to do more with watercolor than I have done lately.  So much to do and learn, and so little time!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Still Playing With Backgrounds

Am still snowed in, but rain is washing it away and temps are rising .  Even so, today was not a good day to be out.  The governor declared a state of emergency, well justified south of here.  We, up here in Skagit County dodged the bullet, but snow and ice were still hazardous.

So, in an effort to not go too stir crazy, I did a quick sketch of my granddaughter who was a Flower Girl in her ballet school's Christmas Nutcracker production in Portland.  I want to do a more formal series of her as a dancer, so I was just testing the use of a black gessoed 'bad' watercolor painting as a background.  I thought it might be a little more theatrical. 

Well, I like the black, but still have to test how to treat the background by creating some interest without getting too busy or frenetic.  So, back to the drawing board before I start larger pieces. 

This is all like nailing jello to the wall.  Maybe soon, something will stick!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Another Challenge ~ Hot Air Balloons

You might have heard, the Pacific Northwest is snowed in today.  So, putting other chores aside, I dragged out a palette knife and my acrylics and fiddled with the Hot Air Balloon Challenge due at the Whatcom Art Gujild meeting on Monday evening.  I hadn't intended to do anything for this challenge, but what's a girl to do when snowed in on a hill that is covered with snow and ice, and no sled or skis?

I love playing with a palette knife, and enjoyed making curves with such a linear and angled tool.  Challenge enough, huh?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tango in the Square

This painting was submitted to this week's Daily Paintworks Challenge  ... It's the Tangerine Tango Challenge.  Who knew?

I am playing with a technique new to me that I learned in a Jennifer Bowman workshop on Sunday.  Although I have used black gesso before [successfully IMHO], Jennifer showed me a technique of dragging a loaded brush over the gessoed  canvas, allowing some of the black canvas to peek through.  Clearly, I am having touble with it.  On the one hand, I need to load the brush with enough paint to not look wishy washy or "limp," but on the other hand, if I drag too much paint acroos, then I lose the black.  What to do.  Oh I know, war and world peace, the economy, climate change and other issues are way more important than my breaking the code with my painting, but dang if it doesn' just gnaw at my insides that I can't do this!  Promise to self to master in the next several weeks.

Here it is, painted from a photo I took of tango dancers in Pioneer Square in Portland in August.

Tango in the Square ~ 12" x 12" acrylic

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Back to Batiks

Today, and then again on Saturday, I taught/will teach another Batik Workshop.  That means ganging all my thrift shop fry pans, irons and hair dryers, as well as an obligatory fire extinguisher, into the senior center, along wih what seems like reams of rice paper, paints, etc. to share with thirteen students for a day.

It also means I really have to amp up my game, and do some new work to share, because several of the students are taking the workshop for a second time.  I don't want to serve up repeats of work from the first time, so I have been doing some figures with batiks, and I am sort of pleased with the results.  What do you think?

Jewelry Girl at Samish Island Fair Watercolor Batik 18 x 24 mounted on canvas

Jill posing at a workshop ~ Watercolor Batik 8" x 8"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Year Filled With Promise

Oh, I am glad to have "done" the holidays and all the related activities, both with art and with celebrations.  I have missed blogging, and intend to catch up by sharing some projects I have done and am working on.  I was probably most pleased to have finished two paintings for my son and daughter-in-law in time for Chirstmas.  They live across the country, and my son is currently overseas, so, painting something meaningful for them was a wonderful gift for me.  Then to hear that they liked the work was a double gift.

My daughter-in-law and her horse

My granddogs, The Boyz

I was told that I captured who they all were, which pleased me no end.  As I HOPE I have expressed on this blog, I am trying to get away from such realistic represntational work, but, in this case, I am glad that I did these, and happy with how my kids appreciated the work.

So, my intentions for 2012 are more art and more connections to everyone who is important to me, which, of course, includes you!