Friday, December 19, 2008

Interview With Miz Katie

I got to know Miz Katie a little bit from my convos with her about my Treasury about clotheslines. That has lead to our exchange of features about each other's Etsy shops. The following are questions I posed to her and her answers to my questions.

I notice that you are in Kansas and wondered how long you have lived there?
Almost ten years, minus 2. It's actually a very long story, so I'll try to keep it short. I moved to KS in 1999 from Maine. Ended up moving to West Virginia in 2005. I LOVE West Virginia. But, I came back to Kansas in 2007 to be near family. I will never regret that choice, but honestly, I miss my friends in WV.

Are you in a rural area or closer to KC?
I am in extremely rural Kansas, three plus hours away from KC, and about 40-45 minutes away from Wichita. Except for the 932 people and all the barking dogs, it's a bit like a ghost town here. The grocery store, two restaurants and barber shop were closed when we moved here. There is absolutely nothing to do. It is about a 20-25 minute drive to the nearest little city. But, we have a liquor store, which just opened. I heard it is doing very well. Wine is a top seller.

What do you like about it, and what do you dislike?
I love being near family.
I love my house.
I love the flat land.
I love the hot, arid summers.
I dislike/disagree with the majority of political views.
I dislike people not caring for their animals, and leaving them out all night, barking, no matter what the weather.
I wish the neighborhood kids weren't so loud, disrespectful and rude.
I miss my WV "hillbilly" friends.

Are you involved in any art groups or do you show in a gallery?
Only online. I belong to so many art groups, it would take days to list them all.
I don't think my art fits in a typical gallery.

How long have you been painting?
Oh, gosh! Well, obsession for painting started soon after I moved to Kansas in 1999..I was very lonely, depressed, and unhappy. I began to paint for that reason. Painting made me come alive. It gave me reason to get out of bed each morning. I couldn't wait to paint..still can't. It's something I look forward to doing every day. Before that, I was more into collage, writing, and photography. I've been published a few times in magazines/newspapers, and several times online.

What time of day do you find is best for you to paint?
Anytime is fine with me. I'm not one who has to sit around and wait for inspiration. I HAVE to paint. It isn't a choice. I usually paint from around 1pm to 7pm, though. That time works for me. I have the morning to get the boring stuff done, and I can play all afternoon. Sometimes, I can't wait for 1pm, though, and I head to the studio as soon as my first cup of coffee is brewed.

What do you like about your work space, and what do you dislike?
I have a pretty big room, which I call my studio. I love everything about it, except that it's freezing cold. I can't seem to get it above 60F in that room, no matter how high I crank the furnace. brr!!! I have to use a space heater the whole time I'm working.

Do you listen to any music while painting, and if you do what kind of music?
Sure, sometimes. I like Alternative. I usually go to and listen to the Foo Fighters station. That gives me non-stop music with no commercials the whole time I paint.

How did your "style" evolve?
Oh, there are so many ways! The most important is that I stopped taking myself and art seriously years ago. I used to be so anal retentive. It was incredibly boring and painful to make art back then. I was so careful. Ugh! The day I learned there are no mistakes in art was the greatest day I've ever lived. I know now that no matter what I do, I can NOT mess up. It's impossible. That's why gesso was created! All I have to do is paint over it if I don't like it, and try again. What a relief! Whew! The pressure is OFF.

I am much happier these days, so I insert humor into my artwork more often than I used to. I like to take something ordinary and twist it until it's humorous. Sometimes, absurdly so. I'm from New England; therefore, I am sarcastic. ;) Most everything I make comes from my imagination, made up stories, exaggeration, half-truths, and complete and utter lies! Oh, there is a pinch of reality thrown in from time to time, but eh.. I like to keep it as unreal as possible.

I hope you have enjoyed this feature on Miz Katie and will check out her Etsy shop, MizKatie!
I think her art is very fresh and lots of fun! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crazy Days and Crazy Nights

I have been soooo busy since we got back to Florida. It has always been a fact that summer is a slower, more restful season, and most groups I've been involved with don't have either meetings or shows. So when I arrive on the scene two months late, I feel like the world is spinning extra fast, because there is just so much getting caught up to be done.

I've checked on and updated inventory in shops and galleries, helped hang a group show, participated in a reception for the group show, gone to meetings and board meetings, gallery sat, helped hang my month-long show in a local boutique, designed and had Christmas cards printed and distributed them to various outlets where they are being sold, and even put together a membership database for another group and layed out the membership book and had that printed. I've been to two holiday parties for two groups already, taken a one-day workshop and done a Treasury for Etsy. And this is only the "art-related" activities. All this, just since the first of November!!!

I am looking forward to having TIME, sometime in the future. I wonder what it feels like to actually finish reading a book??? Maybe I could even PAINT!!!! I love being busy, but this feels like crazy busy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My New Etsy Treasury "Just hanging out"

As you can see, I've named this treasury on Etsy, "Just hanging out." I love plays on words, and I think this one works. This is my most successful treasury to date. Just looking at it I found it on page 5, and it's not even a day old yet. Just an infant!

I had been looking for subjects for a treasury, and somehow I started thinking about how much fun I had photographing clotheslines in Italy and how much fun I've had painting the two Italian clotheslines that I've painted. So I decided this would be my subject.

I had so much fun seeing what was on Etsy with search words "art" and "clothesline." I found some wonderful things, and I was excited to snag a treasury. Well it's taken me awhile to do that. One time the magic number was down to 336 or something, and I went into the kitchen to work on something - like dinner or something silly like that. I had one eye on the computer and saw the screen flash, but by the time I got to it, the treasuries had already been filled. So this time, the magic number was 347 when I started to stalk the treasury page and wait for the screen to "open, open, open."

Many thanks to MizKatie who offered me access to her blog photo, where she has featured my treasury. Screen shot declined to work for me tonight. She's a fabulously expressive artist so go check out her world at MizKatie .

Please do go look at MizKatie's blog, Miz Katie , and be sure to check out my treasury which can be found on in Treasury under "Just hanging out" . It will expire in two days on December 8th around noon, so look fast.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christmas Cards and Computer Flu

I have been in the process of making Christmas cards, and I actually did get as far as printing three different designs on glossy photo paper before the computer had to go to the computer hospital. And, yes of course, it was expensive and it still doesn't quite work right yet!!!! It also made the Christmas card project grind to a halt while I waited for the machine to be fixed.

Anyway, back to the cards - I am going to cut the four-up printed sheets apart and glue the individual images to the cards. The cards also have to be printed with the inside message and the "who-done-it" information on the back.

I thought when I painted the images while I was still traveling that I would be ahead of the season, but instead the joke's on me. Hello! Don't you just love computer jokes!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sears - An Email About Ethics and Appreciation

The following is an email I received that made me proud of Sears for treating its employees who are in the called-up reserves with kindness and appreciation for their military service.

Subject: Sears - Christmas shopping has already started

I know I needed this reminder since Sears isn't always my first choice. Amazing when you think of how long the war has lasted and they haven't withdrawn from their commitment. Could we each buy at least one thing at Sears this year?

How does Sears treat its employees who are called up for military duty? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years.

I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves.

Pass it on.

Decided to check this before I sent it forward. So I sent the following e-mail to the Sears Customer Service Department:

I received this e-mail and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the Internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement for your company. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears instead of another store for a like item, even if it's cheaper at that store.

This is their answer to my e-mail:

Dear Customer:

Thank you for contacting Sears.The information is factual. We appreciate your positive feedback.

Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn
Sears Customer Care

Please pass this on to all your friends. Sears needs to be recognized for this outstanding contribution and we need to show them as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our military!!!

It's verified ! By at:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Artist Workshop With Carol Frye

For the last two days I have been taking an art workshop which was called "Subtle and Sophisticated Collage Workshop," with Carol Frye of Lakeland, Florida ( ), an award-winning artist who holds signature memberships in six different well-known acrylic and watercolor societies. She has been featured in the " Ones To Watch" feature in the December 2007 Watercolor Magic and also published a few other times in this magazine and several other artist publications. Check out her website to see pictures of her wonderful artwork.

We prepared backgrounds for our collages using several different starting techniques and then prepared some artistic tissue papers to use in the collages which we then began by layering the three primary colors to produce dark but rich, colorful neutrals before laying on any collage materials. This in itself is so different for me, as I am wild for color.

I am sharing three of my projects here. The first one on canvas is largely a prepared background (above), just to show here how much preparation has already gone into the painting before any detail is ever added. This is the result of quite a few layers of paint on the textured canvas. I took my first photos after dark last night using an overhead light and a flash - probably the worst conditions to take photos, but I wanted to do my blog, and I intended to replace them today when the light is much better, which I have now done.

You will notice also, in addition to better pictures, that I have now finished the two last paintings.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Creatures From The Trip

We are now in the process of traveling back to Florida. I thought it would be nice to share with you some of the animals we have seen on our trip. The first one is this lovely white-tailed deer who ran across the road in front of our car somewhere in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Not to worry, it was a long ways from us, but such a lovely creature!

It was a very interesting day for critters, as not much later we found bison crossing under the highway (through an underpass) and were able to get some great shots of them both before they disappeared into the tunnel and after they reappeared on the other side of the road. Buffalo aren't especially rare, but we hardly ever see them, and it's fun to imagine what the plains must have looked like when there were thousands of them roaming free.
Then we went on to Mount Rushmore and saw these stone critters. What an amazing feat of human artistry this mountainside is! Seeing pictures of it is not adequate to describe the size of this work of art, because it really is unimaginable that someone sought out to create these images out of a mountainside. I have never noticed the glasses on Teddy Roosevelt until that day.

While we were at Mount Rushmore, we saw these mountain goats. At first they were drinking from a puddle in the parking lot, but that isn't a very cool place for them to be. They were obviously accustomed to people and showed no fear of us, but a dog barked, and they took off. This photo of them in a more natural environment is my favorite.Hope you enjoyed the critters, because I've had a lot of fun taking their pictures. It's what I do when we're on the road and there's no time to paint.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beautiful Fall Colors To Share

We have been admiring the beautiful fall colors in the mountains of Colorado and taking lots of pictures. it was a crisp, fall day when I took the photo that inspired this little watercolor. I loved the contrast between the pale blue-green of the sage in the foreground with the gold of the Aspen trees in the background and the dark green and gold-greens of the tall evergreen in the mid-area. The far-away trees on the mountains lose their dark color because of the atmosphere and the distance.

Here are some additional photos we took that day. You can see just how incredibly beautiful, that Autumn's gold dress looks on the hillsides.

I have put Colorado Gold up in my Etsy shop, DreamON. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Italian Wash Job - ORIGINAL Mixed Media Watercolor and Acrylic on paper

It's finally done!

I started talking about this painting on July 12th as a sort of demo and did another feature on it on August 7th. Then I got busy preparing paintings for art shows, and did not get back to working on it again until this week. Final touches included straightening the lines of the shadows with acrylics and painting shadows under the laundry with a watercolor mixture of Cobalt Blue, Winsor Violet and Burnt Sienna.

I wasn't sure until the shadows went in that I was going to even like it, but they made a tremendous difference. One thing that has befuddled me for quite awhile is where the focal point is. I like the pane on the left the best, but the pane on the right is bigger and closer. Theoretically it should be where the center of interest is found; so I put some red socks there and increased the contrast of light and dark in this pane, but I still am more interested in the left pane, and I think it still dominates. I look at the lower window in the left pane, and I'm not sure that is a bad thing. After all it is located in the Golden Triangle. Where do you think the focal point is located?

More information about this painting is located here:

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's All About Art -- Well Almost!

The Glenwood Springs Fall Art Festival is in full swing from September 24-28 this year. This annual event held in the lower level of the Ramada Inn in Glenwood Springs, CO is in its 46th year. When the founding members of the Glenwood Springs Art Guild began the festival, they never envisioned it would grow to the largest non-juried event in the state with 375 artists participating. Each two-dimentional artist or sculptor is allowed two entries and pottery artists up to five. This alone would be a major project, but there is a separate contest by the Chamber of Commerce to pick the winner for the annual Christmas card and a separate category for Guild members to paint to a theme which this year is "Me and My Shadow." There are probably 20 of each of these, but also there is the Bargain Bin, an area where each participating artist can enter 6 or 8 (if a Guild member) more paintings. In the Bargain Bin the highest price is $125 and there are many fine paintings to choose from at this price and less.

The event is judged by three judges which come from different genres themselves. There are categories for amateur, advanced and professional artists, and awards are presented in each medium allowed in the show. At the end of the week there is an awards banquet, but one of the things that makes this show special is the Art Purchase Patrons who have agreed to purchase at least one work of art from the galleries. A special dinner early in the week is held for these wonderful supporters of the art community, and then, with their Purchase Award ribbons clutched tightly, there is a stampede to the galleries as they are simultaneously let loose to run and claim their prized piece of art.

In 2007 over $120,000 worth of art exchanged hands during the festival. That is one thing that keeps the artists coming back, but perhaps the most important fact is that this festival provides support to 22 area schools, plus substantial scholarship awards are given annually to the lucky scholarship award winners who will go on to the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver.

Come to the art show, and then enjoy the marvelous hot springs pool. This wonderful facility, located within walking distance of the Ramada Inn and along the Colorado River, is 600+ feet long of pure pleasure for swimmers and soakers alike. The temperature in the big pool is 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the therapy pool is 104 degrees. The site has modern shower facilities, restaurant/snack bar and a gift shop for all your needs.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Miniature Horses - Cute Animals

A year or so ago I took some photos of the tiniest horse I have ever seen with the thought in mind that one day I would paint it. Such a precious sight, it was the cutest baby, only a few days old, and with its mother at a street fair in Colorado. A little child had reached out to make friends with the foal, and because the little boy was unsure, he kept his left hand on his outstretched right arm as if to pull it back if the horse took a nip. It was a cute sight, and both of the babies (horse and human) were delightful to watch.

I had seen miniature horses before, but never a baby one. This horse was so incredibly small, yet exhibiting perfect, yet tiny, characteristics of a horse and acting like quite like a horse and not any other species, even though it was the size of a dog.

According to Wikipedia, "The American Miniature Horse Association AMHA was founded in 1978 and was dedicated to establishing the Miniature horse as a distinct breed of horse. In the AMHA, Miniatures cannot exceed 34 inches at the withers (which the AMHA defines as located at the last hair of the mane). There are two divisions in American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR) - the "A" division for horses 34 inches (86 cm) and under, and the "B" division for horses 34 to 38 inches (86 to 97 cm).

The AMHA standard suggests that if a person were to see a photograph of a miniature horse, without any size reference, it would be identical in characteristics, conformation, and proportion to a full-sized horse.

According to the AMHR, a "Miniature should be a small, sound, well-balanced horse and should give the impression of strength, agility and alertness. A Miniature should be eager and friendly but not skittish in disposition."

I was painting animal pictures one day this week, and decided to paint this little one. You can find more information about my painting by clicking right here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Driving Around Colorado

Over the weekend we were delighted to have a visit from some Florida friends, and we all did some driving around Western Colorado. I am sharing with you, this morning, some of the sights as you travel around here in the early Fall.

Shown at left are rafters near Glenwood Springs. With record snows this past season, there is still plenty of water in the rivers for rafting and kayaking.

At right is a stately Cottonwood tree on the banks of the beautiful Colorado River.

Next is what's left of a dinosaur, I think. Most of his backbone covers the top of this ridge.

Of course there is this luxury housing found near Eagle, at right below.

Scrub Oak is very common with its acorns now, but just a few weeks away these small trees will turn magnificent colors for a very short, short time before turning brown and dropping their leaves.

This is just a glimpse of Colorado's sights, and it all reminds me that I must get busy and paint.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

ACEOs Come To The Blog

OK, I'm following the leaders and have started creating ACEOs. There are many shop owners on Etsy creating ACEOs, and it really does offer an inexpensive way for a buyer to start collecting art. The ones in this post are the first I've done on Etsy.

The ACEO acronym stands for Artist Cards, Editions and Originals. The only rule for making your very own ACEO is that it be exactly 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches or 64 x 89 mm (which is the same exact size as are baseball cards) . ACEOs grew as an offshoot of Artist Trading Cards which had the stipulation that they be traded and never would any money change hands, in fact, trading face to face was the desired means of transfer. However, this is the real world, and reality is that the real world is a commercial pig, and somebody started selling them. Soon they began "trading" on eBay, and the rest is history.

Actually, before I ever heard of Artist Trading Cards or ACEOs I find I've made very similar cards only a quarter inch smaller in each direction for the Glenwood Springs Art Guild for quite a few years. We use these as place cards at our annual banquet. A stand-up tag is applied to the back of each, and it's always fun to walk around the tables and see who got who's mini painting. At the end of the evening we take our place card home if we wish, and we have a new piece of art.

There are oodles of ways you can use these mini pieces of art. You can find frames which are magnetic and put them on your fridge, or you can put them into a larger frame and hang it either alone or in a grouping of your ACEO artwork. They can be put into plastic sleeves made just this size in an album and display it on your coffee table for guests to enjoy. You can scrapbook with them, use them to decorate your handmade book covers, and the list goes on.

I've joined in the fun of the Great ACEO Swap Thread on Etsy started by Trinkets Treasures, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what my swap partner (Rustic Diva Designs) will send me.

Just click on any of the above ACEOs to get more info about them.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Travels Among The Leaves

Poor Blog! It was neglected all last week while we went on a foray to the Pacific Northwest. There was too much for me to do, to consider blogging last week, and so I took a blog break.

I wish I enjoyed flying like my husband does, but I fit kind of wedged into the too small space of one of these tin cans. If they would only take one row of seats out and distribute the space evenly among the remaining rows of seats, it would make a real difference in comfort, especially to tall people. But that would mean the airline's losing out on five full fares, so I'm going to ask you a small favor: the next time you fly, have mercy on whoever is behind you with legs and please do not recline the seat.

Luckily the flights were pretty short, but coming back my “neighbor” in the aisle seat had this super-annoying habit of repeatedly pulling at her “forelock” (grown-out bangs or what ever you call that bunch of hair that is shorter than the rest). I guess this behavior must have been comforting to her, but it absolutely made me feel like restraining her hands behind her back with one of those twister thingys. But I didn’t have one of those; consequently, it just made me really uncomfortable. I mean this was extreme, because she didn’t just occasionally push back her hair or pat it to make sure it stayed where it was. After a constant one and a half-hour toying with this hair thing, no kidding, I was looking for the whole thing to come out in her hand.

Well enough about air travel. . .on to more fun things.

Although it was at least 20 degrees hotter returning to Colorado than it had been in Oregon and even though no trees have started turning, I just have this feeling that autumn will be early this year.

For the last few years, fall has made me wanting to make leaf prints. This year is no exception, and on the road back I was collecting leaves of different kinds and shapes for my projects.

What I do next is to paint the back of the leaf (or leaves) I’m using with white Gesso. Then I place those, with the painted side down, on watercolor paper and use a brayer to roll over the top side. I do this while thinking about a pleasing arrangement of leaves on the paper. When dry, the imprint leaves will be white on white paper and not be overly visible. You can use the painted leaves over and over again until you run out of paper and motivation.

The next step is to get out the watercolors, and paint over the leaves which will resist the watercolor paints. It is a fun thing to do, and other than messy, rewarding with its results.

I will be putting some of these up in my Etsy shop before long and wlll post the clickable addresses as I do. The image on your right is called Leaf Season. Click here for more info.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Smashing Flowers

OK, I've heard of smashing pumpkins and Smashing Pumpkins. But, have you ever thought about smashing flowers as an art form? A fellow artist sent me an email about Betsy Dillard Stroud's article which you can find by clicking here. Look for Printing with a Hammer, August 07, 2008, by Betsy Dillard Stroud. It looked interesting, so yesterday I gathered some flowers and leaves of different kinds including stems. Then I prepared my watercolor paper, padded it, laid wax paper over it, and proceeded to beat the living daylights out of some innocent plant life. (I'm still not feeling good about this.) Anyway, this first photo on the left is what my initial effort looked like.

Still feeling sorry for the flowers, this morning I thought I needed to make as much as I could out of it, so I grabbed a Tomball pen and my watercolors and went to work. First, I outlined to find the flowers and leaves that were obvious and invented a few more . Then I began to do some negative painting with the watercolors, and by now I'm not feeling so bad about the flowers, now that I've made something that I like a lot more. I hope you will like it too!

It's something different. It really doesn't matter if you use some kind of dillapidated flowers though, so if you get a chance you might try it with some past-their-prime poseys. I guess you could also try it with some blooming weeds you want to clear away anyway or on that bouquet you get from someone you now dislike with a passion (to relieve stress).

Click here for more information about this painting.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Memories of Cottonwood Trees

This painting is about cottonwood trees, not just one like you see in the photo, but remembrances from my life that these trees bring to mind. There were the childhood tire swings that were so much fun, and the fallen leaves that needed to be raked into piles to play in.

I remember many trips across the Great Plains where these are practically the only trees you see for miles and miles.

There was the painting workshop I took, in the mountains on someone's ranch ,where one of the painters was holding used brushes in her mouth. (The rest of us were voicing whispered speculations about her early demise from heavy metal poisoning acquired from Cobalt, Cadmium, Titanium - all lovely ingredients of paints.) This had nothing to do with the tree we were painting, but the memory of painting the tree includes this scenario.

I loved the volunteer trees that came up in our yard from seeds along our driveway that we transplanted and watched grow into 30 ft. trees. Of course, there's the annoying cotton floating in the air at times, but as a child I remember chasing after it floating in the air.

Cottonwood trees are a part of my memories and therefore of me. I understand just how welcome is their shade in a hot snd treeless area. I appreciate just how fast they grow, but also remember cleaning up fallen limbs and green leaves from an unseasonal heavy snow.

This painting was taken from the photo of the cottonwood that I took on that 104 degree day as we drove through Oklahoma and Kansas a few weeks ago. I tried to capture the feeling of dry heat and the late summer bleached out dry prairieland grasses in my watercolor painting. Purchase information about the painting entitled Old Cottonwood can be found by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Found The Best Store Ever!

Yesterday we spent the day in Denver running errands and enjoying the day just poking around. It's always fun to visit somewhere you've lived for a long time just to see what's new and what the old stuff looks like. It's been 12 years now, and much has changed.

Here's what made the trip really special though: I found the greatest store, and I want to pack it up in my car and take it all home. The store is Donohue Paper Emporium. Next best thing: they have a website!

Donahue Paper Emporium
7286 South Yosemite St.
(between Arapahoe & Dry Creek in Centennial) Englewood, CO 80112

There are note papers in any color your heart desires with matching envelopes. They have mailing boxes and pouches of all sizes and shapes, bubble wrap by the foot, foamcore the size of a twin bed, plastic sleeves in a bunch of sizes. These are just the tip of the iceberg. I could have spent a lot of money and a lot of time in this store, because I just love paper stores, but this one is the best ever!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back To Painting Again - Creative Process

Hello! After two weeks of travel, we have reached Colorado where we will be for the next couple of months. It's familiar territory for me, since it was home for many years. I feel so blessed to get to spend time in two places that have such natural beauty and yet are so different from one another.

When we reached Denver, that city was almost at the end of a 25-day streak of 90 degree days, and incredibly they have only had a bit over three inches of rain this whole year. The afternoon before we left there was a big fire in the grassland of Green Mountain which came so very, very close to a neighborhood of expensive homes. As we drove up in the hills we could see the charred remains of the fire which covered somewhere around 900 acres on the east side of the mountain.

Today I got to paint with my friends in the Glenwood Springs Art Guild and enjoyed chatting with them and catching up on what had happened since I last saw them. I did make some progress on the Italian wash job painting that I previously shared on the blog. This is the painting I had started before we left on our trip. The first few steps in creating this painting can be found on the blog dated July 12th entitled Creative Process. (Click to refresh your memory).

Today I started adding watercolor to the inside squares (the background is all acrylic). I could hear Pink Floyd singing Just Another Brick In The Wall
as I painted the stones using many different colors, mixing bits of cobalt blue, burnt sienna, quinacridone gold, Winsor purple, brilliant orange and a little caput mortem from time to time. But first I painted the sky in the left panel and all of the windows.

Of course, after I stepped back from the painting I could see some issues I will have to keep in mind in the next painting session, the most bothersome to me is the almost "kiss" at the left bottom edge of the roof. I am also going to have to be very cognizant of the colors of the stone and not let everything blend together into the background. I am now thinking about making the right square more blurred so that the effect would be like a camera tightly focusing on the left square. Also, I'm not finished outlining the squares and creating the shadow effect I want.

Taking a photo of your paintings when they are still unfinished and looking at them on a computer screen helps also to point out any color issues. I found that the window reflections are not reflecting the sky color, and I will need to address this also.

So, that's where I am after this painting session. There will be more to come. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 1, 2008

What Does 104 Degrees Look Like?

As we were traveling through the country in an air-conditioned vehicle today (Thank You, God), the temperatures this afternoon were hovering between 104 and 106 degrees outside. So not wanting to go outside and paint (so what, am I nuts?), I thought I would take some pictures so that you could see just what heat looks like. You will notice you see no people in these photos and very few cars.
Cottonwood trees are like the sentinels of the plains. Their structure very often has multiple trunks, and they grow quite rapidly, but as you might imagine with the fast growth, they are not strong trees and oftentimes and early fall or late spring heavy snow will break their limbs or even cause one of the trunks to fall. However, on this hot August day it wasn't snowing.

It wasn't too hot for cows though, and we saw quite a few today. Now yesterday when there were ponds scattered around, we sometimes saw the cows standing in the ponds. Today there were no ponds, just circular metal storage containers, and frequently the cattle were gathered around closeby.

I'm saying it wasn't too hot for cows, but then I didn't stick around to watch and see if any of them keeled over after we passed. Also, I know that people who are familiar with the bovine genus do not refer to them as cows, but I am a city girl, and they moo; hence, they are cows.

Another common sight on The Great Plains of the USA is the grain elevator. These stately white structures can be seen for miles and miles on a nice, clear, hot day like today.

So what can we surmise from these photos to describe how 104 degrees looks? Nobody human is outside if they can help it. Cows are pretty much stuck with it to do what cows do. Depending where you are, there has either been enough rain for the grassland to be still green or so little it has already been bleached out by the sun, and the more dried out it looks, the hotter it feels. No matter how you look at it though, the foliage cannot be described as lush. The skies are almost cloudless. Does this describe what 104 degrees looks like? All of the above photos were taken in Oklahoma or Kansas on August 1, 2008. They will make nice reference material for later paintings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On To Tennessee

A few days have passed since my Charleston post. Over the weekend we visited with our daughter and her two lovely pussycats. The pretty gray one, Shadow, was selected from a shelter by our daughter years ago and is now 14 years old, but she was a part of our family for a long time and, eccentric as she is, we miss her and her antics.

Shadow (above)

The other kitty, Gizmo, is kind of skittish with us, but loves to be outside on the porch and didn't need to keep us company.

The photos are some of the sights we have enjoyed in the last few days in our travels across the USA. This mill in North Carolina is still in operation and has a shop in the back with different types of flours you can buy which have been ground there. This was something I've never seen before and was not only very picturesque, but also quite interesting.

The geese were at the mill and were quite obviously welcomed heartily with goose food in the feeder. What do you feed a goose? Probably something delicious (to a goose) from the mill, aka grinding leftovers.

Then we came to Tennessee and found these Queen Anne's Lace everywhere. OK, they're weeds, but they are beautiful anyway.

The Queen Anne's Lace were in a field by this wonderful old barn and water or fuel storage container on stilts. This was just such a great scene and will probably end up in at least one painting someday. Oh, I do take these photos with the idea in mind to paint them, and by now they number in the thousands. I could paint for the rest of my life and never catch up to all the photos I've taken with painting in mind.

Make new goals. Paint, paint, paint!

Oh, just to remind everyone, my Etsy shop, DreamON is still open during all of my travels. As soon as I can, I will be painting new things from my trip and getting them in there too. Click here to go to my shop.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On To Beaufort, Isle of Palms and Charleston

After leaving St. Simons Island, we continued north and had lunch this morning in Beaufort, SC and then did some walking around to look at shops and then took some pictures of their beautiful marina. You can find this and more info at , "Known for its Southern hospitality and casual seaside charm, Beaufort reigns as the 'Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands.' With its scenic waterfront charm, quaint shops and historic homes, Beaufort beckons, encouraging visitors to drift back in time and experience Southern hospitality at its finest."

After leaving Beaufort we headed further north and east to the Charleston area where we headed out to the Isle of Palms. I have read a number of books about this area, and I wanted to see firsthand where they took place. Isle of Palms is 7 miles long and 1 mile wide and has about 5,000 full-time residents. The following is a quote from the city of Isle of Palms website, "Novels and poetry have been written about the Isle of Palms. Those who live here and those who visit here seem changed forever because of the island and its people. Some arrive and never leave. Others must return year after year to get their dose of Isle of Palms to sustain them."

We ate on the screened porch of a lovely spot on the waterfront and clouds came in to shade us and cool us off from the 90-degree temperatures.

When the sun started to peep out again, the water just sparkled. However, it only sparkled where the sunlight touched it, and the rest remained gray.

We had shrimp and grits for the second time on this trip. The first time I ever heard of this unique combination, I thought, "WHAT?" But I have found that most times it is deliciously spicy and can come with Andouille sausage, pancetta, tomatoes, cheese, onions, and peppers. At least these are the combinations I have found so far, and I really, really like it. We have even had this at Emeril's place in Nawlins, so it is found at chi chi places too!

I did this painting of the view from our restaurant. It is entitled, West From Isle of Palms. (I sometimes astound myself at the clever titles.) It is done in Yarka watercolors and Sharpie markers on Arches 140-lb. Cold Press Watercolor paper. To see more info at my Etsy shop, DreamON, click here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

St. Simons Island, Georgia

This fresh little watercolor is my Painting A Day coming fresh from my plein aire session this morning on location in St. Simons Island, Georgia. As I sat in the bright sunshine on the pier I was able to capture this 104-ft. tower while enjoying the banter taking place between the fishermen who as far as I was able to determine are probably regulars. Looking back to my left, a giant coastal oak sprawls to the left and some smaller trees are on the left with a lush green lawn in front. The lawn ends abruptly with a breakwater of large rocks dropping off to water below. Last night at low tide there was a small area of beach. This long fishing pier juts out to a "T" at the end. The initial part of the pier is covered, but I was unable to see the lighthouse under cover and had to paint in the sun.

If you want to know more history about the lighthouse, click here. Then be sure to click your back arrow to come back to my blog.

It took some adjusting in Photoshop to get the blues even close to correct. Blues and reds are tough to tweak, unless you get lucky and your camera catches the color just right. I took photos outside under cloudy skies, inside on a white background by a window, and inside away from the window but in very good light. The low light photo turned out to be the best, but still didn't pick up the blue of the sky just right or the greens in the oak tree. All I have to say is that I am so much happier with the painting than I am with the photo, but I guess the painting is what's most important, huh?

For purchase information about this 7 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch watercolor painted on professional quality (Arches 140-lb Cold Press) watercolor paper with Yarka watercolors, click here. St. Simons Lighthouse is available in my Etsy shop, DreamON.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Traveling Art Gallery Hits The Road

I have been absent from the blog for awhile trying to get a myriad of tasks completed before the deadline, which is when I leave for an extended road trip. Since we will be gone a long time, I had to consider what will fit in the car, and so many of the pieces from my Etsy shop are either too large or too bulky to bring along. I will be open for business as I drive along the roads of America and intend to ship my artwork to my customers without any delay. Have Computer, Will Travel!

Some of the places we will be stopping on our trip are places that we've never been before, while many are slightly familiar, but I'm sure changed since we last saw them. I'm planning on keeping a kind of travel journal thru photos, sketches and paintings which I will share on the blog, as we go. It should be fun. Stay tuned. The first mystery location will debut mid-week.

Meanwhile, I just put this little painting up in my Etsy store. It was painted five years ago, but being a mood painting of a little fishing village, it is timeless. The colors are muted, as a storm approaches. The name of this art is what else, Fishin' Village. Click here to obtain more information from my Etsy shop, DreamON.

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On The Pier At St. Simons Island

New Art, New Techniques, Hints, Thoughts, Photos and More

Stay tuned! For purchase information about any of the artwork, check out my Etsy store -- DreamON or send me email (conversation) by pressing the contact button at