Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Friday, October 31, 2008


Here are more bricks for this year’s auction from my friends. (I’m hoping they won’t be mad at me for putting their bricks on here, since I didn’t ask for permission from them).

We Can! - My friend Nancy did this one – it’s her first time and I think she did a super job! My son was curious about how she created the rocks and girl – and so am I! Hmmmmmmm . . . . .
Reaching Out - My friend Sharon did this one. She constantly amazes and impresses me with her artistic abilities. The hand is that of her daughter, Eleanor. Way too cool!
Yoga brick - Linda is a yoga teacher, so here are two views of her Yoga brick so you can see all of the wording – Ommmmmmm!

Here is a photo of the day of the auction – there was a good crowd all afternoon. Sadly, before I left, neither of my bricks had been bid on – but two of the others had! We were told that following the auction, some people just buy the brick for the stated opening bid. Starting bids (set by the organizers of the event) for mine were $50 for Birdbrain Lane and $75 for Memo Brick – perhaps that was too high? Some of the bricks started bidding at $25, others as high as $125-$150! But it's all for a great cause.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

BRICK AUCTION, October 26, 2008

Through a friend of mine, I found out about a brick auction which raises funds for breast cancer. This event has been going on for several years. You can read more about it at

The bricks can be simply painted or items can be added to them (mosaics, cloth, beads, etc.). The main criteria is that each brick must have the pink cancer ribbon displayed on it somewhere. I think it’s a novel idea and always wonder if my brick will “sell”. They have a silent auction with the bricks set up on tables and then they usually also have a live auction at some point with a local newsman officiating. Various sponsors have raffles and of course there is food and wine, so it makes for a pleasant afternoon or evening.

The first time I entered a brick, several years ago, my first brick was “Gina Lola Brickada”, based on Gina Lola Brigida (of course!) I had read somewhere that she is an artist and I thought that she would get a kick out of finding herself the basis of a “sexy brick” (never would have thought you would hear those two words together!). Here are photos of that one. Be aware that this is a digital photo of actual photos – they were taken long before I purchased a digital camera. Gina has been painted from all sides – she’s just headless! Also legless and armless, but, hey, she’s a brick after all!

Gina Lola Brickada

Next there was “Racing for the Cure” – below is another digital photo of my photos – and when I painted this one my son was impressed! He said I pretty much got the muffler, etc. correct on the bottom of the brick. If you cannot see it well, I tried to paint it as though you were looking at each side of a race car (both sides, top, bottom, front and back) so that all sides of the brick were painted.

Racing for the Cure It is interesting here to note that there was a brick with the title “Race for the Cure” this year! It involved little toy cars on a race track around the brick! There was also a Marilyn Monroe brick and “Brick Jagger” – jagged brick with big lips painted on – too cute!

The following year I painted “Checkmate” – you can view this one at the above website on the “Contact us” page! I must not have taken photos of this one myself.

This year I’ve done two more – “Monday on Birdbrain Lane” which was prompted by my locating tiny clothes pins at the Michael’s store and then some little bitty birdhouses! Once the idea was formed I searched throughout the store for something to use as “grass” and found some sort of plant cover that worked great, as well as the little tiny birds.

Monday on Birdbrain Lane And, last but not least, the one I’m most happy with – the “Memo Brick”. This one was a couple of years in the making since I wanted to do it last year, but they canceled the event then. So this brick languished in my studio for almost two years! I had the idea bouncing around in my head but couldn’t figure out how to make it look like a blackboard, etc. I finally borrowed a really neat tool from my husband so I could cut the wood and miter it for the frame around each side. This one took a long time, since I had to paint each strip of wood, then cut the miter and glue them together so they had a tight fit - not that easy on a brick! – and let them sit overnight to make sure they were solid before moving on to the next side – and there are 6 sides to a brick!!! The “blackboard” was made by spraying Krylon blackboard paint and the magnetic board by spraying Krylon magnetic paint. My daughter and I searched for small office items and happened upon a cute little kit at the dollar store! So that’s where the little stapler, tape dispenser, pencil and scissors came from! Then to get a piece of “chalk” I was forced to purchase a small set of pastels! In order to keep them all attached I used Velcro tabs. To keep the paper clips in the container I glued a small piece of magnet in the bottom. I think it would make a cool gift for a teacher, or actually anyone with a desk (which is pretty much everyone!).

Memo Brick

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

St. Leon, IN Pole Raising - October 25, 2008

Here’s a little history lesson for you! Once upon a time in our country a hickory pole was raised prior to the presidential election. Well, here in our little corner of the world, it still is. St. Leon, Indiana is the only place in the country that still adheres to the tradition and I’ll give you the run down according to our local paper:

“The pole raising is the centerpiece of an all-day celebration that includes a parade, political and patriotic oratory . . . and plenty of food and old-fashioned fun. . . On the morning of St. Leon’s pole raising residents will go to the woods with a crosscut saw to cut the hickory pole. The pole will be draped across two or three hay wagons . . . then the pole is raised to standing by rope-tugging, heave-ho man (and woman) power . . . the pole remains until after a new president is elected.”

It’s always a democrat who locates the hickory tree, and a group of local democrats who cut it down and it’s all very hush, hush as to where the tree is growing until it’s cut. The side branches are all cut off, thus the reference to the hickory “pole” but a few small branches are left at the top. Now a painted chicken is attached to the pole, but in the past (and to this day on a small tree) a caged rooster was attached to the top of the tree. In the past there have been some vandalism incidents dealing with the pole but hopefully that won’t happen this year. I’m told that one year someone found out where the pole was to be cut and a group from the opposing political party cut it down first!

Anyway . . . I got there before the parade began and got a great spot at the side of the road by the fire house from which to take pictures. Except for the “gentlemen” behind me, the brisk wind blowing, the candy pelting me, the fire engines blasting their horns and the steam engine tooting, it was a perfect place to stand!!!

The local high school marching band, flag bearers and dancers along with the American Legion color guard, several old cars and tractors, the aforementioned steam engine and fire vehicles, horse-drawn wagon, lawn mowers and political candidates made up the parade. Lots of candy made it into (or onto!) the crowd (it's a tradition for all of the parade participants to throw candy to the crowd). Following the parade we all walked to the field behind the church. Again the band played and patriotic songs were sung while the pole was prepared for raising. However, I didn’t stay for the main event since the politicos began their speeches prior thereto! I did go back the next day to take a photo of the raised pole which will remain until after the election.

There is such a sense of community here and it makes me happy to know that I’m on a first name basis with people in a 20-mile radius and even know a couple of the local candidates personally - in the city I didn’t know my neighbors! Here are a few photos of the day. Hope you enjoy this little slice of Americana!

The plaque

The crowd gathers before the parade

American Legion Post 464 Color Guard.

St. Leon, IN Volunteer Fire Department fire engine.

That "blasted" steam engine - driven by a woman! - towing the hickory "pole".

East Central High School, St. Leon, IN, marching band

East Central High School, St. Leon, IN flag corps

Bill Yelton and his locally famous flag painted truck

The little pole - with caged chicken attached! In case I didn't make this clear (!) this chicken was for "show purposes" only and was taken home the same day. The wooden picture of a chicken attached to the tall pole remains until after the election.

St. Joseph Church, St. Leon, IN - circa 1840!

The pole laying sideways, being propped up prior to raising it.

The crowd pulls the large ropes to raise the pole.

The pole raised - it will stand until a president is elected.
NOTE: Since I’ve been trying to keep my posts related to art, you may be wondering “How does this relate to art?” Well, I got lots of pictures, some of which may turn into paintings some day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Painting with Humor

I began my artistic endeavors by painting in watercolor, which I have been told is “the hardest medium to master”. I don’t know if that is really true, but I did quickly find that, if I didn’t laugh, I would cry! So I laughed (at myself and others!).

As I go through life I realize that the ability to laugh is a wonderful thing. And the ability to laugh at myself may be my greatest gift. I don’t understand those people who take everything so seriously (although, sadly, in my earlier years I was one of them).

Nothing in life is perfect. So, when things go wrong (you don’t make it into that art show, you didn’t win a prize) don’t take yourself or your art too seriously – laugh it off – there will be more opportunities.

So my advice to you is to have fun with the process of making your art, and anything more is icing on the cake!

For instance, I get together once a year with a group of artist friends. While painting (and eating) is our primary concern for that week, our real job seems to be to laugh – sometimes we laugh until we cry, sometimes we cry until we laugh. We have a ball (or bawl??). Sure, we have all had our ups and downs, our successes and our failures, in both our personal and artistic lives, but we muddle on through, supporting each other with respect, love and humor.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Painting Figures in Watercolor

Some years ago I was at a friend’s lake house, when the grandpa next door came out with his two grandchildren and they proceeded to go fishing. I took a photo through the window, so it came out rather blurry and very dark, due to the bright sun that day. But the image stayed in the back of my mind and recently I decided to give it a try, using the pouring technique.

The children were both done via contour drawing – that and the pouring technique make the images more stylized.

It was a fun process to do an entire poured painting. Quite often when I begin a painting, I wet the entire sheet and do a modified paint pour as my initial entry into the painting, and then I may re-pour some specific areas, but I don’t normally do this entire detailed process for the whole painting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

American Watercolor Society Show

Every two years the American Watercolor Society traveling show comes to the Middletown Arts Center in Middletown, Ohio, about an hour and a half from me. With it that close, how can I not go???

This year’s show was very good, I thought. Lots of realism, which I like. And the paintings, for the most part, did not duplicate each other "style-wise".

A few stood out for me. There is a John Salminen which is his usual city street scene, but this one is more pastel in tone. Dana Brown paints a lot of machinery and she has a great one titled “Cummins One.” There were some names I did not recognize, or cannot remember, but there is another beautiful machinery piece, and a knockout of the front of an old car, I think by Dave Maxwell (my apologies if that is wrong). I had to study that one for a while – Wow! There is a Steve Rogers colorful boat, a Stephen Quiller mountain scene and Cheng-Khee Chee koi.

It was neat to see “Travelers” by Carla O’Connor after seeing it in magazines. Ditto for Mark Mehaffey’s “Blue Monolith”. I think that’s what I like most about going to the show – by the time I get there I’ve seen some of the winners in the art magazines, obviously very small, and then to see them in real life can be astonishing. I always feel fortunate to be able to see such beautiful art.

If you live in the Greater Cincinnati area it’s worth the drive, but better call first for times they are open! And I’m pretty sure it’s only there through October 18.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another Peony

Yep, another Peony. Pretty straightforward - not done on the top and then done on the bottom!

This was a class project for my Dunham group - and it was a great stretch for them, I know, but they did a good job without TOO MUCH complaining!
This may not be "frameworthy" - I have to live with it a while.
I'm working on something that is NOT a peony now (I promise!) and will have that coming up soon.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Just over a year ago a very dear friend of mine died from cancer. She had put up a good fight, went into remission, but the second time around was too overwhelming. Margaret was also an artist. And quite a shopper!

Soon after we met at a painting class Margaret and I started to bond. We had a lot in common, even though there was about a 12 year age difference between us. We took many day trips together, went to a memorable watercolor workshop, and we could talk for hours. Even when she was feeling so bad and focusing on her illness, I could usually get her to laugh at something stupid I had done and, I think, pick up her spirits for a while. I miss her every day.

Her husband and daughter asked me to come over to go through her painting supplies and I am now heir to some paint and paper and various and sundry other items. It was very emotional for me to be there, in her painting room, seeing and touching her things. But, at the same time, I had to laugh in my tears. She always told me that she wasn’t about to clean up that room. Since she had to clean out her mother’s house when her mother had died, Margaret’s attitude was “let the kids do it!” Her daughter, Cindy, told me it took several hours each day over the course of a few days to go through everything.

So there we stood, among all this stuff, still sorting and carrying it out. When I got to my car I looked up and said, half crying, half laughing - “Well, Margaret, you always said let someone else clean it up, I just didn’t know it would be me!”

I have another wonderful friend, who I also met through painting (who says art is solitary!). Sometimes I think about our age difference – about the same as the one between myself and Margaret. So, someday my “studio” will need to be cleaned out. Since I like Margaret’s idea of letting someone else deal with the mess, and since my space is more than twice the size that Margaret’s space was, all I can say is, she’ll have her work cut out for her! (I just hope it’s a long, long time before that happens!)

God bless you, Margaret.

There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore, and who always will. So don’t worry about people from your past, there’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future.

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

On Line Article!

I have just had an article about casein published in the "webzine" If you are a member of the site, you can log in as a member and read all about it!

If you are not a member and are interested in reading the article, send me an email and I'll send you the info about how to log in!