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”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Today was a snow day for the big kids – twenty somethings!
My daughter and her boyfriend came over and took turns using our “gator” to drive each other up the hill to slide or snowboard down. They brought their dog, Charley, who hopped in and rode along! He also played with our dog, Stray.

Dressed in neon pink - we can't lose her!
My son rode his four wheeler, which Stray goes crazy over. Sometimes it’s dog chasing man, and sometimes man chasing dog!

They all had fun!
And I managed to get a painting drawn out! Can’t wait to get it started!
They are predicting freezing rain - which I can hear on the skylights right now - with more snow on top of that for tomorrow. So my "job" tomorrow will be to get that painting started! Then it's on the road to Atlanta, GA - where it better not be snowing!!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Casein Still Life (Part 5) - TEA WITH THE CLASSICS

Or maybe - not quite!
After looking at this picture a while longer, I decided the cloth was too white, so toned it down a bit.
Now – is it finished???

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Finally I added dark to the background and did something I have not done before – used some actual black – half-tone black – along with dark blues and put plastic wrap over it for a texture. Well, I’ve used plastic wrap on other backgrounds and liked that, but this time it didn’t work! Totally YUK!

So I had to repaint the background – it’s darker than I had planned but I’m not unhappy with it and besides, what else can I do????

After living with it a few days and getting some “friendly critiques” I tried to soften the lace edge on the left side and added a bit of dark to the books on the right hand side to lose that line of the binding going off the page. I also added a touch darker shadow under the saucer and under the top book onto the bottom book.

Then, the name. My first idea was “Tea With Hank and Bill” but decided that was not serious enough, so it’s now called “Tea With the Classics”.

By the way, the books were my mother’s. She was an avid reader and actually read Shakespeare! The date in the frontispiece of Longfellow is 1902, and the Shakespeare must be equally that old – and the pages are bound upside down in the binding! I’m guessing she must have bought them at a second hand store when she was a young woman working in the “city”.

At any rate, I think the painting is done – what do you say?

Casein on watercolor board, 14x18

Friday, January 16, 2009


Via several blogs, I just found out about the death of Andrew Wyeth.

How many of you were fortunate enough to see some of his paintings in person? I was, 3 times.

The Helga series was shown at the J.B. Speed Museum in Louisville, KY some years ago and myself and two friends got there only about an hour before closing time, so we didn't have long enough to see everything. However, I will always remember how incredible her green sweater was - he must have painted every knit and purl stitch in it, varying the colors in each stitch. You could feel the texture of the yarn through the glass.

One year on a trip to PA, I forced my husband to go to Chadd's Ford. There were not a lot of Wyeth's paintings on view there, but enough! I had to laugh because one was hung askew inside the mat, the top was absolutely black and shiny from so much paint, and there was a tear visible at the top of the painting! (We would have thrown it out - he framed it!)

When the the Cincinnati Art Museum had a show of his work I went with a friend and we spent a lot of time both admiring his work and pressing our noses up as close as we could get to figure out "how did he do that?". A few things stick out in my mind about that exhibition:

- There was a drawing with dog foot prints going across it! Can you imagine - we would have thrown that out, but he must have saved absolutely everything!

- There were many "study of . . . " paintings (study of gull, 1947, study of gull 1951, etc.) He painted so many things repeatedly, allowing himself to really learn the intricacies of what he wanted to convey (Rhonda C - take note!)

- Since he painted on the back of paintings (again, not throwing anything away!) they had one of those paintings on display, framed in plexiglass so you could see both sides, sitting in an open area so you could walk around it to view both sides. (I overheard a woman ask why he had painted one painting upside down!)

- The painting of the haystack in a barn that was small and absolutely breathtaking. You could see individual pieces of hay on the haystack and feel the warmth of the light shining on it.

How many of us will ever be able to paint that well?

What a wonderful talent we just lost, but such a wealth of beauty he left behind.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Added the tea cup and saucer shadows as well as shadows under the books and then added some brown below the shadow marks on the lace.

Then I began adding the words to the books. "Longfellow" went on well, but when I looked at the blue book I couldn’t read the words I had traced, so I took a white Caran d’Ache crayon and rubbed it on the back of the words and re-traced them. (I used my computer to find the fonts that looked like those on the books, typed the book names and printed them out).

Then I realized I didn’t have the words at the correct angle, so I “erased” them from the painting, but in doing so I rubbed out some of the blue paint (you will note that little lighter smudge at the top of the book binding if you compare it to the last post). In the past I would have been really upset with myself, but I know now that sometimes these little “mistakes” can actually add to the painting. I decided to leave it alone and re-do the words once again.

Now I’m kind of happy with that mistake – I think it makes the book look even more old and worn.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Well, after looking at it I think the shadow areas are too dark, but that may change as I add my darks so will overlook that for now.

I painted in the books and shadows on them, trying to keep the worn look of the books.

Still liking it at this stage, but unsure of the shadows.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Last night I attended an art meeting and the program was a DVD by an oil painter who painted upside down (the photo she was painting from - not her!!). Even though I'm not into oils, it was very interesting to see her technique, and when the painting was almost complete she reversed the picture and her painting was pretty much dead on!

Now, those of you who know me know I'm not a very good drawer - but I do know that if I put my photo upside down, I'm able to draw it! Amazing to me, for sure. (I also do well with contour drawings, don't know what that actually says about me!)

* * * * *
Another thing that I found out last night - and it made me laugh out loud - was that Larry Flynt of "Hustler Magazine" fame is going to ask the government for a $5 Billion bailout for the porn industry! Stay with me here . . . .

Don't you think that we artists should band together as the Art Industry and ask for our bailout? Who among us couldn't use a little cold, hard, cash? Don't we all create art that is just as "important" as a porn DVD?

Going further, how about the construction industry (of which my husband and son are a part), beauticians (my daughter), arbortists, nurses, plumbers, FOR SURE FARMERS!, cattle ranchers - and the list goes on - you get the idea!

So I say - go for it, Larry! Lead the way for all of us to get our (un)fair share from the government! Let's see, how much is my portion of $5 Billion divided by millions of artists???? I'll be checking my mailbox carefully to find out!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


In continuation of my still life set ups previously posted . . .
Sunlit Pears – January 1, 2008 and July 5, 2008
Sunlit Pears 2 – January 16, 2008 and May 6, 2008
Roses and Blue Fiestaware Pitcher on Quilt – March 12, 2008
Grandpa’s Shaving Mug With Roses – March 26, 2008
Bag of Apples – May 30, 2008
Pears and Lace – July 22, 2008

. . . here is another casein painting. In order to try something a little different, this painting utilizes casein emulsion in some areas to get more of an “oil painting” look to the painting.

Since I thought the cup would be the hardest thing to do, I began with it, then the flower. I was worried about how to do the book pages, but they were actually easy – just used a flat brush and swiped it along in the direction of the pages using yellow ochre. Then I added an indication of the worn edges of the binding with raw sienna “smooshed” on. Last I added areas of shadows on the lace.

I’m very pleased with the start of the painting.


Congrats to the GIVEAWAY winners - Nancy Phelps, Vicki Greene, Gaylynn Robinson, Harry Perry - I dropped them at the post office and they are on their way to all of you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Create Better Paintings (we hardly new ye . . . )

I was saddened to learn that the web-zine “Create Better Paintings” published by Jennifer King, will no longer be published, following the January issue. So, before she closes the website ( go over and take a look at it. She had articles from so many well known artists and the concept was great.

Here is a list of watercolorists featured there, and that is just the tip of the iceberg of talented artists whose articles were published – myself included! (Not implying that I'm talented, but I was truly honored that she accepted my article on casein –“Cay-What?” October, 2008).
Dana Brown - Soon Y. Warren - Christopher Leeper - Paul Jackson - Carla O’Connor - Charles Reid - Linda Doll - Judi Betts - Stephen Blackburn - Skip Lawrence - George James - Alex Powers - Birgit O’Connor
There are also many talented oil and pastel painters, too.

Jennifer - I will really miss the magazine and your professionalism. Good luck with all future endeavors.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Day . . .

. . . was spent cleaning and cooking and blogging!!! So I did get off on a good start with at least one of my resolutions – updated and upgraded my blog and posted my first blog of the year.

And, looks like I’m getting responses to my free painting giveaway! The 2 flag paintings available will have new owners – Vicki Greene and Gaylynn Robinson (check out their blogs in my blog roll) and one lily painting is spoken for – Harry Perry.

Thanks guys! I’ll mail those at the beginning of next week!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Happy New Year 2009!

I’ve made my New Year’s resolutions, some of which, as usual, are left over from the previous year!

Since I didn’t learn to paint portraits last year, that’s on my list this year, along with becoming a “better blogger”.

I spent the last few days of 2008 trying to learn more about blogs and websites. It makes me feel like I’m back in high school – sitting for hours trying to learn something. But I must say it makes the time pass very quickly!

So my resolution to all of you is that I’ll be posting twice a week (until I figure out that means 104 posts this year and realize that this will most likely be another resolution that bites the dust!!!) (Which I just figured out – duuuuuuuuuuuuh!)

But I’ll give it my best shot, so here’s Post #1 of 2009:

Well, it’s been a year since I posted my first blog!

Blogging is certainly an interesting concept, and I know there is so much for me to learn. I’m blown away by how professional some of you are, with your “blog rolls”, counters, etc. Where do you all find the time? Not to mention the intelligence to figure it all out!!! But, I’m trying!

In honor of my first full year of posting, once again I’m offering a FREE PAINTING.

This give away is featuring lilies. The lily painting (actually, 3 of them, so you can see they will be the same but different!) is posted here – 1/8 sheet, Arches paper – I have 4 of them.

I offered a flag painting back in September and have 2 more of them, similar to the one posted.

As far as the giveaway, once again, the rules are the same:

· None of the paintings will be matted or framed – it’s just the painting.
· Even though these are all original paintings, there may be several similar, since, these are class demos and I have done some of them repeatedly and – here is the caveat –
· Some may be better than others!
· They will go on a first come, first served basis.

So, if you are interested in a free original watercolor painting, email me at Put in the subject line: free blog painting. Otherwise, I just might delete you – I do not open any emails from people I’m not expecting mail from – kind of like not opening the front door to strangers. And, for goodness sake – be sure to leave your name and address so I can send you the painting!

This time you may request FLAG or LILLIES and I will parcel them out from what I have available.

Hope to hear from some of you! (Only 103 more posts to go!!!!)