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”

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Here is another painting from my daughter’s photos – a gondolier. This one was so much fun to paint, even though I pushed past my comfort zone by doing a full sheet painting. I usually like to work in about ½ sheet size.

Anyway, the scariest thing about this painting was that I liked it from the start! (Usually I don’t get too attached until later in the painting process, if I think it is turning out OK).

I used 300 lb. Arches CP and I had so much fun creating the texture on all of the stone.

The gondola scared me a bit because it was so dark, and there was a “conflict of interest” as to whether the bottom of the boat should be off the page or on. My husband thought it should be on the page, but my art teacher said off the page, so I went with her suggestion. Well, my husband insisted that it stay on the page and said something like “but I guess you can’t fix it now”.

What?? The challenge was on!!!

I “erased” the bottom of the boat more than once and “fixed” that painting, at which point my husband liked it so much he paid for the frame!

The Gondolier, watercolor on Arches 300# paper, full sheet. (It's currently hanging over my piano, but it could be hanging over yours!!! If you are interested in purchasing, let me know!!)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

VENICE 1 (and more Clones!)

My daughter had the opportunity to go to Croatia and Italy a few years ago.

If there is one place in the world I could go, it would be Venice, so when she left I gave her an ultimatum – “When you go to Venice take lots of good pictures, or don’t come back.” (Ain’t I a great mom!) Terror struck my heart when she emailed me about her day in Venice, saying “If you’ve seen one canal you’ve seen ‘em all”. But, Darling Daughter that she is, she took lots of Venice pictures and quite a few of them are paint worthy. (She also brought me a glass chicken from Venice!)

So . . . . one day I was watching a TV show about Venice when I caught a glimpse of my painting on the TV screen! Just to be certain, I backed up the DVR and paused it and, yep, the picture on the TV screen was the identical view my daughter had taken a photo of and which I had painted!
Above is that painting.

Compare this painting to Sandy Maudlin’s Venice painting posted on 12/18/8-12/20/8 on her blog ( Maybe my daughter was right – “seen one canal, seen ‘em all”! I thought these two paintings were very similar.

Friday, March 20, 2009


There is an interesting phenomenon of what I call “clones” - paintings that are almost identical.
NOTE: I do not mean this in a bad way, it's just a fact of the art life!

I’m sure you have all seen paintings of the Maine lighthouse which I think is Portland Light (I could be wrong, feel free to correct me) that are all similar. I’ve been told that when you visit that place there is one place to stand below the lighthouse to get a good photo, so many artists get that same picture and then paint from that photo.

In a local town there is an old feed mill that is quite picturesque. Once I discovered it I thought I would paint it. Gee, imagine my surprise to find that it had been painted ad nauseum by tons of other local artists! (So I never did paint it).

Another place that has inspired many CLONES (similar paintings) is the view from the bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice. My daughter took a photo from that bridge which I hope to paint some day. I’ll be in very good company, since it seems that I’ve seen that same painting done in every possible medium!

(Does the photo above look familiar???)

So, I guess that saying “there is nothing new under the sun” is really true!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I was asked to give a short demo to a local arts organization I belong to.

“Hmmmm, what can I do that will keep people occupied for an hour or so?”

I decided to take the demo I had started at the art fair and another painting begun a while back, also a floral, and show the group two different supports (Arches 140 CP and Lana 140 HP) and two different ways of painting a flower.

Above is the basket of mums from the set ups I did back in November. What drew me to this picture is the shadow – (but can I make it lively and colorful? - that’s always hard).

On the painting of the mums (below) you can see my notes on the masking tape around the painting – I like to make notes of the colors used so if I don’t get back to it for a while it won’t be a guessing game when I restart it. If I don’t tape down, then I’ll write either on the back of the painting or on the photo I’m painting from. This is on Arches 140 CP. I started with an overall wash on the flowers of Quin. Gold and Hansa Yellow, then used Raw Sienna, Q. Gold and Burnt Sienna on the basket.

Basket in progress:
My plan for the demo was to work first on the mums and basket and then, if there was time left, I’d work on the rose.

There was a pretty large turn out, think I counted 26. The group is made up of artists painting in various media, so some of them were quite interested in the watercolor while others were not. However, I did get some nice comments on the presentation. One lady said she enjoyed it even though she did not paint in watercolor. One lady, an oil painter, was horrified to learn that we watercolorists turn our paintings over, wet them down and iron them to make them flat again!!!

After working on the basket of flowers, I only had a few minutes to show a couple of petals on the rose. (Think maybe I talked too much and didn’t paint enough).

This rose (below) is on Lana 140 HP and is done differently from the flower basket. With this one I painted petal by petal, very wet with just a touch of color; a few got darker than planned, but that’s life! I will finish this one up with a darker background (I think???) and post it “whenever”!
Rose – in progress

Monday, March 16, 2009


The painting finished with the addition of the book marker, black Bible edges and background.

This painting has turned out to be a very emotional experience for me. Even though I was quite young when my grandfather died I still miss him, and this painting has stirred up a lot of memories for me. While this painting didn’t start out as a tribute to my grandfather, it has turned out to be. My grandfather was a Mason and he always lived by the Golden Rule. He taught me to believe that it is probably the only rule we really need.

The name of the painting is courtesy of my friend, Sharon, and it is a great title. My grandfather was a good man, loved by many.

The Measure of a Man, (In memory of Ed Dieselberg), 14x18, fluid acrylics and collage on watercolor board.

Monday, March 9, 2009


This photo is funny!

After finishing the lace, I leaned the painting up on the credenza and it just happened to be placed on top of the lace doily used in the painting. I walked away to check it out from a distance (as you know, they always look better that way!). When I turned around, I couldn’t remember having painted so much lace, and got very confused for a few seconds, before I realized that when I sat the painting down it just happened to line up perfectly with the lace hanging over the edge of the front of the credenza!!!
As you can see, the lace is complete, as is the ruler. I've added the tabs in the pages and used some gold paint on the end of a toothpick for the book tab titles. I've also added shadows under the lace and edges.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Here the lace is being painted and the edges of the Bible pages. The lace is a slow, laborious process so I do a little at a time to keep from getting bored! But there is something about it I really like, maybe a Zen thing??

Last week a friend from the Carolinas was in Columbus, OH for a few days and called to see if she could get together with my friend and me over the weekend. We drove up on Sunday and met her at a half way spot for lunch. Then we found a quiet place we could sit and chat and critique the paintings she had brought with her. Since we usually only see one another once a year at our yearly painting retreat, this was an unexpected surprise! But, I forgot to bring my camera so cannot show you her paintings (gotta remember to take that thing with me everywhere!).

Friday, March 6, 2009


I’m not a religious person, but for some reason the idea came to me to use the Golden Rule as a basis for a painting.

My original thought was to use casein, but then decided to use my fluid acrylics instead. The painting set up is composed of an old doily that may have been made by my grandmother (otherwise it is one that I found in a local antique store), my confirmation Bible and my grandfather’s ruler.

Here is the beginning – drawn out onto watercolor board, with the printed bible pages affixed with acrylic matte medium. I had to make a few attempts to get them sized properly for the painting. Then a wash of white and raw sienna was put over the background area.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Trish McKinney layering with netting, Saran wrap and waxed paper over acrylic inks.

This past week a friend and I went to a one-day workshop in “creativity” with Trish McKinney. While I’m sure I subconsciously knew some of the things she told us, I came away feeling that I had picked up a couple of “revelations” about art. We did some exercises dealing with composition in the morning. In the afternoon she gave a short demo in mixed media; then we went back to our tables and tried it, using some of the inks she provided.

We left exhausted, buzzing with ideas, with our wet paintings sitting on top of everything in the back of the car.

A short detour to the Ikea store, followed by a leisurely dinner, completed the day.

I was in bed by 10 p.m.!

Here's an overview of some of the workshop participants.

Here's Christine at her table – she works in acrylics and is a sculptor, this was her first time working in W/C – Debbie, our hostess, is in the background (with coffee cup in hand).
Here is Trish showing us how to save a painting using “connection”.
Trish spraying ink and beginning the mixed media demo.