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”

Monday, August 31, 2009


It’s always an adventure to take a Sunday afternoon drive with my husband. (I did check to make sure the gas gauge was above half!)

I keep a small tote bag full of maps for the region in MY car – 3 states, Cincinnati and N. KY, and all local counties. Of course, he decided all we would need was the Indiana map and the Yahoo map he had printed off and then he tossed the bag back on my car and we were off (in HIS car)! And, of course, once we got going, he decided that he would ignore the Yahoo map and just use the Indiana map and not even remotely go the way the Yahoo map said to go.

All was well until we got to a town we’d never been in and the map said go straight only that would have taken us into a parking lot! So we went left a ways and then turned around and went the other way a while and then came back to a gas station and my husband (MY HUSBAND!!!) got out and asked directions! (No, I’m not hallucinating, this actually happened!)

We followed the directions well until the “Y” in the road with the sign pointing right to Milhausen and my husband unerringly went left toward Brownsville!!!! A sudden brake check and reverse and we were back on track. We got to Westport where there was a Dairy Queen with only ice cream products – no burgers! and no bathroom! – so he got a malt and me a delicious Mocha Moolatte! – and we were finally back on the Yahoo map route (yippee).

But don’t get too excited yet! We were looking for 850 S or some such of a number – out here in the rural areas you get numbers like CR S 800 W. I’ll translate for you – County Road South 800 West. Yep, no wonder we get lost! (In a local town Eastern and Western Avenues intersect!) Well, these numbers went from 800 to 1200 – oops – so we turned around and found a little church with a shady spot and pulled in and my husband got one bar on his cell phone and called. We were told to look for “either 1100 or 1400” about a mile down the road! Hmmmmm . . . . imagine my delight at actually locating 1400 “about a mile down the road.” Then we went to a church at the “T” in the road and “then turn left to the second farm on the right.” (And people think we live in the boonies!)

Once our business was taken care of it was back to civilization and a late lunch (and bathroom!). After that we continued on our drive but on roads we were familiar with – until we missed another turn, but we realized it pretty quick and turned around.

It was a nice day and kind of fun.

Next time, though, I’ll pack us a lunch!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Here is a grouping of sunflowers. This painting started a bit differently than the previous single sunflower (posted on June 19 and 21).
After getting my drawing ready, I went ahead and transferred it to my paper and then began my pouring – rather than pouring and then transferring the drawing. Colors used were hansa yellow, quinacridone gold, hansa yellow deep, Indian yellow, cadmium orange, vermillion, organic vermillion, sap green undersea green, jadeite (some Daniel Smith, some DaVinci). My browns were various combinations of the oranges with the greens. Other than that, the process was the same – as you can see by the progression of photos below.
I am not happy with this one and will try again. It is just too dull – I totally lost all my vibrant colors. My husband liked it, though! So maybe he will like the next one I do, too!
Above - got too brown too quick and - below - way too dull!

Monday, August 24, 2009


I hope some of you have clicked onto the ViewPoint information on the right side of my blog and downloaded your prospectus! This is a national show sponsored by the Cincinnati Art Club and this year it is being supervised by me. Hopefully all will go well!

If you have any questions about it, let me know. If you do enter, good luck to you!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I couldn’t breathe, my heart was pounding, my eyes welling up with tears – I was in full blown panic mode.

“Why?” you ask.

I thought I was out of Daniel Smith Indanthrone Blue*.

I had:
Antwerp blue
Blue ochre
Cobalt blue
Cobalt teal blue
French ultramarine
Genuine azurite
Genuine lapis lazuli
Lunar blue
Manganese blue hue
Phthalo blue
Prussian blue
Smalt genuine – Daniel Smith and Winsor/Newton
Soldalite genuine
Ultramarine blue – Maimeri
Ultramarine turquoise

Even Payne’s gray!

“Check again, check again” my brain cried. So I did – and, lo and behold, there it was. How did I miss it the first time?

Oh well – once again my heart rate is slow and steady, I’m taking full breaths and able to see clearly again.

All’s right in my painting world!

* Those of you who know me know that I pretty much cannot paint unless I have Daniel Smith Indanthrone Blue and Quinacridone Gold on my palette! So you would understand how upset I truly was!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Sunday was a very looooong day – spent purchasing and having my new computer installed. Thank goodness for a friend who is a computer expert!

I want to thank all of you who weighed in on Mac vs. PC, but PC won due to the fact it is less expensive and I’m totally used to them. It will take me a little while to get used to the keyboard, etc. – but it looks quite dashing I think, since now I’m all color coordinated in fashionable black – the keyboard, monitor, mouse and tower!

Also purchased a new printer; my current one is getting bad on the b/w but still very good on color. There just wasn’t enough time in the day to get the new one installed, but when it is I’ll be putting on my “computer repairperson hat” and diving into the old one to see if I can get that b/w to print better (knowing the new one is waiting if I totally screw up!)

So, I’ll be getting used to some of the Vista features, the odd feeling of the new keyboard and mouse (feels kind of plastic-y compared to my old one) and having a few odd “Kodak moments” - apparently the folders I had didn't transfer, so I've got lots of "albums" just by date rather than by subject - that will take some getting corrected, guess I'll just have to work on it as much as I have time for, beginning with my newer photos first. Gee, I just love all this extra work!

But at least I’m functioning – and quicker too - not at lightning speed like you folks in the city, but at least faster than it was.

Monday, August 17, 2009


The red stripes have been waxed and the blue background (French ultramarine and indanthrone) has been painted in. I liked the area where the red had bled into the background – happy accident! I think it made more unity in the painting.

As you can see, I use a styrofoam plate for my palette when working in this technique.

After the blue dried, I applied the wax to any portion of the painting that was uncovered. After all of the wax was dry I crumpled the painting so that the wax broke apart. You might want to do this step holding your painting directly over a wastebasket!

Rather than using Sumi-E ink as some artists do, I mix up a dark, or black, with my watercolor paints. For this particular piece I used Maimeri Terra D ‘Ombra (burnt umber), Winsor Newton raw umber and Rembrandt Brun Van Dyck (Van Dyke brown), each mixed with some Daniel Smith Indanthrone.
Then I take an old brush and “smoosh” that dark paint into the cracks in the wax. And, did I mention it’s messy? You can see the wax floating in the water. (See why I say use OLD BRUSHES!)

After applying the dark or black paint, I lay tissues over the painting to mop up any extra paint that lays on top of the wax. (It makes me think of “101 Dalmations”!)

Here is the finished piece.
I adhered the painting to my canvas and turned 3 sides under. I then tore the last side to make it look like the flag was old and tattered. I sprayed several coats of Krylon matte over the flag.
This was just an idea I came up with, and the person who purchased the piece can certainly turn under that right side and frame it in a standard frame, or leave it as is – blowing in the wind!

Now – I’ll make you play the game – how does this painting incorporate the theme of seven???

The Veteran, 12x20, watercolor batik on rice paper (SOLD)

Saturday, August 15, 2009


This painting got quite a bit of attention at our GCWS spring show, and quite a few people asked me “how’d you do that”!! This is what prompted my recent batik workshops.

Here’s a “how to” for you, in case you missed my recent batik workshop (hint, hint!!). If you live in the area and are interested in learning how to master this technique, give me a holler via email! I’ll be giving another workshop either later in the fall or next spring.
Here is my flag drawn out on white paper (upper right), the photo I’m working from and my rice paper with the flag drawn onto it.

My first step was to put a light wash of raw sienna all over to “dumb down” the white of the flag. You must be careful with the paper while it is wet, it tears easily. I had the painting laid out on freezer paper and set it aside to dry.

After the raw sienna layer had dried I put in the flag shadows, both light and dark areas, and let it dry. It’s hard to control the paint on the rice paper, it tends to bleed quite a bit, so I tried to use thicker pigment in some areas.

Here is my set up:
I lay down foil so that any hot wax drips will not harm my table cover. My wax heats up in a small electric skillet. Problem is, you cannot maintain a steady heat in the skillet – it keeps cycling – heating up and then cooling slightly, just enough to make the wax begin to solidify before it re-melts and it’s annoying! (I’m going to try to locate some wax heaters). I use Gulf wax which can be found in the canning section of the grocery. Just be careful not to let it get too hot or it will catch on fire.
I use an assortment of old brushes to apply the hot wax.

I’m ready to begin applying the wax and since I don’t want to drip it all over my painting, I have covered most of the flag with copy paper.

The stars and white stripes have been waxed.

The red paint has been applied, and as you can see, it ran a little into the blue field. As I mentioned, it’s hard to control the paint on the rice paper. (I think I used permanent rose, alizarin crimson and cadmium red).
I also use old brushes when doing the batik painting since I don’t want any wax to accidentally get into my good brushes or paint or onto my palette – a lesson learned the hard way!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


. . . yep – another peony!!!!

This one is once again based on the Steve Blackburn technique.

This one takes you pretty much step by step through the process.
To the left are my first pours with the miskit on.
Then I removed the miskit and did another couple thin pours.
The painting is a full sheet of Arches 300#, propped on the easel, so there is a bit of a curl in some of the photos. After the pours were complete, I began working into the darks, slowly going around the painting, glazing up in several layers.
Developing the darks.
Developing the darks a bit more.

At the end I was having trouble with the top right corner and one of my students told me “my teacher says to turn it”!!! So I did and I like it much better now! (And I was a bit embarrassed!) We really laughed at that one!
I can't decide if it's too "purple-y" - but it's a done deal - framed and sitting on the easel!

Peony, 22x30, Fluid Acrylic on Arches 300# CP

Sunday, August 9, 2009


After a week of illness and a week to recuperate and get back into the swing of things, I’m still catching up – which is why I’ve been slow to blog.

Sunny Update
As you can see – Sunny is getting big (above). And that’s him with his mom and his other moms around the water trough! (below). They do like their umbrella, too!Computer Woes
I’m in the process of buying a new computer – and I’M AFRAID! But my computer is old – in dog and computer years it is ancient – and has been running v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. I’ve decided it’s better to update it on my time and terms rather than wait for it to die suddenly and then I’m really in a jam.
I always hear the horror stories, and I know I’ll have to go with that Vista thing and then all my Word documents will be different. And I must have access to all of my pictures, so I’m a little afraid of that process. And then, will all my “favorites” still be there? How does that stuff work?
Why do they have to change things that work just fine? “New and improved” – I did NOT ask for that!

This and that . . . .
Yesterday, a beautiful sunny, although unbelievably hot day, I spent a few hours driving with 10,000 or so of my closest friends on what we refer to as the “Cin-Day Corridor” – the miles of I-75 between Cincinnati and Dayton, OH.
And that’s when I felt YOUR pain. (Yes, YOUR pain!) Because I realize that even if your roads need fixing they will not be fixed, not this summer anyway. “Why?” you are asking? Very simple - there will be no orange barrels or concrete dividers in your area of the country with which to close down your roads. Because every single orange barrel and concrete divider in the country is located in the above mentioned “Cin-Day Corridor”.
Yep – they are rebuilding the road, and the ramps. And, did I mention they also built a new outlet mall. Which opened yesterday. And which was apparently only open for that one day, judging by the cars attempting to exit both Northbound and Southbound to reach it before it suddenly disappeared – managing to block all of the right lanes and part of the middle lanes to do so. Once again, great planning by the “powers that be”. Always open the new mall before completing the exit ramps to said mall, and, of course, wait until the entire roadway for miles in both directions is completely torn up. That’s a great day to open the new mall, don’t you think!
And this gets me to thinking of some other odd things we here in the Cincinnati area take for granted. We have a “Big Mac” bridge!!! (It’s actual name is the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge, but since it’s got huge yellow arches it’s got a nickname!)
We also have “sun delays” during the morning rush hour. That refers to our western citizens heading east on sunny mornings. Apparently we are the only city in the universe that has these, and because of a “sun delay” you can be late for work and everyone will understand! “Sun delays” can also account for a large percentage of accidents, since you can claim you did not see that car approaching because of the sun blinding you. (Most of those accidents are not fatal, although maybe some of them should be???!!!!)
We say “please” when we mean “what” or “huh?” We say “excuse me” when we really want YOU to get out of the way!
And apparently we are one of the top cities in the nation for road rage (something I’ve had for years and which now has a name!) Maybe it has something to do with sun delays and the Cin-Day Corridor!

Don’t forget the Giveaway!
1 - You must leave a comment on my blog – don’t worry – I have the comment moderation active so if you don’t want the world to see it, just me, that’s fine; just mention that in the comment and I won’t post it.

2 - Each comment you leave will equal 1 chance to win – (so vote early and vote often – ha, ha). I will pick a winner on September 1 by putting slips with your name in a “hat” and drawing the winner (i.e. if you leave 5 comments on my blog between now and then, there will be 5 slips with your name that could be potential winners!)

Good luck!

Monday, August 3, 2009


I got snowed under last week by a nasty cold, but revived just enough to give my final batik workshop. Posted here are their final works (see, I remembered the camera again!)

Here are Missy's masterpieces!

Here are Barb's:

And here is Sharon's:
I also want you all to know that I’m checking out your blogs - I enjoy seeing the new works, reading the stories, etc. - even if I’m not commenting on each one. Don’t think I’m rude, but I am finding myself pressed for time more and more and something’s got to give – so it’s the commenting! (but not the reading!).

And with that, just so you won’t give up on me, how about a giveaway – of an original Deb Ward painting (ooooohh, aaaaaaah I can year you all saying!!!!) This may be a small batik (or maybe not???), you will just have to be surprised!

1 - You must leave a comment on my blog – don’t worry – I have the comment moderation active so if you don’t want the world to see it, just me, that’s fine; just mention that in the comment and I won’t post it.

2 - Each comment you leave will equal 1 chance to win – (so vote early and vote often – ha, ha). I will pick a winner on September 1 by putting slips with your name in a “hat” and drawing the winner (i.e. if you leave 5 comments on my blog between now and then, there will be 5 slips with your name that could be potential winners!)

Good luck!