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, December 31, 2010

2010 - WHAT A YEAR!

This past year I:
• had paintings published in a book, The Best of American Watermedia, Vol. II;
• was featured on Chris Beck’s blog, Brush-Paper-Water;
• was in my first invitational show “My House” at Art Beyond Boundaries Gallery in Cincinnati, OH in April/May with one piece sold
• taught several Art in the Country! weekend workshops in my home;
• taught three Saturday classes for DHAC;
• taught three series of classes for the Cincinnati Recreation Commission;
• taught two workshops for local organizations;
• chaired the ViewPoint show for the second year (click here for a list of artists; click here for photos of the winners; 
• attended a Nick Simmons workshop;
• went on two of my husband’s cattle seminars, one in Chattanooga, TN and one in Holmes County, OH;
• traveled with friends;
• attended my annual painting retreat;
• once again had 3 paintings accepted into the Bethesda Foundation show;
• had paintings accepted into both of the Georgia Watercolor Society shows, and won an award and sold one painting there;
and last but not least:
• had a heart attack.

Following the heart attack, I have stepped back from some activities – I just can’t push myself so hard any more.

My last year’s resolutions were – and their result is:
Learn to paint portraits – yep – this one follows me around like a bad penny and is on the top of my list again this year! - (This is ditto from last year!) Obviously, I failed miserably at this one.
Post 104 blog posts for 2010! – I made this goal, having posted more than 120 in 2010!

This year I resolve to:
Learn to paint portraits. (You will be sick of seeing this one!)
FOCUS and spend more time painting for ME!
Take a few short trips with friends!
Take better care of my health.

Here’s hoping that you all have a safe, joyful New Year, filled with the love of family and friends.

See you in 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Last week my daughter’s boyfriend asked my husband for her hand in marriage.
I immediately began crying - tears of joy!
My son, in the same room, almost choked on his drink and asked “WHY?????”
My husband said “She’s all yours!”
Joe didn’t say when he was going to pop the question, and was “working” on the ring.

I didn’t expect it to be Christmas. It wasn’t – it was December 23! And he almost had to by then – since she saw him driving into the jewelry store which happens to be right next door to her salon.
I and my friend are being blamed for that chance meeting – since she stopped by here on her way to work and we chatted for several minutes. Had she not done so, she would have been inside the building when he pulled in and would not have seen him.
He put tea candles in the snow and spelled out “marry me” when she drove in that night.
She said yes (thankfully!).
All’s well that ends well.

The ring is beautiful and will match her grandmother’s wedding ring (which her grandmother gave her last year) perfectly – they actually look like a matched set.
Which, of course, made me cry!
No date set; could be a while, or not – guess we’ll find out!

Friday, December 24, 2010


If you follow this blog you know that I’m not a fan of the Yupo paper. Just recently I was reminded again of why!
A friend was preparing a drawing on a piece of Yupo. It was a cold winter day, but the sun was out and she had taped the drawing and Yupo onto a COLD window to use in the manner of a light box. She took a lunch break and went back to the drawing – to find that her lines were no longer matching up. At first, she thought the tape had come loose, but – it turns out that the Yupo paper had gotten just warm enough to s-t-r-e-t-c-h a bit from the slight warmth of the sun! She immediately laid the paper on a table to cool off, but damage had been done. She decided to simply eliminate a portion of the (very involved) drawing and simply make the painting smaller.
So, sorry you Yupo-ites – you STILL can’t convince me that this is a good surface to work on!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Since I began painting, my daughter has been my harshest critic. Her most frequent comment is “needs more detail”.

But now that she has her new home, with lots of bare walls, my paintings are just what she needs to cover those walls! To butter me up, now she has amended her comment to “I’ve always liked your paintings . . . they just need more detail”!!!

She came over the other day to check out my paintings and decided on a theme for the holidays. Since she will put her electric train under her Christmas tree – the theme is “trains”. So my train paintings – some rather large! – were carted out to her back seat and driven up the road. She called about an hour later to tell me they were already hanging and looked great!

She also took the first painting I ever framed, and which I still like – a barn on a hill, in winter. She liked it for the “winter” theme.

Yes, folks, seems she is one of those “I like it because it matches my couch” art lovers! But, hey, at least I’ve got a little more room in my house now!

And she may have already picked out a few for the spring – because they involve flowers and will match her walls!

S . . . .I . . . . G . . . . H . . . . !!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Me and the mouse went to the cardiologist Wednesday morning.
. . . “W-h-a-t???” you are thinking to yourself right about now.

Yep – that’s correct – the mouse. He, she, it (hopefully NOT they!!) has been living in my car for a week or so. In all the years we have stored wood in the garage in the winter and I have parked my car there, this has never happened. First time for everything, they say!

First thing I noticed was black dots on my passenger seat (no, not what you are thinking!!!) Until I picked up my leather glasses case I had no idea; then it became evident that something had chewed little pieces off it and left them all over the seat. Then I noticed a tissue shredded on the floor and my juice box chewed to pieces; he (she, it, they?) had chewed through the juice box under my seat and then carried it to the front of the passenger’s floor!! There was also one almond partially showing under the floor mat. As soon as I discovered my little companion(s??) it got so cold I didn’t want to be out in the garage tearing apart my car. Then it snowed, so I couldn’t get the car to the shop building where it would be a little warmer. Then I didn’t see any more evidence and thought they had departed. Boy, was I wrong!

On the way to the doctor visit, I noticed that they had gotten into the tissue box in the back, walked on my dashboard (little tracks in the dust!!!) and left little presents on the blanket on the back seat – guess they know it’s Christmas! Fortunately the back seat is covered with blankets for when the dog rides back there, so nothing is directly on my seat. And then, I realized they had gotten into the almond container – chewed through the plastic lid like a can opener and popped out the nuts. Now I’m afraid there are going to be nuts everywhere and even more critters. YUK. So, hopefully in the next day or two, weather permitting, I can drive my car up the hill to the shop and talk my husband into putting on my snow tires while I tear apart the car. Yippee, can hardly wait.

When I got home, I discovered that we have a cat living in the open garage behind the house. Maybe he (she?) can be enticed into the garage for a little buffet???

But, I digress. Enough about my companions – on to the doctor’s appointment.
The following is obviously written a bit “tongue in cheek” so I have to tell you that I really like my doctor –and the nurses and receptionist are really very nice ladies.

It was a sunny, balmy 10 degrees as I left the house! This time I didn’t drive past the hospital; I actually followed the large blue hospital signs to the correct driveway!
Then I parked in a different lot, much closer to the office, and promptly walked right past the office when I got inside (I thought it was farther down the hall!)
Then I got to watch a few minutes of the Ellen Degeneres show before being weighed in (not such an ordeal since I’ve shed a few more pounds!)
Then the nurse could only get my BP in the right arm so another nurse was called in for the left arm.
Then it was time to check my pulse – apparently faint and slow but, since I was still sitting in the chair and breathing that seemed to be OK. After they both concurred that I was alive, I was asked about my medications:
Had they changed?
“Nope.” (Why would they? This is the doctor who prescribed them!)
What was I taking in the morning or evening
“The blue one in the morning and the yellow one at night.” (This evinced a blank stare from the nurse who then referred to them by some fancy schmancy medical name! – “would that be the blah blah blah?”)
I replied again with my own fancy terminology “Blue in the morning, yellow at night.” (Guess I’ll have to learn some medical jargon to stay on top of this!)
Then I went through my aches and pains – apparently surprisingly few! But since I’d had some unusual (for me!) chest pains she hooked me up for the EKG which confirmed that, yep, sure enough, my heart was beating – but apparently somewhat slowly. This also evinced some medical term that started with “bra . . .” which apparently means slow heart rate. But, not to worry.
Then the doctor came in and we chatted, and I had to confess that I had missed taking the meds a couple of times; this did not overly concern him. (Hmm, after all, it ain’t HIS heart!!!) He looked at my most recent blood work and said that my cholesterol is good, my BP is good and I can cut the meds in half – literally. (Had to stop and get a pill cutter on the way home – those pills are way too tiny to cut in half with my husband’s molding cutter! As an added bonus it came with a pill holder for a weeks’ worth of pills. I spent 10 minutes cutting and filling and I’m all ready to finish out the week – and no more excuse for missing pills!).
The doc also said that if the temperature is less than 20 I’m not allowed out! Seriously! “No going to the grocery or walking outside in that temperature”. He used a cute little road analogy to explain why: “Think of your blocked artery as a closed road – the blood has to travel some back roads to detour around it and those roads can get icy.” (I.e., due to my closed off artery my blood is flowing in a different path now and breathing the cold air into my lungs can affect my heart).
I clapped my hands and told him that this heart attack has come in very handy as an excuse to get out of stuff I don’t want to do – instead of saying “no” I say “Well, you know, I recently had a heart attack” . . . . (pause) and people let me off the hook immediately!
Then, after laughing heartily - he told me that I had a “good attitude” (I think he likes me!)
Then I had to make a March appointment for something called a “stress test” which, according to my husband, apparently involves walking on a treadmill while hooked up to an EKG with the doctor and defibrillator paddles standing by. It does sound stressful, and also suspiciously like a phys ed class. Since my husband knows how athletic I am he has already kindly told me that I’ll fail the test miserably. But it does sound like an excuse to buy some new shoes – I’ve been eyeing those Skechers Tone Ups!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I then gessoed that whole area and then repainted it. In the end, the white line is pretty well camouflaged. In the close up you can also see some places where the paint got “outside the lines” of the board and handle. Those spots were also cleaned up and camouflaged, and here is the final result. The white acrylic on the top of the shelf is showing up quite white in this photo; in real life it doesn’t show up that white!

Shake ‘er Baskets, 15x30, Fluid Acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Here is a close up of the basket as it develops.

At the art club demonstration, I continued building up the colors. Then I laid this painting against the wall (upside down) and took out another painting to work on. I thought this one was dry, but it wasn’t! Not until I was packing up did I realize that the basket handle had been wet and the brown paint had run into the background. (Top left area just above the basket handle).

I dipped a Qtip into alcohol to rub off the brown paint (see the close up) which also took off some of the cobalt.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


As you may recall, Rhonda Carpenter and another friend and I went to Shaker Villlage earlier in the year. I came away with a few photos to develop into paintings. This painting is taken from a photo of some old, well used Shaker baskets on top of an old shelving unit. For this horizontal design, I drew the painting onto a 15x30 canvas and began with a light wash of cobalt in the background. Then I used several shades of brown fluid acrylics in light washes.

As you can see (below) I worked left to right and only partially finished each additional layer. I intended to use this painting for demonstration purposes at a local art club and wanted to be able to show my layering process. I gradually built up the colors in the baskets and on the wooden shelf, using my fan brush to create striations to simulate wood on the shelf.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I'm happy to announce that my work is being featured over at Chris Beck's "Brush-Paper-Water" blog!  I consider this a huge honor.
Chris makes me look good!  Go take a look at what she has to say on both her blogs!
"I'm Painting as Fast as I Can"