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 30, 2011


I knew the colors I wanted in the flowers from the get go. I allowed the colors to blend in every individual petal and added a touch of violets and blues in the petals. I believe Nick refers to this as “cell painting”.

Then I put the flower colors over all of the corner medallions.

It was at this point that I reviewed some of the kimono ideas and realized that other artists had similar ideas to what I am trying to do. After looking at the kimono photos from the internet, there appeared to be a painting done from the same fabric I was using. Even the figure placement remained the same. Then I found another painting that must have also utilized this fabric. There were changes, but when holding the fabric up to the painting the similarities were obvious.

Now, this is a dilemma.

I don’t know if the other paintings were ever put into shows, but if my painting turns out good enough, can I, or should I, enter it into a show? I swear my idea stemmed from the ideas noted in Step 1 – well before I looked at the online paintings. My concept was original to me, but after viewing the other paintings, would this really be considered “original” as defined in a show prospectus?

I’m curious to hear your opinion.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


My next step was the background. I used Nicks’ “batik like look” technique of spraying in the background areas.

After deciding on a dark blue, I began with the small areas in the flower petals. This was a time consuming process, since I could only do a few small areas and then spray or the areas got too dry. It took a while to get an idea of how long to wait for the drying process before I could spray, and I had to re-paint and re-spray some of the areas more than once to get the effect I wanted. I liken this to the salt technique – the timing has to be “just right”.

Then it was on to the flowers, which I knew I wanted to be in shades of red violet and fuschia.

Friday, December 23, 2011


FINALLY - when I was convinced the drawing was what I wanted, I again traced it onto Cheap Joe’s tracing paper, had it copied again, and I was ready to begin.

First, I miskited the large kanji symbols and covered the faces.

As previously mentioned, Nick Simmons was my inspiration, so I wanted to utilize some of his techniques.

First, tossing paint! This was a dilemma, since I would have had to tape the paper up on a wall. I don’t have a place to do that! So I thought about doing it outside, but there was nothing to tape the paper to. If I leaned it up against a post it would be too low, and probably get dirty in the process. I thought about taking some small nails and tacking it up to a post, but was afraid it would fall and that would be a real mess. So I finally just laid it on the table and tossed the paint onto it. So, finally, paint on paper – yippee!!!

At this point I had an idea of colors for the flowers, and knew I wanted dark around the main face, and the main geisha to wear red and black, but no preconceived idea of other colors.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Using tracing paper to fit a half sheet of watercolor paper, and my copier, I brought together my ideas onto the tracing paper. My first “draft” was done in pencil and many alterations were made. When I was satisfied (or so I thought!!) I retraced everything on the tracing paper with a Sharpie fine tip pen.

Then it was off to Staples where I had the picture enlarged to fit a full sheet.

After that, I realized there were some more things I wanted to add and a few other alterations to make before I would be happy. A Sunday afternoon was spent making all of those changes. Then I taped the drawing to cardboard and placed it on my easel to live with it for a few days.

Then more alterations as my ideas changed! I used correction tape and also taped paper over areas of change. Then I lived with that drawing another day or so.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Lately I am pulled toward Oriental-looking subjects.

While walking through our local Joann’s fabric store, I saw some material that made me think about Nick Simmons, since the material contained geisha faces and some oriental symbols. That got me to thinking about creating a painting utilizing the faces from the fabric and incorporating some of Nick’s trademark techniques.

This seemed a simple enough undertaking, so I began a plan for a ½ sheet painting, nothing elaborate.

But, as soon as I got home and began looking at the geisha faces, ideas began pouring into my brain. As I began incorporating more information into the painting, I realized this could actually turn into a cool painting, but would definitely need to be larger - so after I had incorporated all of my ideas (or so I thought!) I took it to Staples and had it enlarged to fit a full sheet of w/c paper. Then I lived with the ideas for a few days but came up with more ideas, which necessitated several changes to the drawing. Again, I lived with it a few days.

Finally, I traced the drawing again onto some Cheap Joe’s tracing paper, had another copy made and then, finally, I began painting with fluid acrylics.

I’ll go through all of the process in the next several posts.

The idea taken from the fabric faces led to an online search for kanji symbols which led to an online search for geisha makeup and Japanese kimonos and fans. The fabric patterns in the kimonos were derived from silk fabric which I already had. The background design is from a book of oriental designs which I have had for a long time. The idea for the border came from a Judy Morris painting I saw last year in the traveling AWS show.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Here are the finished paintings all together. I don’t have a large enough wall space to hang them properly, so placing them on the easels together will just have to do!

Since I’ve never done a triptych before, nor worked with as large a canvas before, nor played with various acrylic mediums before, this painting sent me out of my comfort zone, for sure! Way out – perhaps into the Twilight Zone!

But now that I’ve completed the paintings, I’ve got more confidence and will definitely play with ideas in the future – what have I got to lose!

By the way, Nancy loved the paintings!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Since it had been a while since I completed the other two panels, I was worried I would not get a good match on colors but I took my time and constantly referred to the other two panels and got them matched well.

I began working on the background flowers, not sure they were turning out right, but not unhappy with the initial result.

I then brought the large flower into focus as I had done with the other two paintings.

Then it was time to paint the bee, and tweak the painting.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Then it was on to the larger center canvas (24x36). I have not worked on anything that large before and was quite intimidated until I convinced myself that it wasn’t much larger than a full sheet of watercolor paper (DUH!)

I wasn’t sure how the background flowers would look, but wanted to keep them obviously less interesting and bring up the single sunflower and the bee.

I drew in the shapes with charcoal, lived with the drawing for a while and tweaked it a time or two, and then began painting.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Finally, a new post! Thanks for hanging in there and waiting for me.
For the past few weeks I’ve really been trying to take time for ME! and have been making painting a priority.
Having just read Rhonda Carpenter’s latest post, I realize this post follows in that same vein (not something I planned, it just happened). As my post title would indicate, this turned out to be a new painting experience for me. I definitely got out of my “rut” with these three!
* * * * *
As payment for all the help she has given me, I agreed to paint 3 paintings for a friend of mine.

The paintings were to be of sunflowers and bumblebees, using photo references she supplied. I wanted the bumblebee to flow from the first panel, through the center panel and onto the third.

I began with the two side canvases, each 20x20.

Monday, November 28, 2011


This photo is a little odd in color, but you can see the addition of a stem for the left flower.
As usual, when I do a demo, I’m not really invested in the painting and probably don’t care whether I ever complete the painting. However, since I was in a sunflower mood (!) I decided to complete this one - at least, I think it’s complete – any suggestions? - and please don’t say (like my daughter does) “needs more detail”!!! (LOL)

This is fluid acrylic on a 10x20 canvas.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Here I’ve added to the greenery, deepened the sunflower center and added the leaves.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


When I picked up the painting again, I wasn’t sure if I’d remember the colors used, but have them pretty close. Obviously, here I have worked on the left sunflower, then some more on the right.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


It’s been a while since I’ve really had time to paint, and in order to sort of “get back into the swing of things” I’m working on something that’s quite old.

This one was started for a demo some time ago, then left to sit.

As noted, this was a demo – so I had part of the sky, some of the yellow on the right flower, some of the greenery completed before the demo, then added some to the painting during the demo. You can probably see where the sky was stopped and started at the top of the left sunflower – I let a petal run off the page at that point.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I have auditioned my pinks and am ready to begin the background – nothing ventured, nothing gained, right??
Well, definitely nothing gained!!!

At this point I'm ready to give up.  The blue paint is lifing too much, the background and shadows are too blotchy and I'm not happy.  I may try adding some fluid acrylics at this point, or I may just give up.

Looks like the painting won after all!  Remember that score card? Now it's Painting 3 - Deb 2.

Win some, lose some.  I lose.

But it's definitely worth another try.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Our ViewPoint show opening was a huge success last night; great crowd, beautiful show.  Watching the judging on Wednesday prompted me to write this post.

So, you entered the show properly and your painting was accepted into the show. Hurrah!

Now it’s time for awards judging.

What you will never know, and what I never realized until watching the judging process take place, is that your painting might have been in the running for an award!

In my (vast!!!) experience, the judge will take time to walk around the gallery several times, perhaps closely inspecting some of the paintings. If there are specific awards that need to be chosen (such as an award specifically for pastel or watercolor or a local artist or . . . ) the judge must take those criteria into consideration during the judging process.

Finally, on one of those walks around the room, the judge will begin to put a post-it note or some other indication on or next to some of the paintings. This process can take a while and sometimes the judge asks questions about certain paintings. Maybe a post-it note will come off one painting and go onto another painting. Maybe that will happen several times. At last, a decision will be made for each award and the judge will probably take at least one more walk around to ascertain that the final decisions have been made.

So, you never know, your painting may have been up for an award for quite a while until some criteria changed the judge’s mind to give that prize to another painting.

In addition, that old saying about not “painting for the judge” really is true, in my experience! A capable judge will be looking at each painting for its own merits and just because that judge paints in a particular medium or in a particular style doesn’t necessarily mean that only paintings done in the judge’s style or medium will be juried into the show. You may be surprised what that judge puts in. And those judges know when people are “painting for the judge” and guess what – they don’t really like it!

Always enter your best work, whatever it may be, and trust in the integrity of the judge and the organization running the show.

And, take heart, and consider yourself a winner any time you get a painting accepted into a show, especially a national show of any sort. You weren’t competing with local artists, but those from around the country, and your painting is holding its own and hanging on the wall next to some of the best painters in the country. And maybe, just maybe, it was up for an award for a while!

How cool is that?

Well, not as cool as winning that award, but still pretty darn cool.

And now you know the “inner secrets” of how an art show is judged!

* * * * *
I would like to add here Greg Albert's (ViewPoint judge this year) juror's statement - wise words, indeed.

Juror’s statement by Greg Albert
Judging an art show is always difficult. No piece is perfect and most will have many, but different, qualities that make choosing some over others a challenge. But in the end, a judge must do what the artists themselves had to do: draw the line somewhere. Although I attempt to be as objective as possible and consciously apply the established principles for assessing the relative quality of artworks, I recognize that in the end, all judgments about art are subjective and personal. Another judge would most likely make different selections using the same criteria. That alone should remind the artists not to take any one judge’s decisions too seriously, or become discouraged by the results.
A judge can only see and assess a work in front of him. No juror can know the background or context of its creation. The effort, energy, frustration or satisfaction the artist experienced in its creation is not known. It’s unfortunate an award can’t be given to the artist who had the most fun while making his or her art.
There are two generally accepted criteria for judging art in a show: concept and execution. Concept is the idea behind the work. Is the idea original? Is it significant? Is it interesting? Execution is how the idea was expressed in perceptible form, which includes composition or design, the use of color, line, contrast, as well as craftsmanship or control over the materials used. These criteria apply to both representational and non-representational artworks. An unoriginal idea, no matter how well executed, or a poor execution of an idea no matter how brilliant will not get this judge’s nod.
Seeing such a variety of great work in this year’s Viewpoint Exhibit is a thrill. I hope everyone who participated will be encouraged and inspired to continue producing more great work.

Monday, October 31, 2011


While you enjoy looking at all of the paintings on the blogs noted below – I’ll be having fun accepting the dropped off paintings for the ViewPoint show at the Cincinnati Art Club!
Our shipped works have already arrived and now I get to see all of the works “up close and personal”. Show opens Friday evening and we are expecting a large crowd – join us if you are in the area – Friday, November 4 from 6-9, valet parking available and awards presented – 1021 Parkside Place (corner of Parkside and Martin Drive in Mt. Adams).

From the sublime to the ridiculous!

Chris Beck asked me to participate in a Halloween challenge, so how could I say no?
In defense of my terribly juvenile painting, I went with the idea that Halloween is for kids and on Halloween we all become kids. Put on a silly costume and you do instantly lose your inhibitions and become quite child like!
For years I would dress up like a witch and sit at the end of our driveway (which is more than a mile long, so we did not get trick-or-treaters at the house!) to pass out candy – dressed like a witch.
I’ve been out there in sweltering late season heat and frozen with snow on the ground! I’ve scared more than a few kids, chased some of the “non-believers” around their cars until they became believers, stopped traffic, had my photo taken, flirted with and dissed strange men and generally had a blast! The adults enjoyed it as much as or more than the kids! I even scared myself on a few occasions – you never know what could be lurking in the brush, and when it gets real quiet, no kids or cars around and it’s you all alone, there are certainly lots of sounds to be heard that can be attributed to any kind of strange beast (it is, after all, Halloween!).

Two incidents sadly put a stop to all of this fun. One year a girl on a 4-wheeler thought it would be fun to run me down and grab my hat. (Trust me, it was not). Then the next year a trailer loaded with thieving kids and their drunken parents (most of whom were related to the aforementioned girl) sealed the deal. I decided that it was not a good idea for a lone woman to be out alone after dark.

But it was fun while it lasted and I know I made an impression on many of our neighbors (including a very lasting impression on the drunks, unless they don’t remember it!)

So – enjoy my pitiful rendition of Halloween here, then go see some cool paintings at these other sites:
Challenge organizers:
Chris Beck:
Pablo Villicana Lara:

Participating artists:
Janet Belich:
Debbie Cannatella:
R. Garriott:
Jeanette Jobson:
Ron Morrison:
Diahn Ott:
Suzy Pal Powell:
Terry Rafferty:
Kay Smith:
Brenda York:

Friday, October 28, 2011


I’ve tried to keep the roses a bit lighter as they go up the page; I can always darken them later.
I also brought more blues into the teapot.

Now I have to consider the background colors.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Now it’s on to the roses and orb. This is slow going!
I worked on some of the roses and then the orb, which I think is finished – all of this minus shadows at this point.
However, I m afraid I’ve overdone the roses. Once again, all my tight, sharp lines – I’m going to try really, really hard to loosen up on the upper roses, if I can.
While wondering what color to use as the shadow, I accidentally got some violet into the pink – a tiny blob of cobalt blue violet was on the palette.
Serendipity! I had my shadow color!

Score: Painting 2, Deb 2

Thursday, October 20, 2011


However, I’m not in love with the Daniel Smith Genuine Lapis Lazuli. It was a lovely dusty blue the first evening, but overnight it morphed into some gray-ish blue-ish gunk. All I can think is that the gum Arabic has separated from the color, since when I squeeze it out it’s an ugly gray with a lovely blue streak. I have “kneaded” the tube until my hands hurt, to no avail. So, I’m pulling out the blue as best I can and later wiping away the very sticky gunk.

So when you look at this photo you will see the 2 colors from the same tube of paint! I double and triple checked that I hadn’t picked up the wrong tube, but there’s no way I did – it just kind of changed colors overnight.

After kneading the tube and then squeezing it out and separating the color from the gunk, it looks almost the same as the first night’s painting, but not quite. Who knew!????

And, to add insult to injury, one of my Daniel Smith tubes is solid as a rock – Genuine Smalt. I will probably cut that one open and use it like a pan. It may (or may not) be in this painting, since it’s a vibrant blue, maybe too vibrant for this one. And it does not resemble my free tube of Smalt from Winsor & Newton – not at all!

No wonder “they” say watercolor is the hardest medium to learn!

Score: Painting 2, Deb 1

Sunday, October 16, 2011


After getting some color onto the roses I switched over to the teapot and the new Silver Black Velvet round – wow, a big difference! After all my whining in the previous posts, I think I’m falling in love – with a brush! It is small and pointy and I am able to paint in the small spaces of blue on the teapot handily. It’s also great on the rose leaves which I’ve started.

Score one for me: Painting 1, Deb 1

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Since this paper is so soft, I decided to use some new brushes that I’ve been hoarding! I’ve got 2 brand new Winsor Newton – a #6 pointed round and a #8 round - plus a brand new Silver Black Velvet #6 round and an older Silver Black Velvet ¾ in. flat – all of which are quite soft.

I put all of my brand new brushes into clean water to dissolve the sizing on them and began painting in some cobalt with another old soft 2 in. flat – I think that it might be a Stephen Quiller, but the paint has chipped off.

In the meantime I made a swatch of colors I planned on using to decide on my pinks and blues. Several of the tubes refused to open! One was completely hard – a Daniel Smith color - which surprises me. Anyway, after holding a couple of the tubes under hot running water, I was able to unscrew the caps and try out the colors.

Finally it was time to begin painting with the new brushes!

And – the War began.

I always tell people not to fight everything, just one thing at a time. But, it would appear that in this painting I’m going to be fighting the paper (tooooooo soft), the brushes and the paint!

It would appear that these WN tiny pointed brushes morph into gigantic brushes when water is added. They made me think of those sponges you can buy that are shrunk up all tiny and hard but when you put them into water they expand and expand until you think they will fill the kitchen sink! The #8 round got at least 3X it’s original size! And, since all of the brushes are new they have a different feel so I’ve got to get used to that, too.

And I’m using different colors of paint that I’m not used to.

So I’m putting down the water which immediately wants to sink into the soft paper (did I mention that the paper is really, really soft?) with a very soft brush that I’m not used to which is holding and depositing more water than I’m used to and, even using the color swatch, paint that is morphing into a different color as it hits the paper - this one is really going to be a challenge.

So, right now, it’s Painting 1, Deb 0.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


After I had retraced all of my lines very lightly with a mechanical pencil I was ready to miskit some areas. However, as soon as I touched the miskit to the paper I knew I was in trouble; it sank into the paper. I immediately stopped and made a tiny test area on the outer edge of the paper to see how this would look. The miskit pulled up the paper on the test strip. I was in a panic and almost felt sick, having already spent so much time on this painting. I waited until the miskit was good and dry and then very, very carefully chipped away at it with a miskit eraser (rubber cement pickup). It came off pretty good, but, of course, there was one area where it pulled up the paper. Right in the middle of the orb.

(Please refer back to a recent post to see the word that formed on my lips!)

Well, I decided that if that was the only bad area I could probably proceed – WITH CAUTION! I’ve seen framed paintings with scrub outs and even small holes in them, so if “they” can do it, so can I!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Can you say PINK!

This photo wowed me (and my daughter!) so I decided to go for it.

Because I thought that this painting called for so many colors of pink, I decided to use watercolor for this one, since I have a lot of pinks in watercolor.

Once again, the painting was started from the photo and then redrawn. I decided to use some Fabriano paper I have had for a long time. In checking, this was the only piece like this I had, 300# with “Fabriano” embossed on it, but it doesn’t resemble any of the other Fabriano I have. It’s not Artistico, maybe it’s Uno which I don’t think they make any more?? Anyway, it’s a mystery and it’s very soft.

Friday, September 23, 2011


I've been slow on the posts lately - sorry for that.

Haven't had a lot of time to paint, too much WORK involved right now with art shows, both entering them myself and working on ViewPoint.  In fact, I've been so busy that I completely forgot to pick up a painting - that's not like me (usually, anyway!)

For those of you interested, the ViewPoint entries have been given to the judge for selection and you will be receiving your notification letters at the beginning of October. 

With another busy weekend looming, looks like I won't get any painting done again.  I'm itching to get back to complete one and re-do another - posts on both coming soon, I promise!

Hang in there!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


We all gnash our teeth when we fill out those tedious art show entry forms . . . . .
How do they want the CD labeled on the outside?
How do they want the paintings labeled on the CD?
How much do I owe?
Where do I send the CD?
How much postage do they want on my SASE?
What the heck is an SASE?
How large can my image be?
How do they want the painting framed?
What media will they accept?
Will they accept a support other than watercolor paper?
Yikes – the list can go on and on and . . . .

As the chairperson of ViewPoint for the past three years, I can tell you that those questions are important to the people running the show.

Yes, those questions vary from group to group, most likely depending on the structure of the group itself and the size of the facility where the show will be held.

For instance, if you enter TWSA, forget any Yupo or board or pastel or collage – they want straight up watercolor on watercolor paper. It’s their prerogative – the members have long ago made decisions about what kind of work they want hanging. If you don’t paint in traditional watercolor on watercolor paper, then just save yourself some grief and don’t enter that particular show. Don’t gripe if you send them something they won’t hang and complain that you didn’t make it into the show.

Another watercolor society might think Yupo is dandy and yippee for collage and ink and pastel and . . . anything goes as long as you’ve got some watermedia in there somewhere!

Well, you get the idea.

In the instance of the Cincinnati Art Club, our main consideration is space for hanging. We can take paintings taller rather than wider, so we have a rule not to accept any framed paintings over 40 inches wide, nor taller than 60 inches high. We just don’t have space for too many huge paintings. So don’t ask me a question via email or phone such as “my painting is 60 inches wide, is that too wide?” We all learned to read and follow directions in elementary school and nothing has changed since then. Wide IS wide (no matter what Bill Clinton’s definition of IS is).

I can tell you that it really and truly matters how you label your CD and your entry form. First off, be sure to write or print legibly! When you are messy and nonchalant about your entry, not only do you give the impression that you don’t care much about the entry, but I may not be able to read it, in which case I cannot enter it! If your entry is accepted, but I have trouble reading your name or the name of your painting or your address or your email, there will probably be some misspellings on the title card, program, email list, mailing list, etc.

If you fill out your entry form with titles A, B and C but then label your CD with those items in a different order, or completely fail to label the paintings on the CD, chances are your entry will be rejected. Why? Because when the entries go into the computer program, they are listed in the order you note on your entry form. If you don’t have them in the proper order, when the judge’s CD (composed of all of the entries) is created, and the judge picks your Entry A, what the judge actually just picked is a totally different painting – not the one the judge wanted. Emails or phone calls to figure out this problem (when caught) take up precious time. A good idea would be to load your CD first and then fill out your entry form with the paintings listed in the order they appear on the CD.

When you photograph your painting, do not include the frame (and not the easel or couch or step you have the painting balanced on and not your smiling spouse holding the painting for you to photograph!) The judge wants to see the painting, and only the painting. Crop out any extraneous items. And set your camera on a high resolution. Before you mail your CD, put it back into your computer and take a look at it on your screen. First off, is there actually an image there? Don’t send in a blank CD. Check to be sure that the image is clear (good resolution) and fairly represents your painting’s colors, and the image is even all the way around.

Send in your entry in a timely manner.

And, of course, it’s always about money! Be sure to send the correct entry fee amount. Some shows are a flat fee for all entries. Others, like ViewPoint, have a schedule of fees depending on how many you send in. And make the check out as specified on the entry form! Do not make the check out to the person in charge of the show – make it out to the entity running the show (i.e., to Cincinnati Art Club, not to Deb Ward!) A check made out to the wrong entity cannot be deposited, so your entry will be rejected.

Be sure to list prices for each painting and to sign the entry form, if required.

Before you call the show chairperson with a question, re-read the prospectus to make sure you have not simply overlooked the information you are going to ask about - such as where to mail the CD or how much money to send in. Trust me, that information IS on the prospectus. Most shows will give you a check list, so double check that before you make a time consuming phone call.

Last but not least – you do not need to protect your CD from a nuclear explosion. Wrapping it in 3 layers of shipping plastic sealed with duct tape inside a sturdy envelope sealed with packing tape is not necessary. You do not need to (nor do we want you to) seal each piece of the puzzle (entry form, check, CD, SASE) inside its own sealed envelope. You don’t need to mail it in a box the size of Rhode Island. On the other hand, you should protect your CD in a CD sleeve rather than just tossing it inside a large envelope where it has surely been sliding around during its transport. The SASE (SELF-ADDRESSED stamped envelope) should be made out to YOU, not me! That is my way of sending you the information you will need if your entry is accepted.

Entry packed to survive nuclear holocaust (requiring scissors or box knife to open).

Oversized entry - note size of actual CD and size of oversized envelope (which also
will require increased postage - not to mention a lot of waste - let's think "green" here, folks!
Mailing your show entry should not be the prelude to a scavenger hunt on my end. While it is good to fold your papers neatly around the CD so that they don’t get cut open as I slice open/pry apart your envelope/carton/container - don’t fold an envelope large enough to mail an elephant several times around each of the items inside so that they all fit into their own separate space. Keep it simple, folks!
Entry with "wrap around" cubbies - totally aggravating to the person who will open it!
Keep it simple, folks!!

The best way to mail, safe and inexpensive, is to purchase a CD and DVD mailer envelope (available inexpensively at Staples and, I’m sure, at many other fine office stores). It’s 5”x5”, compact and holds everything you need. It zips open on my end and is easy to locate everything inside – because there’s nowhere for any pieces to hide! And I can open it and take out the contents in 5 seconds flat! (As compared to 5 minutes trying to cut, pull and pry apart a Ft. Knox box!)
This is all you need - slip your CD into the disc envelope for protection and then
into the CD mailer - a compact 5 in. x 5 in. with zip open.

A few B A D entries:
Left - Unnecessary large box, very hard to open, too!
Center - Large envelope folded over itself - enwrapping parts of the entry.
Bottom - Large envelope with CD encompassed in bubble wrap.
I now know to sit down armed with sharp scissors and to be prepared for anything the envelope might hide!

I’m not trying to lecture you in this post.

What I’m trying to do here is make you aware that the rules you see on an art show entry are there for a reason and you should follow those rules to the letter to ensure that your entry is accepted and your masterpiece will be on view for the world to see, not tossed into the rejection box.


Sunday, September 4, 2011


There are times that we create a painting that comes out on paper just the way we saw it inside our heads. This is one of those paintings.

I had started it before our June retreat week and took it, along with the old rusty car, to work on.
After messing up the old rusty car background, a bit gun shy, I tentatively moved on to this painting.
I find that the paintings that I paint in my head, over and over, are the ones that (usually) turn out the best for me.

I spent the better part of that week working on this painting, edging right up to the last day before it was complete.

I’ve mentioned before that I paint slow, really s l o o o o w, and that watching me paint is like watching grass grow! My friends were all urging me on and were very patient with me, not making a sound during some intense moments. If you knew them, you would realize what a major feat of will power that was!!

When I returned home, the painting sat on the easel for a while as I tweaked it here and there until I finally felt there was no more I could do.

I immediately entered it into a show and hoped for the best; but I knew that if it didn’t get accepted into that show there would be others I would enter – I feel strongly that this is a very good painting.
Here it is!
Oriental Roses, 22x30, fluid acrylic on Arches watercolor paper

PS – This painting was accepted, along with All Mixed Up, into the Rising Sun (Indiana) 8th Juried Art Exhibition. There were quite a few well known and respected area artists in this show, so I felt good about being accepted. However, no award for me! Oh well! My work looked good on the wall, I saw and chatted with some folks I hadn’t seen in a while, and my husband and I had a delicious dinner with friends following the awards ceremony. All in all, a pleasant evening.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I have had two paintings accepted into a regional show.  The opening is Friday night in Rising Sun, Indiana.
For those of you in the area here's the info:

Rising Sun 8th Juried Art Exhibition
Opening Reception:  Friday, September 2 - from 6-9 p.m. (awards at 7)
Pendleton Art Center
201 Main Street
Rising Sun, Indiana
The show will run through September 23

Cincinnati Art Club Fall Signature Show
Opening: Friday, September 9 – from 6-9 p.m.
Additional viewing times: September 10, 11, 17, 18 from 1-4 p.m. (Sat. and Sun.)
Cincinnati Art Club
1021 Parkside Place
Cincinnati (Mt. Adams) Ohio

Hope you can make it to one or both shows!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I finished my summer session of classes a few weeks ago - and two of the students told me “I get it now”!
Wow – it’s always so exciting to hear that, after a long wait! It makes me proud of them (and proud of myself that I was able to impart some knowledge!)
After lots of whining, they all managed to create a landscape of rocks and greenery.
By painting in the values and shapes – nothing more!
They were amazed with themselves.
I was proud of them.

When I do class demos I usually don’t plan on getting a completed painting – I want to show the students “how to” and then help them.   I forgot to take my camera to class – but take my word for it – at least one of the students’ work turned out better than mine!

Here it is as I left it from the class demo.

Here it is finished.  I'm not a landscape painter - gee, can you tell???!!!  But maybe I'll get more interested - there are so many beautiful vistas in our area, not to mention on our property.  I'm thinking this fall will be a good time to go outside - cool, crisp mornings, beautiful blue skies, lots of color in the trees - and give it a try!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


When the painting was basically complete, I took off the miskit (on the letters and numbers) and then added deeper shadows throughout the painting to unify all of the shadow areas.

I then added some white highlights. Yep – I did use white! I even used black! As I’ve noted before, I do use black and white in acrylics, but still do not use them in watercolor!

Then the background – what to do??? I had some pale blue in from my initial colors but didn’t want that, so I decided on a gray-ish blue. I also decided that could be watercolor, so I looked through my grays/blues that I had and decided on lunar blue (Daniel Smith). However that didn’t work out so well! It got all “thick and thin” due to waviness of the paper. I then put the painting in the laundry tub and lightly washed it off. I have to say, I think it’s the first time I have ever done that! Then I decided to try it again, but using a more controlled wash and larger brush. Last, I took a light wash of “dirty water” and swished it over some of the letters in Farmall to slightly knock them back and added a touch of quin. burnt orange.

I achieved my purpose, painting R E D! When I asked for critique on this one I got “it’s very red” from my favorite critique-ers! And they were right!

I’m not unhappy with this one!

By the way, I began this painting in APRIL! Yikes – speed kills!!!
FARMALL, fluid acrylic on Arches 300# CP, 22x30

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


As you can see, this took some time!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Continuation of the process.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Continuation of the process.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


We interrupt our regularly scheduled painting to bring you this (un)paid advertisement.

If you have not already done so, it’s not too late to enter ViewPoint 2011! (Deadline: Entry Postmark August 31, 2011)

Check out my sidebar for more information on this National Show, chaired for the 3rd (and last) time by Yours Truly.

And no, just because you are my blog buddy, I cannot promise that you will be included in the show if you enter, but, if you feel your work is worthy, I’d love to have you enter the competition. Especially if you work in watermedia – it’s my mission to get more watermedia paintings than oils and pastels entered – so I’m really, really (shamelessly) trying hard here, folks!

Go to the Cincinnati Art Club website and download a prospectus today!

You will be competing with some of the best painters across the nation (and Canada, Eh!). Our prizes are great and each year it’s an excellent show.

Hope to see your entry soon!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Continuation of the process.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Since the painting was begun in the “3 stages” mode, I continued working it this way, gradually adding more color and bringing in more detail.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


This photo shows how the painting looked for the demo. You can see my process from right to left: in the beginning stages with some light color added; in the middle with more color added; on the left as I begin to bring portions to completion.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Like “All Mixed Up”, this painting began as a photo taken at the local farm show.
Since I intended to use this painting as a demo, I worked it in 3 stages to use as a “prop”. I began, as usual, by wetting the paper all over and dropping in color. I used simple red (quin. rose), yellow (hansa yellow) and blue (French ultramarine and cobalt).
When that had dried, I began adding more colors to the left and center, gradually building up some definition in layers.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

OH $#!+

I hope this post will not offend anyone, but after seeing what my son brought home, I couldn’t resist!
So many quotes to incorporate into this post!
Here are a few that come to mind:
What a load of $#!+
What the $#!+ is that??
Full of $#!+
Holy $#!+!

Yes, folks, what you are looking at is a very big pile of $#!+ on the right.  My husband is standing there so that you can have a reference for the size of the pile. The small pile back on the left is wood chippings from tree trimming.

My husband is composting and has found two horse farms close by who are only too happy to have him come to truck away their horse $#!+

So a couple of times a year he and my son become long haul truckers of $#!+

Composting THIS large pile of $#!+ is going to be different than the way my husband has done it for the past couple of years. Then it was placed in “wind rows” – long skinny ropes of $#!+ that were turned periodically. But because that had to be done on flat ground (of which we have very little!) apparently that took up too much of the pasture area. This large pile is a different technique. So we shall see what works the best. The pile will be turned periodically and will gradually break down and shrink; when it becomes black and crumbly it will be spread on the pastures.

This is a truly amazing thing – to be making earth! When the process is complete you can pick up the compost and it will be soft and moist and have a lovely earthy scent! It’s good for the soil and good for the environment – no chemicals.

Not to sound too preachy, but there is a movement across America to get back to the basics of agriculture. The new words are “permaculture” and “sustainability” but I call it getting back to the basics, just like our grand- and great-grandparents did it. Of course, my husband is using tractors instead of horses, but you get the idea! In the few years he has been working at it, his pastures are becoming lush!

Next step will be to start slaughtering and eating our very own grass fed beef – sometime in the distant future, I believe!!!

I’ll keep you posted! (but not com-posted!)
I promise that my next post will be about art!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Colors used were (mostly Daniel Smith): cobalt, quin. rose, raw sienna, cobalt teal, burnt sienna, Venetian red, Indian red, French ultramarine, payne’s gray.

I must remember to ask my daughter if it “needs more detail”!
All Mixed Up, watercolor, 22x15

Thursday, July 21, 2011


The beauty of this painting was the small spaces; I could paint a portion of the painting and then go back in the same sitting to fine tune some of the details since the paper would already be dry. I also incorporated quite a bit of dry brush.