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”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Yesterday I waited until mid afternoon for the sun to come out as our local forecasters had promised. As soon as I saw a light glow in the sky I got together some items for still life set ups and ran outside. I managed to get a few good shots that may be paint worthy, but I got a couple very interesting photos of butterflies.

I noticed this group sitting on a concrete footer. They were all flapping their wings and eating, I guess. What, I have no idea. I just found this interesting since I’ve never seen that many together at once. Maybe some of you know what type of butterflies these are, and what they could be doing??

Go to the NWS website and check out the front page – top left. That’s a painting by my good friend and one of the annual painting retreat ladies, Cora Mae Pipkin.
She’s probably going to be mad at me for putting up this info but I’ll chance it - I’m so happy for her and proud of her.

Way to go lady!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


In my recent vertigo post I joked about the doctor locating my glasses inside my empty, dizzy head.

In reality, I do seem to keep misplacing my reading glasses. Not to be confused with the bifocals which I actually purchased at Lenscrafters to the tune of a couple hundred dollars, including frames. But I did get them in about an hour. These are my 3rd pair of bifocals.

The very first ones never were correct and the optometrist never made a proper correction, so I never wore them.

My 2nd pair are the sunglasses I currently have and they are great. (Got them at Lenscrafters too.)  But my last pair are very narrow and I think that is why I have to elevate them on my nose for close up and push them down for distance. Very annoying, so I don’t wear them unless I’m driving on sunless days, pushed halfway down my nose, and even then I usually end up with my sunglasses on – looking very Hollywood in the gloom, quite a lot like Raquel (Welch)!!

Hence the 5 pair of el cheapo readers that are scattered about the house. You would think that with that many laying around somewhere there would always be a pair within reach but, no, you would be wrong. I think that they currently reside – in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in my art box, on my drafting table and . . . um . . . crap . . . . See what I mean – I am simply incapable of keeping track of them. Maybe I need a clapper or beeper or something affixed to them.  But, what the heck, the last 2 pair cost $1.00 each so guess I can afford to lose them periodically.

Just yesterday I was in a panic - couldn't find the sunglasses.  Well, don't blame me on that one - haven't needed them in ages since we have not had any sun for weeks!  I remembered wearing them in a car, but whose car?  Looked in mine, nope.  My husband's, nope.  Thought I'd left them in my daughter's but decided against making that call until I had exhausted all other possibilities.  Maybe left them in my friend's?  Didn't want to bother her at dinner, so looked again.  Then again.   Finally, on the last search I found them on the chair behind the purse covered with several light jackets, an umbrella, a pair of winter gloves, the dog leash and, for some unexplained reason, an unopened package of roach traps.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The beginning of my demo.
The last couple of weeks (in between bouts of dizziness and doctor visits) I spent some time working up paintings in fluid acrylics for a demo for an art club that I belong to. Any time I give a demo I worry that the audience will be bored, or that I won’t be clear in my presentation. But the group seemed to enjoy the presentation and I had some audience participation so I know they weren’t asleep!

Since there was less than an hour for the presentation, and since I paint at the speed of a slug racing a snail, I decided to do work on more than one painting (at home) so that I could show them different processes and possibilities for their own paintings, should they want to try fluid acrylics. And, this time, I decided to work on paintings that I am really interested in bringing to completion for myself, rather than a generic painting for show and tell.

In the beginning there was a very wet sheet of paper . . . .
During the demo, I began one painting, showing them my usual process, then went on to show some paintings in process, and by then the time was up!

. . . that became the start of a painting . . . .
Besides some favorable comments on my paintings, I think they also liked my apron which I made years ago. It says “So little time, so much to paint”!
I have no idea why I was waving this painting around?????
Yep, that’s me standing in front of the group looking so gorgeous, don’t you think! Make especial note of the hair, since I’m trying to let it get a bit longer; it’s in that weird stage of not short enough to be bangs but just long enough to curl into your eyeball, so I have to keep it clipped back. Oh yeah, quite stylin’!

Like I always say, the only reason my friends keep me around is to make them look good in comparison!
Here is the start of an old car.  I had painted a series of old cars many years ago and when I saw this one in a field in Tennessee I had to take it's photo.  I've got high expectations for this one, but, as always, we shall see!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Had a quick in/quick out visit with the doctor on Thursday. (He’s nothing if not “to the point”.)

It seems that my “condition” is BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) and just something that I’ll have to get used to living with. Apparently this is just “one of those things” that occurs, comes and goes, and who knows why.

The ear therapy did seem to help, and, combined with the meclizine, I’m driving again. If I get the vertigo bad again I can go in for another therapy treatment. And I’ll use the meclizine as my “fire extinguisher” the way I’m using my nitro pills for my heart. (When my cardiologist gave me the nitro pills he likened them to a fire extinguisher – you have one, but have never used it, but it’s nice to know it’s there in case you need it).

It seems like each day it’s a little better. I can look up farther and down farther before the dizziness begins, but I’m still not about to do a twist and turn of my head. I’m able to roll to my left side to sleep, so that’s nice, and I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be able to roll right without taking a “trip”. Maybe by the end of weekend I’ll be able to lay flat enough to get back into my own bed, although the recliner is becoming quite comfy!

Since I just heard some bad health news about some people I care about, it makes my ditsy dizziness seem minor, indeed.

So I’m just going to “suck it up”, “man up”, keep my head in plane, walk like I’m wearing a neck brace, turn like Frankenstein - and get on with my life.

Here’s hoping now I can get back to painting more – I’ve got several things “in the works” but haven’t gotten anything ready to post yet. But soon . . . .

Thanks to those of you who follow and care!

p.s. I’m still looking for my glasses!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t been posting enough art related subjects lately.
Here’s the scoop.

I’ve been too busy with other stuff, like getting ready for a demo, getting ready for a class, working on the ViewPoint prospectus and mailing list and working on the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society blog.

I’ve also been, as we call it here in the rain soaked southeastern part of Indiana – “doctorin’”.

That’s a verb meaning having health problems and going to a doctor frequently. When I was young(er) I always got a kick out of someone using that term; now it ain’t so funny.

No, for those of you who might be worried (all one of you!), it’s not my heart. It’s my head.

I’ve always known there was something wrong up there, but now it’s about to be verified. For the past few weeks I’ve been suffering and “doctorin’” for vertigo. I know a lot of you have had it, currently have it, or know someone who has/had it. Apparently this is a common ailment that, like hemorrhoids, is never mentioned unless someone else mentions it. (Ewwww, there’s a visual, what if hemorrhoids were in our ears!)

But I digress.

If you’ve never had vertigo, I pray you never get it. The world is spinning around you and it is the most terrifying thing I can imagine. Besides that, I don’t feel comfortable driving, and so am reliant on being driven around, like Miss Daisy, by my ever lovin’ hubby who is rapidly getting tired of it!

Anyway, after the tests were run and I picked up my shaking, quaking, crying body, along with what was left of my dignity (which now fits easily into my jeans pocket) I came home to collect myself before another doctor’s visit in a few days.

I’ll let you know what (if anything but air and a few paint chips) they find.

Friday, May 6, 2011


My husband built a new “shademobile” for the cattle, this one much sturdier than the old one, and, perhaps some of you remember the original with its umbrella???
Perhaps some of you farmers and farm gals out there are interested, or you are just a friend of Mike’s and want to learn what he’s up to now. If cows and equipment and inventions don’t interest you, then just skip the rest of this post!

Anyway, here’s a glimpse of the two shademobiles side by side, and it’s apparent that this one is built well, even, perhaps, overbuilt. But it has so far weathered our “severe thunderstorms with hail and damaging winds” as noted by the area forecasters, and it has done well. As you can see from the photo, the old one has survived a couple years in service but not without some severe damage to itself after similar storms. Mike will be rebuilding the roof on that one and it will service the “bull herd” we now have achieved.

Here is the front, where you can see the two water containers (blue tubs) and a partial blue tub in the middle for hay. You will also note the long door on the front which is the head gate. It’s exactly what it sounds like – the cow sticks her head in there and then Mike can push it tight and then can milk her. (Maybe!!! – but only time will tell once she has had her calf). In the next photo the front is down and in the next it’s been cranked up so that it can be moved.

Head gate lowered (in center)

Head gate raised (in center)
The “wings” of awning and the head gate are operated via cables.

Here Mike is letting down the sides – he has a bracer bar that attaches to the side to hold the awning in place and you can see that hanging down in the middle of the awning. The bracer bar acts as a stabilizer for the awning when it is up.

Here it is, ready to mooove. The tractor will be hooked up and then the two jacks on the front will be raised and he can haul it around the property. He has a series of underground pipes around the property that he can hook the hose to and the water tubs are made to swing freely, just as the old one did, so that they remain level even on all of our hills.

And, I know that some of you are wondering what in the heck those things are in the background of some of the photos. The round things are culverts which have been cut down to about 5 foot lengths and then filled with cut and split wood for winter. They work great! In our garage are 5 wooden carts that these can be put on (using the tractor with a "fork" implement) and as we use up the wood my husband and son move the empty culvert out and a new filled one in. Mike used to have to move the carts up and down the hill to fill them so this is a much better system. The square things are also wood carts that my son uses for firewood in the shop.

As Paul Harvey would have said – “and now you know the rest of the story”!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I guess I could tell you that it’s spring in southeastern Indiana just by looking at my countertop or desk top.

“What???” I can year you asking.

Well, it seems that every year there comes that day when I look at my kitchen countertop – a speckled Corian – and it appears to be moving.

“Huh???” you say?

It appears to be moving because some of the moving specks are actually little black ants. Where they come from and how they get in, I have no idea. They just appear about this time every year.

They also appear on the desktop in my office, no where close to the kitchen.

I squish them as I see them. Then, just as suddenly as they appear, they disappear.

Who knows.

They are just one of those mysteries of nature that we must accept.

We have also had an infestation of strange green and gold striped bugs about the size and shape of a wasp, with long antennas. They don’t appear to fly, at least not yet (thank goodness). I have never seen anything like them and have been searching the internet for them. They were all over our garage, so I’m blaming the stove wood for them.

I spent a happy 10 minutes the other day crunching them underfoot. 

I tried to get a photo of one, but my camera refused to comply, no matter what setting I put it on.  Apparently it also has an aversion to bugs.  (Since my husband found lots of holes in the wood and wood dust in the wood bin recently, after an internet search I think they might be metallic wood borers - I must show them to my future son-in-law, the arborist, for confirmation!)

It’s also time for the mating of the bumblebees, or so I call it. Again, early spring every year the bumblebees that live in the deck roof begin going crazy, flying around each other in circles. Since they are large insects and rather ungainly, these bee “dances” can sometimes interfere with human activity on the ground. And, for me, this is a particularly frightening time, since:
(1) I hate bees in general;
(2) I am terrified of bumblebees in particular – I mean, come on, have you seen the size of these things? Some are as large as a hummingbird for goodness sake;
(3) bumblebees home in on me like moths to a flame – they follow me, I’m not kidding.

Prior to exiting the house, I carefully look through the kitchen window and survey the vicinity of the door before I open it so as not to allow a bee inside. Once outside I’m ever mindful of that “bzzzzz” sound and am particularly fearful when it gets louder – “BZZZZZ” – since I know they are heading in my direction.

As if that’s not enough to keep a girl inside all day, there’s also the pollen count. We here in the Greater Cincinnati area are known for our allergies and sinuses. This is because our area is a perfect “bowl” to hold all of the pollen and mold spores, which the wind then picks up and blows along the entire Ohio River Basin. Lucky us.

And here in the country, we can add to that mix the fertilizers and pesticides that the local farmers shoot into the air. Yummm.

And then, let’s not forget the “spring rains” (spelled m o n s o o n) that create lots of mud, flooding and hydroplaning on the roadways and you realize just how dangerous it is “out there”.

I prefer to stay inside during these dreaded times, waiting for the inevitable drought that appears mid-July.