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”

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.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Once again, I had painted this one in my head, even knowing the colors I would be using! This is a half sheet and there are lots and lots of lines, so I wanted to keep the colors very simple.
For some reason, lately I have been painting like a typewriter!!!  From left to right, from top to bottom,  Have no idea why!
But it seems to be working well for me!  On this painting, I was able to go back to areas painted in the same painting session; due to the small areas they dried quickly. 

Once again, many hours and days of painting; I really do mean to keep track of the time spent, but I almost always forget once I sit down to paint – after all, it’s painting time, not book work time!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


This painting began with a photo from the local farm show.
I cropped and enlarged the photo, traced and then reworked the drawing and went over my lines, let it sit for a few days to review, making a few adjustments here and there and then finally began painting!  
My final drawing, taped to a plastic board.
In the next photo I have wet the entire paper and dropped some colors onto the wet paper, allowing them to float around, generally in the areas that will ultimately be those colors.  Note how the paper is buckling and you might be able to see a shine - I get my paper really wet at this point.

The next photo shows the paper the next day - you can see that allowing it to dry naturally overnight allows the paper to shrink back down and get flat.  Essentially I "stretch" my paper this way, but without the soaking and stapling, and with getting my first light washes onto the painting.  The key is to ALLOW THE PAINTING TO DRY NATURALLY - no hair dryers!  This usually will take an overnight wait.
The next photo shows the beginning of the paint application - I usually begin pretty light and, as I say  "sneak up on the color"!

The next couple of posts will show the progression of the painting.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Whenever we go out, even for a short while, and leave the dog at home, he feels the need to surround himself with something of ours.

It started with one of my husband’s slippers, then both slippers. Then one of my Skechers slip ons, then both; then one sneaker, then two.

Now it seems he cannot do without the TV remote control! The first time he stole that it caused quite a catastrophe – until I found it buried under his SECOND bed - the one by the big glass doors! (His THIRD bed is either in the mud room or the garage, depending on the weather!) Now I try to remember to put it on top of the TV when we leave!

The above photo is typical of what we return to after a short jaunt in the car! There were probably more objects scattered around the living room, too. And he only does this when we are gone! So far none of the shoes have been eaten and I’m hoping there won’t be a “first time” for that!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Apropos of nothing, and way past the proper time to have posted this, here is a photo of Kate (or, since she and I are not exactly on a first name basis, should I say Her Royal Highness Princess Katherine) at her recent wedding and me at my not so recent wedding.
I know, it’s really hard to tell the difference, but as a hint, she’s on the left and I’m on the right!
Note the similarities in our “gowns”. Who knows how many thousands hers cost; mine $50.00 - on sale at The Limited during prom season (circa 1977)! I also had a “train” on my “gown”. Since I’m so short, the seamstress simply hemmed the front of the dress and let the rest drag on the ground behind me! Quite classy, huh?
By the way, Kate’s got good taste, don’t you think?

Hope you got a good chuckle - just thought I’d share this with you!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


As mentioned previoiusly, I recently attended my annual painting retreat with 5 other wonderful ladies. This was our 10th year – wow!

Then, in looking at some other blogs, I see that Mollie Jones and Jant Belich have also recently posted about a trip they made with other woman they met via blogs and an online art group.

It gives me great pleasure each year to get together with my friends and paint for a week. What began as a painting trip has turned out to be so much more and is a highlight of my year. We’ve had our ups and downs, shed tears of grief and tears of laughter, and through it all have continuously improved our painting skills. We are strong, resilient women who have grown to love each other as sisters.

Do any of you have a group that you paint with, either on a regular basis or annually? I’d love to hear about your experience.

If you don’t have a group of painting friends, I would strongly recommend that you find a group to paint with – or create a group! You will reap rewards not only from learning painting techniques, getting input through critiques and improving your paintings, but also from the friendships you will make.