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.