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”

Sunday, December 30, 2012


 Next I began adding color.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends!

As I continue my venture into pastels, here are some chili peppers.

I began the same way as the onion – drawing in charcoal and finding the darks.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I put in some pale yellows and blues for the background and called in finished.

I think I accomplished an onion – maybe not that specific onion, but an onion nevertheless, so I was content.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Then I began drawing onto the pastel paper with charcoal.

Then I found the dark areas of the onion and filled them in with dark brown, then went over that with black.

Then I began layering lighter colors to shape the onion.

Friday, December 14, 2012


My friend Rhonda - while holding a bag of onions she had pulled out of my pantry - suggested that I try another pastel painting of - - - an onion! She thought another single veggie would help me along in my pastel venture, and I think she was right.

I had no more pastel paper, however, having used it up in the recent pastel workshop with Cindy Haase.

Of course, that meant I just HAD TO go online to search for some Wallis sanded pastel paper. But, no luck with any of the art suppliers I frequent. So a sale coupon from a local art store necessitated a drive to their store in search of pastel paper. They didn’t have the Wallis paper either (which makes me wonder if something happened in the Pastel World???) but the girl who waited on me sold me some Color Fix sanded paper (which seems somewhat softer to me but that could just be my imagination).

So, finally, photo of onion in hand, I cut and taped my pastel paper and began.

Yikes, this one is on my own – no Cindy to look over my shoulder and make suggestions.

The results follows.

First, I took a photo of an onion with some dark shadows.

Then, per Cindy’s instruction, I printed it off in black and white to show the values better.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I’m in the process of creating a painting using my old nemesis - Carbazole purple (Daniel Smith).

As you can see from the photo, it’s a color with a mind of its own. This is how my drafting table looked after using one coat of the paint on my painting, even after I tried wiping it off as I went.

Two passes with Clorox Cleanup finally took the color off, but that didn’t prevent me from getting it all over my hands and the sink!

I swear, one teaspoon of that paint could cover all the walls in my house – twice!
My nemesis!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Uh, oh - not Zentangles!!!!!
Drat that Ginny Stiles!

She has been creating Zentangle art and posting it on her blog.

She even sent me a Zentangle birthday card!

The nerve of that woman!

At first it just looked interesting – a harmless enough observation.

Then it looked more interesting, but I decided it looked too involved to try.

Then I decided, “well, it DOES look INTERESTING and it couldn’t hurt to look into it a bit more.”

Then I bought a book on Zentangles from Amazon, but only because I was already on the Amazon site for another purpose and I could use an additional item to get up over that free shipping point.

Then I received and opened the Zentangle book but didn’t have any Micron pens, so I was still safe.

But yet another email from Jerry’s Artarama boasting yet another sale prompted me to place an order, and, of course, just a bit more would get me to the free shipping point, so a set of Micron pens would put me over the proscribed total and, it couldn’t hurt, right?

Then I had the Zentangle book and the Micron pens, but no appropriate Zentangle tiles. So what, I’ve got more than a fair share of watercolor paper which seems serviceable.

So I cut out a few 3.5x3.5 pieces of watercolor paper, picked up the Zentangle book and Micron pens, and sat down to begin reading.

It didn’t take long and I was learning my first “tangle” pattern. Then another. Then I tried them both again, and began to learn a third, into which I incorporated circles, which may or may not be another “tangle” pattern, I’m not that far along in the book. But, I can’t let that stop me, now, can I?

My 2nd and 3rd Zentangles.
A trip to the mall for tires created a need to drive on down the road to Hobby Lobby on my way home to check out the pen section. BE ADVISED, Nanoliners are no match for the Micron pens (they bleed). But Pilot Precise V5, purchased at Staples, are very fine and seem to work just as well as the Micron pens and are less expensive. And they come in colors!

“I wonder if I could create a chicken Zentangle?” (I bet I can . . . .)

“Could I incorporate some words into a Zentangle?” (We shall see . . . . .)

I put down the Zentangle book, but it called to me every day.

I don’t think I’m addicted, I mean, I CAN put that book and pens down any time I want to. I really can. I don’t have to pick them up and “doodle”. No, I really don’t . . . . why are my eyes and fingers twitching? . . . why is drool coming from my mouth . . . . why do I have to draw more. . . MORE . . . MORE . . . could it be that I’m addicted to Zentangles? Oh, say it ain’t so!

Ginny Stiles, I’m coming to get you . . . . . you are a BAD woman!

Monday, December 3, 2012


My painting "Oriental Roses" hanging on the left.  I thought it looked large when I painted it
(full sheet) but it was "medium sized" in this show.
This Friday I went to Columbus, Ohio with some friends to see the Ohio Watercolor Society show.

The show is really, really good! And it is presented so beautifully – I was impressed with myself that I was in it! We took our time and really checked out each painting.

The gentleman at the front desk apparently told the Executive Director that one of the artists was in the gallery, and she came down to meet me. We had spoken on the phone, but it is always nice to be able to put a face to a name, and she was delightful to talk to.

We had some problems getting out of town (even with the GPS), then lunch on the way home and lots of laughter – all in all, a great “art day”!

If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area, take some time to visit the exhibit – it will run until January 13.
Riffe Gallery
77 S. High Street
Columbus, Ohio
Gallery Hours:
Tuesday 10-4
Wed and Fri 10-5:30
Thursday 10-8
Sat and Sun noon-4
Closed Mondays and state holidays
Here I am next to my painting.
Here is a photo of my painting (and me) taken by Rhonda.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Baby's new shoes!
Yesterday I took my car in for a new set of tires. None too soon, what with winter approaching.

She had become somewhat ditzy on wet roadways, preferring to hydroplane through the puddles rather than even attempt to grip the road. That necessitated some thoughtful surface road travel plans during thunderstorms when I left the expressway to the thundering semis spraying water and idiots who don’t know how to slow down when it’s impossible to even see the road, let alone the lane markers.

Do you have any idea how difficult it has become to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B without an expressway intervening! Just try to find a route on your GPS – it will take you on an expressway every time – and then leave you hanging with “exit right, then turn . . . . . . “. Oh yes, just when you needed it most (but that’s a whole other story!)

Anyway . . . . every time She went in for a service call in the past year or so, the service technicians all suggested that it was time for her to get some new rubber.

Well, yesterday was the day.

They are Michelin Defenders, nice tread, sturdy looking. I like their name - anything that wants to Defend me kinda makes me happy. Especially if they are going to keep me safe on the road.

So, She and I drove home in style, cornering nicely and making a few “road maneuvers” I wouldn’t have made just that morning. (By “road maneuvers” I mean the kind that, when I’m not the one behind the wheel, I’m the one in the passenger seat, all puckered up, hanging onto the overhead strap, praying, eyes squished shut while I hold my breath and anticipate impact).

In other words, I drove for a few minutes the way my husband does all the time*, just to see how the tires performed on their maiden voyage. Admirably.

So, until it’s time for the snow tires – studded – the driving performance of which always makes me think of a woman running in high heels, the sound of which startles everyone, but the ability of which keeps me well grounded on ice – quite a boon 2 years ago during a sudden ice storm, whereupon I was passing everyone wondering what the problem was, until I saw SUV’s and pick up trucks in odd positions scattered along the interstate and it finally dawned on me “oh, there’s ice out there!” – I’ll be enjoying my Defenders!**

* I’m pretty sure I’ll be hearing about this from my hubby!
**My apologies to my high school English teacher, Irene Walters, for the above sentence, may she rest in peace.

NOTE: Art related posts are coming, soon, I promise!

Friday, November 9, 2012


Pastels have always intrigued me. A good friend of mine switched over to pastels several years ago, so I have been able to see what is possible with them. But, I always think they are too messy for me – and they probably are!

However, I attended a pastel workshop last weekend with Cindy Haase a WONDERFUL instructor. I was the only person in class who had never done pastels, and to say I was intimidated is putting it mildly! And then, when Cindy said she doesn’t paint florals, or fabric, or a lot of details (G U L P) I thought about packing up and leaving! But I hung in there and, boy, am I glad I did.

Cindy gave us specific photos to paint from and on day one we painted up to a point, then Cindy would tell us when we were ready for the next step. We painted pears in a chiaroscuro manner, and at the end of the day we put them all up along the wall and Cindy gave us each a critique. Her critiques were to the point, but all began with what she liked about our paintings. I was happy that mine held its place with the others!

Here are some photos of the workshop - Day 1 - The Pear:

Look - a pear!

Cindy's demo.

The pear critique.

At the beginning of day two Cindy went around the group and asked what we had learned on the first day. I could honestly say – Everything! Having never done pastels before it was all new to me, but with her instruction and direction I had been able to produce a good painting. One thing that did amaze me was how easy the pastels were to blend.

Also on day two we began a similar style painting of a tomato – but then Cindy said we were “on our own” after watching her demo.


I began the same way she did, and then began layering my pastels. The only thing that kind of throws me off is the idea of dark to light, just the opposite of our watercolors. I ended the day very happy with my two paintings!

Day 2 - the tomato!  Here are several of the paintings during critique.

While I have no plans to suddenly make pastel my medium of choice, I would certainly feel competent to take them outside and attempt some landscapes!

The beginning of my very first pastel!  I quickly learned not to leave so much white showing.
The completed pear.

The beginning of the tomato!

The completed tomato.
Sometimes during the workshop it sounded like I was listening to myself! Cindy told us to:
-  only compare our work to our own work and never compare ourselves to others;
-  incorporate what we learn in a workshop into our own style of painting, not to copy the style of the instructor;
-  keep on working on the painting when we think we have failed – after all, what have we got to lose! – and we will learn from that experience;
-  paint what we love!

For you pastelists out there, I would definitely recommend Cindy’s workshop.

She also works in oils and colored pencil and is the current President of the Colored Pencil Society of America!

A very talented (and kind and good natured) artist!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


20 member of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society at the Chris Leeper workshop October 26,27, 28, 2012.
When I came on as President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, I was adamant that we begin having workshops for our members. Rhonda Carpenter, our program chairperson, just jumped in and began searching for a workshop presenter (I don’t even remember asking her to do this!).

Chris Leeper, current president of Ohio Watercolor Society and well known artist, was our first workshop instructor for the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society.

When we were able to fill the workshop in one meeting, with a waiting list, it told me that we had really hit the nail on the head – our members really want this wonderful educational opportunity. (Due to popular demand – Chris will return on April 5, 6 and 7, 2013 for a spring workshop).
Chris painting a demo with several of his paintings on the wall behind him.
We had a wonderful weekend of painting, laughter and food! Not only was this a learning opportunity – it was also an opportunity for us to get to know some of our members better. We usually only have time to chat for a little while prior to our meetings. The workshop provided opportunity for us to mill around, see what the others were doing, and gave us time to spend chatting and getting to know one another better.
Chris explaining his process.
Hopefully this experience will help us come together as artists and enjoy our open painting sessions after our programs in the future months.

I couldn't resist a couple photos of his palette - works of art in themselves! 
Just look at thise beautiful clean colors!
To see more photos of the workshop go to the GCWS blog or to Rhonda’s blog. Chris is a “painting machine”! He’s also a great teacher – educational and entertaining at the same time – and a heck of a nice guy. I’d recommend him as a workshop instructor, and we look forward to having him back in the spring.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Then the shadow was added . . .

 but I decided, not dark enough, so another layer was added to the shadow.
I think this one is finished.  It is probably not a show winner, but it was great fun to do - very Zen-like.

In case you are interested, I kept track of time - give or take an hour or so - this one took 32 hours to complete.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Then I painted the vase . . .

 Then added a bit more color on the vase and in the shadow areas.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Then the greens . . .

 Then the purples.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Then I began adding color to the small shapes, beginning with the yellow . . .
 and then the blue.  I also added the detail in the roses.

Monday, October 22, 2012


It's been forever (or so it seems) since I've posted a work in progress. 

This is another full size sheet in watercolor, which I'm calling "Red Paisley Scarf" since that's what this is based on.

After drawing it out, I misketed the edges of the main shapes and all of the small shapes at the top.

 Then red was added.  And, of course, I didn't just add one red, but several different reds in several layers.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Yesterday I went to Northern Kentucky University (NKU) with my friends, Rhonda and Sharon, to see the exhibit of work by Paul Sawyier - primarily his watercolors.  I had never heard of him, but Rhonda had already gone to see the paintings and thought we might also enjoy the exhibit. 

After lunch at Smash Burger, Rhonda drove us onto the NKU campus which, although not large, would have been very confusing to me had she not been the "tour guide".  Even so, finding the exhibit was a bit tricky, since it is split into two areas in the Steely Library building*.

Paul Sawyier was born in Ohio, then moved to Frankfort, KY at age 5.  Sawyier went on to study at the Cincinnati Art Academy, the Art Student's League in New York, then with Frank Duveneck for a year.  He returned to Frankfort and primarily made his living by painting portraits for the wealthy families there.  Following the death of his parents, Sawyier spent 5 years living on a houseboat on the Kentucky River, painting many watercolor landscapes of the area.  He then moved to New York, living first in NYC and then in the Catskill Mountains.  It is estimated that, between 1887 to 1917 Sawyier may have painted over 3,000 paintings, mainly watercolors.  He also painted in oil and pastel.

Here are some of the beautiful watercolor paintings in the exhibit.  They vary in size but the skill shown in all of them, no matter the medium, is amazing.  He used a lot of varied color in the objects he painted, and even though some of the figures in the scenes are small, he was still able to add detail and dimension.  I focused on the watercolors that I enjoyed the most, but all of the paintings are beautiful.

A Rainy Day in Lexington (19.25 x 13.25)

Wilson Store at Keene (19.5 x 23.5)

Lover's Leap (19 x 23)

Midway Road (15.5 x 11)

Midway Road (5.5 x 8.5)

Canoing (13 x 20)

Church's Grove (18 x 11.5)
If you live in the Greater Cincinnati area, you should definitely try to get over to NKU and view this show. It will hang until December 7.

*  Schlacher University Archives - First Floor
9-4 Monday-Friday, 1-5 Saturday and Sunday
* Eva G. Farris Reading Room - Second Floor
7:30 - midnight M-Thur
7:30 - 5:30 Friday
11 - 5 Saturday
12:30 - midnight Sunday