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”

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.