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, April 30, 2013


Next I put some of the DPM color out - first full strength and then diluted. Their “Bright Red” is Orange to me! And I love the depth of the Violet.

Anyway, now I can see the actual colors I’ll be getting, and it looks to me like they will match the actual bottle colors very closely.


Dr. Ph. Martin's Indiana inks on the left and my reference photo on the right.
I tried a little sampling of the DPM inks, and they didn’t seem quite as vibrant as I thought they would be.

It wasn’t until I really looked at the bottles of ink that I discovered that they are not acrylic inks but India inks! That explained why they weren’t quite as vibrant – oh well – guess that shows you have to really be aware when you are ordering something – as in – be “in the moment” and read the information – DUH!

They come in small (1 oz.) bottles with screw off tops, something I’m not used to, and they seem quite awkward for me to use. I’m hoping by the end of this process I’ll become more comfortable with them. So far I’ve had to decide if I need to pour some out (seems quite wasteful) or use a pipette to put some color onto a palette (paper plate in this case) which is what I chose to do.
A sampling of color combinations.
For my samples I formulated the colors above, which seem to me to very closely approximate the colors in the photo. I’m not really seeing much difference between the combos of Grass Green + Teal and Yellow + Teal, nor Blue + Teal and Blue + Green.

I also added some of the white to the Red and to the Magenta and did get two lovely, although quite opaque, pinks.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Just after lunch, I happened to look outside and saw a woman walking through my side yard.

“Big deal” you are probably thinking.

Well, considering that my “side yard” is surrounded by 135 acres of woods and fields, this IS kind of a big deal! We don’t get many people wandering through the “side yard”.

Since it was a woman, I didn’t feel too threatened (had it been a man, I probably would have locked the door and gotten my husband). Anyway, I stepped onto the deck and asked if I could help her. Well, of course she needed help – she was lost.

She had been visiting at her parents house and went into the woods to look for mushrooms (this is a big deal in our area in the spring) and had apparently followed the “wrong” creek. She said she was supposed to follow the creek to a certain point with a fence, but since she was obviously on the wrong creek, she never found that point. She had been wandering for over 3 hours and had apparently been trekking around our property for a while and finally made it to the house.

I invited her in and after drinking a tall glass of ice water, and calming down – she was obviously nervous and probably scared – I asked where her parents live and I was surprised how far she had wandered!

Long story short, I drove her back to her parents’ home and we chatted. She had an adventure, and I had one too since I got to drive down a road I’ve never been on in all the years we have lived here (since 1979!) - I actually had always thought it was a driveway!

She was very nice and even offered to pay me for driving her back (what??? No way!!!) but I told her, the next time she takes a walk in the woods, to bring along a bottle of water (it was around 80 deg. that day) and her cell phone and perhaps some ID – just in case.

I’m sure she will regale her family with her tale over the dinner table tonight!

This is also a tale of caution – we hear on the news quite often that someone becomes lost while on a hike or camping trip. She was lucky she found us and got a safe ride home.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


The picture traced onto the watercolor paper.
Sometimes I have a painting that “rattles around inside my head” for a while before I figure out how to paint it. This is one of those paintings, and it came together in the usual “round about” way.

The photo was taken a couple of years ago at Shaker Village in Kentucky in the gift shop. The glow of light from the window through the bottles is what prompted me to take the photo. Since then it has periodically popped into my head and I’ll try to decide what medium I want to use, and how to apply that medium.

Recently I had placed an order from an online source and, turns out that if I was willing to spend just a little bit more, I’d receive free shipping! Well, OF COURSE I would find some way to spend that little bit more, rather than waste it on shipping! I saw that the Dr. Ph. Martin’s acrylic inks (hereinafter referred to as DPM!!!) were on sale, and having seen them used during a program at Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society.  I decided that was the extra item that would put me over the free shipping amount. Besides, it was something that I’ve thought of buying before, just never had.

And then - it dawned on me that I could paint the glass bottles with the DPM acrylic inks! Duh!

Using my “usual process” (as my one friend calls it) I found the photo and cropped it. I still wasn’t satisfied. My camera software is quite limited, but it has something called “cartoon” so I tried that and I really liked the effect. Now I was onto something!

After printing out the photo I placed it under my tracing paper and moved the bottles around a bit until I was more satisfied with the composition. Then, I traceed onto my watercolor paper. I decided to use hot press again, Fabriano Artistico #140. Since the subject has a lot of motion to it, I figured any blossoms would blend right in.

Monday, April 22, 2013


First, you are probably aware that my posts have been few and far between lately. That’s partly because I’ve been too busy to get online - - and because I’m having problems with the internet – not sure if it’s Yahoo, or just because of all of the commotion over the Boston Bombers and the ‘net has been overloaded. Anyway – hang in there and I’ll post when I can until this problem resolves itself (as most computer problems usually do).

I received a surprise call from two good friends who were at the Southern Arts Society in Kings Mountain, NC to see the National Watercolor Society traveling show!

They were reporting in – “live” - to tell me what a great venue it was (an old renovated train depot) and how beautiful all of the paintings looked! I was told that my painting was hanging next to Cindy Brabec-King and facing Nick Simmons! Also hanging on the walls were paintings by Kathleen Conover, Dean Mitchell, Carol Frye and Cheng Khee Chee, to name a few.


I was excited to know that my painting is traveling around the country and hanging next to some of the “big names” in the watercolor world. This may never happen again, so I’m gonna enjoy it while it lasts!

Then I received word that my painting “Japanese Tea” will be in the Rising Sun, IN spring juried show. Wish me luck!

As a side note - the painting that won an award in the WACC show was also entered in the Rising Sun show - and didn't even make it in!  See - what did I tell you - this just goes to prove how subjective judging a show is!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


The Artist with her Painting - "Red Paisley Scarf" winner of the Cherry Bender Memorial Award
Last Sunday was the opening of the Woman’s Art Club 120th Annual Juried Exhibition. Wow, 120 years. And if you look at the Cincinnati Art Club’s longevity, you will see they are 121 years old. Hmmmm . . . . guess you can figure out that at that time the gals decided that if they couldn’t be in “the” art club, then they would just create their own!

The group currently has its home in “The Barn”! Sounds goofy, right? Well, the official name is the Woman's Art Club Cultural Center, and it’s actually beautiful. It’s an old dairy barn that has been beautifully renovated, located in the community of Mariemont, Ohio (pronounded Mary Mont for you non-Cincinnatians – which is pronounced Sin Sin Nat Ee, not Sin Sin Nat Ah! – unless you hail from Cincinnati, in which case that is an acceptable pronunciation!) As you can tell, the city can be confusing to furriners.

But I digress . . .

Sunday was a beautiful day for an art show, or anything else you wanted to do. My husband drove me out as he had promised he would if I won an award. The juror this year was Chris Leeper who does all media, especially a lot of watercolor, so I figured I had a fighting chance! I think he juried in a good show, not predominately any one medium or genre – and there were 21 watercolors in the mix! I did win the Cherry Bender Memorial Award, so I was very pleased. Each time I’ve entered the show my work has gotten in, but this was my first award.

As usual, the opening was well attended. It’s always fun to see people I don’t often see and catch up on what they are up to.

Some of the crowd, following the awards ceremony.
On our way home we stopped at Graeter’s (yes, again, for you non-Cincinnatians, that’s the correct spelling!) for ice cream. I was a good girl and ordered one dip of something Mike would also like and he ate half – however, I was not allowed to get “any of that coffee junk” which meant I missed out on the best mocha chip I’ve every had, anywhere! Then we also made a short diversion when we got to Columbia-Tusculum area since he was interested in looking at a few of the old Victorian houses up on the hill. Wow, and I thought Mt. Adams’ streets were steep!

My painting, behind the musicians - who were quite good!
Anyhoo . . . then it was home where I could “slip into something comfortable” for the rest of the day!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


You may have noticed on my sidebar, two of my recent paintings have been accepted into shows.

Of course, any time that I am juried into a show, especially a national show, I’m thrilled! But I also realize that there are many, many entries in these shows, and varied jurors looking at those entries, so I’m not going to make it into all of the shows I enter.

Case in point, this year as always (or so it seems!) the painting I entered into TWSA was not accepted. This has now become a matter of pride and I’m even more determined to get into that show some day, so I’ll “keep on keepin’ on” and try, try again.

When I have a strong painting that is not accepted into a show, it can sting. But I don’t let it get me down for more than a few minutes! I’ve had several paintings that were not accepted into one show, but then accepted into the next one.

An honest judge will tell you that the judging process is subjective, and that, had they looked at those same paintings on another day they may have juried in a far different show.

So, my words of wisdom to those of you who get upset when you are “rejected” are:
• enjoy and celebrate your successes (preferably with friends and wine!)
• don’t let the rejections get you down but instead –
• review and re-critique your paintings to see where you may need to make improvements, and –