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”

Monday, December 29, 2014

PEEKABOO BEAR - 1 (Chroma Flow Acrylics)

Last fall when I went to the local antique fair one of the photos I took was a grouping of old teddy bears.

I decided this would make a fun painting and, since I needed to do some more work in acrylics for the Chroma paint trial, I decided to use the flow acrylics for this painting.

First step, as always, get that drawing onto the w/c paper.

Step 2 - wet the paper and add paint, allowing it to spread and flow.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


I've got a folder (somewhere on my desk) with copies of photos that I might like to paint one day.

Some of these photos are printed 4 or 6 to a page in thumbnail version so that I can keep checking on them and deciding if any are worthy of painting; some I've decided will probably become a painting at some time and so I've printed them 8.5x11.

Of course, when I decide to look through the folder, I usually cannot locate the folder.  (I would put up a photo of my desk but then either I would die of embarrassment or you all would die of shock, so I'm not going to do that!)

Once I do locate the folder and page through, I'm usually very under-whelmed by what I've previously selected to paint, so I go back to the computer to repeat this process.

(Are you beginning to get the "big picture" here?)

It doesn't help when you have a painting failure thrown into this mix.  As you know, a painting failure reflects a monstrous shadow on your soul and you just know you are never going to paint well again.  Ever.  So in order to make sure this occurs you just don't paint.  At all.  For a while.

Then, finally, the encouragement of friends and fellow artists gets the best of you and, once again, you decide that, well, maybe you can paint something.

This usually creates a need to go to your art books and magazines and pull a few off the shelf to thumb through.

Sitting with a cup of coffee and looking at pretty pictures will usually make me feel better.  Then I'll see a painting similar to one I've done (a successful one, that is) and then I begin to think "well, Deb, maybe you can paint . . . ."

With any luck I'll be sufficiently encouraged to . . . check out the folder, go through the computer . . . and start this whole procedure over again.

Such is the life of an "Artiste"!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Can you see the white one with his big orange beak!  (Top row on the right).  He's blinding in the sunlight!
Last Easter a friend purchased two ducklings and presented them to her great-niece.  Amazingly, her niece handed them back to her at the end of the day!  So they ended up coming back home with her.  And then, who knew, they ended up at our lake! 

(Gee, didn’t see that one coming!)

They were too funny – when placed in the water they flapped their wings and feet and ran so fast they actually did walk on water to get out of it!  They spent the first few days at their new home holed up under the rowboat!  Seems they finally decided they were ducks and I’d see them swimming around.  One was white, the other brown.

After a while I saw the white one frequently, not the brown one.  (Life in the country . . . )

Now that it’s fall, I see the white duck quite frequently swimming with the mallards that are passing through.  He (she?) doesn’t seem to befriend the mergansers, though.  Guess the mallards think it’s the King (or Queen) of ducks, judging by how much larger he (she?) is compared to them!

I’m hoping he (she?) makes it through the winter, but I do not have very high expectations.

Thought you might enjoy the photo!

Friday, December 12, 2014


The pin is not showing up very well - but it's a very pretty bright blue with gold letters!
The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society show is now hanging in Harrisburg, PA.  They had their opening reception on the 16th and I had wanted to go, but due to car troubles didn't feel confident to drive up there.

Instead, I received a package in the mail containing my Signature certificate and a lovely pin!

I feel in very good company to be included as a Signature in this group!

Monday, December 8, 2014


After all of the words and notes were complete I darkened the shadows and made a few more adjustments.

I think it's done now!

Flight of the Bumblebee, 30x22, watercolor and acrylic, Arches 300#

Thursday, December 4, 2014

TUBA - 4

I began adding the notes.

I used acrylic ink in the shadow area so that if I needed more color there, the notes would not run.

All of the lines are also acrylic ink, but the notes and words in rest of the painting are watercolor.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

TUBA - 3

More color on the tuba in this series:

Friday, November 28, 2014

TUBA - 2

No photo of this - but I laid in color all over the paper, using various yellows and siennas, and added some of the Daniel Smith shadow violet around the tuba.  

Rhonda Carpenter has been touting this color for some time, so I bought it but I didn't like it.  Then I attended the GCWS Carol Carter workshop last April and saw how she uses it, and now I do like it!

In this photo I've begun adding some color to the tuba. 

Each of these photos shows more addition of color to the tuba.

Monday, November 24, 2014

TUBA - 1

Sometimes a friend and I take a photo or a similar subject and we each paint our rendition of that.

She chose a tuba photo she had taken some years ago at a local fair.  The local high school marching band had just performed and the kids had laid down their instruments; this tuba caught her eye.

She has long since painted her rendition of this tuba.  I kept procrastinating.  I note that I scanned the photo into my computer in 2012!  Then, this past May (2014) I finally printed it off and began my drawing for this painting.

I decided I wanted some music to go along with the tuba, so I did an internet search and came up with this sheet music, which I then enlarged.

It's been so long since I drew this out - it has been sitting all this time underneath a pile of other semi-completed paintings, just waiting to be painted!  So, I'm not sure, but I think that I enlarged the tuba photo and put it onto the paper, then added the music around that.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Rhonda Carpenter invited me to be part of this Around the World Blog Hop - which appears to be a way to connect with other blogger friends.

Rhonda and I met several years ago and got to be friends through our attendance at the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society meetings.  Over the years we have painted together and taken some day trips.  She's funny (sometimes when she doesn't think she is!) and quirky - and I do like my friends quirky!  She is also very serious about her art work and is constantly learning and pushing herself to grow as an artist.

Over the past few years I've found it so interesting to meet people who have read my blog!  Some post comments, most do not.  But so many people say "oh, I read your blog the other day . . . ", "loved your last blog post about . . . "  And I've personally met several people directly through my blog who I would never have met otherwise.  This big old world really isn't all that big sometimes!

I've found blogging to be rewarding and challenging, and lots of fun!

I'm supposed to answer a few questions, so here goes:

1.  What am I working on?
Right now I'm working on a tuba!  Yep, that musical instrument!  Sometimes a friend and I take an object or a subject and we both paint it, putting our own slant on it.  So this was one of those joint venture paintings.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I'm more known for my lace and patterned paintings, which I consider simple still lifes.  There are many other artists out there who do much the same, even sometimes the same topic or object.  We all learn from one another and are influenced by others, whether we acknowledge that fact or not.
However, I've been told on several occasions that people immediately know my paintings without looking at the gallery label.  I guess I'm able to put my personal spin on a subject, no matter how mundane, to create "my" look - whatever that is!!!

3.  Why do I create what I do?
Hmmmmm . . . gotta think about this for a minute.
Something will just catch my eye and I think it would make an interesting painting.  I'm distracted by bright and shiny objects!  Also colorful objects.  Also old, rusty stuff.  Also shiny cars and motorcycles . . . . (get the drift!!!!)
I've been collecting fabric, particularly that with an oriental motif, for years, and finally decided to create paintings using it as the backdrop.  I've also been collecting interesting vases and boxes and just "stuff" - if I see something that looks interesting and it's not too costly, I buy it and tuck it away somewhere, waiting for the right time to pull it out and create a still life set up.
I love history and old things, so going to an antique fair or the local tractor show give me great photo ops.  I have many photos of possible paintings gleaned from these resources.
I'm not particularly interested in landscapes or figures.  Guess I just like "stuff" instead!

4.  How does my creative process work?
I usually paint in a series, which makes it easier to decide what to paint!
I have an idea of what I want to paint, and I'll pore over my photos until something looks interesting.  Then I may crop it and move on.  After I have a few photos that look like possibilities, I may print them 4-6 on a sheet of paper and look at them more carefully.  I might possibly take some of this one and some of that one until I come up with a good composition.  Sometimes I luck out and have a really good composition right off the bat.  I do try to compose when I take the photo, but sometimes that's not really possible if I'm out in public.  When I do my set ups at home I'll take a number of photos from all angles.
Once my photo is selected I enlarge and trace - yep, I'm not a great draw-er.  And since I like doing intricate things I would spend most of my life just working to get the drawing done, and by then I wouldn't even want to work on the paintings!  I must say, though, that even with tracing, there is sometimes a LOT of drawing still to be done to refine those shapes.
Then I decide on how I'll be painting (technique) and the colors I'll use and the methods (plan).

I invited several bloggers to participate in this, but all but one said they were too busy right now but thanked me for the opportunity.  I can certainly appreciate that!  There are times I simply don't have time to do what needs to be done, let alone add something more to my plate!  Now I'll introduce a blogger who agreed to participate.  

Christiane Kingsley.  Christiane lives in Canada, Eh!!!  As I have followed her blog she has evolved from strictly watercolor to include acrylics and mixed media.  I particularly love her watercolors of statues and stone carvings.  I also like her paintings using acrylic and gel mediums.  She is definitely taking her art career to new levels.  I applaud her and wish her the best of luck!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Everyone needs a nemesis.
A worthy opponent to keep them on their toes and make them strive to excel.
Someone (or something) to push them into doing better.

Here is my dog's Nemesis!
Taken with my iPhone through the dining room door, so squirrel is a bit "squirrel-y" in this photo!
Can you tell that he's holding that piece of cardboard in his "hand"!
This crazy squirrel comes to the deck all of the time and usually manages to find something to eat  at his chosen spot - the bench in front of the dining room slider.  In this case, he found a piece of cardboard left by my son.   Of course, once the dog sees him he goes crazy to be let out to catch that squirrel.  I hate to tell him, but, ain't gonna happen!

By the time I open that door the squirrel is off and running. Sometimes I give Stray a little help and take him out to the garage and open that door.  Still, the squirrel must hear either the door opening or the dog's toenails on the concrete, and he's gone - way before 60 seconds!

Sometimes the squirrel only has enough time to leap onto the maple tree adjacent to the deck and run up into the branches.  When that happens, Stray will sit at attention (I'm not sure he even blinks) for a half hour or more just watching that squirrel.

Once, and this was the funniest to me, the squirrel was running up the steps and popped his head up above the deck just as I opened the kitchen door.  I saw him, Stray did not.

As the door opened the squirrel ducked his head down, Stray took off toward the side yard, the squirrel popped his head up again and ran for the tree.  Stray must have seen him from the corner of his eye or sensed him, because he made a 180 deg. turn and took off across the deck, but, again, too late.  Squirrel was up that tree chortling at the dog!

Not sure Stray would really know what to do with him if he ever did catch him!

Monday, November 10, 2014

THE ARTIST'S MAGAZINE - 31st Annual Art Competition - FINALIST!

A while back I received an email telling me that two of the paintings I entered into the Artist's Magazine 31st Annual Art competition had been awarded Finalist!

Gotta tell you - 2 out of 6,507 entries - yep, I'm pretty happy about that.

You will find my name listed on page 53 of the December issue - Still Life/Interior Category.

And when I saw who some of the other finalists in my category were, whose names are familiar to me  - Cecile Baird, Laurie Goldstein-Warren, Chris Krupinski, Jeffrey Larson, Jacob Pfeiffer, Carrie Waller - then I REALLY was happy!  Wow, at least I'm in very good company.

I entered 4 into the competition, and the paintings accepted were my Yin Yang Mums and Oriental Roses.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

F I R E !!!

As "they" say - Life is what happens when you make other plans.

Yesterday afternoon as I was peacefully painting, I got a panic call from my daughter.  Seems a brush fire had broken out, she wanted help.  She had called 9-1-1, then her husband, then us.  My husband was just coming home and I met him in the garage - he handed me something to put away and sped off, meeting my son on the driveway.  So both of them headed up to her house.  I quickly changed shoes and grabbed a jacket and took off.

When I arrived my husband and son-in-law were on hose duty, my son and daughter were going around the perimeter with a shovel and rake trying to get it under some control.  I was told by one of the firefighters to go to the road and make sure the rest of the crews pulled into the right place.

By the time it was over, 4 local fire departments had been called in.

Fortunately my daughter was home, or it could have been a total disaster.  And, fortunately, she was able to get all of their vehicles moved to safety and the fire moved away from the house, not toward it.

You just never know, life can change in the blink of an eye.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Here is a photo taken at the end of the workshop.

Even after much moaning and groaning, much doubting and praying - all of the results were GREAT!

Why are we always so critical of ourselves???  Everyone can be very proud of their results - even those who hid their paintings behind the front row!!!  (Yes, you know who you are!)

I received many positive comments about the workshop.  Everyone had a good time, learned something, and hopefully gained confidence to paint another silver and lace painting on their own - I can't wait to see those results!

Here are some of the great comments I received for this workshop:
"It really was 'lots of fun and no pressure' - well, maybe a little pressure."
"This workshop was all I expected and hoped for.  It was very informative and fun.  I would recommend Deb's class to anyone"
"I enjoyed the workshop - good 'pacing' (not too fast/slow).  Loved all the positive comments and encouragement - good snacks"
"Really enjoyed the class.  Informative, instructional, enjoyable.  Liked the critique part, learned from each picture you touched."
"Great class!  Enjoyed it.  Appreciate the helpful directions and comments and positive encouragement.   A lot in 2 days!"
"Luvvved it!!!  I liked that it was fun, relaxed and a 10-hour, 2-day summary (or review) of most things we've covered in classes over weeks, in additiion to the specifics of the workshop exercise."
"So enjoyed your class.  I learned so much.  Hope to attend some of your classes.  Thank you so much."
"Great class.  Need more weekend classes."
"Thank you for bolstering my confidence.  Very nice to be in class again."
"You are a great teacher - so patient and encouraging.  Definitely will attend another workshop or class."
"Fantastic girl!!"

Thursday, October 30, 2014


I tried to take a few photos to show the set up and some of the students working, plus their works in progress.

 Oh yes, there's also one photo of the instructor hard at teaching!  At least I don't look too awful in this photo, graciously taken by one of my students.
For those of you old enough to know who she is - try to picture Raquel Welch here!!!
(Now that image looks a lot better, doesn't it!!!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The weekend of October 25-26 I held a watercolor workshop at the Cincinnati Art Club.

The topic was "painting silver and lace" - and we had a wonderful time - wish you would have been there!  (Oh well, your loss . . . . )

On Day 1 we worked on the background and began our silver vase.  Of course, there were some "whines" but also a lot of "wows"!

Here is what my view was for the 2 days - 12 students working hard!

Not only did we paint like crazy, but we also ate pretty well!  I brought rolls and afternoon snacks, and one of the other ladies brought 2 kinds of home made breads/cakes.

Well fortified, we made it through the day - painting right up until the 4 p.m. "deadline".
Some of the students enjoying some fellowship during lunch.
This is what my demo piece looked like by the end of that day.  (Excuse the mess on the table!)

Monday, October 20, 2014


S o o o o o o . . . . . .

I was under the impression that when my son built a house and moved into it that he had moved out of our house.

Apparently I was wrong, since this was the view out my kitchen door on Sunday - my son and a friend set up to target shoot.

Does this mean that I can now go to his house and get comfy on his deck?????  (Yep, probably not).

When the shooting starts the dog gets nervous, scared and cling-y.  Each time a shot was fired, he flinched.

Not sure which way to go . . . .

Can you see that look of concern!
Welcome to life in the country!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


On Sunday we drove to Indy where I received my Signature from Watercolor Society of Indiana.

My painting "Industrial Revolution" is on the back wall just left of the floating wall..
The show was judged by Kathleen Conover so there were lots of abstracts, and most, if not all, of the paintings had an abstract quality to them.
Several abstracts in view.
The show is held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  This year we are on the first floor, in a new gallery just opposite the gift shop, so I hope it will draw many more visitors.

The gallery is on the left, the gift shop on the right.
Here are photos of a couple paintings that struck my eye.
This is called "Evil Eye".  If you ever owned a cat you would understand!!!

This one made me think of one by Laurin McCrackin.  It is beautifully rendered.

This is by J. Anna Roberts TWSA.  I'll be participating in a show with her in October, 2015.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

THE NEW PHONE (or: The Reason I Have no Time to Paint!)

I kept saying that I was going to get a “smart phone” this fall.  But I did not specify exactly when “fall” was going to arrive. 
Not to worry – my friend did it for me.
She bought a new iPhone and GAVE me her old one!  So, no more excuses - it was sink or swim.
The phone sat about a week (much to my daughter’s chagrin) before I finally went to Verizon and had it activated.
I was so worried about texting that that’s all I did.  So, when my phone actually rang and I had to answer it, I had no idea what to do!  (Yes, this IS a true story).  
Help!  The phone's ringing!!!!!
Well, I’ve gotten over that and have graduated to being able to take photos (including "selfies") and get them transferred to my computer (via email, but, hey, whatever works – I’m learning!).
I can even change settings and add people to my contact list.
Other times I add them and they just disappear. 
My daughter and my friend’s daughter have become my “phone gurus”! 
Speaking of daughters - my daughter convinced me that I would drop my phone at any moment and it would shatter into smithereens – even though my friend had it for 2 years before and it was in excellent shape.  So . . . .
I purchased an OtterBox to protect it.  
The phone - totally protected from any catastrophe known to man.
(Not even the Ebola virus could figure out how to get into this thing.)
I was thrilled when it came, but then could not figure out how to get the phone into the box!  I waited until my daughter could come over and take a look at it.  Turns out she couldn’t figure it out either but went to the internet on her phone (something I have not yet graduated to doing!) and watched a video.
It’s pretty bad when you not only have a phone that is smarter than you are, but a box to store it in that is smarter, too!
Now my phone is totally protected from splashes, crashes, spills and all manner of other ills.
Wish I was!
ps - my husband hates this photo - guess he doesn't get the humor!

Monday, October 6, 2014


After more glazing on the flowers and some "finessing" of the paintings, here are our results.
Here is my finished piece.

Here is my student's completed painting.
So - what do you think?

She is pleased with her painting, as well she should be!

Next I'll be helping her complete a painting from her own photo and idea.  Can't wait!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Then we began to paint the daisies.  As you know, I like to glaze, so we used several layers to bring up the color on the flowers.

Then we removed the miskit and began adding the colors on the background and on the vase, popping in a few darks in the flowers.  We then added the shadows on the fabric and vase - (I didn't get a photo of the painting after we added the vase shadow, but before completion).