Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lemon Wedge - September 30, 2009

"When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge."

Tuli Kupferberg

L is for Lemon Wedge

2.5" x 3.5" Watercolor

for Alphabet Exchange

I enjoy the ATC size. They are fun to create and it's amazing what we can fit on to that itty bitty little card.

About Tuli Kupferberg

Tuli Kupferberg, the American Beat poet and musician, was 42 when he cofounded the Fugs, a satirical, politically pointed rock band that became an integral part of the 60's countercultural movement. He was born in 1923 in Brooklyn. Before forming the Fugs, he had no formal training in music; he had edited the underground magazines Birth and Yeah, and his poetry was featured in anthologies, including The Beat Scene. He still does poetry readings and has a cable show on public access.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Aspens Aglow - Sptember 29, 2009

Miracles are not altogether made out of dreams. Often they are put together out of plain, everyday, nonglamorous facts.

Norman Vincent Peale
Positive Thinking Every Day

Aspens Aglow
W&N Watercolor in my 5" x 8" Moleskine Travel Journal

Those aspens were glowing all around Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I was fortunate enough to be there late enough to see them turn yellow, yet early enough to miss the first snow and cold weather. I painted this on my way to the airport Saturday morning. I actually took two hours going that 11 miles to the airport. It was just too beautiful to rush.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jenny Lake Plein Air - September 28, 2009

"Luck? I don't know anything about luck. I've never banked on it and I'm afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: hard work — and realizing what is opportunity and what isn't."

Lucille Ball


Jenny Lake Plein Air
4" x 6" Watercolor on
Indian Village Handmade Paper

What a beautiful place! I walked in to this spot and climbed on a rock and began my first plein air painting.... ever! I usually paint from photos, so this was an amazing experience.

I left Idaho on Friday morning and spent the day in The Grand Teton National Park and in Jackson Hole. I saw some incredible art in Jackson!

Saturday, I did a little more painting, then headed to the airport for my noon flight. I walked in the door to my house after midnight! What a day! It's good to be home to my honey!

This is a page from my 5" x 8" travel journal, that I did on the flight to Minneapolis.

About Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball, the beloved redheaded comedian, was born in 1911 in New York. She enrolled in drama school — where she was told she had no acting talent, so she became a model. That career led to her discovery by Hollywood. Ball and her bandleader husband, Desi Arnaz, pitched a sitcom to CBS, which refused it, but they went on the road with it as a vaudeville act. The act — about a ditzy housewife and her bandleader husband — was a success, as was the ensuing TV show, I Love Lucy. The show made TV history when Lucy's sitcom character was pregnant on the air. She died in 1989.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oreo the Dachshund - September 21, 2009

"What we hope ever to do with ease we may learn first to do with diligence."

Samuel Johnson


Oreo the Dachshund
Two - 4" x 4" Watercolors

My neighbor saw my Hip Cat painting and asked me to do a dachshund in purple for her girlfriend's work cubicle. Her friend is a real purple freak! These will be mounted on 1.5" thick gallery wrap canvases.

I am headed to Blackfoot, Idaho for my Mom's 80th birthday. Then to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a day of painting. I'll be off-line until Sunday, Sept. 27th. Have a great week!

About Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson, the sharp-witted British essayist, wrote the first English language dictionary; his definitions still form the backbone of current dictionaries. He was born in Staffordshire in 1709. Johnson married a widow 20 years his senior and lived in poverty before achieving success with his essays when he was in his forties. Later in life, he befriended the young James Boswell, whose Life of Johnson became the quintessential English biography. Johnson died in 1784.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bubbles & Roosters - September 18, 2009

"Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road."
– Dag Hammarskjöld



4" x 6" Watercolor

Playing with my new St. Petersburg set of Yarka watercolors. I got this idea from Leslie White's blog, when she had a link to June Malone's blog. I just love artists! June's example was way more colorful and skilled, as was Leslie's, but I still had fun and I got to try out my new colors.

About Dag Hammarskjöld

Dag Hammarskjöld, a Noble Peace Prize winner, was a diplomat who strengthened the United Nations' peacekeeping mission. Born in Sweden in 1905, he followed his father's footsteps into national government, where he coined the term "planned economy" before becoming a delegate to the U.N. and a two-time secretary-general. He negotiated the release of Americans captured by the Chinese in the Korean War, worked to resolve the Suez Canal crisis, and was on a mission to the Congo when his plane crashed in 1961, killing all aboard.

Two 4" x 4" Acrylics - Roosters

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Greens - September 17, 2009

Remember Edison's remark: "If we did all the things we are capable of doing we would literally astonish ourselves." Astonish yourself!

Positive Thinking Every Day
-Norman Vincent Peale


4" x 6" Watercolor

This was a challenge that I'm not sure I pulled off. Lots and lots of green. aargh! I had fun, tho.

My husband told me yesterday that he went to hear a motivational speaker one day, when he was still working. It was some guy named Norman Vincent Peale. Norman Vincent Peale!! I would love to have had that opportunity! How cool would that be! I really believe strongly in the power of positive thinking!

Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) was the Champion of Positive Thinking. His legacy is with us to day in the ministry of the Schulers (, and is currently re-inforced by the highly bankable "The Secret" and there is no doubt that the Peale legacy is powerful and vibrant.

Peale confessed that as a youth he had "the worst inferiority complex of all," and developed his positive thinking/positive confession philosophy just to help himself. It certainly paid off!

Peale's works came under criticism from several mental health experts, one of whom directly said Peale was a con man and a fraud. (Meyer, Donald. "Confidence Man." New Republic. July 11, 1955, pp. 8-10.) These critics appeared in the early 1950s after the publication of The Power of Positive Thinking.

By the way - my husband loved his boat! I told him to be careful with it though, because I forgot to paint in the fenders. he he

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Maga Frolic - September 17, 2009

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."

– Lao-Tzu


Mega Frolic
4" x 5" Watercolor

This boat portrait was done for my husband, for our 7th anniversary, tomorrow. I hope he likes it.

About Lao-Tzu

The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu is believed to have lived in the 4th century B.C. Little is known about him, but it is likely that he wrote the Tao te Ching, the foundation of Taoist philosophy, and engaged Confucius in debate, honing both men's belief systems. His name means either "old master" or the "old child," and one legend says he was born with white hair after spending 80 years in his mother's womb.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hip Cat - September 15, 2009

"I do believe it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one's inner life. And that too is a deed." – Etty Hillesum

Hip Cat
4" x 6" Watercolor

This is the same kitty I painted yesterday. I love that.
Expression is way more fun that trying to achieve a certain perfection or in trying to make something exactly like the original. I admire artists who can do that, but it's not me.

Etty Hillesum, less famous than her contemporary, Anne Frank, lived a short life of great courage. She was born in 1914 in the Netherlands to a Dutch father and a Russian mother. She studied law, Slavic languages, and psychology. Hungry for knowledge, she cut down on food in order to buy books. She went voluntarily to the Westerbork camp to help fellow Jews interned by the Nazis. Her letters detail her experiences; her more meditative diary focuses on issues of faith. She died at Auschwitz in 1943.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pretty Kitty - September 14, 2009

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

– Thomas A. Edison


Pretty Kitty

5.25" x 8.75" Watercolor

I really enjoy that particular quote. When I started my sign business in 1992, I wore overalls all the time. It provided a brand for my business and it seemed to put people at ease, in the tight net little community I was breaking into. I'll have to say it worked, as I celebrated my 17th anniversary in April.

About Thomas A. Edison

Thomas Edison, the American inventor who made his early fortune with the stock ticker and the phonograph record, is credited with inventing the light bulb — although he simply improved upon the original idea by making the bulb burn longer. Edison was born in 1847 in Ohio. He was a dreamer in school; his teacher called him "addled," and his mother taught him at home. He used the money from his inventions to set up a lab with a number of employees; he held a record 1,093 patents in his name. He died in 1931.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Northern Oriole - September 11, 2009

No matter what is going on in my life today, I can always find something for which to be grateful. When I stop and think about this and make a gratitude list, there is no room for depression or self pity. There is so much to be grateful for today.

"Time for Joy" Daily Affirmations
by Ruth Fishel


Northern Oriole
4" x 6" Watercolor Postcard

About Ruth Fishel
Ruth Fishel, M.Ed., C.A.C. is the co-founder and former director of Serenity, Inc. She now teaches, writes and presents workshops and retreats throughout the country, helping people become whole and healthy using the tools of meditation, affirmations, and visualizations.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gambel's Quail - September 10, 2009

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."

– Annie Dillard

Gambel's Quail
4" x 6" Watercolor Postcard

About Annie Dillard

American author Annie Dillard rose to fame with her first book, Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek, which weaves theology and meditations on nature into an account of a year spent in the country recovering from pneumonia. Writing the book so fully absorbed her that she forgot everything else; she lost 30 pounds and all her plants died. She was born in Pittsburgh in 1945. She married her college writing teacher but later divorced him. She remarried and lives in Connecticut.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inktense Kitty - September 9, 2009

“Laughter is the closest distance between two people.”

– Victor Borge

Humbug 4x6 448x336

Inktense Kitty

Inktense on 4″ x 6″ postcard

Derwent Inktense soluble ink pencils are a lot of fun. They have an intense pigment and can create a vivid result, depending on how heavy you apply them.

Inktense is activated with water, then once dry, the color cannot be lifted with a wet brush, like normal watercolor. It gives you time to blend while still wet, if you want, but not if you don’t. It just depends on how you use them. I put all the colors down at the same time, for this kitty, so I could do some blending.

448 x 336Here he is with the inktense and some masking. I’m not experienced with masking fluid, so I did use some additional watercolor to smooth out the areas I used mask on.

Jerry’s Artarama carries Inktense pencils. Just click on their banner on this page if you want to try them.

About Victor Borge

Danish pianist Victor Borge was affectionately known as the Clown Prince of Denmark. Born as Børge Rosenbaum in 1909 to musician parents, he began playing piano at age three. After a stint as a classical pianist, he began combining music and jokes. His anti-Nazi jokes landed him on Hitler’s enemies list. In 1942, he was named Best New Radio Performer by the American press. His Comedy in Music show on Broadway was the longest running one-man show in the 1950’s. He died in 2000.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gauze Mountain - September 8, 2009

"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval."

– Mark Twain


Gauze Mountain

4" x 6" Watercolor Postcard

This is a little sample of how to do the gauze on your watercolor paintings.

First, I laid down a really wet rough in of mountains, trees and water. Then I laid on the gauze pieces that I had cut and stretched earlier. After this, I loaded a brush with a pretty concentrated thickness of watercolor and dabbed it here and there across the gauze.

The second picture is what it looked like when I pulled the dried gauze off of it. The third picture is after I added some more detail. It's a quickie, but you get the idea, right?

It's a really fun way to add texture to your watercolor paintings.

About Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens, the iconic American humorist and writer, is better known by his pen name Mark Twain. He was born in 1835 in Missouri. He worked at several jobs, including steamboat pilot and miner. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, and other successful novels. His writing captured a very American vernacular and flavor, and helped create a distinctive American literature. He died in 1910.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Castle in the Sky - September 7, 2009

"I have always believed that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value."
– Hermann Hesse

"Castle in the Sky"
4" x 6" Watercolor Postcard

This started out as a contour drawing of a part of a castle.

Then, I had a challenge from WetCanvas, to do it in the style of a 17th or 18th century English artist. I chose William Blake. I found a painting of his with the clouds and stars and this is what happened.

I promise.... there was not funny stuff in my coffee, just William Blake in my head.

William Blake November 28, 1757 - December 12, 1827 was an English poet, artist and printmaker or "Author and Printer" as he signed many of his books.

WetCanvas is a wonderful site for artists. At this writing, there are 194,479 members.

About Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse, the Pulitzer Prize–winning German writer, became extremely popular in the 1960's and 1970's for his deeply spiritual novels spiked with Eastern philosophy. He is best known for the novels Siddhartha, The Glass Bead Game, and Steppenwolf. He was born in 1877 in Germany and immigrated to Switzerland in 1912. Hesse was exposed to Eastern thought from childhood: His grandfather taught Indian studies, and his mother had been born in India. He won the Noble Prize in Literature in 1946. He died in 1962.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rainbow Forest - September 4, 2009

"A bad habit never disappears miraculously; it's an undo-it-yourself project."
– Abigail Van Buren


Rainbow Forest

6" x 6" x 1.5" Acrylic

This one was painted from my brain, with no references. I start with the very front plant, then keep painting plants, one at a time, behind the previous ones, until I finally finish with the black paint. I really enjoy seeing it come to life when the black paint is added. Negative painting is fun!

About Abigail Van Buren

Pauline Phillips, better known as Abigail Van Buren, wrote the syndicated "Dear Abby" column for 46 years. She was born in 1918 in Iowa. She had never written professionally when she contacted the San Francisco Chronicle's editor and said she could do better than their current advice maven. Her version was an instant success. Her twin sister, Esther Lederer, became an advice columnist under the name Ann Landers. Phillips retired in 2002; her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, took over her column.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wilma Woodpecker - September 3, 2009

"Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.."

– Carl Sandburg

.Wilma Woodpecker

4" x 6" Watercolor & Ink

The reason Wilma is so happy is because it was raining sunflower seeds that day! As soon as I was done painting her portrait, she flew wildly into the storm and ate sunflower seeds with complete abandon! Ah yes, being an artist with a flair for fun, is grabbing joy with both hands!!


Flamingo Joy

4" x 6" Watercolor & Ink

See, isn't it fun?!

About Carl Sandburg

American poet, songwriter, and journalist Carl Sandburg played an essential role in the Chicago renaissance of the early twentieth century. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for poetry and one as a historian. He was born in Illinois in 1878. When he was 19, he hopped a westbound train and lived as a hobo. His poetry is filled with slang and the language of ordinary Americans. His publications include Chicago Poems, Cornhuskers, and the children's series, Rootabaga Stories. He died in 1967.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tulip Farm - September 2, 2009

"Don't be afraid of change, and never pass up an opportunity to try something new."
~Dr. Robert Lopatin

Tulip Farm
8" x 10" Watercolor

I tried a few new things on this painting. I combined two different photo references, while keeping them separate in a way. This was the second time I had tried this technique, using a geometric shape as a part of the painting. I also used regular gauze, that we all have around the house, to get the relief in the foreground. I cut some gauze and stretched it out and laid it on the paper. I then used some Daniel Smith durochrome watercolor, pretty thick, on the gauze. I let it dry and removed the gauze. I painted the fence posts last.

Here is another one, where I used the gauze and geometric shape.

My 2008 Christmas Card
5" x 7" Watercolor

I was trying to make the rectangle blend, and not blend, with the background. It's fun to get totally absorbed in something new!

Today's quote came from Sally Evans, Embracing Creativity.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blue Heron - September 1, 2009

"Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."
– Henry Van Dyke


Blue Heron

4" x 6" Watercolor

I am fascinated by birds. Of course, I don't paint them in the way that a wildlife artist would paint them. What is the fun in that? Okay, I'm sure wildlife artists have fun, but there is no pressure to be accurate or realistic in my fun little paintings. Life is a hoot!

About Henry Van Dyke

Henry Van Dyke, the American clergyman and author, is best known for the Christmas story, "The Other Wise Man." He was born in Pennsylvania in 1852. He was pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York, taught literature at Princeton, and was U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. His love of nature influenced his spirituality, and he fought to preserve Yellowstone Park. He wrote poetry and essays as well as fiction. Helen Keller called him an architect of happiness. He died in 1933.