Wednesday, December 23, 2015


A few posts back I startED on a Donna Zagotta Color Project:
Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary, Near complementary, Split complementary, Double Complementary, Triadic and Tetrad.
This exercise should improve my use and understanding of color intended to produce a specific mood.

Let's finish this project.




 I give myself points for finishing this assignment.  Most of the paintings will be do overs but the point was to try each of the color combinations.


Saturday, December 12, 2015


      After all the time I have spent reading, taking classes and experimenting I think I am beginning to isolate my problem areas in my painting technique.
     The passion and dedication has always been there and so has the willingness to learn but I think I can summarize three areas of needing insight:  
      * being able to identify the % of light/dark in colors
      * must do a sketch for design and value prior to each painting
      * use single stroke application of paint

      It seems when I hit the canvas or paper I do the same thing as I have always done..dah and I get the same results, a master in mid-tone values. This time I will make myself do a drawing of the values and design of my subject, I pulled out my value chart that I have had for years and will make myself mix colors of different % value before I begin painting. Somehow I will force myself to do single or few stroke painting. A vortex of many strokes takes over my paint brush thinking that if I painting over it one more time it will be just right.  
    What a monster:(
Value Chart

Value Sketch

Do Over

I still had trouble with the few stroke painting but I did improve and I stopped before I normally would. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Another attempt at a monochromatic painting.

Paint over the first attempt.
First attempt: yuck!

Step one                
                 OK, I cheated. I really had a  hard time using just one color, it was boring so I took the liberty of using only cad. red but used white, blue and yellow to jazz up the cad. red.

Next I tried to soften the edge on the back strawberry and added oil pastel over the acrylic for a punch.

Used warm/cool temperature changes to the white background and added a gradation to the shadow area.

Final Product:

 I thought the shadow was a bit intense so I softened it but I prefer step one which tells me that I should stop way before I feel it is done.
Lesson learned~!

PS. I used a free photo from so I could concentrate on the lesson and not finding a subject to paint.

Monday, November 30, 2015


Saturday, November 28, 2015


Like any other full blooded artist I subscribe to numerous art magazines. Any magazine that particularly appeals to me I save and the others I share with my open studio painting mates. On those rare times when I run out of something to read I pull out the stored "sacred issues" and re-read the articles.

Watercolor Artist (April 2014) I underlined and highlighted so much from Donna Zagotta's article; THE COLOR PROJECT, that  I decided to try some of her lessons.

I love color and loose paintings so now I am planning on trying the color schemes that she suggests;

Red Boat Photo

Analogus colors
Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary, Near complementary, Split complementary, Double Complementary, Triadic and Tetrad. This should improve my use and understanding of color intended to give a specific mood or feeling and it sounded like fun.

6X6 board sketch
Analogus Painting.
I found it difficult to stick to the restricted analogous colors but maybe that is a good lesson to learn. Next I tried the monochromatic and my first attempt was miserable so I will repeat the lesson to show you later.

Sunday, November 22, 2015




Here are some snap shot stages of my Tea Please daily painting. This time I added a tea tin and went for the glow of back lighting.

Slowly my loose style is coming out and that pleases me but still a long way to go.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


BEFORE with glass glare.

AFTER with my invention.
                                                                                                 TOY SOLDIER   

 I learn everything the hard way with many hours used up by the learning curve. That is why I dearly love U Tube; have question will find answer!

I take all of my own photos, some are good and some not so much but I do realize the importance of quality photography when you are posting them on a blog site, web site or Daily Paint Works.
Some of my earlier works were professionally framed before I realize it was prudent to get photos prior to framing. I choose my frames to enhance my art work and not for a generic frame that the public will like. A good example is Toy Soldier (colored inks). Not all clients would love a deep purple frame with a notched mat but I love it.

All of my framed paintings under glass had a reflection of something in the photo. (see before example) I know enough not to use a flash.

To solve this problem I went to U Tube to find a simple answer that did not cost too much, here is what I invented from things I have around the house:

* I photograph out on the covered porch to get indirect natural light. I learned that from Carol Marine's  section on photographing art work in her book Daily Painting.

* I happen to have an older camera and tripod that I set up parallel to my adjustable wooden easel. It was easier and more stable to place the easel on a table and do the adjustments with the tripod and camera.

* Next I needed a reflection blocker so I made it out of heavy cardboard which I covered with a dark fabric from my fabric stash. Cut a hole in the center and off we go.  At the moment I have not found something to hold the reflector as I push the button so I just hold it with my left hand.
*I did make a second blocker from card stock which fits over the camera lens as it telescopes out to take the picture.   

*Put the camera setting on close up, adjust the height of lens to the art work and take numerous shots.
*Upload onto the computer and edit as much as I can with just the I Mac tools.

I'm so proud of me:)

Friday, November 6, 2015


Keeping it simple focusing on values.
Tea bag photo

First sketch

I'm trying so hard to get my semi abstract style to come to fruition.
What is your opinion? Did I hit the mark?


Monday, October 26, 2015


Almost done.

Hibiscus Children's Center does such good work to help children in need within our community. They have organized  an auction of original art embellished chairs for a fundraiser titled: "CHAIRISH THE CHILDREN".

     How do I get into these things...well it was a good cause, I showed up for the meeting and I said yes to volunteering to help. Next thing I know I said yes to painting the bench in my garage, yes to being the point of contact person and yes to feeling totally responsible for the out come of the bench painting project.  I got my weekly open studio ladies to say yes to helping me which means I got us all into this project.
      Great, more Mid-West guilt on my shoulders.

It takes a village.

My flower.
Because it was in my garage I traced the pattern onto the bench, outlined the design and painting one arm of the bench.  After everyone was done I outlined everything with black.
Oh my aching back and the hours that disappeared!
My science teacher came in handy as I organized the painting stations, etc.
I am so over this bench but now we feel the background of the bench should be painted. It looks unfinished.

I'm just tired but the cause is still a good one.

Friday, October 9, 2015


I recently purchased a few ArtBytes from Carol Marines' web site (Daily Paint Works) and find them  valuable to my learning curve. The ArtBytes are short with a video to please an audio visual learner like myself.

The ArtByte that I am referring to is Saturation and Color Mixing.  I was most fascinated by her comment; " If you are searching for a color, it is probably gray". She then proceeded to mix gray from all three primaries adding a little white.

I am emulating a page from Carol's book Daily Painting to see if I can ingrain the lesson into my brain. I used a 5x7 canvas board painted with a pink background, I sketched Carol's flower in a jar and added chalk to make changes so that I am not completely copying.

Daily Painting pg. 2
My step one.

Even I can see the lack of value and color changes in my version. Now I will try to mix a gray for the background and add my changes to the flower.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


I feel an abstract phase coming on!

I may not be writing as much but I am trying to keep you informed with the work I am doing via DAILY PAINT WORKS, you know the painting a day on line web site.
It is really difficult to complete a painting a day but I am trying. My hope is that I will continue to grow as an artist and have fun along the way.

May the painting gods be with you.

Friday, October 2, 2015



I invision a night sky with an explosion of star dust which may be the beginning or the ending  of a celestial structure.  Once I read that all life is made up of star dust and will return to star dust ...another one of those questions for which I have no answer.

Friday, September 25, 2015


What is the meaning of life, is there life on other planets, is there a heaven or a hell?
For me all the deep questions in life are summed up in these simple oriental symbols.
 I truly don't know.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Painting Update

     I may have paused blogging but I have been painting. Here is my most recent that I finished for Daily Paint Works where you can keep up with my progress.


May the colors fly off of your palette onto the canvas with ease:)
Mary Ellen

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Painting a fire hydrant in our dog park.

   As I grow older I try to listen more and talk less, so taking my own advice  I think it is time to paint more and write/blog less.

The value of my art blog was to keep me focused and learning but the time has come to pause and prioritize my time usage.

I bid you well on your artistic ventures.

Mary Ellen

Saturday, August 8, 2015


     It is August and our avacado tree is full of ripening green teardrop orbs. I take them to share with my painting group and Silver Sneakers exercise class. So why not paint the bounty of home grown.

    I pre-painted the canvas with acrylic paints to create the design and then finished it with oils using a palette knife to up the texture factor.

     This time I made myself create a mother pile of color with  warm and cool sub color piles. The value of the warm/cool paint went from dark to light to capture harmonious values.

I used a different photo that captured some foreshortening of the stem.

I like this one better than my finished product. When will I learn to stop painting?

Oil over lay.