Saturday, June 24, 2017


Little Luke
     I always wanted to write a children's book but never got around to it but my time has come. After signing up for the on line class Storybooks and Studious Girls I got inspired. After thinking of subjects that I could write about I thought of the adorable things my two grand kids have done, therein lies my inspiration.

     My first attempt is: Never Put M & M's Up Your Nose. Of course my grandson Luke did just that and his mom caught it with her camera. The on line class had a link to a book binder who makes  hand bound watercolor journals with a gold binding just like the golden books we read as kids. As I watched the how to video I said no way am I doing all that so I bought two blank books and off I go.
They finally arrived so now I really have to write a children's book.

Cover page rough draft

                                                                                                                                                                                      While I was waiting for my blank books I collected photos, did some tracing onto vellum and wrote the script for the story, then it dawned on me; how do I do all that lettering? I shortened the narrative quite a bit and will just do the best printing I can and remember that it doesn't have to be perfects.

     I'm proud of me.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


African Mask
Thought I would confess to some of my weird sojourns during my years of artistic ventures.  As  a volunteer for the Heathcote Botanical Gardens I was asked to donate art work done on coconuts which are so plentiful in Florida.  I collected dried out coconuts and began designing. All of them are sold or donated to good causes and I did not want to be labeled the "Coconut Lady" so I stopped producing them.

My Wilson Football coconut I could have sold four times when I participated at Art in the Park, an outdoor tented art show and one of my favorite one is this cupcake coconut. First you look at the shape of the coconut and then let your imagination go. It was fun but on to more serious art.

Later I will tell you about my Calendar Art....Year of the Bugs.

Oh, an update on my two children's books that I am writing for my grandkids. I have ordered the hand bound books, written the rough draft of the script and have started on the illustrations. I'll give you a sneak peek when I can. All of this came about after watching the on line class: Storybooks & Studious Girls.


Friday, June 9, 2017


I am so impressed with the Jeanne Oliver on line class offerings so when I saw the 50% off sale my eyes lit up. What better thing to do when you are staying home due to illness? Oh, by the way, two doctors and meds later I am feeling so much better. Next week I will be back to my normal self.

In the past I signed on for: Gathering Beauty & Painterly Portraits, now I am lined up for a free business video, free art video, Living Studio, Storybook & Studious Girls and a webinar today at 4:00 pm today. Every time I run creatively dry an art DVD or an on line class perks me right up.

Danielle Donaldson, the creator of Storybook & Studious Girls, was easy to listen to and so uplifting. She made me feel that I too could develop a character illustration and a story line. It looked so easy when she drew her whimsical girls. For many years I have thought about writing a children's book so why not now?  For some reason I may be ready for this new adventure.

Now on to create a character or characters with a story line plus paint watercolor illustrations for the book. How hard can it be?  What could possible go wrong with my past history of fleeting focus;  "Oh, bright and shiny..... on to a new project"? 

How many are betting I will accomplish at least one small book and how many are betting, nice idea but it ain't going to happen?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

NOT FAIR.....!

     I have been feeling under the weather so I missed our little talk. I seem to have developed asthma which has taken four long months to figure out. You know the routine; doctor after doctor until you end up at a pulmonologist. At least now my emotional self feels better knowing what it is.

    Oh, I'm not done. For a year my eyes have been allergic to something but who knows what. Many visits to three doctors, many prescription tries and nada. One night I desperately go to You Tube ( my head is hung in shame) for help.

     Did you know that you can use: rosewater, cucumber, potato and home made saline solution on your eyes? I had tried tea bags, cucumber so I thought I would give saline solution a try. After watching 4-5 videos I got the recipe and I already had an eye bath cup. Much to my surprise it helped... oh a little relief from the itching. Just to cover my bases I see an allergist this week.

     Needless to say I have been a little cranky and my art work has suffered. I even stopped painting for a week to see if I was allergic to the paints. My retired scientific mind went into over drive so I researched all my cosmetics, shampoo, no nail polish and on and on. Amazon Prime loves me as I order more and more of "no this or that" products. I even researched the ingredients in tissues and cotton swabs which to my surprise do have added ingredients. I resorted to using some of my husband's white cotton hankies when cleaning my eyes.

 I look/feel tired and old. I don't mind the old part but I do mind losing my sparkle which is attached to my smile.

The sun will come out tomorrow.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

A new class Julie Johnson

     Do you think I have a problem painting faces? I have numerous paintings where I am stuck with the face therefore they are never completed.  I know start with the eyes then work from there but you know me; start with the easy and inspiring.

     I signed up for an on line class with Julie Johnson via the Jeanne Oliver web site. It was recommended by Chris in my Monday painting group and she is usually spot on with her recommendations.
 PAINTERLY PORTRAITS is my new class and it is full of information. I know I am learning because I am taking notes and feel out of my comfort zone. I will listen to the numerous videos once all the way through then I will repeat, experiment then repeat again. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with the color mixing but I am trying to simplify so it make sense to my style of learning. 
I took a marker to a palette paper that I could place under a glass plate which had the value scale down the left for reference, neutrals on the far right and mixing of warm and cool from a double primary limited palette. After obtaining the mother pile I made three values of each. Julie added colors so easily to make a color warm or cool, change the value that I got a little bit lost.

Wow, one mean looking lady!

I am learning so much that I think I have given myself a headache.  

My best for this lesson.

Friday, May 19, 2017


My Painting Gal Pals

      Every Monday at 9:30 am  8-10 ladies meet at Rita's condo club house to paint together. These  women are true friends with whom you can share you life happenings without judgement and with confidence. If one of us needs something the others will be there to help. At about 11:30 someone will say; "Where are we going to eat", today? We always go to a local restaurant to have lunch, eat half of it and take the rest home for dinner or a treat if there is a husband at home. 

     We were eating at an Italian place one time when a younger man came up to us to say he enjoyed hearing our conversations but mostly our laughter. The stranger said a group of young professional women were in the week before and each one of them was on their phone or I Pad.  To be with people and ignore their presence by being on a phone would not even cross our minds but it was a kind observation from a stranger.

Another time another stranger said to Meave; "I like your hair", she wears it in a lovely white mohawk! White is the preferred hair color for the group but I am thinking of surprising them with a temporary pink tips dye. Why not? That is the same resason I got a tattoo the day before I turned 60.
........"Let's give them something to talk about".......

     We have lost a few precious members over the years; had to move away to be closer to the kids or passed away but each is remembered in our hearts.  This leads me to the most important lesson I have learned from these gals; you alway (no matter your age) must keep meeting new people and share you life with the ones that are worthy. Guess I thought that when one got old life would be static and unchanging....wrong again!  Accepting the changes makes all the difference in the happiness quotient and camaraderie of friendships can be the life jacket to help one keep on keep'in on.

Friday, May 12, 2017


     To keep myself in shape for painting I go to a Silver Sneakers exercise class twice a week, I am going on my sixth year of being pretty faithful. In the past I have pooped out on all attempts to stick with exercising program but this time I have gotten to know the other students and the teacher. It is hard to walk out in the middle of a class with;" Oh I have a pain" or "I'm tired already", so I stay to the end which pleases me.

   One of my fellow students was telling me how he had painted a few rooms in his condo ( the dear is 86), bought a new used couch from Habitat for Humanity and even got new lamps at Home Depot. After class I said I would like to paint him a picture to add to his redecorating, my gift to him. I could tell he was so tickled at the thought as we discussed how big and the subject matter.

     The next class he said; "I love Great Blue Herons" so that was our subject. I started three different designs of herons and settled on this pose. The other two poses are under this painting.

Stage one.
Great Blue in the Mangroves

I hope Mike likes my loose style of painting and I hope it brightens his day each time he looks at it.

Paint it Forward!

Saturday, May 6, 2017


     It won't take many words to walk you through to the final painting. Wendy had us sketch, paint with watercolor, add colored pencil then top it all off with creamy oil pastels.

     You know how much I love painting flowers and I was definitely outside of my comfort zone with the oil pastels. Discomfort is not a good reason not to try new things so I followed Wendy's lead.
Don't write home about this one.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

GATHERING BEAUTY with Wendy Brightbill

     I needed to refill my artistic well so I signed up for an online workshop with Wendy Brightbill; "Gathering Beauty".  A class helps me to rein in my scattered thought of what to paint or experiment with next. I fear I am one of those that abandons a new style half way through the learning process, I see something bright and shiny so off I go in a new direction.

     First Wendy said to gather photos of my own still life set ups: OK done.

Add caption

Add caption

          Next Wendy covered line, value and color. All are important topics and Wendy did a great job for teaching a beginning artist but I must admit that I did do a little fast forwarding until I came to the subject of color.
I used the black and white plus the color still life from Wendy's class, tracing it onto my watercolor paper. Now I am ready to watch the two color videos.

Points observed: * first set out a palette of warm colors plus black and white to paint a variety of warm colors into the flowers, (I normally use a full but limited color palette) * black and orange give a brown,* Wendy adds gray to "dull"a color . ( new to me)
Next she sets up a separate cool palette of greens and blues, the colors are not from a limited palette which I am used to using.
*vary colors with in an object frequently, * finish off with a silver and white metallic pen, (new to me)* complete the painting with colored pencils and oil pastels for more delicate details, * use a dull color for the background ( new to me).

     It was not the most informative on line class for me but I do like her impressionistic style and her enthusiasm for painting. If I only learn one new thing it is worth my time and I did learn. I will now complete the still life using her method so look for the results next week.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


                    I left off with this odd crystal like painting having no idea where it would go.
Pink background

     It has a charm of its own but the style felt uncomfortable so I began imagining the original still life done in a 3D format similar to my butterfly mini mural. I have chosen a pink background to begin building my idea.
I will work from the background up to the foreground trying to stay focused on the end goal, a 3D still life of two bottles.

My still life referenc

Background first


My hope is that the background floral print of the cloth will peek through the bottles when I paint the foreground. The background has a cooler temperature and I will do softer edges. When I finished the detailing I did a cool soft blue wash over the vertical portion so it will recede more.

Details added to background
OK, now what ?  I've already lost the fire in the belly for this still life, maybe I should paint a large figure for the third layer of paint. 

I need some ideas!!  HELP

Sunday, April 9, 2017


     I had a vision in my mind's eye; the color blocks of cool colors would be layered with tones of whites to create depth, then I would place detailed highly colored designs on the vertical and horizontal stripes.
Color blocking
There are too many ugly stages during  painting for me to always keep my passion and mental vision afloat but I will try to get this painting to the finish line.
Adding oil pastel marks

Adding papers 
Why do I end up with the same old cruciform format? It is flat and I'm tired of it so I thought I would go with more dimension such as 3D pyramids or crystals.

Negative painting of geometric shapes.

Filling in the positive space.

     I have company coming for a visit this week end so I will not be able to work on this painting but won't it be fun for both of us to find out what happens in the last chapters of my abstract story!

     I'm back and it did not go well:( , I will fill you in next week.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


     Sorry I missed you last week but I felt awful because of sinusitis and bronchitis. Wouldn't you know we had my dear brother and his wife visiting for the week end. I took every over the counter med to keep me going but they knew I was hurting. Fortunately they are so easy to have in your home, they bring their own coffee pot, coffee, wine, tissues and the list goes on. Joan calls themselves the "Party Beduins". Soon they will drive back to the cold lands of Illinois and their grandkids.

    Please forgive how I look and celebrate that I was brave enough to post it for the world to see.

      Monday my dear husband made the arrangements and took me to the Dr. so now antibiotics and prednisone are coursing through my veins and I had my first good night sleep in a week. With a few more lazy days I think I will make it.

Life truly is like a box of chocolates.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Second layer of acrylic paints.

     My son lives in Michigan and loves to surf and paddle board during all seasons of the year. That's right, even in the dead of winter when the water temperature is dangerously cold. He has the cold water surfing suit but still a mother worries.

     Bailey joins him in the summer and she loves to be part of everything.  Braden named his cat Curious so he has the same creative genes. Wishing him good waves and safe trips to the lake.


Saturday, March 18, 2017


My grandkids live  two hours away so I don't see them as much as I would like but I did visit for Grandparents Day at their school last week. Here Meme is answering some questions with my granddaughter "teaching" me. I have always told the kids that they will know much more than I will ever know.

The first day I spent with my 4 year old grandson in his classroom then off to the playground. Luke ran around with his class mates until he was over heated and sweaty. Most of the parents looked desperately for a wee bit of shade; remember we live in Florida.

Just like a boy,  Luke stuck M&Ms up his nose, dug them out again and ate them. He thought no one would know!!!

The orange and green nostrils gave him away.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


      Here we have my fertile imagination at work. After cutting an X & O out of styrofoam,  I used wet Masa paper over the new mold to form my X & O's which were painted gold then mounted on a checkered paper bag that I had collected. I am attracted to interesting papers.

   Very rarely do I try to go for symbolism, with me it is just an image that I wanted to paint or do into a mixed media painting. This time I was using the checker background to represent the games that people enjoy playing either literally or psychologically. You know the old passive aggressive or approach avoidance thing. 
These are professionally framed in three shadow box frames so that they may be hung in a triptych grouping. I think they are unique but the world does not seem to agree with me.

                                             Come on world,get with the program!

Friday, March 3, 2017


Ott light # 1
Ott #2
Ott #3
My rag tag collection of Ott lamps:
New ceiling light

     My studio/ spare bedroom had no over head lighting so I stuck four Ott lamps wherever I could to get the most natural light to paint under. Oh, the one window faces south which is not the ideal north light touted by artists. You work with what you have.

     Recently I did a little research on lighting and found out that 5,500 K is the best artificial light to use in an art studio. Lower than 5,500 K yields a warm light which causes the painting to turn out cool and above that K is cool therefore the artist compensates on the warm side.
                                       Honestly I didn't think it was a big deal.

           "The correlated color temperature (CCT), measured in Kelvin, refers to how warm or cool a light appears. Too warm       a bulb may tint work reddish yellow, whereas too cool a light can turn things blue. For a good balance of warmth and coolness, look for bulbs with a CCT of 5500 K, the equivalent of midday sun. If you prefer cooler light, akin to north light, look for bulbs rated 7500 K. "  (by Koo Scheduler)

 Another article I read on line said to close the blind on windows facing south and use 5000-5500K for the lighting. I was wondering about that southern exposure.

A trip to Home Depot showed me the lighting possibilities and their price tags. Cheap and easy is what works for me these days so I ended up with an LED ceiling light in the 2500 K warm range.

My logic is turn off the ceiling light that I just had installed and just use the Ott lights but it gets hot in here so I sure could use the ceiling fan. Husband says; "don't touch the pull cords because something or other switch is going bad". Well, oh crap, I am back where I started and now I have learned I must close the blinds on my south facing window. Maybe I could use the ceiling light plus the Ott lamps with the window blind closed.
I think I will take a moment to think this plan over again.

Here are some results I found on this unfinished painting of my son: Do you see a difference?

Warm light off
Warm light on

Saturday, February 25, 2017



     It should be interesting to watch my progress or lack thereof  in my figure painting attempts.  I still enjoy the portrait open studio with all of the different poses even the surprise nude session. I've done life drawing numerous times so not a big deal. I am happy to just paint whatever is put in front of me.

     In Quiet Time I played the warm against cool colors with pattern against neutral solid spaces.  I am still struggling with how to paint facial features without getting into eye lash mode. When all is said and done,  I am a loosie goosie painter.


                                                                                                             The bulk of the Laurel painting came easy but the face, oh my! Now you see why I am working on finding a better way to paint eyes, noses and mouths. I don't know how many times I have reworked this painting and still I am not satisfied.

Tomorrow is always a better painting day.