Friday, December 09, 2005

Rhodie 4

I finally had some time to work on the petals...using quin. magenta and trying to let it go with the flow. My students and I have been working with a book by Roland roycroft, WATERCOLORS WITH LIGHT AND COLOR. I can't find this on on amazon anymore, but you might want to check ebay.

My book of the month this month is Transparent Watercolor Wheel by Jim Kosvanec. I have two copies of this book, because I ripped pages out of the first one to post on my wall near my painting table! It has the best information about watercolor apinting and how and why it does what it does.

I'll try to get pictures of the new studio (AKA the former guestroom) some time this week.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Rhodie Three

And beginning to work on the leaves and stems.

Did I tell you all I have the honor of being one of the featured artists on this season? Very cool!

Rhodie Two

Working on the background..trying to keep it loose. This is a wet on wet and salt technique.

Here's a close up of the background.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fall Leaves Watercolor

Hello out there in blogland! I haven't forgotten the rhodie, just wanted to share this painting of fall leaves. I did it as a demonstration in a class on texture last night. Lots of spraying and layers. You can see close ups and a larger version in the website gallery.

I also added a page on painting textures in watercolor to the website on the step by step page:

Yes, my thumb is still prussian blue!

Went to the library today and got two books on tape. I listen to them when I paint and when I walk. I think I have funded several new purchases for the library with all my late fees!

I'm going to go work on that rhodie right now :)

Monday, October 31, 2005

I've put aside the blue glass for a bit. It's hanging in the studio.. just not sure where to go with it next. In the mean time, I'm working on this 16 x 20 rhododendron from a photo I took in a friend's garden a few years ago. The image is darkened here so you can see the pencil lines clearly.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Halloween e-card!

Click here to see my very first flash card!

I haven't been painting much, I have been working on learning new programs. Sorry! Some day I will get back to painting regularly. I do have a show that I am hanging on Monday, but no new work to share :(

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Blue Glass Painting - One

September is here and it's time to get painting again after a summer of doldrums and dog days in the studio. This one is a painting of my kitchen window. I collect blue glass and display it on the window ledge behind my sink. When the sun comes through in the afternoon, it glows with gorgeous shades of blue. I hope I can capture just a little bit of all that brilliant color!

I've continued to work on my graphic design skills, and revamped my entire website: Still a work in progress but it is getting there!

Friday, August 12, 2005

This little guy is a hummingbird moth in my zinnia patch. I have been fascinated by them this summer. They are one of the few moths that feed in the day time. They buzz around from flower to flower and look just like hummingbirds!

You can learn more about them here:

I haven't been painting much this month. I've been busy trying to get a graphic design portfolio ready and learning some new programs. I do have a painting of blue glass drawn out and on my drafting table, and will share progress pics just as soon as there is some progress. A flash animation of the Prayer of St Francis is my current project, along with some logos for friends.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Chickadee and Blossoms 5

Almost finished. Maybe a little softening of the flowers that are furtherest away, and some work on the larger branches...have to look at it again in the morning.

Exciting news! My lemons and crystal painting (you can see a little pic of it on the side of the blog) was accepted into the NC Watercolor Society 2005 Exhibition. So, it will be on display this fall in Winston-Salem, NC.

Random thoughts:

My cat, Empress, is OCD. She over cleans herself until she is bald. She has been to the vet several times over this. All we can do is put oinment on the current spot, and one of those big plastic collars around her neck. Such a bizarre little creature.

I try to walk every morning. When I walk, I listen to books on tape. Yesterday, I was so into my book that I almost walked into a tree! Good thing I walk at the park and not on the roadside!

There are two rocks shows over the next two weekends. I am such a good wife ;)

Down the hall from my studio, there is a therapist, and she has a therapy dog named Jazz. She is the sweetest thing. Everytime she sees me she snorts and wiggles. Her owner says boy! she sure does get excited to see you! Her mama doesn't know that she is a dogcookie junkie, and am her dogcookie dealer. She gets a fix everytime she comes to visit me.

Still working on flash. Made a bouncing ball this week(yes, I am a flash genius!) and went through a few tutorials. What is it with graphic artists and insisting on mac platform? are they still in the stone age? or is it some kind of mac cult? Employment ads keep asking for mac platform..why do they care? It's the exactly same program on the pc as on the mac..I promise I can learn how to turn a mac off and on.

You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus.

- Mark Twain

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Chickadee and Blossoms 4

Developing the branches and the center of the blossoms.

Random thoughts:

I can't for the life of me decide if having an agent is a good thing for an artist... or not.

The morning glories have survived three far, so good.

My cat, Samurai, drools when he is happy. Last night he sat in my lap and drooled on my ice cream. Then, he was even happier.

My mom got a cell phone. She emailed me to tell me about it, because she doesn't know how to place a call..or how to answer one.

I think that I mentioned I am learning flash. Its a animation program for the web. I can't believe how much I am enjoying learning it. See..old dogs can learn new tricks!

The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.

- Mikhail Baryshnikov

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Chickadee and Blossoms 3

Starting to add shadows to the petals and working a bit on the chickadee.

Most of my time lately has been spent brushing up on my graphic design skills. I got the latest version of flash this week. Yesterday I made a dancing pumpkin!

Dev and I rented Hide and Seek yesterday. I am a big movie buff :) That little girl actor (Dakota Fanning?) is just amazing. She was in War of the Worlds too, and stole the show from Tom Cruise. She is has so much talent and will be a joy to watch her grow and expand her roles as she gets older. I hope her family is keeping her safe from "Hollywood."

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Chickadee and Blossoms - 2

Working on some of the darks today. The flowers and bird are back lite.. he's sitting inside the tree. Also started the shadows on the flowers, but didn't get a photo of that.

My prayers go out to those affected by the bombing in London this morning.

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, July 01, 2005

Pear Blossoms and Chickadee - background

Taking a break from all the detail and eyestrain of reflections and crystal! This painting is based on several different photos. The pear blossoms are from the tree in my front yard, and the chickadee is based on reference photos from the web and my bird feeder.

July 4th - Done!

You can see a larger version and a close up here.

I'm pretty sure this one is done...I will hang it up in the studio and stare at it for a bit to be sure.

I added a few more layers and some white gouache highlights. I really prefer pure watercolor, but sometimes you just have to have a little gouache :)

I thought this was really interesting. 100 questions science hasn't answered yet!

Japanese beetles have become the bane of my exsistance. They are evil creatures that are eating my roses, day lilies, and other plants.

Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?"
Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."
Charlie Brown (Charles M. Schulz)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

July 4th - Almost done

I have some of the darkest darks to add, and maybe a few highlights, a little smoothing out here and there and this will be done. I switched to a mixed dark from the payne's was looking flat. At least one more layer in the red, yellow, blue areas..maybe several in the red to get nice deep colors.

Something fun to play with:

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Fourth of July - finally another step :)

Here's another layer...deepening the reflections and adding shadows.

In the craft class yesterday we did shaving cream paper marbling. It was so much fun. The ladies got such a kick out of it, and said it was cheap therapy! Tonight in the watercolor class we practiced "pulling" the color in a wash to create a gradiation.

Still haven't heard anything from any of the competitions, but not holding my breath either.

Someone emailed and wanted to know what my palette is. It's mainly transparent, and I work in glazes to build up deeper colors:
New Gomboge, Aureolin, Permanent Rose, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Hooker’s Green, Sap Green, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Payne’s Gray, Quinacridone Gold, Green Gold, Transparent Orange, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Violet, Cerulean Blue, Viridian, Antwerp Blue
(okay okay.. I added commas :) )
Today's quote:

"Painting is easy for those that do not know how, but very difficult for
those that do!" ~ Edgar Degas

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Fourth of July - Next Step

Sorry it have been so long between up dates! Next step..another layer all around, and the shadows.

Another of my favorite art quotes:

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. "
Scott Adams

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Fourth of July - Day 2

First layer on most of it done. The reflections of reflections are going to be interesting paint and it's nice to be away from the prussian blue / burnt sienna combination of the last two paintings.

I finally got to do some painting today. I hid out in the studio and listened to a book on tape. Funny how no one will interrupt you if you have head phones on :) The book I am listening to is called Diary. It's by the same person who wrote fight club. It's about an artist...and after that it gets a little surreal. It's fun to listen to the parts about the artist painting watercolor and want to correct the author. I imagine that scientists feel that way about science fiction all the time.

The beginning watercolor class started tonight. I have three students this time, and I think it will be a great group. We talked about paint (how to read a tube, and what brands are good, etc. ) and washes. They did little paintings of a sunset and palm trees to practice. Next week we will be doing snow scenes and using salt to create the snow.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Fouth of July - Day 1

(As always with the drawings, I increased the contrast so that you can see the drawing lines.)
Starting a new painting today. This one is of pinwheels and a flag. I've been wanting to do a Fourth of July painting, but didn't want to do the standard eagles or other symbols. I think the colors and reflections in the one will make for an interesting painting puzzle to solve.

This one might be slow to progress. Dev has his rock show next weekend, so I will be volunteered to help with that...pricing rocks, packing rocks, moving rocks. I am in for a rocky weekend. (I know, I know *groan* )

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Pears and Crystal Day 9 & and a no good, terrible, very bad day.

I think I like it vertical better than the horizontal.

I'm pretty sure this is done. We'll see in the morning. It's been a long day.

This is from an email I sent a group of friends, just cutting and pasting so I don't have to retype it all. We artists do live the glamorous life!

Don't read this is you have a weak stomach!

I had a real coke today to help me drown my sorrows.

I woke up this morning and stepped in dog throw up. Not just any dog throw up mind you... he had eaten about a pound of grass the day before. It was slimy and it was still warm. *gag* *ugh*

I should have gone back to bed then.

I got up and did my daily stuff and realized it's the 1st, and I forgot to give the landlord a check for the studio. He's a sweetie and probably wouldn't have minded it being a day late, but I mind. So I head out to the studio, and it's pouring rain. I get there and get soaked to the bone walking from the car. I get to the rental office with my check, and he's not there. Won't be there for several days... so I run by the studio and pick up three tubes of watercolor paint I need for a painting I'm working on at home and stuff them in my pocket.

Get home and notice the bad smell in the garage has gotten worse, and start investigating. Happen to look at the plug in the wall and realize that the button has tripped. My eyes follow the yellow extension cord plugged into that outlet...down the wall.. along the floor.. behind the work bench to.... the outside freezer. I shut my eye hoping I will jump to an alternate reality when I open them again. Nope.. still in the same garage.

I slowly go over to the innocent looking freezer and open the lid. It's one of those little top-loading freezers. In it we keep frozen pizza, seafood, chicken, bread, cheese.. what ever is on sale and doesn't fit in the freezer in the kitchen.

The smell literally about knocked me over. I don't normally retch from smells...but I did this time. I slammed the lid shut and stared at it for a while. The odor had already escaped and was hanging like a cloud over me. Pushing the button on the garage door opener, I ran for the driveway and stood in the rain for a while. Then I gathered my strength and got the tools I would need: rubber gloves, paper medical mask (I have no idea why we had these..but I'm glad we did), old towels, and lots of plastic trash bags.

I opened the freezer again, and even through the mask, I almost passed out. The pizza had exploded out of the box and the plastic that was sealed around it had blown up like a pizza balloon. I won't describe the shrimp or the chicken or the wilted bread. Just remember that I am short and this is a top loading freezer. I had to stick my head in everytime I pulled something out. And there was about 4" of "liquid" in the bottom. I had to use old towels to sop it up.

I rinsed the whole thing out with pinesol, and left the bucket sitting in the freezer. All the windows are open.

Then I realize how bad I smell. So I step into the laundry room (which is connected to the garage) and strip off my clothes and immediately put them in to wash. I run upstairs and get in the shower and scrub. I can't get that smell off my hands.. I feel like Lady MacBeth.

I then have my real coke.. consider adding some rum for medicinal purposes, but decide against it. Good thing, since I haven't had that much sugar or caffeine in a while. That was probably all my body could handle.

And you see.. while I am sitting here typing this.. there is another adventure waiting for me. Remember those tubes of watercolor I stuffed in my pocket at the studio...and remember how I stripped down in the laundry room and immediately washed the clothes? That's right.. I washed three tubes of watercolor. Burnt umber...raw umber... yellow ochre.

I'm afraid to go downstairs and look in the washing machine.

I told Dev we were going out for Chinese tonight.

Pears and Crystal - Day 8

Put in some of the darks in the crystal, and shadows. Working on the shadow on the pear. Next will be a layer of refracted (?) color in the crystal.. touches blues, reds, purples. Then pulling out some of highlights and smoothing some of the edges a bit.

Meanwhile.. my husband sent me the link to this little java game The goal is to see how many of the little squares you can get connected. It's addictive!

I'm going through the w3schools html certification program in hopes of understanding html better so that I can then move on to bigger and better things. I know a mishmash of it just from doing webpages, but there a lot of little things I never learned. Who knows.. maybe someday I will be a computer geek!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Pears and Crystal - day 7

Still struggling with this one. Funny how sometimes a painting just flows from your brush, and sometimes you fight for ever bit of it. Next step is to add some of the darks into the crystal.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Pears and Crystal Day 6

Not sure where this is going.. I'll give it one more day and then it might be scrap paper.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pears and Crystal Day 5

hmmm.. still not looking like much... I'll give it one more day and then decide if I should keep going or move on to something else. I had an art prof that once told the class if you can get 1 in 10 paintings that you are happy with you are doing well. I think that is the reason I don't move on to the more expensive 300# paper.. I don't want to feel like I have to finish a painting or be afraid to try something.

Pears and Crystal - day 4

Starting to look a bit like a bowl now...I had to rest yesterday afternoon, I was getting eye strain. Happens everytime I paint crystal :)

My entries for the NC Watercolor Society and a exhibition in Texas went off yesterday. Wish me luck!

A few weeks ago I went to Lowes and bought every different type of daisy seed packet they had.. short ones, tall ones, all different colors. When I got home, I mixed them all up and spread them in my little flower garden. I had zinnias there last year, and few volunteers are coming up from those. This morning I noticed that many of the seeds have sprouted! Yea! Now, if I can just remember to keep them watered.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pears & Crystal Day 3

The first layer on the crystal is done..payne's gray and q gold.

Look, I'm artist of the day on artistoftheday blog :)

And artist of the month for June on Bridges 2 Design

Monday, May 23, 2005

Pears and Crystal - Work in Progress

This is going slow...a wash for the background and pears, and a start on the first layer for the crystal. I need to speed up or I won't have the slides for the competition by the 8th. Not looking like much at the moment :)

Just have the drawing done today. I think I might have a painting marathon this evening during CSI (the repeats and the peats)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Where do marshmallows come from?

They come from a farm on route 17 in Georgia. Dev and I spotted this giant marshmallow farm on the way back from a rock hunting expedition.. where we found some cool amethyst and clear quartz.

This is one of the crystals Dev found. It hasn't been cleaned yet, so it looks like it has spots, but it won't.. the inside if clear and a gorgeous purple color.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Roses and Grass

I cut the grass today (part of the glamorous life of an artist!) Am I the only one that likes to cut grass? I like the smell.. I like how the shaggy weedy grass turns into nice neat grass. Now I don't like to vacuum :P so I don't think it's cleaning thing.

My roses are fighting black spot and now they are wilting away. They were sooo pretty a few weeks ago:

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Egg Basket - Day 5

Calling it finished..
You can see a larger version and a close up here:
Great Grandmother's Egg Basket

Next in line is a crystal bowl and pears.. I know.. crystal again lol

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Egg Basket - Day 4 1/2

And almost done.. a few touch ups in the morning. I can see already that the little triangles of light to the right of the basket are too even.

Days Three and Four

Adding darks to the weave of the basket. The flash reflected off of the masking fluid and gave a little hit of what it will look like when I remove the mask. Neat!

And deepening the shadows... Added burnt sienna and q gold to the table top, and decided not to put in the wood grain. I think it would be to fussy and fight with the basket. It's getting really close to removing the masking. I need to add some warmth to the eggs and cloth, and just a touch of cool to the table top. Tone down a few the highlights on the basket. Anything else?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Day Two - Egg Basket

Adding color to the basket, and a few more darks.

More darks, developing the shadows on the eggs, & erasing the pencil lines. This photo was taken in sunlight, instead of the whites are much warmer.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Egg Basket - WIP Day One

The contrast was increased on the drawing so you can see it better online. This painting is based on a photograph I took of my great grandmother's eggbasket

Here I've added the masking on the highlights through the basket, on the eggs and on the table. The background and the cloth have their first layer.

Starting the darks in the shadows, and shading on the eggs.

More shadows on the basket, especially in the weaving. Had to take a break and rest my eyes :) So far, so good.. even if it is an "adolescent" painting.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Shelter Auction

Our local animal shelter is having an auction June 10 & 11 at Birkedale Village in Charlotte NC. 100% of the proceeds go to fun surgeries /medical care, toys, food, etc. for cats in the shelter. They would love any cat or animal related paintings,prints, note cards, glass work, sculpture, jewelry, etc. Please send submissions to: CMAC c/o Erin Murphy, 8315 Byrum Drive Charlotte NC 28217

I'm donating the painting above and a few other cat prints. Samurai, Diva, and Emp approved.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Drawing Class

We did one and two point perspective and talked about MC Escher. I think it went pretty well. I always like it when a 12 year old says,"Class isn't over already, is it?" Teaching in my own studio is soooo very different then teaching in a school. We can really concentrate on learning art, and not on discipline or the 1000 other things that they try to throw in to the curriculum for arts classes.

Some of My Favorite Art Quotes

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures. Henry Ward Beecher

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work. - Emile Zola

Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better. - dré Gide

I cannot help it that my pictures do not sell. - Vincent van Gogh

My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.
- Claude Monet

There is no short-cut to art, one has to work hard, be open and flexible in your mind, keep the child alive inside you, and through a whole lifetime be ready to learn new things and – of course – be mentally prepared for a hard punch on your nose – especially when you think you are doing well.
- Bente Borsum

The artist himself is often surprised at the finished work of art. He cannot tell 'how it happened', nor could he repeat the feat at someone's bidding. -John F. Carlson

An artist's job is to surprise himself. Use all means possible. -Robert Henri

Art seems to me to be a state of soul more than anything else. -Marc Chagall

Anyone have one to add?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


My irises are so pretty this year! I can't wait until I have a sunny day to take photos, they are sure to end up in a painting at some point. The trick for larger blooms seems to be allowing the green to die back on it's own (no trimming! no matter how scraggly they look.) and a healthy dose of epsom salts early in the spring. Epsom salts are also good for roses and magnolias...and just sprinkling over the grass.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Strawberries and Crystal - another update!

I went to the Charlotte Art League awards for their juried show and I actually won first place! Woo woo!!! I'm so excited! This is my first blue ribbon and I am so honored. It was a wonderful show with so many beautiful paintings.(I don't think the one I won in 4th grade for standing on my head counts. lol )

I finished the calla lily painting for my brother's wedding present just in time. I hope they like it. I had my mom acting as a spy to find out my new sis-in-law's favorite flower and it's calla lily. The plant the painting was done from is also part of their gift. They can plant in the yard of their new house.

Tonight is the open house for the Charlotte Art League show. I will finally find out what award I won. Honorable mentions get a gift certificate to a local art store so that would be great! I really need to get off the computer and go get dressed. We are going out for chinese (Fong's the best chinese in Charlotte NC! and I hope that get's them a good google spot lol) I have no clue what to wear. I have probably the least artsy wardrobe of any artist can an artist be such a geek at the same time :)

Betsy was here today. She's my trainer and I usually meet with her once a week. Today we did full body, but concentrated on triceps, biceps and shoulders. My arms were shaking while I was trying to paint! Oh well.. they pain we suffer to be healthy :P to shower and search my closet for something appropriate..wish me luck tonight!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A Spell for a Southern Green Anole

This little guy is living in the jasmine vine out side our front door. He is so very elegant. He is a Southern Green Anole Anolis carolinensis seminolus. They are often confused with chameleons because the green anoles can turn brown.

Isn't the internet a amazing? I typed in "little green lizard with red thingy under it's chin" and *poof* I have the Latin name and it's feeding habits!

(Any other closet fantasy readers who get the title reference?)

Today was drawing class. My students were working on texture and trying out conte crayons. They seem to be learning to observe more carefully... I guess all those contour drawings worked.

Spent the morning working on the website and linking...bah. Hopefully tomorrow will be mostly working on the calla lily painting for my brother.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Strawberries and Crystal - Update!

I entered the Strawberries and Crystal watercolor (scroll down to see the painting) in the Charlotte Spring in to Art juried art show. They called and said it won a prize, but they didn't say what it was! I have to go to the awards show on Friday to find out lol It could be anything from an honorable mention to best in show...I'm leaning toward the honorable mention side. It seems like most of the previous winners have been abstracts. That's true for most shows it seems...not sure why that is. Some I can see why they win.. their use of color or composition or depth is amazing. But then some... I just don't get it, they just look like splotches to me. And I have had several years of art history, I understand what is supposed to be the intent of abstract art....I still don't understand why some abstracts are considered good. Oh well, to each his own.

I have the entry ready for the recipe and art contest. I entered the lemons and crystal (homemade lemonade) and the strawberries and crystal (strawberry shortcake.) I think we just get a free recipe book if our work is used, but it was a fun contest anyway :)

A gentleman came to the shop today and purchased a small daffodil painting for his wife. He said her birthday is May 1 and every year he gives her a present everyday between her birthday and Mother's Day. How sweet is that!

Tonight I am filling orders that have backed up while I was away this weekend and working on a painting of calla lilies for my brother's wedding present. He is getting married this weekend and I am so thrilled that he has found someone to share is life with. He deserves to be happy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Gem and Mineral Show in Charleston

Dev and I spent the weekend as vendors at a gem an mineral show. I just can't say enough about how great the people were! I've never been part of a show like that for art or rocks where the people giving the show treated everyone so well. They fed us home cooked breakfast and lunch. They even helped set up and packed up the displays. We had a wonderful time.

On one of our walks to the colisium from the hotel, we saw this creature..some kind of catapiller. Does anyone know what it is??

Monday, April 25, 2005

Gemstones day 2

I didn't get as much done today as I had hope. I really wanted to get all of the first layer done. Hopefully tomorrow will be a painting day.

Tomorrow I pick up the lemons and crystal and drop off the strawberries for the juried show. I also need to get my entry ready for the art and recipes contest. I'm using the strawberries and strawberry short cake...had to make it today and take photos as part of the contest. *yum*