Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Something's a Little Fishy!

Photographed with a Panasonic DMC-2525 in natural light
Photographed at night with an I-Phone, notice how the flash changes the color.
Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a rut?  Just that sort of feeling led me to check out an online tutorial for painting watercolor Koi, and here is the result.  Pretty fun.  If you would like to try it, here is the link to a tutorial by Lian Zen.

Hopefully, my watercolor group will enjoy this as much as I did, since it is an exercise I am assigning them next Monday.

My friend Wendy liked this process so much, she used this wet into wet technique to paint her most recent elephant.  She owns a bed and breakfast in Tanzania and is doing a series of animal watercolors for sale to support a non-profit she and her husband have established to promote education about autism in Africa.  Their own young son has been diagnosed with Autism and Wendy and her husband Mathias Bali know first hand the lack of programs available for children with autism in Africa.  Click on the underlined links to learn more about travel to Tanzania or to see how to support Autism education.

Isn't it colorful?  Perfect for a child's room!  If you would like to purchase this elephant, send me an email at and I will forward it to Wendy or contact her through the Umali Bed and Breakfast.

And speaking of colors, I am in LOVE with Prussian Blue!  It was not in my Koi Water Color Pocket Field Sketch Box, so I had to purchase a tube of it separately.  When I worked in oils, it was my absolute favorite blue.  It is such a wonderful color to mix with almost every other color in the box.  I also use Verdana a great deal as you can see in the Koi paintings above. Do you have a favorite color of blue?

Another of my recent paintings with just the barest hints of blue. Photographed with a Panasonic DMC-2525 in natural light.

The same painting photographed with an I-Phone in the evening with artificial light.  Quite a difference!  While I really appreciate the convenience of always having a small portable camera with me in my I-phone, clearly a better camera should be used for images that are important to you.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Not So Very Wild

We recently spent three weeks rafting in Idaho and were very excited about seeing such an abundance of wildlife. 

On the first part of the trip, the Middle Fork, we witnessed the regeneration of the forest after a devastating fire two years ago.

Some of the motley crew on the first morning.


And osprey find the dead trees a perfect perch.

A tired and ragged butterfly catches a brief ride on the raft.

Of course, I took my paints, but the wildlife doesn't pose for paintings, so I will share a few photos...
This little bee was very friendly, the wasps...NOT SO MUCH!
I was stung twice while sitting and painting.  Everyone else on the trip was stung as well.  Fortunately there was no need of the many epi-pens that we carried with us.

The butterflies were fascinated by the bright colors of my paint box.

And a different one by the salt on my ankle.
And who knows what I had spilled on the arm of my chair, but both the butterflies and the bees visited this spot multiple times.

 Here is what I was painting in the journal I kept during the trip...

And the subject of the painting. This cabin was built by a homesteader who also worked for the forest service. 

This little doe was very bold and came right into camp to check us out.  

Sometime in the night either she or her much abused sister thoroughly chewed a sweaty river shirt which one of my fellow campers who had left it hanging on a tree outside his tent.  Every critter seemed to need salt!
The homesteader had planted many apple, cherry, apricot and peach trees and when he died he left the property to the Forest service with the provision that that they should maintain the many irrigation ditches he had dug and lined with rocks. The deer (and rafters too) enjoy this little oasis.  All of the fruit trees where well pruned up to the level that the deer could reach!

Grabbing an apple.  Sorry about the blur!  No time to change to a different shutter speed!
Leaving this little Eden of cultivated land which could only be reached by boat we traveled on down the the Salmon River.

My hat made a resting place for the dragonflies that were hunting over the river.
Proud to carry a dragonfly!

Geese ignore our passage.

A raptor is not so complacent...hawk?  eagle?
What does Peter see just behind that large dark rock?
Male and female bighorns!
Having checked us out, they bring their babies into camp...

The wildest thing we encountered was a great big dog another rafting group brought with them.  He rudely terrorized these little ones.  He thought it was all in fun, but they definitely did NOT!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Windows To Other Worlds

Eitenne Gros image via

Artists are fascinated by light, so it is no surprise that they love windows.  Large bright north facing windows that do not cast shadows across their work.  Or ceilings of skylights.

Georgia O'Keefe looking out the window of her Abiqui, New Mexico home.  Image via

Cebolla Church by Georgia O'Keefe (detail) Image Via
John French Sloan.  Image via

Artists frequently pose models in front of windows or paint what they see out of windows. 

Andrew Wyeth was no stranger to this tradition.  In his lifetime, he first  learned to paint and draw under the tutelage of his famous father, N.C.Wyeth.   
N.C. Wyeth, Trial of the Bow

Over Andrew's lifetime, he painted more than three hundred works that explored the themes of visual complexities posed by the transparency, symbolism, and geometric structure of windows.

During our busy May, my husband had to make a trip to Washington D.C.  My husband was working, donning his armor of logic, statistics, and persuasion to fight against a diversion dam in New Mexico's Gila Wilderness.  He visited Congressional offices and Department heads, helping to educate leaders about the pros and cons of this water project. I grabbed the opportunity to go with him... despite heavy obligations planning a week of art camp for 8-12 year olds from around the entire Diocese.  I wanted to see the show of Andrew Wyeth's work on exhibit at  the National Gallery of Art.  I never expected to be stunned.  But I was and spent most of a day there.  Although, I will share a few images of these works here, you cannot imagine how different they look when you see them in person.  They are quite large and you can see the brush strokes, scrub marks where the brush was used vigorously enough to damage the paper, and sometimes bits of grass or dirt.  Please consider a visit to Washington D.C. to see this show if you live in the area.  I promise you will be stunned as well!

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Half Day at Half Moon Bay and What Happened to May?

Off to the Beach
A Long, Long way.
Said S & C

The Wildlife Came Out to Play
So We Decide to Go Another Way.

To Find Another Way
We Climb the Bluff
That Overlooks the Bay.

At Last!
A Place for Girls
to Play.
 To Run About
And Maybe Shout.

To Sneak and Hide
This Side...that Side.

Beyond the trees
"What shall we see?"

A different kind of tree!
A Place to Climb
For You and Me!
At Last
A Different Sort of Beach
We Finally Reach

What's that out there?
A few more, I swear...
No need to grouse...
 It is their house!

It hard to say
We cannot stay
At Half Moon Bay.

But on the long way out
A few more things to be glad about!

It Was a Very Good Day
The Time We Spent at Half Moon Bay.