All posts by jannazuber

About jannazuber

Wife, mother (of 5), grandmother and passionate about making art! And now that the kids are basically gone I am immersing myself into my art, and when time play the hammered dulcimer and garden.

Going With the Flow, and it can be painful at times

I have been blessed to be painting with a wonderful group of artist for the past 14 years. We meet every Wednesday in Galesville, Md. a sleepy community on the West River, in a historic schoolhouse. We call ourselves the West River Artists Association, and come from all parts of Md, DC and Virginia. We paint in the mornings and then over lunch critique each others works over lunch.  It has been an absolutely invaluable growing and enriching experience for me, for which I will always be grateful.

But some of our familiar faces do leave us for one reason or another and it leaves a hole. Then someone else gets invited to join our group and brings their own mark, and helps fill the void left by the departed artist/friend.

A few years back we welcomed Claudia Rutherford. She is a fabulous watercolorist, specializing in animals – cats in particular.  She has won many awards, even named for one of the top 10 women artists in America, and most  recently published in”art journey ANIMALS A Collection of Inspiring Contemporary Masterworks”, edited by Jamie Markle, published by North Light Books. Here is on one of her master pieces, although the title should have been “Furball” because it looks exactly like my childhood cat that had at least nine lives.


Claudia shared with us last week that she and her husband would be moving  to Virginia in a month – a job change for him, and a 3 hour drive from us.  Yikes will we miss her and her assistant dog Libby, a labro doodle, that when you take the red vest off becomes an energized bundle of love!

Claudia’s quiet and friendly demeanor, keen eye, and incredible skill with watercolors will be sorely missed on a weekly basis. We will be hard pressed to fill her void.  And, I give Claudia thanks for giving me the courage to try watercolors again.

I am not Van Gogh

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I am grateful that I have experienced in my life time the thrill of selling a painting for real money, and not always to my relatives who I think may feel sorry for my addiction to painting.  I am sorry that Vincent did not get to feel that affirmation of  “keep on painting” in his life here.

Tonight was the opening reception of my solo show at a Greek restaurant in nearby Laurel, Md. ( that is where George Wallace was shot btw in the late 60’s I believe) I have had quite a few solo shows in local venues, but never where the opening reception to “meet the artist” is from 5:30 – 8.

I bribed my husband and close by family to change their schedules so that they could be there for the designated time. I needed moral support!  And bless them, they did. I am so grateful.

But thanks to good advertising to the organization that got me to display there – dclaARTS – the turnout was beyond good – the place was packed! (think I am still in shock) and even sold 3 – maybe more paintings.The feedback I got from the displayed work keeps my fires going to continue my passion.

I do not paint to make money. It is the rare year when I break even. I paint because I love to, need to, have to.



Engagement ring and photo

In my last post I said I wanted to pick up my watercolors again.  Priding myself as being one to waste not, thought I would get back into watercolors by finishing another daffodil painting I had started a few years back, based on a photo I had taken of a bouquet I had done for church.  (remember those days with a “real” camera and “real” prints you had developed?)

Okay, so I  found the start of the painting on 300 lb watercolor paper ( heavy, and expensive) Found my journal where I sometimes make notes of how I painted pictures, especially wanted to check and make sure I had the right colors. I scrubbed clean my palette for fresh paint, made sure my paints were on hand, laid out my expensive watercolor brushes. But, I could not find my reference photo or sketch amongst my many places of storing important things in my studio.

Which sidelines me to my mom’s (Nini) story about her engagement ring.  In her final years she was so very sad about her perceived theft of her engagement ring during a hospital stay.  After she did transition to her next life, a friend was helping me sort through her 93 years of stuff. While going through her sock drawer, one pair felt a bit hard. Sure enough, tucked safely into a pair of rolled up blue socks was her engagement ring and wedding band.  My siblings thought I should have it, since I had been her caregiver in her final years.  I accepted and wore those rings with much love and affection.

And then I noticed a prong was broken on the diamond. So I took the rings off and put them someplace very safe until I could get them to be repaired. That was two years ago.  I have yet to find them.  Anywhere.

Luckily, the photo finally was located tonight in an obscure spot. Tomorrow I paint.




The daffodils are up, and this is my first post in almost 2 years


I posted the daffodil painting, a watercolor done many years ago, since they have started blooming this year – about a month earlier than usual. When I see this painting hanging in a dear friend’s house, it makes me want to pick up watercolors again.

I have kind of been all over the place with the mediums that I have worked with – oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, oil pastels, inks and collage. Tara Funk Grimm, a Maryland/Delaware artist introduced me to collage with painting some 14 years ago, and it has opened up many doors for me since then. At about the same time I was invited to join a group of artists that get together every week to paint. We paint for a few hours then over lunch critique each other, it has been an invaluable growing experience!

I am not sure what I should say in this blog when I write, but it will be art related. I will try to avoid politics, you can read that elsewhere. I will try to write at least once a week, but don’t hold me to it.

I stopped blogging for a while because life was too full. Life is still full, but once again I am trying to assert myself as an artist. Everything you read about being a credible visual artist seems to say, if you do not blog, well you aren’t really an artist. The most recent being a delightful easy read book by Austin Kleon, “Show Your Work”. His first book, “Steal Like An Artist” was also good. (Now if he would just write the how to book on how to make the blog look like you want it to.)



A Week After Springmaid Water Media Workshops

Still riding high on the incredible week of instruction and comraderi at the art workshop at Springmaid Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  My instructor was Pat Dews – water media expert, teacher extrodinairre!  Besides being an incredible teacher, she was a wonderful actress while instructing us – her favorite oft repeated line was ,” I’d rather be in Holywood “. Other teachers affectionately dubbed Pat as “crazy”, but, in a very good way.  She just gave and gave, and when not teaching, made a point of seeing each one of her 22 students that week at least once, if not twice a day.  Wow.

I came home with 7 starts and have finished 3 maybe 4 since I have been home.  But, as she said repeatedly, ” You have to paint at least 100 paintings /starts to get better… ” Only 93 more to go!

Thank you Pat for an intense week of sharing your knowledge! I am still riding high.


First Snowdrops and Crocuses are UP! And, I am packing my bags for Springmaid!

This Saturday will be heading to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to take a week long workshop with Pat Dews at Springmaid Resorts with 9 other art friends from The West River Artists Association.  As to art workshops, it is the best deal out there! Aside from being located right on the ocean, there will be over 100 other artists from all parts of the country partaking in a marathon of instruction and painting 24/7 from the country’s leading water media instructors.  It is a wonderful escape from one’s usual daily routine, especially after a long winter.  All food, beverages and wonderful studio space are included.  So much fun to meet new like minded art folks as well as friends made from the past.

Dews requires us to bring a boatload of materials, but I have no doubt it will be worth every penny. Watercolors, acrylics, inks, collage materials and more, I know I will be in heaven. And, the weather forecast is in the 60’s and up!  Can you tell that I am excited?  Looking forward to being stretched and warm.

So much to learn on so many levels

DSC_0345Okay, so I was hoping to find the picture of the wall I painted for our church nave this past fall of 2014, and 40 minutes later I still can’t find it in i-photo. So, since I opened this post up I think instead I will share with you a picture that I had painted and sold over 8 years ago.  I had not documented it, so it was not in my files, hence gone from my mind.  But by chance this past fall I met up again with the owner and she invited me into her home to see it. She had the work re-framed beautifully and frankly, well I could not believe how much I liked it!  My usual m.o. is the huge urge to rework older pieces.  This one was truly inspired and I am so happy with it the way it is.  oh dear muse, would you please come back?

Red Flower Series Because it is Still February and Cold!

26 February, 2015 23:48

A dear friend sent me a surprise gift this month.  I wanted to thank her in a special way, so painted her a little picture of a red flower bud from my blooming clivea plant.  I liked this little painting so much that I have already done 2 more bigger variations (aha, a series) and want to do even more.

This is monumental for me because I am using watercolors.  They used to be the only thing I painted with. But, thirteen years ago our fourth child died suddenly and I had no desire to paint, and once I restarted, it was with acrylics and collage.

I am using alot of red to symbolize the the warmth lacking in our physical world, and the black and white to describe the cold and snow which seems to be endless this year. I am also finally putting to good use my beautiful Kolinsky brushes which my husband gave to me years ago to help inspire me to paint in watercolors.

Time helps heal.

And here it is February 2015 – the longest month of the year.

12 February, 2015 16:13

Trying again to get on top of this blog, but find it so difficult because I have so many things I love, and soak up my time.  little voice: “but if you want to succeed as an artist, besides your website and ha – painting, one should also blog.”

So it is now February, always the dreariest and longest of months.  I thought more people died in February, but from my research looks like January wins that one.  Understandable, maybe. In reading “Healing After Loss, Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief”  my eye caught a quote from one of my hero painters : Vincent van Gogh.

“The best way to know God is to love many things.” hmm

I love many things, with people usually being number one here.  But I really love to paint, and trying not to feel guilty for not spending as much time with people, but more time in my studio.  Finally I have completed 2 paintings, one a throwback to my watercolor only days – soon to be published on my website, and the other a mixed media collage on paper, published today.  Both inspired by snorkeling in Puerto Rico this past January.

Stay warm.

While at the Grand Canyon –

Am at the Grand Canyon for a few days with some family and friends.  This is becoming a tradition for those who are super fit ( not I) for they hike from the South Kiabob down to the bottom and back up the Bright Angel – 17 and 1/2 miles.  Grueling, not for the faint of heart and all sorts of warning signs – DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS HIKE  in one day – DEATH or worse. Anyway at 4 a.m. I wished my man well and went back to sleep. 

Later in the morn while checking emails and the like, saw that my artist friend Ann Buss came in the top 10 picks for the online light, space and time online figurative art competition!  Am so glad that she entered for she is one awesome painter of figures. Congrats Ann!

Now to go out and do some sketches and photos while waiting for the gang to return.  There are some awesome abstracts with the shadows on the rocks.  Just an incredible place to be.