The Process of Making “Daffodils Jubilant”

So I thought I would document some of the stages of the painting process of this piece.  I started with a photo of a bouquet I had made for church, then cropped to find what I wanted / thought would make a good painting. Once I decided on composition then I  lightly sketched it onto 300 lb watercolor paper, then put in a faint Winsor blue wash for the background greens.fullsizeoutput_2c55 Then started with light washes of grays – and oh there are so many grays that you can make – and so easy to get wrong!  Here are some pics of the painting as it progresses from start to fullsizeoutput_2c58finish. And many undocumented steps in between

fullsizeoutput_2c59It is so challenging trying to get the yellows right! But, know I need to get the flowers close to being finished before I start layering in the greens.  Right now reminds me of some sort of wallpaper, or lovely fabric.

fullsizeoutput_2c57Okay finally started with getting in the greens and some darks, but flowers still need so many more glazes to make them pop – and you do have to let your paper totally dry between each layer, other wise turns to mud. And here is the finished piece (finally!) : fullsizeoutput_2c52 With the darks added, I ended up blotting up some of the lighter areas while still wet to get the depth in the background, then kept adding more gray in the white daffodil leaves and a wash of gray over some of the white whites. Finished after I added a wash of green in center daffodil’s shadow on white leaf, and purple to lower right daffodil’s shadow in tube.

I have enjoyed painting my past two daffodil paintings in pure traditional watercolor fashion, but am already missing painting more intuitively and freely.  Yet feel that I should pursue in this vein to really learn more about color and layering.  It has been a lesson in perseverance.

And one final note of gratitude, am finally using 2 Kolinsky (hair) brushes that my husband gave to me over 15 years ago (not cheap).  What workhorses they are – hold a ton of water/color and can go to the tiniest point when needed.  Ah the joy of having the right tools to do the job! So glad that I never dipped them into my acrylics and ruin them.

Stealing Like An Artist

  • I love the book by Austin Kleon, ” Steal Like an Artist”!  It takes away all guilt I may have felt in trying to emulate a favorite artist I love – Shirley Trevena. In my quest to get back into watercolors, I took a small section of a Shirley Trevena painting and put my own spin on it.  (You are viewing the results) . Since I have been painting daffodils the last 3 weeks, I thought “why not try her style?” Had I not done this I never would have discovered what paints to use to make that luscious blue purple sky – a coat of cobalt blue followed by winsor purple with some watercolor pencils while wet.  And am so excited about the depth of red with orange mingled into it.  Now this is the way I want to paint, for now….
  • fullsizeoutput_2c4f.jpeg .  And here is one final quote from Austin’s book “Steal like an Artist”, page 41:  ” In the end, merely imitating your heroes is not flattering them.  Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter them.  Adding something to the world that only you can add.”

Still No Engagement Ring, but do have/had a finished painting

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Ha! Just finished writing the most amazing paragraph as to finally getting back into watercolors after finding the photo of this flower arrangement I had done years ago, and forgot to hit save as I tried to figure out how to place the text beside the photo, and then lost it all…. Luckily, that did not happen to the painting – tho it does already have a new good home.

My desire to paint more watercolors has been rekindled, and I have already started my second.  I love the feeling of light and translucency that you (or I should say me) can’t get with other mediums.  But, it is also unforgiving.  With acrylics and an “oops” you just paint over it with gesso and go again, or mixed media, oh just collage over it.  Not so with pure watercolor.  How long I stick with this time will tell. I am enjoying it’s challenges for now.

As to finding the lost engagement ring of my mothers (mentioned in an earlier post) it is still missing. But that is okay.  I know it will turn up one day just like my desire to paint with watercolors did.

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.)