Saturday, February 27, 2016


I just received an email from the Flashbag company that they are going to stop manufacturing, possibly indefinitely.  I am disappointed because I love their products and get so many comments on my bags.  It is the perfect combination of utility and self-promotion!   They are extremely sturdy but I managed to wear out two of them over a period of several years of constant use and abuse.   I hope I can replace them before the March closing.  If you would like a wonderful way to silently advertise your artistic talent, and or have some great gifts, now is the time to act.  Their website is

Maybe we can give them enough business to encourage them to continue!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


This is the last demo I did for the workshop last week.  The lesson was creating a painting on a collaged surface.  I decided to keep this one in sepia tones as the background papers were warm neutrals.  The wording was from a small brown paper bag I picked up at WholeFoods intended for a line of hand made soaps.  Inspiration is everywhere when you do mixed media!  Trash becomes coveted treasures and nothing gets tossed out.  I am now spending this week reorganizing all my "treasures" so I can find them when I need them. It is also useful to go through these sorts of supplies to remind oneself of what is there.  It is like treasure hunting in your own supply closet.  

I discovered I have quite a few unfinished paintings.  This might be a good time to see them with fresh eyes and get some fresh ideas.  

Here are the last of the student paintings, many of them are a work in progress.  Most of the group was not excited to be doing a self portrait but realized the value by the time the workshop was over.  The workshop is NOT about doing a self portrait.  That is just the vehicle to experience the process.    The last image is a wonderful example of how the information learned during this workshop can be translated into any other subject.  I can't wait to see how this nest egg painting is ultimately resolved!

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Here is another demo from the workshop I finished last night.  This one is another way to use stencils,  YUPO is such a fun surface to work with once you get the hang of it.  Most in the workshop are experiencing this surface for the first time.  I think they are having as much fun as I am!

Here are some of the paintings they produced using YUPO and stencils based on their Notan (2 value) images created with an iPad app.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016



This was my demo painting for today.  We were exploring shapes, stencils, working on a YUPO surface following some ideas we had created using various photo manipulation apps.   Everyone did a fantastic job today.  I hope to have photos to share at the end of the week of everyone's work.  Four o'clock seems to come around before you know it and we have to vacate the room.  I didn't stop to take photos today, but will be sure and do so from now on.  
This is the first time I have added watercolor sticks to the mix and love how they respond to the YUPO surface.  

Tomorrow we will be using our stencils in a totally different way.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Tomorrow starts the beginning of my workshop for the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society.  This is a fabulous group to work with and I am looking forward to sharing some new information with them.  I  workshop artist usually gives a demo the Sunday before the workshop.  I was excited to see some hi tech new equipment set up.  They now have a camera attached to a huge television monitor instead of an overhead mirror.   Everyone loved the improved viewing.  tomorrow I am going to be able to attach my iPadPro to the monitor and it should make taking everyone through the steps of each digital app we are going to learn much easier.  
I decided to work on reconstructed Tyvek again and I am loving the end results.   I need to ruminate on this image and decide if it needs any tweaking.  I see a few small changes I would like to make.  It is challenging when doing a demo because you are standing so close to the painting and there is no way to step back and stand it up for evaluation.  

  This is my friend Mary Spivey who was co-director with me at the Concord Gallery.  Both Mary and the Gallery are gone now, but I wanted to honor her for the wonderful person she was.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


I have been working most of the week on this image.  It is my example for the one day workshop at the end of the month in celebration of Gertrude Stein and her famous haircut.  We will be working with collage.  Since I have such a short period of time, I thought I would stick to one idea.  I call this technique paper quilting.  In fact, I incorporated some fabric in this one, along with hand made papers and some printed tissue paper.  Below is the sequence I followed.

This is the original image I found on the internet.   Next, I simplified the shapes in with the application iColorama.

Using this value pattern, I broke the face into simplified shapes, printed that image out on an a sheet of  paper, took it to the copy shop and enlarged it the size I wanted to work with.

I made a master tracing and  a second tracing where I numbered each shape and then proceeded to cut each shape out in various papers and fabrics and glued them down to my prepared substrate which I had coated with gesso and transferred the image.  There are some good tips and techniques I teach to do this whole process somewhat easily.  

Here is the completed collage.  I could have put in the eyes with ink and called it a day, but I can't leave anything alone.   At this stage, it does look like a quilt.  I wanted to add some paint. 

and here is the actual finished painting.   I think I might work on it a bit more but you get the idea.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


JIM McDOWELL stage 1

This is the beginning of a digital painting of my wonderful friend, Jim, who passed away this year from cancer.  Working on this brings back warm memories and is very therapeutic.   It is going to take a lot more time than the other pieces I have done so far because it is more complicated.  I am experimenting with layers.  This one is expanding on my working knowledge of different brushes, opacities, saving colors, how to hold the stylus etc.  I was very frustrated at one point because I couldn't get the stylus Pencil to make a mark on the tablet.  I kept rechecking the settings and tried all sorts of changes.  I finally figured out I wasn't holding the stylus at the correct angle.  These devices are amazing but require one to spend some quality time acquiring some mastery.  Learning is always fun.  I don't think I will run out of opportunities for learning anytime soon.  

When I am satisfied with the results, I will send the digital file to his daughter.  They can then print out copies for any family member they wish.  

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