Sunday, July 19, 2015


DEMO from 3 Amigos paint for the SCVWS

Saturday I had the great honor and pleasure to paint again with Christopher (Topher) Schink and a new member of the 3 Amigos band of renegade artists, Mike Bailey.  We did a demo for the Santa Clara Watercolor Society with the 3 of us simultaneously painting the same model.  My good friend and fellow artist, Carol Worthington Levy, took several hundred great photos.  I haven't quite figured out how to get them from Dropbox to my computer.   It seems I have done it but they don't appear.  More hours of messing around with technology but I will figure it out and share more images of the event.  Lots of volunteers made the event special  and we had a great enthusiastic capacity audience of 120.  This is a dynamic watercolor society and I am proud to be a member.  

This was my finished painting.  I will share the different stages of development when I get the photo challenge sorted out, along with some photos of my "amigos" and some images of our set up and overflowing crowd.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


It was my turn to sit at the new Society of Western Artists' gallery in San Bruno.  I used the time to explore some digital apps for my iPad to replace the PS Touch app which has been discontinued.  I can't find one that has all the features that I have been teaching in the latest workshop I have developed.  I did find one that is quite extensive, so I need to rework the curriculum.  Technology is amazing but it can be frustrating as well!  If you like to play, try iColorama

After I played around with a photo I took of my sister during our trip to Paris, I painted this little painting today.  I had saved all the papers from the trip and used them to collage  pages in my travel sketchbook.  Turns out these papers were from the central market in Florence, not papers from Paris.  I loved the graphics they used in the Central Market promotional materials and signage upstairs in the restaurant areas.  The papers were heavier than I usually glue down so I used a stronger solution of mat medium.   The watercolor resisted at first but I finally was able to get it to stick.  Interesting melding of the papers and paint.

Friday, June 19, 2015





I thought I would share with you my process for developing images from a reference photo.  I recently had the wonderful opportunity to share a week with my sisters in Paris.  I had rented an apartment that had no internet connection, so we searched for an internet cafe and found The Felix Cafe a few blocks from our apartment.  Florent was the barrista and he was so friendly and helpful to us.  The French can be very warm and welcoming.   We looked forward to seeing him every morning.  The last day of our visit,  I took a photo of him, catching him by surprise, then he posed, and then he took a photo with my sister, who is under 5 feet tall.  Florent is well over 6 feet tall.  I could do a fun version of "American Gothic" with this photo.  Perhaps in the future. 
 Because I like his look and personality, I decided to start a series of paintings with Florent as my subject.  Keep in mind, this is not a commissioned portrait, so I will be trying for the essence of the person and expression, not a perfect replication of his features.  

The first step is for me to do a number of drawings.  I like to work with ink so there is no option to erase and correct.  I find by drawing multiple times,  I make adjustments each time and get closer and closer to what I am seeking.  I also become very familiar with the shapes and distances between shapes by doing multiple drawings so that I am able to do a drawing without looking at the reference material.  The top image done digitally in the app Auyrn Ink (a watercolor art app) was created from memory after doing the two bottom drawings.  

I am working on a painting now.  Those steps will be shared in my next post.  Stay tuned!!!

PS  The Watercolor Artist magazine is now available at major bookstores and on line.  Check out the wonderful article they were generous enough to write on my self portraits!

Monday, June 8, 2015


It has been a very exciting week!  I learned that the above painting of my son, Kevin,  received a second place award in the Watercolor division for the annual SWA show.  Their new gallery location is in San Bruno and it looks like a lovely space to exhibit and hold workshops and meetings. 

Society of Western Artists Fine Art Center
527 San Mateo Avenue (between Sylvan & Angus Aves.)
San Bruno, CA  94066
Hours:  Thursday - Saturday
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
(650) 225-9250

 Finding suitable locations for art groups to meet and share is getting more and more difficult.  Expecially, in the Bay Area where rents are skyrocketing because of the hi tech companies booming growth.  I am looking forward to seeing the show.  My turn to sit at the Gallery is Friday, July 2nd, so come by and say hello and take a look for yourself.  

Then, I returned from a gorgeous weekend with family in Cambria to find my advance copies of the August issue of Watercolor Artist in the mailbox!  I am so excited to have a 10 page spread in this beautiful magazine.  I was very honored that they asked to showcase my work.   Below is a url telling more about it.  Looks like the August issue will hit the newsstands on June 16th!  Don't ask! There doesn't seem to be an explination for why the dates on the magazine don't correspond with when they actually appear on the newsstands.  If you want a copy, Barnes and Noble carries the magazine.  

If the article gets your artistic juices flowing and you would like to learn some of these ideas and techniques, you can check out the workshop page of this blog for dates and locations where I will be teaching.

Monday, June 1, 2015


I just returned for a 3 week fabulous vacation. The first part was a Roads Scholar tour in Florence with incredible docents explaining in detail about so many famous works of art that I studied in Art History.  Then, off to Paris for 5 days where I finally was able to go to Giverny and be inspired by Monet's surroundings, then back to the L'Orangerie where the huge waterlily paintings hang.  And so much more.

While I was gone, I received an email informing me that the video of our "Three Amigo's" live demo in February up in Santa Rosa was up on UTube.  They did a fabulous job and I enjoyed seeing the progression of Topher and David's work.  I was too engrossed in what I was doing to stop and focus on their part.  It is very uncomfortable watching and listening to myself.   I won't point out what I hate in case you didn't notice!  This video is 45 minutes long.  If you would prefer to see it on the UTube site, here is the link:

I will be participating in another 3 person live demo sponsored by the Santa Clara Watercolor Society.  Here is the information if you are interested in being part of the audience.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 20, 2015


Add caption

Christopher "Topher" Schink and Skip Lawrence publish (through Cheap Joe's Art Supplies) a very informative and exciting magazine, called The Palette Magazine.   It has been one of my favorite publications for years.  Early this year I had great fun doing a three artist demo in Santa Rosa, Ca. with the impressive Mr. Topher  Schink and David Lobenberg who is a fabulous watercolor portrait artist from Sacramento.  The latest issue of The Palette Magazine has sequenced photos of each of our interpretations of the model, along with some additional information about each of us.  I knew about the article, but imagine my surprise when I finally received my copy in the mail and saw my self on the cover!  

If you don't already subscribe to The Palette Magazine, you are missing out.  You can order it through Cheap Joe's website.  Worth every penny.  I always read it cover to cover as soon as it arrives.  There is a very intriguing process for mono printing described in this issue  which I can't wait to try.  

I have updated my workshop schedule, so check it out.  If you are local to the San Francisco Bay area,  I will be participating in another 3 person portrait demo for the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society with Topher Schink and Mike Bailey.  It will be at the Los Altos Town Hall on Saturday, July 18th.  It's going to be a fun event.  I hope many of you can join us!   

Saturday, April 18, 2015


As technology changes at the speed of light, it can be challenging to keep up.  On the other hand, we,  are able to do amazing things with just a little knowledge and practice.  The best part is we don't have to know the science behind the wizardry!!!!

I have been an Apple lover for years.  Working at home without an IT Department, I had to be able to figure things out pretty much on my own.  Thank G-d for my kids and grandkids who can help me out when I get into trouble, but the intuitive nature of the Apple products have served me very well.  I finally broke down and bought an iPhone 6 Plus because the screen was finally big enough for me to see stuff on it and the keys were big enough for me to hit the right one the first time!  I don't need to have my phone glued to my body at all times, so the larger size works just fine for me.  The biggest surprise to me was the camera in the phone.  I still can't get over the color accuracy.  It is spot on and I no longer have to adjust the color when I photograph my art work.  With all my other cameras I struggled to get the color on the screen and in a print out to look like the original.  Boy, those days are happily gone.   So, since I had a nice camera in my phone I decided to invest a little in a few extras.  I bought one of those extension sticks, thinking I could take some unusual angles.  That came with an attachable tripod.  I also bought a small table top tripod for the phone and some attachable lenses.  Since so much of my work involves working from a photograph, I wanted to expand my possibilities without spending a fortune on extra equipment.  I downloaded an app called CAMERA PLUS, which turned out to be one of the best moves I could have made... and here is why....

I like to enter competitions where the acceptance requires that you provide camera ready art for the publication.  I never had the equipment or technical skill to take that kind of photograph and hired a professional photographer to do it for me.  Sometimes the painting was already framed and twice it was in a national show and wouldn't be back before the deadline for submitting the photo to the publication.  Lucky for me, those two times the paintings were local and I was able to solve the problem but lots of added stress.  I never professionally photographed my work "just in case" because of the expense.  Enter the iPhone 6 with an 8 megapixel camera.  In the Camera Plus app there is a setting where you take the photo at the full 8 megapixels in tiff format which means there is no compression.  I put the phone/camera on the tripod for steadiness and attached the ear buds which will act as a shutter release by clicking the volume control on the cord.  Now I can take my own professional photographs and I don't need special lighting, a high end digital camera or any advanced photographic expertise....the new technology does it all for me.

The image above is the result of my first professional photo adventure.  It looks slightly distorted here because it is a much higher resolution than the blog is designed for, but,  I wanted to show you an example.

With my tripod and "selfie stick" I am going to experiment with the video capabilities in the phone and try creating some small videos of different techniques.  What technologic discoveries have you made that have enhanced your art making abilities?  Please share.  We learn and grow from each other.

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