Sunday, September 6, 2015



We were recently privileged to attend a wonderful wedding of two senior citizens who found love later in life.  The bride wanted a traditional wedding as it was her first!  It was a beautiful event, celebrating love at any age, new beginnings and life lived at it's fullest every day we are lucky enough to be on this planet.  

I decided to attempt a portrait of this special day.   This was supposed to be a preliminary sketch for a painting.  I loved the sketch but the painting was a total disaster.  After three attempts, I decided to call it a day.   So, this was framed and presented to the newlyweds.  Normally, it probably isn't a good idea to give a gift of this nature if not requested by the couple.  This can present a problem to the recipients if they don't like it.   We don't socialize with this couple,  so we will never know if it is hanging on their wall or hanging out in their back closet, so no pressure.   I enjoyed creating this portrait and I hope they get joy from reliving this special moment every time they look at it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015



I spent a wonderful week in Reno with the Sierra Watercolor Society.  I presented my Variations workshop and then on Saturday I had the pleasure of doing a demo for the entire society.  This is the painting I started.  Today I spent an hour finishing it up.  The surface is another torn tyvek collaged over a failed painting.  Here is what the painting looked like after the two hour demo.  Can you see the changes and refinements that I made?   
For the workshop, I have everyone using the same image and each day we create a variation with an emphasis on a different element.  Everyone has a different combination of major element, minor element, and color cord.  Here are my value element painting and line element painting.   The shape painting was a disaster!!   
Value Painting

Line Painting

Here are all the fabulous paintings that were created in four days. We were able to put them all on one wall.   Amazing variations and we were just getting started!   If you click on an image, you can see each photo in greater detail.  

Friday, August 7, 2015


War Paint
This is the first painting I have completed in MY NEW STUDIO!  A few more tweaks and I think I will submit it for the next California Watercolor Association National competition.  Deadline at the end of the month, so if you haven't entered yet, get busy!  This is always a great show and will be exhibited in San Francisco this coming year.

This is a painting of my husband whose face is shaded by a hat standing in strong sunlight.  The reflections from his glasses create an interesting pattern.  I liked the torn tyvek surface so much I decided to do it again.  I think I will continue to paint more images on this type of surface.  It is accepting paint in a great way and I am able to paint in a vertical manner.

I was not able to transfer the photos from Dropbox for some reason, so I gave up wasting my time. I have been keeping busy!  I drove down to Paso Robles to jury the awards for the International Society of Acrylic Painters (ISAP)  The show is up and looks great.  If you find  yourself anywhere near Paso Robles, stop by Studios on the Park and check it out.

 I have also been spending my time setting up my very first studio outside of my home!  I was fortunate to fined a space in the Peninsula Art Museum building in Burlingame, Ca, which is about 15 minutes from my home.  It is filled with wonderful artists, several fabulous gallery spaces, a gift shop, library and art school!   The room is 17ft by 12ft and I had fun planning storage and work space.  It also is for some display of my work.  This is a view taken from the open door to the studio.  I am right across from the kitchen space, so easy access to water.  Lots of good light coming through the 3 windows and good overhead lighting as well.
Studio 21 from doorway

Work and storage tables
I found these basket carts at IKEA.  I was also able to buy just table tops which are inexpensive and fairly light weight.  I just placed them on top of two rolling carts.  I can reconfigure the two tables to be back to back for a different work space.  I can also easily move them into the middle of the room if I want to be able to work from both sides of the table.  I love the flexibility of this set up.  Also the storage capacity is amazing and for a visual person, I can see where everything is.  Doing mixed media means I have tons of "stuff" so I needed lots of storage.  I am using the wall behind the table as a pin up board but just using blue painters tape that doesn't damage the paint on the wall.  I can't believe I bought another easel but this one is perfect for the space and not very expensive.  I need to be able to work both vertically and flat plus have work in progress viewed upright from a distance.  

Rolling Cart and paper storage

I also found at IKEA a rolling cart that was perfect to have by my side as I worked with those materials that I needed for whatever current project I was creating.  Boy, did I get good at putting these things together!  Notice the rolled paper bin.  It is a pop up laundry thing from my new favorite shopping place!   In the corner is a very inexpensive plastic shelving unit from Costco and you just stick together without any tools!  So lightweight that I could manage it myself very easily.  

Flat paper storage

My biggest challenge was to figure out how to store large sheets of watercolor in a flat manner.  I realized that if I put two shoe racks together it would be just the right size for the 22 x 30 paper.  I used velcro strips that stick to themselves to tie the two units together and place the whole thing on some bricks to raise units higher.  A flat plastic storage container fits underneath now.

Cozy Corner

A desk made from two cast off file cabinets and a desk top were given to me by the facility as they were going to be thrown out!  Timing is everything!  A small folding bookshelf, folding table and a cozy chair complete the ensemble!!! You can see some of my display wall.  I will be participating in two Open Studio events during the year and people come through and visit the artists' studios all the time.  All the doors have large windows in them so visitors can peek in.  An open door means stop and chat, a closed door means privacy please.  I hope some of you in the area will come by and stop and chat!

Next week I am off to Reno, Nevada to teach and will be doing a demo on Saturday, August 15th for the Sierra Watercolor Society in Reno.  It is going to be a fabulous week.  

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.

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