Dreamscape 30 in 30 day 3

Jen's dreamscape

Jen’s dreamscape

Today was a day to play and learn about color.  On my dog walk early morning, I try to figure out what pigments I could use to reproduce various colors.  Coming down the hill, looking out onto the mesa that is greener than usual because of recent rains, there are spots that have the early morning sun hitting them  which are a glowing pale red orange/peach but the greens are blued because of the atmospheric distance.  This is the scene I had in mind, clouds pressing down but plays of teals and peaches.  The painting became a different kind of view.

My daughter was with me gallery sitting while I played with paint, and she played on her guitar writing a song, and she fell in love with this piece — “Stop Mom, don’t do any more on it.  Can I have it for my room?”  How could I resist?

So Jen’s Dreamscape it is and it has all deckled edges so I may mount in on top of mat board in a frame.  I scanned this one to try and get the subtle colors and it’s almost accurate. If you notice the peachy long area with the deep red top edging (it is under the area that has the brightest pink at the horizon line) that area in person has the appearance of a peach slice showing the darker red of the area around the pit of the fruit.  That’s the benefit of playing!  you find techniques that with careful noting in a journal (and luck the next time) you can try and recreate for other uses.

The colors i used were cobalt turquoise, quinacridone red, and transparent yellow.  I will play with these colors again.

The 30 in 30 painting challenge is one that I’ve participated in twice yearly for several years and it is always a fun, challenging and productive month when I do it. Click on the link to see other people’s works that they’ve done today.  there are about 1000 artists all over the world participating this time.



Day 24 another portrait sketch

hard worked portrait of daughter #2

hard worked portrait of daughter #2

“What’s on your mind?”

That’s the prompt for this section in the blogging software I use.

Well, frankly….  I’m thinking…wow…I don’t like doing portraits!

I learned a bunch in our painting class today on how to draw faces, how to get proportions and angles, but I sure did struggle over this!  so many erasures of features and shading…she looks blotchy and doesn’t have the soft smooth skin that she has in reality.  But it does look more like her than her sister’s sketch looks like her.

Day 22 — And now for something COMPLETELY different!

portrait sketch

sketch of my older daughter

I think I mentioned that in my class and in the painting group we’re studying portrait drawing and painting this month. As long as it involves watercolor or drawing, I’m up for learning new skills although I don’t have any interest in portrait painting of humans — although there are a few dogs that I would love to paint.

Anyway, this is a sketch I’ve labored over in class with guidance from the teacher, and then erased a lot of it and worked on it more at home, and it’s much closer to what my daughter looks like, so it’s what I used on my lightbox to sketch out on watercolor paper.

So painting starts in class tomorrow, and depending on how it goes, I may show you!  can you tell I’m not hopeful??!!  Smile…

Better Days Ahead

"Better Days Ahead".  Sunflower watercolor by Rachel Murphree

“Better Days Ahead”.  Watercolor Sunflowers painted from life. Click on image to view larger

This week was my sweet in laws’ 64th wedding anniversary.  Just imagine being married that long!  wow.

It was a quiet day at home because my father in law is recovering from a heart attack and pacemaker implant. While he was in the hospital, my mother in law and I bought sunflowers to cheer us up, so I thought I’d paint them. They were droopy in real life, but that doesn’t matter when painting, I could imagine them vibrant and full of life.

Their better days are in the painting, and our better days are ahead!. Charles is getting stronger every day and we are so thankful.

Sketching around

Value sketch of winter squashes

Value sketch of winter squashes

Before I went out of town, I was working on a value sketch of three winter squashes. I’ve transferred it to a 8″ square of Lanaquerella watercolor paper which is a new surface for me. I hope I remember to take in progress pictures for you. I was really glad to see I’d made some notes on colors and techniques to use, because the day I sketched this seems like years ago!

Thanks everyone for your kind words, encouragement and offers of support during this past month. It was a difficult time for our family, and I am so glad I made the trip up for my sister’s funeral and to visit with my family. It’s tough being geographically so far away from them.

Sketch of garden figure

Ceramic turtle in garden

Since being home I have been knitting, and getting back into the groove of life with two active teens/preteens, and doing a bit of sketching. It was fabulous to sit in our cooler weather one morning in the courtyard and sketch this garden figure.

Plein aire snapdragons

Plein aire snapdragons

Snapdragons in my courtyard garden. I tried some plein aire (or outside) painting of snaps in my courtyard garden. With the wind it was a bit challenging and the paint puddles on the palette dried even quicker than indoors, of course. I was listening to the WNIT college women’s basketball championship game between our GREAT UTEP Women Miners and Rutgers. We held our own, coming behind by at least 14 points, maybe more, and only losing by 2 points because we ran out of time. It was an amazing, nailbiting game, I paced a great deal and painted in between pacing! YD and friend went to the game with the grands, and they had a wonderful, emotional time. Saw history being made right here in El Paso!

Speed puzzling

We have been involved in home renovations this past fall. Weeding out more kid items and moving into the next phase of parenting as the girls need more space and privacy. Our front hall used to be the kids’ art room and is now the bistro, another place to gnosh or do puzzles. While having coffee there the other day Don did some speed puzzling–what is wrong with that he says–the colors match. Good thing he is more precise with the bamboo floors he installed!




Mother’s Day

The girls made a lovely Mother’s Day dinner for Jean and me last weekend. They designed it themselves w menu, poem written by J, and they did most of the cleanup. Just a lovely day!!



Christmas pictures










hand knitted socks from Aunt Marti for girls and Violet the doll








Beautifully decorated San Jacinto Plaza, downtown El Paso

My Presents








and some of my presents.


Aren’t those measuring cups adorable?  The video set is fabulous, I’m watching it in bits and pieces, and I love my new electric teakettle.

Spring Break

This year we stayed home, had sports camp in the morning and fun in the afternoons.  One day we did altered books with friends and had a lot of fun.  here are some pictures of the day.