Going going gone…

Sorry I’ve been “gone”  from my blog recently, but I have a very good excuse.  I was on a murder jury for nine days, my first jury experience, and it was eye opening, hard, and I’m glad I had the experience.  It certainly messed with my schedule though!  I planned on spending many studio hours reinforcing skills I learned at the three days workshop in the end of March, but that didn’t happen!  I did spend my free time at lunches sketching outside in our redone downtown park, and also read Jan Hart’s fabulous color book during down times.


I found out when my piece Gone But Not Forgotten: Globe Mills will be auctioned.  It will be this Saturday, April 22nd, from 6-6:30.  You can see the piece and others that will be auctioned that evening at this KCOC TV page.  Bidding starts at $140.   This is my second time to participate in the auction and I hope that it sells well! You can read about the auction process details here.

This beautiful historic building was torn down early last year to make new highways.  I hate when that happens.



Contemplation. 16″ x 20″ framed. $250.


I also found out that my piece Contemplation was accepted into the New Mexico Watercolor Society’s spring show in Albuquerque!  The show opening is May 6th from 1-4 at the Expo-NM fairgrounds and is free and open to the public.  In previous years I’ve attended and it is a LOVELY show!  well worth attending if you are in town.  It runs through May 28th and is open Thursdays-Sunday 10-4 pm.

Please share my blog post with anyone you think may be interested in either piece or in following my art progress! and thank you for leaving a comment…



French painter stage 2 — 30 in 30 day 15


French painter a la Julie Caffee-Cruz


In painting class again this week with Julie Caffee-Cruz, we worked more on our version of her award winning painting, Parisian Artist.  It is fascinating to see how differently they all  are turning out, and in fact how different her own painting this time differs from the last time.  His scarf is done with borrowed paint, Schminke Translucent Orange, which is such a yummy color.  I may have to get that for my own collection!  I haven’t done his water bowl yet, so  perhaps that will be orange too to tie in that color a bit more.

Here’s how it looked before the class. I had to do a lot more sketching in of the details before starting to paint. There are still some details left to do on it, and it was a great learning experience.


Have you used Schminke paints? If so, what colors are your favorite?  Or what orange is your fav?

Thanks for stopping by.  I enjoy hearing your reactions to my paintings or my ramblings…

Class work 30 in 30 day 8


Day 8 was painting in our class with Julie Caffee-Cruz.  If you scroll down to the bottom of her “my story” page, you can see her prize winning painting Parisian Artist that we are using to learn from.  So this is obviously in process.  I so enjoy playing with the burnt sienna and ultramarine blue to make the steps he is sitting on.

Day 11 of 30 in 30 — Around the Bend

Around the Bend.  8" x 10" $25.

Around the Bend. 8″ x 10″ watercolor $25.

So in today’s offering we have one painting that combines both elements of my nominal “theme” of this challenge:  Seas and Skies.

This painting was inspired by a trip over a decade ago to the Rio Grande up in Rio Rancho, NM with the kiddos.  It’s been a hectic busy week, after other busy weeks, and I knew for a fact that I would NOT have painted today if it weren’t for this challenge.

So that’s great!

I also know that doing this daily is helping techniques “click” in my brain.  As an example, I started out the sand with an earth yellow color added other colors to it, blues, burnt oranges and then brushed them together to help them blend, making sure to keep the brush strokes horizontal and I think it helped define the sand.  That was from a video I watched last month and the act of painting helped pull that technique from deep in my brain.

There are parts of this that I would have liked to do better, but for the end of a busy week, I’m calling it “done”!

I love hearing from you.  Please let me know you stopped by!

Contemplation: The surface and below…


“Contemplation” 11″ x 15″ watercolor inspired by the Contemplative Garden fountain at UTEP. Click on image to view larger. $99 unframed.

For today’s post I thought I’d give you a finished piece and its accompanying inspiration photo, and then a bunch of in process photos for you to see how this piece came together.

Photo of fountain's surface

Photo of fountain’s surface

I took the photo at UTEP’s Contemplative Garden and it’s the surface of a fountain created by dripping water off of bells above the surface.  You can see the fountain itself at the link for the garden.

contemplation 2 transfering

image printed close to full size on two pieces of paper to transfer.

contemplation 1 drawing

Initial drawing on paper, darkened so you can see the lines.

Because the photo was so dark, and I was using 300 lb paper (quite heavy), my lightbox wouldn’t work to transfer as I usually like to do, when I’m not freehand drawing on the paper.  So I printed out the photo on white paper in a size big enough for the paper, taped the edges together and used Saral transfer graphite paper to transfer the lines.

I was inspired to do this because the painting group I’m in was watching a Soon Warren video on painting koi ponds and I wanted to paint from my own photo.  So I followed her steps working with light washes put on with big brushes, drying it a bit with a hake brush, and then working on areas keeping some edges soft, some hard.

contemplation 3

First light washes of color. Darker dots are masking fluid, a rubbery liquid that dries hard and protects the paper underneath. Later that will be removed.

contemplation 4

after more washes keeping values in mind. darker at the top, in the shade.

contemplation 5

Further on in the process, putting in the dark areas in the bottom right.

So you can see the piece take shape.  Sometimes I lifted and softened edges, sometimes scrubbed out to get the texture of soft that the light on the water (front left) required.

I used many layers on this and lost some of the freshness that I want to get from watercolor, so I painted another in this, starting a series, with less layers, more wet in wet painting and I”ll show you that soon.

I didn’t use masking fluid for the highlights, because the edges dry so hard when you remove the masking.  and it looks artificial unless you soften the edges  a lot.  It’s easier to just lift small reflections from the paint and/or scratch highlights at the end with a calligraphy nib or little razor.

I also didn’t draw all the detail on the paper, because I feel a lot more familiar with the subject.  I got my circles placed and vague lines where I want the dark and light to meet.  More on that in the next post!


contemplation 6

Darker still but I don’t like the front left corner. edges are too hard.

contemplation 7

After a lot of scrubbing on the left corner to lighten and soften the edges, and putting in the brighter blue hues in the bottom right.

contemplation 8

Far along in the process, enough to remove the masking for the highlights of the water. the little white dots.  Note the flower is still masked.

I enjoy hearing from you.  Please let me know what you think, or ask any questions.  I’m in a hurry to get this post finished, and get back to painting, so I may not have been as clear as I wanted to be.  


Happy mail days — The CARDS are here!

They have arrived! the printed 5 x 7

The printed cards have arrived!  Here’s a picture of them, fresh from the box, not yet folded.  The cards look so wonderful!  They have a slight glossiness to them, and I’m really pleased with how they look. They are $4 each, and are available directly from me or at the show on August 28th @ the Art Junction.

In preparation for the art show next month, a friend taught me how to frame my paintings and what supplies to buy.

Framing stapler and flexible staples

Framing stapler and flexible staples

Framing stapler and flexible staples

soft stranded finger friendly wire and triangle picture hooks

The tools that arrived are shown here:  dual point elite stapler that shoots staple type objects that come out in the FRONT of the unit rather than below.  It is much easier to shoot them into the wooden frame at the right angle to keep the mat, glass, and painting in place. The flexible staples let you remove the painting if necessary.

The wire is not the old fashioned kind that rips up your fingers when you twist it around the eye hooks.  The triangle hooks are flat, screwed in, with a triangle hook on a hinge to hang the wire from.

All this and more will be explained in a later Tuesday Tips post when I show you how the framing process goes.

And OH YES, the Splash 16 book arrived and I savored it.  Only allowed myself a certain number of paintings per day to drool over.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, Splash is an annual publication that highlights the best of that year’s watercolors and as usual, it did not disappoint!

contemplation garden utep (12)-002

Meanwhile, this is the photo from which I am painting these days. It is the surface of the Contemplative Garden fountain in the UTEP Centennial Gardens, one of my favorite botanical places in our city.

In a later post this week, I will have in process photos from drawing to whatever painting stage I am at. I may need to paint this, or similar water reflection pictures, 10-20 times before I start to do them justice.