Friday, December 23, 2016

Another Bunny

It's been sort of slow going trying to paint bunny rabbits for my nephew and his wife for their nursery.  I did find out that they're having a little boy so do think they should be able to find a rabbit painting or two from what I've done.  Of course, they can have all of them if they want!

Here's the latest - it's pastel with an acrylic 'mat' on Art Spectrum's ColourFix Suede, a support I usually like for pastel work.

It's getting close to Christmas so hope everyone has their shopping done, travel plans made (or accomplished), the baking done and have had time to put up their feet and relax a little.  I wish all of you a very blessed Christmas season!  Of course, I'll post a card too in the coming days!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Already?

It's so amazing that time can pass so quickly!  My last post was November 18 and here it is December 6th already!  Christmas will be here before we know it and I was reminded of that because an art forum I belong to is having a Christmas card exchange.  I painted the lion lying down with the lamb to represent the peace of God to come because His son Jesus was born.

Here's the card I painted - watercolor on a pre-cut watercolor card.

Although this image and the saying that the lion shall lie down with the lamb has been around for ages, it's not Biblically accurate.  The main Bible verse where this saying came from is Isaiah 11:6 and actually says "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."

The rest of this prophecy (as pertaining to the animals dwelling together peacefully) says

"7And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
This prophecy refers to the second coming of Christ when he sets up his kingdom for the millennium. In spite of people sending cards at this time of the year proclaiming peace on earth, it won't happen until Jesus returns for this millennium period.  The peace referred to at the time of Jesus' birth was peace between God and man - Jesus is the reconciler, the advocate between God and mankind and is the only path between man and God.  Unfortunately, many people don't believe that.  But, while God wants everyone to be reconciled to Him, he gives everyone a choice.  There will be people who stand before the Judgement Seat of God who will be refused entrance to heaven.  This is not because of any sins they committed - it will be because they refused the One who made payment for those sins, Jesus, the Christ.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Core Sound Museum Wildlife Exhibition

'Not Your Usual Foxy Lady'

The annual NC Wildlife Artists Society exhibition at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum on Harker's Island, NC closed yesterday and I'm delighted to have won a People's Choice Award for the above painting.  Unfortunately, I didn't sell any of my paintings but it's nice that the visitors to the show thought enough of my 'Foxy Lady' to vote for it!

I was also juried into the Incubator Holiday Market in Siler City, NC and that exhibition starts this evening and runs into January.  I have three paintings hanging there and also some of the coasters that I've made from various paintings of mine.  I hope any of you in the area will take time to visit the show as it features many great artists from the area including painters, potters, jewelry makers and many items that I haven't even seen yet.

I'm still painting even though this is the big season for artists to market their work.  I just finished another rabbit for my niece and nephew who are expecting a baby this spring.  The nursery is being decorated in bunnies and I'm having fun painting some for the nursery walls!

'Spring Bunny'

Monday, November 14, 2016

Last Watercolor Class

Cardinal - watercolor

I sometimes wonder if I'll ever get the hang of transparent watercolor!  I do like the colors in this bird but much of it was accomplished by dry brushing.  The instructor uses more wet in wet techniques.

Unfortunately, the watercolor class is over and this was my final painting.  Not a masterpiece but I don't think anyone does their best work in a class.  I must say that this was one of the best classes I've ever taken as Beth really did instruct instead of it being just a class where people gathered to paint.

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Watercolor Quickie

I really have been painting but most of it is for Christmas card exchanges in some online forums.  However, I was inspired to paint this lady in a hat.  I probably won't ever become a human portrait artist but this was fun to just dash off.

Friday, October 28, 2016

I've been trying to paint a portrait of Tristin, the beautiful Golden Retriever belonging to my friend Tammy but it's been going very slowly!  However, I just finished touching up some things and have sent it to Tammy and her DH for approval.  I've had to make a lot of corrections to the painting but it's all my fault as they sent a lot of reference photos and I had a few of my own also.  I chose a photo of Tris when he was much younger (& the way I remembered him best) but they wanted a painting of him right before he passed away.  It was very hard to paint him that old and with so much white on his face. 

I remember him as being very vibrant and such a happy, healthy fella.  Even when puppies would bite and play with him, Tris was always very gentle back with them.  And he always knew when a human or another dog wasn't feeling well and toned down his Golden enthusiasm and playfulness.  He was the most empathetic dog I ever met and you know I wanted to paint him to show all of those qualities and more.

I think that's why I always have such a hard time painting animals I know - I see so many facets to their personalities and it's almost impossible to simplify my memories and condense the painting into a feeble 2-D rendition of the living marvel they were. 

I can only hope when Tammy views the painting, her memory fills in all of the facets comprising that gem of a dog named Tristin.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Third Watercolor Class

I don't know what I'm doing wrong but I don't seem to be able to drag and drop an image into Blogger and there doesn't seem to be any other way to post an image!  I was going to tell you all about my watercolor class today and show you what I did but Blogger just upped and deleted my post when I hit the publish button!

Oh, well, the class today was much more into my comfort zone as we painted flowers.  What wasn't in my comfort zone was that those flowers had to be from our imagination!

The instructor spent the first part of the class discussing the different flower structures and after that  we did some practice petals, leaves, etc.  When it came time to actually paint some flowers, time was almost up.  However, I did the following:

There wasn't enough time to futz with the vase but the emphasis was on the flowers anyway.  I see many opportunities for improvement but not too bad for the allotted time!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Politics & Art

I'm so glad these national elections only come around every 4 years!  Both of the candidates for president of the United States totally suck and the latest mud-slinging is totally scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as I'm concerned.

I don't usually post about politics; after all, what do politics have to do with art? 

Well, it seems that many things are not deemed 'politically correct' these days and while there's not overt censorship, public pressure has begun to shape our lives.  How soon before it will be against the law to say anything against any person, policy or law that the establishment doesn't think is appropriate?  You know that will also apply to any art that isn't in current vogue with those in power.

I have to say, I don't like either Donald Trump nor Hilary Clinton for president of our country.  But I'm really angry at the vitriol that's being spewed against Trump right now.  Sure, he sounds like an anti-feminist asshole, but I think the majority of the populace has forgotten about the Democratic Don Juan's and how both JFK and Bill Clinton were almost celebrated for their extra-marital affairs.  And what about Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick scandal where a young woman lost her life in a clandestine affair with the senator?

I'm not condoning Trump's chauvinistic actions by any stretch of the imagination - I yearn for a moral president probably more than most.  But I am saying that I will not vote for Hillary because of Trump's actions 15 years ago.  To me, to bring this up is just a diversionary tactic by the Democrats.  Perhaps the Republicans should bring up Hillary turning a blind eye to her husband's indiscretions.  Isn't allowing something just as bad as doing it yourself?

While I don't like either of the candidates, they are what we have to choose from.  So, not only will I look closely at both candidates, I'll also look at the party platforms of both.

Hilary's tv ads say she's always been an advocate of children - well, her party supports abortion;  what does that say about her?

It really ticks me off that abortion is touted as a right but is really just a legal murder of an unborn child.  That women use abortion as a method of birth control just says to me that they're too lazy or too stupid to use other means and it's tragic that an innocent baby pays the price.  Where are the rights of those children?

That is not the only problem with a Democratic president but the platforms of both parties are too much to get into here.  I will say that the United States has not improved with Democratic leadership in spite of the party saying for years and years that it will. In this day and age, our US Constitution has been violated by the Democrats more times than I care to remember and that has only brought our country down..

But, the right to free speech has been squelched more than just about any other constitutional right and there's where the threat to our art is concerned.  If things go on as they have been, it may be that I won't be able to paint angels, or Christian religious icons if I want or satirist cartoonists won't be able to publish work making fun of our politicians (Democratic, Republican, Independent or Socialist!) and only 'politically correct' art will be allowed to be viewed.  Is that what we really want?

Friday, September 30, 2016

White Rabbit Syndrome

watercolor on paper
Here lately I've felt like the white rabbit in the Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass book(s)!  It seems I'm always trying to catch up!

Here is my latest painting (except for a watercolor class exercise) and I think I like it.  At least it's a bit different from my usual!

Saturday, September 10, 2016


I haven't finished the portrait of Tristin but I did work on a bunny painting for my nephew and niece who are expecting.  They purchased a dry sink from an antique store that had already been painted with bunnies that they wanted to use as a changing table. So my niece wanted me to do some paintings for the walls of the nursery to go along with it.  The bunnies on the table were somewhat folk-art style and painted in what looks to be acrylic so I used acrylic to paint the following (& y'all know how well acrylics and I get along!!!)

Acrylic 8x10"

But this went fairly well except for the mottled coat of the gray rabbit which was somewhat difficult to achieve.  I think I'm going to have to get with my friend, Sue (PencilPix blog), and see how she does the ticking in some of her animals! 

I think this is much like the examples in the photo of the dry sink my niece sent but it doesn't look much like a painting for a nursery so I'm going to paint others in different styles with different backgrounds (all of the bunny paintings on the table had a dark floor and background).  She wanted several paintings and if I do different ones, she can choose what she really wants.

I'll post them all here and let you know what she ends up choosing!

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Project and A Class Report

I guess I'll start with the watercolor class I attended yesterday and report that it was actually fun and while I didn't do my best work by a long shot, at least I didn't freeze and was able to participate.

Those are tomatoes in case you couldn't tell!  We were supposed to paint a 'round fruit' and I forgot about taking something til the last minute when I grabbed up a tomato from the garden.

The first tomato is wet on dry and I didn't have time to finish it as it was done second.  The other tomato was done wet in wet and was much harder for me to do.

I was pleased that I was able to paint the tomato without using a sketch and I wasn't pleased that I forgot to leave the white of the paper for highlights!  

And I've been working on a project for my nephew and his wife that I completed today.  Both of them are just the loveliest people and such a ball to be around.  They joined us when my sister visited and we were at the beach and took part in the ferry trip to both the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and Shackleford Banks.  Anyway, they wanted a painting of the lighthouse on an oar and I've just finished it.  My DH insisted on cutting out the oar shape where he promptly broke the band saw blade!  After finally finding another one to fit, I prepped the oar and put on the design from a photo we took from the ferry.  Here is the result.

I texted a photo of it to them this morning and they both loved it (Whew!)  I also found out that they're going to have a baby and they want some bunny paintings for the nursery.  You know that's right up my alley and my head is spinning with lots of ideas but have a portrait of a beautiful Golden Retriever to finish first.

My dear friend, Tammy, lost her baby not too long ago and she wanted a portrait to go with the others I've done over the years.  This is the same woman who lost Zoe in July.

Although Zoe was actually her husband's dog and they only married a couple of years ago, Zoe was still very special to her and her husband both.

This is a hard portrait for me as the dog was a large part of my life for several years too.  Tammy and I have been friends for ages and I've been around her dogs a lot during that time.  Tristan was a real love and it's hard to think of him as gone.  I'll miss him a lot also.

So I hope I can do the best job ever on his portrait and I also hope the bunnies work out as well as I envision also.

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Bandits Take a Bath!

My DH and I have decided that we're very easily entertained.  It's been very hot and dry here the past week or two so my husband set out a tray of water for the critters.  Of course, the baby raccoons found it right away and have been enjoying both drinking and playing in the water!  We've had a ball watching them and I just wanted to share a bit of the fun with some photos I got of them.

It's always fun to dunk your sibling!

Bathing amongst the butterflies and flowers

The aftermath after the bath!
I start a local watercolor class today and think I'm looking forward to it.  I normally don't get all that much from a workshop/class setting mainly because you either just observe the instructor paint or are told to paint and are at a loss as to how to go about it.

I hope this class will be different.  I know the instructor and admire her skill with watercolor and I think she's the type who will really teach - hope so anyway.

It's to start in a very short time so I need to go get ready for it!  Will let you know how it goes and you can watch this blog for my masterpiece!  lol

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

More Play Time!

And even our 'bandits' are taking time out to play and to get into nischief!

I don't know if you can tell or not but that's a baby raccoon butt going over the fence to the vegetable garden!  The garden is my husband's domain and he thinks it's cute that the little thieves have learned to get into the garden as well as into the back yard in general!  He just feels that way because most of the vegetables have quit producing for the season but what about all the new and tender vegetables we should have next year?

Well, as I said, that's his problem but I have a feeling he'll regret not doing something now while they're little!  Grown raccoons can wreak havoc!

I got a replacement brush today for the one that I ordered that wasn't right.  And Jerry's Artarama was kind enough to let me keep the brush that was wrong.  I'm sure it would have cost them more to pay for returning it than the cost of the brush but it was a nice thing to do anyway and filbert brushes are my favorite for painting in gouache.

The new brush gave me an excuse to play today and I painted a great egret standing on a sand bar waiting to catch dinner!  I call it "Fishing Without a License" and it was something of a quickie.

Hmmm, the shading doesn't show up all that well on this monitor so hope it does for yours.  It was a fun painting after spending most of the day at, or traveling to or from, the coast.

My husband and I took three of my paintings down to Harker's Island to the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum for the annual NC Wildlife Artists Society exhibition.  The people at the Museum are just wonderful and the Museum itself is fabulous with lots to look at and learn about.  Last year was my first time there but Pam Morris, the Director, is such a pleasure to know that it felt like I'd been doing the show for years.

Anyway, the show gets underway on Friday, August 19th with an opening reception that is supposed to be like no other.  I'm told the Museum isn't satisfied with cheese and crackers and cheap wine but puts on a spread that could pass for a full meal.  The reception is open to the public so if you're in the area, you should make it a point to attend!  I'd love to go but it's so far down there plus it's at 8 pm which is almost bedtime for us old fogies!  One glass of wine and I'd probably fall asleep!

The show is supposed to run from August 19. 2016 to November 17, 2016 so hope you can make it sometime during those dates.

OK, back to playing with my new brush - I want to do some more painting before I decide whether I like it or not.  I do like the #8 round Escoda Versatil but this #12 is made a bit differently so I'm not as sure about it yet.

Maybe another new painting tomorrow or at least a WIP.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Time To Play!

My new art order arrived yesterday and I decided to play a bit.  Most of the order wasn't anything special - just replacements for stuff I was getting low on but I did order two new watercolor brushes.  One arrived fine but the other was not what I had ordered so will have to be returned.

Anyway, I did play with the one new brush and the following is the result:

As you can see, it's one of our little Carolina Wren fledglings.

I like the new brush - it's an Escoda Versatil and this line was recommended to me because I paint in gouache as well as transparent watercolor.  Gouache is hard on brushes and would probably destroy an expensive sable brush in short order - at least the way I paint!  This brush is synthetic but supposedly behaves much like sable.  I've never owned a sable brush that I know of so can't compare the two but this brush holds a lot of water and also has great snap.  In other words, I like the way it handles.

Ok, off to try it with another subject!  Hopefully, I'll paint something worthy of posting here!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Raccoon Update

For a while, we didn't see 'our' raccoon babies then began to see them again about a week ago,  Unfortunately, we found one of them near our country road dead but it did not appear as if it had been hit by a car or had been injured in any way. 

We saw three of them for a couple of days but recently are just seeing two of them.  We don't know if the third one is just hiding/keeping out of sight or if something has happened to it also.  It's usually just one who is brave enough to show himself consistently and the others have all been way more shy and secretive.

But I was fortunate enough today to get some photos before they both scurried up a tree and out of sight.  Oh, the trees they now retreat to are apple trees which are full of apples!  We had hoped they wouldn't find those trees but ------.  My DH isn't going to do anything about them being in the apple orchard though - he's just glad to see them back around again.

Without further ado, here are the 'babies'!

Will be busy for the next several days as the Core Sound Museum is hosting a NC Wildlife Artists Society exhibition starting the 19th of this month (August) and it will run until November 17th of this year.  I have the three paintings allowed for exhibit but am still painting in hopes of producing something with a lot of wow factor!  We'll see what ends up in the show but decisions will have to be made quickly if I'm to get everything down to Harkers Island, NC in time for them to hang the paintings!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Painting But No Raccoons!

Time certainly flies and it seems more so the older you get!

We haven't seen the little raccoons for a couple of days now and aren't sure why.  Raccoons are normally nocturnal and are rarely seen during the day time so it may be the little ones finally have their internal clocks calibrated.  Or it may be that some older raccoons have told them to find their own territory.  We don't know where they are or the reason they've quit coming around but have to say we miss them!

I've been doing a little painting with transparent watercolor lately and the following is the result.  An artist acquaintance is determining whether a watercolor class is feasible so I hope to learn more and improve if I get to take the class.  Here is a painting that I finished yesterday:

The color isn't quite as intense as shown here.  I took this with my old camera and it tends to produce more vibrant coloring.  I did try to adjust it but it looked even worse!

Off to take care of some tomatoes from the garden - I think fresh salsa is in order, don't you?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Whoops! Would You Believe FOUR?!!!

You would think three little bandits would be plenty, but a fourth baby/teenage raccoon has joined the others.  I don't know what is in our yard that's so attractive to them, but they spend hours every day under the pecan trees with their noses to the ground eating something.  I'm hoping it's grubs or other  pests in the worm stage and it would be perfect if they're taking care of all the Japanese beetle grubs as those are such pests!

This photo was taken with my new camera which arrived last Saturday.  I got tired of waiting for Nikon to bring out their latest camera so I bought a Canon Power Shot SX60 with a 65X zoom lens.  Wow!  What an improvement over what I can capture now than what my old camera could do.

As a matter of fact, most of the wildlife we see is in the fields behind the barn, about 200 yards or so from the house.  The kitchen window looks out in that direction and I often glimpse something there but it's usually too far for a decent photo.  Not with this camera!  It's also not supposed to do well in low light but I happened to see a turkey out back yesterday as I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and I got the following photo.

The color looks a bit weird but otherwise, the photo is very decent for low light and a subject that I could barely see with my naked eye.  And did you happen to see the 'happy surprise' in the lower left corner (click on the photo to enlarge it)?  Imagine how thrilled I was when I downloaded the photos to find not only the turkey, but 4 little turkey chicks with her!  I could barely make out the turkey and had no idea there were chicks too!

I'm very blessed with this camera and would have missed both the raccoons and the turkey chicks had I not bought the Canon camera.  Maybe the Nikon B700 is a better camera but I've waited for it long enough.  First it was supposed to be out in the spring of this year, then they moved it to July 1st and now they say it will be the middle of October.  Not any baby animals around at that time of the year around here at least.

Will keep you posted with other photos that I'm able to take with it.  Well, if I have enough time since I now have enough reference photos to keep me painting for quite a while!  Maybe you should watch this blog for both photos and paintings!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Then There Were Three!

Yep, we looked outside yesterday and a third baby raccoon had joined the other two.  Two of the little ones are fairly skittish but one doesn't seem to mind me taking photos of him.  Here is one photo of the three of them together that I was fortunate enough to get.

They were across the fence peering at me like the little masked bandits they are!

This has been an exceptionally good week for wildlife sightings and already before 8:30 this morning, we've seen deer, a wild turkey, a hawk, bluebirds and humming birds as well as a multitude of various other birds.  There have also been an abundance of butterflies and insects of all kinds.  Can you spot the bee in the following photo?

And, our wren house has new tenants!  We didn't even know there were wrens nesting in the house until the Mama and Papa Carolina Wrens began feeding the babies.

As before, this photo was taken through the glass storm door and isn't as clear as it could be.  At least you can see one of the parents feeding the babies.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get some photos of the babies when they start to leave the nest in a couple of weeks.

It's times like this when I'm really glad we live in the country.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


We thought we had one baby raccoon but discovered there are two of them!  Actually, we thought we saw two yesterday but when it didn't show up in all the time I was taking photos of the one, we thought we must have been mistaken.

These two don't seem to be really afraid of us and just go about snuffling the ground almost ignoring us.  I was able to get quite a bit closer today.  So, let me introduce you to TWO young raccoons!

They're really cute right now but I know they'll grow up quickly and can cause some damage with their curiosity so I'm really resisting the urge to feed them!  I don't want them to become dependent on us either.  It's hard to resist babies though, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Just Another Day In The Country

In my bio for Blogger, I talked about seeing wildlife out here on a regular basis.  Well, we do.  We see all kinds of birds and even deer pretty much daily.  The other day we even saw a coyote traveling across the new dam of our pond.  He was traveling at a pretty good lope though so there was no chance of grabbing the camera.

But today, my husband was sitting on the porch cooling off after working in the garden and saw a young raccoon in the front yard.  I had the camera handy and was able to get the following photos of the little rascal!

Here he is as he was nosing around in the grass searching for grubs or other insects, I guess.

He was darting here and there and I couldn't quite seem to catch a full face shot of him so I yelled a short "Hey!" at him to get him to look at me.  The following is that photo:

That got his attention all right but it also startled him a bit.

He must have decided that a tree might be a safer place than the ground but fortunately, he didn't climb
any further than the base of the tree.  He was obviously a very young, but weaned, raccoon, and was more concerned with filling his belly than being scared of me!

After a few seconds, he returned to nosing around in the grass.

We don't often see raccoons as they're nocturnal creatures so this was a special treat.  I kinda think he's newly on his own and just trying to figure out how he was going to survive.  Maybe he's still used to mama feeding him at all hours of the day and doesn't realize he's supposed to hide during the day and feed at night.  I'm sure he'll eventually work it all out!

I do wish I'd had a good camera for these photos.  I had decided to look at the Nikon b700 which was scheduled to debut on July 1 but for some reason they've delayed the introduction until October!  So, if anyone has a recommendation for a good camera with a super zoom, that takes sharp photos and doesn't have much of a lag time, please let me know!

Monday, June 27, 2016

THAT Time of the Year!

Yep, the garden has started producing and today I did one of my favorite tasks of the season - I started the Kosher Dill pickle fermentation process.  Well, putting up the harvest can be time consuming and sometimes even hard work but I love fermented pickles so all the work is worth it!

This is a half-gallon jar of slices but I also put up a quart jar of spears.  After that I kinda ran out of steam and the right sized cucumbers!

It's also the time of year for squash, especially zucchini!  Since it's the first of the season, we're really enjoying it though - we haven't had time to get tired of it.  Last night we had
 good old yellow summer squash on the grill - yummy!

This is just a few of the cucumbers that were picked and I probably pickled at least half that many again.  And there's a few zucchini in front of the basket of cucumbers. 

And last but not least, here are a few of the coneflowers that have practically taken over the yard and the small pasture behind the barn.  We had planted wildflowers there as that's where we buried Bonnie, my horse and wanted to plant flowers for a memorial.  The coneflowers and rudbeckia have practically crowded out the other flowers and have spread all up around the house.  It's a cheery site to see all those sunny yellow flowers all around and they keep blooming almost all summer long.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cherries with Koh-i-Nor Tri-Tone Colored Pencils

Life has started spinning even faster lately and I totally forgot to post the cherries I did with the Koh-i-Nor Tri-Tone colored pencils!

So, without further ado, here it is:

These cherries were painted on DuraLar Matte, a translucent synthetic film which has a matte surface on both sides.  I like to use the DuraLar for colored pencils as you can use both sides of the support which makes for a sort of 3-D effect or, at the very least, gives you more surface to layer colors.

However, I just used one side for these cherries because I couldn't seem to get any color strength and got tired of trying.  This painting does show the different tones/colors you can get with these pencils better than the other supports I've tried.

I think I would really like these if they were a bit heavier on the pigment content.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Koh-i-Nor Tri-Tone Colored Pencils

I'd promised that I'd try the Koh-i-Nor tri-tone colored pencils on various supports and this is the latest.  It's small but I get bored with working with colored pencil easily.  Because of that, I wanted to use my time to the best advantage to fully cover and burnish the painting.  I really dislike the speckles that you get with certain papers like this one.  It's Tizano Drawing Paper and has a definite texture. 

I worked diligently on this to use enough cp to cover the speckles and tried hard to get the smooth, almost oily, finish that artist quality colored pencils give.

All but the background was done in the Tri-Tones.  I worked on the flower and leaves/stem for several days and could not get some areas dark enough even with optically mixing several dark colors.  I also couldn't get the coverage I desired.  It was fortunate that I'd used a yellow paper otherwise, I don't think the petals would look as covered as they do.

The background was done with a cp I already had.  I think it was a Lyra but am not sure as it was sharpened below the name.  Even though I spent way less time on the background, I think the results are much better compared to the flower.  Sure, I got bored and left some speckles, but overall, coverage was much better with the artist quality pencil.

Would I recommend the Koh-i-Nor's?  Probably not.  I didn't see any really advantage to the tri-toned lead and it seemed to be more of a gimmick than a positive enhancement.  I think the pencils must be student quality also as they lacked the coverage of my artist quality pencils.

I have to say that I only bought the tin of 12 pencils and that may not be enough to really judge. All in all, if you have some extra cash laying around, you might want to play with these but they feel like a waste of money for this art supply junkie.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Back From the Beach

My sister, her husband and myself and my DH went to Emerald Isle, NC for a week then spent 2 nights in Wilmington, NC.

We had a really good time, but busy as my sister wanted to see every attraction possible in the area.  We took a ferry tour of the outer islands and saw the wild ponies on Shackleford Banks and the Cape Lookout Lighthouse.  Both islands are pretty much natural with little interference from man, especially Shackleford Banks.  Cape Lookout does have amenities of sorts including a visitor's center and camping is allowed and you can find out more about what's available HERE.

And this is a photo of the lighthouse itself:

I don't recall the lighthouse leaning that much but it probably did as the trees in the photo look straight!  You can see how 'wild' the island is.

I did a quick watercolor pencil sketch of the lighthouse while we were at the beach and added some colored pencil when we got home.

The original was the w/c pencil dampened with a waterbrush and looked kind of insipid.  I had lunch with my granddaughter yesterday then we went to Hobby Lobby where I found some Koh I Nor tri-toned colored pencils and had to buy them (I have said many times that I'm an art supply junkie!)  Anyway, I colored the lighthouse with these pencils but had to use a regular colored pencil for the black of the lighthouse pattern.

I'd like to try these pencils again on a painting that hasn't been pre-colored.  They don't seem to have the pigment load of a lot of artist quality colored pencils and seem to be more like the colored pencils we used in grade school.  But I do want to give them a fair chance.  Here's a link for you to check them out.

Wild Horses on Shackleford Banks

Even if you click on the photo to enlarge it, it's really hard to see the wild ponies in this photo.  It was taken from the ferry and was actually one of the better ones I got.  The ferry was in constant motion, of course, and many of my photos taken from the boat were blurry.  Fortunately, our trip included an hour on Shackleford Banks but we were let off some distance from where the ponies were feeding so there wasn't much time to hike closer to the horses, take photos then hike back to catch the return ferry.  If there's ever a next time, I'd get some extended time on SB and forego the visit to the lighthouse.  But, both experiences were great and if you've never seen the lighthouse, it's worth a visit.  And, no, we didn't climb to the top although it's allowed.  We'd gone to SB first and after all that hiking, we weren't in shape to climp the 200 plus steps to the top of the lighthouse!  As much as I hate to admit it, I'm not a spring chick any more and to tell the truth, would probably even be too old for the stew pot!

We also visited the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium ( and that was really interesting although I wasn't able to get very good photos.  They have some huge tanks and between the glass, water and moving fish, most of the shots were very blurry.  Oh, and did I mention throngs of rude children on field trips jostling you?  The following is one of the better photos:

Jelly Fish at Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium
I've been looking at new cameras but just haven't found one that I think will meet all my needs.  Actually, one that is exactly what I want probably doesn't even exist and I don't know what I should compromise on.

I have lots more photos and hope to find some that will inspire me to paint something soon.  It's been kinda hectic around here though and I don't really see any let up any time soon.  Maybe it will just be quick sketches with the new colored pencils for the time being!

One last bit of news, I just got notification that I'd sold a print of my calla lilies on Fine Art America.   It's one of my favorite paintings so it was especially gratifying that someone else liked it well enough to purchase it.  Here it is if you don't know what it looks like:

Friday, May 13, 2016


Most of you know that I 'retired' from painting pet portraits a few years ago but a friend asked me to paint a portrait of their dog, Zoe, and I couldn't refuse.

I've only met Zoe once quite a while ago so had to paint from photos.  My friend gave me quite a few of them but almost all of them 'blew out' the lighter colors so that they appeared white.  I didn't realize that Zoe has some tannish color until my friend pointed it out.  I still didn't see it even after tweaking the photos in my graphics software.  She sent me new photos, very close up and I think I was able to add those markings.

It's very difficult to work from photos so I'm waiting to hear back as to whether I got the markings right or not.  In the meantime, here is where I am with the portrait of Zoe.  This is probably the final with maybe a few tweaks.  It's gouache and watercolor on Arches Cold Pressed, 11 x 14 inches in size.

ZOE - watercolor and gouache on paper, 11x14"

Friday, May 6, 2016

Building a Pond

Ever since we moved to this country property, my DH has wanted a pond.  He saved for years and about 3 or 4 years ago contracted to have it done.  Unfortunately, after the trees were removed from the site, the contractor said he had equipment and personal problems and couldn't finish the job then.  Then we had rain and more rain and the site stayed too wet.  Finally the contractor said we needed to get someone else to do the job. 

To make a long story short, we did get someone else and finally made some progress until it started raining again this past week.  So, work has halted until the rain stops but at least we know that the pond will hold water!  Even though it's not yet dug out to depth, there's enough water there to attract a pair of Canada geese!

Canada geese on unfinished pond

Of course, those are visitors we really didn't want to attract to the pond but they're protected by law here.  Not sure what we can do to keep them away but will have to investigate as they're considered messy and pretty aggressive.

While we enjoy all sorts of wildlife, we want to be able to enjoy the pond in safety once it's finally finished!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Gray Fox WIP Final - (I think)


If you've hung around my blog any at all, you know I like to let a painting sit for awhile before I officially call it finished but I think this is the best I can do.  Still, you never know -----  lol

I always get so attached to my animal subjects and I've thought of this fox as young and female since I started the painting.  I haven't given 'her' a name but the title of the painting has always been 'Not Your Usual Foxy Lady', in my mind at least.  It's sort of a play on words as most people don't even know there are gray foxes in the US.  Plus, they would probably be expecting a human woman or a red fox at the very least with that title.  But that's a long title for a painting and I'll have to see
 if that title stays. 

Anyway, calling it done for now.  Going back to the studio to see about painting the little Carolina Wrens that hatched in our Wren House!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gray Fox WIP

I started a new pastel painting the other day and sort of promised a WIP of it.  It's still not finished but wanted to post what I have as it's really in the ugly stage and it always helps to see a painting posted to see the direction it needs to go.  Soooo----

Lots more to do on this but hope to finish it soon!  Many thanks to Annette Herz for use of her beautiful photo as a reference!

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Month Has Passed Already?

My goodness!  I didn't realize I hadn't posted here for over a month!  And I had determined to do so much better with this blog.  Actually, I'm not sure how many people actually read it but it's a good way for me to keep track of my artistic progress so I want to keep it up as best I can.

One reason I haven't posted for a while is that we took a trip to see my family in Kansas.  We actually didn't stay all that long but it takes two days to drive out there and two days to get back home.  When I was younger (a LOT younger), single and stupid, I would drive straight through which took anywhere from eighteen to twenty-two hours!!!!  As I said, I was young and really stupid so wouldn't dream of doing that now days!  Actually, all the driving is done by my husband as he won't let me drive on trips and that's ok with me.  I've really done all the driving I care to by now!

So that trip took a big bite out of April and I already told you that the Carolina Wrens nested in one of the houses that my DH built last year.  Well, the eggs hatched and I've been completely besotted with the babies to the point of spending way too much time watching them!  They finally left the nest yesterday though and I feel bereft!  I didn't even get to see them leave the nest but I heard the mama wren making a ruckus and saw the babies on our large porch with a small black snake coming up the steps after them!  I ran for a broom or something to stop the snake and got back just in time to see mama get two of the babies to fly away with her.  The other one hopped/flew around the corner of the porch while I went to distract the snake.  It disappeared so I grabbed my camera and took pictures of the remaining baby while frantically trying to signal my husband.  Of course he was mowing the back forty and paying absolutely no attention to me!  When he finally saw me and came running, the snake had once again started up the steps.  Fortunately, my husband was quick to take care of it.

I've also done some painting but not as much as I'd like to.  Here is a rabbit I recently completed and I'm working on a couple of other wildlife subjects.

The rabbit painting is in homage to all the rabbits on our farm (see THIS post) although we haven't seen as many in the past couple of years as we did when that post was made.  All the rabbits seem to 'hide in plain sight' and we can almost step on them before they move!

Anyway, the rabbit was painted with gouache on watercolor canvas.

Now that you're pretty much all caught up for the time being, I'll go back to work on a pastel painting that I just started.  Maybe, if you're really good, I'll even make a WIP out of it.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Good Instruction Gone Bad

I've been watching various YouTube videos hoping to learn more about watercolor and I have learned - at least intellectually.  Putting the instruction into practice is a whole 'nother ballgame!

 The video which has impacted me the most was one by Stan Miller where he showed a portrait painted in colors that weren't typical.  He chose colors from his palette seemingly at random and without thought as to whether they were suitable to the subject.  He says that you can use any color you want in a painting as long as the drawing is accurate and the values match the values in the subject.  The resulting portrait was stunning to say the least. (see the video HERE)

Well, I tried but somehow, my puppy just doesn't have the same WOW factor as Mr, Miller's portrait - (unless you say "WOW, how in the world did she mess that up so badly!")

But I know that practice makes perfect - this is my first attempt and to tell the truth, it was almost impossible for me to judge value in watercolor.  Watercolor dries much lighter than it looks when it's wet.  Also, much of Mr. Miller's painting was color that blended into the next one.  I think I should have chosen a subject that didn't have so much white for my first time (but I could have used a very light color instead of the white).  Or, perhaps I should have just used 'black' and white for this maiden voyage. 

As I said, this video knocked my socks off so I'll continue to practice in hopes of being able to achieve that look in the future.