Been quiet- but busy!!

Greetings ALL! I have been working in the garden a LOT and painting in the in between times. I have just discovered Winsor and Newton Watercolour paper and I am IN LOVE!! Much whiter than Arches and soo nice to work on!

The Little Red Iris is all done now. I don't THINK I showed it to you fini earlier??
The one thing I REALLY don't like about the Iris is the paper! FAR too coarse textured. It was done on Fabriano 140 lb! Never again, except perhaps for a large landscape.

The Crabapples are finished now. If I posted them earlier- please forgive! This was on Arches 140 lb., my OLD fave!
I have worked VERY hard on the next one. It is from a Macro photo I shot into the centre of a very colourful Zinnia a couple of summers ago. Zinnias are pretty brash for my garden but I DO like them, as do the butterflies!! I have JUST finished this and am fairly happy. This is the first one on WN watercolour paper. It is GORGEOUS to work on. I need a couple more sheets to play with.

This lies PERFECTLY flat and had GALLONS of water on it- masking fluid, scrubbing- impervious to all. I REALLY love this paper and the colour REALLY show true as the whiteness is reflected through the transparent paint!

And now, I'm working on a small drawing of one of my succulents. It is on an 8"x8" Fluid Watercolour Cold Press block pad and It is only OK to work on. I used a bit of masking fluid and it lifted the paper!!!! Hmm. Anyway, just laying in highlights and deepest shadows. Also the little rosey edges of the leaves.

JUST started on this succulent- Many Shades of Grey!!
I am also working on a larger piece- which you may, or may not EVER see!!! It is a half sheet of WN paper and is another macro - this time, the centre of a pale peony!!! I might show you the photo so you see why the painting may never see the light of day! Wish me luck :-)

And so, Kind folks, off I go to  continue edging the back flower beds now that the sun is down a little. Happy creating! 

Plugging away happily!!

I have "finished" my Apple Blossoms- but for a few touchups after I stare at it for a while. I have been playing about with it for a couple of  weeks off and on.
As always- very happy with some bits. NOT so happy about others! 
This still needs a bit of work and to me, it is CRYING OUT for a gently washy bit of background- just to make it jump off the page a bit. Trouble is--- I am a devout CHICKEN! Stay tuned. I HOPE it will come.

And I have been playing- DRAWING in my big new watercolour Journal , prepping for some more new pieces. (I hesitate to call them "pieces at this stage as it sounds a tad pretentious, but what else can I call them?) Here are some samples. I have been drawing a LOT!!!
This is another apple blossom one with some studies of the spent blossoms underneath. I SHOULD be seeing some of the BILLIONS of wee apples developing for the fall by now. Better pick a bit and work on that too.

And this is a twig of the deep pink crabapple blossom at peak. I REALLY want to do this one. MAY use some graphite paper to transfer my drawing to WC paper. I have never used it before. Worth a try!Does anyone have any experience of using Graphite paper???

And at the bottom of the same page- a straight down macro of one of my succulents which I HOPE will be a great exercise in GREYS!! How many Shades? Stay tooned! 

And a pageful of allsorts. The little "watercolour " at the top is a copy from an exercise in separating foreground from background petals. It is kind of wonky as I could not see the drawing well enough to make a decent copy. Never mind. I learned a lot. I THINK it is by an artist called Jane Freeman. She does GORGEOUS work! SOO much detail!
And last, but not least, I JUST started work on a little dwarf Red Iris. They are long gone from the garden now with this awful, early heat. Here is my reference photo, taken a week or so ago.
I edited it as a high key photo because, as glorious as the original colour is, as a wee watercolour, it would lose its delicate details. I hope I can capture it.
Here is my drawing and the start of the colour- waiting to dry!
It will get there but there is a L O N G way to go. Oh, what fun though!!!
OK, Dear Friends, stay tuned but don't hold your collective breath. DH is NOT in shape to do a lot of heavy lifting just at the moment, so I am being the jobbing gardener, Chief cook and bottle washer. Painting gets squeezed between! My idea of ABSOLUTE Luxury- would be a WHOLE day to paint, uninterrupted! Guess I'd need Staff for that to happen ;-)

I hope you and yours are all well and thriving and enjoying the heat! Please take care and keep on Creating! HUGS!


I am sorry I have been so slack posting lately but here I go again, if a tad late!

I TRIED to psyche myself up to put a background in but decided to take the "chicken's way" out and just leave it white!
I SHALL still fool around with the magnolia branches themselves, just to sharpen them up a bit but basically, this is IT for this little pic!

I forget if I showed you this one?? I don't mind the bloom - mostly- but I do NOT like the background!!!( so you are apt NEVER to see it!)

And here is the most recent "finished" one!! It is a pink hellebore from our garden. Still needing a bit of touchup but I am calling it pretty much fini!

Parts of this hellebore make me fairly happy . I started with the background and kind of lost it in a few spots- you can see the blurp of Rich Green Gold in the lower two petals but I am not too worried about that. I DID try some negative painting but only semi successfully. I DO like the stamens and nectaries but they need a bit of work in a couple of spots. I am also quite pleased with the "translucency" of the back lit bloom. Some of the shadows are fairly successful too.

I have been drawing a lot- some, almost every day and things are finally looking up. No examples here but I'll maybe shoot a few pics so you can see. DH is NOT able to garden or to help me much out there just now so our garden work falls to ME! I have worked VERY hard all week- raking, weeding, seeding, pruning and generally tidying up. BIG JOB for one little old woman! I LOVE it , but I really missed my paints. We are expecting rain tomorrow so I HOPE to get back at it!

Just a quick catchup from our house and garden. I hope you all enjoy a safe, happy Victoria Day weekend. I'll spend a BIT of time digging out my sandals and thinking of getting some new WHITE trousers for the summer! The ones I HAVE been wearing are so thin from over wear that they border on indecent! Mighty cool on a hot day though!!!! Cheerio for now!!

Magnolia blooms

As far as I got before supper
 Heart's DELIGHT!!! I got a WHOLE afternoon of painting! It felt soooo good to concentrate. I started off with a photo I took at least ONE year ago- maybe two.
I have drawn in the three main blooms and have begun the painting . I'll decide later how many more I want and what to do with the background. I like the deep soft grey green AND the yellow! That's our neighbour's Forsythia. Stay "tooned"!

I began with a single bloom , got it to a place where I felt reasonably happy and then started the middle one.
First bloom- the far left end. Stopped and then moved on to the middle one...
I see now a small error I made in my drawing. I'll correct it - I HOPE and will say my prayers that it will be repairable because, to THIS point, I am fairly pleased.

Painting on every other petal- non adjacent ones so the paint doesn't run when neighbouring petals are both wet together. 
I kept working and am trying to decide how many more blooms I'll do, what I should do with the background and whether I could add two more blooms but loosely, allowing their colour to bleed out into the surrounding paper??? Here is where I am to date...
Guess I will try at least to correct my goof tonight. I am pretty weary so I MAY not do anything else tonight. I'll post this much for now and hope you enjoy this so far.
Cheerio for now!

Heavy Handed- but MAYBE on the right track!!

A maths teacher I had LONG ago used to say, "Practice saves milking time"! I have forgotten the maths ( mercifully) but never that saying! SOOO true... and I NEED to keep practising! I feel like I AM making SOME progress, but I never seem to have the nice chunk of time I need to REALLY work at it and to concentrate. Anyway, enough with the excuses...
I shot this photo last spring and will do more very soon, with a view to having a good reference photo or two to work on. This one is not good but I tried it anyway!
 I watched a really nice little video on You Tube by Ross Barbera painting magnolia. Learned and REMEMBERED a LOT of things I have known and forgotten. Anyway, inspired, I set out to paint this bloom!!! ( remember, please, I have NOT done this for a LONG time!!!)
I was fairly pleased with my initial sketch and with the beginning washes.

I let this all dry really well before starting the washes on the big fore petal.
Once again, so far, so good- or at least decent!!!
For one thing, I started my bloom too close to the right edge of my paper- 140 lb, cold pressed in a WC block by Fluid 100-6"x8".

Anyway, ever onward and upward...
Decided where my shadows were going to be and sketched them in. Painted in the bud sheath (FAR too green and FAR too dark , but what can ya do???) I also painted in a little leaf bud and the gnarly little stem. 
Finally, I added the shadows on the petals. I believe that another time, I need to lighten up and go easy on the heavy layers and intense paint values.
See what I mean!! Getting VERY heavy and overworked. I REALLY need to work on this again. This is NOT Poster Paint!! It is gorgeous Daniel Smith and Winsor and Newton Watercolour- DELICIOUSLY transparent and translucent!

And, at last, WHAT to do with the background? At the moment, that is the hardest thing for me! I just watched a wonderful video by an Englishwoman, Ann Mortimer , painting sunny Dog Roses! SUCH a delicate light touch! I LOVE her background in that painting! I know I CAN do that. I have done it many times before but it will take this old dog some time to relearn the old tricks. No new tricks right now! This doggy is almost TOO old for those! She ain't givin' up though, I promise you THAT!! So... The great reveal -hahaha!
Things I DO like- The sunshiny-ness of the Rich Green Gold by Daniel Smith. The way I was able to lift some leafy shapes out with my clean damp brush. Things I am NOT as fond of- The overly granulating Green Apatite , also by DS. It is a FABULOUS colour and paint but as this is such a tiny picture, that much heavy texture may be too much. I am also frustrated with my edges. Gotta get my act together and clean THOSE up as I go. Shaky hands are NOT beneficial!!
I recently tried Hot Press paper. NOT sure I really like it but I am pretty sure that for such an elegant , smooth subject as a glorious magnolia bloom, there MAY be a place for Hot press. I will just have to try it again and see.

So, you see, I am working at it and enjoying it tremendously. I feel more confident painting in this more "trad" style just now till I get the hang of paint, paper, water and brush again. I will keep trying to get loose but I need to brush up my Shakespeare, as it were- clean up my drawing, brush handling etcetcetc!!!Oh, what fun it is to paint . Bear with me please . I HOPE eventually to please YOU and ME both!! Happy creating!

Messing about!!!

I am learning by Experimenting and Messing About! I have been playing with colour, brushes, brushstrokes, water. I have NOT accomplished a great deal except that I HAVE learned a fair bit and recalled a fair bit from years ago. When DH first got his radial arm saw, he said he was making sawdust! That is the stage I am at. I am making Watercolour Sawdust! Lots of "Bin pictures"!

Part of one side of a biggish piece of Arches 140 lb paper upon which I have been trying out colours, brushes, brushstrokes, little sketches etc.

More of the tryouts on the same side of the same paper. 
And the back side of the same piece pf paper.
Believe it or not, I HAVE actually learned and RE-learned some things doing this "doodling"!!

I am still working through some of Ms Haines' exercises. They are fun but, of course unsigned as they are not original. The "signatures" you see on the pictures are just my photo copyright.
An attempt at some VERY abstract and colourful lambs. So interesting to see how the SHAPE rather than detail or colour says "lambs"!
And kind of a heavy handed attempt at HALF a butterfly! Like Eric, the Half A Bee, this is Half a Butterfly- perhaps ALSO named Eric! ( any more Monty Python fans out there???)

One VERY important thing I am learning is that VERY loose, although GORGEOUS, is not really me!! I am a detail Girl and am TRYING to escape from the tedium and predictability of absolute photographic detail. I am pretty sure I will still be identifiable as ME when I really get back into full swing with my paints and brushes! In the meantime, I am going to "You Tube" school most mornings, practising LOTS, reading and observing and generally , REALLY enjoying myself!! I hope YOU are too.

There and Back Again!!!

We have been abroad in the land!! We are home safely now ( and that was NOT guaranteed at ALL!!) We had a BALL with DD , DSIL and our two delightful Grandboys! WHAT A TREAT!!!!

While we were there, I shopped for some new paint and paper and brushes and I had already ordered some more online and sent things to our Daughter.
The brushes, from L to R are- a W&N Chinese caligraphy brush, a Princeton rigger, a size 8 Isabey Squirrel hair wash brush and two Rosemary and Co brushes- a size 10 synthetic triangle brush and a series 40 triangle brush. All have passed muster, although we are yet to become VERY GOOD friends! 

And four new DS paint colours- L to R- Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Genuine, Rich Green Gold, Lavender and Cascade Green- DELICIOUS ALL!!
I messed with the paint and the brushes just to try them out!
L to R, colours are Cascade Green, Lavender, Rich Green Gold and the Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. I let the water spread them and each is PERFECT! The Daniel Smith paints are VERY potent! The little squiggles at he bottom are made with the wee Rigger Brush! LOVE it!
I also played with the wash brush, made a very small wash and then tried DD's plastic wrap on top...
Once dry, I could see jungle leaves near the bottom so played with that. That was fun!
Then my eldest Grandboy painted some pictures for Granddad and me. GB is 4!  One is not signed but by the style, palette and the interesting and unique techniques used, I am SURE it is by the same artist ;-)
The greeny, browny one is for Granddad as he likes trees and leaves  etc. The colourful ones are for Granny, as she loves colour and flowers. They now adorn our frig door :-)
And, whilst there, I shot Dogwood blooms!! They are a bit past prime but still lovely and I want to draw and paint them so I took a LOT of pics!! Enjoy!!!

Aren't they lovely!!! I have been shooting Hellebores in our garden this afternoon. While we were away, there was a severe ice storm ( we drove 18 hours through it !!!!! HORRIBLE and SOOO dangerous!)
A helleborus Niger in our icy, freezing garden!

Just the centre to study and to draw!

Isn't it delicious!!

We had a great time but are happy to be home safely! It is AWFULLY silent here in OUR house! All the fun and frivolity is far far away now :-(
Look at her lovely little face!

A red Hellebore Orientalis blooming its little heart out in the ice!

I hope that you have all had a good week and that you have been creative. I also hope that YOUR weather is better than ours! While we were south, we had about a day and a half at almost 90F - and then the Ice Age returned! Not to worry! The Sun shone ALL day and all night where the little fellows were! SUCH a joy! Happy creating, Friends. Take care of yourselves!

Needing my new Wash Brush!!

Hello, All!! It is WILDLY WINDY here today- gusts over 100 kph! Just had my hair done this AM . It is full of gunk so when I get out in the wind!!!! YIKES!

Anyway, continuing to work through Jean Haines' exercises. I used a branch of my own Honesty pods and my own drawing to work from and used MsHaines' method. It was very enjoyable but also a tad frustrating.
This was my initial wash . It is OK but I can see that I REALLY need my new Wash Brush so I can get a great, sloppy, more even wash. As it stands, I did this with a size 10 W&N Sable brush and a size 12 Escoda one. Just TOO hard to get NICE slop!
My new brush currently lives in TN with DD.  We are off to visit her and the Little Boys and our dear SIL next week. Cannot WAIT! We haven't seen them since last July! There are also three new Daniel Smith paint colours living there which shall also be coming home with me :-)

Continuing on with my Honesty Pods experiment-
Here's where I ended up. It is on 140 lb cold pressed paper- a 9"x12" WC block ( so NOT stellar paper) . The largest brush I used was my #12 Escoda  and the smallest, my W&N #3 Rigger. I will try the same piece again using the new brush when I get it and a NICE piece of Arches 140 lb. I am trying to decide if I might change the colours, orientation ...???
This was a very good learning experience too. If you look carefully, there is an X in the centre that is most UN-Lunaria looking. It was just caused by carelessness. I shall do better next time! The branch of seed pods I am using is curved downward gracefully but the way I painted the crisscrossing twigs makes it look like they burst in all directions from a central spot! Anyway, I DO like some aspects of this so I shall not be TOO hard on myself.

I am still a BIT reluctant to sign this . It IS my branch, my own drawing and my work BUT, it IS Jean Haines' idea. Maybe I'll sign the next one and be SURE that it is ALL MY OWN . I am VERY serious about copyright! We ALL should be!

A Different sort of Art!

Happy Easter, everyone! I did something today that I have not done for a LONG time! I made THIS....
DH LOVES Lemon Pie, as did my Darling Mum . I ALWAYS make Lemon pie for Easter. It just LOOKS right, somehow. Anyway, now I must go and clear all of the watercolour paraphernalia off the diningroom table . We have not eaten at the table for AGES- Christmas, in fact! Just DH and I , but we're doing it right tonight! Best wishes for Easter and Passover . Love you ALL!

Very brief post

I am in a hurry tonight but thought I would post this. I have had the photo I worked from for a couple of years and always wanted to do something with it. Anyway, here is a quick, kind of ham fisted effort from this afternoon! I have had the first wash done for ages and today, realized that it is too sunny but I used it anyway. This was interesting to work on and I learned a LOT that I would do differently another time! Guess THAT is worthwhile!!
It WAS spitting snow- just a streamer off Lake Huron, but funny with a fairly bright sky. I must needs work on my spattering technique. This is pretty erratic! Anyway, there ya go! First snow on the Sumac!

More new colours and a wee Seascape

Westport is South of Belochantuy  on the Atlantic Coast of Argyll.This is looking farther south toward Machrihanish from Westport on a misty, moisty afternoon!
 A few years ago when we were in Kintyre, I shot a lot of pics of the lower peninsula shrouded in mist across a very placid sea with dry dune grasses in the foreground. The wind was NOT blowing much that day but it clearly HAD! I love this view. When I shot it, I thought the farthest point we could see might have been the Mull, but when I studied the map more carefully, I saw that the Mull is completely hidden from view here.

When the light is better tomorrow, I'll finish this. It still has the greeny gray masking fluid on it. This was a fun little piece to try!

                                                    ...... ANDDD....

I bought two- well THREE new colours today but one is boring old Raw Umber . The TWO are ..

1- Perylene Maroon
Look how gorgeous it is! It is a stainer, not a granulator, works nicely with salt (look carefully) , and waters down stunningly! Going to be a real winner! 
2- Moonglow-

Closeup of the granulation

Granulation and watered down
This is a MAJOR STAR!!! It granulates to a HUGE degree. As Daniel Smith says- Anthraquinoid red floats, Ultramarine spreads and mixes and Vermilion greys the resulting purples. Look carefully. You can see red, blue , green and the purple mix. It is going to be a real workhorse colour. If I was a people painter, I'd REALLY use it on skin- shadows, hair etc. I think as a background colour too it will be gorgeous. BTW, both of the colour tests are on Hot Press paper, 140 lb. I don't really like the feel of hot press! I am a gritty, rough sort of girl, I guess!

Well, guess that's me done for today. My comp is almost out of battery power too so gotta plug in. Sweet dreams, One and ALL!