Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sunny Card

I've been wanting to experiment with collage.  So I used Sunny's image to make a collage card.  I had fun experimenting with different ideas I've read about. 

Here's the shorthand version of what I did....

I used  some patterned paper I bought at Michaels and glued ripped pieces to make the background.    Then I water down some white acrylic in matte medium and went over the whole thing to push it back into the background.  I glue "Sunny" on top of this.  Then, I printed his name on some yellow flimsy paper and glued it on over the stripes.  I stamp a couple of paw prints in gesso.   And the sun was a juice glass stamp with black and a credit card for the rays.  The black around the dog is a charcoal pencil. I also used distress ink to age it a bit.

I going to give my friend a few for her sister.  I hope she likes it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunny Portrait 2

I decided to do another portrait of Sunny to fake a sit up position.  Because all the photos I have of him are looking down , he's appearing chubby.  I think this one's a keeper.   He looks happy here.


 Sunny, a yellow lab of 9 years, suddenly died, and my friend asked me to do his portrait for the family for Xmas. This was the best expression of the dog to use, but the picture was not clear.  So I had to use other pictures to make up the details.  Not as easy as when its all in front of you.

I just stuck the mat around it to give myself an idea of cropping.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Island of Misfit Ornaments

This past summer, my sister-in-law and I went to a neighborhood garage sale for fun.  I hadn't gone in years, because I've been trying to get rid of my own stock pile of stuff.  Anyway, I didn't find anything except a box of "misfit ornaments" selling for $1/piece.

As you can see, some are perfectly fine.  One has its legs on backwards, 2 of them, the twigs are broken. So, I put them on the shelf in my art room all this time awaiting the holiday season until it was time to add them to our tree and our collection.  

At the time I thought, well I could get another twig and fix this or I could resew the legs.  But then I realized their imperfections are what makes them so endearing and the "Rudolph" movie with the Island of Misfit Toys came to mind.

Santa didn't come and fix them.  He found a home for them.  Sometimes I too feel like my feet are on backwards, and I'm glad I am loved with all my imperfections.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Free Photoworks Book

I follow a blogger, Heather at  Freebies4Mom that has many coupon type offers.  I got this photobook totally free!  At first I was going to do a book for my mom as a christmas gift of all the grandchildren.  But to get all their pictures would have taken too long and time was of the essence.  So I thought, maybe I'll make a coffee table book of my artwork for me!

If anyone has ever done something like this before, you know the time involved in uploading and finding photos, captions, what to put together.  I spent so many hours on it that by the end, I was like ... who cares, and hit the submit key.  Anyway it was totally free, 26 pages...even shipping.  I think it showed $59 before the coupon code.

It's really nice to see artwork in print.  I left 3 pages blank because of frustration.  (I think I got locked out).  Now I wish I had it all filled.

The offer came from the Bonnie Hunt Show.  I just checked and they reach their quota give away.  But, good deal I think.  I'm not a coupon shopper, but I love deals like this.  I also got our photo Christmas cards through Heather's blog, too.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Photo Collage

I put together a few photos I've been playing around with.  I'm using Picnik to play with my botantical pictures and make these line drawings.  My goal is to use this as a tool to make a painting but so far I just get to this point and don't have any inspirations on what to do next.  Painted the way it is probably is not enough.  

Anyone have a good idea, I'd like to hear.   

In case someone wants to try one.  This is what I did.  Just upload a picture like this one:

Don't worry, this branch came from a group of bushes I was pruning one weekend.  It also had started to wilt so it looks rather flat.   Then in Picnik just go into Edit and crop and fix the photo.  Next, go into Create, Effects, and use the Neon selection.  (You can play with the colors).  Next, go into Invert. You will have something like this:

 With the above collage, I took it a step further and chose Duo-Tone to pick 2 colors.
It can be addicting. Have fun, its free!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pink Hydrangia

My latest acrylic painting. I liked the colors so much I'm using it in my header. These are my hydrangias this year...all pink and green. I did feed them once in the spring. If anyone has experience with turning them blue, I'd like to hear.

This was so much fun painting. It's kind of what I'm trying to gear towards...a more abstract approach to my paintings and ideas. One nice thing about acrylic is because it drys so fast, you can go over areas that aren't working. I started this painting with a pink to yellow underpainting and then painted the flowers around the colors.

I'm not sure if this painting's finished. I have to come back and look at it in a week. That's when everything finally jumps out at you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Who Are You?

Here's another experiment in watercolor. For some reason, I need to follow a system or step-by-step process or I lose my way.

So here's what I did....the bird and swirl/leaf are taken from some fabrics samples that came from work. I just traced them. The round flower/snowflake shape is just a made up pattern. Then before I actually painted the background colors, I used colored paper to move around the color and come up with this pattern. Keeping the white behind the bird to draws your eye.

When it was almost done, I scanned it once and studied it on the computer. I realized that there needed to be a black line at the top also. So I added that (which should be darkened), and removed a leaf that was making the bottom right too busy. Sometimes seeing the painting on the computer screen really helps seeing it. I also added the series of dots to fill in the empty space.

I'm experimenting and trying to find my look...Do any of you know when you had a breakthrough that defined your style? I would love to hear from you.

Snow Flowers

My first attempt at acrylics. I tried to keep the colors simple so I could concentrate on technique. I love the fact that I can go over and over unlike watercolor. I made stencils like one of my favorite artist, Kate Birch. I also cut out oak leaves from wallpaper and glue/gesso it on. I had to go over the design with brown paint because they faded away too much.

I might hate it tomorrow...Tell me what you think?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jingle Bell Tree II

Once again, I love playing around with the crop feature to see what better image I might get. This is still very rough, but I could see this as a card...

Jingle Bell Tree

It's not too early to be thinking about creating Christmas cards. This cute idea was an ad for the San Diego Zoo. I had fun trying out texture medium with this one. This is probably not the right image for that because it's hard to see on the tree. The background shows it better. I also learned to be sure you are totally finished before you write anything.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Unique Cropping

The start of this painting was rather nice and then, which happens more often then not, I rushed through it and lost my direction. I like it better cropped and flipped. Maybe I could start again using the cropped version as my guide. I also want the fan shell in front to lay down a little.
It seems like smaller and simplier seem to work out best.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I caught Tucker listening to someone. My intent was to make some kind of Christmas card with this look ... maybe getting into mischief under a tree ...

I ended up just painting him as is. Sometimes you just have to paint for fun.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

No. California Vacation

Here are some pictures from our vacation. We started in Lake Tahoe and worked our way around through Downieville, Nevada City and finished in San Francisco. With the weather in the 90's in So. Ca., it was nice to be in the mountains. Because many schools already started this week, there were hardly any tourists. The girls would have like more excitement, but we finally started to relax toward the end of our trip.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

No Boundaries

Two neighborhood boys caught horsing around. This painting was selected for San Diego Watercolor Exhibit last summer.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Antique Egg Prints"

Sorry I've been away so long... too many things going on besides our scanner finally giving up. I hated that thing. I would get a million error messages and then finally it would scan. My hubby brought home an old scanner from work and it still scans beautifully. So, woo hoo I'm back.
Here's a fun project I've always wanted to do. Did you ever admire the antique egg prints? I found a blog (I forgot to save her name) and she suggested printing from the New York Public Library digital archive. It took a little time but I found the egg prints.

Then, I printed some for shape only and did my watercolor thing. I did take some artistic license. It's really fun. I used 2 different watercolor papers and I think it made a difference. The first pair is on 150 archers. The second pair is on 140 lanaquarelle.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Glass Castle

Did you ever read a book and keep thinking about afterwards? This is how I feel about "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls. She tells the story of her life growing up with two irresponsible parents who should not have had children. It's amazing she made something out of her life with the start she had. She tells her story with love and I enjoyed it immensely.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New Shell Grouping

My friend will be giving a group of my shell paintings to her mom and dad for their anniversary. Before I gave them to her, I copied them first and made a few changes to my next grouping (shown above). I really loved to paint the egg shell. I used a Q-tip to speckle the shell. There's always a moment of panic when I think I've blown it -- but then it eventually works out.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lilly Pond

Thinking of my mom at Mother's Day--this was painted from a picture we took at a park in Tenafly when we visited her in New Jersey some years ago. At the time, it was a big accomplishment for me so I framed it and gave it to her. She loves lilly pads.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Morning Glories

I first saw Morning Glories in Catalina Island and loved them, but today I celebrate the last Morning Glory I yanked out of my yard. We had a vine hanging on the fence between our neighbor's yards. We all loved them but the vines were out of control. There were so many vines that they choked out anything in its path. I found them a pretty subject for watercolors, though.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Isabelle & the Rose-Colored Glasses

Just a few illustrations I've been working on for my children's book. It's a story about a girl who learns to appreciate meaningful gifts from her family. She sees visions through the glasses.
I don't know if it will ever get published but that's the goal. (My daughter modeled for this book when she was 8ish...she's 19 now.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Adding to my flower collection to welcome spring, is a painting I painted inspired by style of Annelien Beukenkamp . Her watercolors really have a translucent feel. I especially love her flower paintings and yet I love the style of Jean Uhl Spicer (She doesn't have a website ...I only could find her book "Bright & Beautiful Flowers"). If you like painting flowers, it's a great book. I also saw it on Swaptree. Someday, I have to get back east to take a workshop from either artist.
The little ripples at the bottom are a reflection when I took the picture on the glass patio table. I liked it so I left it in... what the heck.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Touch of Spring

Here in my neighborhood, the soil is rock hard. So basically, if you don't enrich the soil, anything you plant will eventually die. Now that the weather's still cool, we've been using a jack hammer to dig bigger holes for bushes in the yard. My husband jackhammers and I dig. Oh, it's been fun.
It's good exercise but I'm getting too old for this!
I'll never forget when we first moved to California , it was March and everything smelled so wonderful with the orange blossoms and jasmine in bloom. Here's a little bouquet to welcome spring.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Here's my latest dog portrait of Cinnamon, a lovely golden retriever, who recently passed. I think it's nice to remember your beloved animals with a portrait. This will be a present from my friend.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Niece and Nephew

I've been asked if I paint children , too. So I decided to do a practice painting of my niece, Isabelle and godchild, Stevie. It's nice to use 300 lb. paper because it can take alot of abuse.
Although I dared to publish this one, I need to do a better job on the skin and shadows. I once tried a portrait book but she used green for shadows and I just don't like the effect.
And yes, her blue eyes are that big and beautiful in real life. She's a cutie! (and nephew, too.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sweetheart Bench

Do you ever wonder what inspires a painting? I find that the hardest ... inspiration and composition. The first painting I did of this bench was very literal. After all that work, it didn't measure up. So, I painted this one for fun. I like it, because I painted it in the Disneyland fashion... none of the houses in Toontown are straight...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Keepin It Loose

In general, my dog paintings are very tight and realistic but I also love painting loose and free. I wanted to experiment with watercolor pencil, so I doodled around with it many times. This is one study I liked.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I borrowed one of my daughter's pictures of her friend to play with this texture technique as used in Mary's blog "In a Soft Light".

Instead of photoshop, I used my favorite program, Picnik.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spring Already?

When we landscaped our backyard, I had asked for a mix of white and purple iris. I didn't specify equal amounts of white and purple (lesson learned), so when they finally started to bloom, they were basically all white. As any watercolorist knows, painting white is the absence of paint. So making a painting colorful or interesting with white flowers can be a challenge.

I had taken several pictures of some blooms in the garden from all different angles to compose this painting. Sometimes, I also fill a vase with flowers and just keep turning it to get different angles.

Today, I looked out our window to see the first iris in bloom. Low and behold, they're purple!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Watercolor "French" Mat

Some years ago, I was in an interior design shop that featured a few watercolors of plant life nicely framed with watercolor linework on the mat. The linework was filled with a soft green watercolor to compliment the painting.

I really like the way these professionally framed prints looked. So, I suggested we give it a try on the (4) shell paintings going to Kelly's mom. Even though Kelly had already liked the paintings the way they were, I showed her the professionally framed ones (see below) and she wanted me to give it a try. She had faith in me but I am one of the most clutsiest artists. I was so afraid of ruining them. I did a trial run on scrap then I just went for it. So here's how I went about it.

First I drew 2 lines around the edge of the mat with a very hard pencil (4h) ...just enough to see. I used about 1/8" for the line width. I have a parallel bar but you could use a ruler. Then I used the Micron #01 archival ink pen and went over my pencil. The ink is waterproof so its great with watercolor and this also gives you a chance to correct the pencil line width. Now don't rush this because you can't fix this part.

Yes, of course I did mess up. I had on a ruffles on my shirt and the ruffles dragged in the watercolor. Fortunately, I quickly blotted it with a wet brush and tissue and it came out. When I realized I could do that, I blotted several uneven spots to make them just right. The flash makes it a bit stronger but it does have an uneven watercolor quality that looks really nice.
Here's one of the finished framed paintings. It looks much better then the plain white mat. I'm glad we tried it.

Here's a couple of paintings that I had professionally framed that I tried to mimic.

I love the bamboo frame and linework.

Here's a couple more. We framed them with the raw edges of the paper exposed. They're both in our conference room at work waiting to be purchased (if I can part with them).