Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jordan Lake Light Show

Jordan Lake light show...from my reference photo taken on an April evening. There were very ominous storm clouds just south of here but the sunset had this lovely promise of light. It wasn't clear where the sun was. It was as though it was trying some new ways of making rainbows. 

On a technical note, this painting is watercolor on watercolor canvas, which is new for me. Very different handling from any paper! Guess I'm exploring new ways of making rainbows, too!

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Geese on the Pond

A pair of Canadian Geese who seemed the dominant residents at a small water retention pond, although a solitary Great Blue Heron and pair of Mallard ducks were present. This pair stayed close together and kept a close eye on me. The reference was a photo I took in the early spring, so it'll be interesting to go back and see who's there now. 

Done for the Daily Paintworks "critter" challenge. Just a little behind on those!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Buoys on the Lake

A bit of gray, a bit of wind this morning on the lake. Pastel pencils on paper.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Crystal Palette

Okay, pun intended! Original still-life from watercolor class today...I'm thinking it may be the only painting of a crystal vase and a watercolor palette, but I would be happy to see other examples! 

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Green, green, green

Fair warning: this is clearly plant pornography for the gardening addicted! Most of this painting was done en plein air at a fantastic local gardening center, of the kind where you can't stop looking, but what you really want is to just move in. This is looking at the backside of a free-standing fireplace. I know, I know. You're thinking "built like a brick house". Hey, don't tell my husband, but I'm going to have to go back again. And maybe paint the front side. 

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Field and Forest

My second painting in the hayfield today. I especially like the strong contrast between field and forest, which drove this painting. I'm told the hay will be hauled away soon, so I'll have to "make hay [paintings] while the sun shines"! 

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First Hayfield

A real adventure en plein air-drove past this morning and just had to go back. So I screwed up my nerve, and walked up to the farm house. Permission asked, and very nicely it was given to me! The owner,  Brenda, drove up as I was painting and very graciously pointed directions to another (more shaded) hayfield, so I might try there also. The geese were also quite gracious about modelling in this first one. I don't feel that it's quite finished, so it may change later. First, something cold to drink and some shade! To do list: get umbrella!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Green Thumb?

Do you think they'll grow? This was a still life from "life" done in Rocky Alexander's watercolor class today. Spent a few minutes at home tidying it up. I try to take care of my brushes, but it surely would be nice if they would self-propagate!

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Return of the Heron

Back at Lake Crabtree in mid afternoon. Thought I was going to be rained out, but the shelter of the gazebo kept the light rain off my paper and it blew over. I left the gazebo and the dock out of this painting (if you recognize the view from A Place to Rest). The heron was a little annoyed to be bothered in this fishing spot, so I tried not to jump every time the bumblebee buzzed me from behind and the skinks made their surprisingly loud racket in the underbrush!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Shadows and Shore

En plein air watercolor sketch of grasses and waves. Just enjoying the colors without being overly concerned with the structures. Most of the painting I did this week isn't finished yet, but I'm gearing up for another round of Ultimate Painting competition tomorrow! Funny how having the major time limitation of 20 minutes  lets you throw all the other ones aside!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

This Old Truck

This one is for Carol Marine! She loves to paint old trucks, so when I saw this old Chevy Truck parked on display, I had to stop and give it a try. Not many choices of vantage point, and a couple of fire ants objected to where I set up! Still it was a worthy subject!

Plein air, watercolor pencil and water brush on 140 lb paper


Springtime Jordan Lake

Plein air watercolor on a beautiful morning at Jordan Lake. This is a popular fishing spot, so I had lots of company and a backpack and fishing rod parked on the rocks briefly. Of course, by the time I take the references on scenes like this, they have changed so much! 

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Silver Morning Flight

Silvery light around nine in the morning. It was a little brighter until the clouds shifted and the sun rose up more behind them. Have been thinking about flight and the heron did some fly-by's this morning, but it was the soaring hawk that got in the picture.

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Portrait Society of America Sketches

The PSOA annual conference is always good inspiration! The first sketch is from a photo I took of one of the models during the "Face Off", which is probably my favorite event on the schedule. This model is phenomenal: beautiful, holds the pose, and brings so much character and elegance to bear. 

The rest are sketches I made of models, teachers and attendees as I went. I played with watercolor pencils on a self portrait, but I'm an extremely uncooperative model! [revised a bit on May 3].

And I had to try out the pastel pencils I bought...


Jack Richeson Portrait

I borrowed Daniel Greene's model today, as he did a marvelous demonstration. Watercolor pencil and Aquabrush. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Heron over the Lake

Quick Plein Air sketch at Lake Crabtree. The heron insists on being painted from life; I never get a photo!

(I'm really trying out the system, so only $2 minimum bid! Available 5 days)


Dogwood in Woods

A little sketch of the blooming dogwood in the backyard, from last week. 


Friday, April 24, 2015

Ultimate Painting!


Finally, the Ultimate Painting Competition! Wow, what a blast! I was nervous enough that my hand was visibly shaking. Really enjoyed the high energy music and the great vibes from the crowd. I'm told I came close to moving on to the final round, and really appreciate the chance to paint with a great group of artists and meet some wonderful people. If you are the lovely person(s) that bid on my painting, thank you so much! 

We had to hit the road so I missed the final vote count. Jennifer Kennedy and Tracey Marshall both did a great job. And everyone made it a super night!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Boat House Tower

Quick sketch en plein air at Lake Crabtree, about 30 minutes at the Lake and another 30 refining from memory. Didn't even get a reference photo! But I did get some soggy shoes, as the ground is very wet. 


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fuquay Varina Plein Air 2015

Came to see the Plein Air Event in Fuquay Varina and had to do at least one little study of a pretty little pond. I wanted to arrive earlier and watch more but the day didn't go that way. Very glad to see at least part. Off to see all the official entries now.

Entries by Rocky Alexander (top, on left) and Sally Sutton
and JJ Jiang (bottom, on left) and Christopher Reid. 

Lots of other gorgeous work! 


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Coots at Lake Crabtree

These American Coots (Fulica americana) tend to be constantly moving. This was my first go at painting them, purely plein air. Cute coots!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

After Rain at the Lake

A little plein air study in watercolor at Crabtree Lake.  Ran out of time so don't have the "sight size" view. 


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Watercolor Travel kits

James Gurney has been a great teacher to me through his blog and videos.

This posting of his (and his friends' ) started me on an amazing journey of my own, only a few months ago:

I started with a plain Altoids tin and a cut-up plastic container of pan watercolors that came with a beginner art set someone gave me. An eraser and sharpener and tissue will fit in on top of the little plastic cover for the watercolors.  The real benefit of using a tin (instead of a plastic cotton swab holder for example) is being able to attach it to your sketch pad with a magnetic clip ("chip clip").

Below is another great link that illustrates exactly how to make your own kit.  I will probably use the magnetized half pan idea, as long as it doesn't get too heavy, so that the colors are individually and easily replaceable. "Tacky" material doesn't really hold them very securely and it's not fun when they fall out.  I like the idea of using small Yuba paper inserts as palettes (not sure where I saw that) in addition to painting the lid white. 

Then, ta-dah! at Bass Pro Shops. It's meant to hold a gift card and cost about $4 I think. The "handle" works great as a finger ring if I want to hold it instead of clipping to the sketch pad. It's slightly taller than the Altoids and will hold a little more "stuff", but is still completely portable.

And a magnet dropped into the little water bottle holds that in place too.  I think I prefer having my paper to the left as I am right handed, so my sketch books will be Asian, I guess! 

Waterbrushes are an absolute must! Recently I started using one filled with waterproof black ink, with good results (another Gurney idea). I put together this little brush holder, though, because sometimes I want more control and choices. Can't remember where this idea came from, but the rubber band is the key to keep the brushes from shifting and smashing the hairs. 

Brushes held by rubber band to cut up plastic pencil holder insert taped to cardboard within small pencil tin. I cut the corners back so I could easily pull the brush holder out of the tin. 

Since then, my "kit" has expanded to 2 diaper bags full of stuff, including some purchased kits. Sounds like a George Carlin routine! But that's another story!

So, a long post for me on an evolving subject...but this kind of sharing from others brought painting back into my life!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Rite of Spring, abstract

For the latest Daily Paintworks Challenge...inspired by the idea of the first performance of the ballet Rite of Spring (music Igor Stravinsky, choreography Vaslav Nijinsky) in 1913, which was a somewhat riotous event, by accounts. It may not be the "lusty month of May" yet, but that certainly seems to be the spirit of it. It's kind of nice seeing everyone break into the abstract!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Burst of Tulips

Why I love watercolor class with "Rocky" Alexander! Gaining skills...check. Trying something completely different...even better!

This isn't "quite" finished, as I only had one session to work, so still would like to go in and place the shadows, but this really brightened my day, so I'm sharing now!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Girl in Red Hat-Homage

Earlier this year, Vermeer's small painting visited our area. I'm sure I had seen the painting itself before but it surely was many, many years ago. I am so captivated by it! This is a little 4 x 6 inch study on toned paper done with crayons, water-based Sharpies and gouache. Well, why not?


Spring start at Crabtree Lake

Spring is showing mostly in patches: cultivated plantings of pears, cherries, and bulbs. It's more subtle in the "wild". The redbuds and some dogwoods are showing, and there's a bit more bright green scattered about. The color at the lake was more obvious when I started the painting and became more subdued over the course of an hour, as the sun rose.  The warmth and hints of color make even the air seem festive somehow. 


Friday, April 3, 2015

Jordan Lake Ink Study

Not sure if I'll be able to paint today or not. Here's a plein air study done last week with a water brush filled with black ink. Thank you, James Gurney, for that idea!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Time Out or Leaves in Winter

Had a bit of enforced rest this week for some minor surgery...which never feels that way at the time. Thank Momness for Mom!! Hugs! And for Hubby!  And rest of Family (you know who you are!)!

So eager to get back into "training"! Have only been able to do some small (we're talking ACEO size sketches) since last week, but glad for them. And it lets me go back and fill in a very old Daily Paintworks Challenge!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Small Treasures Exhibit

A full house this evening at the Reception for Small Treasures! It quickly became too crowded to take pictures, so this is the best I have for now. The show will be up until April 18. It's a real honor to be included in this wonderful selection and I have a feeling many of these will sell quickly. Also, beautiful new works are up in the rest of the Cary Gallery of Artists and there was a great reception at Village Arts Gallery next door for Cady Driver and Susan Soper. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Moonscape Study

I wish I could find the photo reference to give credit where due...let me know if you know! This is a study done in watercolor class taught by Rocky Alexander. It's been a great class! Do check out her website!


Monday, March 23, 2015


Maybe I haven't mentioned it in the blog yet, but the next session of Ultimate Painting will be on April 24 in Greensboro, NC and I am going to be one of the 12 artists painting. Nope, I have never done anything like it! Based on my experience watching the Paint-Outs at the PSOA conferences, it will be really good fun to watch! And very intense for those of us painting!

So, I am training! I got the cheapest acrylics I could find in only the colors we will be given and am setting the timer for 20 minutes and painting! Right now, I'm just trying to figure out what these pigments do (and do not) and how much painting I can get done in 20 minutes. 

I won't be sharing all of these exercises, but thought I'd let you in on the gig! And if you're at all going to be around, get a ticket for $10 and come out and have fun. There will be an hour of painting (3 heats), an auction of all the paintings and a good time!


Friday, March 20, 2015

Late Morning

A soft sort of morning, before the clouds completely took over and the rain came and redid the cleaning crew's work and the cars filled up the lot. Outside the shops and not enough coffee in the world for me! As far as this little bronze couple is concerned, the seat's always taken. 


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Contra Lateral Floral

Back to the Daily Paintworks Challenges! This one was to paint a scene using only one's non-dominant hand! Since I don't have full use of either arm right now, this was almost ridiculous in awkwardness trying not to knock it all over in my lap!

Have also been wanting to try the "sight size" method. I needed all the help I could muster! The flowers were brought over by a friend for a dinner party and are the more delightful for that happy memory....


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