Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

"The Flirt"  
    As I write this, it is 9:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve.  Yes, I'm at home and glad I am.  This has never been one of my favorite holidays.  We usually go to a movie, eat out, and come home by 9:00 p.m.  Then, it's a roll of the dice whether we make it till midnight to welcome the New Year in.  :)  Anyway, I thought I would tell you my New Year's resolution.  I have only One, but it's a big one!  They say that if you write out your plan, that it's more likely to happen. 
     I want more BALANCE in my life.  I tend to go full throttle on any one thing and then everything else falls by the way side.  So, in 2018, I pledge to try to have more balance.  That will mean that I have to think ahead and plan!  We'll see if this resolution lasts more than a month, like other years.  I wish all of you the Best New Year ahead! 
    By the way, this picture, "The Flirt" is an example of the subject for a 2 Day workshop in Sedona, AZ.  This Funky Lady workshop will be on January 17 and 18th of 2018.  I'm also teaching "Wire Drawing", one of my favorite things EVER during this workshop.  To sign up, contact Nancy Boulais at

Monday, December 4, 2017

Little Abbeys- Great Warm ups!

"Hope"    Original watercolor and Collage
5" x 7" Image,   $45 plus shipping
Whenever I'm feeling scared to face that white sheet of paper, I turn to a variety of warm up exercises.  One of those is painting "little abbeys".  This is a nickname that I gave to little abstracts many years ago.  The process is that you start with only 3 colors and paint a cruciform design.  Then you add that collage papers for pops of color and textures that are hard to paint.  I use napkins, gelli print papers, newspapers, and magazines for the collage papers.  I use acrylic matte medium to adhere them to the underpainting.  I'm teaching this process in Watertown, SD on October 18 and 19, 2018.  Contact Jennifer Stone at to sign up!
These paintings teach you some very good painting habits and I use these for studies for larger paintings too.  They really get my imagination going!  This one is called "Hope".  I used Spring colors to signify regrowth, and bright yellow for a happy color! 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Slaying the Dragon

"The Sound of Silence"   $2500, framed
Original watercolor, collage, and acrylic
Image size:  22 x 30"  Framed:  30 x 38"

This painting took me 4 days to complete.  I whined all the way through it! 'as I tell my students who whine,  "Would you like a little cheese to go with that whine?"   It was truly a lesson in perseverance.   There were so many times when I wanted to quit and make it into a journal cover, something I do with my rejects.  But this voice kept telling me that my best paintings are the ones that involve a struggle.  When this happens to you, here's my advice:  
1.  Ask yourself why you are painting this.  Be sure to get that message across to the viewers.
2.  Keep telling yourself to have fun!  Learn from your mistakes and go forward a wiser person.
3.  Draw a value sketch if your design is faltering.
4.  Remember my 3 words:  Repetition, Variation, and Dominance.
5.  Take photos of your painting in progress.  You will see values lots better in the tiny screen.

Now, that I'm finished, I'm so glad that I continued the good fight and truly did slay that dragon!!! This painting is for my solo exhibition in Miles City, MT at the Waterworks Museum on Oct. 15 - Nov. 10th.  My opening reception is on the 15th at 1:00.  Everyone is invited to attend! 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Paintings with the same value patterns

"Wheels of Imagination, #2"   6" x 6" image
11" x 11" framed,   $145 framed
Sorry it's been so long since I have blogged.  It's been a busy teaching schedule and it's hard to keep up with everything!  Check out my website for future workshops!
Squint and you will see my simple light pathway in the little abstract painting above.  I am preparing for a solo exhibition at the WaterWorks Art Museum in Miles City, MT, and my plan is to have several groupings of paintings, both abstract and traditional that have the same original design and the same color scheme.  My show runs from October 15 - November 10th.  I will also be teaching a workshop in Miles City from October 16 - 18, 2017.  Contact DeNice Curry at (406) 234-0635 or email: if interested.  You can check out my website, for the details of the workshop.
My students all know how passionate I am about creating a light pathway for every painting.  Below is a floral that I used the same light value pattern.  Can you see it?  I can't recommend this strongly enough for creating a good design in your paintings.
"Never too Late for Lilies"  11" x 14" image,
16" x 20" framed,   $345 framed

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Challenges are good! Matching eyeballs.

Several months ago, Michaels Craft Store featured a paper tape by Jane Davenport, where the whole roll of tape features
eyes.  I thought it would be fun to challenge my nephew, Ren, who just graduated from High School, to start with the same eye and then we would complete them with our own imaginations.  Below is paper tape roll and my notebook as it appeared in the beginning of the challenge.

Here is my favorite completed drawing, that I call "Robotica".  My nephew, Ren, likes science fiction stuff, so I was trying to think of mechanical images as I did this.  I used my wire drawing skills to get the unusual line work.  It was so fun to do!  The right eye is the paper tape eye.
6" x 6" wire drawing

Below is Ren's drawing, that started with the same paper tape eye.  He got an art scholarship for college. He is so gifted.  From the time he was 2 years old, he has always sketched almost every day!  I'm a very proud aunt!   Isn't his drawing fantastic?  Doing these will build your imagination and might even lead to a painting. Really fun to do!
Drawing by Ren Nisley

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Before and After! Makeovers are good sometimes!

"Proud in Pink"
 Image:  29"x 21"  Framed:  38" x 30"
Acrylic Painting on Paper        $2000
The painting on the left was painted at the Joyce Ells Paint-in last Fall. I knew that it wasn't done, but decided to set it aside till I knew how to solve it. First of all, paintings at Paint-in's often have problems because you are among 30 other artists with lots of interruptions and gabbing during your creative process. I'm not complaining cuz I love Paint-ins. I am there to reconnect with my art buddies rather than having the goal of creating masterpieces. Anyway, I have had this landscape in my mind for at least 5 years with a dusty pink barn and Holstein cows leading up to the barn. I finally decided to paint that image. But then I lost my nerve to add the cows. No worries, cuz at least I had the pink house and barn. Someone came by and remarked how awful the colors were!😳 Pretty gutsy of her, don't you think? Well, that made me even more determined than ever that the pink barn STAYS!
So, this week, I needed a painting for a national competition and decided that it was time for me to finally do a makeover on this painting.
Things I wanted to change:
1. I didn't like the brown colors.
2.  I felt that the light pathway lacked interest.
3. The painting lacked the "wow" factor, so I decided to add bright colors.
4.  The center of interest needed to be made more clear.

So, I worked out a color triad that went with pink. Yes, the pink has to stay!  I used cobalt blue, Quinacridone magenta, and hansa yellow medium.  I also added a tiny bit of raw umber and Bahama Blue.  I got out my chalk and made a better pathway of light.  Then I wiped out the new pathway, using rubbing alcohol.  If you know me at all, you know that I love the color, red.  I knew that if I showcased the building by red, that I would be a happy camper!  I instantly felt better after the red was added.  I think this is a good lesson for all of us.  Some of my BEST paintings are the ones that I struggle with.  They appear deeper, if I can only make it past the ugly teenage stage!  Now, I love the new colors and I like the new design too.  Fingers crossed that it will get accepted into the show that I entered.  Time will tell..... But the most important critique of your paintings is always YOU, and if you are pleased with the outcome, nothing else matters!  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Landscape Wire drawing

So, my latest craze is wire drawings. I love drawing birds or other animals, and now have added abstracts to the list. One thing that has been hard for me till now, is drawing landscapes using my wire drawing skills. I'm encouraged by this outcome. I'm hoping to do an acrylic Gustav Klimt beginning and bring this landscape study to life. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Best soup EVER!!!

"Tortilla Soup"
Tonight, my husband, Dick, and I made homemade soup together. Part of our new lifestyle after Dick retired, is cooking together. Secretly, I'm hoping that he will like it so much that he will take over the cooking chore. 😀  Anyway, I found this recipe in a People Magazine and it's one of the best soups I've ever had. Here's the recipe: Enjoy!!!

Tortilla Soup
From Karen Knutson
(serves 8)

2 ½ lbs. chicken breasts
4 dried ancho chiles OR 4 dried pasilla chiles
4 cup chicken broth (2 cans)
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tsp. Kosher salt, or to taste
¾ large white onion, diced
1 large bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Tortilla strips (you can buy these at Byerly’s near the fresh soup deli)
Fresh spinach
About 3 or 4 avacados (pitted, peeled and diced)
About 1 cup feta cheese
8-10 fresh mushrooms, sliced in large slices or ¼ cubes

In a large stockpot, bring chicken and broth to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, place chiles in another medium saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.  Then, Drain the chile.  Let cool slightly and then, remove the seeds, stems, and veins.  Cut into strips and set aside.
 With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from pot and, after it cools, cut into cubes (if you plan to freeze this, make the cubes large, if not, make them about 1” cubes).  Set aside the stockpot of broth.
Place the chiles, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and salt in a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth, adding ½ cup of the reserved broth if the mixture is too thick.
Stir the chile puree and half of the cilantro into the broth.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add salt if needed.  Stir in the chicken and the remaining cilantro.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add mushrooms the last 5 minutes.  Add remaining cilantro just before serving.

In bowls, place about 4 or 5 spinach leaves in the bottom of the bowl.  Then add soup, and top with avocado, about 1 T. feta cheese, and the tortilla strips.  Serve immediately.  

**This recipe is a revised version, From Eva Longoria (of Desperate Housewives)  from People magazine.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Acrylic Abstract workshop

The first 2 days of The Villages, Florida workshop, we worked on white flowers with an abstract background.  We made our own papers, using deli paper and handmade stamps (made with mat board).  It was a hard first day, with so much to learn, but I knew that we had to start with that one, so that they would be fresh and alert, doing the hardest painting.  One thing that I emphasize in my workshops is having a light pathway.  Squint and you will see it here.  On the next 2 days, we painted dragonflies and that was lots easier.  I used a brayer to start this one, just spreading acrylic paint on Arches watercolor paper, with wild abandon.  Then we drew a wire drawing of a butterfly or a dragonfly on top of the abstract design.
Their paintings are pictured below.  Can you believe how good they are?  I had a great time teaching at The Villages.  I believe that it's my 5th time teaching for them.  If you are ever in that area, check out their workshops.  Beverly Hennessey is the director of workshops there and she does a great job!  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Acrylic and Collage

Painting on a wrapped canvas is so fun! I usually start by preparing the surface with gesso. Then I made my own collage papers, using a gelli pad. This is so fun!!! I used limited colors, something I learned from Carrie Burns Brown.  Using 2 opposite colors, black and white.  You will be able to achieve at least 20 different colors and your paintings will be unified! Try it! Click on Carrie's name to watch a You tube video. She was a great instructor!!!!
I'm attending a Paint-in now hosted by Karlyn Holman. She is one of my favorite artists! We have so much fun! This painting was completed at the Paint-in, where we all get inspiration from each other. Positive energy floors in the air. This painting, "Shades of Gray" is available for $345.  (12" x12" wrapped canvas)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

All 30 Paintings at a glance!

"30 Paintings in 30 Days"  January 2017 Challenge

Here is the collection of all 30 Paintings from the January, 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.   I used the website, to make the collage of them.  I love that website.  It is very easy to use and I use it often after teaching, to make a collection of my student's paintings.  It used to be free, but now there is a small fee.  Totally worth it.  The site works best with square paintings, so you will notice that many of these only have partial images of my paintings, but enough for you to get the idea.  I knew that would be a problem when I decided to paint all quarter sheets, but decided to go ahead with that plan anyway.
Again, I want to thank all of you for being my cheerleaders during this challenge.  It really means a lot to hear your comments or to count up the "likes".  Thanks to Leslie Saeta, who thought up this great challenge for all of us!  Thank you to those who purchased many of my paintings too.  If any of you are interested, just go back to past blogs to see if your favorite is still available.  Great prices! 
Today, I totally relaxed!  Had a pedicure and a manicure.  Not sure that was real wise, since I will be painting in acrylics in only 5 days when I go to a Paint-in!  But it felt good to relax and have a little reward for my hard work.  Stay tuned to my blog.  My goal for 2017 is to post at least every 2 weeks.  I try to share my knowledge as an instructor with my students who stay tuned to my blog. I made many discoveries this month and can't wait to pursue those discoveries and fine tune them.  Check my website for details about future workshops. I'm teaching all across the USA this year, both the East and the West coast.  (Below are available paintings)

2017 Schedule:
January- Cape Coral, FL
February- The Villages, FL
March-  Green Valley, AZ
April- Kanuga Conference Center (near Henderson, NC)
May- Louisville, KY
June- San Diego, CA
July- Alexandria, MN
August- Dickinson, ND
               White Bear Lake, MN
                Watertown, SD
September- Traverse City, MI
October-  Miles City, MT
November-  Home studio possible workshop
Available paintings from the 30 in 30 Challenge    $99 Each

Here are all 30 Paintings that I did in January.  There is a website, that is a great way to make a poster of your paintings.  It used to be free, but now, there is a small fee.  It's easy to use and I use it often, as an instructor to make a collection of my student's paintings.  On this, I had to crop several of the paintings, due to them being rectangular in shape.  The site is meant for square paintings.  But you get the idea anyway.  Many of these paintings are still for sale.  Go back to earlier blogs if interested.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

Day 30: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"The Highest Power, #3"    NFS
Image:  11" x 15"    watercolor
     Yes!  I made it!  There were many times, when I wondered if I should quit, just for my health alone.  But I did easy paintings on those days, and then I got better.  For you runners out there, this was my marathon, and it feels really good to have made it across the finish line.
     I've been working on this painting here and there all month.  I needed a pure watercolor for the Transparent Watercolor Exhibition, so this will be one of my entries.  I know it's not a landscape, my original goal for this 30 Day Challenge, but I've already broken that many times with all my bird paintings.  So, why not break it one more time?  Go out with a bang, I say!       The study for this was the wire drawing below (drawings that look like a wire sculpture).   I've done 3 of these so far.  Every one is different, and surprises always arise as I'm painting.  Tomorrow, I will be posting the whole collection of 30 Day Paintings.  That will be your last chance to get in on the January bargain prices.  It's been a great ride, and as always, I learn so much along the way.  I really recommend you trying this.  Thanks for following along and cheering me on!

Wire Drawing of the original "Highest Power" painting

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Day 29: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Sunrise on the Shore"        $99  SOLD
Image size:  11" x 15"       Watercolor
This painting was painted totally wet into wet.  I wondered why I wanted to paint in yellow today, and then happened to notice that our walls are painted yellow at our rented condo.  Yes, the colors around us do truly affect our color choices.  I've painted lots more yellow paintings since I've been in FL than I ever did in MN. One trick that I do when painting skies is to add the opposite color under the cloud masses.  In this case is was a dusty purple, created by mixing cerulean blue, Davinci Red Rose Deep, and a touch of New gamboge. The muted complimentary color makes the yellow even brighter.  That grey/purple color is in the rocky ground on the left side too.  Tomorrow is the last day of this 30 Day Challenge.  I can't believe it!  Check back at my past blogs to see if you want to purchase any now.  Remember, the prices will change in February. These prices are only good in January.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Day 28: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Dusk"      $99 SOLD
Image size:  11" x 15"     watercolor
This painting has the appearance of a wood cut.  It's a great technique.  Supposedly, I was going to do an easy painting today.  But that changed!  I learned the process of masking out the sky from Nita Engle, one of the top watercolor artists in the country.  I took a workshop from Nita Engle when I had only been painting for about a year.  She was such a master! AFTER I carefully masked around the trees and the reflections in the water, etc.  I realized that I would have to take all the mask off later on. And one thing that I forgot on this FL trip, was my maskoid remover.  Ugh!  So, after I poured on the colors for the background trees and the grasses, I dried the paper and then used rolled up masking tape to remove the maskoid.  It works great in a pinch.  Below is what my painting looked like with the masking fluid protecting the sky, sky holes in the background trees, and the reflections.  Only 2 more days to get these great deals.  It's been a fun journey.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Day 27: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Jungle Fever"    $99  (SOLD)
Image:  11" x 15"      Watercolor
Today, I tried something new!  I started the painting by drawing random doodles on the paper using a really wet brush.  Then I floated the color into the wet lines and let the drips happen wherever they broke through.  After that was dry, I drew the bird on the paper, trying to have the line work break across the bird.  I'm excited about this procedure because I now have a new lesson to teach for the next couple of years.  Below is the start of this painting.  To learn more, you will have to take one of my workshops!  (wink, wink) :)  Check my website for future workshops.  I've got a full schedule, traveling to many states on the East and West coast.
Beginning stages of "Jungle Fever"

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Day 26: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Rock Springs"       $99.    SOLD
Image:  15" x 11"   watercolor
Today, I chose to do an easy painting.  It was such fun to work totally wet into wet.  First I wet the Arches cold press paper on both sides and let it soak in before starting.  I began, changing colors often and creating a dark trail that leads the viewer's eye toward the bottom of the paper.  Then I changed to a 1/2 inch flat brush and I added depth to the rocks and the tree masses. When the paper almost loses it's shine, I lifted out the negative space between the trees.  It was so fun to see the white paper when doing this.  Trying to vary the shapes of the background lights is important.  Adding salt at the bottom of the paper for a feeling of water running off the rocks.  I thought I was done at this point, but after an hour of viewing it from the couch, I decided that it needed more.  The first version is below.  I decided to add illusionary lines for a little more depth.  To do this, you draw a light box shape, then paint on the outside of the shape partly, and then switch to painting on the inside.  This should be a very light wash, so that you can make it disappear. I like the finished version lots better.  Do you agree?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Day 25: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Eyes of the Forest"      NFS
Image:  15" x 11"      Watercolor
This painting started out as just a tree painting.  Then, I just had to add a bird.  My intention is to have the viewer aware of how we need to preserve our world by recycling, and conserving energy as much as we can.  Our forests are beautiful and I want them around for generations to come. I intentionally made the bird illusionary, as if it were a ghostly being, watching over its habitat.  That's why I named it "Eyes of the Forest".  I worked on this painting all day today, and may enter this painting into an upcoming national show, so I'm not selling it yet.  If interested, you can private message me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day 24: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Early Bird gets the Worm"      $99 SOLD
Image size:  11" z 15"     Watercolor, Charcoal, and Collage
I'm torn about painting landscapes or painting birds.  I love the process of painting birds, so I've been switching back and forth.  I've also been really wanting to do a total abstract painting lately, but I'm committed to finishing this 30 day challenge.  I'm finding it really hard to do this challenge this year, since I'm in Florida.  We've had lots of company, I taught a workshop one week, AND I got sick for a week.  Now, all that is behind me, but the nice weather keeps calling my name.  I'm loving my times at the beach or the pool.  It was easy to paint in MN when it was cold and snowing outside.  This is teaching me to be very organized and try to paint ahead.  I should do this more often.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Day 23: 30 Paintings in 30 Days"

"Florida Palms"       $99
13" x 9"        watercolor
     Yes, we really are in Florida.  And it took 23 days for me to finally paint a palm tree.  I love the way they sway in the wind.  We are loving retirement.  Venice is a very friendly town.  Artists have been very welcoming to me and Dick is loving the golf here.
     Today's painting is pretty basic, but was really fun to paint.  I started by wetting both sides of the paper and then blocking in the base color (light green for the trees and light blue for the sky).  From there, I just kept changing to smaller brushes and thicker paint to create the shadows and deeper look of the palms.  Watch for more contemporary palms in the future.  I plan to make cards of this image.
     Yesterday,we spent the day on the beach.  I could get used to this life!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Day 22: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Sunrise Splendor"       $99
11" x 11"          watercolor
We have company this weekend, so I am doing pretty easy paintings this weekend for the 30 Day Challenge.  I am allowing my love for the color red to come out lately.  One of my challenges this year is to study color.  One of my heroes is Vincent Van Gogh.  Just click on his name and I've provided a link to see his luscious paintings.  The colors he got by layering are incredible!  So, get ready for some blue and yellow paintings in the future.
I've always heard that when you move to Florida, you never are lonely, cuz lots of friends and family come to visit.  It's true!  And I love it!  We are already making plans for next year when we will be staying here in Venice for 3 or 4 months, instead of the short visit this year.  Nice to escape the MN winters.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Day 21: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"The Magic of a Lake"   $99
Image:  11" x 14"      Watercolor
Another Lake Scene from my memory.  These are such quick paintings, but they are great exercises on timing.  Wetting both sides of the paper allows for more time to paint the sky ad water with wet washes.  Then, I change to a smaller 1/2 inch flat brush when I paint the tree masses.  Changing colors often is the trick here.  Adding salt at the base of the trees makes great bushes.  These quarter sheet paintings only take about 15 minutes to do!  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Day 20: 30 Paintings in 30 days!

"Country Charm"       NFS
Image:  11" x 15"       Acrylic painting
My early years on a ranch were such happy memories.  Every now and then, I just need to paint a farm scene.  Actually, if we are getting specific, I was raised on a ranch in Montana.  No farms in that area, only ranches.  It was a great life!
This painting was so much fun to do!  Layers of acrylic.  Although I'm not a quilter, I kind of paint as if I'm quilting.  Weaving layers of different colors and adjusting the colors as I go.  I will be teaching more acrylic workshops in the future.  Check out my website for my workshop schedule.  This painting is going to be entered into a national show, so I can't sell it yet.  If you are interested, let me know.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Day 19: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"North Shore Cove"    $99
11" x 14" image       Watercolor
For all you blog followers who are not from Minnesota, this is what our North Shore (of Lake Superior) looks like.  My favorite spots are Lutsen Resort, Solbakken Resort, and Cove Point Lodge. It is peaceful, quiet, and serene.  We used to own one of the condos at Lutsen Resort.  Beautiful area! In November, the waves can get as big as a house, but in summer, most of the time, the waves gently lap onto the rocks and really create the perfect sound for getting back to your inner soul.  Every year, I try to make it up there at least twice.  It's about a 5 hour drive from Minneapolis.  Life slows down there.  Even when you get groceries, the employee takes the time to ask you about your day, and gets into a conversation with you.  I remember the first time, when I was waiting in line, waiting for her to stop talking and start ringing up the person's groceries.  I was being impatient and was in my City Mode of busy, busy, busy.  Then, when it was my turn, I got the same friendly conversation.  That was a great life lesson, and it's when it struck me, to take it easy, and just breathe!  My blood pressure always goes down there.  This painting is available for only $99, during January.  Then after that, it goes back up to a normal price.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Day 18: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Colors of Fall"    $99
11" x 14" image      watercolor
Today, I chose a simple lake scene that is very much like the view from our house!  I'm trying to paint several paintings ahead so that I will be able to enjoy our son and daughter in law's visit when they come in 2 more days.  This paper was wet on both sides as to allow me to work wet into wet for a long period of time.  I even painted the foreground tree when the paper was still damp so that it would be very slightly out of focus.  MN lakes are so beautiful, and we Minnesotans are very proud of our 10, 000 lakes!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Day 17: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Sing like a Cardinal"      $99 SOLD
11" x 14" image      Watercolor, charcoal, and collage
I had started this painting last week in prep for the Cape Coral workshop.  So I decided to finish it up for one of my 30 paintings this month.  Cardinals are such a fun bird to watch, especially in MN when I spot them in the trees in the Spring.  It's like our first bit of color all winter, and of course, it's my favorite color, red!  This painting, started with a charcoal pour, explained in earlier blogs this month.  The preparation process is in the book by Virginia Cobb, Discovering the Inner Eye, Experiments in Water Media.   Then I added collage for the wings and in the background.  I love collage! This painting is available for purchase at the special January price of $99 plus shipping.

Day 16: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Favorite Meditation Spot"     $99   (SOLD)
11" x 12"         Watercolor and charcoal pour
I am playing catch up, after hosting our daughter and 2 granddaughters at our condo in FL for the past 3 days.  (Great time!)  When we were swimming in the pool, I floated on my back and it felt so good to just BE.  I think I'd like to make that a part of my every day routine.  Finding somewhere that is special to me to meditate.  When in MN, that place is the North Shore of Lake Superior, where the sound of the waves, lots of birch, pine trees, and great rocks make the perfect spot for me to get back to my soul.
This painting started with a charcoal pour, where I sprinkle ground charcoal on a paper and throw a huge bucket of water on the paper, which disperses the charcoal towards the outer edges with great force.  Below I have my start to this painting.  I could envision a landscape from this beginning. Using a credit card loaded with paint, I scraped in the markings on the birch trees.  It's a great technique.  This was a very limited palette, so that the charcoal markings could match the paint.  I used burnt sienna mixed with ultramarine blue.  At the end, I added a little raw sienna to warm up the painting.
Charcoal Pour Start

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Day 15: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Bird's Eye View"   $99 SOLD

This was my demo for the Cape Coral, FL workshop. It was so fun to show my eager students how to complete their charcoal pour beginnings. This lesson included collage, charcoal pour procedure, negative painting to create depth in the branch area, and how to paint the bird's eye. They seemed to enjoy the eye lesson the most. Even tho the eyes are very small, there are about 7 steps to creating the glassy look. Their paintings turned out so well!  I'm back in Venice, FL now, enjoying the beaches and warm weather.  :)  We are renting a condo for all of January and I love it here.  Nice to escape the cold winter of MN.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day 14: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Rest Stop"        $99 (SOLD)
11" x 14"   Watercolor and collage

Yes, another bird!  I've done so many crow paintings, and I still get excited every time I start a new one!  Adding collage for the feathers and adding brightly color napkins and collage papers is such fun.  I always have loved quilts, and I think my paintings even resemble quilts sometimes.  Too much work to actually sew one. To read about the process of the charcoal pour for this painting, check back to Day 11 of my blog.  Almost to halfway of this challenge!! Thank you, Leslie Saeta for posting this 30 day Challenge.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Day 13: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Birch Tree News"        $99 (special discount price during January)
11" x 14"        Original watercolor and collage
What fun to collage newspaper onto the birch trees!  It adds the look of the linework on the birches like magic.  I love collage and learned how to collage from Gerald Brommer years ago.  He is the master of collage, and a great, great man and artist.  I have so much respect for him, as an artist and teacher, but also, for the gentle spirit that he is.  He has written many books.  Check them out!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Day 12: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Time to Reflect"       $99 (Special discount price during January)
11" x 14" image       Original watercolor
This painting was such a pleasure to do.  I purposely kept is as simple as possible.  Picking only 3 colors, burnt sienna, cobalt blue and raw sienna. Then I wet both sides of the paper and put in the sky and then waited for a bit to add the distant tree mass, using thicker paint.  Then it was a waiting game to add salt and create back-spills and runs on purpose.  Timing is everything in this piece.  Although it was a pretty fast painting to do, you have to be pretty experienced painter to pull it off.  I would recommend reading Zoltan Szabo's books about this procedure.  He was one of the most influential artists for my instructor, when I first took classes back in 1985.  I love testing my timing skills with one of these from time to time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Day 11: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Crow's Perch"   $99 (only during January) SOLD
11" x 14"    watercolor and collage
Today, I'm preparing for the charcoal pour workshop that I'm teaching in Cape Coral on Thursday - Saturday.    This is one of my favorite workshops.  We sprinkle charcoal powder onto the watercolor paper and then throw a big bucket of water onto the paper, so that the charcoal spreads outs in a splatter fashion.  We do this outside, of course.  It's nice to be in Florida, where it's nice and sunny for this procedure.  This procedure is explained in Discovering the Inner Eye, Experiments in Mixed Media by Virginia Cobb.  This is my favorite mixed media book!  It's filled with inspiration and great paintings by one of my favorite artists, Virginia Cobb.  The bird's feathers are collaged, using napkins, collage papers, etc.
So, I figured I could get away with saying that this is a landscape because the bird is perched on a tree.  You knew I'd have to cheat somewhere along this journey, right?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Day 10- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Birch Trees in red and green"     Original Watercolor
11" x 11"      $99 (during January, 2017

My favorite color scheme these days is red and green.  My house is decorated in those colors, and I wear those colors often.  I remember a workshop with Donna Watson, where she said you should keep to the colors you love.  Her paintings are lovely variations of grey.  I love the simplicity of her paintings.  My problem is that I love many other colors too.  But red and green are my favorites.  You probably will see many more birch paintings with different color schemes.  I think it would be a fun challenge within this challenge!

Monday, January 9, 2017

First 9 Paintings of the 30 Day Challenge

All of these paintings are 11" x 14" image and available for only $99 each during the month of January.  If interested, send me a private message on Facebook, or message me in the comment section below.  Hope you are enjoying this trip down landscape alley.  I have a sinus infection now, so it has zapped all my energy.  Hoping to produce more contemporary pieces as the month goes on.

Day 9 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Birch Tree Study of Erin White"     NFS
11" x 14"     Original Watercolor   
I could do 100 paintings of birch trees and still not fun out of ideas.  I may do more of these during this challenge.  It would be fun to try different color combinations.  The lighter grey color in this one was achieved by mixing burnt sienna and manganese blue, and the dark gray color was mixed using ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.  It was lots of fun to do!   It's great to be influenced by other artists, but you should always make it your own. Thoughout my painting career, there are 3 artists who I consider to be the top birch tree painters: Russell Norberg, Kay Sharkey, and Erin White.  This painting is a study of Erin White's birch painting.  Although I changed it a lot, it still looks too much like hers, so it will remain part of my private collection.  I feel very strongly about that.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Day 8: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Foggy Morning"    $99
11" x 14" image       Original watercolor
I'm trying new colors in these quick 15 minute paintings.  Today, it is very foggy in southern Florida, so this fits the mood.  I used raw sienna, burnt sienna, manganese blue hue, and new gamboge.  I'm still nursing a rather bad cold, so taking it easy is where it is at!  My hubby got my computer fixed, and bought me a new mouse to use with it, so I'm a happy camper.  He also spoiled me by making supper tonight.  I'm a very lucky girl!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Day 7: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Artist's Point".   $99
11"x14".  Original watercolor

This is one of my favorite places to go.  Located right off Grand Marais, MN, this is a peninsula of land with deep cut rocks and very flat rocks. Such a contrast. It has a very peaceful feeling, so I often will sketch while taking in its beauty.  I used plastic wrap on the rock area and actually directed the plastic wrap in different directions to create the deep cracks and crevices.


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