Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Like Cats?

8x8 oil on gallery wrap canvas  SOLD

If you like Miss Daisy then there is a vote 
going on which her owner is requesting 
votes because Daisy's sister 
won a couple of years ago
and she would like to keep the family 
tradition intact.
Daisy is a gentle and fun loving cat.
Obviously I really liked her.

You have to have a Facebook account 
to vote but here is the link


Some really cute pics of cats and dogs
but scroll down to Daisy and a "like"
counts as a vote.

Artist Note.
Thanks for all the comments 
on the previous post on design. 
I will be getting round to everyone
soon .

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Solving Design Issues - Barn

Mesilla Valley Barn
6x8in oil on canvas panel $135.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note.
Painting on location is 
valuable as a way to 
record the colors and shapes,
but rarely do you get a really
good composition in your sight-line. 
Taking photos with the 
zoom can help, but even then I find I may 
like part of the pic, but not all 
of it. Here is a 
simple but excellent
way to help focus on getting 
an improved design.

First, divide your surface
(any shape) in half 
horizontally and vertically.
You now have four quarters.

The idea is not to have any of the 
quarters match,  meaning - 
too similar in value
 or color pattern

Below are the four quarters
from my landscape above. 
You can see when split 
this way they are all 
completely different. 
Or in Julie parlance...
No matchy matchy!

This is top left...

Top right

this is lower left

lower right.

The painting below by a fellow 
guild member is a good example 
of a plein air painting which
has captured the place really well
-it looked exactly like this -
but, look at the horizontal
bands of similar
shapes and colors. 
an uninteresting rectangle
exists right in the center.
Lets see if the design 
can be improved.

I took a piece of glass and 
placed it over the painting.
I did a quick line down 
and across the center.


I didn't touch the sky or mountains
but started the changes 
just below them.
Notice how I broke up the 
three similar bush shapes, 
top left, by placing a lighter 
 ground color 
weaving in and out across 
the horizon
Next I  lowered the bottom 
of the green bushes 
near mid center, 
bringing them closer.
Then I placed a stronger value 
of  the front weeds to continue
the strong angle. 

Remember the whole 
purpose is to make 
each quarter a different
pattern of light and dark, or color
than each of the others.

after changes

piece of glass showing 
each quarter with the different

I was taught this at Art School 
in England as part of a course
on Alternation,
but I have not seen or read about
it being used anywhere else. 
I do not know why. 
It is simple and effective
Easy to try this method with an older 
painting you have not been quite 
satisfied with.
Do I use it all the time?
But it sure comes in handy when
trying to figure out a way to improve
a painting.
Hope you try it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Yupo Landscape

Yupo Landscape


My husband and I made a
quick trip to Phoenix - 
nice cool Phoenix-
 (record breaking temps)
to attend a funeral this weekend
and this kept me totally
occupied in the car. 
It is weird, I cannot read 
in the car, but I can paint.
The trip takes over six hours
each way,
and as you probably know,
the beauty of Yupo 
is I can paint - wipe it off
and paint again

It went through several incarnations
and I still consider it unfinished.

I was never trying to make a
painting, but just exploring 
the different mark making 
Yupo allows
I was working from memory
 of an area I had plein
painted earlier in the week 
so I was free to concentrate
on the technique.

I did discover some pigments
will stain Yupo.
Even thick applications of
paint will lift off 
topping over with 
another layer, and 
pooling color within 
boundaries is basically the
 only way to get a smooth wash.

I saw this fabulous post by
Jill Golden on alcohol inks
using yupo. It showed 
all her student's work
and they were great.
Her blog is
 see link here Jill Rae
I was intrigued
by the wonderful appearance 
of alcohol ink on Yupo. 
Jill definitely has 
the heart of a teacher and 
she generously
sent me a couple of links
on her youtube demos
see below.

Thank you, Jill.
They look fun,
I am going to give them a go...
but NOT in the car!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mesilla Adobe

Mesilla Adobe, NM
6x8in oil on canvas panel $135.
Purchase HERE

Mesilla is an historical town next to 
Las Cruces, where I live in New Mexico
It has kept its wonderful Spanish/Indian roots.
Situated in a farming valley
it is an artist's delight.

Artist Note.
Another plein air painting. 
I didn't move my easel from the previous
post of the washing line...
 I just turned my head to the right.

The only thing I took artistic license 
with is the ditch. It runs straight, 
across, (parallel to the wall)
 but I felt a curve 
suited my design better.

 All to often, when I suggest a change 
to an artist's composition, 
they will whip out a
photo to show me they had copied it 
just right...
Then I find myself saying,
"it's a painting you are making, 
NOT a copy of photo."

So, my friends, 
how long did it take me to 
get that through my own head?
A loooong time.

Here is a link to information on Mesilla
Pronounced (meh-SEE-uh)

Monday, August 10, 2015


Wash Day
6x8in oil on canvas panel $135. SOLD

Artist Note. 
I went plein air painting with a couple 
of artist friends and my reward for 
getting up early on a non-working day
was finding this place.
Rare to find someone hanging their
laundry outside any more.

Would you believe there was a 
chicken coop too!
The little cluck clucks were as 
cute as can be.
Dilemma...put them in
or leave them out.
Such a small space so I left them out, 
but will go back and paint them
for sure.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Wild Flowers - DPW Challenge


6x8in oil on canvas panel $135. SOLD

Artist Note.
I have been trying to do the weekly 
Daily Paintworks Challenge,
and I am a bit late with this one.

This was from the photo 
Carol Marine chose.
I decided to do poppies because they 
grow wild in Colorado 
and when I lived there 
I painted them quite a few times

Anyone can enter the challenge.
A new one starts every Sunday
so if you need inspiration
deciding what to paint then I suggest 
you give it a go.

See the other participants

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Linking The Darks - NM Farm

Mesilla Valley Farm, NM

6x8in oil on canvas panel  $135.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note.
Classes have resumed at
the Artist Guild of Southern New Mexico.
This was one of the demos
on Linkage.

Linking the darks in a painting
was a good way to start 
off the new semester. 
We all need a reminder after vacation 
of some of the basics. It makes it
easier to avoid what I
refer to as "spotty paintings" 
- caused by having light areas
in what should be the shadow pattern.

Starting with a Notan in
transparent oxide brown
with a touch of Ultramarine Blue,
makes it easy to follow the pattern
of light and dark.

Thanks for all the neat comments 
on my previous post about the snails.
Hope you will understand 
why I have not been
able to answer as
I have been rather busy.

The guild studio was all spruced up 
Carpet cleaned
Shelves dusted
Cupboards tidied
Tables scrubbed and easels checked.
Bins of colored papers to test 
shapes and colors -
mannequins, heads, hands, 
and Freddie the skeleton - all got cleaned up
vessels of all types
flowers galore
Fruit and veggies
The drink station.
Lots of different teas
Yes ...that is instant coffee...
No time to waste cleaning 
a coffee pot!

I love it when everything is tidy and clean.
Thanks for sticking around.

Now I am off to look at everyone's

Friday, July 31, 2015

Escargot For The Ducks!

(Ducks at Young Park)
8 x 6 oil on linen/board SOLD

Artist Note
I have a Beta fish named Mr Fabulous 
who lives very happily in his tank with 
Mr Snail
One day I bought home some fresh weed 
and behold...Mr fab
had a new tenant - another Mr Snail.
The striped one below.

Soon I discovered it must have been a 
Mrs Snail because lots of baby snails appeared.
I could not bring myself to kill them
so I kept putting them in another tank. 
At about 100 baby snails I knew I was in trouble
so I decided to take the new tenant and 
offspring to our local park with a
beautiful small lake.
It has a concrete bottom so lots of healthy algae. 
Yummy for the snails.
I checked with the city first and got the OK.

What I didn't know was that ducks love to eat snails.
A friend teased me saying the ducks would think,
yummy - escargot.
I really laughed, but when I got to the 
water's edge, look what happened
Out of nowhere... all the ducks came!

I hesitated, this was supposed to save the snails 
There was no way I was going to let the snails
be gobbled up.

Out of nowhere
my snails were unknowingly
rescued by this enthusiastic young man
who scared all the ducks away.
I was able to slip them into the water 
feeling my good karma was intact.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pike Place Market - Watercolor on Yupo

Flower Lady
9x12in watercolor on Yupo NFS

Pike Place Market is printed on her apron. 
I was told that it is a lottery system 
to get a space each day at the market, 
but obviously 
the fish and flowers vendors
must be permanent.

Artist Note.
Okay - I am not going to pretend that
this one was easy.
Talk about busy - even with all the editing I did.

So, how to get a design that works and at 
the same time try and capture 
all the flowers,
and a person? 
And do all this on Yupo!

It kept me totally absorbed all day.

Linking the lights.
I used the left down light
joining the strong angle of light from the 
left front flowers...across her arm 
to the back white flowers on the right.
Having her head stand out,  
and by how much was the 
difficult part. 
Until I started this series 
I had never painted
women of Asian descent. 
They were all so beautiful.

I will be trying more of these 
in watercolor - trying to simplify.
Like the gouache below... still unfinished!

I know you agree - painting is life long learning

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pike Street Market - Painted Clothes!

Hand Painted Clothes
8 x 6in oil on canvas panel $135. SOLD

Artist Note.
I always admire the merchant 
who uses the air space
 above their tables to display their wares.
This vendor cleverly strung lines to hang
layers of hand painted clothes.

I was drawn to the scene, 
but it turned 
out to be rather difficult. 
To arrive at a good design
I had a choice to make...
 feature the hanging clothes 
the two women. 
As you know - 
the eye nearly always sees the 
color white first 
so I arched the white items together, 
and offset the women to the side.
 I started off with one woman, 
but preferred it when I added another.

Lots of scraping off while 
trying to solve problems as
they emerged, 
completely held 
 my interest while painting this one.

Enjoy the weekend!