Friday, November 30, 2012


O.K., don't laugh too hard! I know this is way outside my realm of art subjects, but I had to do a bit of a tribute to my sister-in-law's chickens, and the look of surprise they probably all had when they WEREN'T made into chicken noodle soup, but sent to the old chickens' home to become all broody! I always take lots of pictures when I go up to the farm, and have some wonderful photos of goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, horses, etc. that I have no idea what I will do with.  We shall see...

Thursday, November 29, 2012


This is a drawing that I have been working on for a few weeks.  I love pattern, repeated shapes and stark lines, and decided to build a sequence.  I used a fine tip Pilot pen, and actually went into the second pen as I wore out the first one.  It is an 8x10 piece.  At the moment, I am not sure if it is an inspiration for a really large painting, or something else.  I like where it is going, and not too pleased with the darkest feathers.  Overworked it, I think!  I am actually especially happy with the bottom half of the sketch, where I left some of the feathers to the imagination.  It gave me the chance to bring out the shapes and splits in the feathers, an irregularity that I like very much.  It developed completely by accident, and I am as surprised by the result as can be!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I continued with my sketching by the bonfire, and the acorns were a bit more stable.  They didn't roll about too much, and I was able to play with the shapes and sizes a bit.  My biggest issue was that the pen kept skipping, as it was at the end of the cartridge.  I, being content by the fire and having downed a comfortable half glass of wine, was too lazy to head back indoors to hunt up a new pen!

I had been using the rake to keep my fire under control, and was pleased to be sketching it with a bit less of a need to make it 'representational'.  I do have in the back of my mind that need to become an illustrator ( and have been watching the Illustration Friday website with much interest) so I wanted to play a bit more with loose lines.  I am actually more pleased with this drawing than the other two from the day.  I have a LONG way to go!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I decided to get back to my sketching while I mull over my next painting project.  Today I headed outdoors, and started a lovely bonfire out back.  The day was a bit chilly, the leaves smelled wonderful burning, and the squirrels were irritated....altogether the perfect time for a glass of wine and some sketching!  As you can see by the sketch, I was more interested in my surroundings, the sights and the smells, to really concentrate on my first drawing.  I also had to deal with a bit of a breeze that kept blowing my leaf about.  And then there was the smoke from the fire...which chased me from chair to chair!  Crappy drawing, but big memories.  I will be doing this again!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Well, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a chance for contemplation and gathering of thoughts (or nuts).  I am greeting the holidays quietly this year...osterity being the key word!  I recieved my instructions for the critique art class I am taking.  The next class is in February, but we are to do 3 paintings...#1 painting is to inspire #2 painting, which is to inspire #3 painting, which is to be connected to #1 and #2...confusing!  I am wracking my brain to figure this one out!  I have been working on some sketches, which will be posted in the next few days.  I seem to be fixated on pattern right now. Do you find that when emotions are high, and stress is at its' peak, that you draw or paint more, or less?  I used to go into hiding when the world crashed in on me, and just eat!  These days I want to escape the nasty old world by creating something.  I would be very interested in hearing your experiences on this!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Laugh if you will, but I am so excited about Thanksgiving this year that I had to draw a turkey for it!  This is Thomas the Turkey, spared because so many in the family are vegetarians.  I will be using this sketch for making place cards at our family gathering this year.  We have so much to be thankful for, and this is the first time in several years that my family has been able to get together.  I put a hat on Thomas in honor of my husband, who goes nowhere without his adventure hat on! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  


I have submitted my "Wyoming Winter" painting to the Artist's Challenge today.  I love working with Rusty, the fabulous webmaster...If you want to get your work out into the world, she is so helpful!  This painting is of a ranch on the northwestern side of Wyoming.  I wanted to make a big impact with a tiny painting (this is only 4"x4"x2") so I kept my palette minimal and used pure colors.  White, Ultramarine Blue, and Burnt Sienna with a bit of Burnt Umber.  I used really thick white paint, to give a feeling of heavy snow, and all the other colors were put on as thin glazes. I really do miss the snow these days. The northwestern states has such pure, clean air! Maybe someday I will be able to talk my thin-skinned hubby into moving back! 

Go to  if you would like to see all of the submissions for the Artist Challenge!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I am having  so much fun watching the squirrels try to circumvent our latest invention to try and keep the little rascals off of our birdfeeders!  We have set it up so that they have to do a highwire trapeze act to get to the feeders, and they are very vocal about the inconvenience.  This squirrel sat on the branch for a long time, spinning his tail and chattering his annoyance.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


It is already the season for pots of tea and heart to heart chats with family and friends.  This is one of my favorite teapots (I have one for every season!) I plan on doing a painting of it sometime soon, as it is a cheerful yellow with a copper band.  Maybe I will add a hat and dormouse to the still life!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Pardon the brown paper, but I am using up old sketchbooks, and they don't photograph well.  These are a few character sketches that I was doing the other day while waiting at the Dr.'s office.  I enjoyed trying to capture the facial expressions of the bad-tempered children, and thought that the gentleman who seemed so calm and sweet must surely be a vampire in disguise!  After adding the fangs and pointed ears, I felt it only fitting to add horns to the irritable young man who was being very nasty to his mommy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Sleeping cat
 Here are two final example of Sumi painting from this past weeks' class. As you can see, the paper makes a lot of difference, though I am sure I could iron it smooth at some point.  Both are rice paper. The cat (painted by my mother, J. Anderson) is done on a higher quality paper with a good resiliancy.  The bottom one (my attempt at a Cherry tree) was done on commercial grade rice paper, which almost disintigrates when wet. I am thinking it is probably used by chefs!
Cherry Blossom Tree

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Sumi books and accessories
I thought that I would post a few of the paintings done in Sumi brush strokes (practice, of course!) Aren't they so free and loose?!
These two paintings were done by J. Anderson, my mother and an amazing woman! I know that I inherited my inquisitive nature and need to learn from her!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


J. Anderson (Mom) demonstrating

Students painting

I was gone all week, up to Missouri to assist in teaching a class on Sumi painting.  My mother is an accomplished watercolor painter who learned Sumi painting from Mei Shu from Albuquerque, New Mexico many years ago.  He was a contemporary and good friend of Georgia O'Keefe.

The class was amazing and fun!  We had 16 students and three extra aides, who were kept very busy. Our first challenge with this beginning group was to teach them how to hold the brush, as this is essential for the brush strokes.  It was my job to keep reminding them..."keep it straight!" I also did individual demonstrations while the head instructor (Mom) demonstrated in the front.  It was a cheerful group, with a good sense of humor and a need to learn.  Yeah!  I always find that teaching is the best way to grow as an learn so much more from your students!  I learned that you can enjoy your art and the journey of it more when you have fun, loosen up, and keep your mind open to new possibilities and happy accidents.  I grew a little bit this week!

Monday, November 5, 2012


I finally finished the painting, and I am quite pleased with it!  The creative process was enjoyable, a challenge, and I am happy with the end result.  This painting actually had started out as a painting for a critique class (see previous blog submissions) but as I painted it, it became clear to me that it would work out for the "Bits and Pieces" Artist's Challenge as well.  The painting is a tribute to my wonderful mother, who really found her niche in life about 6 years ago.  She was in her mid 70's, and not wanting to settle into a retired life of doing nothing.  She had the opportunity to volunteer at the Missouri Conservation Department as an educator for children, and fell in love with it! She discovered a wonderful second career teaching children about nature.  I felt that the Bits and Pieces that I painted were a signature for her renewed enthusiasm for life, and an inspiration for me.  Thanks, Mom, for showing me that life continues to throw opportunities our way to grow and give and love!
To see the entire competition, go to http//   And for you artists out there who want to get your work on the web, join them.  They are so supportive, and even do a youtube slide show of each challenge! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012


My art class with Fred Rawlinson was very productive this week. My favorite part of it, however, was his philosophy on the mental processes of a piece of art.  I want to share with you, AS HE STATED IT, the LIFE CYCLE OF AN ART PROJECT
1.  This is a GREAT IDEA!!!
2. Shucks! This is harder than I thought!
3. This really SUCKS!!! It will never work!
4. Depths of despair.....(but I've spent so much time on it! I better pull out all of my bag of tricks to make this work!)
5. This still sucks, but I MIGHT finish it...
6. This was a GREAT IDEA!!!
Fred did say, that without this cycle, the ups and downs and emotional connections to your work...the painting won't be a part of you.  It might be easier sometimes, harder others, but you have to have a connection to your work.  I am starting to believe him....

Friday, November 2, 2012


I have been working on the details of the mallard duckling today.  I kept the beak low key, with only a few brush strokes to indicate the nostril and hard edges.  I have started putting in the eye  and beginning of the duck down brush strokes.  I tried using a fan brush, but it was not working at ALL, so I switched to a small round, and it is going better.  Note to self: fine detail requires a smoother canvas...switch to gessoed board? I am pleased with how things are coming out, and unsure how to finish off the background.  Same old story....

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I have been blocking in the colors for the duckling today, and almost complete with the rubber duck itself.  I am not too happy about the shadow across the back of the plastic...I will try to remedy that and give it more substance.  Also, the ducklings' beak is off.  I need to fix that before I go any further!  The light source and the shadow are conflicting as well.  Thanks to hubby for catching that fairly early in the process!  Can't wait to see what happens with this tomorrow!


I thought that I would show you what my palette looked like for painting with my 'mother' color.  As you can see, my dominant color is Cad Yellow medium, and I have mixed out from there with a fairly limited palette for the Rubber Duck painting.  I have a tiny bit of Cad Red Med., lots of purple, and a bit of Payne's Grey (my favorite color!) along with white.  I tried to use zinc white, but it was just too transparent, so switched to a basic mixing white.  My titanium white was so thick I could barely get any out of the tube.  Yikes!  Need to head to the art supply store again!



I have begun the underpainting, trying to keep in mind that all of my mixes (in acrylic) have to have my 'mother' color in it..Cadmium Yellow Medium. 
I ran out of Titanium White!! Had to make a quick trip down to Corinth, MS to find some. I wanted to get a light base on my ducks, especially the plastic one, to reflect under the yellow and look as bright as possible.  I have decided to completely paint and finish the rubber duck first, then move on to the 'real' duck.   Can't wait to see if it comes out like I envision it!