A row of ribbons

Art award ribbons

Nice little array.

I had entered eight paintings in the Imperial County Fair this year and seven of them won ribbons!  Four of them – the first and second place winners will be on display in Pioneer’s Museum in Imperial until the 27th.


Student progression.

About 15 months ago, ‘Jo’ took my absolute beginner’s class.  Earlier in the month, she took the class again, not having painted very much in between.  One of the things that I ask at the beginning of the class is what the student hopes to get out of it.  It can help me tailor the class a little to hopefully cover any specific items. In this class Jo was lucky in that she was the only one, so we got to discuss her progress a little more.

She had indeed painted the day before, using watercolor crayons.  The papers were tiny piece of printer or drawing paper – not the best surface.  Jo expressed that she had had difficulty making out what she had painted afterwards and had ended up using ink to define the items painted.  Towards the end of the afternoon, after the standard Shadows exercise, we looked at Jo’s paintings and I thought we could tackle one of them as a larger watercolor and make a more realistic painting.

Working a little larger does help.  This time we used watercolor paper (Canson 140lb cold press) – about 12×9″.  I drew a quick value sketch first on a scrap to outline some of the changes that we would make to make the little barrel cacti look more round, and the rocks “rocky”.  The main adjustments were addition of shadows/shading to bring out the shapes of the cacti and rocks.  I suggested a simple blue sky/purple hills/sandy mid-ground behind the cacti in order to make them stand out from it, rather than a green one of a similar tone.  The cacti flowers didn’t come out as well as hoped – I’m not by nature a floral painter and they were a little on the small side to do much more with than a bit of impressionism.

Jo said her husband thought everything she painted was wonderful, but when he came to pick her up after the class and we showed him the before and after, there was no faking those eyebrows shooting skyward.  Here’s the before (on the right! 🙂 ) and the after.

After and before cactus paintings

Monday’s cactus painting on the right, and Tuesday’s redo with Absolute Beginners class and a little individual guidance.

October’s newsletter

Please enjoy October’s newsletter – Changes.

Newer work #74



Watercolor collage painting

#1288 Let Dreams Through. Watercolor collage, 5×3.5 matted to fit 7×5″ frame.


Here are another couple babies from the bin.   For the first painting, I was definitely in my right brain when I was inspired to name it. On the second one, I just love the way I’ve been able to find the clouds that flow throughout the collage.









Watercolor collage painting

#1289, Continuous. Watercolor collage on foamcore, 3.5×5″, matted to fit 5×7″ frame.

Silence, Trees, Weather.

Cloudy Sky

Salton City, August. Weather coming in, I hear the thunder getting closer. I hope it will clear before I go out for an arts meeting this evening!

Yes, 9 days since I blogged – I’ve been on the road for most of those.  I have seen a lot of skies, a lot of roads and was astonished by Mount Shasta – whose awesome beauty I was unprepared for.

While I was in Bellevue, WA, there was a lull at the fair, during which I was able to add to my list of sonnets.  One step further to that bucket list item.

Tree Work

The upper leaves spread up to gather light

The lower leaves reach out to seek the sun

The branches stretch and grow with all their might

Until leaves redden when the summer’s done.

The colorful flowers that bloomed bright in the spring

Are now brown crisps around a precious seed

that wait for autumn’s winds to find their wings

and fly to other grounds that might just lead

to sprouting from the earth when spring returns,

to rooting and to spreading and to growth

into a new tree; life’s desire thus burns

for life itself will not succeed with sloth.

Look at a tree and it will show you how

To plan tomorrow just by doing now.


Good copies

Paint-the-night paint and wine class

Underpainting going down

On Friday I ran the Paint-the-night event at the Vanguard Gallery in Moreno Valley – and had 11 students, many of whom knew each other, so they were enjoying the evening together.  We painted a scene from an open road through fields in the Ojai area – a painting I’d completed in watercolor many years ago and thought would work well as a paint night subject.

Paint-the-night paint and wine class

Filling in the grassland.

One of the thing that I tell students at these evenings, is that their painting is not going to look exactly like mine – which is why art forgers are paid so much.



Paint-the-night paint and wine class

Fences going in.

However this group all got really close to the painting we were working from!  The main difference was that I had yellow ochre deep – vs yellow ochre which I usually work with, and as I hadn’t used this before, I hadn’t realized how dull this color is compared to regular ochre.  I figure I learn something in every class too, so this was it for this one!

Paint-the-night paint and wine class

Most of the graduates. One had to go home because her baby was crying.

Falling between the cracks in cyberspace

….. there went the link.  The link to the actual youtube video.  No, I have no idea what happened in the mailchimp world, but here is the actual functional video link!