Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Greetings

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.


When Daniel Smith announced their Toucan Triad sampler, some of the artists on WetCanvas decided to start a Toucan Challenge. I decided to do a painting for the challenge, and my first thought was "Koi". The colors in the triad, Ultramarine Turquoise, Quinacridone Gold Deep, and Transparent Pyrrol Orange, were perfect for the koi, and the cracks in the crinkled masa paper can easily be seaweed or the movement of the water. I think this is my first non-flower subject done on masa.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pouring Watercolor

I don't usually include my failures on my blog, but these failures were so much fun to do that I decided to share them.

Last spring my sis and I took a collage workshop right next door to where Jean Grastorf was doing a pouring workshop. We peeked in a few times and everyone was having so much fun that we decided we had to try it. Last week we both did a few small "pours". Mine were on 7 1/2 x 11 Arches, kept small so that we could easily pour into a foil roasting pan. The colors were Winsor Red, Winsor Blue and Winsor Yellow.

This technique involves a lot of masking, something I usually avoid doing. It's supposed to produce really vibrant, glowing colors. Well, my first pour created a really pretty mixture, but as I masked and poured subsequent layers I ended up with DULL. In my estimation, my colors are dull, my whites too white and blobby, my lights are too dark and my darks are too light, even after several attempts to darken. A lot of work for not so satisfactory results. I suppose I could add brushwork to these and improve them, but I think I will save them as learning aides for my next try. Yes, I will try it again.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I've been tagged again!

Sandy Maudlin tagged me this time. Here are 5 more things about me that you probably don't know:

1. I am the oldest of 5 children and was born while my dad was in the army waiting for things to wind down at the end of WWII.
2. I spent 12 years in Catholic school.
3. My first job was as a dictaphone typist for the U.S. Civil Service Commission. If you were investigated for a job in any government agency between 1962 and 1965 I may have typed up the results of your investigation.
4. I have three grown children and will soon be a grandmother of 10 - yes ten!!!
5. My happiest memories from childhood involve being with my family at the beach - usually Jones Beach on Long Island, NY. I can still smell the salt water, feel the sand between my toes, and I loved jumping off the wall at the far end of the beach.

The people I will tag this time are: - Gina is in the process of painting a bazillion dog portraits for Christmas gifts but I hope she will have time to respond. - I've loved Laura's work ever since I found her on Ebay a number of years ago. She paints watercolors and oils of Maine - one of my favorite places. - you may have seen Jane Freeman's work in the Splash books. She has recently published an instructional book of her own through North Light, and is working on an amazing painting of glass crystal and peppers. Hope you have time to play too, Janie. - Tracy just started her blog a few days ago, so I'm pretty sure she hasn't been tagged yet. - I met Stacy (Fireman's Kid) while participating in the Drawing 101 class on WetCanvas.

If anyone is interested, check the archives for my May post, or just scroll down a little ways, and you can see the stuff I posted and the people I tagged last time.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Joan!

It's my sister's birthday today. This is the image that I used on her birthday card. We frequently paint together, and we both recently purchased Daniel Smith's Toucan Triad - Quinacridone gold deep, Pyrrol Orange, and Ultramarine Turquoise. Those colors were perfect for this cactus. (Reference photo provided by Gina Hall)

"Birthday Cactus" 5 x 7 on Arches Cold Press.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Les Belles Artistes

This is a photo of myself and a group of artists that I met more than 10 years ago while taking watercolor classes together. We have stayed in touch and some of us have taken workshops together. Earlier this year we decided to exhibit our art as a group. One of our members, Monique, named us "Les Belles Artistes". Recently we hung our first show at the Gallery of the Franklin Lakes Presbyterian Church in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. I decided that it would be fun to make a blog just for our group, and you can find it at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lots of Leaves

I painted this "negatively" by painting around each leaf and then blending it out, putting one leaf behind another until the paper was filled. Some of these are from stencils that I made a few years back to paint t-shirts, and some of them are from new leaves I found in the driveway.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunflowers Win Award at NEWS Show

This painting was posted here previously but today I found out that it won an award at the North East Watercolor Society Members Show. It was a surprise, as they evidently do not let the award winners know ahead of time, and there were no awards attached to the paintings or listed in the catalog. I found out with everyone else when they announced the winners at the awards ceremony. Quite exciting!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wave Watching

Don't you just love watching waves! I must have taken hundreds of photos of waves at the Jersey Shore, in Hawaii, and in Maine. This painting was done on Yupo (that plastic "paper") from one of my Hawaii photos. Yupo is great for painting water - it runs and puddles all over the place, but you can wipe out the whites if you need to. And you get neat puddling effects that you can't predict which makes it really exciting.
Approximately 10x14 on Yupo

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Myrtle Beach Palms

Recently I sold a small palm tree painting and wanted to do another a little larger. This is a half sheet watercolor (15 x 22) of some trees I saw while taking a workshop in Myrtle Beach last spring. I focused in close and left out the large hotel in the background.

White Rose Travels to India

This little painting travelled to India last week as part of a swap with an international group of watercolor artists. I have previously sent paintings to the Philippines and to England, as well as several states in the USA, and have received paintings from some interesting places as well. My latest swap painting came to me from Steve Sorrell in Tasmania.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged by my sister Joan.
If I understand the rules correctly, I now have to tell 7 things about myself that no one knows (well, my sis probably knows all of them), and then tag 7 other people. Let's see if I can find 7 people I know who haven't been tagged before.
About me:

1. I was named Michelle after my father, Michael, and got the nickname "Mickey" from one of my father's boyhood friends. My brother Joe was named after my Mom. We sometimes do things a little backwards in my family.

2. I was exposed to art at a young age when my aunt took me to the art museums in NYC on my birthday outings. I knew right away that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up.

3. When I was about 10, I accidentally stuck my hand into a wet oil painting belonging to an artist who was next to me on the Fire Island ferry. I was trying to keep from falling when the ferry lurched.

4. I wanted to play for the Yankees when I grew up (in addition to being an artist, of course). The closest I came was a mom's softball team when my kids were little.

5. My favorite foods are lobster and ice cream (not together).

6. I met my husband on a trip to a dude ranch with a church youth group. I was from New York and he was from Pennsylvania, and we met in Massachusetts.

7. A couple of years ago I joined a beginners senior tap dance class and have performed in two of their annual shows.

The 7 people I tagged are:

Rhonda Carpenter -
Susan Roper -
Cia Price -
Jane James -
Dabs -
Marilyn Fuerstenberg -
Elizabeth McRorie -

Thursday, April 12, 2007

African Violets

I started these African violets from life at my friend's house the week before I left for the workshop. I didn't finish it, and luckily the plant was still flowering so I finished it up today. Watercolor 11 x 15 on Arches.


I started this painting over a month ago, and I finished it today. We do not get many sunflowers in suburban New Jersey, so when I saw these last fall I made sure to get a photo. This is 11 x 15 watercolor on Arches.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Two more small collages

Here are two more small abstract collages that I did to show my Thursday painting group the techniques we learned in Jerry Brommer's workshop. I hope to do one or two larger ones with them this week. I was happy with the purple and yellow radial design, but it took some work to resolve the blue collage. It didn't come together until I glazed some Winsor blue over it to unify, and added the whites with gouache.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Workshop Days 4 and 5

On the 4th and 5th days of the workshop we did landscapes. As I watched Jerry do his demo, I decided on a photo I had of the gazebo at Laguna Beach, California. There were no flowers on the hill in the photo, but I knew that flowers grew there in the spring, so I put a lot of color into my collage. Jerry said it looked more like Tahiti, so I guess I will have to call it something like "Tropical Surprise". On Friday after our last class we had a "gallery night" where all the classes displayed their work for the week. I truly enjoyed this workshop, or as I call it - my trip to art camp.

Workshop Day 3 - Flowers

On Day 3 Mr. Brommer, "Jerry", had us do flower collages. Being a flower painter, I was really looking forward to these. It took me a while to get the hang of it - they were harder to do than the abstracts, because we were just trying for the "essence" of flowers. I liked my third attempt best.

Workshop Day 2

The second day of the workshop we did larger abstracts on 11 x 11 inch paper. My first design was a horizontal one with a cool (blue) dominance and warm accents. The second is a "box in a box" design with a warm dominance and cool accents. It was fun to see how many different collages the class managed to come up with for this assignment. We spent many nights after class staining papers for the next day.

Stained Paper Collages - Gerald Brommer Workshop

Last week my sister and I took a "Stained Paper Collage" workshop with Gerald Brommer. I have been a fan of his work with both watercolor and collage for many years. During the 5 day workshop we learned to stain paper - lots and lots of paper. And we learned about several different designs and how to utilize them in both abstract and representational work. These three small abstracts were done on 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 Arches rough with watercolor stained washi. The designs used were a "bridge", a "T" and a "cruciform".

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Snow and Fog

I took the reference photo for this painting a year ago at Ramapo Reservation, near my home. It was still snowing slightly and it was sort of foggy and soft. I loved the way the distant trees and mountains looked, and I think I nailed them pretty well in my watercolor. The foreground evergreens gave me a little trouble, since I found it difficult to put the snow on the branches without making it look too sharp and defined. I originally masked it, which was a mistake, and so I had to scrub them to soften, and then add some midtones and darks trying to keep it somewhat indistinct. I think I succeeded somewhat - not what I originally had in mind, but not bad.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pemaquid Point

A few weeks ago I painted a smaller version of this scene from Pemaquid Point, Maine on yupo. This one is on Arches 140 lb. rough, and is a half sheet. Pemaquid Lighthouse and the rocks that surround it are my favorite landscape subjects. I was probably standing with my back to the lighthouse looking down to the left when I took the reference photo for this painting. I also love to climb down on the rocks, find a comfy place to sit, and do a watercolor sketch in my journal. It's getting harder and harder for this out-of-shape, almost 62 year old to get down there and back up again though.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Something Different Again

This is a "posterized" portrait of my grandson David, which I did by following a tutorial on the WetCanvas website. I had been admiring the posterized portraits done by a couple of WetCanvas regulars, and when the tutorial was posted, I decided to follow along. It was interesting to see how getting the shapes and values right made an accurate likeness.