Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pa-Rum-Pa-Pum-Pum! Merry Christmas!

My grandson, Brandon, posed for my Christmas card this year. With 10 grandchildren, I always have lots of models to choose from.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

And Now the 7 "Things About Me"

1. I am old enough to remember when my siblings and I paid 50 cents for general admission seats at Yankee Stadium on "Ladies Day".
2. I was an "athlete wannabe" when I was a child, and this syndrome has recently reared it's head again. I am now playing over 60 basketball, and participated in this event at the 2009 New Jersey Senior Olympics.
3. I started learning to play piano a year ago. Although my grown children flee to another room when I play, I'm enjoying myself immensely, and my grandchildren don't seem to mind hearing me play.
4. My two favorite places are the coast of Maine, and Hawaii.
5. I taught sunday school (or CCD to us Catholics) for 13 years.
6. I received an award at the very first art show that I participated in - and it was the Grumbacher Silver Medal.
7. I love to paint flowers - possibly because I can't seem to grow them without killing them.

I was recently "tagged" with the "Kreativ Blogger" award by Teresa Palomar Lois, Thank you Teresa! The purpose of these blogger awards is introduce our favorite artist-bloggers to others. The rules for this one are to tell 7 things about yourself, and to pass the award on to 7 other artists. I have been tagged several times, and have pretty much run out of people to pass the award on to - with one exception, and that would be my sister Joan. So I'm going to cheat a little and just list some of my favorite artists and give you their websites in the hopes that they will become your favorites too.

1. Gerald Brommer -

2. Jean Grastorf -

3. Susie Short -

4. Ann Pember -

5. Nicholas Simmons -

6. Karen Knutson -

and last but not least - and the one I WILL pass this award on to:

7. Joan Tavolott - - Joan recently returned from a trip to Paris. You will love her small Paris paintings!

Hangin' at the Y

This month, my friends and I, who call ourselves "Les Belles Artistes" have an exhibit at one of our local YMCA's, in Wyckoff, NJ. We have all been painting together at art classes and workshops on and off for many years. They are all talented artists, and I am proud to be among them. Here is our group, and me in front of "my wall".

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I received this bouquet for my birthday this past March. I thought it would make a great painting, so I painted it twice - once as a birthday card for my granddaughter, and just recently as a 5x7 for my SWAP partner (Sharing With Artist Partners). It went all the way to Ursula in Brazil. The mail was a little slow, so I was on pins and needles hoping that it hadn't gone astray. The SWAP is a secret, but now that my partner has received it I can post it here.

"Birthday Bouquet" 5x7

Saturday, October 10, 2009


This spring, I bought several new rhododendron plants for my front and back yards. I took a lot of photos of them when they were in bloom, and painted this one recently.

"Rhododendrons" 11x15

Natalie's Sunflowers

Yes, I've been painting, but I haven't posted any new ones in a while. This one is from July, when my painting buddy, Natalie, brought her sunflower plant in for us to paint.
"Natalie's Sunflowers" 11x15

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Plein air at Skylands

This was painted outdoors at Skylands Botanical Gardens on a 7x10 Arches watercolor block, with my Cotman kit and a water brush. It was painted the same day that I took the reference photo for the tree peony below.

Pink and White Tree Peony

This is a quarter sheet of a pink tree peony from my photo taken at Skylands Botanical Gardens in New Jersey. As usual with peonies, it was drooping and I had to hold it up to photograph it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Love and Peace

It's SWAP group time again, and this is the painting I did for the swap. This time it didn't go far, as my partner Christine is from New York. I grow these "Love and Peace" roses in my backyard. The painting is 5x7.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sketchcrawl 22

Saturday morning was another rainy, miserable day to have a sketchcrawl. I love doing the sketchcrawls, but so far we have not had the greatest weather for outdoor sketching. So my sister Joan and I decided to do something that we had wanted to do for a while, that is, to sketch at one of the NYC museums. We drove into Manhattan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and found an unoccupied bench in the Greek and Roman room. This is my sketch of a Marble Statue of a Muse. Did you know that they only allow pencil sketching in the museum?

I did several other sketches which you can see on the sketchcrawl forum ( and then we went to see the AWS show. What a great show! I wish I could have spent longer there, soaking up the great art and hoping that some of it would rub off on my own watercolors.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Bunch of Daffodils

As planned, we painted daffodils today. There were a few different kinds, which made it more interesting. They were in some sort of a square-ish glass container with beads hanging from it - I wasn't really crazy about it so I just did the flowers. This one was also a quick one, as my friend usually leaves early and she took her flowers with her again. Oh, both this one and the tulips from yesterday are quarter sheets.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Yellow Tulips

One of my painting buddies brought a pot of yellow tulips to our group on Thursday and I got to paint these from life. I had to be quick, since she was leaving early and the tulips were leaving with her. Tomorrow she says she is bringing daffolils. I'm getting quite a workout in painting yellows this month.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Cyber Award

My sister Joan presented me with this cyber award (do you think she might be a little biased?). Here's what she said about me in her blog:

" Michelle Himes (my sister) who's wonderful watercolors inspired me to begin watercolor painting, She is a good art partner, plein air partner, and workshop partner whenever I want one, and a great sister too." Right back at you, Joan!

There are a few of these awards going around, and I've been "awarded" by a few of them before, and embarrassed to admit that I did not always respond to them. I've decided to respond to this one. The "rules" are to name seven things that I love (easy), and to name 7 other artists that I think deserve this award (a little harder). Not that I can't think of many artists that deserve an award for their passion for painting, but since Joan and I know a lot of the same people, it's difficult to come up with someone new.

Here are my choices for the "A Passion for Painting" award:

Cecilia Price - Cia paints beautiful flowers, and has made some great instructional CD's for her students, and sells her work on eBay. I've known her through several art forums for many years.

Enrico Casarosa - - Enrico is the "inventor" of the Worldwide Sketchcrawl. I discovered this phenomena a while ago, and have participated in several of the crawls. Enrico and his sketchcrawl have inspired me to start drawing again.

Marilyn Fuerstenberg - - You will love Marilyn's beautiful watercolors.

Jane James - - Jane is equally proficient in watercolor and pastel, is very versatile and does wonderful realistic and abstract work, landscapes, figures, and animals.

Susie Short - - I "met" Susie when I stumbled into her Yahoo group for watercolors about 10 years ago. Susie is an awesome watercolorist, and teacher, and has helped me out with my paintings many times.

And the last is a group of friends that I have painted with for many years - - I love these girls

And the 7 things I love:



3. Art, especially watercolor

4. the beach

5. summertime

6. Maine

7. ice cream

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Eric Wiegardt Workshop Day 3

After my disappointing painting of boats, Eric's next demo was a street scene. Hmmm....I didn't have any street photos. I watched his demo of a street in Italy with some people walking. The lesson was on combining shapes. When I looked through my photos, I found one that I thought I could use for the lesson. It is a photo of a couple of people walking down to "Fish Beach" on Monhegan Island, Maine. One of the people was my sister Joan. We had gone there to paint, so I just turned the other person into myself to make it more personal.
This time we worked on wet paper, and I had a little bit of trouble making my buildings hold an edge, which made them look a little wonky, but that's part of doing a "loose" painting. Here is my version of a "street scene" (done in a place that doesn't even have streets).
On Day 4, Eric did his demo of a market with a flower stand and several people. It was loose and colorful. I started a painting of some people walking down a garden path. I haven't finished it yet, but Eric liked it enough to have me put it up for "gallery night" on Day 5, even though it was clearly not completed. I will post it here on my blog when I finish it. The last day, Friday, was only a partial day, so I watched the demo Eric did of a snow scene, and then worked some more on my garden painting. It was a great workshop - wonderful demos, lots of painting time, hanging out with other artists for a week, a few walks on the beach, and a party at the end while we admired each other's paintings.

Eric Wiegardt Workshop Day 1

Two weeks ago my sister Joan and I took a workshop in Myrtle Beach with Eric Wiegardt. We painted several full sheet landscapes using big brushes. It was a little outside the box for me, as I usually paint flowers, and I am definitely not known to be a loose painter.
The first day concentrated on values, and we were required to do a value study before each painting. Value studies are not new for me, I've been taught to do them before, but I rarely do them. This time I did, and they really do help. Eric demonstrated value ranges with a monochromatic version and a full color version of a barn with some outbuildings. Since I had a similar photo in my stash, I decided to paint my own barn. I used burnt umber as my color. Following his demo, I did a graded wash for an underpainting, and then tried to stick to my 3-value study. This is the result.

Day two was a boat demo, and then I did a boat painting. The demo was about not overmixing your colors. I'm pretty good about my colors, but I am horrendous at drawing boats, so I am not going to post my boat painting here. So on to day 3.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

White Rose

Here's a small white rose that I painted for the latest SWAP. I like painting white flowers - they always pop against a dark background, and it's a challenge to paint the shadows, keep them colorful and yet still make them look "white".

Rings Around the Roses

I painted this abstract with a little help from Kay Smith Kay had recently taken a workshop with Karlyn Holman, and had posted one of her workshop paintings on WetCanvas. I liked it and asked a lot of questions, and Kay sort of guided me through the process that she used. I had a lot of fun and will definitely try this again.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Those sideways "daisies" are actually Chrysanthemums, but they sure look like daisies to me. (I just spent about an hour trying to get blogger to put the image in horizontally - does anyone know why it insists on showing it sideways?). My friend Natalie brought them to our painting group today, and I painted them on wet hot pressed paper with watercolor and Karan d'ache watercolor crayons. I usually work from photos, but I couldn't resist these colorful, cheerful cut flowers on a cold, gray, icy day. 11x15


These marigolds were painted sometime in December, but I hadn't gotten around to posting them during all the Christmas festivities. I love their bright yellow faces!
Marigolds - 11x15 on Arches

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another January Sketchcrawl

Yesterday was Sketchcrawl #21, and being January, it was COLD. There was still some isolated snow patches on the ground and they were predicting more snow later in the day. I went out early and did a sketch in my car of a path and some trees at our local park. While I was sketching it started to snow, and since I had to deliver a painting to a juried show after 12:00, I decided to go home and do that before the roads got bad. After dropping off the painting, I came home to get some lunch, intending to go out to sketch again afterwards. As I pulled into my driveway I decided to sketch the Christmas-light deer on my front lawn. By the time I finished with that, it was snowing really hard and sticking, so I cut my sketchcrawl short for the day. I am a real weenie about cold weather, and especially about driving in snow, so I'm pretty happy with getting in two actual outdoor sketches.
If anyone would like to know more about Sketchcrawl, and to see the sketches from around the world, you can find them here: