Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Update to This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Red Squirrel, 1.75" x 2.25"
Tracy Hall

My sincerest apologies to Tracy Hall, one of my featured artists on the showcase this past year, for inadvertently leaving her out of the slide review. Fortunately, she caught the omission and gently pointed it out to me. She's included now, so new viewers will see the whole show -- 29 wonderful artists!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

October Afternoon, 14" x 21"
Robin Purcell

One year ago, I set myself the challenge to expand appreciation for watercolor. Encouraged by Robin Purcell, I began a watercolor showcase blog, Brush-Paper-Water, with Robin as my first featured artist. It has been a wonderful year, full of discoveries: new artists, new approaches to watercolor, and new friends. Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed to a successful venture. Please pop over to Brush-Paper-Water to see a retrospective slide show featuring one painting by each of the 29 artists whose work appeared on the blog.

I'm looking forward to a new year of sharing watercolors by a whole new bunch of artists. And now I'm going out for a celebratory drink!! Cheers!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Joys of the season...

Back when we had far more time than money, Señor Terremoto and I created many of our Christmas ornaments from bits and pieces of inexpensive supplies. These clothespin dolls provided many hours of fun and have had a place of honor on our Christmas trees ever since. (We had a great time with the details, some of which don't show well on the slides -- the ballerinas have painted on toe shoes, the medieval and Spanish ladies have lace-edged pantaloons, the monk has a tonsure, and the wizard has a magic wand.) We don't have a traditional tree this year, so I photo'd them hanging in the sweet olive hedge along the driveway.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Move in Closer, 2006, 24" x 18"
watercolor and gouache on acrylic-primed paper
David Coffin

David Coffin is another artist who came into my life via the internet -- I'm constantly amazed at how that has expanded our horizons. If you dig a bit into his past, you discover a man of rather diverse and unusual talents. He was an excellent traditional watercolorist back in the 1970s, then became fascinated with tailoring clothing and proceeded to develop instructional books on that subject and worked as an editor and writer at Threads Magazine for many years.

In his recent watercolors, David has taken exploration of materials to quite astonishing levels -- his work is incredibly rich in color, full of fantastic flowing shapes, and really quite mysterious.

Please visit Brush-Paper-Water to see more of his work. And when you link to his blog, be sure to take time to visit his daily painting blog, Eyes and Skies, for some wonderful studies utilizing the unique properties of watercolor.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our Lady of Guadalupe...

Having spent the first 30-some years of my life in Wisconsin, I still can't get used to the idea of roses blooming in December. However, here we are on December 12, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and her namesake rose still has blooms. This charming rose, which we've had for three or four years now, has bloomed repeatedly since last spring, but it is nothing short of miraculous to see the flowers at this time of year.

(Sorry the image is somewhat out of focus -- I was crouched over in the rain trying to get this picture.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fish out of Water challenge...

Fish out of Water by Chris Beck
watercolor, 6" x 6"

Chuey by Pablo Villicana Lara
watercolor, 16" x 12"

Well, we certainly came at this challenge from different directions!! I took the literal approach and Pablo took the virtual -- and I think the much more difficult road. While I was thrilled just to find an excuse to put this vintage planter on the wonderful fish fabric from my stash, Pablo was putting *himself* in the role of "fish out of water" by painting an animal -- and on top of that, as a commission!! (He never does either of these things!!) He says, "I was totally nervous 'cause this is so out of my comfort zone. The great thing about challenges is that they challenge us to grow as an artist whether it be techniques, thought processes, or just taking on something that we wouldn't normally think of painting."

For me, painting the single-color fish planter was a technical challenge. I finally settled on a base of raw sienna and rose madder genuine because it lifted off the paper very easily for the highlights on the ceramic and could be mixed with purple for shadows. The fish fabric allowed me to play with masking fluid, one of my favorite things in my bag of watercolor tricks! On the advice of my friend Connie Williams, I used Winsor-Newton masking fluid instead of my usual brands and I loved the ease of applying it -- it's very fluid and makes it easy to mask very fine details. I painted the entire background teal, waited for it to dry and then masked all the fishie shapes. When I had finally finished painting the ceramic fish, I applied the dark fabric color to the background. I let everything dry thoroughly, then removed the masking fluid and toned the background to give it depth.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Watermedia Showcase award...

Snail Mail by Chris Beck
watercolor, 6" x 6"

"Snail Mail" is currently showing on the Watercolor Artist Blog because it won an honorable mention in the Watermedia Showcase international competition. You can view the show here. The winners will also be published in the February 2010 issue of Watercolor Artist magazine.

This painting was the happy outcome of an invitational challenge from Jelaine Faunce back in the early part of the year. My watercolor buddy Pablo Villicana Lara and I joined oil painters M. Collier and Jelaine in this challenge to create still-life paintings using a plain white envelope as the common object.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Light Track #2, 22" x 30"
Linda Hancock

One of the marvels of the web is the opportunity to discover new artists through chance encounters on somebody's blog or website. One of the drawbacks is that you don't always remember where you found the path!! I somehow discovered Linda Hancock's Best of Show painting at earlier this year. From there, I popped over to view her website and then promptly sent her an invitation to my showcase blog. It turns out that we both lived in Madison, Wisconsin for many of the same years and had common acquaintances but somehow never crossed paths ourselves. I hope to remedy that on my next visit to Madison.

In addition to her fabulous bike paintings, Linda explores light and shadow in many different contexts, all with expert handling of watercolor.

Please click over to Brush-Paper-Water to see more of Linda's work and link to her website to see other watercolors and her wonderful calligraphy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Pescados, 22" x 30"

Carol Carter

It's been some years since I first saw one of Carol Carter's paintings, but I still remember vividly the almost otherworldly color of a swimmer floating at the edge of a pool. While I am often vague about names, I usually remember images forever, so when I discovered Carol's work online in the past couple of years, there was no doubt in my mind that I'd found the same artist. In combination with a palette of golds, acid-greens, intense orangey-reds, and deep turquoises and ultramarine blues, her manipulation of watercolor "blooms" to shape and define forms produces very distinctive, exotic, and visually exciting paintings.

Please check out
Brush-Paper-Water to see more of Carol's work.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More loose ends...

Actually, I think the loose ends may be in my brain!! That's probably not exactly a newsflash to those who know me well, but then...

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd received additional Kreativ Blogger awards from Paul Kasmir and Angela Shogren. Paul was actually the *first* one to give me that award. In addition to Angela, Sandeep Khedkar also generously bestowed that award on Brush-Paper-Water. My apologies for omitting that in the previous post. Sandeep, a business consultant by day, also paints beautiful watercolors and writes short verses to accompany each painting he posts on his blog "Inspirations from Nature." Please pop over and take a peek.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Some loose ends...

As a result of the upheaval in my life in the past couple of months, a few things slipped through the cracks, so I'm taking this opportunity to share some good things that have happened.

First, I want to thank Jen over at Inspired Home Office for featuring a couple of my paintings back in late September and early October. Jen has a fabulous, very gentle approach to organizing your work life. I encourage you to check out all of the resources she provides and sign up for her newsletter.

I've been honored with two more Kreativ Blogger Awards for my showcase blog, Brush-Paper-Water. Thank you to Paul Kasmir and Angela Shogren. Please check out their blogs -- both are wonderful artists. Since I posted a long discourse on 7 things about me (that you were all dying to know, I'm sure!!), I'll just say how pleased I am that people are enjoying the watercolor showcase.

Then, a big thank you to a friend who generously sent me a Stephen Quiller boxed paint set and a set of Richeson kolinsky watercolor brushes. The Quiller paints are designed to be perfect complements and the set includes cadmium yellow light and ultramarine violet, vermilion and Richeson blue (phthalo), quinacridone rose and Richeson green (phthalo), and burnt sienna and ultramarine blue deep. I'm planning to experiment with them next week. The brushes include a 3/4" flat, and rounds size 8, 3, 1 and 00. I never thought I'd find a use for those super-small brushes, but it turned out they were just the ticket when I was painting the skeleton faces on my Dia de los Muertos painting.

And last, but not least, I am now the proud owner of one of Brenda York's fabulous paintings!! My husband was prompting me for birthday gift ideas a couple of weeks ago and it just seemed like the perfect time to get a painting that I'd been admiring. My friends, I'd like to present "Pouting Ninnies" -- oil on canvas, 6" x 8" -- (and my apologies for the glare created when I photo'd it).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

White Orchids, 20" x 14"
Genie Even

Genie Even and I first crossed paths here in the San Francisco Bay area a few years after we both went back to watercolor. I stopped in to see her work at the annual Open Studios and was astonished at the exquisite details and the clarity of her paintings. We both became active in the local watercolor society and participated in numerous exhibitions over the years. Genie's work always raised the bar for everyone else in the organization, so I was very sorry to see her move away. It's been a pleasure to see her work in the various national shows and know that she continues to get recognition for her wonderful work.

Please pop over to Brush-Paper-Water to see more of Genie's paintings and for a link to her blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Challenge #5...

Dia de los Muertos, 12" x 12"
Chris Beck

Morty, 11" x 9"
Pablo Villicana Lara

It's been a while since Pablo and I shared a challenge. Between our summer schedules and my father's declining health and recent death, it was tough to find the time. This past week, we both *made* the time for this challenge.

The Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) has fascinated me for years and, like Pablo, I've wanted to do a painting on this theme for a long time. For me, the timing on this was meaningful -- the idea of celebrating death as another part of life is not one that most people in the U.S. are raised with. The joyful way of remembering loved ones during this holiday and the profusion of colorful and even humorous images is refreshing and delightful.

Typically, families create altars for departed loved ones featuring favorite foods and things that represent them. Candles are lighted in memory of the departed and fragrant flowers are placed on the altar. Pablo's painting features an angel holding up a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe and also the roses that were a favorite of his grandmother's, although the painting is an homage to all of his loved ones.

I've combined a fun fabric (a Museo Mundo design from Andover Fabrics based on the tradition of lively, happy skeletons) with a vase of marigolds, a traditional flower of the holiday. Together they represent memories I have of family and dear friends who have passed on.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ready, set, paint...

I started work yesterday on a new painting that I hope to finish by the weekend for my latest challenge with Pablo. Due to the upheaval in my personal life, I haven't been getting much studio time in lately and my palette has been sitting untouched for longer than I'd like to admit. However, some years ago I discovered a great way to store my palette, so when I opened it up this afternoon, it was in perfect condition and ready to use. Here's the scoop:

I wouldn't dream of discarding paint after each painting session -- it's too expensive -- and this method of storage keeps it fresh and workable. I fill the wells in the palette at least half full or even a little more, then spray the paint lightly with distilled water and stir each one (with a toothpick) to spread it out in the well. I cover the palette (cover not shown here) when I'm not actively painting and I spray the paints with distilled water if they start drying out while I'm painting, and also before I cover my palette and put it away at the end of a painting session. When I pull it out to paint the next time, I stir any of the paints that appear to have separated, but generally don't have to spend much time on that.

The secret to this success is a Masterson Artist Palette Seal. Before I found this solution for paint storage, I used to keep my palette in a large plastic zipper bag. It was helpful, but a bit bulky since the bag was much larger than the palette. Still, by providing an extra barrier, it helped keep the paint moist.

I prefer my old Creative Mark palette over all the others I've tried, so I modified the Masterson box by slicing off the posts, as you can see in the small inset photo. With that adjustment, you can store any palette up to 12" x 16" x 1" in the Masterson box. (Although the working area of most watercolor palettes is 12" x 16," the edges of some palettes make them just a bit too large for the storage box. Measure your palette carefully if you're thinking of trying this setup.)

If you have a favorite way of keeping your palette ready to go, please share that in the comments.

Happy painting!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award for Brush-Paper-Water

Paul Kasmir has very generously bestowed the Kreativ Blogger Award on me for my watercolor showcase blog -- Brush-Paper-Water -- but because I restrict that blog to features on other artists, I am going to accept it over here. This has been a great week for that blog in other respects as well -- it's now had more than 11,000 visits and the number of subscribers increases each week. On top of that, I discovered that Technorati ranks it as one of the top 100 art blogs. So thanks, Paul, for your enthusiasm and your vote of confidence for my efforts.

One of the conditions of the award is to list seven things about yourself, and also pass the award along. I'm going to reveal those seven factoids in a second, but instead of limiting myself to only seven bloggers, I'm going to suggest you visit all the fabulous blogs on my blogroll. I have a great collection of incredible artists on that list and you won't be disappointed!!

Now, on to those little details you've all been waiting for...

1. I love the smell of Winsor-Newton's watercolor paint Rose Madder Genuine. Even during the years I wasn't painting, I kept an old tube of it around for an occasional sniff. Very benign!! No need to call the DEA, folks!!

2. I love the name and the color -- Chartreuse.

3. When I was a child, I used only red crayons for several years. I suppose mental health professionals would have their take on this, but I'm quite sure it was because I was so enamored of the intense red tulips in my Grandmother's garden.

4. Godzilla and the Michelin Man are engaged in a perennial face-off in my studio. Oh, Godzilla thinks he's tough, but the Michelin Man just puts his hands on his hips, puffs out his chest, and stares Godzilla down. HA!!

5. When I was at my parents' home a few weeks ago, I found the Christmas exchange gift I got in 4th grade!! I don't think we coined the word "packrat" but we certainly tried our best to live up to it!!

6. I went to the site of the Haunted House that we used to visit when I was a teenager -- a moonless night was guaranteed to be scary. It's now a county park and nothing of the house remains these days. Sigh.

7. But I did see lots of fairy rings at that park. Contrary to superstitions held worldwide in the past, fairy rings have no supernatural source -- unless you regard fungi as alien creatures!! Fairy rings are simply circles of mushrooms which grow ever larger as the center of the ring becomes unable to sustain them due to loss of nutrients or changes in the soil chemistry.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Sunlit Afternoon, 30" x 22"
Jeannie Vodden

Jeannie Vodden was recommended to me by a longtime art friend whose judgment on matters of art has always been reliable. As I looked at Jeannie's website the first time, I knew that my friend had chosen wisely once again. Jeannie's love of textures is beautifully integrated into her wonderful paintings, whether figurative or still-life, and her work presents a strong impression of the magic she finds in our daily lives.

Please buzz over to
Brush-Paper-Water for a look at more of Jeannie's work.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

I'm taking a short break from the watercolor showcase as our family gathers to remember my father. Look for a new feature in two weeks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A full life...

Ken Beck, 1921 - 2009

My favorite photo of my Dad is this one taken in about 1934. He's wearing his Lucky Lindy helmet, a style popularized after Charles Lindbergh made his historic trans-Atlantic flight. His direct gaze is representative of how he lived his life.

Dad passed away Saturday after battling cancer for many years. He lived a full life – one filled with hard work and dedication to his family and friends. A gifted woodworker, he generously donated his skills to help family and friends over the years. He was also a handyman extraordinaire who always found ways to improve his surroundings. And he had a silly streak that made him very fond of wordplay, goofy songs, Wily Coyote cartoons and Seinfeld. I'm going to miss him.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Grand Canyon – Cache Creek, 14" x 18"
gouache over acrylic
Kay Duffy

Kay Duffy is another longtime art acquaintance whose energy and love of experimenting with new materials and techniques keeps her art lively and fresh. She is well-known for her traditional transparent watercolors of plum and cherry trees during their ethereal spring bloom (once a common feature in the local landscape and a signature of the Santa Clara Valley), but she is equally at home creating innovative collages and painting landscapes of her travels to places such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.

Please visit Brush-Paper-Water to see more of Kay's work.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

All in good time...

Snail Mail, 6" x 6"
Chris Beck

I just got word that my painting, Snail Mail, has won an award in an international competition. I can't say any more about it now, but I'll let you know when it goes public. This painting came about when Pablo Villicana Lara and I were invited to join a challenge posed by Jelaine Faunce and M. Collier back in March using a plain white envelope as the common denominator for our paintings. I had a great time with this subject -- one of the snails in my collection of vintage tin toys almost crawled off the shelf to volunteer its services!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Orange Iris, 30" x 22"

Sally Bookman

Sally Bookman is well- known for her charming watercolors of local scenes -- street and harbor views, beach and cafe scenes -- whether in California or abroad. But she also excels at capturing the luscious quality of flowers, from views of a whole section of a garden to closeups of individual flowers. And she manages to fit all this into a life already full with her work as a realtor, raising her family, and volunteer activities.

Please jump over to Brush-Paper-Water to see more of Sally's work.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Magnolia, 15" x 22"
Fábio Cembranelli

When I first found Fábio Cembranelli's work, it was his lush impressionistic florals that grabbed my attention, but I later discovered that he's equally at home doing landscapes. He conveys the moods of his varied subjects with great skill and artistry and opens a delightful window on his world. We met about a year ago on Brushspace, a social networking site for artists, and he was one of the first artists I contacted when I started the showcase blog. It is my great pleasure to share his work with you.

Please link over to Brush-Paper-Water to see a few of his paintings and then be sure to visit his blog to see more. It's also well worth your time to jump to his website via the link in his blog and take a moment to look at Demonstration 1 for a step-by-step demonstration and explanation of his painting technique.

Monday, August 24, 2009

From the depths of the vault...

Starry Sky, handmade paper with inclusions, size unavailable

Back in the early 80s, I became fascinated with handmade paper. I spent my summer vacation that year taking a papermaking workshop at Sievers School of Fiber Arts on Washington Island -- just off the tip of Door County in Wisconsin. The instructor that year was Gisela Moyer, who had just received her Fine Arts Degree in papermaking. She went on to a successful gallery career, including ownership of her own gallery, before switching to outdoor festival sales about 10 years ago.

Just this weekend, I stumbled across slides of some of the pieces I produced that year. I've lost track of Starry Sky, but Lakeshore Dunes still hangs in my parents' home.

Lakeshore Dunes, layered handmade paper, approx. 8" x 10"

For these workshop projects, the emphasis was on creativity, not archival materials. As you can see, there is discoloration in the final works, particularly in the layered piece -- in part from the raw materials and in part from casting the paper onto hardboard covered with muslin. That permitted the production of pieces with some depth and also resulted in rapid drying times so we could get quick feedback and inspiration for additional works.

I later began a series using watercolor dyes to tint the pulp and create more colorful finished pieces. Unfortunately, the dyes available at that time were fugitive, so any works that were framed and displayed have faded almost to invisibility. I know I have a stash of unframed works, but their whereabouts are a bit of a mystery right now. I'll take a few pix and post them if I manage to unearth them.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hanging in there...

This lovely begonia caught my eye at the local garden center several summers ago and insisted on coming home with me. It graced our front porch with its lush foliage and gorgeous flowers until the late autumn, when it deteriorated to a few mushy stumps and Señor Terremoto carried it off and dumped it upside down on a spot of bare soil behind the garage.

Now we do have mild winters here, but it does get below freezing at night for a few weeks every year. So it was with astonishment that Señor Terremoto reported one day in late spring that the begonia had new growth curling up from the underside of the lump of potting soil. He left it in place that summer and it developed into a fairly normal plant before it died back in the fall. The next spring, when new growth appeared -- now from the center of the lump -- Señor Terremoto planted it in a proper hanging basket. It was a satisfactory addition to the front porch, but nothing like its original self. When it died back last fall, he left it in the pot, watered it now and again over the winter, and we were rewarded with the extravagant beauty you see here.

Right now, I'm feeling a little like that begonia during its first winter. I've been going through some difficult times -- my dad is unhappily installed in a nursing home back in Wisconsin, in slowly declining health, and there are some family issues that make it even more stressful. My creative energy is in here somewhere, struggling to find a way back so it can flourish and bloom again. I haven't been very productive this summer, but with the support and encouragement of my friends, I'm trying to get into the studio to paint more often. Please bear with me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Firm Foundation, 17" x 15"
Andy Smith

Andy Smith fits more into a day than most people do. He coaches track, gets in a decent length bicycle ride, takes time to visit his elderly mother, and still produces at least one small painting nearly every weekday which he presents on his blog with a charming little anecdote or comment about its subject's appeal to him. Weekends, he's often at an art festival, an activity that, in addition to the public festival hours, often involves significant travel time as well as hours to set up and take down a booth display.

He also paints the larger works which are featured on the showcase this week. Andy's work is evocative of a simpler time – old stone buildings, sparely-furnished rooms, old cabinetry, antique stoneware and apothecary bottles – and his skillful use of strong light and rich colors make his subjects spring to life.

Please pop over to Brush-Paper-Water for a look at some of Andy's work.

Monday, August 10, 2009

All in a day's work...

We're all about Macs and Firefox here at the home I share with Señor Terremoto. So it was a big surprise to us last week when he brought home a PC laptop that he has to use for work now (thanks to bureaucrats in suits and ties) and discovered that, running on Internet Explorer, it made a hash of some of the features on my website. After some sleuthing around, we decided that the solution might be to upgrade to the new version of iWeb. We trekked to the local Apple store this weekend, where we had to buy the complete iLife software package, then came home and installed it, having been assured by the sales guy that it would act only as a minor upgrade.

Not. Exactly.

I spent hours revising my website on Sunday evening, only to discover when I uploaded to my local host that the new software changed the appearance of the site. The art looked totally washed out, and as an extra little treat, the new iWeb also changed the sizes of some of the fonts so text no longer fit into the spaces allotted. I have to admit there was some wailing and gnashing of teeth here in the casa de Terremoto. The only saving grace was that I hadn't uploaded the new stuff to my web server.

Sooo -- back to the Apple store this morning. After much comparing of the iWeb files to the published website (which was identical when I was using the original software), they finally agreed to refund my money. We came home and restored my software to its original state and I've spent the rest of today re-revising my website. It's good to go now and you're welcome to take a peek.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Mystic Gemstone, detail
Amy Arntson

Like Amy Arntson, I grew up in a lakeshore town on Lake Michigan, although on the Wisconsin side of the lake. By chance, a visit to my hometown six years ago coincided with an invitational show featuring art with a Great Lakes theme at the local art museum. Amy's work stood out for its unusual approach as well as its technical brilliance. She has an extensive and impressive exhibition history, which she maintained while teaching full-time at the university level and authoring a couple of college-level textbooks. My admiration for her work led me to establish an email connection several years ago and I hope one day to have the good fortune to meet her in person.

Please slip over to Brush-Paper-Water to see more of Amy's work.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fibonacci rules...

Echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower

A coneflower whorl is a lovely example of the Fibonacci series. That's the sequence of numbers created by adding together the previous two numbers starting with 0 and 1. So that gives you -- 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, and so on. Dividing two successive numbers (especially as the numbers get larger) gives the golden ratio or golden mean, which has long been a favorite device in art because of its aesthetically pleasing proportions.

But that orange against the purple ain't half bad either!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, 6" x 4"

My friend Diahn is promoting her soon-to-be-open Etsy shop with a number of give-aways. This week, she's featuring a charming bluebird. When I saw that delightful little bird, it inspired me to get out the salt shakers and see what I could do. This oh-so-precious bluebird looks like it owes its existence to Walt Disney's Song of the South, with its signature song -- OK, now EVERYbody sing...

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
My, oh my what a wonderful day!
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

Mister Bluebird on my shoulder
It's the truth, it's actual
Ev'rything is satisfactual
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
Wonderful feeling, wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Bandon Stacks, 22" x 30"
Sue Johnston

Sue Johnston and I met 10 years ago in a weekend workshop and immediately hit it off. Sue was just starting out in her watercolor career and she took off like a shot -- getting accepted into highly-regarded shows and earning her signature from the California Watercolor Association within just a few years. Along the way, this incredibly high-energy woman also served as show chair for CWA's 34th Annual National Exhibition and as president of the organization for several years. As I've observed in the past, the Bay Area is home to an astonishingly strong group of watercolorists and Sue is another one of that group that I am very pleased to have as a friend.

Please pop over to Brush-Paper-Water to see more of her work.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

All the little birdies...

go tweet-tweet-tweet!!

This post has a double intent -- to try out Slide and to promote a watercolor twibe started by my friend Connie Williams. The hope is that this will become a resource for watercolorists to share information and generally support each other. You need a Twitter account to get started, but then it's just a matter of joining the twibe and twying not to talk weally, weally stwangely evewy time you mention it!!

[Note: I changed the slideshow to gallery style after a friend commented that the original crazy visual transitions could trigger migraines in susceptible people. Added a few more birdies for your enjoyment too!!]

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dressed for success...

In all my years on the planet, I don't think I've ever seen a bee carrying this much pollen!! Unfortunately, I had to run into the house to get my camera and then accidentally pressed some control button as I was rushing back outside, so the first few pictures showing both legs loaded with pollen were out of focus. It was really quite a droll scene -- this little gal was kind of bobbling from flower to flower looking for all the world like she was wearing bright yellow pantaloons!!

I've been taking a break from studio work since I went off to Wisconsin in early June. There are several small works in progress, along with some larger pieces that I need to finish. I hope to post something in the next few days.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's here, it's here!!!

Watercolor Artist, August issue
see page 52

I finally spotted the August issue of Watercolor Artist at my local Borders bookstore tonight!! If you're not a subscriber and want to get a copy, now's your chance! And of course, I hope you'll turn right to page 52 to read the great article – "Adventures in the Ordinary" – that they wrote about my work!! ;-D

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Goldcrest, 1.75" x 2.25" (4.45cm x 5.72cm)
Tracy Hall

I can't remember how I came across Tracy Hall's incredible work, but I clearly recall being astonished to realize that her miniatures are often smaller than a standard American business card. Tracy is a very versatile artist -- she paints subjects ranging from florals that are as detailed as botanical illustrations to pet portraits and wildlife scenes, and her illustration work for greeting cards and jigsaw puzzles is packed with charm and filled with delightful details. But it is in painting miniatures that Tracy feels most at home. She has made a stunningly good show in the miniature world, capturing the coveted Gold Memorial Bowl at the Royal Miniature Society show just a year after beginning work in this demanding format.

Please pop over to Brush-Paper-Water to see more of her work.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Time to redecorate...

Prickly Pear, watercolor

To my surprise, The Artist's Network has changed the wallpaper offerings and now has my painting "Prickly Pear" available for download. I don't know if they're going to cycle through things repeatedly or if you get just one chance for each image they feature. Whatever -- enjoy the opportunity!! Click here to go to the wallpaper store.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dress up your computer...

Morning Glorious, watercolor

How cool is this? Now you can download "Morning Glorious" to use as desktop wallpaper on your computer. It's free and you can chose from three different versions to suit your display resolution. Click here to go to the "wallpaper store" maintained by

Friday, June 19, 2009

Now appearing in Watercolor Artist...

Watercolor Artist (August 2009)
see page 52

WOW!! I got my copy of Watercolor Artist magazine a day ago and eagerly opened it to "Adventures in the Ordinary" -- the feature article about my work. I am so honored to be included in this excellent magazine.

I was thrilled when the editor -- Kelly Kane -- asked if I would be interested in being featured, and it was a delight to work with writer Meredith Lewis. When I saw the galley proofs back in April, I was jumping for joy over the flow of the text and the fabulous layout created by the graphics staff. They did a wonderful job. Hope you'll have a chance to take a look at it!! (Subscribers receive their copies before it appears in the stores. I'll give a heads up when I see it on the shelves of the local chain bookstores.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Toscana, 21" x 10"
Michael Reardon

I first saw Michael Reardon's paintings in the Triton Museum's Statewide Watercolor Exhibition in 2008. From across the gallery, I thought they were Asian scroll paintings, but a closer look revealed that his subject matter was Italian landscapes. The beautiful washes projected such an impression of serenity that I returned to view them again and again. Michael is another fabulous Bay Area watercolorist -- we surely live among some of the most gifted painters in the country -- and I look forward to meeting him in person someday.

Please link over to Brush-Paper-Water to see more of his work.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Richeson 75: Still Life and Floral show...

Morning Glorious, 15" x 18"

My painting is included in the Still Life and Floral show which opened this past weekend. It will hang until July 18 at the Richeson School of Art and Gallery in Kimberly, Wisconsin. If you can't make it to the gallery, you can view the show online.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Road report #3...

We were just wandering around town late yesterday afternoon and, without really planning it, ended up at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. We have watched this site develop over the years from a relatively modest garden into an absolutely marvelous place. In fact, it has recently been voted one of the top ten most inspiring gardens in North America by Horticulture magazine. There are many well-planned and well-tended gardens, interesting paths, and fascinating plants. In addition, they have an incredible Thai pavilion that is one of only four situated outside of Thailand. The visual impact of the gold leaf covering this structure is almost overwhelming -- and my pictures cannot do it justice by any means.

Click on either of the links above to visit the gardens and learn more about the pavilion.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Road report #2...

We came across this sprawling apple tree as we were driving around the back roads near my hometown. There was a flock of cedar waxwings feeding in the tree, calling to each other with their characteristic high-pitched whistles. They apparently were somewhat spooked by my presence and gradually moved one by one to a tree just a short distance away. Although I took quite a few zoomed pictures of the apple tree, I managed to get only one with a visible bird.

Here in Madison, we've been busy visiting with friends since we arrived. Last night we went to a favorite restaurant -- Husnu's -- in the heart of the UW campus area. State Street is definitely the place to be on a Friday night -- the constant parade of people out to see and be seen is always entertaining.

We also spent an enjoyable afternoon visiting some of the artist's studios on the
Spring Art Tour in some of the small towns just outside of Madison. I was delighted to finally meet watercolorist Peggy Flora Zalucha, whose work I have been admiring for years.

Later today we're going to the University Arboretum to see an exhibit by a local artist. The fabulous lilac gardens are unfortunately past bloom, but I'm sure we'll find some other wonders in that amazing place.