Thursday, February 26, 2009

More from the archives...

It's been fun looking through the old graphics files. I came across another poster that I wanted to share from my days at the computing center. Although I knew of Pascal only as the author of those many dreaded Pensées that we had to translate in French class, it turns out that he was a prominent mathematician in the 17th century and the Pascal computer language was named in his honor. I had a vague idea of when he lived ('though it turned out I was off by about 100 years on the fashions), so I drew these little charmers and thought no more about it. A few days after the posters went up, I was confronted by the instructor for the course (whom I'd never met). It turned out he had "issues" as they say now and thought I was making fun of him with the mice!! Some people have no sense of humor.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

I've been to one of Pablo Villicana Lara's shows here in the Bay Area and we've become friends through email and our painting challenges, but we have yet to meet in person. I'm looking forward to that day! Pablo's Mexican Native heritage is the resource for his fabulous body of work and his skill with watercolor is absolutely amazing. It is my great pleasure to invite you to see his work at Brush-Paper-Water.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Word processing...

That's what I've been doing for a couple of days now. It's a project that will be revealed in its own good time, but it means I haven't been working on my newest painting for the challenge with Pablo. I did want to share this lovely creature however. I discovered him when I went to look for the pigs last week. He appeared a few years after the pigs, but must have been living in an adjacent neighborhood in my psyche!! I don't recall struggling with this idea at all -- he just appeared on my paper in full glory, inspired by the title of the workshop.

Word Processing, 1982

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Five uneasy pieces...

So let's get right down to business. Fábio Cembranelli tagged me the other day and I'm supposed to pass the award along and also reveal 5 unusual things about myself. Since I tagged a bunch of people just a few days ago, I've decided to pass the award on to everybody on my blogroll this time. Lots of good art out there, folks. Check it out!!

As for the 5 unusual things about me, my thinking cap has had a good workout -- not because I had any trouble thinking of 5 things, but because I had to seriously consider whether I wanted the entire world to know about some of them!! I finally settled on the following, in no particular order:

1. I play the harpsichord, but strictly for personal enjoyment. I took piano lessons for more than 10 years, starting at age 5, and was forced into more student recitals than I care to remember. I vowed that when I grew up, I would only play for my own pleasure. I've had a small Neupert harpsichord for many years and my favorite composers are Mozart, Handel, Scarlatti, and Bach.

2. I once drove 6,000 miles through Mexico in a VW bug. In three weeks. My ex-husband was scouting out sites for a biology field trip, and we had only the time between school sessions, thus the hurried trip. I saw some amazing things -- incredible aquamarine pools in the mountains, cloud forests, beautiful butterflies, iridescent spiders, unusual birds -- but sadly missed all the major cultural sites.

3. About the time I was in second grade, I discovered that I could click my tongue in a way that sounded remarkably like a horse galloping, a skill that came in handy for providing a soundtrack for childhood playacting. Years later, I had a roommate who could pop her mouth to create the unmistakable sound of a ball being struck, so we amused ourselves at odd moments with auditory polo matches. Standing huddled in the dead of winter waiting for the bus, I'd provide the galloping and she the thwack of the ball being struck by the polo mallet. Hey! It passed the time!!

4. My first and only punishment in school was for the sake of art. Back in the days when each classroom had a Christmas tree, my fellow kindergarteners and I made various folded paper ornaments and chains out of colored paper and hung them on the tree. Then we sat in a circle on the floor to sing carols. I happened to be near the tree and, after some consideration, I decided to improve the arrangement of ornaments. Needless to say, this distressed the kids whose ornaments I decided to move, so the teacher told me to sit down. I obeyed, but soon the need to make that tree look more artistic overwhelmed my obedience, so I hopped up and started rearranging things again. Then it was off to the coat-room for me -- to stand in the corner until class was over that day!!

5. I began my working life as a graphic artist in the Department of Agricultural Journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The publications group was housed in this building:

Hiram Smith Hall, built in 1890

This was the original dairy building on the campus, and our offices were centered around what had been part of a milking parlor and creamery. A lot of our work involved production of agricultural fact sheets. As the resident cartoonist, I was usually given the fun jobs of creating visual aids for professors to use when they conducted training sessions with farmers. My all-time favorite assignment from that period was the pigs. The entomology professor who commissioned the work wanted a series of cartoons to illustrate a talk on keeping your herds happy and healthy. Thus:

"Keeping lice and mange out of your herd"

For you lovers of "Charlotte's Web" -- that's Wilbur in the lower center!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

I am pleased to present the work of Carolyn Lord. Carolyn needs no introduction to most watercolorists -- her work has been featured in many books and she has exhibited widely over the years. In corresponding with her, I found myself in complete agreement with her philosophy, which she stated in this way: "I suppose the thing I want folks to think about is that their own life is enough. Travel is nice, but that isn't what makes a successful career, to have paintings of far-flung places. Being stuck at home forces one to dig deeper."

Please hop over to Brush-Paper-Water to have a look at Carolyn's work.

Tagged again!!

You know the old saying -- it never rains but it pours!! Well, tonight Fábio Cembranelli tagged me. Fábio, who lives in São Paulo, Brazil, is a marvelous watercolorist whom I met through Brushspace. By the terms of this latest tag, I'm supposed to reveal 5 things about myself that you would not likely know. I'll have to put my thinking cap on for a while for that. In the meantime, hop over to Fábio's blog and enjoy his paintings!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The ghost in the machine...

Señor Terremoto wanted me to call this "Where's Waldo" but I think that's already taken!! So how many silly faces can you find?

In reality, this is titled "Rhapsody in Blue" and will be hung in a group show with works by 20 other members of Allied Artists West. The theme (picked by that committee I mentioned a few posts ago) is "Wet 'n' Wild." Hey, don't look at me -- I was an innocent bystander!! Anyway, I painted all the lines in with iridescent paint to give it that "wild" look, but sadly, they didn't show up in the scan. If you live in the area, stop in to see the show at the Pacific Grove Art Center. It will hang until April 2.

Now on to other matters. I am grateful to Diahn Ott for pointing out that Brush-Paper-Water had been featured in a blog post by Grace Dobush of The Artist's Magazine. To top that off, Diahn gave me my very first blog award and I'm sending the love back her way and forwarding it on too.

I've been thinking all day about what seven things I would list as my favorites. It quickly became apparent that I could have completed the list with various foodstuffs, but that seemed a little lopsided. With a bit more thought, I decided to try to cover all the senses, plus two extras:

I love...
  1. purple crocuses.
  2. dark chocolate.
  3. Mozart's Bassoon Concerto.
  4. apple blossoms.
  5. comfy old clothes.
  6. planning new paintings.
  7. to laugh.
Now, the hard part is picking just seven other bloggers to bless with the award. I passed up several because they just got an award from somebody else (I'm talking about you -- Rhonda, Sheila, and Zelma).
  • Pablo Villicana Lara -- for being an all-around great watercolorist and my challenge painting buddy.
  • Myrna Wacknov -- for sharing your amazing creativity so freely.
  • Diane Hoeptner -- for your fun paintings and for encouragement as I started blogging.
  • Sandy Maudlin -- for your wonderful experiments with watermedia.
  • Lisa Faulkner Wright -- for "old school" memories and wonderful on-location sketches and paintings.
  • Tracy Hall -- for the most incredibly detailed miniature paintings.
  • Brenda York -- for making me giggle with your whimsical paintings.
Say "hi" from me when you stop in to see them!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I just discovered that Grace Dobush at The Artist's Magazine has posted a note about Brush-Paper-Water on her blog!! Go to their website and scroll down to "Most Recent Blog Posts" to see her blog entry 'New, curated watercolor blog' or go directly to her blog to read the post for Monday, February 9.

Delighted she likes my profile icon too!! ;-D

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

I am very pleased to share the work of Belinda Del Pesco. I have been an admirer of hers since I first found her blog last year. She has a wide range of subject matter, usually presented from an intimate point of view, and her work is very evocative -- pulling us into a scene, setting a mood, triggering memories. She is both a watercolorist and a printmaker -- often enhancing her prints with watercolor and colored pencil, and she is the first artist to be featured in my "wild card" category. Please click over to Brush-Paper-Water to see her work.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Silly string...

One of the best features of Incredible White Mask is that it holds together as you remove it. I get a child-like joy out of pulling up on one of the strings and following along as it meanders over the surface of my paper. I took this picture right after I'd removed all the masking. I'm now painting in all the lines.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The waving frog...

It never fails. Out of random squiggles, a silly image suddenly materializes. This time it's a waving frog. So much for sophistication.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I didn't mean to be ultra-mysterious in my last post. It's just that I thought the software program I used (Kai SuperGoo) had been discontinued many years ago. However, a question or two about the program led me to Google it and I discovered that it *may* still be available. Download for All ( appears to have it, but I didn't want to take the time to register as a user in order to learn the details.

The version I have works only on Mac Classic 9 (and yes, I keep a computer around just to have access to my favorite programs from that operating system -- once a nerd, always a nerd!!). It's a two-part program -- Goo and Fusion. Goo lets you smoosh images around. Fusion allows you to build faces, an updated version of those old-fashioned block sets that had eyes, noses, lips, chins, ears, etc. on different blocks that you could rearrange into silly faces. I think the silliness factor was the original reason to buy it. Discovery of the cool Goo filters was an unexpected plus.

So there you have it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

True confessions...

I dislike (...OK, I hate...) painting for a group show when the theme is imposed by a committee and that's where I find myself this week. I won't go into details, but it has to be something with a watery theme -- AND it has to fit a title that I chose a month ago to meet the venue's printing deadline! (Did I just hear someone snicker out there?) I tossed around a few ideas that would have taken me much too long to paint and then inspiration struck.

Some years ago, I found a fun computer program that allowed wild manipulations of an image through various filters. Even better, you could capture the variations as they were morphing and print them. I scanned one of my paintings (of a cabbage) and generated a whole bunch of crazy offspring from it. One of those ended up as a painting entitled "Koi Pond." I took a scan of that painting and ran it through the same program, with even crazier results. But I never actually turned any of the second generation offspring into a painting. There in the idea file they languished, just waiting for me. Fast forward to two days ago -- there I was bent over my drafting table, drawing little squiggles all over my watercolor paper. I spent the better part of today applying Incredible White Mask.

Partial view of painting with resist lines

Tomorrow, I paint!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

I am pleased to share the work of Steve Curl. I met Steve in 1996 when I decided to return to painting and signed up for one of his classes. In addition to his expertise with watercolor, he provided a lot of moral support as I re-entered the world of fine art. Steve's approach to the medium of watercolor is one of the purest I know. He has a tremendous gift for capturing the mood of a landscape with a few simple, elegant washes. Jump over to Brush-Paper-Water and have a look.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Home again...

I snapped this picture just after my connecting flight left the Minneapolis airport last evening. I must say, we had some beautiful clear weather in the Midwest this past week. If the temperatures had gotten above 10° F. it would have been quite pleasant.

Today, I'm unpacking and planning to get back in the studio immediately because I have a painting due on February 13 for a group show. Since I haven't even transferred my sketch to the watercolor paper yet, this should be a very busy two weeks!! I'll post when I can come up for air.