Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day Trippin'

It has been so hot lately and staying inside with the A/C is good, but sometimes we just want to be outside (without roasting, of course). Our answer- DAY TRIP! The question is always "coast, or mountains?". This time, mountains won and it was a good choice. My husband will drive all day, and love it, so it doesn't matter how far we go. The more curves in the road, the better -and the Sierras have lots of winding curves. We don't always have a destination in mind, but that is sometimes the best way to go!

We ended up going to Mosquito Lake in the Northern Sierras. We have been there before and it is a great spot for a snack and a glass of wine. Most important to me is the fact that it is a perfect photo op for future painting material. It seems that the lake is always smooth and glassy, and the perfectly mirrored reflection is definitely a painting waiting to happen. This is only a few hours from our house, and we traded in sweltering 100's - for 70's. The elevation is 8,040 feet and we even saw lots of patches of snow still hanging in there.
Anyway, fun drive (top down most of the time-tiny bit of rain), cool temperatures, and awesomely beautiful reference photos for painting. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Etsy Treasuries

curated by blueroompottery on Etsy

Curated by DoraArtDesignStudio on Etsy

Curated by elinay on Etsy

This has been such a surprising and fortunate week for me- I have been lucky to be included in 4 beautiful Etsy treasuries! Etsy treasuries are interesting collections of items on Etsy put together by different artists. Some use color as the theme, others use similar items, sometimes it is about the season. They are always enjoyable to look at because they include samples of the different styles of art available on Etsy. I have never curated a treasury- I guess mainly because I see comments about how difficult it can be to snag an available treasury slot! Anyway, as an artist, it is always such a compliment to be included in one of these treasuries. It has definitely helped make my week an awesome one! Please- Do stop by and look at these and the many other treasuries currently on Etsy. Every view helps all of the artists on Etsy and with enough views, sometimes the treasury can end up on Etsy's front page- and that is really a good thing!
Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I have a tendency to work on lots of watercolors at one time. When one is still wet, I start another. If I am using cerulean blue in the water in one painting, and want it in the sky on another- great! I do lots of bouncing from one painting to the next and while it seems less than organized, it seems to be the way I work best. These are some watercolors I am working on at this time. I am still going back to the pomegranates again and again mostly adding darker tones and highlights. Thanks for looking! Sheryl

Monday, July 19, 2010

Garden Art

When you love art, it tends to extend to the yard and garden also. There are so many ways to include art outside. I guess one of my first outside art projects was painting a deer on my fence in New York. The deer were frequent visitors and diners in my garden, so it just made sense for a deer to be a permanent fixture in the yard. The rough texture of the fencing is a challenge-I used acrylic paints and it is time consuming due to the porous and rough texture (and wears out the brushes), but worth it when you are done!

Another one of my favorite ways to bring art outside is painting on old windows with outdoor acrylic paints- "glossies". My husband would love it if I didn't save all of these items, like old windows, until I found a use for them! These paintings can be amazingly durable, even with sprinklers and winter weather (snow and ice) abusing the painted surface. Eventually, they start to show their age, but you can just scrape off the old paint and start over on a new one.

I enjoy mosaics and mosaic is a perfect outdoor element. I did a table top - Mermaid- and she took many different sessions with all the breaking tile, gluing and grouting. The birdbath is a concrete birdbath from Home Depot underneath.

When we moved back to California and bought a new house, we had an empty dirt area to start with. We had stamped concrete poured for walkways, and patios. Another painting surface! I like to use garden and art quotations outside. Outdoor acrylic paints again.

It has been so hot outside lately, that I have been really slacking on the yard work. I spend less time in my garden when the temps hit the 100's- A/C wins over weeding and pruning. Having a sprinkler system almost makes it possible to totally ignore the garden, but there are the many pots scattered around that need watering. When I was outside watering pots yesterday, I took photos of some of my garden art- then hurried back inside to the A/C!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beach Style Mural in My Kitchen

I have been posting photos of some of the murals I have painted in my new house and also in my house on Long Island. The ones I am posting today are kind of my favorites- my kitchen backsplash.

We have granite counters and the granite goes up about 6 inches on the wall and then- just ivory paint. No way could I just leave that alone! First I tried Venetian plaster- not really what I was looking for and unfortunately, kind of time consuming. I lived with it for a time, while I tried to think of what to replace it with.

We have a coastal, beachy feel to our house even though we no longer live on an island a few minutes from the ocean. I just love the look, so I basically brought my Long Island decorating with me to our house an hour from the Pacific and San Francisco Bay. I think I actually need to give credit for this idea to my husband- he said to do the backsplash with a beach mural. I decided since I didn't like the Venetian plaster look, the worst that would happen is a paint-over. So I went for it ! I used a light blue latex for the background and then added the sand and fence. I did draw some of the more complex details in with pencil, but most of the looser things like the sand and fencing don't need to be drawn ahead of time. It wasn't really difficult -in fact, it was a lot of fun. Best of all, we are happy with it for now!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tuscan Style Window Mural Painted Over Bar

This is one of the murals in my new house. It is actually the first one I started here since it is in a smaller space and I knew if I didn't like it, the walls would be easier to repaint (no 20 foot ceilings in that area either!). I had to stand on my bar to paint it and that added a few degrees of difficulty. When I was painting up higher I was a bit nervous- couldn't step back at all or I would fall off the bar.

It was a fun mural to paint, and I did use a burnt sienna color of latex to cover the terra cotta "plaster" area to help with the basing-in stage. Then it made it easier to add the multi-colored brick and stone over the latex with acrylic paints. I only have 2 stages to show since I didn't draw it out first- just kind of winged it, which I choose to do sometimes on less difficult compositions. As with all of my paintings, I enjoyed the detail work the most- I even added my husband's sunglasses to the window sill for fun! When I was finished, we had our nephew (who worked with glass) come and add shelves for us.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Some of my first murals

(complete wall) Fire Island light house mural in a bedroom
"door" I painted on the wall at the end of the hall
closet door painted to look like a bookcase

When we moved into our house on Long Island almost 20 years ago, I hated the walls and that helped motivate me to try murals. I figured, so what if I don't like it and have to paint over it? I quickly got over the fear of painting on walls and the "what if I don't like it?" stress.

We bought a new house a few years ago and all I could think of was how was I going to deal with all the wall space! I hung up my paintings right away without even getting all the furniture in the right places. I still had those walls that needed something more. With this new house with its freshly painted walls, I relapsed into my old thinking about painting something I might not be happy with. I got over it, as you can see from my Monday post.

I will be posting more of my newer mural photos soon, but today I am going to share some of my first murals from my house on Long Island.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, July 12, 2010

No Bare Walls Allowed- Painting an Entryway Mural

I don't know if all artists have this problem, but I can't live with empty walls. I have paintings hung on much of my available wall space- but there are those really big spaces where the wall needs more. In our entryway, we have a wall that goes up about 20 feet, and needs more than a few paintings! I started painting murals on our walls on Long Island, and now have a new house with new empty walls to fill.

This mural is painted from a photo I took at our hotel in Sorrento, Italy. The Hotel Bellevue Syrene- what a beautiful place! Right on the Gulf of Naples with a perfect view of Mt. Vesuvius. In one of the hotel's garden areas, I took a few photos of this great mosaic bench and it is perfect for my entry wall. I didn't paint this mural in one sitting- I was literally sitting on the floor most of the time and it can get uncomfortable! I did take pictures of my progress as I went, and they show the process in stages.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Watercolors in Progress

Making progress, need to deepen the tones and add lots of detail (my favorite part of a painting)

My half finished oil painting

I have made a little progress on the watercolors I posted Wednesday. I spent yesterday working on an oil painting from one of my garden photos. I actually prefer to work on my watercolors until I finish, but sometimes they don't work out that way!

Check back, and hopefully soon I will have the finished photos!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New in My Studio

I seem to bounce back and forth between watercolors, oils, and soldering charms. I realized I haven't started any new watercolors in several weeks. I know I need to paint continuously or get out of practice- I started this blog to help keep me on task and am having mixed results so far. Focus seems to be an issue.

The last few weeks I have been lucky enough to have house guests and that kept my attention away from painting. I keep meaning to treat my painting more like a real "job" and put in the time, but keep getting distracted. If only I could completely ignore housework...I have been getting lots of orders for soldered charms, so that has also been taking up some time and I am definitely not complaining about that.

Anyway, I did get a few watercolors started. Well, they are drawn and hopefully will soon have some paint on them! I have painted pomegranates in oils, but wanted to see how they looked when using watercolors, so here we go. The rose is from a photo I took in my garden and I always love to paint from garden photos.

Hopefully, I will have photos of some painting progress to post soon!

Monday, July 5, 2010

DoubleTake- stitching together partial scans of larger watercolors

For quite a while, I have been painting smaller watercolors so that it would be easy to scan them and make my own prints. My scanner bed isn't big enough for the larger watercolor papers, and I wasn't completely happy with the stitching process in Photoshop.

I found a program called DoubleTake which may not be new, but is new to me. It is SO easy- just drag and drop the scans into the window and with zero to minimal adjustment, they are one! Now, I am not limited on watercolor size, for those times I want to make a print. I usually do make prints of my work, even if I don't want to list them on Etsy, then I have a copy for myself if I sell or give away the origina

Friday, July 2, 2010

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But the U.S. ARMED FORCES don't have that problem."

- Ronald Reagan