Friday, December 14, 2012

Watercolor Christmas Cards

Hard to believe its that time again!  I definitely wasn't ready for Christmas and all the preparations.  This year has been a hectic one and I spent much of my time out of town.  Now, I have more time at home and so much to catch up on.
I like to paint my own Christmas cards, but this year I kind of cheated.  I am using watercolors I already had done, and adding the "Christmas" to them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thank You, Veterans!

9X12 Watercolor "American Hero"

I have been away from my blog for several months for various reasons, but didn't want to let Veterans Day go by without a big THANK YOU.  I know its a bit early- just wanted to take time to remember all of the brave men and women that serve for all of us.


The watercolor shown includes the POW bracelet I wore in high school
 honoring American Hero LCDR Edward Davis  along with the US Flag my son sent home from Iraq

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Roadside Americana #2- Fresno Motel

Fresno Motel
Oil on Masonite 8X10

This is the second painting in my Roadside Americana- Vintage Neon series.  I am doing some in watercolor and some in oil.  Hopefully, I will be able to decide which media I like best for this particular set.  Maybe both, depending on the sign.  I am doing this same sign in watercolor now, so I will be able to compare.  
This particular motel sign is still visible from the freeway in Fresno.  I see it often when I am driving into town.  The funny thing is, I used to just ignore these awesome signs.  I guess I just didn't think they were going to start disappearing.  There is an awesome old neon sign that I drive by several times a week here in Ventura.  The Wagon Wheel Motel (actually in Oxnard).  The sign remains and I have taken photos, but the motel was long gone before I moved here.  It will definitely be on my short list of signs to paint and I hope to get to it soon!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Painting Roadside Americana- Vintage Neon

Shell Beach Inn   8X10 Oil on Masonite

I haven't been getting a lot of painting time in lately, and have been painting in spurts instead.  I am trying to alternate between oils and watercolors when I do have time.  This week is an oil painting week.  I just got a great package of  art supplies in the mail- including a stack of masonite panels.  I love to paint on masonite since the paint just glides over the surface and it makes it easier to get those fine details.  Canvas is great, but the texture can make it tough to paint the smaller details.

I am not sure when it happened, but most of the great neon signs that we used to see along the roadside are just gone.  I have become a bit obsessed with these retro neon signs and take photos of them whenever I do see them.  They are my kind of painting subject- full of great detail and history.  Sometimes, the more beat up they look, the better.  This one is great looking, and far from worn out- maybe it isn't even that old.  Don't care- love the look.  

The Shell Beach Inn is in beautiful Pismo Beach, California.  I have not stayed there, but love the sign. We spent Fourth of July in Pismo and had a great time so this seemed like a good place to start painting my set of neon signs!  I apologize for the image quality here, the painting is too wet to scan yet, and this is just a photo.  Will post the scan soon!  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cherry Cherry - Acrylic Painting on Canvas

"Cherry Cherry" 4X4 Acrylic on Canvas

I have been spending many hours over the last few days getting started on Daily Paintworks -and there is so much to learn.  I have posted countless items on Etsy and, while it is time consuming, at least I have it figured out!  There is always so much to learn on a new site and each one seems to have different listing procedures. 
One thing that is completely new to me is using the auction feature.  I know I will learn as I go along and it will become easier.  In the meantime, I have a lot of computer work to do so I can get some paintings listed. No time for painting for a few days!

Friday, June 29, 2012

New Watercolor : Childhood Skyline Memories

Childhood Skyline Memories
9X12 Watercolor

We moved to Long Island in 1993, when both of our boys were  very young.  The first thing we did, was go to New York City- and take the trip out to the Statue of Liberty.  No matter how many times you see it, the Statue is an awesome sight!  
This watercolor is painted from a photo I took that day of the boys looking back at the New York skyline from Liberty Island.  Looking across New York Harbor, you see Ellis Island and the fantastic skyline of New York City. No matter how many photos I have taken since (and there are thousands) this is one of my very favorites.  One reason is that it reminds me of three things-

1. our big move from California to New York
2.  how much fun raising 2 little boys can be
3. how glad I am that we got to see the skyline as it was-
including the Twin Towers

Friday, June 8, 2012

California Dreamin' - Vintage Travel Trailer on Beach Watercolor

California Dreamin" 9X12 Watercolor

When we love to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, between Santa Barbara and Santa Monica.  It is a beautiful stretch of California coastline and the view is amazing!  One of the main things we notice is that, no matter the time of year, the road is always lined with campers and trailers.
They are often parked only a few feet apart, side-by-side and end-to-end.  There is a wonderful variety of styles in these groupings- from new and shiny to the old and vintage style.  My favorites are the vintage trailers- unfortunately, that shows my age!  They remind me of when I was growing up and bring back nice childhood memories.  Some of these vintage trailers are really restored and creatively styled.  This watercolor is not a painting of a specific trailer I have seen- more a painting of a trailer I put into a fun beach setting.  It was a blast to paint and those are my favorite paintings, the ones that are all fun and no problems!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jar of Marbles- watercolor 9X12

Childhood Memories -Jar of Marbles
Watercolor 9X12

This watercolor is a painting of one of my mom's antique canning jars filled with her childhood marble collection.  I took some photos of it recently because I loved how the sunlight was making all the marbles sparkle.  Like my mom, I have more than a few (some would say too many) of these antique canning/mason jars.  She got me interested in them years ago, and although I rarely buy them anymore- I love to include them in my paintings.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

17- Mile Drive, Pebble Beach Oil on Canvas

17- Mile Drive    Oil on Canvas 15X30

I finished this painting a while ago and I'm just getting it posted.  The view along 17- Mile Drive is absolutely beautiful, and we have been there many times.  Last time we were there, I took lots of photos to use as reference photos.  The photo I used for this painting was actually four separate photos that I merged together to get this panoramic view.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

WIP - Play Shoes

I am working on a watercolor using an old photo- one of my favorites from when my son was a little boy.  He was the ring bearer in my brother's wedding, and wore a cute little tuxedo most of the day.  After the wedding and the many photos, he got to change into his "play clothes".  
Someone at the reception snapped a series of photos of him standing on the dance floor.  He was standing near the bride and groom, and the rest of the wedding party- everyone was dancing, except for Eric.  He just looked so cute concentrating on the bunch of grapes in his hand, oblivious to his surroundings.

After about 20 years, I decided to use this photo for a watercolor.  I didn't see the problem with the proportions (his legs were somehow just not right) in my drawing.  As often seems to happen, things become more clear when the painting process begins.  I kept changing the shape and width of the legs to no avail. As I drew more and more pencil lines over my paint, I realized the legs were too short.  I don't know why I hate to quit on a painting- and instead waste so much time trying to fix them!  I could have painted this 3 times by now!  Oh well, back to work.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ben's Dogs- Watercolor

Hurricane & Berserker
watercolor 9X12

I have had some family things going on lately and was away from home much of the time- so not much painting being done.  I have managed to fit in a few new paintings, and this is one of them.  My daughter in law posted a photo of their sweet puppies on Facebook and I knew I had to paint them.  They were in the car waiting to be let out to play- I just loved the faces and the way the sun was shining on them.  They aren't actually puppies anymore, but that is how I think of them.  They are both "scary" breeds, but couldn't be sweeter!  Now I find myself in the mood to paint more dogs- maybe another watercolor of my own sweet standard poodle.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ACEO- Art Cards & Fun Little Watercolors

Red Cherry

 Hueneme Pier and Channel Islands

California Poppies

I have been having better luck with these tiny ACEO watercolors than with larger ones lately.  Art Cards Editions and Originals- they seem to be very popular on Etsy. I guess that means there are plenty of people collecting them.  As an artist, I like that they are just fun to paint since they are so small (2.5 X 3.5") and I can work on quite a few at a time.  They are a great way to practice and get some painting time in.  I love painting on large sheets of paper, but sometimes just want to work small- in those cases, postcards and ACEO are the way to go!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sand Dollar Trio- Original Watercolor

9X12 watercolor on 140 lb. cold press

More beach watercoloring- I can't seem to help it with our winter staying in the 60's and 70's.  It just feels like summer! I walk 3-4 miles by the beach every morning and have many photos to paint from.  I feel like I need to paint something different, but this is what motivates me these days.  Soon, I will move on (at least in temporary spurts) and mix in other painting subjects.  I am going to take my artistic motivation wherever I can get it- and these days, it is the beach!  These sand dollars were really fun for me to paint since I really get caught up in the tiny details- that explains all the grains of sand I added. The main challenge for me was to use a light hand to shade these sand dollars- to keep them light in color, but not completely white.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Watercolor Postcards

I have had this pad of blank watercolor paper postcards and this seemed like a good time to paint on some of them.  It is a good way to paint a variety of things- and the small scale means that you can paint quite a few in a day.  A fun painting day, and now I have a new batch of postcards ready for when I want to send one.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beaches- small acrylic paintings

Having some fun with small canvases and painting the beach. Sometimes, it is relaxing to just work in a smaller scale.  Somehow, it seems less serious- as if I am under no pressure to create a masterpiece!  That really helps keep the painting relaxed and fun.  I am trying to include people in some of my paintings, but also working on adding people without a lot of detail.  Seems easy, but it isn't for me.  I plan to keep practicing with these until they are easier!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Chalk Paint Makeover- Dining Room

Recently, right in the midst of my moving and unpacking, I decided to give my dining room set a face lift.  It is a pretty nice looking antique set with rush seats.  I never had the nerve to do anything with it, while it was in a separate dining room.  Now, in this beach house- it is pretty much the center of the house.  I just wasn't happy with all that dark wood constantly in my view.

I heard about this chalk paint (Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint) from a decorator in my weekly painting group. She told me how she had tried it and that -most importantly- NO stripping, sanding, or priming of the old finish.  This set is really old and has been stained more than once.  I decided to go for it.  What's the worst that could happen, other than completely ruining an antique dining set?  I wasn't happy with it the way it was, so I figured it was worth the possibility of having to strip it down to bare wood if it didn't work out!  I looked online at many blog posts about people using it and it seemed to be pretty popular already.

I had ordered 2 cans of the paint and the soft wax used to seal it.  The paint is pricey ($35 per quart) but goes a long way.  I used the same quart of Aubusson Blue to paint the whole dining room- that's a table, 6 chairs, china cabinet, AND a buffet.  All with one tiny quart and I actually have a little left in the can.  All that, and a soap and water clean up!

I started out by trying it on my dark wood wine racks- using Old White.  I quickly realized how much I liked the paint, and was brave enough to move on to the larger furniture pieces.  The painting was easy, and then you just brush on some of the soft wax and buff it off.  I did buy the Annie Sloan wax even though I had read that Johnson's paste wax worked just as well.  I have to say that I used both waxes and the Johnson's was less soft, but also worked.

I definitely will be using this paint again. I have some wicker patio chairs just calling out to be painted- and a pint of Old White ready to go.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Scallop Shell Trio Watercolor

Scallop Shell Trio- 9X12 on 140 lb. cold press

I am in a beach painting state of mind lately, and the shells and beach glass are getting me back in practice.  I decided that the easiest way to get back to painting would be with the simple objects- and beach finds are something I have in abundant supply.  The variety of colors and all of the little details make for good practice without a lot of pressure to produce a perfect painting.
These scallop shells are from Long Island- Fire Island to be specific.  Walking the beach on Fire Island is amazing when you are a serious beachcomber.  One beach has mostly clam shells, and a mile down the sand, there are zillions of scallops.  If you are having a GREAT day, you find some beach glass to add to your sandy treasures.
I found a new beach today(new to me) that was beautiful, but not much in the way of shells.  Right in the shadow of Mugu Rock, next to Point Mugu Naval Base.  I found a few pretty little shells and 4 pieces of beach glass.  A little extra exercise to add to my 3 miles at sunrise- along with some nice photos made it a good trip.  Who knows? Maybe a future painting in one of those photos.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Beach Glass Watercolor - 9X12

Beach Glass Watercolor
140 lb cold press- 9X12

beach glass detail

I am really trying to get back into a painting routine, and think I have finally gotten a start.  I haven't painted much at all since starting the moving/relocation process and I am definitely ready for some creativity!  About a week ago, I got out my palette, and a pad of watercolor paper and got nowhere.  Sometimes, I think the most difficult part of painting is thinking of WHAT to paint and getting focused.  Yesterday I sat down with a plan to just paint a few small watercolors and to paint things I enjoy painting.  Well, with a pile of beach glass and sea shells in front of me- it worked!  Sometimes, artistic mojo and too much thinking just don't mix.  After I relaxed and didn't worry about painting a masterpiece- I just had fun.  Now to find (and keep) my artistic mojo- wherever it may be.