Watercolor Now & Then

•January 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

 Looking back at the beginning of my journey as an artist I can see how I have traveled the sometimes difficult road that brought me to where I am today. The first few workshops I attended were problematic & arduous as I struggled to learn how to navigate through the use of watercolor and understand how to compose a painting.

Yesterday as I played with my watercolors and practiced painting a flower on a small piece of WC paper I was thinking of the flower painting I did in the year 2001, the year I took my first workshop. As I advanced in my skills I saved several original paintings knowing that one day I would enjoy seeing them. I dug through my file drawers and found this painting.


Flowers Old & New 2______________________________________

Boy, I can remember being so proud of this! I put a mat on it and I couldn’t believe my eyes, a PAINTING done by me. I hardly noticed the better paintings done by more experienced artists in the class. All I knew was that I painted this and I was so pleased with my results.


Flowers Old & New 1______________________________________________

Here is the small painting I did yesterday  in my studio. Many times if I am not working on what I call a real painting I like to play around with different images, colors & shapes trying to learn about the subject matter or how the colors blend or how different papers react to pigment & water.

I can see how much I have grown in the past 14 years and although I still want to learn so much more about painting, I am happy to be on this adventure as an artist.

Never give up your dreams whatever they are. After one of my early workshops when I brought my paintings home and excitedly showed my husband his comment to me was “Hang them on the refrigerator and people will think we have children” Those words helped me become the artist I am today.


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Happy New Year. Let’s make it a creative one!

•December 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

As the sunsets on the final day of 2014 I want to wish everyone an inspiring new year filled with an abundant of colors and lots of playtime in your studio.

                                                       Sunset 11-25-14



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Continuing My Series of Roosters in Watercolor

•November 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

What a fun way to experiment with colors and their mixing qualities while learning how to capture the likeness of roosters. Here are several I’ve been playing with in the studio.

Rooster7 copy Rooster 9 copy

Rooster 4 copy Rooster 3

Rooster 6 copy Rooster 5 copy


Each one has a uniqueness and individual expression. But I didn’t take anyone of these too seriously, just played around & had fun.

This one became a favorite because his expression was kinda quirky.


Rooster8 copy


Find something that inspires you to paint and make it all about developing the subject. Observe how your paper, pigments & brushes work as you practice. Have fun and don’t get too serious. Relax & enjoy.


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Playing with Parrots in Watercolor

•November 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Many times when I arrive at my studio I’m not sure what colors, shapes & subjects will inspire me as I open my palette. Seeing the dewy pigments in their many brilliant colors helps fire up my creative juices. On this day I felt drawn to paint colorful parrots. I’ve lived with a parrot for 34 years and she is my constant companion while I’m at home. She rules all the other animals and sometimes rules my husband & me. With her in mind I began a series of small parrot portraits.




Each painting took on its own color exploration.




 On several I added salt to create the texture you would see on ruffled feathers.






I haven’t yet finished this last bird. You can see that each painting was started with the blending & bleeding of different colors.This was a fast & fun playtime in the studio. The subject was easy and with each painting I learned a little something about the pigments I was using.


Find a subject and do a series of paintings. You will learn what colors play nice with others. You will learn how they blend & run together. Mostly you will remember why you started to paint with watercolors in the first place…. because they are so much fun.


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ROOSTERS My Newest Obsession

•November 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Watching artists I admire paint is so inspiring and opens up my mind to attempt to paint objects & animals I never had an interest in before. Seeing Jean Haines paint stimulates my creative process and because of her I have started a series of paintings of Roosters.


I started by loosely painting a wash using Daniel Smith’s Transparent Pyrrol Orange and Qiunacridone Gold. While it was still wet I added coarse sea salt. I allowed the pigments to dry naturally so the salt would have time to work it’s magic. This is the effect I got.

Rooster 1&2


I used this dry wash as a background to paint my rooster on. Adding the eyes & beak bring this face to life. I felt I didn’t need to detail any other areas of the face & body.

Rooster 1&2a


Although I like this rooster he seems very Hawk like to me. My husband’s comment to me was that he looks like he’s lived an interesting life and has character.

I am not finished painting these fun faces. Try a few yourself and see what results you get. Have fun with the 1st wash. Let it take you in the direction it ends up flowing, don’t force it to be anything more than a simple textured wash.


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Lian Quan Zhen Watercolor Workshop 8-8-2014 Day 4 (part 2)

•September 30, 2014 • 2 Comments

We started a new project the afternoon of our final day. We are going to paint a portrait using a sketch that Lian Quan Zhen drew which we transferred onto our watercolor paper. This truly frightened me because not only am I intimidated by portraits but the drawing was so detailed and complex.

                           _________________________________________Lian Quan Zhen 8-8-2014  hThis is the sketch and the beginning of my painting. Lian walked use through his process and took us on a journey of color placement to show us how to make the shape of the face develop. First we washed the entire face, except the highlighted areas, with a pale yellow followed by a wash of pale pink. Using a light violet gray we applied that to the shadowed areas give the face depth and contour.


Lian Quan Zhen 8-8-2014  iThis is as far as I got with my portrait. I was amazed to see the face looking so realistic.

Here is the painting demo that Lian did for us that afternoon.

Lian Quan Zhen 8-8-2014  g


Here is the finished painting of the Polar Bears by Lian Quan Zhen

Lian Quan Zhen 8-8-2014  f


 I was exhausted by the end of the 4 day workshop. I felt so challenged during this program. I can say that he helped me grow as an artist. He stimulated my passion for watercolor. He sparked new interests in my creativity by introducing my to his brilliant use of color, shape and design.

I encourage everyone to participate in an exciting & thought-provoking workshop with an artist of your choice. If you have the opportunity to attend one of Lian Quan Zehn’s programs, go and enjoy yourself. You will not be disappointed.


Paint with Me


Lian Quan Zhen Watercolor Workshop 8-8-2014 Day 4 (part 1)

•September 30, 2014 • 1 Comment

Today is a new day so I am letting go of yesterday’s challenges and looking forward to the joy of my last day of this 4 day workshop.

Today we are finishing up the details of the face of the Polar Bears. Here you can see step by step the process he uses to define & describe the animal’s eye.


Lian Quan Zhen 8-8-2014  a Lian Quan Zhen 8-8-2014  b Lian Quan Zhen 8-8-2014  c Lian Quan Zhen 8-8-2014  e


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