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.


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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

Lian Quan Zhen Watercolor Workshop 8-7-2014 Day 3

•August 7, 2014 • 3 Comments

When I arrived at today’s workshop, Lian passed out the image for today’s lesson and I was excited to see we were going to paint Polar Bears & a winter snow scene. Little did I know what a challenge the lesson would become for me.

Lian had us sketch the subject on to our paper and then he started his demo by applying a colorful  first wash over the dried mask he had applied earlier.


Lian Quan Zhen  8-7-2014 f



Lian Quan Zhen  8-7-2014 b(Lian’s Painting)


 I took photos of the images on the video monitor. It was large & clear for all of us to see.

You can see his painting in progress and the photo reference he is painting from. It was great to see how he builds up the layers of washes to bring the subject to life. The painting still has the mask on to save the white of the paper.


Lian Quan Zhen  8-7-2014 c


Lian Quan Zhen  8-7-2014 d


In this photo (on the right leg) you can see the individual strokes he made to reproduce the fur on the bear.

___________________________________________________________Lian Quan Zhen  8-7-2014 e_______________________________________________________________

Lian Quan Zhen 8-7-2014 g____________________________________________________________

I struggled with this painting. I am sharing this photo to show you that a tremendous amount of work needs to be done if I ever want to finish this piece. Today was frustrating and at times I wanted to leave the class. I don’t like feeling as if everything I’m painting is NOT working out. But without a day like today I would not know the happiness of success. Not every piece of paper turns into a painting, no matter how hard I may try. With growth come setbacks. Today was the day I felt defeated and crushed as an artist. But I will start fresh tomorrow and learn from what I did & didn’t accomplish today.

I won’t give up when I am not successful. I will accept what went wrong and try, try again with a newborn determination to improve & sharpen my skills as an artist.


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