Emerald skies (1)

What is going on here?

It looks like the trees are all in line for something and standing on a decorative table clothe! It looks more to me like an animation still than a landscape!  I blame David Hockney!

 I am reading the book  David Hockney The Bigger Picture and I believe some of his colors and shapes may have crept into my self-conscience!  This book is giant. Over 300 pages filled with beautiful paintings. English farm fields,woods, roads, mountains all in Hockney Technicolor. It’s a fabulous book.  There are so many pieces of his work I haven’t seen before.  Absolutely stunning.

Anyway, that isn’t exactly what I intended for today.  I thought I was going to do a sweet and simple field by the sea and it just didn’t come out sweet and simple.  The diagonals are so strong and stripey. And the strong shadows under the trees make it look a bit surreal. The colors of the sky and earth are compliments, so your eyes keep bouncing back and forth.

Strange.  That’s all I have to say. A bit strange.

What it does have going for it, is that my painting is small.  It is only 12×12 which means the shocking dosages of color are minute. A great big black frame would make this little painting sing.

As for Hockney, he is a Master. A master of simplicity, color and pattern.  I have a lot to learn. I’m so glad my library is stocked with so many wonders!


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_PURPLE HAZE (2)Hmm. What do I have to say about this one….well, it is bright!   It’s very, very, bright.

In my attempt to not paint every landscape in green and brown I think I have over-compensated with red, yellow and blue.  Or in this case, purple!

This is another spot in Jamestown with its rocky cliffs that meet the sea.  I like the curves, I like the color combinations,but I don’t have much to write about it.  It’s acrylic. It’s on canvas. It’s small.  It’s 12×12.

Well, I think I will just leave it at that.

I guess some days are just like that!


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#57-pottery class (3)

Well, I don’t have too much to show for this weeks pottery session.  My instructor Rhea Del Rosario from Plum Pottery East would say “Yeah, but you learned a lot!”  and I would simply say ” Ugh!”

It started out pretty good.  I made the bowls above last week. So this week I stamped and trimmed them. But then I got on that pottery wheel and the rest went down hill!

I have two more Pakistani textile stamps I haven’t used so I needed to make two more bowls.  During my first attempt, I got what they call a “wobble” inside the clay center. Rhea told me to give up all hope on this lump of clay being a bowl and try for a plate.  I had never made a plate before so that sounded ok.  I made a gorgeous plate.  I loved the rim, it looked beautiful.  I went to run my wire tool through the bottom to get it off the bat it was attached to and the wire went right through the center of my plate! Ahhhh! Frustrating! Apparently I made the center a little too thin.  I had to scrap it.

Next…..I’m thinking bowl…..I’m thinking bowl……tough time centering the clay……can’t do it to save my life……instructor helps me center clay……start lifting the sides……got it…….it looks good……really good……..but nothing like what I intended!

#57-pottery class (4)

I did make a gorgeous bowl. However, it is huge.  It’s like a large salad or serving bowl.  In fact, it is the largest bowl I have made to date. But way too big to match my little Pakistani stamped bowls.  I will have to try again next week to make two more textile stamp bowls.  They are like soup bowl size.  Being a novice, I have no control over what I’m doing!

After that, I moved on to glazing.

#57-pottery class (1)

#57-pottery class (2)First I added some glazes to these little ornaments my kids made when they joined me at pottery because of a snow day. Then I glazed this platter in a white glaze. I rubbed some of the glaze off hoping the terracotta color of the clay will come through. We will have to wait and see.

So I have a lot on deck.  3 of the mugs are finished. I am waiting for the cobra mug to come out of the kiln. Then I have the large doily bowl I made. I glazed it cobalt blue. I really like it and hope it turns out ok. Also, I have 4 other bowls in different parts of the pottery process.  It better stay cold for another month.  I need to make a big batch of soup to try them all out!


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I’m back to my quiet little home, in front of my warm fire and enjoying some peace and solitude.

The kids got off to school without a hitch. My house is a mess, there is a pile of luggage, nothing in the fridge, and I simply do not care.

I love quiet.  I missed it.

I am such a loner.  A hermit. I wouldn’t go as far as to say anti-social, but I sure do enjoy being by myself.

Today I kept the radio off and sat in complete silence.  Just me, my paint and a canvas.

I chose a scene nearby on the island of Jamestown, RI.  There you can find an abundance of nature, particularly this spot. The Jamestown Marsh/ Grasslands.

At this time of year the fields are dead, but their carcasses are beautiful shades, of brown, gray, orange and red. What I love most about this spot is the sky.  The area is so vast that the clouds make shadows on the fields.  Some areas glow in the sun, while other areas are blue in the shadows.

The day after Labor Day, my whole community goes quiet.  People close their summer homes. Families prepare for their kids return to school.  We go from complete chaos to tranquility.

That is sort of how I feel today.

I am letting it all sink in.


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Today, after spending 4 days of being in NY with my family, it was time to come home. I had to come up with something creative to do while in the car for three hours. Nothing was coming to me. Then I had a fun idea!  I asked my son, niece and daughter to paint me some abstract paintings before we headed out and I would accept the challenge of finding something fun to draw within each of their paintings.



First up was my son.  Owen likes to create bold bands of color generally freestanding and not mixed. He took my toothbrush out of my paintbrush supplies and applied “BLOOD” red paint spatter to the center.  That’s my boy:)

Later on, I flipped his painting in every direction.  I wasn’t getting any creative impulses.  When it was vertical I sort of saw a man’s face but I didn’t really love it.  I put his painting down for a while, moved on to the others, then came back.  Finally, In the top right I saw two splotches that reminded me of ballerina dresses.  Ah, now that could be fun. Then, to the right of that,  I saw two very long men in waist coats. To the left I saw a large orange woman wearing a veil dancing with her arms extended and inside her I saw a man bowing.  Now it was getting good.  Further to the left, I envisioned a sort of can-can dancer, a woman in a fur coat and a man in a bowler and strange tuxedo.  They all seemed to come together under the theme of dance. Hence the title – THE DANCERS. I used the rest of my sons bands of color to create musical bars. They float in and out of the dancers.



Next up was my niece Caleigh. She takes her art very seriously. For hers, I taught her how to wet the paper and then add paint strokes to watch the watercolors bleed.  The paints began to get a little over mixed and the painting was overwhelmingly brown.  I grabbed a bowl of kosher salt and we taught her how to add the salt to create speckled shapes where the water and paint get absorbed.  Caleigh thought that was cool.  She added dabs of red, yellow and blue paint around her painting and then she was done.  We put it aside to dry.  When I got in the car to drive home, I knew exactly what this one looked like to me.  The randomness of the red strokes reminded me of a school of fish.  Plus the brownish salt splotches instantly made me think of coral. It’s great when you automatically see something in the picture. It’s a sigh of relief!



The final painter was my oldest child Olivia.  She is stubborn, knows everything and will not take any advice or lessons from her mom. This is AN ABSOLUTE!  But secretly I know she’s always watching and taking in everything I do, so I let her  “know it all”.  Liv can be a bit literal too.  The assignment was to doodle with paint, not creating a subject matter and keeping it abstract.  She came to the table, wet the paper, created a star out of 5 stripes, painted the two corners, flicked some green with the toothbrush and was gone in about 3 minutes.  I’m telling you.  KNOW IT ALL. It was like “Take that mom!”

 Of course the first thing I saw was a flower.  No way. I couldn’t do it. That would be way too cliche.  I kept spinning and spinning the paper.  I’d look at Owen’s, then look at Olivia’s.  Back and forth and then I saw it.  The crocodile.  The jaggedness of the yellow paint made me think of teeth.  I started there and then all sorts of animals started to appear out of the paint blotches.  But what to do with this star/wheel my daughter created?  I thought of the forest, the wilderness, the jungle and began to add foliage and trees.  This painting was tough.  Quite the challenge to come up with a subject.

So there you go.  I doodled all the way home.  I satisfied my creative challenge for the day.  Got the kids involved and found something to do in the car as to not go bonkers with boredom!  I have to say, with all this travel and business, I am looking forward to a quite day tomorrow where I can get a little more serious about art. I missed it this week!


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I’m having so much fun getting to spend all of this time with my family.  I am with my cousins, sister, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, second cousins and sooo many very close family friends. Sad circumstances yet such a wonderful experience.

So I’ve had no idea what I was going to be able to do art-wise while on this trip honoring my grandmother. Our schedule has been crazy and we are out and about from dawn to well past dusk!

This morning I asked the kids what I should do and this was the still life we came up with.


My seven-year old niece Caleigh is very interested in art and was wondering what this “contour drawing” is all about.  Contour drawing is where you focus on the contour/outline of objects with your pen to paper. The catch is that you are not allowed to look at your paper. You can only keep your eyes on the objects.  This strengthens your hand-eye coordination and creates wonderful, free and quite loopy drawings.

I asked everyone at breakfast to create a contour drawing so I could show you how different each person’s perspective and personal drawing techniques can be.

Here are some of their results.IMG_5564 IMG_5566 IMG_5568 IMG_5571

I think they are all fabulous! It’s amazing how different the same subject can be.  This is why artists will never run out of ideas for work. We could all have the same ideas yet not one ever execute it the same. So cool!


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Yesterday on my car ride down to New York I took a little “artist time” to reflect on my grandmother.  She died at age 92 so we couldn’t really ask for much more.  She had a very long wonderful life.

Above I started with a photo of grandma and I then worked my way out with little memories of my time with her.

My Grandmother was born in 1921 in British Guiana South America.  They were very well off living on a plantation when her mother met a Scottish Doctor and they married and moved to NYC.  They lived in a mansion over looking the Hudson River.  Of course we know the Great Depression hit and I’m pretty sure their fortune was decimated.

She lost the love of her life, her oldest brother a pilot, in World War II.  Many say she never recovered.  After the war she married my grandfather and the most peaceful, creative and nourishing part of her life began. They were married well over 50 years.

My grandmother was drop dead gorgeous. The number one word attributed to her, was class.  She was the classiest.

Yesterday the priest came into the wake.  His first remark was “This sounds more like a wedding reception than a funeral.”  He was right.  That is how my family rolls!  We laugh, hug, catch up, kids are welcome to run around, customers from our family art & framing business came.  Even a woman who was a student of my grandmother in kindergarten over 40 years ago felt the need to share how important my grandmother was.  It was a wonderful evening.  I have an hour to get out of the house for the funeral.  This event will start at 10am and will go until we are ready for bed.  There will be lot’s more laughter, lots more friends and lots more family.  You never fear a funeral in our family. They are always a wonderful celebration of life.


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How can I express my good fortune?

 I live in a small town without any chain stores (This is on purpose. I hate mass consumerism!) and about 9 months ago an honest to goodness genuine art supply store opened up called South County Art Supply.  Before this I would travel over an hour to pick up the smallest of supplies. So right there, I considered myself very lucky.  But, it gets better.  I was special ordering paper there a few weeks ago and the owner, Andrea Peitsch, offered to support me through my 365 Day challenge!  She and her sales rep are going to provide me with free art materials to try throughout the year.  It is a win/win, I get to try supplies I may not have had the opportunity to and Andrea gets feedback on whether she should offer the products in her store.  I can’t believe my good fortune and the love and support that surrounds me.  Thank you everyone for your kind words, cheering me on, and now my favorite thing in the world ART SUPPLIES!!!!

OK. Back to the art.  Andrea provided me with a 5×7 linoleum artist block, Speedball inks, a brayer and all of the carving bits to take a stab at carving.


First I had to come up with an idea.  I chose a Koi fish and I wanted it to appear to be chasing its own tail. Quite simply for the amusement factor. I sketched a design and then took a black marker and colored in the areas I would be carving out.  This helps you not carve out the wrong areas.

It was harder than I expected.  I had to put some muscle power into it.  I could feel my shoulders spasming. And then there was the resistance factor.  When you push really hard into linoleum with a sharp blade and the linoleum unexpectedly gives way, do you know what happens?


This.  Notice the nice v-groove in my skin.  I carved my hand by accident……so a couple hours later, the walk in clinic crazy-glued my hand back together.  They were impressed at such a clean slice. Yep, it’s going to leave a scar.  Notice how up above I said I’d “Take a stab at carving”.  Hee hee hee. I think I will lay off the carving tools for a while.


If you have been following my blog you know my husband loves fish motifs.  So this fish block won’t really be for paper printing.  Do you know what I’m going to do with it?  Create an awesome dish set in pottery class! So stay tuned and we’ll see how that develops.

Andrea – Thumbs up on the linoleum blocks.  It didn’t take too long and the investment isn’t too bad for the return.  However, I recommend wearing a glove on the hand holding the block ;0

I am off to NY to attend my grandmother’s funeral.  She was 92 and had a long wonderful life. We’ll see how I can incorporate my 365 challenge into a messy couple of days…


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This is such a fun way to paint.

I create big puddles of clear water into desired shapes throughout a sheet of white watercolor paper. Then I inject watercolors into the puddles and allow the paint to swirl around.  I can add up to 4 colors in a small puddle, but they do not move any further than their puddle which contains the color chaos.  Look at the pink blooms. Where you see white is where the pink paint stopped bleeding however the small dabs of pink paint were contained in an overall larger circle puddle of water.

When I am finished creating layers and puddles of color I then move onto acrylic paint. In this instance I chose black for its high contrast against color and for its opacity.  I carefully paint around each of the puddles editing and creating the shapes I would like to convey in my final image.

This makes you focus on both positive and negative space.  Translucency vs. opacity. You get the feeling like the sun is shining through the flowers.  This painting reminds me of Eric Carle’s illustrations.  I believe he probably used a similar technique but he cut his images out and collaged them, where as I like to choose a dark opaque background.

I think this would make a gorgeous fabric.  I will have to use this technique some more because the richness of color just makes me so darn happy.


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#50 -Failed Bowl

It looks like a pile of dog-doo doesn’t it?  Actually, you are looking at a really messed up bowl!  I got the clay centered, my instructor left the room, I panicked, failed at raising the walls and then it buckled and collapsed.  Just another day at pottery class :)  It’s always a good idea to offer up a sacrificial piece to the pottery gods anyway!

Next, I had a great idea to bring in my Pakistani textile stamps I found at the big Brimfield Antique Show.  Each of these wooden stamps were hand carved by an artisan to decorate saris and other fabrics.  When I saw them at Brimfield I knew I had to have them, but I wasn’t sure what I would do with them.  Maybe stick them in a bowl on my coffee table?  Create hand stamped note cards? Pretty much I have done nothing with them for two years. Until I thought of using them for my pottery pieces. Check it out. The effects are gorgeous.

#50- Pottery

The indentation is quite deep which means I will be able to get a lot of glaze to seep into the crevices and give me some great contrast.  The black is actually from the old textile inks.   I made three bowls last week, but I have 6 stamps, which means I will have to create a full set of bowls! Stay tuned…..

#50 - Pottery glazing

I also got the chance to apply the final ceramic glazes to my mugs and crochet imprinted slab bowl.  That means they will be complete in a matter of days.  I can’t wait to see how they come out!

I got a lot accomplished today.  I am still so frustrated about the throwing aspect of pottery.  It’s so darn hard and I don’t seem to be getting any better. UGHH!  I guess not everything comes easy.  Sure wish it did though!  I’ll keep plugging along…but one day I tell ya….one day….I will be the master of the pottery universe (insert evil maniacal laugh here!!!)


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