Today brings with it a classic watercolor landscape.  When I started it, the painting was primarily blues and grays.  It kind of looked skeletal.  Another word might be boring.  I was about to scrap it when I thought about technicoloring it.  Under each bold color field is the remnants of Payne’s gray, burnt umber, black &  Antwerp blue. After the painting got a little bit of color infusion, I began to like it.

Another technique I implemented was lifting the paint out of the painting.  In the forefront the grasses were created by what remained of the pigment.  It gives the image a lithograph feeling which reminds me of a New York artist named Harvey Kidder.  Lifting the paint out of the front areas also gives the illusion of wind blowing through the reeds which you find a lot by the sea.

It’s a sweet and simple little watercolor .  I’ll add it to my pile!  How awesome is that?  I have a pile of art.  I am only on day 23 and I have a nice little collection started here.

I think this 365 Day challenge was a good call.  It is whipping me into shape and forcing me to create a routine.  If only I had the interest in exercise that I have in art; I’d be DIESEL!


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Nice job Mary!  WOOHOO!

Yes, this was my final attempt at a mug today.  The difference between this lovely lump of clay and the other mugs is that this one I attempted by myself!  I really shouldn’t man the pottery wheel unsupervised! I have been humbled.  It’s a good thing I have a great sense of humor or I might be crying right now!

The truth is I still really need help from my instructor.   It sure  helps having someone help you center the lump. As well as tell you your arm is crooked, your thumbs are in the wrong place, You are putting too much pressure in the wrong area…Pretty much I need a professional holding my hand and preventing me from seriously screwing up!

Just you wait, the day will come when I post that I threw a piece of pottery all by myself and darn it, it turned out AWESOME…

That day will come, it just might not be during the 365 Day challenge!

On a happier note , with Rhea’s assistance I did create an awesome shaped mug for myself!

#22 -mug

If you recall, each member of my family is getting a new mug.  My husband’s will have a fish theme, my daughter a giraffe, my son a skeleton and I want a garden theme.  I can’t wait to sip out of my creation!  Next week I will create a  handle for my mug and start on my son’s mug.


I wound up scrapping the pottery monsters and created new handles for My husband and daughter’s mugs.  I’m glad I did.  I am happy with these fish and giraffe sculptures. Next week I will under glaze them and get them into the kiln.

This week at pottery, I had some triumphs and I had some failures.  Either way I had a lot of fun. I can’t wait to do it again next week!


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This is my girlfriend Maria’s new love of her life, Teddy.

 I’m pretty sure he is a mini Pinscher.  I promised I would paint a portrait of her dogs (she has another dog Honey I will have to paint another day!)  while I was visiting, but time ran out.

This painting was painted in three locations.  First I sketched it in Maria’s kitchen (notice I omitted the 80’s wallpaper this time around!) Next I got in the car, drove for three hours and arrived at my Dad and Step-mom’s house.  I whipped out my water color pad and almost finished it last night at their house…but I still had some work to do on it.  So location three was back at my home sweet home this morning.

All in all, the weekend forced me to bead some of my pendants, paint some fishees and  complete a portrait of cutie Teddy…I’d say it was an artistically productive weekend.

At this point I’m not sure if my friends and family want to support this crazy endeavor or strangle me. It’s probably a little of both!

A painting of this size can take 5-6 hours.  When visiting, I’d imagine it can be a drag watching your guest stuck in a chair most of the day!  I guess I will make up for it when I give them the paintings to remember me by!

I just want to say it again, thank you all for supporting me -my wonderful friends and family!  xxoo Mary


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#19 -Button Up

Here are a few more pieces I just strung up from my pottery class.

The theme for these were buttons.  Of course I have a beautiful vintage button collection. Doesn’t everyone?

 I took some of my favorites, pressed them into a slab of clay, cut around them to create pendant shapes and then created the bail for stringing them. To get the fun colors I hand painted each button shape with under glazes. The next step was firing. I then added clear glaze to make them shiny and then they were fired a second time. Rhea (from Plum Pottery Studios) if you are reading this, could you comment on the correct terminology for each step of the firing process?  I am sure I am butchering the terminology with words like “thingy-mi-jiggy” and “glazing” and “firing”. There are more correct terms. It just takes my brain about 90 times before I get them committed to memory properly!

Well, I’ve found a fun way to show off my buttons.  Now I will be wearing them around my neck!


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I went away this weekend.  It was my first challenge of waking up in a foreign land and having to create something!

 On my girlfriend’s counter sat two beta fish.  I sort of found this amusing.  It’s like pet 1 and pet 2.  Frick and Frack.  Actually their names are Blaze & Godfreid.  The poor betas can’t be put in a bowl together because they’d destroy one another, so they remain apart….but she keeps them together….

Together Apart or Apart Together?

It’s kind of funny, my friend thinks these fish stuck on her counter are kind of ugly.   Also, she  recently moved and hasn’t ripped down the 1980’s wallpaper. She told me not to “dare post that wallpaper to the public“!  So of course I’m going to!  But in the end she did wind up amazed I made her kid’s fish and the disgusting wallpaper look as nice as I did.  Nothing like a paint brush editor!

So now I own a pocket water color set, pocket paint brush and a 9×12 block of water color paper. They all conveniently fit in my purse.  So no matter what….no matter where….I will be ready!

Yikes!…better start thinking about tomorrow!


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Ahhh, This would be my dream garden.  A place where I could surround myself with color, sunlight, fresh air, sounds of nature….Instead I’m sitting here freezing watching the melted snow puddle into mud!  Ok. It’s not that bad today, but I do love the colors spring brings.

We have a beautiful estate here in Rhode Island called the Kinney Azalea Gardens and I kid you not.  This place is the closest I’ve seen to this painting in my life. Hundreds of azalea bushes in every color of the rainbow. A color addicts paradise. I look forward to it every year. Here check it out:


 Today’s painting was a lot like yesterdays.  I showed up, wet my paper, started adding color and let it take me where it wanted to go.  It was a wonderful feeling.  The painting is 15″x 22″ which is a good size for taking in all the color and detail. I just love the red mingling with the pinks, yellows and oranges.  Looking at certain color combinations releases endorphins in my brain.  Let me tell you this is one of those combos!  I also like the black areas.  They give the painting higher contrast and they remind me of the color of damp trees in the forest.

So this was my second attempt at loosening up and releasing control over the whole art process.  I love it.  It feels good. However, I am craving a simple still life or two…. I guess there’s always next time!  Thanks. Mary


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#16 -Holey Moley Sunset

#16 -Holey Moley Sunset

OK. Confessional:

I am terrified of abstract painting.

 It sounds silly, but I have this strange belief like only certain artists are allowed to paint abstract or minimalist paintings.  I’m not exactly sure how the universe deems these artists to be, but somewhere I got it in my head, that I am not one of these people.

Obviously this is a completely irrational thought. I can’t even believe I admitted this on the world-wide web. So what do you do when you have an irrational fear?  Well, you dive right in and conquer it!  I’ve been on the side lines for way too long to listen to the inner blubbering of my head!

I feel very vulnerable today.  Being a first-born-perfectionist, I like to at least attempt to master things before I put them out there for the world.  Maybe if I created 10 abstracts I could then choose one to post?   …Nope.  With this crazy 365 endeavor I have about 6 hours to come up with an idea and implement it.

Thus you are seeing abstract painting #1.

Freeing.  I feel like I just jumped off the high dive!

Showing the painting to the public =terrifying.  Actually creating the painting =liberating.

It was so much fun to play with color.  You start with one color and then you add another one next to it….then another one….then you have a beginning, so you can add more colors around the beginning creating balance and rhythm. Me the control freak- had to release control…flow with the water and see where the paint went.  I didn’t create the composition before I started painting. Instead every 60 seconds I’d have to observe what the paint and water had done and assess whether I liked it or should redirect it.

Great metaphors for life.  Releasing control and going with the flow.

Huh. Easier said then done!

Well, at least I can now say I tried.

You know that old saying “You never regret the things you’ve done. You regret the things you never did.”

OK. I’m ready to do it again!


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I titled this post pottery monsters because the images I have for you today are ridiculous. Are you wondering what the second photo is?  Space alien? Really ugly mug handle?  Close….it’s a giraffe handle that will be attached to the vessel to create a mug for my daughter. Rhea at Plum Pottery Studios assures me I can carve a better looking giraffe next week after it firms up a bit and I trim the cylinder into a more finished shape.  I thought to myself  “Great! I get to blog  photos of a mug I am creating that I’m pretty sure look like my kindergartner could have done better!” I promise it will look better next week…stay tuned!

The top photo is a mug for my husband that will have a fish handle. I am creating a special mug for each family member. So next week I will create a skeleton mug for my son and a flower garden motif  for myself.

For the rest of my pottery session I trimmed the bowls from last week.  They will get fired this week and hopefully I can glaze them next week. I also applied the finishing touches to the jewelry pieces from last week. Last week the jewelry pieces were colorful.  These are the same pieces except now they have clear glaze on top of them which before firing look like I dusted them with chalk.  Am I boring you yet?

Overall, I’d imagine these photos do not  have much “WOW” factor. Sorry for all of you who crave instant satisfaction!  Instead you will have to wait with me, step by step, as I go through the pottery process. And then one day, before you know it,  the finished pieces will come out of the kiln.

Oh Yes….so exciting my knees are knocking! YES! YES! YES!

I know, I know, you wish I could spare you…but I do thank you for keeping me company:)


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#14- The Beach Comber

This is where I live. The beautiful coast of Rhode Island!

As a collector of many things the beach is my treasure trove. Of course I have a sea glass collection, a driftwood collection and I also have a striped rock collection. My husband spends hours stacking rocks into towers and the sea gull is there as a reminder of my grandfather who loved watching the seagulls and photographing them. They are such funny creatures.

I added the Narragansett towers because they are such a big landmark for these parts and I spent some time thinking about the clothing. I chose a fisherman knit hat and scarf because their roots are nautical, very Irish which is my heritage and very New England as well. I also added a navy pea coat with the classic toggle button because this too reminds me of my home.

It was a very grey day here in Rhode Island and it rubbed off on my painting. I didn’t realize it until I viewed it from the computer. Cold, grey, wintery days are the best days for beach combing. The tourists are long gone, most locals are bundled up in their homes, and if you are brave enough to face the winds you can have the whole beach to yourself. Absolutely awesome.

My daughter has taken a liking to beach combing. We have a secret beach where we go to look for sea glass. We hunt and hunt and then dump all our treasures on the table to see who has the largest and smoothest piece. Ahhhh, the bragging rights until we go again…

I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world living by the sea!


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Or should I say fly on my window!

This is my view every morning from my kitchen sink. I started collecting wooden dancing toys for their bright happy colors and now one by one my girlfriend Maria sends me these little wooden surprises. Thanks Maria! They make me smile every morning.

What is also funny is when people come to visit they change the figure’s poses. Right now the robot is doing an awesome 80’s dance (or is it the pee-pee dance?).  Pop-Pop the pirate had a whole week of adventures on Block Island where he battled crabs and fought off scurvy. You just never know where they’ll wind up and what funny poses they will be in.

Another funny tidbit is when kids come over to visit they are quickly educated on which toys are kid toys and which toys are “Ms. Mary’s” toys! I have a bright toy car collection, a Pee-Wee Herman toy collection and random odd ball toys I find at the Salvation Army like a giant green robotic frog and a Kung-Fu Panda.

This week I treated myself to a new Sakura black ink pen. It’s awesomely smooth. I just love it. This image is a contour drawing (focusing on the outlines of images). However I did create a pencil grid before I started so that I could keep the figures relative to my sink.

There is a fly in the drawing…check back to post #6 for it’s relevance.

In summary, I think toys are great at every age. Everyone needs a touch of whimsy or down right silliness in their lives.  Try slipping some little figures in hidden places in your house and see if they don’t make you smile once in a while. You may even find them difficult to share with the kids!


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