Back to the Drawing Board


6 months since I picked up a paint brush! I definitly have some nerves to shake out. I spent a day or two doing these little 8×10 inch contour drawing water colors to loosen up. Water color always frees me up. I think it’s the swirling of water on the paper and watching the paint bleed in uncontrollable ways that gives me such a kick! I thought I’d do 6-8 little water colors until I felt safe in the habitat, but with my ADD Gemini Energy, I was done by the second painting and onto 6 foot acrylic canvases.

I can’t help it :) it’s how my natural energy works!

Before I close, let me share an amazing sight from my visit to Miami. Have you heard of Wynwood Walls? As soon as my hosts heard I was into art, they sent me on an amazing excursion. Click the above link to learn more, but in a nutshell, artists from around the world are commissioned to create graffiti all over this districts walls.


Totally Rad to the Max!!!

So if you wind up in Miami, now you know a creative must. Blocks and blocks of amazing works of art!





For some reason when I woke up this morning I felt like changing the color of the roses.  The roses were from my garden and in real life they are cherry red.  The color is mystically somewhere between red and hot-pink.  Although I have tried, I just can’t duplicate its magnificence, so might as well go with my imagination.  Red it is!

Now this painting is not a true rendering, it’s loopy on purpose.  It is a contour drawing that I then water colored.  I like it when other artists work is loose and imprecise, so I figured I’d try to loosen up a little too.  The paintings take on a bit more personality and quirkiness I think.

Roses with Rosemary also features a couple of my pieces of pottery.  I love how the bleeding of watercolors is similar to the blending in glazes.  They are imperfect and flow where they want to go.  I like this about both mediums.

Also, this watercolor is smaller than I have been working lately.  It is an 11″ x 14″ and yet it still took me two days.  That’s roses for ya.

I may be resigned to smaller canvases as I try to navigate through this marathon of a month, but hey, I started small so maybe that’s fitting.

Tonight is opening night for my daughter’s play.  I’d tell you to wish her luck and to break a leg, but she’s actually the kid that would land in the emergency room.  So let’s just wish her a happy & exciting night and smooth sailing for mom!


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#217 -

I have the perfect opportunity for a cow-pun title and I can’t come up with anything!

Total brain drain!

Total sadness. I love horrible puns!

This is why I am putting it out there to the public.   What should I name this still life painting?  We’ve got oranges, black-eyed Susans, roses and an old-fashioned cow creamer.

Let ’em rip.  Give me your horrible puns, so I can give this watercolor a title!

Here was the progression:

#215 - Still Life with Bovine (5) #215 - Still Life with Bovine (2)


#217 -

The painting is 16×20 inches on 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper.

Every couple of weeks I like to revert back to a sweet and simple watercolor.  I experiment in all sorts of ways and then revert back to the traditional.  I guess I find comfort and solace in the familiar; you know, the objects in my everyday life…yet there is something in my psyche that wants more.  Wants to express more. Wants to push myself to try more.  Express more. Unfortunately I still don’t know what that is, so I will flip-flop trying everything until I find my way.

Day #217 and I still feel as unsure as Day #1.

Somehow I thought that if I gave myself some cockamamie challenge, especially one with lots of time attached to it, miraculously the answers would come.  I envisioned January 1, 2014 I’d wake up and have some insight into the next chapter of my life.  I’m past the half-way mark of this 365 challenge, and yet, I still don’t have a clue.

At the end of this year, will I have enough logged hours to have a go as a full-time artist?  Or should I revert back to crafting, jewelry making, maybe even a traditional job of some sort…

Even if I don’t work that out, will I at least know what type of art I gravitate towards?  What medium?  What subject matter?  What purpose?

I still feel like I roam this planet without a true purpose.

It’s plagued me since I was a child.

Well, tonight, I conclude this evening feeling a little angst and a little melancholy.

I really do try not to over think things (ha), you know, just go with the flow, wake up and start a new day, but deep down, the question is still there.

Who am I and what is my purpose?

Sometimes I feel, I may not ever have an answer.  I will leave this earth without that contentment.

I guess it’s not for me to say.


Still, so frustrating!

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Day #207 – The Block Island Ferry at Sunset

#207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (1)

This ferry painting is the third in a series on Block Island, Rhode Island.

#178 - View From Old Harbor Block Island #188- BLOCK ISLAND STAR DEPARTMENT STORE (1) #207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (1)

I plan on painting most of the buildings in Old Harbor.

Here is the progression of the ferry over the last three days:

#205- SAIL AWAY ON THE BLOCK ISLAND FERRY (1) #206 - CAROL JEAN -THE BLOCK ISLAND FERRY #207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (1)

I wrote quite a bit on the ferry, so if you are interested, check the last three days of posts.

I was wondering if any of you wondered about the background I chose?

Were some of you thinking, why would somebody paint such an over-the-top sky?  It’s almost ridiculous!

Well yeah, it probably does look ridiculous to some, but if you’ve been to Block Island, then you know what dusk looks like on the island.  Here are some of my sunset photos spanning the last decade.  All of them have the same thing in common,

#207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (2) #207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (3) #207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (4) #207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (5) #207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (6) #207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (7) #207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (8) #207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (9) #207- The Block Island Ferry at Sunset (10)

Pink, blue, & purple.

What’s awesome, is this is a daily occurrence!   A daily phenomena!   A daily miracle!

It’s one of the first things I think of when I think of the island and that’s why I painted it that way.

So, call my backgrounds over-the-top, maybe even strange, but for those of us who have been there, who have seen the sunsets with our own eyes, it makes perfect sense.

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Yesterday’s post was about sketching and transferring my pencil sketch to 140 LB Cold Press Paper.

Today is about my trusty SAKURA black ink pen.  It is water proof which is what one needs for watercolors and delivers a nice clean line to a drawing.

I created a pen contour drawing and added in all the relevant background details.  The ferry will be departing from Old Harbor, Block Island and will match the other buildings I am drawing/painting of the harbor.


Many, many days ago, actually 157 days ago, I did a quick sketch of the Block Island ferry departing from Narragansett.  Post # 49 – OLD BLOCK ISLAND IS A CALLIN’ #49 -OLD BLOCK ISLAND IS A CALLIN'

The gist of the post was that to many of us, the ferry represents excitement & anticipation.  It is this magical vehicle that will take you from everyday life to an oasis, a paradise, a vacation!

On the flip side, when you are on the island, the ferry is the vehicle that will take you home.  Boo Hoo.


We usually vacation with my friend Jesse’s family and they started a tradition in which, no matter what you are doing on the island, you must show up to the ferry to say farewell to whoever we know, that is departing.

Sometimes there are 15-20 of us on the island.  Everyone has different departures.  We all meet up, stand together and wave to the poor soul leaving before us.  It’s a kind gesture to those leaving the party.  My friend Jesse always makes sure he get’s the last ferry out.  He wants to be the waver, not the one departing.  He probably owns the most departure photographs.  All of us waving our hearts out as the ferry blows its large smoke stack and heads out to sea. I may have witnessed a tear or two in my day.

So even though I must take Dramamine, otherwise I’d gag, the ferry does hold a very special place in my heart.

It’s a beautiful symbol.  One I hold dearly.

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Today I decided to return to the Block Island Old Harbor series I am creating.

#178 - View From Old Harbor Block Island

So far I’ve done the Old harbor Inn


and The Star Department Store…

Next, the Block Island Ferry.

After that, I will do the National Hotel and The Surf Hotel.  The whole harbor is a gem of Victorian buildings from the turn of the century.  It’s also where I vacation every year with my best friends which makes it quite sentimental.

Today was sketch day.

You start with nothing and hopefully an image begins to emerge.  My first sketch wound up flowing off the sides of my paper in two directions.  I taped some paper together and kept going.  I then had a preliminary drawing but it was on three pieces of paper!   I took a piece of over-sized tracing paper and traced my ferry-boat onto it.


But now my ferry-boat was heading in the wrong direction. I flipped the piece of paper over again and traced it one last time.

I now had a tracing of my ferry-boat on both sides of my tracing paper.


Next came the scribbling.

If you rub your pencil over your existing pencil lines, you can transfer a graphite image to a new piece of paper.


Now I have a pencil drawing of my ferry-boat, in the correct direction and eraser free.

tomorrow I can finish adding more details in pencil before I transition over to pen.

This way takes quite a few steps, but you are able to edit and make corrections on scrap paper before moving to good paper.  I thought I was going to be using a 16 x 16″ piece of cold press watercolor paper, but it wound up, I needed a 16 x 20″ piece.  You may not have much to show for day one, but there is quite a bit of math, proportion, and calculation that goes into a drawing.

OK.  Off to bed.

It’s nice to know what I’ll be working on tomorrow. Takes a little stress off!

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Greetings from Block Island!

Late last night I said I’d blog this morning and I didn’t and now somehow it’s late at night again.   I’m sorry about that.  I have learned not to make any promises, since I barely seem to have any control over my circumstances these days.  I’ve just gotta go with the flow or suffer the consequences!

I did finish last night’s painting though:


It’s a view from Mansion Beach.

I’ve taken a whole bunch of photos of our journey around the island the past two days.  I’m trying to download them as we speak, but I’m having difficulty with the really bad internet connection here.  I keep blogging and downloading and the system keeps failing.  So I’m learning to hit the “save” button a lot and I’m figuring out I need to make things quick!

I’ve  also figured out that I am most likely going to do pen and ink contour drawings and quick studies while on this trip.  I am taking tons of photographs that I plan on using for more serious pieces when I get home.  I can’t hold my family captive while I paint all day, nor do I have the right materials to do so anyhoo.

So from here on out, I’ll share some gorgeous photos of one of our favorite locations in the world, but don’t tell anyone about it, it will ruin what’s great about this place!

Here’s my posse heading out on the Block Island Ferry!


A view from my cottage:


Views from my friend’s cottage:

IMG_9801 IMG_9796


Views from Snake Beach:

IMG_9828 IMG_9791 IMG_9836

If you can’t tell, what’s great about Block Island is that it’s quiet and filled with nature.  High season isn’t very quiet, this is why we either go very early in the summer or in the fall. But if you catch it right, you feel like you’ve been transported to a simpler time in this country.  One of farms and rolling countryside.

Taking in all this beauty replenishes my soul.

I’m already looking forward to tomorrow!

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#156- MY POPPY PATCH (1)

For being a great lover of color, poppies are my ultimate muse!

I think I have mentioned this before, red and green is one of my favorite color combinations of all time.

A year ago I picked up a seed pack of poppies.  I planted them and some fern like leaves came up, but no poppies.  I sort of forgot about it.

A couple of weeks ago, I started I began to find these plants that looked like Venus fly traps:

#156- MY POPPY PATCH (3)

I had forgotten that I had planted the poppies and thought to myself ” whatever that is, it’s a little creepy!”.

But lo and behold, the most joyous bolt of color sprang from that hairy pod!

#156- MY POPPY PATCH (4)

Until I planted these beauties, I had no idea just how glorious  these flowers truly are, especially their centers.  They have shades of purple, black and periwinkle.  Against the red and green, they are pure ecstasy! I just knew I had to paint them!

As I looked down at the ground beside my poppy, I was amazed to see the pod:

#156- MY POPPY PATCH (2)

What a wild plant this is!

So here is today’s progression of my painting.  I started with a very basic sketch of all different profiles of the poppies in my garden.  I also loved the purple iris leaves in the background in my garden.  The sun just pops through them, so I added them to as well as some of the poppy leaves:

#156- MY POPPY PATCH (5)

#156- MY POPPY PATCH (6)

#156- MY POPPY PATCH (7)

#156- MY POPPY PATCH (1)

I just love the effect of looking at a simple pencil contour drawing and seeing the richness of the paint begin to emerge and come to life. It’s like moving from NO-D to 3-D!

#156- MY POPPY PATCH (1)b

When you look close up, they are just dabs and swirls of color, yet they take on a life.  A two-dimensional piece of paper begins to communicate something.  I just love it. It truly brings me joy.

Well, enjoy the painting in its “white” form, because tomorrow I will be filling it in with darks.  I want the bright yellows in the iris leaves and the reds of the poppy petals to glow and I think personally, this is best accomplished by having a dark background and allowing the light filled objects to be the brightest focal point in the painting.

This is an 18×24″ watercolor on 140 cold press paper.

Stay tuned  to see the finished piece tomorrow!

Thank you.

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#140- Gaining Perspective (2)

Ahh, perspective drawing.  Is there anything in this world I find more frustrating?

Without a proper foundation all else is lost.   Meaning: It doesn’t matter how great a painter you are if your ellipses are off!

Most people can’t put their finger on it, but they know something about a painting is just sorta well -OFF!

It’s usually the perspective.

The question is are you viewing something from above, below or directly in front of you?  With most paintings, it’s all three and if any are off, it will be the first thing people notice.

A really good rendering takes me hours.  I find it so difficult.  Ya know it’s probably like starting a new exercise routine.  You simply can’t do it at first because your muscles aren’t strong enough.  Well pretty much the same thing with drawing.  Your muscles are week and the more you practice the better you get. I think I sprained my muscles today!  I had to take out my vacuum because I had so many eraser shreds!  Some days I’d like to just cheat.  There are many ways to get around drawing, but I know the only person I’d be cheating is myself, so, I suffered through it today and I am sure I am now a little bit better than I was 4 hours ago!  I once read a book on Van Gogh that said he would sometimes do 20-50 sketches a day….over and over and over again…strengthening those muscles. Of course he was also most likely suffering from a bi-polar disorder and obsessive compulsiveness….there is always that  :)

So I did my perspective drawing and then I added the necessary details:

#140- Gaining Perspective (3)

I had about 30 minutes left from that point, so I decided to try something different:

#140- Gaining Perspective (1)

I usually create one shadow at a time.  For instance, I would only do the lemon.  I would start with a medium tone yellow and water it down for the light areas and add a dark purple for the shaded areas. Then I would start and finish the lime, then maybe move to the pitcher and work on it start to finish…one area at a time until I completed the painting..

So applying shadows to the entire painting is a different approach for me.  I think in one way it helps to establish lights and darks throughout the whole painting, but I usually use different colors for every single shadow in a painting.  I’m not sure if uniformity (meaning all blue in this case) is good or bad…I will soon learn tomorrow.

The rest of the painting should move fairly quickly from here, it’s  just the foundation drawing which sucks up a lot of my time.  When I was doing a painting a day, I wasn’t spending enough time on composition.  We shall see by the finished product if one can tell a difference in my work.

Wish me luck! I hope this experiment of technique works!

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I’m late I’m late I know!  I didn’t finish the painting by the end of the school day, so I had to finish after the kids were in bed.

 I picked lemons as a theme this week and while looking around creating a composition, I thought it might be fun to take a few steps back and incorporate a little more into the background.

 I took a quilt, some pillows, a favorite chair and of course lemons and created a contour drawing.  Contour drawings give you a semblance of the objects, but they are a little more quirky than trying to get every line and ellipse exact.  I’m not a perfectionist in the rest of my life, so I think this style suits me.

Next was the fun part.  As the artist, I don’t have to paint what I see, I can pretty much do what ever I want. So I changed all the colors of the objects from real life.  The basket is really green.  I made it black.  The front pillow is mustard and black, I made it red and the quilt is actually a rainbow patchwork in real life, I made it a little more monochromatic.  I would have loved to paint a different fabric for every patch of the quilt, but seeing as how I ran out of time before even attempting to do so, I had to let go of that pipe dream!

So there was only one dilemma.

I photographed the painting earlier in the day before I had painted the quilt dark brown.  When I look at it now I wonder if I should have kept it white?  It’s a little more light and airy.


Of course there is nothing I can do about it now, but I guess I can learn for next time.

Hey public what do you think?  You forget I’m alone all day and don’t have anyone to bounce this stuff off of or to get feedback from!

Ahh, There’s just so much to learn…so little time…well I have 365 days of time…or a lifetime if I put it in greater context….but for a daily challenge where one part of the day is set aside for painting and the rest for my kids, time does seem to run out pretty darn quick.

I just have to keep remembering, I’m strengthening my art muscles…I’m strengthening my art muscles…Keep going…if you do, just imagine what Day 150 will bring…..imagine what I will know by Day 225….How will I feel on Day 365?

I don’t know all the answers, so I better keep plugging along so I can find out!

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