A Summer Still Life. This was actually a summer set up for a class. I started the painting as a demo, but I rarely finish demos in class because I don't want to cut in on the participants' painting time. I will get things started and then do demonstrations as needed and requested. So - I lived with this for a few months, concentrating on it every now and then, trying to determine what to do with the background. I have a little streptocarpella (!!!) plant blooming and it seemed like the perfect thing to just kind of fill in that middle space. I set up the pots, bowls, etc. again and finished it up with some stronger shadows and the little purple plant. Even though it is a still life very much like I would do in the winter, it brought back the bright feeling of summer and the wonderful group of talented women in the Thursday morning summer class. This was actually set up "in the round" on a table outside.


My mind is going a hundred miles an hour. Think how much one misses at that speed! Some people consider winter in Northern Michigan "down time", but I think of it more as breathing room. However, I am beginning to hyperventilate. There are so many things I want to do - such as update my bio, keep up with my financial database, get a new batch of notecards printed up, finish a decent sized painting per week, do a couple of small paintings per week, draw every day, get things lined up for summer so there are no surprises or missed opportunities (heaven forbid), do two workshops this winter, etc. . . I'm sure you get the picture. I'm sure you are all going through the same thing in one way or another - or several ways.

With all this, there is still a calm and peaceful feeling about this time of year. I have always liked winter in this area because of the low expectations. In the summer you are expected to do whatever it takes to get things done in the very short season, and it gets crazy ( I LOVE that craziness). In the winter everything moves at a slower pace and you never know when you might be snowed in.

What's my point? There is none. But I am working on the paintings, I am drawing every day, I am teaching three classes a week. Having said that, I guess I had better show you a painting per week, and I will post a drawing now and then. I have a stack of some pretty bad drawings, but I do have a stack. I have been giving myself permission to do bad drawings with a fat pen. I just want to keep that pen moving. I want to get that drawing information into my brain, and it slows things down for awhile so I can breath normally again.


Mackinac Island
We have some new, fresh snow, very cold. A good day to be working on this painting from a sketch I did on Mackinac Island in the summer. Sometimes when I have spent the night - or several - on the Island, I can still hear the clomp of the horses hooves and hear the buoy bells at night in my own bed after I return. So . . . okay, don't tell anybody that.

This is a watercolor, 11 X 15. It is the view of the walk back toward town from Mission Point Resort. I just love the old trees along here.



If you like watercolor, sketching, keeping a journal, or just escaping from everyday life for awhile, I think you'll enjoy the book. If it doesn't inspire you to paint or journal, I hope it encourages you to relax!


For Illustration Friday
February 10th.

I set this apple out as a very SIMPLE subject for my watercolor students to paint using various triads. When the class left, I sketched it using just pencil. The leaves were brownish green and dry. I think they look like they could twirl and the apple would take off.


I have had the desire lately to use a larger brush (a #38 round) and just splash around in some juicy colors. I had been working on some small things, so when a friend came over to paint yesterday with this still life, I decided to do some watercolor on gessoed paper. Gesso is a canvas primer, and when watercolor paper is painted with it, it resists the water, causing the pigments to float on the surface until it has dried. It is very forgiving - the good news and the bad news. If you aren't happy with some part of the painting, you can just wipe it off and paint it again. However, when you go over an area with subsequent layers, the previous layers of pigment are disturbed or lifted.

It's a good way to use up paper you don't like, or even paint over old paintings you don't ever want to see again.


This is a small painting of our back door that will frame up 8 X 10. I did it from a sketch I had done a couple of years ago. The original sketch (far left) was done in ink and colored pencil.

I'm going to package up the matted painting, a box of my notecards, an autographed copy of my book, and a hand painted bookmark as my donation to The Women's Resource Auction to be held later this month.

I find that I am always much happier with the paintings I do (large or small) from sketches rather than photographs. My sketches have captured only what I want and are already simplified. They are ready and waiting to become paintings.


This is my first time participating in Illustration Friday.
The subject this week is chairs - one of my all-time favorites. This is a small painting that was originally done in my watercolor journal and then used as an illustration in my book, A Petoskey Watercolor Journal.


For some reason I am currently fascinated with the drawing, foreshortening, and shading of spoons.

When we were doing small personal still lifes in my watercolor class, one of my students always brought in a spoon to place with her other objects. She either didn't know how hard they are to render or she was confident of her skills. Whichever the case, she did a beautiful job with them.

So - I guess that's what got me interested in spoons. I plan to study them for awhile, hopefully move up to something fancier!

I am offering a drawing class beginning Feb. 14th, '06.