Okay - this is what I mean when I say the little paintings I bring home in my sketchbook are much more meaningful to me than any photograph I could take. My friend, Karen, and I took kind of a quick trip up to Mackinac Island yesterday. My first trip up of the season. The day started out with a forecast of fog and possible thunderstorms, but by the time we got off the boat, the sun was shining and it was beautiful all day. I painted this in my Arches Carnet de Voyage, hot press paper 6 X 10. I just used my tiny Altoids paint tin and my water brush. The photograph doesn't turn me on. The painting has everything to do with the way the sunshine felt on my shoulders, the sounds of laughter coming from the Grand Hotel, the smell of the flowers, and the dappled shadows along the path. It was just a beautiful place. We had a great day!



It is that time of year - the promise of summer, but what's with all this RAIN!!!??? I am SICK of it.
I picked these lilacs for my Wednesday and Thursday classes to paint. They did a wonderful job. Some started out with wet paper, some with dry. Some of them did one of each to compare the two techniques. This was my demo, done on dry paper - it is done on Fabriano paper - something different for me. I always use Arches and I'm not sure where the Fabriano came from, and I'm not sure if I like it. It is okay to paint on, but I don't really like the look of the texture. It's just different.

These lilacs grow beside our house along the curb, and the neighbors say they see lots of drive-by-pickings. They are irresistible, and as long as they leave the blossoms alone on our side, I won't complain too much.

When I was a kid daisies and sweet peas were in such abundance at the cottage, that I still have trouble realizing that all of the sweet peas and daisies in the world aren't mine for the picking.


More Yupo

Yes, I know - I say how much I dislike Yupo "paper", and here I am posting more little paintings done on it. It's plastic, for heaven's sake - we aren't supposed to like it. How tacky. But is it ever fun to push the paint (watercolor) around on it! It lifts, it pushes, it smears . . .

On the one hand it is too easy, with the way you can just wipe it off and start over. On the other hand, it is really not that easy to work on - subsequent layers lift previous layers, and then what do you have? Well, I don't have much, but I have seen some nice things painted on yupo. Just like everything else, it has a learning curve.

Right now I am working on a commissioned painting and I am laying it out on yupo - trying out colors and shapes and moving them around as I work out the composition. Anything for a little distraction, huh.



I am playing around with some trillium sketches and paintings.

I'm just doing some very small experiments. The one on the left is done with watercolor on Yupo. Yupo is a plastic "paper" - it's not really paper at all. I don't do well with it - it looks as if I am painting on PLASTIC. The middle one is prismacolor pencils on Bogus rough sketch paper. I like the look, but I don't think Bogus is acid free, so it isn't what I would consider a "keeper". However it is in a sketchbook and I will keep it as long as it will keep. The third one is done with gouache on coffee stained Indian Village paper. Of course, this is also acidic with the addition of the coffee.
So what have I accomplished? To be continued - I have groceries melting on the kitchen counter.



This is the last of the toned paper paintings. I think it is a good exercise in negative painting, layering, and wet into wet mixing. However, I just don't like painting on an underpainting instead of sparkling white paper. I know some people like to paint the background first, but then there is no way to retrieve the sparkle that only white paper gives you.

The mat around the painting is an old mat cut into two pieces that I use for cropping. For some reason it is easier to tell if a painting is finished when there is a mat around it. It also helps us see what else the painting might need at the edges - and where the edges should actually be. And sometimes, it just plain helps us get rid of the crummy parts of the painting. There is often some area in an "unsuccessful" painting that could really be a nice little painting. So make yourself some "croppers", pull out some of those old not-so-great paintings, and see if you can find some good little paintings.