Friday, February 27, 2015

G is for Green Acres (Watercolor Batik)

Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 5X7

My husband Tim wants to buy a couple of goats and some chickens.  The chickens don't worry me - it's the goats.

I don't like goats because they have creepy eyes and they are stinky.  I don't like goat milk, goat cheese, or goat meat (not that I've tasted the meat);  just don't like that barnyard bouquet.

Lots of people in and around Portland have chickens.  Chickens are cool, but having a few goats would mean moving out to the country.  Country is cool, as long as it's wine country

Newburg, Oregon - about 25 minutes from my house

 and not Hooterville  (as in Green Acres)  country.

A few months ago, however, we drove out to our friend Jaci's farm, and she introduced me to a three day old goat.  I have to admit my heart just melted.

So, maybe goats aren't that bad.  Just don't tell Tim I said that,  please.

I finally got my new delivery of a fresh roll of rice paper.  Back to a commission.  Hope to see you later in the week.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

D is for Degas' Dancer (Alphabetica Batik)

Dancer (After Degas)
Watercolor Batik w/Conte Crayon on Rice Paper - 7 X 5

French Impressionist Edgar Degas made hundreds of drawings and paintings of ballet dancers.  Although he painted realistically, Degas often defied traditional composition.

My favorite BBC miniseries, The Impressionists, is a wonderful 3-part movie focusing on Degas, Manet, Monet, Renoir and Bazille; how their friendships developed and endured.

Here's a peek (They had me at the train whistle).

Click here:  The Impressionists

Sunday, February 22, 2015

C is for Clock (Alphabetica Batik)

Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 8 X 10 - NFS

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

This is a comforting thought.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

B is for Blue Dog (Alphabetica Batik)

 B is for Blue Dog
Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 7 X 5 - Sold

When I think back to our daughter's preschool years, I have nice memories of sitting on the couch with her and watching the Nick Jr. TV show "Blues Clues."   It was a children's  program that used a blue colored puppy to make learning colors and numbers fun.

In wondering what to paint for the letter "B,"  I came up with several ideas, but none put a smile on my face faster than thinking about spending time with my daughter and laughing at that silly blue dog.

So in honor of the puppy Blue, here is a small painting of a really blue dog.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A is for America (Alphabetica Batik)

 A is for America
Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 8 X 10 / NFS
American icons:  the flag, the bald eagle, the Lincoln memorial, ...    I was wondering how to reduce the idea of what America means to me into one image, but that's impossible.

I thought the Statue of Liberty would be a good choice because she represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom.    July 4, 1776, the most important date in American history, is inscribed on the tablet she holds.  She carries a torch to light the way and has broken shackles at her feet.  She represents freedom from tyranny and oppression.  Liberty is so much more than a welcome mat.
Many years ago, I vacationed in Hawaii and visited another historic landmark.  Unwillingly (it interfered with my sunbathing schedule), I was dragged over to the USS Arizona Memorial in Oahu.  I was a 24 year old brat who thought the world revolved around her.

After being there, however, I realized the enormity of sacrifice and horrific events yet to come for my parents' generation.  I left in tears.  I was a different person.

Although I've never been to New York, a visit to the Statue of Liberty would be pretty meaningful as well.   The Statue of Liberty as an American icon is not cliche.  I can only imagine how millions of European immigrants felt when they first laid eyes on her in New York Harbor. 
Three of my four grandparents witnessed the majesty of Liberty after that long voyage across the Atlantic.  Why did I never ask them about that experience?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Art Journaling

A silly card from

When I started painting, I bought several sketchbooks.  Did I use them to sketch?  No.

I used these books as personal art inspiration journals where I would cut and paste photos of artwork and quotations I liked.  I make a habit of looking at them all the time since they are full of ideas.  Here are samples of a few pages.

This is the first page of the first sketchbook I bought.  I regret failing to note the name of the author of this quote because it is an idea that is ingrained in my mind.

 Every time I look at this photo, I am reminded of sneaking out of bed when I was a little girl to take a peek at my parents.  One night, I caught them dancing. 
  The photo also reminds me of something Renoir once said; that he loved painting people and their stories.

Just fun.  We can dream...

Several years ago,  I took a techniques workshop from Michigan artist Nita Engle.  This is a photo of Nita's painting.  I purchased her book "How to Make a Watercolor Paint Itself" prior to the workshop and she was kind enough to autograph it - a happy memory for the art journal.

Ah, this is one concept I need to remember.    Painting in a series is a creative way of sparking new ideas by zeroing in on one subject or theme. 
 I personally like to create "one-zies" (one of these, one of those, ...).  I'm starting a new series that is loaded with one-zie opportunities because the challenge is to do a painting based on each letter of the alphabet.  The great thing is that each painting will probably kindle a few ideas for a future series.

The new alphabet series will begin this week.  Already, "A is for America" is giving me a problem because my model (AKA my daughter) has been too busy to pose.

I found this in the journal, too.  It's next to the "No Whining!" page.

On to Plan B.  It's not really what you paint anyway; it's how you paint it.  It's how you infuse something that matters to you with your energy.  I guess that's what it means when they say you always paint yourself.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Alphabetica Batik

Love this book!

When I started painting almost 15 years ago, I fell in love with watercolor, and was later introduced to watercolor batik by Michigan artist Shirl Hathaway.   I painted with Shirl for a long time because she was such an awesome teacher.

After that,  I took a mixed media class.  The class was fun, but I admit I was so intimidated by painting with accomplished artists that I didn't try to get out of my comfort zone.  Big mistake.

 Then,  I discovered how much fun it was painting in oils.  Then I learned how to paint with a palette knife.  Then I started doing watercolor batiks again...

 I'm only human, so I now I've picked up this great book at our local library for something to feast my eyes upon in the evenings.

   Back to mixed media?   I think not.  I'm just so in love with batiks.

What this book has provided me with, though,  is the idea for a next series of paintings.  It will be called  "Alphabetica Batik."   For example, the title for the first painting will be, "A"is for _______,   sort of like Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone mystery series titles:  "A" is for Alibi; "B" is for Burglar; "C" is for Corpse,  only on a lighter note.

I'm still busy doing family commissions, but am hoping to squeeze in a few Alphabetica pieces here and there.  But I'm thinking "A" will be for American because I'm so proud to be one.