Plant acrylic

Underlayment and pencil-up

Mostly painted

Since I couldn’t get to the watercolor board for my next piece (it was in my flat file cabinet and blocked by the panels of a dry sauna my husband bought but not yet assembled), I had to use what I already had out and available in the studio.  Between the cold weather and unseasonable snows, I am tired of waiting for spring.  I decided to make some of my own green with the acrylics.  It’s only a little painting at 10×8, so it didn’t take long and I’m pretty happy with it.

And an April Fool’s Day joke from Mother Nature  –  1-3 inches of snow predicted for this evening.  Fortunately it has been warm enough that it will mostly stick on the grass and melt off of the roads.  Next up on the table is a pen/watercolor of the Central Fire Station in Boise Idaho.  (I did finally get into the flat files for the board.  My husband will soon be in sauna heaven.)

Fruit Paintings: Part 3


And lastly a tomato and a pear.  I think I like these two the best out of the six.  I am varnishing them right now and should have all of these 8×10’s listed in my shop sometime this week.  It has been a fun break from the precision of all of that ink work.

After that, I think I’ll go back to a little drawing of three calves that I started way back last fall before the Christmas rush started.


Fruit paintings


After two months of line work, I felt I needed to do something very different for a little while.  Since I plan to do about a half a dozen of these, I felt that posting most of the preliminary work would be a bit tedious, so I will stick with a close to finished photo.

I went to the refrigerator and took a look at what was in there.  First up turns out to be an avocado and oranges.  I wanted to do something more free form and these are part of the results  after 3-4 painting sessions each.  I think I will look at them all again when the the whole batch is essentially done to make final adjustments before I list them in my etsy store.  As it turns out I will have two reds, two greens, and two orangish one.  It should make a nice variety of color for kitchen art.  Maybe I should add in something blue, too.  Blue berries?  I’ll have to buy some which will make John happy.


Acrylic #3 – Wisteria



I laid down the base paint coat for the wisteria vine flowers acrylic yesterday.  The flowers are lovely variations of light purple surrounded by green leaves.  The detail work will make or break this painting, but I am happy with it so far.

I found something positive to do with that awful first effort. When I did acrylics all those years ago, I never learned I should put a varnish coat over the finished painting.  In doing some research about the acrylic process, I discovered that it is recommended to use several thin coats of a “varnish”  over the end product.  Well, I am using the barn painting to practice/experiment with matte and gloss finishes.  Then I can feel okay that it’s time for the circular file for that one.

Also, yesterday I received a commission for 2 8×10 pen and ink architecturals.  I will be putting this aside for the next couple of weeks to work on them.  I’ve done 2 commissions for her previously so it is nice to hear form her again.

More color for the still life print

More color

More color

As I said last time, I wanted to add more watercolor to the still life linocut.  I did like the starker black and red, but it felt like it still needed something.  I made two of the heavier paper prints and decided to throw caution to the winds on one.  Originally I thought to just add some mossy green behind the plant, but then I decided to use yellow ocher as a base first.  I’m glad I did.  It seems much warmer to me.  Now I’m not so sure about the original print.  I also wonder if I shouldn’t put a bit more shading on the teapot now.  What do you think?

I don’t really consider myself a graphic artist so in some ways the linocuts are really hard for me.  At least the way I do them, they seem more graphic than traditionally fine art.  I wish I could do more delicate work like some beautiful prints that I have seen, but that’s not where I am right now.  Mostly I am working with positive/negative space on these which has always been a focus in my ink work.

I have always wished I had had more graphic art training.  For many years, graphic art was not looked on as “real art” because it was usually work for hire, but when you think about it, the Old Masters were commercial artists too.  If they were lucky, they worked for rich patrons and often created specific pieces for them.  I don’t know when the idea that art had to be suffered for to have value came in, but it has done a great disservice to many wonderful and creative people.  Worked hard for, yes, but a necessarily ruinous life, no.

Still life linocut

A ltttle still life

A ltttle still life

Here is the first of my little projects for this busy month.  I had originally purchased a number of mounted and unmounted 5×7 sized linoleum blocks, not knowing which I would prefer.  I ended up liking the mounted ones better but had one piece of the unmounted ones left.  I also intended to use a few of the linocuts on some of my acid free card stock, but when I discovered that the blocks were going to be too big to easily print on the card, I cut this last one in half. John mounted the two 3.5×5 pieces on a piece of board a few weeks ago and I was ready to go.  I didn’t want to get too complicated because the block is small to work on. The idea of a plant on a table with a teapot seemed to fit the bill.  The question ended up being whether I should cut out the flowers and greenery or leave them in relief.  Once I made that choice, I debated quite a long time on how to handle the teapot.  Should I cut out the teapot or the flowers on it?  Ultimately I decided I wanted to paint the teapot a bright color so I would have to cut it out.

A red teapot

A red teapot

I knew right away I wanted to make the teapot red.  I really wanted it to stand out. So far I like it.  Tomorrow I may decide to add a bit of color to the background – my treasured green.  What would you think of that?

Plant linocut

We got a taste of spring this week with temperatures reaching the lower 80’s briefly.  My daffodils have continued to bloom (and I to pick them) and the red dogwood has finally come out.  I bought a blood red dogwood last year from the big box store and I am pleased to say that it has a multitude of  dark red flowers. I also saw a coyote scoping out three deer in the shallow end of the pond, but by the time I had the telephoto lens switched over on my camera, he was gone.  I am sure the does were more than a match for a lone coyote and he only stopped to make sure no one was weak enough to merit more than a glance.

Still life linocut

Still life linocut

In a week of sporadic studio time because of out of town family travel, I managed to make up another set of linocuts. I recently sold both of my dragon prints out of my etsy store, so I was able to combine replacing those prints with doing something new.  I am happy my dragons found another home.  Those were two of my favorites art pieces.  I had in mind cutting some kind of potted plant this time around.  I was inspired by the jade plant I have in my garden window in the kitchen so I hope this is somewhat suggestive of it.  I didn’t bring it down while cutting the linoleum block, but just tried to create a pleasing positive/negative space with the leaves and the pot.

Colored linocut

Colored linocut

I knew I wanted to color the second one with a light mottled mossy green.  The trick is, how much to do.  I like to start small with the thought that, for these, less is more.  I think leaving some white helps highlight the colored leaves and doesn’t make the whole thing too dark.  I am relatively pleased with the result.  what do you think?

Little watercolor still life

I made a triple cut mat for the first time for a holiday gift and decided to use the leftover pieces for some small pieces of artwork.  I had to practice what I was doing before I made the actual mat, so I had several small cut outs to use as possible mats.



You might have noticed that I rarely make a piece where the predominant color is blue. The mat was blue/gray so I decided to use it as a color inspiration.  I laid out a small piece to fit the inside of the mat, but wouldn’t you know, when I penciled out the size, I did it incorrectly.  I made it too short.  Since I colored it edge to edge I couldn’t use it with the mat.  Fortunately, I like the way it turned out.  I have been obsessing a little bit with dragonflies lately and I thought that one with blue wings would be a great idea.  I love seeing them around the house and pond.  The iridescence of their wings is always so beautiful as they flit around.  I went with a complementary color palette for the background to set him off.  Too much blue if I went for a water effect.  I went for cattail colors.

Vase_4770When I redid the layout for another small painting, I was more careful and ended up with the still life you see here.  I think I like the dragonfly more than the vase.  The vase isn’t quite properly grounded and although I have fiddled with it some, it is still not right.  I think I will let it sit a few months and then look at it.  It may only need a simple fix, but I can’t see it yet.

Watercolor fruit

Fruit medley watercolor

I bought some fruit for my weekend guests and after everyone was gone, I thought it might be fun to have a red fruit medley watercolor.  I had a late season pomegranate, some fresh strawberries and a package of red raspberries, which I thought would make a lovely painting.  And while they are all reds, when put together, it is quite apparent that they are different shades and hues.  This is really only the base but I had to stop as the board was getting saturated and the colors flowing together more than I wanted.  I am leaving it overnight to completely dry.  Even when I use a hair dryer on the lowest setting sometimes it won’t be as dry as I want and I don’t really think cooking the paint is a good idea. 

It is still rather undefined and I will only be able to judge it when I put in more detail and shadows.  So far I like the mix of the reds.  The raspberries and the pomegranate are closer to being true reds with a little blue thrown in (mauve?) while the strawberries have more of an orange cast.  It will be fun experimenting with layering the colors on tomorrow.  And then I get to eat the still life!

Getting the bookmarks ready for sale

It has been a long process getting the bookmarks ready for sale. I spent a whole day getting the courage to actually cut up the artwork – even though it had sat for years unloved in a drawer. It was not quite good enough to market, but too good for the circular file just yet. I am so happy now that I did it. The pieces are so much more pleasing than the whole drawings were. I am thinking of going back and raiding a few more. What good is a piece of artwork doing, stuck in a file cabinet? And it makes a piece of artwork affordable, fun, and useful, all at the same time.

After some thought, I decided to laminate them. The 120 lb watercolor paper was too thin by itself and rather unsuitable for the task at hand. I investigated the lamination process and thought I had it all figured out.  I ran a few test pieces at a big box store in different mil sizes  that turned out well.  Unfortunately, when I went back a few days later to do the rest, I was told that the policy had changed for the 3 mil size that I liked best and there was now a minimum per piece price instead of by the square foot.  Major bummer and just my luck.  This rendered them too expensive to run that way.  I had to go back to the heavier mil lamination to get the price per piece down.  Counterintuative, but that’s just the way things are.  At this point, if things go well, I’ll go buy my own laminator in the near future. 

Here are two samples of the laminated bookmarks – one on thicker paper and one on thinner.  I’m going to sell a single or in groups of three.  Both are now listed.

Mixed media bookmark

Laminated watercolor bookmarks