Friday, October 31, 2008

White Roses in Watercolor

9" x 10 1/2"  watercolor
 More Roses from the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden in San Diego. It was so tranquil photographing and painting these roses...even with the bugs and bees going about their business all around me!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lesson #2 Lines Continued

Here I have finished the line drawings of our previous lesson. Did you finish yours? Are your items the same as mine? If they are or if they’re not – just by completing the task tells me you have a very good imagination and are good at visualizing images. Make up your own partial line drawings and try this exercise on your friends, brothers & sisters…or parents!

(Take a look at last Tuesday's first art lesson in a previous posting if you missed it. Just scroll down a little bit.)

Now let’s try shading. I have done it here for you. Next week I will begin teaching you shading.

Also, did you notice there is something else in my drawing? There are dots! Next week we will have learned about lines, shading, and dots!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Indochinese Tiger in Transparent Watercolor

The San Diego Zoo has a ¼ acre habitat resembling a natural jungle that houses it’s Indochinese Tigers. I was lucky enough to catch this one resting in the cool of partial shade one mid-afternoon summer day when they are usually the least active. Their enclosure is built on a steep slope with lush foliage, a waterfall, stream and numerous logs to climb on. In the wild these tigers live mainly in Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Southern China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and the Malaysian Peninsula. They are distinguished from Bengal tigers by their smaller size and darker coats with shorter, narrower stripes. Females are about 8’ long and weigh up to 250 lbs. Males are about 9’ long and weigh up to 400 lbs. Their natural diet consists of wild pig, deer, & cattle. Some countries have no zoos or organized protection for them in the wild from being killed by poachers for their fur.

I painted fireworks in the background to represent the threat these beautiful felines face at the hands of poachers.

22” x 28” original painting (contact Mara Mattia for price quote)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wild Brown Horses in Watercolor

When our kids were little we took an annual autumn trip to Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center, California. It has a pumpkin patch, petting zoo, and store filled with nuts, candy, and gifts. Right next door is a horse ranch. I enjoyed watching these horses frolicking around in their large pastures. They looked so healthy and energetic! Of coarse, I used a little “artistic license” and put them in a wild, open range setting.
8 1/2" x 11" original $250

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lesson # 1 awareness (Lines)

The most important ability you need in order to draw is learning to observe. This first lesson will make you aware of lines. Take a look of this page of lines (straight, curved, short, long). Use your imagination to guess what these 8 items are. Finish the drawings on your own sheet of paper. The correct answers will be in lesson #2 next Tuesday. Some of them might surprise you!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Golden Autumn Greeting in Watercolor

This is such a pretty time of year. The air is getting crisp and the leaves are starting to turn brilliant colors. This painting expresses an autumn welcome and was originally an illustration I did about 3 years ago for a postcard.
5" x 7" original sold

The beautiful colors of autumn are also nice inside the house. I love decorating with various kinds of squash, gourds, and spice bundles. It makes things pretty as well as fragrant.

I could purchase packages of imitation autumn leaves and sachets to place all over the house with the pumpkins, candles, etc. but to save money home-grown spices are easy to dry:

Hang spice or herb plant cuttings in bundles wrapped by string by their stems upside down in and airy room. In a couple weeks remove the dried leaves into 12” – 15” diameter circles of loosely woven fabric. Draw up and tie closed with ribbon. Hang in a closet, auto, or place in a clothing drawer.

And you can easily preserve your own autumn leaves:

Cut various branches of tree leaves before a frost but when they are at their peak of color. Smash the stem ends with a hammer. Stand the stems in a bucket filled with one part glycerin and two parts water for about 2 -3 weeks. They suck up the glycerin solution (available at any drug store including Wal-Mart). Leaves can them be cut off their branches when they are supple like rubber and used in centerpieces, wreaths, etc. An amazingly beautiful variety of colors are produced according to the type of leaf and it’s and maturity. Store in boxes after there is no leakage of moisture from leaves which might cause mold.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ducks, Ducks, Watercolor Ducks!

Paintings of ducks have always graced the walls of hunting lodges, a study, or the face of State and Federal Duck Stamps. This is a male and a female Mallard. The male’s head is such a beautiful iridescent green. And this pair was floating in the reads in the lake near our house. Another form called a Mexican Duck is similar except the female is darker in color. Mallards often interbreed with domestic ducks and produce a variety of odd-looking hybrids, such as the black and white-colored duck of my previous posting. I tried a new style for painting the water in this one, kind of like paint-by-number but using blending techniques. It was fun but very time consuming. When I do something like this I like to listen to an audio book while painting.

17” x 13” original

Monday, October 13, 2008

Peaceful Waters

16 x16   watercolor
Many of these beautiful black and while ducks lived on the lake near by our home near Nashville, Tennessee. I never could determine what kind this is, but I would love to know, they are so pretty!

One of my favorite new websites is (former anchor for CNN). It features good news, inspiring news of people from all walks of life! Today's news showcases a very popular video currently circulating on the web, about a simple, easy way to say thank you to our men and women in the armed services. I've listed both sites in my links list on the right side of my blog. Check them out!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tropical Feathered Friends in Watercolor

While eating burgers & fries at a local Southern California restaurant my family and I were entertained by the atmosphere of surfing videos, tropical plants, and decorative wooden parrots sitting on perches and swings high above us. We joked about, “What if some of those colorful birds were real?” The idea for a painting was born in my mind.

The Scarlet Macaw is native to Central and South America where they prefer the undisturbed rainforest and a diet consisting of fruit, nuts, flowers, nectar, and clay from riverbanks. They nurture 1–2 young each season in a tree-cavity nest for up to two years. And their powerful beaks can easily crack a walnut shell (or a wristwatch!).

22” x 30” original painting

18” x 24” giclee’ prints (limited edition of 50 signed and numbered)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Her String of Pearls in Watercolor

Vintage: 1. The yield of wine grapes…of a particular year… or: 2. Having an excellence that has survived the passing of time…of an era gone by…

This is a watercolor of my daughter, my middle child (see my earlier posting of my children drawn with graphite pencils when they were young).

My daughter and I love to shop for “junk”. Have you heard the saying, “One gal’s junk is another gal’s treasure”? Well, I raised my kids shopping at thrift stores. They loved it and we saved money (One time they did get distracted chasing a mouse under the racks of clothes until it disappeared through a crack in the wall!). A couple years ago my daughter and I found this fantastic antique store in the Ocean Beach area of San Diego. We purchased a vintage silk slip and a black hat. We knew it would make a good costume for a portrait.

Her younger sister needed a model for a photography class assignment so we were all set. I grabbed my camera for some shots of my own. Photography isn’t my thing and my photos didn’t turn out as well as those my daughter took but they did inspire me to do a painting. this is the reference photo I took.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pink Rose Clusters in Watercolor

10 x 13  watercolor
I had fun painting these luscious blooms with the foreground out of focus and the mid-ground in sharp focus. They were so pretty that I thought I could almost smell them as I painted this one from my 7 reference photos.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tall Blooms in Watercolor

11 x 15 1/2   watercolor
I could just imagine this one whith all it's buds open.