Monday, July 30, 2012

 So it's the end of our first full day at the art retreat. There are seven of us so there is plenty of room to spread out. Everyone is doing something different. Several of the artists have come here many times for both the retreats and the workshops. Here are some of the painted papers I am working on. This is new for me. I am really having fun just playing with the liquid watercolors to see what they can do.
 Here is a shot of the studio. If you want more info check out their site at
This is one of the pieces I finished today. The food is awesome - homemade blueberry pie and banana saffron ice cream tonight, AND there is homemade chocolate for sale. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012


For the last few days we have been having this little family of two fawns and their mother visit us just before dinner. I took this photo from our deck and was really surprised how well the zoom works. I got this Canon Power Shot 5x20 about 2 years ago and it is my favorite camera so far. The deer are so brave. They walk all over the neighborhood helping themselves to whatever they fancy.

I am off to a self directed art workshop at  Greenville Arms Art Workshops, in Greenville, New York. Usually they have instructors, either for painting or fiber arts, but this is for people who just want some focused time without instruction to create.Two years ago I took a three day workshop with Carol Marine which was fabulous. I am all packed and ready to go. Not sure if I can blog from there, but I will if I can. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Here's a few more pages from my sketchbook. the one on the right was done while my son and I where thinking about food and how to have a show on.Food Network. When I am scraping the bottom of he barrel and don't know what to cook I go into my magic cupboard (the pantry) and see what is in there that I can use to whip up a meal. Dan got the idea of "Midnight Madness" making munchies from the magic cupboard. I thought that was pretty funny and that's where the sketch came from.

Speaking of sketchbooks, I went to our local art store: The Art Store  yesterday to see a demo presentation of a new line of sketchbooks. The company,  Stillman & Birn is only a year and a half old. Their goal is to be the best line of skechtbooks out there. I am in love with these new books. They come hardbound and spiral bound. The hardbound books can lay COMPLETELY FLAT! All the books take all softs of wet media including spray paint. So I am excited to experiment with mine.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Buddy

 So, no painting today because I take care of my friend's grandson on Thursdays. She gets a break and I get some little kid fun time! I am waterlogged after two hours in the kiddy pool at the YMCA, but it's worth it at the end of the day to hear," I had a great day with you today, Dawn!" Melts my heart.
 I thought I'd share another picture of another buddy of mine- Mr. Gus. He is my side kick. He loves to hang out with me wherever I go, and make sure I'm safe, and that I share all my good treats with him, and him alone. I did a quick sketch of him in pencil and then he moved. So I filled the rest in with flowers and doodles. Just look at that mug- who could resist thst face?
...........feed me, pet me , walk me, feed me...........

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Birthday Cake Dilemma

So I've been working on the Spring still life again. It's 36 x 36". I paint a section at a time. I just added a delicious slice of chocolate cake because I wanted to represent all the spring birthdays in the family. The brown color of the frosting was actually tricky. I am posting this photo (did you think it was the painting?) so you can see how I decided to work with still life items that either get eaten (like this cake!) or perish quickly, like flowers. 
I set  up my object where it's going in the still life and paint from life as much as I can in one sitting.Then I make sure to take a photograph from exactly where I was standing to get the right angle. Then I can come back to the object and make corrections. I still feel like everything is painted from life. I am using the photos to see detail and check perspective, stuff like that. Think I'll have another slick of cake.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Backyard Vista

This is a pastel of the backyard, done earlier in the spring, before everything was burnt to a crisp. The neighbors have this one tree that is so yellow-green is the spring it looks like the foliage in fall. Their   Royal Red Maple is a brighter red also.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Laundry Day

This is from another photo taken in Vermont. We were invited to paint at a textile artist's home, who is a friend of Susan Abbott. She had a huge barn behind her house. Her house was so cool - very Early American. This was the view from the front, minus the big tree that holds up the clothesline. The sky really was that beautiful blue color. Her garden was spectacular. I wish I wrote down her name because she is a weaver and teaches classes. In the barn there were several large looms and we met on of her students that was staying there doing an internship.

By the way, for those of you who are leaving comments, thanks so much for the encouraging words. I am unable to respond for some reason. It keeps saying:  choose a profile. I hope to figure this out asap. I can't leave comments on any blogs. Weird I know. Anyway thanks for cheering me on. I really appreciate it!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chittenago Falls

Well, I debated whether or not to post this one. There are parts I like and parts that I don't. I haven't done much painting outside because of the extreme heat we are having here in Central New York. Probably nothing compared to those of you in the south, but to us it's scorching. No significant rain in many weeks and the landscape is starting to show the stress from lack of water. Anyway, I got up and out by 7:00 am to try and paint for a few hours. I lasted til 8:45 and boy was I hot! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Little Gems

I have this nice 12" x 12" stencil that has different size squares and rectangles. I used to use it for scrapbooking, but now I use it to divide up the blank white page  that just stares at me, daring me to start drawing. I can handle a 2" square! Bring it on. I just sit in my favorite chair and listen to the news (don't look at the pictures on screen because they are too disturbing) and draw happy little doodles in the different squares and rectangles. Sometimes I just do one. The doodles seem to counterbalance all the lies being told by the newscasters. Cheap therapy, what can I say!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Backyard Beauty 11 x 14" oil on canvas board

11 x 14" oil on canvas board
I love to paint clouds, don't ask me why. I did this from a photograph I took In Susan Abbott's backyard last summer, during her 5 day plein air workshop. She is a wonderful, knowledgeable teacher, and Vermont is a beautiful place to paint.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Taking good photos of your work.

I wanted to show how I take pictures of my paintings. I learned this is in Qiang Huang workshop this spring. He posts everyday, Because at first he was working full time and painting at night, he came up with a good way to photograph his work inside, save it to a jump drive, then post at work during his lunch hour. So I tried it and liked the results. In Fayetteville we can't always  count on the sun shining to take pictures outside.  So I would get behind on posting waiting for a good day to take pictures. so this method is a life saver.
    Take a box - like a pizza box, that has edges about 2" wide. Set your artwork up and place it on a chair. Make sure the light is coming from the sides, no direct sunlight coming toward the painting. I have windows on either side of my studio (which would be left and right of my chair in the photo). Then take the picture. It seems to be a good option and I don't have to fight with glare. Give it a try!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sketchbook Fun

I have been taking an online class about lettering by Joanne Sharpe. It's LetterLove 101 on Joanne's blog "Whimspirations". Really fun and something I've been wanting to work on. I use a sketchbook that is made from heavy watercolor or mixed media paper, 90 lbs or heavier, because I like to used markers, paint, colored pencil and all kinds of pens -besides pencils- in my book. The first page was painted with black gesso by Liquitex. It dries really fast and make a great surface for metallic gel pens. Very fun.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Environmental Art by my Students

I wanted to share this example of environmental art done by one of my students age 7. We looked at the DVD "Rivers and Tides" about Andy Goldsworthy's work with water, stone and other materials found in nature. It is a fascinating documentary on how he builds some of his structures. I got it from the local library. anyway the assignment was to make something non representational using red, black, white and gold stones and pebbles on the gray stone surface. 
This was done by two little girls. The challenge was to build a nest using the dried stalks in the field.
This was done by a group of girls. They had to use whatever they could find.