Posted in Arts & Crafts, Beautify, DIY, Painting

Paper flowers don’t require April showers

The only cultivated flowers we have in our entire yard are Irises and they have already “passed.” Now we are enjoying one of my favorite “weeds,” the Spiderwort (sounds horrid, but they are really pretty).

About a month ago I made up a design which was put on a blank watercolor-card. The pre-Shutdown plan had been for each of the dozen or so ladies in a Wednesday afternoon seniors’ Art Group (including myself) to color in one flower, sign the card, and present it as a Thank-you to the amazing artist who was to visit our center on the 8th of April 2020…

It was a lot of fun creating “the arrangement” from duplicated, mirrored, and variously reduced versions of the three flowers presented here. I thought a “bored” blog viewer might want to try a similar exercise! Green-thumbs not required. [Get your cut-out flowers to “bend/droop” (like the front lilies on far-right and far-left, and the left- and right-front tulips below) by partially clipping the paper-stem below the bloom and making a small dart/tuck.]

Here’s a PDF you can print out to create your own arrangement: SpringFlowers_craft_6apr2020

Look at some photos online if you decide to add in some leaves, especially on the lily.
Posted in Nature, Painting

Let the earth bring forth…the fruit tree

DickBlick Premium Tempera on canvas, 6″x8″

In an effort to become more social, I visited an open painting group at the Senior Center in my home town today. My nervousness was 100% unwarranted! The ladies in the group were immensely welcoming (and hilarious to boot).

They warned me the staff often comes down the hall and shuts the door to the small room “with a flourish,” because of all the laughter. I guess, as my throat was feeling a bit rough from my contribution to the noise level, I’d have taken pride at contributing to such a door-shutting today.

It never happened. There’s always next Wednesday…Lord willing.

NOTE: the painting is based on this photo, from Paint My Photo, a terrific free site for photographers AND painters. This is my “gallery,” to which I’ll need to add this picture.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. (Genesis 1:11)


Posted in Education, Humor, Painting, Weekend Painters Anonymous

The 7-Steps: a slideshow pep talk for recalcitrant weekend painters


Can’t include videos here (at my “price level”), so here’s my Vimeo link.

Had fun riffing on those famous 12-steps, not to mention I finally took the opportunity to use some awesome classic paintings from the CD packaged with Dover’s, “120 Great Paintings.” It’s the latest of the many clipart books of theirs I’ve amassed over the past 30 years.

Posted in Humor, Painting

WeeP Anon


I need to get out more. Literally. I’ve been thinking of starting a casual outdoor-painting group because I bet there are a couple of others in my area (D/FW Texas) whose brushes are covered in dust or cobwebs or both.

The 7-step “program” is lovingly called, Weekend-Painters Anonymous (hence “Weep Anon”) and this picture was done at the first non-official (unannounced) indoor meeting with total attendance of one.

(Of course indoors cuz it’s way too cold to go outside.)

Posted in Painting

Mostly misty and cool in Hawaii last week

Pool deck @ The Prince Hotel, Waikiki
Pool deck @ The Prince Hotel, Waikiki; 5″x7″ Winsor & Newton (R) transparent watercolor
Who woulda thought I’d be wishing for warmer clothes?

Got back yesterday (at about 6 a.m.) from eight days in Honolulu. Even though the weather wasn’t the greatest (I ought to create an illustration called, The Wardrobe I Should Have Taken), it was nice to go beyond simply thawing-out, all the way to sleeping with the windows open!

Ala Moana Beach Park from balcony of Ala Moana Hotel; 6"x8" opaque watercolor on primed artist canvas.
Ala Moana Beach Park from balcony of Ala Moana Hotel; 6″x8″ opaque watercolor on primed artist canvas.
Tree along Ala Wai Canal, from Ala Moana Hotel balcony; 6"x8" opaque watercolor on artist canvas.
Tree along Ala Wai Canal, from Ala Moana Hotel balcony; 6″x8″ opaque watercolor on artist canvas.
Ala Wai Yacht Club from Ala Moana Hotel balcony; 5"x7" Winsor & Newton transparent watercolor
Ala Wai Yacht Club from Ala Moana Hotel balcony; 5″x7″ Winsor & Newton transparent watercolor
Prince Hotel interior still life; 8"x10" opaque watercolor on artist canvas
Room 2815 still life, Prince Hotel; 8″x10″ opaque watercolor on artist canvas
Even the swimming pool was chilly!
Even the salt water swimming pool @ The Prince was chilly!
Posted in Painting

(More) Joy of Opaque Watercolor!

Stop what you are doing and visit NOW!
Stop what you are doing and visit NOW!

I am enjoying the Open Studio that the senior center in my hometown (Keller, TX) is letting me host. We have been meeting Wednesday afternoons. January’s session is over, but February we’ll be back at it. This is the picture I started this past Wednesday and finished at home.

6″ x 8″ opaque watercolor (Dick Blick premium tempera) on 140 lb. Strathmore 400 watercolor paper. If you are wondering what the “stucco effect” is from: I’ve been experimenting with acrylic mediums on paper (and just a few days ago, on artist’s canvas). This is Liquitex (R) modeling paste, applied with a palette knife then textured by pressing & lifting a scrap of very heavy/coarse artist’s canvas (#8 or #6 I think).

Have also been experimenting with final acrylic glazes on my most recent watercolors. This one has one coat of Liquitex matte varnish. I believe that has solved the scanner-reflection problem I had with the gloss finish (which I do prefer, but not if I can’t scan things).

6" x 8" tempera on acrylic varnished artist's canvas
6″ x 8″ tempera on acrylic varnished artist’s canvas

Three Pears experiment

I did this quote-unquote very quickly…just so I could see how cutting my own squares of canvas and backing them with a FLEXIBLE cardstock would work out “in the field.” The wrinkles you see here, there, and running across the picture will never come out: I was so smart back when I bought the stuff that I decided to pre-shrink the enitre role of lightweight unprimed canvas. In a swimming pool. On a length of PVC pipe “to KEEP it from wrinkling.” Famous last words.

Please, DON’T you DO THAT. Repeat: the wrinkles will never come out.

When I found this particular photo of pears on PaintMyPhoto with the wrinkled white tablecloth, I thought, “pe(a)rfect.” After sufficiently thick-ish color layers were dry I varnished it (and got smearing of the near-black background) and then did some touch-up with more tempera. Before a second matte varnish I used a spray “workable fixative” to prevent any more smearing. It seems to have worked.

Moderate flexing of the fully-dry painting does not seem to leave/make any cracks, etc. I feel very comfortable about cutting PRIMED canvas to 8.25″ x 10.25″ and stapling each one (within that extra 1/4″) to, say, 8.25+” x 10.25+” single-thickness corrugated cardboard for working on-the-go. Keeping them small means they might fit in document sleeves for further “travel protection.”

Posted in Painting

Wednesday afternoons

Winston Churchill is quoted as saying this about painting:

We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint box. And, for this, Audacity is the only ticket.

For me, once I pick up a brush it’s hard to accept failure. And I know how egotistical that is. Especially considering I’m a “Sunday painter” at best, a vacation painter at worst. All skills require keeping one’s hands busy at that skill, so to that end I’ve become a facilitator at the Senior Center in my town. The first three Wednesdays, for two hours “recalcitrant” watercolorists are coming together and getting back in the painting game. Absolute beginners are also welcome to sign up for instruction in the very friendliest medium, opaque watercolor.

I have been searching for an alternative to oil paints for a while, not because I don’t lo-o-ove the smell and feel of the paint and turpentine and all. It’s the wet work in transit and drying-time storage that are the problems. Two years ago I believed I had the answer: super thin glazes with lots and lots of drier…then I tried the H2O kind. Both still took months to dry sufficiently. I even “invested” in a couple of egg tempera colors before giving up the Dream and going back to my watercolors (18 colors of transparent Winsor/Newton and Pelikan 12-color opaque tablets.

Since the latter allows for such great layering I began to wonder about the fully liquid tempera. So…I recently bought the three mixing-Primaries, along with a true-blue (vs. Cyan), brown, and white. Didn’t bother with Black; I virtually never use it in any other watercolor work, and besides, a neutral brown + blue =  close-enough-to-black.

Check out the experiments in audaciousness below, using Dick Blick Premium liquid tempera.

What New York state is still good for (McIntosh apples).
What New York state is still good for (McIntosh apples). 8″x10″
Need inspiration? Go to PaintMyPhoto
Need inspiration? Go to PaintMyPhoto. 4″x6″
Posted in Painting, Writing

Warning: don’t go to Key West…


for the beaches.

It might be “paradise” according to some, but you should know it’s not a beach-lover’s version of paradise. Upon arrival at our “resort” we were disheartened to discover the technicality known as a sunning-beach. Sure there’s sand and lounge chairs and palm trees but you can’t walk into the water as you might expect. The three true sandy beaches on the south(east) side of Key West were, in a word, nasty. Oh, and there were only about 4 or 5 parking spots on average for the non-handicapped.

Thankfully we found back “up the road” (30 or so miles one-way!!!) a Florida State Park called Bahia Honda. It has a nice stretch of sandy beach with a choice of two sides. A protected (northern) beach is virtually wave-free and nice if you have small kids. There are about 6 or 7 covered picnic table/pavilions which are a must – even if you have an umbrella. P.S. you’ll need to arrive early to snag one as they have a lovely camp ground (booked full a year in advance!!!) on the property. (Concessions are available, though we brought our own. The restroom and shower facilities are well cared for.)

There are also covered picnic tables on the Atlantic side if you take the road to the left/”north” after entering and paying. Somewhat annoying is the park practice of NOT raking the washed-up seaweed off the beach. An old hippy-type park ranger-dude informed us loftily that it was Nature’s Way and they were respecting that by not cleaning anything away that washed up ashore. They even threw branches, etc. back into the water. Well, all-hail Mother Nature but be prepared with water shoes to walk across hopping-bug infested seaweed. P.S. Don’t rake the stuff yourself either! It merely exposes the previously hidden billion-bugs-per-square-inch that are happily squirming out of sight.

Posted in Painting

It’s so much simpler to just scan my work…

Pelikan opaques+ (15″ x 22″ Arches 140-lb hotpress). You can probably tell I used a lot of liquid white (tempera) in the sky!

Before painting I tried something different on the paper’s surface. First I “sealed” it with Liquitex “Flexible Modeling Paste” which left a slightly uneven sandpapery texture. When that was dry the whole surface was coated with a slightly dilute mix of “Ultra Matte Medium.” It made for a less perfect surface, of course, giving the paper a hint of the mysterious, a touch of the unpredictable. Dare I say perhaps also a hint-of-Danger?

That’s what I get for posting while “someone” nearby is playing a Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. 🙂