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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Visit to Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA

I'm going to Santa Clara tomorrow. I'll be visiting the Triton Museum of Art to see the Pastel Society of the West Coast's annual exhibit. My girlfriend made it in this year, as well as four of my pastel teachers. It is a beautiful show I've heard. Here is a link to see the art on display there: . It is a long drive (4-1/2 hrs) and I'll be staying with a girlfriend former co-worker from my patent secretary days. The museum link is .

I'm feeling better from my flu shot now. I must have had a reaction to it. And when I don't feel good, I don't paint....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Back to the Lions - a watercolor painting in progress

OK, I'm back now, lions. But this is going to take a while. Don't hold your breath.

Since this is not very interesting to look at - at this point, I'll tell you the story behind this picture.
A year ago, we went on a camera safari. While at Duma Tau Reserve in Northern Botswana, we went out for our first morning drive. At the edge of the Linyanti Swamp, a large, healthy and "happy" looking lion pride basked in the morning sun. This was just one grouping of lions licking each other. Some were stretching, some rolling, some just in bliss. I never got used to how you could drive the vehicle up to them within 10 feet and they totally ignore long as you stay seated that is!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sketch of a pond near Blue Lakes, California

I did another quick sketch from a photo I took near Blue Lakes of a pond off the side of the road. This is at about 8 or 9,000 feet I think. This subject would make a very good painting in pastel. I'm off for another short trail ride nearby. The lions are still waiting for me to work on them. Pretty soon they are going to start roaring!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hope Valley - Two Little Sketches

My husband liked his surprise get-away. We started at Grover Hot Springs and hiked to the little (kinda dried up) falls. Then we took a long soak in the Hot Springs. Then we went to Hope Valley and stayed at the Sorensen's Resort. We stayed in a little cabin that he thought was like being in a dollhouse! We hiked many places in the area. Thanks to the great trail maps we picked up there, and a book about the trails, we explored Blue Lakes on foot, and mostly explored the mountainous regions by driving. There are beautiful mountain peaks, many little lakes, and three beautiful valleys - Hope Valley, Charity Valley and Faith Valley. Because we were on the move so much, I only took lots of photos. Since I've been home, I've done two little 30-min. sketches from my photos. One is of a cedar growing in the granite boulders; the other is our little cabin

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Going out of Town - But not by Balloon!

Sorry Lions, you will have to hang out until I get back. It is my husband's birthday.

We started the day by seeing the Reno Balloon Race lift-off. So, for your eye pleasure, here are some photos.

The last one is a bonus! We were driving home and a balloon was coming down in a pond! He just skimmed across it to the arms of his ground crew!

Now we are off to a secret getaway - in the mountains - he doesn't know where - maybe I can do some landscape sketches there and post them when we get back.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lions - stage 2

I'm just painting loose. Not sure how this is going to come out. I'm not so sure about that "new technique" splatter stuff either!

And the answer to the quiz is:

One of these bunnies is an imposter! If you cannot figure it out - it is the smaller one. It is a hand puppet by Folkmanis. Folkmanis Puppets make beautiful life-like animal puppets. When I saw the Angora Rabbit one - I just had to have it. Miss Lucky doesn't look very impressed...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lion Pride Watercolor - my first step

OK, so this is going to be a 16 x 20 painting. I blew up my photo larger than printer paper - it took four sheets, and I taped them together. Then I taped 4 sheets of clear transparencies together and used a magic marker to outline and move around the lions a little bit since the ones in the back were too close. Then I used graphite transfer paper and transferred the shapes to my watercolor paper. The graphite paper is messy and I had to clean up my drawing with a kneaded eraser. Next, I tried this new technique for the foreground. I cut the transparencies around the base of the lions and used it as a mask to protect the rest of the paper. Then I splattered a mixture of turpentine and a little bit of oil paints. Either I'm brave or stupid, because I've never practised this yet! So, while that dries, here is a little quiz:

What is unique about these two bunnies? (Answer will be posted tomorrow!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More Trail Ride Photos

I hope to paint a little this afternoon, but where did the time go? It is almost 4:00! I went for a trail ride this morning and didn't get back till 2.

These pictures are from a previous couple of rides in the Washoe Lake area. Again, these are taken with a disposable film camera - so quality is not there, but the memories are!

It is great having a trail buddy - I finally have pictures of myself and my horse!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pictures of my trail ride to Marlette Lake

I'm going to begin the lion pride painting, but it will be a while before there is anything to show. So, in the meantime, here are some pictures I got back from my trail rides this summer. This is a trail ride from Spooner Lake Summit (above Lake Tahoe, California) to a little alpine lake called Marlette Lake.

From top to bottom: This is the meadow at the summit; Spencers Cabin; Coming out of the trees into a meadow of Mules Ears; and Marlette Lake.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Artists' Resources of Information

In between paintings, I'm perusing about 8 library books. Two I found very helpful for me at the moment.
Watercolor the Edgar Whitney Way has two very good chapters. Elements of Design and Principles of Design. This is something I need to remember from conception, through sketch, and during the actual painting.
The other book has a technique I haven't tried. It is painting weathered surfaces in watercolor. Using an oil and turpentine patina, you can depict a subject with stone and plaster texture, gravelly and uneven ground surfaces.
So, I'll be off to purchase oil and turpentine at the art supply store.
Another resource I tried today, was a website for a free download of poster-making software. I have a photo of a pride of lions I want to do on a half-sheet of watercolor. This site takes your photo and breaks it into multiple sections you can print on your printer and tape together in a poster size of your choice. This will help me transfer the lion shapes to my watercolor paper. I tried it, and it works great. The site is: www.http//

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Almost done

Tomorrow I'll finish the door, lantern over the door, the window with (driftwood?). I really like how these adobe houses have a courtyard. The front door leads into a private courtyard, and the windows just have sticks of tree branches in them instead of glass.
Today I listened to one of my favorite paint-along CDs: Moon Run by Trapezoid from the Narada Equinox label. The songs are like poetry, and one in particular is a haunting ballad. It is called "In the Hills of Shiloh". It is written by James Friedman and Shel Silverstein. The vocals are beautiful and haunting. I hope they don't mind my typing in the words here:
Have you seen Amanda Blain, in the hills of Shiloh?
Wandering in the morning rain, in the hills of Shiloh.
Have you seen her running down,
Searching through the sleeping town,
In a yellowed wedding gown,
Through the hills of Shiloh?
Have you seen her standing there, in the hills of Shiloh?
Wind a-blowing through her hair, in the hills of Shiloh.
Listening for the sound of guns, listening for the rolling drums
And a man who never comes, to the hills of Shiloh.
Have you seen her haunted eyes, in the hills of Shiloh?
Have you heard her mournful cries, in the hills of Shiloh.
Have you seen her at her door, listening for the cannon's roar?
And a man who went to war, from the hills of Shiloh.
Have you heard Amanda sing, in the hills of Shiloh?
Whispering to her wedding ring, in the hills of Shiloh,
Hear her humming soft and low, poor Amanda doesn't know
"Twas ended forty years ago, in the hills of Shiloh.
Vocals by Cheryl Hurwitz and Anne Louise White
For more info, visit

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just paint'n and listening to music

Still working at this - getting a little more definition here and there. While working on this painting of an adobe, I'm enjoying R. Carlos Nakai's "Sanctuary". I got this Native American flute artist's CD while in Santa Fe. Seems appropriate to paint a view from Santa Fe while listening to it. Also, another favorite is Chris Spheeris & Anthony Mazzella's "Brio". On the latter CD, my favorite pieces are Dia del Sol and Forever..My Love. This CD is two remarkable guitarists blending the flavors of Spain, Greece and Northern Africa. You can learn more about these artists on their websites: and