Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Side Entry Nest - day 30 in the challenge

Side Entry Nest

11x9" watercolor on Yupo Paper NFS

Day 30

Artist Note.
A friend gave me this wonderful
nest recently.  
He knew that the nest was no 
longer occupied and he thoughtfully
included the tree branches which 
supported it rather than
destroy it's structure.

I love the "side entry" type nest, but this one 
tragically came with two tiny
skeletons in the interior.
Unanswered questions.
Were they too large to have
been recently hatched?
Or were they the parents?
I will be very respectful 
in my handling of them 
and their lovingly made home

If you can use your imagination
 there are two leaves up on the right
near the opening which I painted to 
form an abstract shape suggesting
a bird flying towards it.

This is the last painting
for the challenge.
I will do a wrap up of my experience 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Watercolor Changes - day 29 in the Challenge

Sunflowers and Pomegranates
13x10" watercolor on Yupo paper

Day 29

Artist Note.

On yesterday's post I mentioned how I had just
been given some fresh pomegranates and
would like to TRY adding one to this painting.
It is on Yupo and it's plastic surface makes it easy
to lift off a previously painted area  See below

I formed the shape I wanted with a 
damp paper towel. I also removed the sunflower
 resting at the bottom of the jar.
Next I placed the actual pom in the position
I thought would be best

Naturally... and I know you will ALL understand this...
other changes then started to happen. 
It seems pretty impossible to make a change 
without the eye noticing all the other areas
 effected by the new shape and color.
Also it is a sunny day and my set up
appeared much brighter.
One back pear disappeared.
The jar became slightly wider
A cooler blue was added - so much for 
limited palette! Other colors and shapes
changed too.
(I do enjoy a warm and cool of each primary.)
I sharpened up some edges 
and softened others.
Below is the one before the changes

I have to live with this new version for a while
to see how I feel about it.
I do know I am glad that I tried the pom addition.
Bit more energy.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Watercolor Floral - day 28 in the Challenge

Watercolor Floral
12x9" on Yupo paper

Day 28

Artist Note
I am trying new colors and a 
truly, truly
limited palette with watercolor.
One red - one blue and one yellow.

I have experienced continual cloudy days and
I find it has really
affected my color vision.
It also has provided me with a deeper understanding 
of the old master's paintings 
when brown was 
dominate in the background.
 Candlelight was their major source 
of illumination at night and on 
rainy days I now feel I understand
what it was like.
Explains a lot!

I have been presented with more fresh
pomegranates and think I will remove
the pears in this still life and 
put at least one of the poms in. 
That is the beauty of Yupo.
Wipes off clear back to the white.
I will show you tomorrow what it 
looks like with the changes.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Experimenting - day 27 of the challenge

Single Pom


Not for sale.

Artist Note
The following is a handy and 
creative way to break up your 
color/value areas if you want to try for
a looser effect, but enjoy painting smoothly.

Start with a random black/grey white paint
patterns on canvas or paper.  You can drip, 
splatter or place, but use a generous amount.
(I used gesso)
Lay another piece of paper or canvas
 over it and
gently press and lift straight off.
It will look similar to an abstract  
mono print
Next I used a palette knife to 
smooth some areas, but if you like what you
see, then leave it alone.
Let dry.
You have two abstracts to work on.
Next draw what your subject will be.
Mine happens to be a pomegranate.
I used a rigger brush and thinned oil paint.
 Let the fun begin. 
I started with transparent colors
Adding some opaque paint where I did
not want the dark underneath to show through.

I am going to do a landscape with the other 
piece of paper - which was the one used on top..
The possibilities are endless.

I want to thank Mary Maxim for 
saying such nice things about my blog on the 
It plays on Thursdays, 
but you can pick it up at any time.
Leslie Saeta hosts the show and is the energy
which makes it work. Mary was the co-host 
for this month and came up with fabulous 
ideas and art information.
If you are not familiar with 
Mary's truly amazing paintings 
you can
check them out HERE

Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pomegranate Trio - day 26 in the challenge

Pomegranate Trio

6x8in oil on canvas panel SOLD

Day 26

Artist Note

I'm still pushing color!

I was given a few pomegranates
with twigs and leaves still attached.
Wonderful - thank you, Gail!

I have been doing some experimental
stuff and I will show that tomorrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pansy Patterns - day 25 in the Challenge

Pansy Patterns

8x6in oil on canvas
work in progress.

Day 25
A colorful jolt to the senses!

Artist Note.
This is an older one I re-worked.
It is purely a decorative piece and I
still love having it around to
experiment on.

Back in late 2011
I did a series based on influences
from Picasso's work and cubism.
Using pattern and color as the main
focus it completely made me free
from the realistic motif of
light creating volume.
Good to have a change every so often...
especially near the end of a
Leslie Saeta 30 Day Challenge!
See all the beautiful paintings HERE

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hollyhocks - New Mexico. Day 24 in the Challenge

Hollyhocks- New Mexico

10x8" oil on canvas - $500.Framed
 and for sale thru 

day 24

Artist Note.
Only a few more days left in the 
Leslie Saeta 30 Day Challenge.
(big smile)
This painting was painted from a 
plein air watercolor sketch I did 
earlier this summer.
It is larger than my usual blog size
and I have an agreement with 
the wonderful people at the (above) gallery,
Mark and Gail,
that anything larger than 8"x8" goes
through them.
It has turned out to be a win-win 
situation for all as their large and beautiful
 gallery is only one block
south on Main Street from my tiny,
Daily Painting Gallery. 
in the
Artist Guild of Southern New Mexico.
studio space.
We send interested collectors
in each direction!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Turquoise Leaf and Oleanders - day 23 in the Challenge

Turquoise Leaf and Oleanders

6x6in oil on canvas panel   SOLD

Day 23

I have loved this little leaf dish because the
glaze is so drop dead beautiful.
It gives the impression of caribbean water.
Glazes are something my mother excelled at
as a potter, and this is a color
she would have loved to have used.

Sun is out today - hooray!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Trio of Calla Lillies - day 22 of the challenge

Trio of Calla Lilies
6x6in oil on canvas panel $100.

Purchase HERE

Day 22

These are the type of calla lilies that are grown 
as a house plant.
Pretty, but nowhere near as gorgeous as the ones
that grow outside.

Artist Note.
We still have cloudy skies so my still life set-up
has a very dull cast to it. This is a great
opportunity to 
work with neutralized colors.
For example - the background pinkish
tone was originally a Napathol Red base
with a yellow/green mixed in with it.
I used Naples Yellow to lighten.
The leaves were made from Ultramarine Blue,
Perm Yellow and Transparent Brown Oxide.
 I also added a tiny amount of background
color mixed in - here and there.

I miss my sunshine!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rose in Glass - days 19-20 in Challenge

Rose in Glass
6x6in oil on canvas panel

Days 19 - 20

Artist Note

It was Page Railsback 
(fabulous with color and design)
who commented on my previous post
that my work was so complicated
it was hard to believe I could do it in a day.
 And that made me think... maybe 
she was right?
I would try something simple.
Whip it out.
So here it is. - a single rose in a glass.
It should have been simple, right?
This little sucker took two days and 
I am still not sure if it is done.

See the amazing, colorful work of
Page Railsback HERE

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Flowers - day 17 in the challenge

Stripes and Sunflowers.

8x6in oil on canvas $125. SOLD
Day 17

Artist Note
This was done a few weeks ago.
It went through some changes today 
as I freshened it up. 
my eyes not only had to get
accustomed to painting
something other than interiors...
but also the result of a visit to the retina
specialist earlier today.
I am attempting to paint
and type with dilated pupils.
A riot! I do know
the blue colors are not quite this vivid. 

Dont forget to check out all the 
wonderful paintings on the 30 in 30 Challenge

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Open Door - day 16 in the challenge

Open Door
9x12in oil on canvas  

Artist Note.
This is a larger size than the others in this Challenge
 and when I started out I had a dog
- took him out -
- put him in -
- took him out again -
 And I still want to see if I can put him in there,
This chair belongs to good friends and I feel
their much loved dog
should be included
Because of the pressure of the daily challenge 
I needed to post before completing it.

This is painted on black gesso canvas. 
You can see where it is not covered.

Tomorrow I start of a new theme - flowers!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Nap Time - day 15 in the challenge

Nap Time
8x6in oil on canvas panel  $125. SOLD

Day 15

This is my Grandcat. He is not longer
with us but left us with many happy memories.
This chair has a woven seat,
and sometimes, when he jumped up on the 
chair, his legs would go right through.
It was hysterical because he would
still nap with a couple of his legs hanging
through. After a while he learned to 
jump on the chest next to it, and 
carefully step down.

Half way through ...
Don't forget to take a look at all the 
other artists participating in the 
Leslie Saeta 30 in 30 Challenge

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Favorite Place - Days 13-14 in the challenge

A Favorite Place
6x8in oil on canvas panel  $125.

Purchase HERE

days 13 and 14

Artist Note

A dear friend's kitchen is where some
of the best Mexican food around
can be found.
I also could feast just on her chosen
palette of colors. Gorgeous!
I asked if I could paint a part of her room.
Received a yes...goody!

She shooed me out before I had finished yesterday
because she was preparing for company.
So back I went today...and as well as painting,
ate the best leftovers you could imagine.
As I said, a dear friend, who incidentally,
sweetly threaten death
if I mentioned her name on my blog.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Oh No...A Redo. How embarrassing!

A corrected version of my previous day's post


day 12.

Artist Note
We all learn from others mistakes - right?
I am sharing this in the hope that it
will help someone else.

I noticed the weak design when I saw it with
  fresh eyes this morning.
Groan...and it was sold too.

Here is what I thought was wrong.
Two competing shapes and sizes .
What do you see - chair or fireplace
Eyes flicking back and forth between them
indicating no focal area?
Top it off with  a (floating) brown shape
see below
It did not link to anything - it just was there.

Oh My...what to do?
Can I sell something I feel is not my best
at that given time?

I know others must have gone through this same dilemma.
I struggled back and forth all day and then I pulled 
out the trusty glass and made a shape of another 
chair across from the one painted.
(shown below. - excuse the ratty taped corners on the glass!)

I knew right away that I preferred it this way.
It solidified the intimacy of the setting.
The fireplace becomes the area you 
should see first.

So I set about painting it and it solved the problem
of the dark pot too.
I do hope the person who had bought it 
agrees with my choices, and
if not, I know a neat couple who would be 
delighted to get it.
I did paint this today so I think it qualifies as
a challenge painting - in more ways than one.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

By The Fire In New Mexico - day 11 of the challenge

By the Fire in New Mexico

6x6in oil on canvas panel $100
 purchase HERE 

Day 11

Every day this week I am painting interiors
for the 30 in 30 Challenge.

This one is in a friend's home
in Corrales, near Albuquerque. 
The kiva, adobe style fireplace is common
in the old homes in New Mexico and
are so popular that many of the new homes
have them.

Artist Note.
My first oil in the Challenge.
I was going to paint in watercolor for a month 
but started to miss my oils. 
It feels good to feel some texture.
I guess I will be using both.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Early Light - day 10 in the CHALLENGE

Early Light

9x7in watercolor on Yupo  

Day 10

A friend's sunroom is the source of
this painting. It faces southeast
and is flooded with light in the mornings.
Her plants go crazy and put mine to shame.

Artist Note.
Yupo is not the easiest of papers to work
with. I admit I am more comfortable with it 
than when I first started, but still find it a 
tricky surface to get used to. 
I love the watery appearance so it has 
been worth the time experimenting and learning
all about it.
I am gathering 
quite an arsenal of techniques and will 
share them when I know they are solid.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Interiors - Red Chair - day 9

Red Chair with Broom
8x7in  watercolor  SOLD
Day 9

There was a wonderful birds nest tucked up
in the corner of this stable. Naturally I painted it 
long before I painted this chair.

Artist Note.
The next 7 days of the 30 day challenge
will have an interior theme.
I know from previous experience that
 having a whole month of the same theme 
does not work well for me 
so I decided to break it down into 
four, week long segments of a 
different focus.

I want to thank everyone for the 
supportive comments. I am trying to 
get around to all your blogs to keep up
with what you are doing plus seeing the 
wonderful work in the Challenge
I encourage you visit and see them all.
 click on the link

Monday, September 8, 2014

Nesting - days 7 & 8 in the challenge

8x7in watercolor on paper $NFS

Days 7&8

Artist note.

I started this one on day 6, but things got in
the tennis finals and 
 Denver Bronco football.
No, not moi, but hubby is an avid watcher
of all sports..
When he became so ill last year I pulled 
out my old watercolors so I could sit and be with
him on weekends as he watched whatever sport is on.
The golf is my favorite because I look
up and see the most beautiful views.
It is tranquil with good background noise
to paint with.  By that I mean no screaming 
with excitement as someone is being 
smashed into the ground!

Anyway -  about the painting.
It looked rather too old fashioned because 
at first everything was so brown.
 I used Chinese white to add to some blue
and washed it into the background.

This nest is made up of dead grasses
and I am thinking a solid dark
background would make it pop...

My week's avian/nature theme is at an end. 
I start a new theme tomorrow

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mr. Quail - day 6 in the challenge

8x6in watercolor on paper $NFS
Day 6

Artist Note
If it was not for its strong dark head, the quail
would be hard to see as it scurries through
the desert outside my door. 
I tried to capture
some of the lost and found 
feeling I was experiencing with
this watercolor sketch.
I also used a Derwent Dark Wash pencil
to start me off.

One more day and I will move onto into 
my next theme
for the Challenge.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Feathers and Eggs - day 5 of the Challenge

Feathers and Eggs

8x8 in watercolor on paper $NFS
Day 5.

These are Flicker feathers.
I am in awe of the markings and colors
these birds have.
Nature is truly a marvel.

I found it difficult to capture the luminosity
of the orange spine so I deliberately made the dark
background cooler.

Here are some Flicker
feathers from my collection.
Beautiful, eh?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cutie! - day 4 of the Challenge


6x6in watercolor on paper  NFS

Artist Note.
When I compare this to yesterday's
bird, I have to laugh. 
Did the same artists do them?
This one is obviously fresh and 
spontaneous - yesterday's was labored and 
 I became so frustrated.
This one is a quick recording of what 
I saw and felt...not meant to be a 
a finished painting.
Neither was the other.
I prefer different areas in each of them.
 So what happens 
to the eye, mind and hand?
Consistency is elusive.
Ask any golfer!

A new nest - on loan from a friend.
Better than flowers... for me!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Looking, Watching... - day 3 of the Challenge.

Looking, Watching!

7x5in watercolor on paper NFS

Artist Note
I have painted this little goldfinch
several times, and I have 
many little sketches of him and his less 
colorful mate, busy building their nest.
I thought I could just pop a little painting out
as I was very familiar with the subject.
You would think I would know better by now. 
Painting is unpredictable. is the darn "Challenge" and 
I thought with panic... I can't miss after
only three days
So I moved on to do a different bird
and just to let you see how frustrated I got
here is what an exasperated brush 
can do!  See the complete loss of white paper.

Oh boy!
Back to the goldfinch to see if I could
rescue it. By this time I am tired and frustrated.
Pity Party Time.
I had classes all day at the guild, 
and did not start painting until 8pm. 
I was tired as in midnight tired.
Hubby dearest suggested fresh eyes 
in the morning would help.
 I splattered and used some 
chinese white on the nest.
Have to think about it some more...
But at least I posted!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

HOME! - day 2 - 30 Day Challenge

8x8in watercolor on paper NFS
A study for future painting.

This is a new nest a friend gave me. 
(The eggs were not in it.)
I could paint nests for a week and be happy.
I marvel at the intricate weaving of twigs and 
other materials. 
This one was lined at the bottom 
with tiny, fluffy feathers
Their very own therapedic topper!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Solitude - 30 Day Challenge

7x5in gouache on paper  NFS

This the first for the 30 Day Challenge.
I have not decided if this is finished or not.
It was a very quick sketch 

Artist Note.
I did not join the last two Challenges
because of my previous Challenge experience.
My fault entirely.
It was pressure I placed on myself 
to do all thirty...on time!
I found my quality suffered and the creativity 
which was there at the start, quickly diminished.
So why do this one then?
Because I had encouraged some other 
guild members to do it,
assuring them it does not matter if
they do not complete one a day, 
and feel I should 
 at least accompany them on their journey.
So this time, if life gets in the way and I miss
a day, it's okay...
I will not march myself into the tower of London!

The Challenge has become so large that 
there is no way I can get to see all the artists.
Not enough time.
Thats a shame because I hate to miss out on 
 seeing someone's work I may like. 
I think I read  there were over 
600 artists from 17 countries.
I encourage you to click on the link to see
all the paintings. (You have to scroll down.)
Good luck and lots of enjoyment to all participating.