Pine Forest

wpid-20161213_124427.jpgWe had a lesson on pine trees today. It’s very easy to let your brain take over and create trees that look stylized. That’s what our brains do. But with some careful observation, and some deconstruction, we were able to beat our know-it-all brains and create some really lovely and realistic pine trees touched with snow. Such a lovely and quiet painting.




Tonight was an anything goes night. I brought the great photo of Tesla in to see if anyone wanted to tackle those lovely value changes with paper. Paul was game! Brenda went the paper route, too, but with a sweeter subject. Loraine was all about the magenta with her purple petunias. It was a fun night, and everyone did a great job! Can’t wait to see how Brenda finishes her background.

eVALUEating Eggs


Today was an exercise in patience, observation, focus, the art of listening, and value. Everyone did a fantastic job of dealing with a deceptively simple subject, but Diana gets the gold star for all of the above. She lacks confidence in her artistic abilities (don’t we all?), which is usually a hindrance, but today served her well. In her trepidation, she listened to what I had to say about value and building tone slowly and she paid  extremely close attention to her work. I watched her really looking at the photo and truly trying to understand and do well. It was wonderful. And in the end she was rewarded for her work with a beautiful, subtle, fantastically shaded and valued drawing. I am well impressed. She’s definitely becoming a great artist.

Majolica Madness

wpid-20161130_195223.jpgIn our third installment of Totally Tubular Tile Tinkering, we introduced color into the mix. We used Stroke ‘n Coat on bisque fired slip, and then we used oxides and underglazes on majolica glaze. The results were fun and sometimes interestingly unexpected! Photos of the finished pieces are upcoming. Thank you to everyone who has participate in making these workshops so much fun!

Dates for the next series of workshops are:

January 18th: Fat tiles (constructed) and newsprint transfers
February 8th: Dimensional Tiles
March 1st: Tile casting


Tesla Tuesday


We had the most adorable model today! Tesla the Pocket Pittie and her purely decorative ears! I love the photograph that my husband took of our sweet little deaf girl. The shadows are so stark and graphic and cool. And her pink ears are such a great contrast to that cool shadow. We started with a tracing and then chose our light, medium, and dark colors and values. Working these distinct values made it easy to really sculpt the form and get a good likeness. Everyone did a fantastic job. Special Kudos to Jeanette for keeping up so well in her first painting class! Very nice job.

Papered Pears

wpid-20161128_200317.jpgThey HAD to see this coming. Right? New technique last time, apply it to an old subject this time. No brainer. Again, I had a TON of fun with this project. I really enjoyed seeing Loraine and Brenda get sucked into searching, tearing, and applying paper to their canvases. It was really fun to watch. They both turned out great. I have it on good authority that Brenda is quite fond of her pears. Me, too! They’re totally psychedelic and awesome. And I love all the colors peeking out of Loraine’s pears. So cool.

Abundant Art


It was a fitting time for a cornucopia drawing, no? Mary had mentioned the desire to draw pumpkins or something, so I found this great image of a cornucopia filled with pumpkins and a metric tonne of other stuff. Careful what you wish for, right? It was an overwhelming image, but a great lesson on perseverance. Just work and before you know it, you’ll be done. Mary and Jim both cruised through this drawing once they set their minds to it. And they turned out really nicely! Jim looks less than enthused here, but I know for a fact that this drawing wound up framed. A little time and a little perspective and you start to see your work more objectively! Very well done.


Holiday Watercolor


We used the holidays as an excuse to try a few new techniques tonight. We focused on resist methods and had a really great time! We dug into the papercrafting supplies and used rubber stamps with the clear embossing powder to do a watermark resist, we tried our hand at masking fluid (which Michaels sells in these great little fine liner bottles), and we used everyone’s favorite watercolor condiment – Kosher Salt. SO much fun. Hopefully Mary and Jean will be inspired to create their own holiday cards this year!


Mixed Media Pears


We ripped our way through more magazines today with the intent to introduce visual and physical texture to a simple still life. Again, with the looks. Haha! I think there’s a bit of fear when tackling something so different. We are so accustomed to the expectations we have for our paintings that when we tackle something different we forget to expect something different! That makes us struggle with judging worth in the finished piece. But, I believe the worth in the finished piece is more about the experience you had making it. In the end, all of our work is process and the finished paintings (or mixed media pieces) are just the last of what we did before we start what we’re going to do. Maybe we should start a Worthy Checklist. It would go something like this:

  • Did you have fun?
  • Did you learn something?
  • Did you giggle (silently or audibly)?
  • Did what you were doing give you an idea for something else?
  • Did you think “next time I’ll try it this way”?

We can add to that list, but if you check anything on the list I think you’ve had a worthy painting experience. And, you’ll probably enjoy the end result once you get past what you thought it should turn out like.



Scottish bulls, to be precise. So, they’re very cute, but what did we learn? We spoke a lot about value value value, about the background defining the foreground, and about how much hair is enough hair to make a bull look hairy. Welcome to our newest student Jeanette, and welcome back to Betty!