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.


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!

Mixed Media Week

wpid-20161028_200424.jpg20161101_123325On Friday last week and Tuesday this week we played with mixed media. We incorporated newsprint and magazine images into abstract paintings that were based on rural landscape. It was a lot of fun. You should have seen the messes we made! I believe everyone thought I was insane when I described what we were going to do, but I know I have some mixed media converts now. It really adds another dimension of texture, both visual and physical, when you bring in other sources of color, value, and imagery. Fun fun FUN!

Third Friday Watercolor

wpid-20161021_201044.jpgWe painted with watercolors for this Third Friday Class. We did the same technique we did last time, but we started with compositions from my watercolors. That gave us a lot more time to paint! So, we talked about wet into wet application, dry brushing, color combinations, pigment strength, drawing marks, and keeping it interesting. It’s a lot to process, but the more you do it the better it gets! I think these all turned out so beautifully. It really is a lovely medium and a fun way to doodle!

It’s beginning to look a lot like HallowGivingMas.

wpid-20161018_124004.jpgWe decided today (ok, I decided) to do the holiday ornament painting that we did in Shiloh last week. It’s a great painting because it looks SO simple, but it really makes you work. When you have to invent a background and fit your subject into it, you are presented with extra problems. Also, the simplicity of the forms means that you have to be very good with your value and color choices to create the illusion of spheres. It was a workout, but everyone did a great job!

B/W Bodie

wpid-20161011_123612.jpgRemember Back Alley Bodie? Well, this is the church at the end of the street. I think. It is a building from Bodie, CA. I have some very skilled draftspersons in my class. Look at the amazing job they did with this one! We did a little exercise as they were finishing this drawing. I asked them to do the same drawing with their non-dominant hand. It was so much fun to watch. Mary and Jim both giggled out loud. It was lovely. I’m glad they enjoyed the struggle and the awkwardness of using their other hands. As for the lesson involved, it shows what can happen with line when we don’t exert ultimate control on the pencil. Some lovely marks were created with that challenge. Hopefully everyone can keep a bit of that looseness when the switch back to their dominant hand. Line quality is a lovely thing!

Sheer Charcoal



Look familiar? We painted it last week, so we drew it this week. Both were good, but the drawings are a bit better than the paintings! Why? Practice. What we learned about the image while doing the paintings, we put to practice in the drawings. It’s always beneficial to work in a series. You learn so much with each piece that you then take to the next piece so you can concentrate on other issues in the new one. This drawing definitely depends on good value range to work. Connie really got a great amount of glow in her window because everything else is so dark. Sometimes, you have to push the value of things in your composition to make others stand out. It doesn’t have to match the photo, it has to be better!

Sheer Blue



We painted interiors today in a monochromatic color scheme. We had to deal with warm and cool, dark and light, dull and bright, and on top of it all, transparency. The sheer quality of the curtains was difficult until you realize that the background color defines those sheers. The girls did a great job with this very difficult project.