July 29, 2008

The First Page of GerAmyUm

I've been working on this all day and am so excited to have the first page of "GerAmyUm - An Awful and Glorious Tale of Growing" finished. I've only painted this four, yes four times. My goal is to finish the illustrations of this book by the end of August. My perfectionism has really been a big problem when it comes to working on this. Sometimes what I'm painting doesn't seem good enough. But I've decided to try my best to work through it. It's hard. But finishing this 2 year old project is more important than perfecting it to incomplete bits.

Rehobeth Journal

Visiting Family in Virginia

Whenever I go to visit my parents, my mom creates the prettiest flower arrangements from her garden and puts a little vase or pitcher by my bedside. I painted this in my little sketchbook/journal that I brought with me to fill on my week's vacation.

It's good to be back "home" in St. Louis. Visiting another former home - in Virginia this past week, hanging out with the folks and my other brother was great fun, relaxing. I really enjoyed the beach - we went to Rehobeth Beach for a couple of days. I got some great ideas along with my tan and Grotto's Pizza. I was able to finish a rather large painting for my brother that he's going to put in his new place. It's not my "normal" type of flowery colorful stuff, so it was both a challenge and exciting. He pulled a photo from the internet and wanted me to do a very large watercolor version of this. (I have no idea who took this fabulous photo but just know that I copied it for him and him only.)
I always bring some kind of art project to my parent's. I just seem to get more done and paint for longer periods of time. I think it's simply because I have far fewer distractions. Once again, it makes me think that having a studio separate from your living space may not be such a bad idea - especially if you are as easily distracted as I am.

July 18, 2008

It should have been a blue day, but it turned out to be yellow....

As I was following in love with my little foster kitten Ralphie, BabyKitty was becoming more and more jealous and mean. She's already a little difficult, but what I thought was a good idea - the whole foster kitten thing - really was making my cat of 8 years VERY miserable. Plain and simple Ralphie wanted to play with BabyKitty when he was awake and snuggle with her when he wanted to sleep. BabyKitty would have none of it. Ralphie would chase her and jump on her and attack her tail. There was a great deal of hissing going on these past few months. I was still considering keeping him until I saw BabyKitty's "bloody" paw one night. I couldn't figure out how that happened.
"Did Ralphie do that? Oh boy. Now I have to go to the vet... I can't afford the vet... I'll see if Stray Rescue will help out, I mean the foster kitten did this... Oh I hope her paw doesn't have to be amputated!..." And so goes my train of worried thought. I tried to clean it up with a damp cloth. I only managed to wipe it a little and I was so confused. "Where was all this yellow coming from." It was late and I was tired, I just decided I would take her to the vet in the morning. Ugh...
You know how you have something in your mind, you are so certain of something that no other idea or thought could possible enter in for consideration. That's how I was with my cat's paw. I was certain it was a wound. So, I somehow managed not to see or give much thought to all the yellow. Then I remembered. I squirted a fresh bit of Quinacridone Gold on my palette (which I might add is a FABULOUS color and if you paint you need this. It makes beautiful greens, rich corals and it's transparent - one of my favorite, "can't live with out" colors. I only recommend the Winsor Newton version of this color). I looked closely at my palette and sure enough there was a big Quin Gold paw print and an even bigger dent in the paint. Clearly she walked into the paint after she messed up her foot. Meanwhile, I decided that my poor cat didn't need any friends and I found another foster kitten home to put Ralphie. So before I called the vet I decided I was just soak her paw in the sink and get the gold out no matter how much she hissed and growled. I had to change the sink water 3 times. And low and behold a miracle happened, BabyKitty was healed of that horrible wound inflicted on her by playful Ralphie. Needless to say, I felt like a moron. Well, a moron with quite an elaborate imagination. Still, I think it was best to find Ralphie a new place to stay until he was adopted. When I dropped him off at his new foster home, another kitten about his same age rounded the corner with a skid and dashed into the room. Ralphie smiled - well, cats can't smile, but his ears darted up and his tail wagged in a smile and I knew Ralphie would be much happier here with his new playmate. I still miss the little guy. But you can't believe how happy BabyKitty is. She's been puring all day. So I finished this yellow still life in honor of the cats, the color quinacridone gold and as the second still in my color series after the green still. So long Ralphie...

July 16, 2008


So I had this nice piece of watercolor paper - a decent size scrap - and one thing I've learned over the years is not to toss the scraps. I think that some of the things I produce on these "scraps" tend to be my personal favorites. Often it's where I'm less afraid and I just don't care as much. It's so annoying that I usually create some of my best stuff when I'm not trying to. My journals are filled with fun sketches, but get out that big piece of paper and suddenly my wrist gets a little more rigid and I'm more judgmental of my work. Soon I'm unhappy because I've not really enjoyed the process, but I'm more worried about the end result "Will it be good enough?" I'm trying to control what happens... I mean for Pete's sake it's watercolor, it's all about NOT having control to some extent. This was a happy surprise and I got a little bolder and more heavy handed with the color as well.

July 15, 2008

Frank Lloyd Wright House

I finally finished painting the B. Harley Bradley House that sits along the Kankakee river and designed Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1900s. I'm not sure what it is now. I don't think it's privately owned. (Heck, I walked all around taking pictures. I hope no one was home.) These small towns really surprise me. You never know what gems you'll discover. Hope you enjoy. I've placed this watercolor on my Ebay for bidding.

July 6, 2008

Know Your Own Bone

Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life, as a dog does his master's chaise. Do what you love. Know your own bone, gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it and gnaw it still. However mean your life is, meet it and live it; and do not shun it can call it hard names. It is not as bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. Humility, like darkness reveals the heavenly lights. Superfluous wealth can you buy superfluities. Money is not required to anything necessary of the soul. - Henry David Thoreau.

... hard words, good words, words for me today...

July 5, 2008

Kankakee, Illinois

It was good to be back in a city - I love St. Louis, but being in Chicago, exploring the neighborhoods, moving between people on the sidewalks and waiting for a table at a crowded restaurant just doesn't happen much anymore now that I live in The Lou. I visited a great shop I just love called P.O.S.H off of North State Street. It's a wonderful French decor shop. I wanted everything. But all I could do this trip was look. Yep, lots of looking, which means lots of time to sit and sketch. But, I have to say the most interesting part of the trip was my afternoon/evening in Kankakee - a small town an hour outside of Chicago. This small town surrounded by farms that grow corn and soybeans is your typical mid-west town. I went to a graduation party with a friend. Not knowing anyone, I just sat and listened. And as the party went into the evening and the more beer that was consumed, I learned a great deal about Kankakee - more than I wanted to know that's for sure. People are the best entertainment and though I had a great time, I left with a taste of sadness. So many of the people talked about how much they disliked this town where they lived. They were stuck and certainly believed they could never leave. I remembered feeling that way when I lived in Ohio, like the whole world was far better than where I lived. I'm thankful for the chance to have traveled and lived in many different parts of the U.S.A. Now more than ever I appreciate the mid-west. But, I don't think I would have if I didn't leave. Before the sun went down, I took a walk away from the party to see just a little bit of Kankakee. I found it lovely and sat in a field and did this picture in my sketchbook before I went back to the party. You really have to leave for awhile to appreciate your home.You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. - Pooh's Little Instruction Book

July 3, 2008

It's Easy Seeing Green

At first all I saw were the groceries and dishes that needed to be put away. Then like a light from heaven, I saw all that delicious green... the green of my Granny Smith apple, the avocado and my cereal bowl. I quickly put the eggs and milk in the fridge, found this chartreuse napkin and painted this study in green, it's so "Easy Seeing Green"
I don't always frame my work and hang it on the wall. I tend to just lean it against something as part of a vignette. "BUT IT'S A WATERCOLOR!" you might say to yourself. "How can you do that? They're fragile..." My answer to that is simply they aren't as fragile as you might think. I display lots of my work on easels, shelves and in windows. I use excellent paper, artist grade paints and keep them in not so humid places, like a steamy bathroom. So, with art be creative in your displaying, of course acid free framing and UVA protective glass is preferred, but until you do that, it's fine to lean them and leave them.


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