Monday, September 21, 2015


This is Josie, a very natural five-year-old, I met recently. Josie allowed me to take several photos to use for a watercolor portrait.  I placed her near a window to allow the sunlight to fall on her hair.  I am pleased with the effect.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

"Mist Along the Trail"

"Mist Along the Trail" 
This is a watercolor painting of a scene in North Carolina.  The source was a composite of a photo from my camera and a photo from my son's Android phone.  We were on a hike to Max Patch, a bald mountain, on top of which we hoped to see wild flowers.  However, we were a week late.  The weather was overcast and a light rain was falling. 

We trudged along the slippery trail, enjoying the glistening trees and foliage, stopping often for photos.  Even though it wasn't the hike we had in mind, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The painting image measures 28" X 20".  Framed it is 36" X 28".

Monday, July 6, 2015

Full Bloom

On a visit to California I saw this arrangement of tulips.  I took the bouquet outside on the deck in the sunshine to take photos.  When I returned home to Tennessee, I cropped and printed one of the images. Then I enlarged the 8"x10" image to a 20"x28" size.  When my large pencil drawing pleased me, I transferred it to a full sheet of watercolor paper and began painting.  It was a slow process.  There were many challenges.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Little Pink Roses

One morning my neighbor stopped by to give me two very small rose buds she had picked on her walk.  The rose buds had no leaves, just two inch stems.  I looked for a small container for them.  The best I could find was a glass bowl about four inches in diameter.  I put the bowl with the rose buds on my table and watched them for several days as they gradually opened up.  Each day I recorded their development with my camera.  I used the roses in full bloom for the painting above.

Lavender Daisies

This is another small painting.  The image dimensions are ten inches by fourteen inches.  Framed in silver it measures sixteen inches by twenty inches.  I have found that a small size does not necessarily mean it can be done quickly.  The daisies had many petals to be coaxed to life.

"Rose Parade"

Shortly after posting "A Rose Bouquet", I painted another composition of roses.  The source for the new rose painting was just a different view of the same Mother's Day bouquet. The roses in "Rose Parade" are in front of a large window facing a deck. They seem to be bobbing and preening in the bright sunny day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rose Bouquet

The source for this painting was last year's Mother's Day bouquet.  It was a large arrangement with a variety of different colored roses.  I took many photos with different angles and different lighting.  I chose a small portion of one of the images and cropped what I wanted to paint.  As usual, I enlarged the image using a grid and drew a full- sized image.  I love to draw, so this was a pleasure.  When the drawing satisfied me, I transferred the image to 300 pound Fabriano Artistico watercolor.  I like to use soft press, especially for flowers.  I used mutiple light washes to get the hues and values I wanted.  No resist was used, only transparent watercolor pigment,water, and brushes.  The image measures 20 inches by 14 inches.  The framed painting is 28 inches by 22 inches,

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Totally Transparent Watercolor Award

I am a member of the Tennessee Watercolor Society.  In 2006 I saw the biennial exhibit of TnWS and knew that this was the group I wanted to join.  The paintings I saw in that show were the best I had seen in Tennessee.  TnWS has five chapters and presents an exhibition every two years, hosted by one of the chapters.  I have had paintings in every show since I became a member: 2008 in Knoxville; 2010 in Chattanooga; 2012 in Memphis; and 2014 in Franklin, TN, hosted by the Nashville chapter.  In 2012 in Memphis I received my signature status, but had never earned an award.  This year in Franklin the juror, Pat Dews, awarded my painting "Dogwood Fall Foliage" the Totally Transparent Watercolor award.  I am happy and honored to have earned a place among artists I admire.

"Dogwood Fall Foliage"
28" x 20"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Patterns of Light"

Last year the sunlight falling across some random items on a shelf caught my attention.  I saved that moment with my camera and later it became a painting.  The painting is shown on an earlier post.  This year I entered it in the Texas Watercolor Society Exhibition.  I was very pleased the juror, Judy Morris, selected it as an entry.  Perhaps she saw what I had seen, a special moment  in time as the sun created intriguing "Patterns of Light".  A few days ago I learned that it had earned a merchandise award in the Texas exhibition.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Here are some bright, warm sunflowers to contrast with the dreary weather we have had this January and February. The painting was started several months ago, but was set aside unfinished. I enjoyed sketching the flowers. I turned them in different positions and experimented with several possible compositions before deciding to use this arrangement.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Colander Glow II

This is my latest framed painting.  The image is 15" X 26".  Framed the painting measures 23" X 34".  The composition is part of an earlier painting, "Colander Glow I", currently in the permanent collection of the Pellissippi College Library.  I like working with reflective surfaces.  The glow that comes from the peppers being reflected in the metal colander was my motivation.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


This is the second time I have painted this arrangement of colorful radishes.  The first painting belongs to someone else.  These large multicolored vegetables remind me of Easter eggs.  This rendition is not exactly the same as the first painting.  That was not the intention.  I just wanted to enjoy the shapes and colors of these little vegetables one more time.

Dogwood Berries

I finished this painting a few months ago, but neglected to post it.  The painting measures 20 " X 28".  It is an ambitious size for the small berries.  I was intrigued by the indistinct quality of the background shapes in my source photo.  It was fun to try to portray that.  In September Dogwood Berries won an award for transparent watercolor at the Oak Ridge Art Center Exhibition.

Monday, June 24, 2013

White Lilies

This is a painting I just finished.  I chose to use red in the background to set off the white lilies.  Multiple layers of carmine washes created the intensity of the hue.  The result reminds me of some Mexican paintings I have seen.  It has the happy feeling of a fiesta!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Patterns of Light

One morning bright sunlight came through my window onto a corner shelf.  The items on the shelf were not carefully arranged.  They were simply a purple pot with Philodendron and three blue glasses left over from an earlier painting set up. The sunlight made intricate shapes of light falling across the pot and glasses.  With my camera I saved the light and shadow design to use as a painting.  I found this painting a challenge and may try to do it again sometime in the future.  It is an exercise that I may be able to do better the second time around.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blue Glass

This is my latest painting.  I found glass an interesting subject.  The transparency, the reflective light, and the cast shadows were a challenge.  I want to do more.  I am on a mission to find oher pieces of colored glass and interesting glass shapes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I was asked to do a painting of a little girl named Caylie.  She is adored by her family.  I had only a small image from a phone to work with.  I asked for a few more photos so that I could get a better idea of skin tone.  From those photos I found another image that appealed to me.  So, I did two small paintings of Caylie.  In the first painting Caylie is one and a half years old.  In the second painting she is five.  She is a delightful subject.  I enjoyed the project.

Dogwood Fall Foliage II

In September I painted another dogwood composition showing the fall leaves in bright sunlight.  This is the way my eye and the camera lens saw the foliage.  This is just one moment in time.  On another day the same tree will have a different look.  The sun works magic and I was lucky to see and capture that one moment.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

2012 Exhibitions

This year I entered many national and regional exhibitions.  At this date I have had paintings accepted in eight venues and am waiting for the notifications from three more.  It is gratifying to have my paintings selected by jurors whose personal works and achievements I value.  Here is the list of exhibitions with references to the blog posts where the paintings may be seen.

Gibson County Visual Arts Association, Trenton, TN. April 9 - May 11.  Cheng-khee Chee was the juror. MADRONE (see blog post Sept. 8, 2010).  ROSEMARY'S IRIS (see blog post July 26, 2010).  MADRONE won an honorable mention.

Tennessee Watercolor Association, Memphis, TN. May 4 - June 20. Gerald Brommer was the juror.  LEMONS AND TANGELOS (see blog post April 3, 2010).  MELANIE (see blog post Sept.8, 2011).  MELANIE was selected to be in the Traveling Show.

Texas Watercolor Society, San Antonio, TX, June 1 - 30. Steve Doherty was the juror. IRIS TETE A TETE (see blog post April 19, 2011).

Society of Watercolor Artists, Fortworth, TX, April 15 - June 22. Juror was Robert Burridge. EN GARDE ( see blog post April 3, 2010).

Dogwood Regional Fine Arts Exhibition, Knoxville, TN, April - 27. Juror was Terry Jordan.  SUN-LIT FALL FOLIAGE (see blog post Aug. 10, 2012).  This was a brand new painting.  It was sold at this show!

Southern Watercolor Society, Nacoochee, GA, June 9 - July 7. Juror was Frederick Graff.  PARTY TIME (see blog post April 3, 2010).  I had just joined this organization and was very happy to have one of my paintings accepted.  SWS includes 19 states and an impressive membership of very talented artists.  Nacoochee is in a beautiful area of northwest Georgia.

Fountain City Art Center, Fountain City, TN, June 8 - July 12. SPLISH - SPLASH (see blog post Aug. 11, 2011).  LEMONS AND TANGELOS II (see blog post April 14, 2012).  LEMONS AND TANGELOS II won an honorable mention. 

Aqueous USA, Kentucky Watercolor Society, Oct.3 - 28.  Juror was Ted Nuttal. MADRONE (see blog post April 3, 2010).

I am waiting for notification from three other watercolor organizations. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dogwood Fall Foliage

This painting may look very familiar.  Last Spring I painted a half-sheet version of the same subject.  It was accepted in the Dogwood Regional Fine Arts Exhibition and was sold at the reception.  I had just finished it and it was gone!  I decided to enlarge the composition and go a bit brighter with the pigments.  This is the result: a full-sheet painting of the vibrant fall foliage of the Dogwood when bathed in bright sunshine.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


This is a painting of Elizabeth, the grand-daughter of my friend Rosemary.  It was painted as a gift for Elizabeth from her grandmother.  Do you wonder what she is thinking?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Paul Jackson Workshop

In April I was given the opportunity to observe a day in the Paul
Jackson workshop sponsored by the Knoxville Watercolor Society.  I chose to visit on the second day when the participating artists would have their subject sketched and would have begun painting.

Here Paul Jackson has begun his painting referring to his source photo.  He has made the sky much more interesting by using three vibrant colors in a very wet wash.  He used yellow at the bottom of the sky, Opera in the middle, and Thalo Blue at the top.

This is the source photo of the Empire State Building.

This is Paul Jackson's painting at the end of the second day.

Here  are a few of artists working in the workshop.  I thoroughly enjoyed my day of observation.  Paul Jackson and his wife made me feel very welcome.  It was a pleasure to meet them.  I hope some day to be able to take one of Paul's  workshops.  His paintings of colored glass are very interesting to me.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lemons and Tangelos II

This is my second composition using lemons and tangelos. I like the shapes and the vibrant colors. This time I used a blue compliment in the bowl and vase.

My first "Lemons and Tangelos" painting may be seen in the April 3, 2010, post. It has been accepted by juror, Gerald Brommer, to be in the Tennessee Watercolor Society 2012 exhibition in Memphis in May.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Gray Day

The source for this painting was a photo my fourteen-year-old grandson took with his Ipad of one of his classmates. He happily shared it with me. I like the mood he captured and am pleased with his sense of composition.

It was a challenge for me to work with such subdued colors, but they were necessary to evoke the mood of the piece. I gave in to my need for color by varying some of the hues, but keeping the values.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Last fall the leaves of a tree caught my eye. The leaves were a mass of glowing color set afire by bright sunlight. With a couple of clicks of my camera I saved that moment.

I asked a friend the name of the tree. To my surprise she said it was a dogwood! I have painted dogwoods in the Spring with dark leaves and white flowers. In the fall the flowers are gone and the leaves change from green to a rather drab red-purple. The sun changed those purplish leaves to vibrant reds, pinks, and gold. I have painted the image of the leaves as I and my camera saw them that particular day last Fall.

I learned last night (March 9) from an email from Denise Sanabria that this painting has been selected for the Dogwood Regional Exhibition. It will be shown at the Emporium of the Arts and Cultural Alliance, April 6 - 27, as part of the Dogwood Festival held every year in Knoxville, TN. I was surprised and pleased. This is the first time one of my paintings has been selected for this venue.

April 14, 2012 Update: Tonight an email from Denise Sanabria informed me that this painting has been sold. Perhaps I will do a new composition sometime in the future featuring the fall foliage of the Dogwood.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In the Arms of Yoda

This is one of the twin daughters of Usha Patel, the young woman who handles all of my shipping. Usha has been spending most of her time the past few months at home enjoying her twins. I happened to catch her in her shop a few weeks ago . When she showed me pictures of the then three month old girls, this one caught my eye. The stuffed version of Yoda protectively holding the bright-eyed baby was a "must paint". I call this painting "In the Arms of Yoda".

Thursday, September 8, 2011


This is Melanie when one and a half years old. She is the daughter of longtime family friends, Richard and Anne Compton, who make the long drive from Florida to Tennessee a couple of times a year to visit us. I look forward to their visits and like to observe the development of Melanie and her two brothers. Next year there will be another litle Compton. I hope the new baby will be a little sister for Melanie.

Friday, August 12, 2011


This painting is a full sheet, 20" x 28". It shows my twin grandchildren when they were a year and a half old. Kimberly and Kenny are now teenagers enterng high school as freshmen. An older Kimberly can be seen in an earlier painting, "Puppet Play", posted February 17, 2010.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Yellow Hibiscus

A new rendition of the Yellow Hibiscus

Several years ago I painted a similar image of a yellow hibiscus. It had a different format, being longer and thinner. This painting is like my other half-sheet paintings, 14"x 20". The other difference is that I exaggerated the color. The greens are brighter , the yellows are more yellow-orange, and the background is darker.

The original yellow hibiscus was purchased years ago in Northern California. The painting pleased me and I was happy that it pleased someone else. I did not intend to copy it. I just wanted the fun of giving the image a new identity.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trenton Reception

This painting, "Strawberries", was one of three of my paintings that were selected by John Salminen to be in the Gibson County Visual Arts Association 2011 exhibit. It was a special treat to meet the juror and to hear his critiques of all the paintings he had selected for awards.

When he spoke about "Strawberries", he pointed out the importance of the background in a still life. He said that a still life is a collection of "stuff" put on paper. The success of presenting the "stuff' is dependent on the background. In the case of the "Strawberries" the pattern of the "cut-work" cloth winds through the still life, unifying the composition. He also pointed out the care given the negative painting in the cloth. Recognition of elements of a painting is very gratifying for an artist. I am grateful for John Salminen's words.

The planning for this still life began with the "cut-work" place mat. I was looking for an interesting cloth for a painting. I found it several years ago in Solvang, a touristy Danish town in California. When I finally decided to use the cloth I selected strawberries as the focal point. The design of the mat uses appliqued fruit, including strawberries. The placement of the glass bowl of strawberries on the mat was carefully planned. The cloth was lifted at one corner to reveal the design. When I was pleased with the set up, I sketched, transferred, and painted. I did not use any resist on the intricate cloth patterns. I did negative painting in the cut out areas. I did use a couple of spots of resist on the glass bowl.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Featured Artists in May

Two easels are outside the glass doors of the Art Market Gallery this May. They display the work of the featured artists of the month.

Inside the gallery are seen the floral watercolors of Genie Even and the jewelry of Cynthia Patrick. Frequent viewers of this blog are familiar with these floral paintings. They have been shown on earlier posts as they were completed.

On the sixth of May, the first Friday of the month, the gallery was filled with visitors who came to view the art and enjoy refreshments and music.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Iris Tete a Tete

The composition of this painting is the same as one I did a few years ago. I like the grouping of the irises and decided use the original tracing , but try a slightly different color scheme. I call this painting "Irises Tete a Tete" because the blossoms look like ladies in their finery having a head to head conversation.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tulip Magnolia Preparation

Background of Tulip Magnolias

Frisk Film Preparation
To have freedom to do successive layers of color in the background of this painting I used Frisk Film to protect the blossoms and branches. Frisk Film is used by air brush artists. The film is cut to cover the area to be protected. When using it with watercolor, the film is cut about an eighth of an inch inside the outer line of the blossoms. The black line seen in the image is the black sharpie pen line inside the blossom. That line is the guide when cutting the film. The edges of the Frisk Film must be sealed with liquid Frisket. The Frisket is applied to cover the area between the edge of the Frisk Film to the outer line of the blossoms. If there is a spot that is not covered completely, watercolor may seep through when applying a wash on the background. I learned this method from Elizabeth Kincaid several years ago in Santa Cruz, California. Elizabeth is the master of this method. Her work is very special. Check it out.

Tulip Magnolias

Here is the latest painting, Tulip Magnolias. The background was done with repeated light washes of cobalt blue, French ultramarine blue, and a bit of the quinacridone rose that was used in the blossoms. These delicate pigments do not show up as well in this image or in a print as they do in the original painting. Check out Tulip Magnolia preparation to view the Frisk Film method of protecting the blossoms while applying background washes.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

One Yellow Rose

Another painting! So far, 2011 has been more productive than the last few months of 2010. I am thankful for each painting I am able to finish.
I saw this rose while visiting in Los Gatos last year. I cropped the photo to focus on the one blossom. Yellow is difficult to paint because it has such a limited value range. There are many different yellow tints in this painting. Those yellows were hard to capture with the camera. Nothing came close to the actual painting.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Camellia Garden

I call this painting "Camellia Garden" It is a full sheet watercolor, measuring 28 inches by 36 inches framed. The image is 20 inches by 28 inches. It was an ambitious undertaking for someone who has not painted for several months. Now that it is finally finished, I am pleased and ready to go on to the next challenge.


After far too long a time, I have a painting to post. It is very hard to return to painting after a prolonged period of interruptions. I have discarded several attempts, but will continue to paint until I get back on track.
I chose to paint this image of nasturtiums because I like the leaf patterns.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rosemary's Iris

This lovely purple iris came from the garden of my friend, Rosemary. I used Laurin McCracken's method of masking with 3M drafting tape. I covered the blossoms and the stem with tape. The outline of the flowers could be seen through the tape. I cut around the images with an exacto blade and removed the excess tape. With the flowers protected I applied multiple washes to get the neutral putty-colored background I wanted. No pigment from the multiple washes of color seeped under the tape. The drafting tape works as a method of masking. The paper was in pristine condition when I removed the drafting tape.

The challenge for me was cutting away the unwanted tape without cutting into the watercolor paper. This is a skill I need to perfect. I will try this masking method again. It is kinder to the paper than fluid methods of masking. I will save the fluids for very small details.
Scroll back to the May blog, "Observing McCracken", to see the application of drafting tape.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Moonlit Blossoms

The painting above is my first attempt in painting Dogwood blossoms. The composition is a composite of three detail photos of a large tree on the grounds of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Just a few days after I took the pictures, heavy rain damaged the blossoms. I felt fortunate to have taken the photos when I did. I chose to use blues and purples in the background to give the effect of twilight or moonlight,

Monday, May 24, 2010

Colander Glow

Colander Glow, image 14" X 20", framed 22" X 28"

Last August, 2009, this painting was purchased at the Art Market Gallery in downtown Knoxville. The buyer is Sarah Smith of Maryville. A few days ago I received an email asking for a bio to accompany the painting.

I have learned that Sarah Smith is presenting a gift to the new Pellissippi State Library in Maryville. My painting is included in that gift. It is meant to hang in the new library. I feel very honored that a painting of mine has been chosen to be part of such a generous gift.

Observing Laurin McCrackin

The Knoxville Watercolor Society sponsored a three- day workshop with Laurin McCracken at the Fountain City Art Center May 19, 20. 21. I had only one of those days available. I was allowed to observe on May 20th. Laurin McCrackin does beautiful, infinitely detailed paintings of crystal and silver. His workshop was planned as carefully as he plans his paintings. He generously supplied many handouts of his procedure. The images on this blog were scanned from those handouts.

Laurin arranges his still life compositions in a darkened room with one light source, a 150 watt daylight bulb.

This is the image of the still life. A slide of this image is projected onto watercolor paper and traced.

After tracing the shapes, more detail is drawn. Laurin believes that the more information in the drawing, the better the painting.

Drafting tape, 3M or Pearl, is used to protect the teapot while painting the background.

Masking fluid is used for small detail. Laurin uses a Masque pen. He stresses the importance of cleaning all tools immediately. He suggests using a small needle and thread with three knots to pull through the very small applicator points to remove all traces of masking fluid. All tape and fluid is removed as quickly as possible.

In this picture the background has been painted, the tape has been removed, teapot detail has been added with fluid masking, and the fruit and tablecloth have been painted.

The gray of the bowl is a mix of blue and light red. Start with the lightest gray. Details will be a darker gray.

Masking fluid has been removed. Note the hard edge where the fluid had been.

Laurin uses Winsor-Newton series seven brushes, "0" - "1" for fine detail. He advises to always "point the brush" after loading it with paint and water. Touch the tip to a paper towel.

I am closing with one of my favorite McCracken paintings, Pear and Artichoke. I like the composition and simple pear and lemon forms against the detail of the cut artichoke. I also enjoy the reflected light of the table cloth on the pear and the shadow of the lemon that falls over the edge of the table.