Saturday, December 13, 2014

Peggy's Cove Lighhouse-2nd in series
Hi Everyone!
I have just finished a new watercolor of Peggy's Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia, a second in the series of lighthouses I'm painting. Here it is.

I have had to start watermarking any paintings before I upload them to my site because of all the theft going on. Several of my artist friends have had there work stolen. One artist saw her work in Wal-Mart and she contacted the Headquarters and told them about it and they removed the frauds. Pretty sad that happens these days, when people can't be trusted. They steal your work because they can't produce something of their own. This will make a great Brush and Hand article, keep on the lookout.
Portsmouth Harbor Lighhouse-1st in series

I have also been learning to crochet. I'm not doing too bad. I'm making a scarf and it is looking pretty good for my first learning project. There is a small group of us artists who get together quarterly to learn new arts or crafts. This new year, 2015 we will be working on projects to give as random acts of kindness. Random Acts of Kindness day was developed by Susan Kuhn on Facebook as an event to show kindness to someone, here is here excerpt:

"The Friday after Thanksgiving is dubbed "Black Friday"...a day filled with shopping for "good deals"... while a lot of people are simply trying to save money on big ticket items...there are those who forget the Spirit of what this season is about...and those are the stories that headline the news...the fist fights, the trampling, the yelling. So I am asking everyone to go out of their way to brighten a stranger's day with "Random Act of Kindness Friday"...2 weeks after Black Friday, December 12, 2014. Even though many of us do acts of kindness every day...why not dedicate a day where we have as much "kindness giving" on this Friday as we do "deal getting" on Black Friday...maybe pay for the person behind you at the Drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts, maybe stand on a busy Main St and pass out flowers to people walking by, maybe brush the snow off a row cars in your work's parking lot, maybe leave some scratch off tickets on a person's windshield, deliver some hot coffee to some people working outside...who knows...you might be the one bright spot on a person's pretty crummy day. So join this "event" to pledge your act of kindness and share on your page. Would be nice to get as many people to "join" this event that patron stores and malls on Black Friday. Feel free to share ideas for people looking for something to do as their act of kindness...get your kids in on it too!"

Next year "Random Acts of Kindness" day will be on December 11th so mark your calendars. But wouldn't it be great to practice random acts of kindness on a regular basis?
Have a blessed week everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I finally have a moment to blog! I don't have distractions this morning. So lets dive in!

There is a controversy over pencil showing through watercolor paintings. I have two important things to say about that. First if you look at paintings done by the masters you don't see any pencil marks from the underling sketch. So that leads me to the conclusion that even the masters didn't want their sketch to show through their paintings. This also leads me to the conclusion that artists either got lazy, couldn't cover up their sketch lines, or just chose not to bother and liked it, and the world of art has actually approved it.

I once wrote an article about this subject and got numerous negative responses, which was fine. I just thought it odd that somewhere during the 50s after all those years the rules changed and pencil was allowed to show, that in fact, it is now considered an actual part of the art itself. My personal opinion about the matter is that if the masters could do a watercolor without their sketch lines showing through than so could I and I succeeded. To me it is not alright for your sketch lines to show, but to those artist who think its okay—its okay! Don't discredit those of us artists who do chose not to let our sketch lines show, that take the time to work them into the painting so you can't see them. It is not a fair jurying process to exclude artists who do an exceptional job working their sketch lines into their paintings. Both processes work for the individual artist, that is the freedom of art!

An update of my grainery painting. I have had to put this on hold for the time being due to my mother-in-law's failing of health. I will try to keep blogging at least once a week, forgive me if I don't always come through.

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My time is not my own lately, it has been spent with my ailing mother-in-law. It is so hard to watch someone you love slowly dying. Hospice care is wonderful though and they are so good to my mother-in-law. I commend them for the outstanding care they give.

Death is inevitable for all us, but it is not an easy part of life to face knowing your time is fleeting like shooting stars across the night sky. You ask yourself "have I made a difference, have I left an impression on someone in my life, one that touches the heart profoundly?" I would like to think so. To have left petals of love and laughter at their doorstep. I look inward, examining my heart. What do I see? There are times that the guck is too deep to wade through. I pray my Savior is cleaning me up it is only something He can do, no human efforts can accomplish that task. Only the Lord can change a heart, sweeping out all the chambers of years of sin. It is a slow process. The completion not taking place until we are home with Him. His light never goes out even when we think we don't see it, it is there always shining, always refreshing, and restoring us to Himself.

Monday, November 3, 2014

My apologies for not posting on Thursdays as promised, we had a family emergency. My mother-in-law has been falling due to her age and she took a really bad fall which sent her to the ER and is now transferred from assisted living to a nursing home. So we have been dealing with cleaning out her apartment and helping her get adjusted to the nursing home which is never easy to do as she doesn't want to be there but has to. It is sad really, I hate seeing her there. It was just a few years ago that my own mother had to go to the nursing home and it wasn't easy then or now.

I will be posting an entry on Thursday with an update on the grainery painting I've been working on. I also want to talk about pencil and watercolor. I would also love to hear from anyone out there in blog land if these hits have been helpful.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Good morning! I want to start off letting you know that I will be posting once a week, most likely on a Thursday evening. My goal is to share painting tips and techniques and just a little bit of life in general. I am an artist and part-time school bus driver for preschool kids (very interesting at times). I have a studio that I work out of in my home and have many interesting artist friends whom you will meet and see their work on occasion.

One of my plans is to retire in a couple of years and devote my time to being a full time artist again. Something I couldn't afford to do for many years. I would also like to open up my own gallery and provide space for local artisans to display their wares, kind of like a handmade shop and gallery combined.

Today I will be working on a new painting of a grain mill on an old farm not too farm from where we live. It is a small mill and you wouldn't even realize it is a mill without me mentioning it. I will take pictures as I progress so you can see my process.

Well got to run, school kids are waiting!

Friday, October 3, 2014

It is a blustery fall day, leaves blowing around and the sky is getting darker by the minute. We are expected to get some heavy duty thunderstorms this afternoon. I love thunderstorms something about them excites the soul.

Well lets dive in and talk about watercolor paints. Watercolor is an extraordinary medium and each brand of watercolor has its own uniqueness. I have three brands that are my favorites: Winsor-Newton, Schminke, and Holbein. There are colors within each of these brands that I like over the other. For example, Winsor-Newton Ivory Black performs better than Schmincke's, and Schmincke's Indian Yellow performs better than Winsor-Newton brand. I have more Winsor-Newton colors however, than the other two brands. I love to experiment with all of them. Experimenting reveals the characteristics of the paints, some mix well with each other and others don't mix well at all. By experimenting I know what colors work well together before using them on my painting. Getting familiar with your brand of paints is a good way to get to know how they'll perform.

I keep a small piece of 300 pound watercolor paper (about 5 inches square in size) on my table to actually test the color before applying it to my painting. If I don't like the look and feel of the color or mixture of colors, I try another until I'm satisfied.

Watercolor paper varies in performance also. It is best to purchase a good quality paper from the start, make sure it is 100% cotton, mold-made watercolor paper. I prefer 300-lb soft-pressed, most artist's use cold-pressed. I prefer to use soft press because I like how the watercolors work with the paper; it receives the watercolor well, much better than cold-pressed.

Its back to work. Happy Autumn!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I have been an artist for more than 50 years. My first attempt at drawing was potato people on the back page of my mother's old Webster's Dictionary for which I received a paddling. The page is still in the dictionary today which is in my sister's possession. Her son had also successfully drew a couple of potato people along side mine. They're not bad looking either.

I've come along way since then, using oils for many of those years. Then I fell in love with watercolor. It is a challenging medium and can be very unforgiving; make a mistake and you start over. Some can be rescued however. During this time of developing my watercolor skills and techniques I also developed my style of fine detailing. I love it, the more detail I can put in the better. I'm always experimenting with different brands, colors, techniques, and brushes. Which brings me to the reason for this article.

I have tried all of the top names in watercolor brushes, sables, synthetics and blends of both. There is one brand in particular that has held up better than any other brushes I've used. Utrecht's Red Sable Blend Series 238. These brushes are amazing. I bought my first few of these in 2000 at the Utrecht store on East Carson St. in Pittsburgh, a 6, 1, and 0. I am still using them and they are just as nice as the first day I brought them home. However, my number 6 is just now starting to show some minor ware. I must say I love these brushes over all others and just bought a backup set this morning in case Utrecht decides to discontinue them. The only drawback is that the brush sizing only goes down in size to 0. I use another brand that has good quality finer brushes and that is Escoda 1212 Kolinsky-Tajmir. I use the 1/0 through 5/0 and these also hold up well. Although I have had to replace my 5/0 as I use the heck out of it. I purchase these through Dick Blick.

I think it is very important to share good information, especially information that will help encourage, inspire and promote success of one's work and efforts. My next article will be on the different brands of watercolors I prefer to use. I will also touch on the subject of pencil and watercolor.

Happy painting!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Good afternoon Blogger Friends!

Let me share a little about myself with you.

I grew up in a small fishing community on the beautiful coast of Southern Maine where my ongoing love of the ocean and coastline underlies and inspires my work. My interest in capturing nature, oceanside communities and small glimpses of whimsical items in watercolor had its beginnings as a young girl. I spent much of my time growing up down at the fishing docks and on the beaches.

I specialize in the medium of watercolor, and especially love incorporating fine detailing in my paintings, it is extemely fun and challenging. I am also an accomplished graphic designer of twenty years. Currently I paint and illustrate for “Just Around the Block,” building blocks of memories. You can see more of my work on my website whiteoakstudioandgallery.com or at justaroundtheblock.com.

I love nature and all things beautiful . . . I am on the long road home just meandering as I go enjoying the scenery, being refreshed and restored along the way. It is my hearts desire to use my talent and gift, to honor the God of the Universe who gave them to me, living a life of thankfulness daily, and making a subtle difference, one painting, one person, at a time.

My favorite quote: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”