* Carmen Beecher * Cindy Michaud * Carol Schiff * Denette Schweikert * Donna Vines * Mary Warnick * Kathy Garvey *Fay Picardi * Jean Thomas

Friday, July 31, 2015


While driving to the post office, I passed this charming garden spot.  The blooming bougainvillea and garden umbrella in contrasting color, caught my eye.

I so enjoy doing these small paintings.  I have little desire to do larger ones these days.  This give me instant gratification and tomorrow, I have the thrill of starting over on a new project.
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A few weeks ago, the talented Diana Marshall, from Dublin, Ireland, had a painting give-away.  She offered to do a portrait of choice for the winner, who happened to be ME!

Today I received this great painting of my grandson showing off his prize fish!  Thank you Diana, this will go directly to my grandson Kevin.

Be sure to check out Diana's blog.  Her paintings are great and her  animal portraits are fantastic, especially the cats.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Garden Painting, Daily Painting, Small OilPainting "Gardens at Hyde Park" 6x8" Oil

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We have all heard about the beautiful English countryside and the gorgeous gardens that are found there.  The cool and moist sea air bring perfect growing conditions to the British isle.  This garden in Hyde Park was a shining example.  May of the flowers were much taller than I.  The cottage was actually some type of Park Headquarters, but was equally charming on the outside.  It was truly a treat to stumble onto this diamond.



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beachscape, 14x11 Oil on Canvas, Florida Beach Scene

I usually paint from the beach looking at the ocean, so this is a departure. I am looking from the ocean to the shore. I like the palms standing like sentinels over the beach.

I'd like to spend more time on the beach, but I find all the computer work associated with selling art online really interferes with such leisure activities. Also, I have a real urge to do some plein air painting, but it's too hot. Oh, to be in the mountains beside a little stream...lovely thought.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

A colorful change - or so I thought!

I've been working on a blog post about the importance of updating ones color palette - something I have been attempting to do lately with some success. My usual color schemes tended to be colorful rainbow hues. I love bright pink and purple mixed with sky blue and lime green - oh, and throw in some bright sunshine yellow. But, in looking online and in stores, I realized my color palette was woefully out of date and needed a sincere effort on my part to try some new colors.

My first step was to go online and check out those wonderful sites that feature colors for 2015. (There are a lot of them, and they just proved how old fashioned my color sense was.) So, the great thing about working digitally was that I could just place some wonderful new color palette into my Illustrator window and use the eyedropper to quickly build a new set of colors. I chose a lovely set from this site http://www.bhg.com/decorating/color/schemes/2015-color-palette-of-the-year/. It was called Anne Fox's Juicy Citrus. You can see their image (the circles) I captured to grab the colors from below. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

It was fun creating drawings in a totally new color palette!

I had to add some darker darks, but then I made the first drawing shown in the middle and was happy with it. I then created the second, on the upper right and was surprised that I liked it, too. So, I went for the third, shown at lower right and was really getting into using my new colors!

This was fun! And, knowing Illustrator and how wonderfully flexible it is, I grabbed another set of colors from the same site. This one wasn't "juicy" it was "fresh." Just the name made me feel more updated.

I used the eyedropper again to add the colors to my file. I added a blue to it because I needed to add one more color. Next, I just had to make sure nothing in my Illustrator drawings were locked or still linked to the symbols I often make. Then, I selected everything, chose Edit>Edit Colors>Recolor Artwork. Picked the first color in my new color group - and voila - my colors changed in a rapid way that I can only refer to as "automagically"! 

All three images were converted in less than 10 minutes each to the new color palette.
This was just what I needed! Fresh colors. I started a new drawing and had just as much fun making it with that first "juicy" palette and then changing a copy of it to the "fresh" one.
Juicy on the left and Fresh on the right!
I was tickled pink with the results and was ready to write this up for our blog. I was definitely feeling that it is good to change one's color palette! Before writing it up, I thought I should apply my old fashioned outdated color palette to this drawing as an example. After all, it only takes a few minutes to change! Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!
That was even more fun!
Yes, it took less than ten minutes! And, woe is me, I do still prefer my favorite colors!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Collage Day II

This is the end result of my Woodpecker from collage day.  I found some fun papers and of course deviated from the exact painting and photo but that seems to be a given when you are collaging.  It is easy to get distracted by different papers because of their textures or eye appeal. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tropical Landscape Painting, Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, "Sunset in the Wetlands", 6x8" Oil Painting

This tropical landscape painting depicts the sinking sun and reflections on one of Florida's many waterways. This particular wetland is located between Florida's intracoastal waterway to the west and the Atlantic on the east, on the barrier island that runs down the east coast of Florida. It's a particularly fascinating place as the two bodies of water are less than 1/2 mile apart.

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I am just returned from a month in our North Carolina mountain home.  We usually don't stay that long, so, this time I took all my painting supplies and was determined to paint while there.  I finally accomplished this painting, but let me tell you it was not easy.  I could not find the perfect lighting, the perfect place to work (we just put in all new flooring which would not look good with oil paint splattered all over it).  All in all, I did not feel comfortable and was sooooo happy to return to my studio in Florida.  This is something I will have to get used to as we will be spending much more time in the mountains than in past years.  Studio painters (like me) get so spoiled.....I almost wish I were a plein aire painter who can paint anywhere and under any conditions.

Have a happy day today!

Thanks for reading my blog.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Logging the Fun - for almost seven years!

I have spent quite a few hours over the last few days working on getting a small sketch to the point where I liked a digital version of it. I get a total joy out of working with Illustrator. Using it to recreate an idea takes away my shaky hand effect and also allows me to experiment with changes rapidly. And Photoshop offers so many fun ways to experiment with any graphic or photo that I can't resist taking either one into it for some playtime. 

The hours when I'm working/playing with Illustrator and Photoshop kind of fly by on me. And it can result in ten images, not just the one I aimed for at the start. But I make the effort afterwards to log what I've done (whether I'm happy with it or not) in an InDesign document. Below are the logs that show me the journey this little sketch has taken - from some efforts I didn't really like a few weeks ago ...

It was a black and white sketch, so that's how I started it!

... to all the fun I had today with it.

The color made it pop!
I didn't always log things. And keeping up the logs takes time. I used to be a FrameMaker expert - what an awesome documentation tool that was! But I decided in 2009 that I was going to have to switch to InDesign and learn it because that's the way documentation projects were going. I needed something to document, so I started my first annual "Worklog" in InDesign and started recording the starting image, the ending image and a summary of the steps in between. My first annual log was 301 pages! Using InDesign regularly has kept my skills sharp enough with it to help with other documentation projects like formatting books and stories for friends who write.

But the biggest payoff, now, looking back over the almost seven years of maintaining these logs is that it gives me a record of my digital work. I can't count the times my logs have helped me find the original file or sketch that a work was started from, reminded me of what I was doing with some graphic and why, or just helped me pull something up to rework or print. (Finding any of those images from 2003 when I first started doing digital - through 2008 before I started the logs is pretty hit or miss. I didn't realize then how much was going to change over time. That was at least three computers ago, and five software updates - where are those files now?)

I know some artists journal, others maintain photo files and some lose track of things like I did all those years before. Logging is working for me! And InDesign has ended up being the perfect tool for this type of log. I'm so glad I started and hope I keep it up!

A log a year for almost seven years!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Collage Day

Thursday was my day to lead the group and I thought instead of painting it would be fun to do a collage.  We hadn't had a collage day in quite a while.  I have a basket of papers I use.  Some of the papers are tissue, some designer , some hand painted.  I even have pages from books in different languages, sheet music and odds and ends I have picked up along the way.  I only keep as many as will fit into my basket so I can carry everything I need in one container.
I brought in several photos, acrylic paints for the under paintings, brushes and the binding medium.  The panels I brought were small but because we were doing an under painting then the collage I thought we might need a few weeks to complete our projects.  Although we made a lot of progress we didn't quite finish so next week I will post photos of our final results.
When I got home I decided to keep collaging.  I wanted to finish my group project with the group so I looked around for something else.  I found a photo Kathy had given us awhile ago to paint and I decided to collage my little bird instead.
The first photo is the one Kathy gave us, the second is my under painting and the third is the start of my collage.

Donna Vines

Original photo
The under painting

starting the collage background