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A yellow iris glows with color in a garden setting. The transparent colors of watercolor are especially suited to replicating the vibrancy and delicacy of the living tissue of flower petals. There is great pleasure to be had both in creating and in viewing garden flowers or wild flowers growing in field or forest. Increasingly health care institutions are seeing the value of having trees and gardens on view from patient areas. Views of nature help create feelings of calm, serenity, and hope within us. For much the same reason, landscapes and garden paintings are welcome in our homes and offices. Aside from their intrinsic beauty, the nature connection within these works of art adds to our sense of well being… Continue reading… 0 comments

This is actually version two of my tiger lily painting. When we came across the particular patch of wild flowers from which this one was taken, the mass of color was almost overwhelming. Imagine walking in a hot day, in forested country but much of the time in the sun, then coming across a gurgling brook and deep shade, lit by the glow of shining orange and yellow flowers, lots of them! So first I painted a cluster of flowers. The thing is, nature can throw everything together and it all works. When you try to pour that onto a 2-D world, the world of a painting, you had better make choices. My first painting tried to take in too much. It wasn't an awful painting, but it was not very interesting, either… Continue reading… 0 comments

An egret makes its way among waterside rushes as it seeks out a meal. the range of blue tones from teal to purple complement the yellow tones of the rushes, while the white egret is the center of attention. The egret is in the sun, while light is absorbed in the shadowing dense reeds behind him. In the photo I painted from, the shadowed areas were dull grays and browns. I wanted to bring in cooler and more vivid colors to bring up the white of the bird (which actually includes blues) and to emphasize the cool appearance of these birds, even when they are in full sun on a hot day. The bird was intent on watching the water, moving into the reed… Continue reading… 0 comments

In "Curiosity" a curious little dog meets a turtle on his path and they exchange examining looks. The animals are painted in sumi-e ink. Layered behind them are various papers, and the little picture is outlined in purple marker. Sometimes, doodling around with art, one finds oneself telling a story. First came the small dog, then the question, "What is he staring at?" A turtle in the path emerged. The viewer is invited to continue the story. Do they exchange looks an then each go on its way? Does the dog, in rather typical terrier fashion, back up and bark to test for reaction? Does the turtle retreat into his shell? Does a conversation begin. The story might change each time the picture is viewed. Meanwhile, we don't have to sacrifice the elements of art for the sake of narrative… Continue reading… 0 comments

I'm beginning to slowly re-edit some of my previous listings on I've discovered that I was a little too ready to let the art speak for itself, when in fact, a wordier approach not only gives the viewer a greater understanding, but also increases the chances to be picked up more by search engines. I think as artists we grow as we create new works. Likewise as representative of our own art we learn with each new effort and become better at presenting our art to the world. I love the technique I used so this work. The continuous line is a challenge, but it also loosens up the work and gives it a sense of vitality. Right now while care responsibilities are keeping me close to home, this little drawing takes me to one of my favorite places… Continue reading… 0 comments

Deep distances layer themselves into coastal grasses, meandering estuary waters, stretches of sandbar, and an ocean that stretches into a misty horizon. Greens, blues, and a blush of pink are the dominant colors. Watercolor and ink were used to portray this coastal landscape. I sketched in the original colors of this work plein air at Point Reyes National Seashore, but completed it in studio. I enjoy playing with a mix of watercolor and ink. The way I use it varies. Sometimes I created an ink drawing and add the watercolor later. Sometimes colors only suggest a scene, and forms develop in detail via the ink. In this particular painting, I created the watercolor painting, and only decided some time later that it would be enhanced by the ink treatment… Continue reading… 0 comments

Two terra cotta pots sit next to a farm style wire-covered garden gate, each holding bright red and yellow blossoms.This is a sketch, the sort of art that appeals to a person who enjoys feeling that they are there, peering over the shoulder of the artist. To me sketches have a wonderful informal feel, and looking at the sketchbook of an artist view into the artist's way of seeing. While some artists destroy everything except their most polished works, we are fortunate that others hang on to things, so that we have a good chance to view sketches by Degas, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and many, many more. I enjoy being invited to view the sketchbooks of artist friends, and at an exhibit I will often linger over any sketches or notes encased for view as an addendum to the main display… Continue reading… 0 comments

An early morning summer garden features a flower barrel and a Buddha figure greeting the day. Cool colors and deep shadows are created by the early light, with highlights on the sun-touched snapdragons and dappled bark on the path. I spent some pleasant July mornings on the back patio, coffee cup and painting supplies at hand, working while the light was right. No wonder Monet so enjoyed building his garden at Givency and painting plein aire in his own back yard. What a contrast to some of the weather conditions and long absences from home he endured to catch scenes in various parts of France! The famous boat studio sound like a much more pleasant way of capturing what was before his eyes… Continue reading… 0 comments

Gold resist outlines the shapes of brilliant color in this landscapes painted in silk dyes on a circlet of silk. Sunrise upon green fields, a pine tree, and a meadow scattered with white flowers promises a lovely day. Usually when I paint on fabric it is in creating accessories or garments, but occasionally it is a pleasure to do for purely decorative purposes. Silk painting requires the lightest of touches. Lovely loose freehand works may be created without resists, but for this piece I chose to use a gold resist to highlight the golden light of sun in early morning. Perhaps the happy feeling of this little landscapes reflects my own joy in the beginning of day… Continue reading… 0 comments

Black and white iris make a striking contrast where they grow in my garden, so one fine spring day this trio caught my eye and I had one of those "I must paint that" moments. The work went very quickly, or as quickly as it can in watercolor when you reach points where you don't want to work wet into wet; for I was very aware of catching the nuances of color and the shapes before they changed as flowers will. Those "I must paint (or draw)..." moments can happen anytime, anywhere, and they can be an artist's friend and powerful force. It can be the toss of a horse's head, the tilt of a sail in the wind, the green depths of the sea, a rickety old building, a compelling face, an odd arrangement of rusty items in farm's discards--whatever speaks to a particular artist… Continue reading… 0 comments

Watercolor Goat in Pasture

by Caroline , April 8, 2011—12:00 AM

Topics: Landscape, animals, composition, nature, painting

A goat in the foreground looks directly out of the picture plane to the viewer. Further into the field a cluster of three go about their goat business. The greens of spring color the field along with a scattering of wildflowers. I find it interesting that animals will give you that arresting stare and judge whether you are a danger. If they mistrust, they are out of there. If you seem okay, the stare may continue as if in pure curiosity. This goat looked up as I parked the car along the roadside, watched as I took the photo, and didn't lost interest until I was ready to go. In that instance, we both had about the same attention span! The setting had enough bucolic, spring time peace and beauty to have set a romantic poet, such as Wordsworth or Keats, to creating a new ode… Continue reading… 1 comment

Wyoming Skies

by Caroline , January 10, 2011—12:00 AM

Topics: Landscape, light, oils, painting

A sweep of high plateau leads back to mountains and a clouded sky. Storm clouds gather for summer rains that clean the skies and green the earth. Bison graze in the distance. Sage and a bright yellow wildflower cluster complete the foreground. The painting is especially about the sky and its relationship to the life below, thus the title and the focal point formed by the sun-kissed upper right point of the largest cloud. For more thoughts on art & skies, see my ArtId blog… Continue reading… 0 comments

Painting fog presents a different challenge in every medium. There is great variety in the fogs that the artist may be depicting. Wisps of fog hover low over an autumnal field. Pea soup fogs cut visibility to a few yards, or even a few feet, in every direction. Low lying coastal fogs can obscure the lower landscape leaving crisp clear views of lighthouses, cliffs or mountain tops, or the spires of the Golden Gate Bridge. The marine layer often plays cat and mouse games with the coast, approaching and withdrawing in its own mysterious ways. This is the fog of Emily Dickinson__™s short but vivid poem: The Sun and Fog contested The Government of Day __" The Sun took down his Yellow Whip And drove the Fog away We know that sometimes the fog wins, thus it is always a contest… Continue reading… 0 comments

If you are a gardener, are you drawn to painting what you grow? Almost every floral I paint, almost every still life with vegetables or fruits worked into it, is inspired by time spent in the yard. This simple ink painting on rice paper celebrates the beauty of the artichoke. Lights and darks carry the repeated shapes of the layers of leaves. My artichokes produced their first harvest of the year a few days ago, One on the delights of seasonal growth is that we are reawakened each year to the beauty the reappears. Thus we have an artichoke at perfect ripeness--too beautiful to eat; too delicious not to. The soft tones made possible by ink painting provide a lovely black-and-white rendering of the soft greens of this vegetable… Continue reading… 0 comments

This is a detail of my latest addition to my ArtId gallery and most definitely and 'Artist at Play" product. I had created an ACEO by developing some odd bits of color already existing on a small sheet of paper cut from a failed painting The ACEO was in a vertical format and showed a little sheep in a shed and some foliage in the background. I liked it a lot and decided to build a larger painting from the basic set of forms and colors. However, in the larger size a horizontal composition felt right. For this larger version, I also decided on acrylics rather then the watercolor and pen & ink used for the ACEO. Original acrylic painting features a black sheep in a field of dry yellow grass… Continue reading… 1 comment

Red Zinnia

by Caroline , November 20, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: acrylics, flowers, light, painting, reflected color, small works

A red zinnia fills a 5" by 5" square. This is not a classic miniature which takes a larger subject and renders in on a tiny scale, but an approximately life size flower. However is is rendered in a fairly painterly representation that does not claim to be the flower but pleasing lines and colors that will certainly put you in mind of a flower. The blush tone of the background plays a bit with the reflected color we often show in white fabric in more complex floral paintings. It is rather pleasant sitting on an easel among other loved objects although I can well imagine someone finding a wall spot for it. I like the layering that is so apparent in zinnia blossoms, as though they were advertising their complexity… Continue reading… 0 comments

Fall colors in the foreground are highlighted by the contrasting purple and blue of the distant mountains including Lassen's peak. I began this as a plein air work in the light of late afternoon in the autumn with the shadows of evening starting to fall, but the fading sunlight bouncing golden off the mountain top. I exaggerated the colors somewhat to give the feeling to the time and place to the viewer. We were on the western slopes of the Sierra/Cascade region looking back at the volcanic peak of Lassen on our way home from a camping trip at Lassen National Park when we stopped to enjoy and capture this scene. I did the painting several years ago. I liked the painting, but it lived in a drawer waiting for that something to make it sparkle… Continue reading… 1 comment

Two boys play in a pool among oversized boulders at Zion National Park in Utah USA. The watercolor painting depicts both the rugged majesty of America's southwestern region and the charm of children at play anywhere. This painting started as a plein aire watercolor sketch. The original composition covered a larger area, getting into the scrub brush and canyon wall behind this scene and including a boy climbing on the large rock behind the wading, dancing boy. In the end it seemed better to focus on the more intimate scene. The story becomes one of childhood living in the joy of the moment, for the time being unimpressed by the grandeur around them and sending laughter rippling against the mighty walls of Zion… Continue reading… 0 comments

Scratchboard drawing with watercolor tint of the northern California coastal village, Mendicino, as seen looking out across one of the inlets along the Mendicino Headlands. The fog above the village was created by using steel wool to remove the india ink while leaving a good deal of gray. This allows the crisp whites of the village buildings, including the church steeple, to stand out as the whitest whites in the painting, calling attention to the village which actually takes up only a small part of the total surface area. The rock, shown in the light red-browns tints common along this crumbling coast, is shadowed by the deep blacks of the india ink, supporting the rugged quality of the cliffs… Continue reading… 0 comments

The sketchbook drawing here has nothing to do with the theme of this blog post except that I drew this river scene at a restaurant on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta area where the wall are adorned by painting by Dorcys Burchell who still produces delightful paintings as a nonagenarian. The restaurant building itself is a drab rickety structure getting on in years itself, but the paintings add a spark of warmth as powerful toward its ambiance as the river view outside. Thousands of little diners have their walls adorned with "cute" prints (reproductions) or "junque". Those who buy original art, which can often be purchased from local artists at surprisingly reasonable prices, or allow local artists to display and sell work on their walls, are doing themselves a favor… Continue reading… 0 comments

Bright yellow mustard grows abundantly among the dormant vines of a vineyard in January. A rain puddle in the foreground is colored by the reflection of a sky where spent rain clouds drift. Bare branched trees line the far edge of the vineyard field. The painting is 10 inches by 7 inches. It is done in watercolor and sepia ink. This work is more of a painting than a drawing, but the lacework of bare branches against the sky brought the sepia colored ink to mind, and the effect proved it a good decision. The mustard, grasses, vineyard, and clouds are painted very loosely with hue and expanses of color of greater consequence than fine detail. Only the trees get this treatment, and it is more suggestion than photorealism… Continue reading… 1 comment

This work is purely a drawing, and of course drawing is absolutely essential to the pen and ink artist. Doing this piece was pure pleasure as it is when form emerges from a series of dots or strokes and the brain of the viewer completes the process of changing marks to powerful symbols. A sheet of paper becomes a delta scene, and this piece is ready to hang in a show I'm participating in during June. But is drawing equally important to the painter? I recently attend a watercolor workshop where fewer than half of the painters were working from their own drawings. (This was not "draw with your brush" type painting, but require a pencil drawing on paper). They had used their own photographs; their compositions were authentically theirs… Continue reading… 2 comments

Once again things like marketing and blogging were set aside during the lead up to the Lodi Art Center's Spring Art Annual at Woodbridge Winery. As president of this local art group and one who has been around long enough to know how we do the various tasks, I find myself deeply involved as a servant to "Art" with a capital "A" while we put together this 49 year old regional art annual. It was a wonderful show, people came, drank wine, had fun, and experience a good variety of art works. My husband Tom and I acquired a new piece for our own collection, too, a lovely ceramic kimono which keeps attracting my eye even as I set typing this. One thing I did not stop doing during the past very busy month, though, was painting. One result is this tiger lily… Continue reading… 0 comments

"Heavenly Path" took a long time to paint. It started as spill of dark blue paint with bits of watery reds and yellows dropped in on watercolor paper. After a great deal of thought, it seemed to me that the central area should be a window into another world, a glimpse though to an enchanted place. At this point the pines came into being, the pinks and yellow were given more definite shapes as blossoming shru. I also Intensified the red in the deep blue at the top, and let the geeen emerge above. scatterings of blue long the bottom were stretched to form a path, still in a blue gray. i lifted some blue in various parts of the painting to give greater light to the world. Still it wasn't finished. It waited… Continue reading… 0 comments

The image here is of a Fairy & Flowers ACEO that I put up on my Etsy site this morning ACEO 's, which are offer for sale, and ATC s, which are traded directly among artists, are 3.5" by 2.5" works of art--about which I had not a clue until about a year ago. This one is in watercolor and colored pencil. It began when I decided to recycle a workshop piece I had done several years ago. The workshop focus was on working with color in watercolor, and as a time saver the instructor had us work not only from her composition and reference photos, but also her drawing. I learned some things but could hardly call the finished product my own, so it had languished in the drawer of a flat file… Continue reading… 1 comment

Watercolor painting of a city scene has an old town feel to it. Patrons of a sidewalk cafe add extra interest. The image is 7" by 10" and is presented in a white mat measuring 11" by 14" Usually I paint plein air, from photographs, or from a still life set-up. This painting is just from a general memory of street scenes in any number of old town sections of various communities. I painted it during the time of was staying with my mom while my step-dad was in an out of town hospital for a difficult surgery (he's fine now). I was fooling around with different composition types, and painted a blue cross on an empty sheet of paper, and then thought about what to do with the cruciform composition… Continue reading… 1 comment

I was recently asked to do a show at the Lodi Wine and Visitors Center. I decided to feature floral and still life works, and I will be hanging the show later this week. As I worked to assemble an appropriate collection which would include a good number of pieces not yet shown in Lodi, I focused on a small (8" by 10") acrylic which I painted plien air in my backyard on a breezy March day. I wrote about it in my ArtId blog right after I painted it. Now that it was going to go out into the world and be seen, I decided it needed to go from the look of an acrylic sketch to a painting with some punch… Continue reading… 0 comments

Fire Moon

by Caroline , July 12, 2008—12:47 PM

Topics: inspiration, light, painting, watercolor

I completed a small painting of the "Fire Moon" yesterday, this is the moon that has been hanging over the Great Central Valley of California this week, gradually waxing fuller and always reddened by the smoke in the skies. There have been mornings when a dimmed sun rose an angry red and stayed that way farther above the horizon than ought to be expected, too. Late Thursday evening, on the edge of Friday morning, as the clock moved toward the midnight hour, it was framed by my bedroom window. There's a painting there, I thought, at last inspired by something in this smoke hazed period. I chose watercolor, where its transparency could well represent the layers of haze and various shades could blend into the grays… Continue reading… 0 comments

Climbing the Wall

by Caroline , July 10, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: color, light, oils, painting, shadow

Vines loaded with yellow berries climb a rock wall on a fall day. Dominate colors are pinks, yellow, and green. Shadows give the work dimension. This is the sort of delightful scene that will give one reason to pause during a walk and drink in the details of shape, texture, and color. This painting represents a detail at California's the Valley of the Moon's Jack London State Park on the former estate of the well-known author of Call of the Wild and a host of other books. I could have painted the ruins of Wolf House the dream home he started to build but never lived in. It burned, and London died at a rather young age before it was completed… Continue reading… 0 comments

I wish I had taken a before photo of this still life. I painted with a group last Tuesday. We were working from a still life set up which included a lemon, a rose, and a cluster of rose leaves against black velvet and white linen. Most of them worked on a vertical plane, but I decided to do a horizontal composition. I did not want to center the two major items in the still life, but in my effort to get them off-center, I wound up with the center of my white rose creating a bull's eye effect at the middle of the painting. The area to the right of it was only draperies. I liked the form of the rose, and I liked the lemon with its rich yellows, its greenish low-lights and the bright white highlight… Continue reading… 2 comments

Yupo has received a lot of attention in the blogs recently. Since I just added a piece, will also add some comments of my own. I like Yupo very much. I like the bright colors, the way it makes me work at getting the image I want, and the pleasant surprises it creates. Notice the very watery look in my background. The non-absorbent surface helped me get that. For the details I find I need a light touch and dry brush technique. I thought the bright tangerine and lemons had a nice presence against the more muted pale depression glass plate and white tablecloth, silver teapot, and white teacup… Continue reading… 2 comments

Consumnes River Preserve

by Caroline , March 24, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: making art, painting, papyrus, technique, watercolor

Playing with materials here, I've used watercolor on papyrus. I've seen other artists use papyrus for Egyptian or other ancient world themed art. It's fibrous, organic appearance seems to me to call for a nature scene. When I began experimenting with this material as a watercolor surface, I was afraid it would be difficult to paint on. What I found was that it takes color well while offering an excellent opportunity to lift paint. In other words, it is quite forgiving. The fibers of the paper show through transparent watercolor, so I would recommend it only where the pattern of woven grass fibers compliments rather than distracts from your theme… Continue reading… 1 comment

I completed this painting a few months ago after a week in California's north east corner with its mix of mountains and high desert. I used photos for reference, abetted by memories of the sheen of the still water and countless viewings of egrets along waterways. Ampersand's koalin clay coated board seemed like the perfect support because I could scratch back the white grasses, the whitest water sparkles, and much of the egret. It also lifts well to create high wispy clouds and the sheen on the water. As you move toward completion you really have to work at not using too much water, or you will lift color instead of adding it. However, I enjoy working with this challenge. I love the flow of traditional watercolor on paper, but paint puddles with an attitude are fun, too… Continue reading… 0 comments

I've been doing a lot of leg work and waiting about for people as part of the preliminaries that will allow my local art group to get into a new gallery/classroom space just in time to take in art from throughout our region for the 48th Lodi Spring Art Annual at Woodbridge Winery. Well, anyway impatience erodes and art heals. I waited impatiently at the finance dept. on the final step of approvals to get our utilities connected Then I began sketching a little boy working with a puzzle to pass the time while his parents resolved their problem at the desk. It was quite fun passing that little sketch on to his mother, and hearing a "that was sweet" from the young lady who then helped me. Similarly, at "Midnight in Indio" art led the way out of moments of misery and got me smiling again… Continue reading… 0 comments

Organizing Time

by Caroline , February 23, 2008—04:40 PM

Topics: art, organization, painting, shadow

It has been almost three-fourths of a year since I retired from my teaching job, and I am still working on organizing my day without the job schedule dictating any of my time. For years I grabbed painting time when I could in the early morning hours or on weekends, and I plunged in deeply during vacations. From something I wrote during that time: I'd been growing hungrier and gungrier to paint those last few weeks. At last summer break spread out like a pool of time. I dived in and have only just come up for air The flavor of pigment spreading on we paper was almost too sweet to bear. Shadows, rich and dark like chocolate, formed in sensual delight giving depth to flat planes. Greens as crisp as new lettuce, reds juicy as summer tomatoes,.... And so on it went… Continue reading… 2 comments


by Caroline , February 19, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: animals, humor, inspiration, painting

This is one of a series of whimsical ink and watercolor elephants that I have painted. I shall continue to paint them from time to time. Several of them have sold, but that is not why I will keep painting them. Somehow in doodling around with the ink and brush, I come up with elephants that are fun and that express who I am. Take this one, for example. Sumie ink and watercolor wash create an elephant startled by...what? It could be anything from a field mouse to a flash of lightning from that storm we see looming in the distance. But I know I go through life getting that same "whoa, there!" startled look on my face. Of course, there are things that are just plain scary or are too appalling to believe… Continue reading… 0 comments

Fall Waterfall

by Caroline , February 10, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: color, painting, poured paint, technique, watercolor

Watercolor with the intense flow of poured paint creates the heart of this almost abstract landscape. I had actually mixed the blue (using indanthrene blue, ultramarine blue, and I think a little Payne's gray) some time earlier for use as a background for a sunflower painting for a class I taught. I had kept the paint in a tightly closed jar where it stayed liquid and may have thickened a little. I poured it on wet the 140 lb watercolor and let it run. I added a few other colors on the wet paper and let the whole thing dry. Only later did I decide what it would become. The scene comes from memory and imagination… Continue reading… 0 comments

Art on Clay Board

by Caroline , January 17, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: Clay board, dry brush, painting, scratch, watercolor

Just wanted to post a few comments on the painting "The Mist Breaks" that I added to my artid studio today. This work was done on clay coated board by Claybord; it is the one they market at "smooth" Claybord. It is resistant to absorption, but not as resistant as yupo surfaces. I tend to use a fairly wet brush in laying out areas of color and then dry brush technique as I get into details. Paint is fairly east to lift. Because the surface is clay, it is then possible to scratch in white details, such as I did in the grasses and around the lighthouse windows… Continue reading… 0 comments

Painting Close to Home

by Caroline , January 15, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: flowers, india paper, painting, shadow, watercolor

I have completed my first artid gallery, and every painting in it had its genesis a few steps from my door. One of the blessings of painting is that it helps us see the ordinary in fresh ways--whether through the focus we give it as artists or as viewers. For example, Van Gogh's sunflowers, Wayne Thiebaux slices of pie, and Da Vinci's drawings of a pair of hands stop us in are tracks and speak directly to the heart with the message "These things matter." The "Calla Trio" sprang from the row of callas growing along the north side of my house. I've always admired those flowers for the serene beauty they maintain despite the best California's San Joaquin Valley can throw at them… Continue reading… 1 comment