Category Archives: Flowers

Daffodils for Maggie

Since I last wrote I had been spending a lot of time with Maggie our lovely 15 year old white tabby. She was dying of cancer and Dennis and I  knew that our time with us was limited.

I lavished her with love, play and attention whenever she wanted it. It was both a sad and a happy time.

Magnoia Rose

Magnoia Rose

Sadly almost three weeks ago she died from a very brief stroke. But she and I had almost two months to indulge in petting, loving, special foods and new games.

To back track, I had received an assignment form a client to do a watercolor for a  very large Daffodil flag. I was alone with the cats for four days while Dennis went to the Atlanta gift show. We usually go together but this time I stayed home with Maggie and Louisa and Buster.

I decided that I was painting these flowers for Maggie. That way I could be thinking about her while I painted and be offering these flowers as a tribute to how beautiful she has been in my life.

I did this sketch for the flag after looking at pictures of daffodils and made some decisions about colors.

pencil drawing for Daffodils

pencil drawing for Daffodils

My first go round was not great.  Then I tried another simpler approach

and liked these better. They were small (maybe 5″ tall) but simpler and I liked them.

small painted daffodil

small painted daffodil

Another small daffodil

Another small daffodil

I also did a swatch chart of all my yellows and then played with them to get used to how they mix, whether they were transparent or more opaque and how they layer.

Mixing is combining two colors while wet either on my palette or dropping a second color onto a wet layer of watercolor. Layering (also called glazing) is basically letting one color dry and then putting another layer of color over it. In all my years of painting I am embarrassed to admit that I had never really done this except spottily as needed. Always too impatient to get right to painting. I discovered how wonderful gamboge yellow is and also cadmium yellow light. They are both transparent and very versaitile. Gamboge has a more orange or peachy hue to the yellow and the cadmium yellow can go from very pale to bright.

Now I had been painting for almost three days and I sent the smaller daffodils to my art director. She liked them but needed to see everything painted injust like my sketch.

Finally round three I decided to paint the flowers really big and use my new # 16 brush. The small ones I used as studies at this point.

 And that was the perfect solution.   It was fun, and much easier I found than painting small. Also I could stay simpler with more ease.

These measured about 10 ” from stem to top petal. it also gave me a chance to stay loose and still do nice detailing in the ceter. Flower centers are truly amazing when you start focussing on them. That was what Georgia O’Keefe was about. Getting us to really see what was there.

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Yellow and orange watercolor daffodil

Yellow and orange watercolor daffodil

Yellow daffodil watercolor

Yellow daffodil watercolor

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After Dennis got back we sillouhetted the flowers and  I also painted some extra leaves. Then I sat with him as we arranged them according to my sketch.

Final flag design

Final flag design

I was tired but happy. Maggie was hanging in there and I had been successful. Painting yellow flowers had been one of the

hardest challenges for me and I had finally figured it out.

Maggie and Me

Maggie and Me

Our friend John took this photo about a week before Maggie left us. She looked like a ragamuffin but she was our ragamuffin and a totally loved cat.She was still enjoying life’s

feline pleasures including her new discovery. The joy of drinking water from the sink and tub faucets.

From now on I will always think of Maggie when I am painting flowers. And daffodils for sure will always be Maggie

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Filed under Atlanta Gift show, Cats, Daffodils, Flowers, Maggie, Trade shows, Uncategorized, Watercolor

Painting 30 Roses

I hope you like roses.

Mid the Roses

Mid the Roses

I spent mid June through mid July painting roses. I had in mind a looser simpler style like the flowers I had been painting recently and I also looked at other artists roses that I liked especially Martha Collins .

I must have done at least 30 roses in a period of a month. Everyday it was roses and more roses. When I first started painting watercolor and wanted to paint vegetables and food I spent at least that much time for hours each day painting peppers until I got it.

Along the way

I painted roses every day

Dennis andI decided after looking them all over that the two pink roses above were really nice. They got moved from the reject pile to usable.  Different than what I wanted to get, but nice enough to use.

And more roses

I was about to give up a number of times but that determination that helped me learn to watercolor in the first place kept me going. Those 30 roses it turns out were both practice and learning what I did and didn’t want to do. It became clear to me when I was beginning to overdo it and I would stop right there and start again.

I started to breathe again

These were beginning to look like the roses I had imagined

And relax

And these also

Time to celebrate

Time to celebrate-I did it!

By the time I painted the final roses (see above) it was delicious and went smoothly and simply. Though I was finished with the actual watercoloring I was by no means done. I scanned the roses and then compared the scan to my originals watercolors. Where   needed I heightened some of the darks and brightened the yellows then rescanned. At this stage it is a good idea to change the mode toCMYK since this is the mode used in actually printing the design by the manufacturer. When you change from RGB to CMYK the colors dull down a bit.

 Time to get together with Dennis and create the designs. We have a true partnership in many ways. He is such a wonderful designer with an eye for the beautiful and simple. I rely on him at this stage of the creative process as well as earlier at the painting stage. I am the kind of artist who needs feedback. I am always popping into his work space to say,”Whatta ya think? Is it working?”

Next……….Dennis and I sillouhetted the roses. Then I looked at them again on the computer screen and decided that more enhancement was still called for. This I did in photoshop using hard and soft brushes and the clone tool and the burn and dodge tool. These are great tools for any artist. And now we were ready to use the roses in a design.

Give a Rose Win a Heart

Give a Rose
Win a Heart

Friends are the Roses in my garden

Friends are the Roses
in my garden

Took a while to come up with the inspirational sayings. I didn’t want anything too sappy. That wouldn’t be me. But sentimental. Yes I am.

I thought about painting more roses, but think I I am ready for a break.

Stay tuned.

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Filed under Flowers, Uncategorized

Working on a new project, Botanical Garden

Surtex is almost a month away.

But creating art continues until the last possible minute. There is nothing like facing a show to inspire creativity and productiveness.

I have been painting new flowers and birds for several weeks. And now I am finished except for painting backgrounds. Then I turn it over to Dennis and we sit in front of the computer and create the new designs. The inspiration this time are antique botanical floral and bird designs. I am doing an updated version working inthe loose watercolor style that I have been developing. I have had many sources of inspiration, including but not all, sumi e painting, Janet Rogers watercolor tutorials and my own way of putting thngs together.

Here are a few of the florals  that I am happy with.

The newest peony

The newest peony

Red Poppies

Red Poppies

Azalea

Azalea

Blue Poppies

Blue Poppies

I’ve painted about twelve different flowers. There are a few rejects.

I’ve done a number of birds to go with this style, but only like one so far. I’ll wait before I post it. Always good to wait a few days and then look again.

I thought that the Azaleas had gotten too heavy handed right after I finished painting. Two days later I looked and made a few alterations and thought “hmmmm these are nice,I like them.”

I hope to have at least one of the new designs called “Botanical Garden” to show here soon. In the meantime I have to come to terms with the birds and then a few insects. I’ll include a bee, butterfly and dragonfly. Maybe even a little grass hopper.

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Filed under Birds, Botanicals, Flowers, insects, Surtex, Trade Show, Uncategorized, Watercolor

Another break from Trade Shows; My new Floral Haiku Collection

Taking a brief break from Trade Show talk and showing off my new Floral Haiku watercolor collection.

Dennis' lovely logo


Dennis’ lovely logo

Working on changing my style

Working on changing my style

Months ago I wanted to change my style, not a lot, but enough to please me. I wanted to paint with my arm and shoulder more and less with my wrists.To generally loosen up the feel and look of my watercolors.

Considerable painting time went into playing and practicing to combine looks I liked and come up with a new look of my own.

Sumi e brushes

Sumi e brushes

types of Sumi-e brushes

types of Sumi-e brushes

At this time I discovered long forgotten Sumi e brushes in my very large collection of brushes. I watched some videos on Sumi  brush painting and learned how to use the brush. You have to hold it differently and usually have one color on the body of the brush and another darker on the tip. The brushes come to very fine points and are great for calligraphic lines and swirls. It takes a lot of practice to master the correct way to hold the brush and I haven’t quite gotten there yet, but I’ll keep trying.

Sumi e painting

Sumi e painting

Renoir my favorite impressionist painter

Renoir my favorite impressionist painter

trendy floral designs in fashion

trendy floral designs in fashion

Inspirations

Inspirations

As usual I did a lot of googling and looking at art styles, poetry, and fashionable florals on fabric that I liked.

A lot of joy and excitement went into these paintings. Also a lot of frustration and sweat when I didn’t succeed. The rejects mounted. I’m tearing them into pieces and want to try using them for some watercolor collage designs.

 Peony andPoppies CollageThe first

Peony andPoppies Collage 

“Breezy”was the first painting completed.

Airy

Airy

Then came “Airy”

Hydrangea and Hollyhocks, Sort

Hydrangea and Hollyhocks, Soft

By painting number three, “Soft” my hand was picking up the new rhythm of my painting. Sometimes painting feels like playing music. The touch, movement and intensity or softness has to be just right and it all needs to flow. I guess that is “getting into the flow.” It’s a wonderful place to be!

Sunflower and Mum,Fresh

Sunflower and Mum,Fresh

And finally there came “Fresh”

Me in my painting hat

Me in my painting hat

I guess it wouldn’t be far fetched to say I’m happy.

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Filed under Collection, Creativity and Fun, Flowers, Nature, Uncategorized