Category Archives: Watercolor

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

Watercolor lesson: Painting a Colorful Bantam Rooster

Sorry for the long silence. I haven’t posted in over a month. This wasn’t my intention. I got all involved in painting roosters for a new project.

But I am crowing again!

Consider this post a watercolor lesson as I show you step by step how I painted this very colorful rooster. I used my chinese brushes , my favorite 1/4 inch scrubber (my name), a few smaller brushes (see photo) and a new favorite brush that is squared off but also rounded (the black and tan handle)

It has a wonderful rich feeling, thicker than most flats with a rounded edge.

my favorite brushes at the moment

Some of my favorite brushes

Once I found my reference (after looking at many photos) I  did my drawing and was ready to begin the really fun part, the painting.; But first I found a diagram of the feather groupings which are very complicated in roosters. This was extremely helpful.Once I studied them I could go to town and just have fun.

Feather Diagram

Feather Diagram

I found a wonderfully colorful Bantam photo.I named him Chuck just to keep it personal.

A prize Bantam photo

Firs I laid down loose washes for some of the major feathers. I would love to see a rooster preening and curious as to how long it takes to do a good washing. LOL no pun intended!

 Washes

Washes

I added the head and some feather details and the lucious dark brown body feathers.

Details and delicious darks

Details and delicious darks

Took this stage a little further with more feather details and added some pastel. It was so much more fun to use the pastels with the watercolors. I can’t wait to add more mixed media to my painting.

Finessing

Finessing

Then for the finishing touches.

Voila

Voila

Rooster Palette

Rooster Palette

My palettes always have this look I call it messy. But that’s the way they always end up. Everyone has a different looking palette. It’s kind of like a thumb print!

I always have great company while I am painting. Louisa May is truly a painter’s Cat.

Painter's cat

Painter’s cat

The 4 rooster paintings (finalists) and the designs that Dennis and I came up with are now complete. My next post which is coming on the heels of this one (or the spurs!) will be out very soon.

And I have earned another feather in my cap!

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Filed under Amia, Bantam rooster, Birds, Evergreen, Manufacturers, Nature, roosters, Uncategorized, Watercolor, wildlife and birds

Surtex 2013 Part II

Of course we go to the Surtex Show to meet with Clients, meet new manufacturers and generally get our new work seen.

Equally  important and enjoyable is networking with our fellow artists. Each year is a glad reunion with old friends and a chance to make new friends among our colleagues.

Part II of this Surtex Post will be photos and brief descriptions of these encounters. I was not able to include everyone I would have liked. Either time or space ran out. There are just too many wonderful artists at this show.

Our first reunion was with our good friends Andrea and Dan Tachiera. Andrea is a wonderful licensing artist who is now represented by Donna Westman of DSW designs. Andrea and Dan and their sons  live in Berkeley Ca and we don’t get to see them often enough. Andrea’s wonderful sunny watercolors reflect her sense of design and whimsy whether she is painting animals, flowers or rain boots!

Andrea and Dan Tachiera

Andrea and Dan Tachiera

Andrea's bright colorful watercolor flowers

Andrea’s bright colorful watercolor flowers

Then of course there was our “neighborhood”, our small aisle of five booths and our friend Lucinda Wei just across the aisle who has become a part of the “neighborhood.” (More about Lucinda later)

Sue Zipkin

Sue Zipkin

Across from us is our friend and wonderful artist Sue Zipkin. Sue’s colorful, zestful and lively art is a treat for the eyes. She is very successful in the business and is always fun to have nearby. Her husband Bob is there to help her and last year her son Max helped out also.

Ingrid and Kristin, Nutshell Designs

Ingrid and Kristin, Nutshell Designs

We look forward each year to seeing Ingrid Slyder and her sister Kristin set up in the corner booth next to us. Ingrid is another art licensing veteran and her finely painted, somewhat whimsy illustrations are a joy to see. She also has a neat wicked sense of humor and we love looking at her humorous card designs. We missed seeing Ingrid’s husband Duane this year.

Beth Logan Art Stuff

Beth Logan Art Stuff

Beth Logan’s booth is next to us on the corner. Not only is Beth fun bright and easy to talk to, but her art is whimsical, imaginative, cute and beautifully painted. She is a  popular artist and creates many fun fabrics for crafters. She wore a skirt each day made from her own fabrics – reversible too!

Kate Spade from Edinburgh

Kate Spade from Edinburgh

It’s definitely a pleasure to greet Kate Knight and her mother Jeanne who come all the way from Edinburgh. Kate’s beautifully designed and colorful florals are always a lift for the spirit as are both Kate and her mother. They thoroughly enjoy the Surtex experience and being in NY and we all enjoy them. It’s a pleasure to listen to their Scottish accents.

Lucinda Wei

Lucinda Wei

Lucinda Wei is fairly new to licensing. We met a few years ago in Atlanta and have become good friends. We walk a lot of the shows together. Her color sense is divine and she is a wonderful designer and illustrator. She has also been climbing the steep curve of art licensing very rapidly. Keep going Lucinda. Her sister Belinda was helping her out in the booth. It is nice to note how many family and friends pitched in to help.

Now we start to walk a little further afield. This is what I did every time we felt one of us could leave the booth. I stopped and talked to friends, looked at art,  took pictures and met new friends.

Elizabeth Golz Rush and     Lazarr

Elizabeth Golz Rush and
Barbara Lanza

My friends Elizabeth Golz Rush (on the right) and Barbara Lanza (middle) were sharing a booth with a third artist, Pamela Bishop who was unable to make it to the show. Mandy Hawes on the left pitched in for Pamela. Pamela’s art is whimsical and character driven.

Elizabeth’s work is so incredibly fine and detailed. Just a treat to look at. Her side interest now is in fairy doll kits which she makes and the fairy doll workshops that she does. I’ve bought several from her and helped my friends grandkids put them together.Check out her blog,

Barbara Lanza’s work is also very involved with wonderful magical fairies. Barbara started out as a fashion illustrator and now does children’s books as well as her fantasy art.

I was very happy to find Caleb Gray was here this year with his partner Connor Lynch.

Caleb and Connor

Caleb and Connor

Love that lunch box

Love that lunch box

Caleb Gray is the Artist and his partner Connor is actually in a scientific profession. They work wonderfully together in the booth. Caleb’s work is at the same time clean and modern and very retro. I feel like I am walking onto a 1950’s kids television show set (the aprons made from Caleb’s fabric do help the image). It’s a very unique look and he’s doing well.

 Rose Mary Berlin

Rose Mary Berlin

Rose Mary Berlin and her husband Rick are long time friends. As a matter of fact there were students of ours when we were teaching a course on The Business of Illustration for the Graphic Artists Guild. Besides being a mom Rose is a wonderful children’s book artist who has now branched out into licensing.  She paints “good” whatever she does, but her animals are spectacular. We always look forward to our time spent with Rick when he comes on the last day to help pack up. He is one of the world’s greatest schmoozers.

Alex Columbo and Paul Stout

Alex Columbo and Paul Stout

Alex Columbo and I met over the internet before the show via one of the many social networking groups we belong to. We’ve been in touch since and almost met in Atlanta in January. This was our first time meeting face to face. Her designs are whimsical colorful and charming as is she. This is her first Surtex and I believe that she had a great show and a wonderful experience. I also had the pleasure of meeting and talking to her husband Paul Stout who is involved in the business part-time.

Patti Gay

Patti Gay

Patti Gay is an extremely versatile artist who can work in many styles and media. In her career she has published many adorable and beloved childrens’ books as well as having been an art director at Portal Publications. In addition to her regular licensing art she has created an imprint called Two Can Art. Here she publishes art that she has done in collaboration with her son Noah who is 21 and autistic. His love for color and textures has been incorporated into her designs. She and I also got to know each other first on Facebook before we met at Surtex.

Another wonderful reason for being on facebook is networking with your colleagues.

                                                                                Martha Collins in her booth with Caleb Gray
Martha Collins in her booth with Caleb Gray

Now here is an artist whose work I love. Martha Collins. She herself is sunny, bright and interesting as is her artwork. She is very diverse in her styles. Her floral watercolor paintings are my special favorites. When I first noticed her work at a Surtex some years back I was so very impressed with her style and all the chances she took to continue being different and new. After that I wanted to move in a new direction too. Thanks Martha.

Give yourself a treat and take some time to go to each artists’ site.

And thanks to all the wonderful artists at Surtex. There wasn’t time to capture more for my blog but they all helped make it a very fine show.

I might as well mention our websites. They are linked to each other and the Andrea Brooks site has more of painted designs and Dennis site is more graphic and whimsical.

Andrea Brooks

Dennis Kendrick

The two of us

The two of us

Well, I like this photo of us in our booth. It’s a rarity to get a photo where we both look good and happy. Thanks again to our friend Tom Cathey who also baked the marvelous cookies. Hint, hint Tom.

Back in our studio, I’m in fighting the cold that I held at bay during the show. But that’s what is great about working at home. I can still get up every day and do our follow through and we continue to work together. The cats are so happy to have us at home.

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Filed under Children's Books, Flowers, Javitts Center, Licensing, Surtex, Watercolor

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