Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cat Tail Pins - 3x2 low fire clay ceramic

Here is a sample of my cat tail pins. I love making these little gems. I have been doing it for about 13 years or so. I get positive comments and then those, who are just disgusted. Then the disgust sometimes turns to delight as they realize who they can buy them for...

Bought a digital camera

I couldn't handle the poor pictures so I broke down and bought another digital camera.
I will retake a some pictures and post them.
In the meantime, here a wonderful photograph of Boxer Thomas.
That was one spoiled and definitely loved kitty.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Loosen Up" Watercolor Paper with Acrylic

I got up this morning, studied Spanish on my ROKU box, filled the trash can with garden debris and did my morning art exercise. This is recommended by Robert Burridge - the art exercise.
So much fun - I want to go do more. This is the result of the splattered paper I did a few days ago. I ordered his videos and can't wait to get them. His classes are full so I won't be able to take a workshop but I will be in his class in spirit. I hope there is no charge. If so, it will definitely be worth the price.

Found my camera in anothe state - I am heading to Walmart for another one

I put my digital camera into the wrong purse. Found it in another state. Not state of mind but another US state. So... I am going shopping for another. I will reshoot some of the paintings.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jean Gordon's Ceramic Buttons

Here, as promised, are Jean's ceramic buttons. These are low fired clay buttons that are fired twice. Once to a bisque fire and then low fire glazes are used. They are fired, again.
They are very popular amongst knitters and fiber art artist.
You can see why. Oh - still looking for my digital camera. Perhaps it is in the car.

Mary - Photograph by Gerald Klaas

My husband is a wonderful photographer. He had a business when we were younger. When he travels for work, he takes pictures. They have won a few art awards including a calender piece.
This is a picture he sent me last night.
I think it is beautiful.

Practice makes more paintings

I got up this morning to a big storm. I had setup a still life last night and I continued painting it. I did two quick paintings in under an hour using oil and a brush. I was pleased with them. Not pleased that I cannot find my digital camera so I am still taking pictures with my cell phone. The quality isn't that great but you can see the work.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Loosening up the painterly way

I mentioned I watched Robert Burridge's DVDs at Trude Z's house the night and it inspired me. I got out my jars of acrylic paints and some discarded watercolor paintings. I then got out some brushes, cardboard and an old tooth brush and started throwing paint on the paper. I immediately began to sing. Obviously I was happy throwing paint and slapping the paper together, smearing it with childlike delight. I then found myself dipping my fingers into the paint and using the brush to scrape. It was wonderful. Less than 10 minutes later, I had these wonderful pieces. Oh - and without a hangover. I was feeling happy and relaxed at the same time.
Once they dry - which isn't easy on the coast, especially when it is raining- I will try Robert's floral technique. I can't wait.
Its good to be an artist.

Raku Orbs - low fired clay and raku glaze

Here are samples of my raku orbs. They are popular. I hired a wonderful decorator several years ago and they put these pieces in the jar. They stand out and I love it.

"Raku Sea Vase" 9X5 Raku Clay - low fired

This is a raku piece I did for a show. I needed a handle so I ran down to the beach and grabbed a piece of bull kelp. Bull kelp, when dried, can be used to make handles and pouches. Check out Creative Arts at for other examples. The kelp pouches were made by artist Audi Stanton.
I molded the handle onto the piece, held it in place with artificial sinew and a kelp bead. To make a kelp bead, you cut the small part of the hollow kelp. I thought it was pretty creative.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Milk Box Carton Kitty

When our cat , Boxer Thomas, was alive, he would disappear in our house from time to time. It would appear he just disappeared into thin air. One day, I checked everywhere and finally called my husband because I was so distressed. At that moment I opened up our guest room, only to find our cat nestled amongst the flowery, pink pillows. He looked up as if to say "Oh, there you are, Eva".
Silly cat.
I got the camera and sent this picture to my husband. He called it "Milk Box Carton Kitty".

"A Brush With Many Colors" 8X10 Oil on Board

I like painting the big brush I found on my walk. I painted it, again. I put a lot of color into it.
Last night, I watched Robert Burridge dvds at Trude's apartment.She is a great artist who just finished a workshop with Robert Burridge. Robert encourages painting fast and loose. I love it! It was so exciting to watch him use, even a mop, to paint color. He uses a simple ten color wheel where you chose four color to paint your painting with. It works. I forgot to mention, he works in acrylics.
I was so inspired that I couldn't wait to get up this morning and start practicing painting fast and loose with some of my old watercolor paintings.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"The Pond" 8X10 Oil on Board

This is an oil painting of William B Pond in Sacramento, Ca. There is a wonderful dock that is shaded by the willow trees where you can stand and paint plein air. The dock sits over the water and the ducks and geese swim by. There is a bike trail nearby. Beautiful trees.
I recommend this spot as a quiet place to paint.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Big, Orange Brush Picture

Here is a picture of the big, orange brush. It is hard to miss.

"Paint Bigger" 8X10 Oil on Board

I was on my daily walk and this bright, orange, large brush caught my attention. It was right in front of me on my normal walking path. The brush had been used to paint orange plastic onto perhaps a boat or something else.
Now, I am spiritual and believe that you are given signs to improve your life. So, here was this large, bright orange brush. I heard loud and clear - keep painting - big and bold.
So, I took my "message" home and painted it this afternoon. It was a fun painting. I laid the color in with a 2 inch spackle tool and exaggerated the color. I decided I am going to paint several paintings of this brush this week.

"Sacramento River" 9X12 Oil on Board

I am still looking for my digital camera. In the meantime, I am taking pictures with my phone.
Here is a plein air, oil painting of the Sacramento River in California. The day was overcast; therefore, cool colors are used. It was a nice painting and then I took it home and over worked it. Boy - that is frustrating. So I took it to a great critique group and took their advice. The previous painting had orange in the background trees - that did not belong - and I cooled it down.

I haven't checked on the kiln this morning. I will wait until I return from the whale watch.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wooly Bags and More

I spent the afternoon weighing sheep wool and stuffing them into bags. Why? Well, I have all this extra wool and I decided to clean up my attic. I am working with Jeanie, a fiber artist, and she is willing to find stores to sell the small bags of wool. They are perfect for fiber art projects, collages, suet cages for bird nest and more.
We also are re purposing plastic nylon netting and making them into small nesting balls. We were thinking even bird think green.

Greenware ready for the kiln

Here are my hand thrown pottery vases ready to be fired for the first time in my kiln. I have extra space so I am including Jeanie's studio buttons after I put a clear glaze on her pieces.

Green Crackled Raku - 7X9 clay

Here is one of my raku vases. The crackling and metalic glaze doesn't show up in this picture as much as it actually is on the pottery. I used a pottery tool called Steve's tool to make the design around it. I left the black band unglazed so it would be effected by the trash I threw it into.
If you are not aware of the raku process, you take a bisque fired, raku glazed piece and fire it to about 1700-1900 degrees. Then you take tongs and pull the pieces while they are hot and put them in trash cans filled with trash such as paper or leaves. You then cover the trash can with the lid and wait for the surprise. I wait about 30 minutes and hit the piece with water.
The results are never the same.
I love raku!

"I am Surrounded" 5X7 Oil on Board

This pear painting is surrounded by cherries. The painting is loose and the colors are strong. In my mind this is a keeper. This painting was completed in less than an hour. I don't know if I mention it earlier, but I use a timer. That way I don't overwork the piece and make the colors muddy.
I sent away to Art Supply Warehouse to get more 5X7 board plus frames. I can't wait for them to arrive.
Yesterday, at our weekly art critique, I saw the artists' amazing progress. Getting together in a group to discuss art and show your work is necessary as an artist. I learn something new each time I go to gallery.
The most interesting thing, I think, I learned yesterday is about adding a spice color - color or colors that add interest to the painting.
Today, I will sand my greenware pottery and bisque fire it tonight. I will include Jeanie's Studio Buttons. This batch is being fired with low fired glazes. I will post a picture when they are completed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Studio Buttons By Jeanie

I am sitting at my kitchen table with Jeanie Gordon and we are discussing her beautiful studio buttons. These are unique handmade clay and porcelain buttons. Some are rakued. We are doing projects together today.
I had some bags of wool and we packaged them for sale. We are calling them Wooly Bags. The saying on the front is " Pull the wool from the bag not over your eyes".
They can be used for fiber art projects, bird nesting material enclosed in a suet cage, felting and more.
We also worked together to get her blog up and running. Check out

"What a Beauty" 6X6 Oil on Board SOLD

I recently learned to love painting green apples. They are more complex than one would think as you begin to break down the color bands.
As artists know, it is important to know how to paint shadow and light on an object - sphere, cylinder, pyramid shape, rectangle and square in order to successfully learn to paint the outdoors.
Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed painting the outdoors and forget all my previous knowledge regarding painting shapes.
Once I relax, I am fine.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Tata-Matoes" 9X12 Oil Painting on Board - SOLD

I set up still life painting with my favorite table napkin and a dish towel. The tomatoes are hot house tomatoes. This was painted with a brush in less than 1 hour on a rainy afternoon.
I think it is a keeper.

Close up of Sheeba's Face

Here is a close up of Sheeba's face. Hopefully, you can see the colors I used. I focus on the eyes. That is how I start my cat paintings. Then I add the rest.
The painting itself is an example of a crucifix composition.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Sheeba" 20X16 Watercolor Cold Press

This is a loose watercolor of my cat, Sheeba. She is a Siamese mix. I love dripping the paint down the surface and leaving my graphite drawings. If you look closely you can see where I changed the drawing without erasing the previous lines. I do not like erasing.
I was taught by my drawing instructor, Audi Stanton, to be confident with your lines. Leave them. I do just that. She taught the class to draw with a sharpie pen so we would not erase and all this done in a hardbound drawing book where we could not rip out pages. Great style of teaching.
I can sit and draw without thinking about it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Whale Watching

Whale watching week on the Oregon coast has begun. We spotted 16 grey whales traveling by today. They were out about 5 miles.
The weather was overcast but still beautiful. A group from Ashland that has showed up the last 6 years were here and always good to see them. They have great whale spotters.
I worked in my garden today so no art.
I will get back to painting in tomorrow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Does This Cup Make Me Look Fat?" 5X7 oil on board

I painted this green apple next to an Ikea cup. It was a quick study less than 30 minutes and completed with oil and brush. I love it. It sits in my kitchen.

I was running around today and went into the Crescent Harbor Gallery. They are having their salad luncheon tomorrow. Always good. Great works of art that you can bid on.

Then, I went next door to the Talking Crow Studio and saw Rika Blue. She is great artist, potter and teacher. I shopped around and found a hand knitted cap from a young artist. Last time I was there, I bought a few mugs from young pottery named Hannah. I recommend shopping at both places if you are local are just passing through.

Both places offer jewelry, pottery, fiber arts, paintings, murals and classes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oregon Coast

It is beautiful on the Oregon Coast. Haven't seen a whale spout yet but I know they are out there.
I left my camera in Northern California so I can't post anything today new.
Here is a commissioned watercolor I did in December. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Splashing Color" 5x7 Oil on Board

I got out my favorite, small, flat, oil brush this gorgeous morning and painted this pear. I decided to make it in a watercolor style since that is what I originally trained in. I liked the results.
When I started oils, I liked to lay them on thick - not any more. This is using a minimal amount of oil paint on board.
The pear was placed on a gingham dishtowel under a halogen light. I painted it in less than 30 minutes. I was happy with the results.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Danny" Watercolor

I did laundry and picked up house today. Didn't do anything creative so here is a watercolor I did about 12 years ago. It won first place at a Sacramento show and I gave it to the child's mother as a gift.
I haven't done very many portraits since then. I started painting cats.
I am getting ready to head back north so I am preoccupied with packing. I can't wait to get back home.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Break Time II" 5X7 Oil on Board

It is beautiful here this morning in Northern California and I was so inspired by the Sacramento Second Saturday Art Walk last night. I got up this morning and I decided I would repaint the "Break Time" painting that was damaged in the mail.
My husband was happy with his new little painting.
I was, too.

"Judgement" Raku Clay 8X10

I learned to work with clay in high school and didn't work in it, again, until 20 years later when I decided to take a clay class. The class was held at American River College in Sacramento, CA. It was a beginning class but it went through the basics of hand building, throwing on a wheel and even raku firing. Great class. I bought an old kiln and started working in clay.
This piece I created is an example of a simple mask. I used a form to sculpt the clay over and added my own design.
I believe the clay is Sandstone. I bisque fired it in my old kiln and then painted raku glazes on it. I then fired it in my kiln, again, and pulled it when it was red hot. I pulled it with fire long tongs.
The hot piece was carefully placed into a trash barrel with shredded paper. I let it burn for 30 minutes and then put it into water.
You can see the results.
I learned how to improve my throwing skills this last year at Alpha Ceramics. The instructor, David Bradley, is an excellent teacher.
I will post some of the completed pieces at a later date.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Callie" 9X12 Watercolor and Graphite on Paper

This was a friend's cat and a favorite watercolor of mine that I painted a few years ago. I painted it in less than an hour. I also used blues, pinks and created purples. The eyes are so important to me when painting cats. When you compare any cat I paint to our Boxer Thomas kitty, the face and eyes are similar - regardless of the breed.
I cut long strips of masking tape to ensure the whiteness of the whiskers. Sometimes, I will paint around the whisker rather than masking. I also mask in highlights for the eyes. Note: There are several colors in the cat's iris.
When painting with watercolors, I also leave the color and do not dab. I like to squeeze the excess paint from my brush onto the paper and let it drip.
I like to paint standing with the paper in my hand. My husband has observed on several occasions me dancing with a paint brush in one hand, a watercolor in the other and me humming a happy tune.
Obviously, it brings me joy!

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Feeling Blue" 9X12 Oil on Board SOLD

This is a completed painting on my easel. I painted this in my Oregon studio. My goal was to capture the planes of the apple. I continue to learn how to paint the shapes not the subject. I have to disassociate from the still life I am painting and begin to see the geometric shapes and color. I am retraining my brain not to see the apples but to see the planes and lay down the color in a logical format.
What I love about this painting was how limited the strokes are and the shadow colors. I recognize that I am beginning to see the shapes that create the apple. I could also see the plane created at the stem, the pentagon shape.
At this point, I think I am getting a successful painting about every 5 paintings. The failures are where I am learning.
I read a quote yesterday -A painting is a series of corrected mistakes.
I like to line my paintings up on a wall to remind me where I have been. This helps me see where my successes and failures have been while painting.
I should state, I started out as a watercolorist and despite what I have heard, I think oils are more difficult.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Preparing for a Hangover" 8X10 Oil on Board

I took a wonderful workshop with Susan Sarback in Fair Oaks, CA last year and I am continuing to improve my skills with color and a palette knife.
This painting, "Preparing for a Hangover" has some successes and failures in it. The shadow under the lemon is overworked. The background's value is too similar to the lemon shadow. The composition isn't very interesting. I loved painting the cherries and the cobalt blue glass.
I want to paint daily. I do this and then normally attend a critique group on Tuesdays with very talented artists in Oregon. We bring in all of our work for the week and discuss the paintings, subjects, composition and process. I recommend this to all artist, painters, and potters.
Sitting with a group of people who have a goal to improve their work is uplifting to the soul. I am always inspired after I leave.
We purchase and watch other artist DVDs, ( I highly recommend Susan Sarback's DVDs) share books and talk about the workshops we attend.
I think to be a successful artist or person, you must continue to learn.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Break Time" 5X7 Oil on Gesso Board

I loved painting this little art piece. The still life is very simple. An Ikea cup, green apple and one of my ocher dinner napkins. I had to stand over the still life with my the gesso board to paint. I used a brush instead of a palette knife and limited my brush strokes. After it dried, I sent it to my husband as a gift. I thought it would be a nice addition to his office cubicle. I name it "Break Time". (On the back of my paintings, I list my name, location, media used, date and title).
When my husband received it, he said he thought it was a great title. How did I manage to crack the painting? I had no idea what he was talking about. Well, en route with the postal service, a large heavy object apparently was dropped on it. The board didn't break, just the front of the painting.
We had a good laugh and next time I will insure the painting before I send it, again.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Oh Pear" 5X7 Oil on Gesso Board

I painted this pear at my breakfast counter in Northern California. I used a new dish towel for the background. The pear wasn't standing up right so I slammed it a few times on the counter to flatten out the bottom. Yes - I abused the pear for the sake of art.
In between painting, I started a vegetable garden on the balcony. A variety of tomatoes and herbs - most I picked up at Target. I love their garden store but apparently they are closing. I can't believe it. So I am enjoying it while I can.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Beach Party" 5X7 Oil on Gesso Board - SOLD

I just love the idea of the white starfish and cobalt blue glass. I added a lime this time instead of a lemon. A previous oil painting, "This is a Hold Up", had a lemon wedge and a different shaped cobalt blue glass.
I wasn't happy with this glass shape. I think there is too much green with the green background with a green lime but I think there are good parts to the painting. I like the shadow of the starfish.
Again, this is done with palette knife on gesso board.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Sitting Pretty" 9X12 Watercolor and Graphite

This is a watercolor and graphite painting I did of a calico cat. I love the drippy colors as it ran off the page. When I start to paint this type of painting, I complete the eyes first and then add the rest of the painting. The colors are primarily watercolor stains. I love pinks, greens and blues. I also like Payne's grey My favorite is probably quinacridone gold. I think I first used that color in Jan Kuntz's workshop several years ago in Carmichael, California.
Again, this is a quick study. I have the kept the original to many of my cat portraits and have sold the prints.


The grey whales are heading north and now is perfect time to spot them along the California and Oregon Coast. Check out
Spring Watch Week, March 20 - 27
This week is the peak time for the spring migration, but whales may be seen from mid-March to late May. I and other volunteers will be available during the spring watch week to show you how to spot a whale and talk to you about the whale migration. We will be there from 10 AM until 1 PM daily for a week. Click HERE FOR MAPS to find out where volunteers will be or go to the website.

"This is a Hold Up" 5X7 Oil on Gesso Board -SOLD

This was a fun little painting to create. I setup the still life on my breakfast bar. I bought a cobalt blue glass from Pier 1 and added a few cloth napkins: one green and one ocher. The white starfish was sitting in our towel basket as a decorative piece so borrowed it for the afternoon. I sliced the lemon wedge for more interests. Later, it ended up in my glass of water.
I put the still life under a halogen light. I couldn't do it in full sun light because it was raining here in Northern California at the time. Oh did I mention, I brought the weather from up North with me?
My camera doesn't pick up the colors very well such as the of the lemon shadows nor the rind color. The starfish is reflected in the glass.
The whole painting took me less than an hour. I am sure I could render it more but I was happy with the results. The more I paint, the more color I see.
This is a palette knife oil painting on gesso board.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Where have I been?

I started my blog and got distracted by my poor cat, Boxer Thomas. Boxer was 17 years old and had diabetes for 7 years. This means he received insulin shots twice a day and despite being very healthy, I kept a watchful eye over him. The veterinarians were very amazed that he was such good health for a cat his age. We were told he would only live 2 year once he was diagnosed.
Boxer Thomas was finally laid to rest in May 2009. We will never forget our companion and for the first time in my life, I know what is is like to feel lonely.
Boxer was my art muse and inspiration. He got me up every morning at 5 for his shot. He got me up throughout the night to refresh his water and clean his litter box. He let me know when he was sick and trusted I would care for him... and I always did. I never complained because he gave and my family so much entertainment and love through the years. How fortunate we were to have him in our life.
Every day I think of him. I keep his cat nip garden maintained as it reminds me of how much he loved his garden, his beach house and his life. I remember him meowing at the full moon, his Elvis impersonations, him enjoying meals at the dining table, purring over the groceries items that I piled on the floor for him, grateful when I removed intruders from his favorite chair, and feeling safe and sound as we held him close to our hearts in our arms at night.
Your family loves you Baby Kitty. Sleep tight until we meet, again.

Apple and Cobalt Glass - 5X7 Oil on Gesso Board - SOLD

This is a quick study using techniques I learned from taking a class in Fair Oaks, California at the School of Light and Color with Susan Sarback.
It is one of the best classes I have taken. Susan is an excellent instructor. She is very clear with her steps and how to achieve vibrant impressionistic paintings. Learning to see and paint color is quite a visual journey. I didn't know how much color was in a simple still life until I took the classes this summer. Now, I can't get enough.
This painting was done with a palette knife on gesso board.

Springtime - 9X12 Watercolor and Graphite

I love cats and most of all, I love painting cats. This watercolor was created at my dining room table one night before an art show. It is one of my favorites because I left white of the paper and kept the graphite lines. I do not like to erase so I leave the lines!