Sunday, March 4, 2018

Workshop with Rise Parberry

Yesterday was a very enjoyable one day workshop taught by Rise Parberry, whose web site is  She was teaching her method for creating nonobjective paintings, and it was VERY interesting indeed. She taught us many ways of doing things to create effects and for solving problems, and I wish I had taken better notes!

We started the morning making under paintings her way, on 300 pound rough Arches bright-white paper, half sheet. This involved soaking the paper, painting on wide streaks of pre-mixed granulating colors, and using squirt bottles to move the paint around. We also lifted out white shapes. She said it can take her six hours to do this part of a painting. We didn't have that much time, so we rushed a bit and dried our paintings with hair dryers. Here's my under painting:

After a late lunch, Rise showed us several neat things we could do to complete our under paintings, and again, I wish I had taken better notes. There wasn't enough time for me to paint, so I finished mine this morning at home, creating shapes and using negative painting. It was very fun, so thanks to an excellent teacher! I also think I like it. And here it is:

This morning I also worked on my sixth desk painting, and I succeeded in getting more abstract. It's all watercolor on a half sheet of 140 pound cold pressed Arches. I kind of like it, too, and here it is:

Word/k Desk II

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Christopher Schink Workshop Feb 2018

It was wonderful to be attending Christopher Schink's workshop again! As usual, it was held at Sylvia Megerdichian's Art Box Studio in Upland. This one was called "Making the Leap to Abstraction." We were told to bring reference material, and I brought a photograph of my favorite local birding place, the Bolsa Chica wetlands. I made three consecutive attempts to abstract this place, but I was too tied to the reality of the photograph. The third one is better in terms of abstraction, but it still doesn't quite work. It may be that Bolsa Chica doesn't lend itself well to abstraction. I may try again.

Then I made up abstract birds in two different color schemes, using colors I rarely use. Actually, I rarely use the yellow green and the rose color in the last Bolsa Chica abstract either. The last bird was well liked by the teacher and my fellow students. Yay!


Had a lot of fun, loved seeing Toph and Sylvia again, got some painting done. Also enjoyed socializing and discussing grandchildren with the other attendees, some of whom were from far away (Texas, Mississippi, Boston), some of whom I knew from prior years, and most of whom are excellent artists. Can't wait for next year!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Workshops Galore

So far in 2018 I have taken or signed up for several workshops. Besides being lots of fun, workshops tend to shake up my thinking and get me painting after a lull. The year started with Jacki Long's fun weekly collage workshop at Catalyst. See her blog at . In Jacki's class I made an image that I put into my iPad and made into something new, to enter into the Huntington Beach Art Leagues "Selfies" show.

Journal Collage

Journal Collage

"Worry" (done on iPad with Procreate)

I decided to try a nonobjective painting, completely painted negatively. It turned out OK, and I want to try some more nonobjectives.

"No Object" (watercolor)

Went to workshop with Katherine Chang Liu and did a couple of small things, and got inspired when I got home to try to start a series.

"Into the Woods"

"Imagining Mom"  (collage on watercolor)

I have spent a great deal of my life at desks, so I decided to do a series of paintings of my desks. Here's the first one:

"Wall Desk"  (watercolor and India ink)

Now looking forward to workshops with Christopher Schink, Rich Hawk, and Rise Parberry. Wow!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Arctic Watercolors Derived from Collages in Previous Post

Arctic 2 with Monolith
Arctic 1 with Seal Hunters

Monday, July 3, 2017

Arctic Collage

We recently returned from Alaska, where we visited Barrow in the the high Arctic. The expansive landscape, clean air, and sparkling sea ice were beautiful. I kept thinking about how I could try to capture the "feeling" of the Arctic in an abstract painting. Today I thought, "Hey, that collage mini-journal would be a quick way to try out some ideas, since it is so small." It got to be so much fun that I just kept going for five hours. Then I thought, "Hey, I could have done a whole painting in that time!" Anyway, here are three photos of the Barrow landscape, so you can see what inspired me:

Apparently the Arctic had been in my mind, because I realized that a couple of mini-journal collages I made before the trip were very Arctic-like. This one has the "feeling" of the Arctic tundra from the air:

And this one looks like an Arctic sea with iceberg and the Aurora Borealis:

Here are the journal pages with my efforts to "capture" the high Arctic:

I think these two have the potential to become paintings:

And since I was on a roll, I finished up some faces I had begun before we left:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

And Now for a Little Collage

Recently, I took a workshop with Jacki Long, and she showed us numerous methods and ideas for creating a mini-journal with collage, using glue sticks and all sorts of other materials. It was enormous fun! You can see her charming, funny, and informative blog at and be impressed that she has been doing this every single day for over four years. After the workshop, I got home and couldn't stop. I am usually a neatnik, so using a glue stick instead of matte medium or liquid glue, which get all over me, made it feasible for me to work this way. Here's what I made.

Jacki demonstrating collaging in mini-journal
Inside cover -- we pasted envelopes to hold college pieces
First page of journal, all the rest in order, each a method she demonstrated for us

Jacki taught us an excellent method for sticking glue on the back of a collage piece. She used an old telephone book (I used an old magazine). She said to put a collage piece face-down on one of the pages, hold it down with one finger in the middle, run the glue stick from the middle to the edge all around the piece, and last, remove your finger and put the glue stick down in the middle spot and it will lift the collage piece. Put it where you want it in the collage, and then smooth it with a brayer (I used an ivory stick I use for folding). Cool!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Half a Year Later

The last half year has been challenging, with only a few stabs at trying to create art here and there. Thinking a workshop would jump start my motivation, I signed up for the Art League's recent one-day class with Joseph Stoddard on ink and watercolor. He suggested we try to replicate one of his works in order to learn his methods, and since I think that's a very worthwhile learning experience, I did so. And it WAS -- I re-learned that I'm not good at or inspired by paintings of buildings. But I also learned I enjoyed working with ink lines. It was such a good learning experience, I decided to try to copy another artist's work. 

Linda Kemp works 100% with "negative painting," and she creates gorgeous organic paintings. There's a demo of her working in acrylic ( and watching it inspired me. Trying to copy one of her works is a fun and difficult puzzle, since I have to study certain parts for quite a while in order to figure out how she did it with only negative painting. It really works the spatial relations part of the brain! Anyway, it was a great deal of fun, and the end result was quite satisfying. Doing this also gave me several ideas for future paintings of my own. 

Here are the two lessons:

Vignette by Joseph Stoddard
My replica of the vignette

Acrylic demo painting by Linda Kemp
My Kemp Copy in Watercolor

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Aunts at the Beach

A semi-impressionistic oil painting, almost finished today:

I have done several watercolors based on a photograph of my five aunts at a picnic in Indiana in 1945, and in this water mixable oil painting, I experimented with outlining and brush and color techniques, while focusing on three aunts and putting them at the beach. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Managing to Make Three Artworks in Three Months

Three artworks were created since the last post, two oils and an iPad work, and I learned some valuable lessons. 

It is fun and fast to make an iPad "painting" (P. A. Woman below), and the inspiration can be something like a photo of my Chinese dipping sauce. I learned that with my iPad art, the result is not necessarily what I had imagined, and it seems like they are all starting to look alike.

It is fun and fast to do a small impressionistic oil painting (Out of Darkness). This painting was inspired by my choreographer daughter's brave struggles, and it looks like what I feel when I think about those. I think other people don't like this painting much.

It is NOT fun and it is NOT fast to do a semi-realistic 18 x 24 oil painting! The main thing I learned from painting Joy is to never do anything like it again. It began to feel like WORK, and I dreaded working on it. At this stage in my learning about oil painting, going smaller and more impressionistic is better.

My friend Jessica's niece was christened, and she took a beautiful photo in the church. I saw her photo and said to myself, "That would make a great painting," and it would -- just not by me. I think the problem is what my friend Carrol said gave her difficulties -- I knew the people I was painting. Instead of going impressionistic, I ended up fussing about whether it looked like them. And with details and defining edges, my essential tremor just fouled me up! I learned valuable lessons, so this painting was a worthwhile experience. Now my problem is what to do with the darn thing -- it's really big and I don't think anyone wants it.


Out of Darkness

P. A. Woman