Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to All!

For the past 15 years I have been designing and painting my own cards. Most have featured 'Little Crab'. He lives here at the beach near me and he loves to decorate his house as well. Enjoy your holiday.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Helicopter Ride

There is an advantage to working part time at one of the local resorts. Other tourist attractions occasionally give the workers free passes to see and experience their attractions so we can direct tourist to them. The theory being that it is easier to recommend something that you have already experienced and enjoyed.

Yesterday, Helicopter Adventures offered free rides to the industry workers. It was crisp and cold yet very clear. Since it was something I dreamed about just about every time I passed their copter, I took advantage of the opportunity. It was awesome! It was fabulous. It was wonderful. It was much quieter than I expected. The lift off was gently and smooth, the flight was a large circle around the southern end of Myrtle Beach. The tilting and turning reminded me of a smooth, quiet roller coaster ride. There was no real sensation of speed, just a slick ride. I took a few photos. I wanted to savour the experience more than focus on the photos.

Seeing your world from a different angle is a fun thing to do. I like to believe that as an artist, the more experience with different views of the world only enhance my creativity. If you ever get a chance to take a copter ride - go for it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I have been creating some sample illustrations for a client. They are for a children's book who's story revolves around a young boy and girl who find a mole that had kicked by a bully. So I have been sketching scenes with kids with animals.

Those that know me well know that painting people is not my favorite subject matter, but I can do it. I think these turned out well. I wanted to place the kids in poses that are typical of kids but not just sitting or standing or looking straight ahead like a school photo.

I present them next week, I hope the client likes them as much as I do.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December 2008 Newsletter

I published my December newsletter yesterday. It is now available on my website as well, I talk about the effect of light on your painting. We all have paintings we think look best in at night in a room without any lights. But hopefully there are some we want others to see and enjoy.

If you want to be on my email distribution list, just email me at with subscribe in the subject line. I will never sell or give out my mailing list and I use it only for the newsletters. Thanks in advance for your support.

Check it out. Past issues are there as well.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My 'Broken Heart'

How do you mend a broken heart.... Lyrics from the past. One of my assignments for an illustration is to create an image to illustrate making amends. One image I thought of, right off the bat, was a broken heart being repaired.

To approach this image, I sketched out a couple of ideas, one being a broken heart with a band-aide. One with rope or string wrapped around it too tight. Others I won't admit to :)

My next step was to do an image search on the Internet. I use Google, but others work as well. I wanted to get an idea of what sort of images are already out there. I want mine to be different. I want to present a unique take on the subject, my take. So I did a search on 'broken heart' and there are a lot of strong images out there. Some very predictable, some disturbing, some very interesting, some very well done.

So I went back to sketching and decided to take the approach of a heart that has started to be put back together. One that had been broken in many pieces. So I did the sketch, then enlarged it and even though I like the black and white image, I also painted it.

I like my image. It has a sad element to it, but with a glimmer of hope of perseverance.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Demo of an Autumn Landscape

Saturday at the November WACG meeting, I gave a demo on painting an autumn landscape in oils. The demo included tips and techniques that can translate for almost any medium when trying to capture the colors of the fall. It's 16"x20" on acid free canvas board. I did the painting in just over an hour. I had laid in the sky and grassy areas before hand, but did 95% of the painting during the demo.

Everyone appeared to enjoy the demo. There were lots of questions and good discussions as it progressed.

The December meeting will be 12/20 at 10:15 am at the B&C Art Museum in Myrtle Beach (near Springmaid Pier). We will have a Christmas party, plus Dixie Dugan as agreed to critique paintings for us, everyone can bring up to 3. Plus we collect new and gently used art supplies which we then donate to a local art program. Bring a goodie to share if you want, and come join the fun!

New Flowers

In class I have been working on more flowers. Here is a better photo of the Red Hibiscus.

I have also created this painting of a geranium just starting to bloom. I used the same combination for the back ground as the hibiscus. I like the way it sets off the red blossoms.

'First Blooms' is a happy painting. I like the way I captured the patina of the pot as well. Here are two examples of a single subject painting. One, the hibiscus, I floated by itself on the canvas. The other is the plant in the pot and that painting has more weight to it. Each is an example how one can paint a single subject matter. See my November newsletter for more keys to painting a single subject well.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Workshop Truck

Yesterday, the WACG sponsored an all day watercolor workshop with Mary Spelling to learn out textures in w/c. It was held at the Base Rec Center - a great facility for classes and workshops. There were 10 of us plus Mary. We created a painting of a old rusty truck. Mary demo-ed each step then let us play with it. It was fun to see all of the different versions of the same subject matter. The students were challenged, encouraged and everyone put out a great effort for wonderful results. The consensus opinion is that we want Mary to return next year for another workshop.

I work fast, so I was able to complete mine. Although watercolor is not my first choice of medium, I do like to dabble in it occasionally and I learned a lot. Just spending a day with fellow artists enjoying the time together and creating something fun is worth it. If you get opportunities to take workshops, I highly recommend it - always leave with more than you came with.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Red Hibiscus

This is a small (8x10) painting of a red hibiscus. The photo did not capture the colors too well. I guess sometimes a cell phone under florescent lights doesn't always get it right. It is still very wet and I was trying not to get the glare. I used loose brush strokes and intense colors. I really like it. Got in done in about an hour which is very quick even for me, but the magic was flowing, the brush had a mind of its own and I just followed along for the ride. When it dries I will take better photos with my good camera and share those as well.

Sailboat Is Complete!

During class today I had a chance to finish up my sailboat. I added the sailor, some gulls and touched up the mail sailboat a bit. I really like it. It has lots of energy thanks to the dramatic brush strokes I used. What do you think?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

WACG Board Meeting

We held our October Board of Directors meeting today. We met at the Woodhaven Pancake House on S. Kings Hwy. Not only did we have a delicious breakfast we got a chance to socialize and get some work done too.

We went over the plans for our Fall Show at First Federal Bank. The artists will drop off their work on Monday. We will need volunteers to man the tables from 3 to 5 and then to help hang the show from 5 pm til its done. If you can help please come by.

There is one more Art in the Park in November. Spaces are available if anyone is interested in showing.

We are planning out our general meetings for the next year or so. November is still in the works but we are trying to get a stained glass artist to come and demonstrate her work. December will be our Christmas party plus Dixie Dugan will hold a critique for anyone who wants to bring in something for her to review. January Kate Lagely will discuss how to enter the 'big' shows plus have a slide show showing the entries received for the Kentucky Watercolor Society's national show. February we hope to have someone from the SC Watermedia Society to speak/demo. March will be a presentation by an Installation Artist - something new for our group. Make plans to come and attend any or all of our programs. They are open to the public and are free of charge. They are held on the 3rd Sat of the month at the B&C museum, in the 2nd floor studio.

Virginia was officially elected the board. She has been coming and participating. Since we had a quorum we made it official. Welcome!

Next board meeting will be after the November general meeting. Again at the pancake house, all are invited to attend.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Tree Is Complete - With Friends

Here are some photos of the completed tree. It adds a casual charm to the living room. In additions to the requested amount of Spanish moss, I also added quick studies of the family's two cats. I like it and more important the clients love it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mural Around a Mural

This mural is complete. I painted the mural around the existing mural of the house. Everything OUTSIDE of the trellis is what I painted, the columns, the wisteria, and continued the lawn and gardens beyond. I am happy with it, but more important so are my clients.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Welcome Leah

My nephew Eric and his wife Kristi have welcomed a new addition to their family, their second daughter Leah Ann Stacharowski. Mother and daughter are doing fine. So I am a Great Aunt again, hey - I'm great at this Aunt stuff.

October Newsletter

I finally got my October e-newsletter published today. Now I just gotta get the last couple of issues on my web-site. Been very busy lately, got the 2 murals just about done. One is finished and the other just needs its protective coat put on if there are no more last minute changes.

That and all of my other odd jobs have taken all of my time and energy. Hope to catch up some in the next week or so, including posting the photos of the murals.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sand Painting Part 2

Here is another paper I created using the sand method. Here you can see the stage with the sand and the image after the sand has been removed.

I highly recommend playing around with this. Sometimes we get too uptight when we create our art, its fun to really play with our paints.

Fun In The Sand

Last Saturday the WACG's general meeting was held on the beach so we all could learn to use the ocean and sand to help create our paintings. Nancy Van Buren showed us her technique.

The gist of the process is to take your watercolor paper, quarter and half sheets work best, and wet it in the waves. Then scoop some sand onto the paper and swirl it around. Then gently drain off the water and most of the sand. You should be left with a unique pattern of sand on the paper. Gently carry the paper to a dry area of the sand and lay it flat.

Then gently pour or spray weak fluid acrylic paints onto the paper and sand. You may try to save the pattern of the sand or tilt the paper to move it around some. A limited palette of 2 or 3 colors works best. Let the colors mix and mingle on the paper. When the paper is covered with color, let it dry. The sand can act as a resist, but it will let some paint through, unlike batik. You will not know the exact results until much later.

Once it is very dry, you can brush off the sand, then using a hose rinse off all of the sand. Let dry again.

Now you have a beginning of a painting. You can find images and negatively paint around them to enhance the image. You can use it as a background and add your image onto it. Since these were created with acrylics, they aren't going anywhere, you can paint over them as much as you'd like.

Don't like it, look at the back, chances are there is another image there. Still don't like it - tear it and use it for a collage. The possibilities are endless.

Here are photos of a couple that I created. I like rich colors, so I made mine more intense than most. But I am very happy with the results.

Try using the serendipity of the sand and ocean and add a new dimension to your art.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Grass Has Grown

Working on the mural around a mural continues as well. I have added the grassy areas on either side of the trellis. I have added grass and trees to the short edge on the far left side. Plus I added some bushes to continue the garden a little past the trellis. Next project is the columns.

The Tree Continues to Grow

As I work on the tree it goes in stages. The first thing I painted the other day was the Spanish moss. Here is a detail of it. I work it very soft and wispy. Then I began the leaves and continued across the tree. I added small white flowers on the vine on the trunk and extended the vine some.

Next I will add more Spanish moss at the request of my clients and paint tall grasses along the bottom edge of the mural. A couple of cats will also take their places. That should about wrap it up. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Tree Mural Grows

The tree mural has sprouted brances. There is also the beginning of a vine on the trunk. The next step will be to add some Spanish moss and the leaves. It is coming along nicely.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Live Oak Mural

These clients have a wonderful wall for a mural. So they decided that in their living room they want a mural of a live oak tree with lots of Spanish moss. They decided to have their white living room painted a beautiful sky blue. This is the setting for the mural.

I started by sketching out the where the tree will be in chalk. I like using chalk since it is so easy to erase and make changes.

Then I painted in the grassy field that will be around the tree. I used the two doorways as a natural end for the image. I made sure to vary the values to give the illusion of depth to the field. I then added the distant tree line.

Next I began the tree. I usually start at the roots and work up, it seems to 'grow' better that way. I paint in the bark as I go. I call my style 'casual realism' . I feel that I capture a realistic illusion of the things I paint without getting too photo realistic in the process. I want the image to comfortable to live with - not fussy.

I am putting a very large tree on what is a large wall, but not as large as a real tree would be. So I will need to branch out the trunk pretty quickly. Once all of the branches are painted in, with leaves and Spanish moss, it will look very different. Also I will add a vine on the trunk and grasses at ground level. Right now it looks pretty stark, but that will change.

Next step will be to work on the branches and leaves.

Framing Out The Mural

This house has a very nice mural on their family room wall. But painting around it caused a problem when they wanted to re-do the rest of the walls. So I have been commissioned to paint a mural around the mural.

The plan is to frame out the trellis with 2 columns. Add a 3 column on the far wall. Add wisteria vines along the ceiling. Extend the trees and lawn areas to the rest of the wall. Add flowering vines on the columns. Have all of the colors coordinate with, if not match, the existing mural. Plus try to emulate the style enough that both pieces work together.

The first step was to draw out the columns and block them in. Then I painted in the shadow areas for the wisteria and placed the distant tree line. Then I painted in the distant trees before I began the wisteria. Did this since I wanted the wisteria to overlap the trees.

Then I painted the wisteria and vines. They may still need a few shadows and highlights but I will judge that after the rest of the mural is done. It will look different as it goes.

Next was the lawns and extending the bushes and flowers from the existing mural.

Later I will work on the columns.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

After the Storm

Hannah blew through here yesterday. Although it was just a strong thunderstorm as it past through, it disrupted my life more than I would have liked. I live in a single-wide close to the ocean, so whenever there is a threat, I go. I may not go far, that depends on the severity of the storm, but I bring stuff in, close things up, turn things off, pack stuff up and move out. Since it was a tropical storm, I went to my Mom's house. It is brick, on higher ground and a little further inland. Plus we get to spend some time together. Then after the storm is gone, its come home, unpack, put stuff back, undo the measures I took before I left.

Those that have never evacuated cannot appreciate the stress it adds to your life. What do you pack, what do you leave behind, what do you do to try to protect what you leave. You sit in your favorite chair, looking around and wondering if you will have anything to come home to.

Yes, we got lucky this time. But I lived in Charlotte when Hugo came through, still a category 3 and watched the power of a storm. Then lived through the aftermath for more than a month. Those that have experienced it knows that when the weather-people and news-hounds leave, the real work is just beginning. So I respect the potential power of a hurricane and/or tropical storm and take precautions. I have learned to gauge the precautions I take based upon the strength of the storm and the projected path. I have lived through enough different storms to get a feel for them, but I don't take chances.

Everywhere has natural events to cope with - blizzards, earthquakes, tornadoes, ice storms, etc. at least with the tropical storms we have an opportunity to prepare for them and brace for them. But life goes on. I will keep everyone who had problems after the storm in my prayers and say a prayer of thanks that Hannah was gentle with me, my friends and my loved ones.

Back to work this week.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Fabric of Our Lives - Completed

The Fabric of Our Lives - Completed. I think :) I need to let it rest a bit and then re-evaluate it once more. I like it so far. I like the movement and the colors. It became more dynamic as I painted. I added lots of faces to it and it appears more fluid than the original concept - which I am happy about. Very few of my paintings turn out the way they were planned. I alway judge things as they progress. What looks good in a sketch may not look good on canvas. Once colors are down, one can only evaluate them based upon the colors they are next to. I may tweek it a little once I put it aside for a while, but for now - its finished. Need to sign it but will do that after the last evaluation. What do you think!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Planning a Mural

I talked to a lovely couple about creating a mural for their living room. I met with them and saw the space. They looked through my photos of other murals I have done. They want a Live Oak tree with lots of Spanish Moss. I took some measurements and told them I would give them some options.

This is how I went about planning it out. I did a quick sketch of a tree the approximate shape and size of the tree on a layout of the size of the wall. I then used some software to vary the options of how the tree could be place. This is a starting point for our conversations. They have a visual reference for the options they have for the tree. Although I have my favorite, it really doesn't count. They have to live with it - so I want to paint something they will be happy with.

When I go to paint the tree, it will be realistic using natural colors. The sketch is just a rough way to work out the spacing issues before I go any further. Will keep you posted.