Wednesday, September 2, 2015


This was fast.  I met this bird and a restaurant called Macaw's.  The place did not look like much from the road but a very quaint pleasant restaurant was behind the front building in a very tropical setting.  All doors were wide open as well as the windows. 

Getting this guy to pose was my entertainment while waiting for my dinner to be prepared.  Getting a shot at any thing other than the back of his head was a challenge.  He was not in a cage, but on a stand.  As you can see he has a stunning face. 

This is day 2 of the Painting challenge.  So far brushes are wet and my painting table is a mess.  It takes several minutes to clean up for the next painting in the morning.  Eventually I am going to have to produce  2 paintings in one day.  I plan to be traveling in the middle of this month.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Here we go again.  This is the first day of the 30 paintings in 30 days.  I have such a busy month.  Why am I doing this?  Why on earth do I not pick simpler subjects for such quick sketches?  How far will I get into the challenge?

Last time I tried this I was preparing to move.  I did fine until the moving van came and then I caved.   I  cannot resist the fun.  It is so good to be forced to paint so fast.  Most of my work is so slow and precise.  I probably will never change but this exercise keeps me from getting tangled up in my aim for perfection.

This flamingo was standing on one foot, gazing at his reflection.  He was in a pool with several other flamingos and they were all standing on one foot.  This blog is full of questions.  Here is the last one for tonight.  Why does this seem to be the flamingo's favorite stance?  Why do they like to stand on one foot?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Having trouble adjusting the color on this one.  I will make a note to take a photo at night, so I have no conflicting light.  Me Eyes are tired.  Two weeks and both eyes will be back.  I can't wait.

I think this crab is done.  It started out as a day painting.  Then I reworked it.  A new, painting a day, challenge is starting in September.  I can't wait to start.  It is fun to throw a painting together in a day, quickly exploring many different subjects. 

This is a crab that I found dead on the beach.  It was easy to pose him for photos.  If he were alive he would be running from me.  I do not know the name of this species.  Pictures are on the web, but no name.  I have most of my recourses at my Florida home, so identification is eluding me.

It will be good to get back to Florida and to the water. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Nightime Fountain

I am going to look at this for awhile.  Adjustments may still be needed.  I am not sure about the dark shape at the center bottom of the painting.  I have not focused on that lately. 

This is the fountain used with the previous painting of lavender water lilies.  I was delighted to see that the fountain was lit at night.  the light shining through the water lilies had me hooked.

 The goldfish were not in any of my photos, but goldfish do live in the fountain.  The little swimmers were quite a problem when constructing the painting.  I think I am happy with them for now.  I am hoping they add to the vision that the light is under the water lilies, making the lilies translucent.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Wading Ibis

I have been struggling as an artist.  Cataracts made my world dingy.  It is like looking through dirty windows.  This spring it was hard to paint for long periods of time, because of eye strain.  Now I have one eye corrected.  It is great.  Colors are clear and my vision is 20/20.  For the first time in my life I can wake up in the morning open my eyes and see. 

The problem now is half my world is clear and bright and the other half in totally out of focus.  Extreme nearsightedness and astigmatism was corrected in my right eye.  I still wear reading glasses.  I wear a patch over my left eye only when I paint.  I can see the reflection of my eye in the lens that is covered.  That is pretty much the focal point of that eye.  I can't wear my old glasses with one lens removed.  My old prescription makes things appear smaller.  The eyes will not work together. 

It is funny, I can play the piano. Things are fuzzy with both eyes but clear enough to see the notes.  I had more or a struggle reading music before Eye surgery.

In about three weeks.  I will be in great shape.  Both eyes will be done and my world of sight should be pretty remarkable.  I am grateful to live in a period where my sight can be made better than when I was young. Getting older has it's benefits.

Now about the Ibis.  This bird is in progress. The lighting of the bird is not right yet.  The sun is setting behind the bird,  making the body darker.  I still want more light on the birds back and neck.

The water needs more development.  I experimented with the foam of the waves around his legs.  Scraping out color and adding dark marks with a fine brush, seem to be doing the trick.  It is all about light against dark, and dark against light. 

I am hoping to post a much improved painting in a few days.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Lilies in Blue Water

This painting is a composition made from photos when visiting a favorite fountain.  Over the years there have been incredible lavender lilies in bloom, with each visit. 

The contrast of the pale flowers against the water is natural.  Indigo was the sole pigment in depicting the water.  Indigo can be fun to work with.  It is rich.  The paint flows but can lend itself to lifting for variation.  I chose Winsor Newton's Indigo because it leans more towards blue.  Some Indigos can be too black.

For several years this fountain is surrounded by a restaurant that has my name, Jane's.  It serves a stellar breakfast that gives me the feeling of ultimate pampering.  The Owner, Jane, is British.  Her restaurant is very fitting in surrounding my favorite fountain.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Determined Pelican

Why am I choosing such complicated subjects for these quick studies?  I should be painting tomatoes.

Whining aside, this is a young brown pelican.  They are the goofballs of the gulf.  The young pelicans hang around the pier and are snagged by the fishing lines.  The older pelicans know better.

This is where several old dock posts stick out of the water.  It is a place where several pelicans come to roost, preen, and dry there wings at sundown.  My subject arrived a little late.  All the good spots where taken.  He rests on a pointed stump.  The only stop left.  Those webbed feet worked well grabbing his perch.

This study helped me explore ways to paint different layers of feathers.  Value changes and color temperature were important.  I think this will be interesting painting to do bigger and slower.  The bird has a funny position of his neck.  They are like bulldogs with folds in the neck that can take on incredible shapes.  I will study other photos to see if I can improve on this pose.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sting Ray

I was responding to a message on Facebook while waiting for this to dry, so I am running a little late tonight. 

Sting rays swim in the surf and lay in the sand covering themselves.  I have walked in the surf as a sting ray follows me, almost in a playful fashion.  I shuffle my feet while waving in the water.  That gets the sting rays to move out of your way.  If you walk with steps that are too high, it is possible to step on one of these and there is a stinger at the base of their tail. 

This particular ray was beached at low tide, but it looked like he was making his way to the water.  He is lit up in the morning light at sunrise.  I really like morning light.

I don't feel that I got this drawing exactly right.  Sometimes it is so hard to draw really simple things.  Completing a painting each day does not leave much time to fuss.  I experimented on how to depict sand quickly with water color.  The texture is so varied. Color and shadow are important.  There was no time to deal with the tiny shells.  That may happen in another painting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fishernan on the Rocks

I am back.  After a week of moving a painting appeared today.  Unpacking and setting up the new house has not kept me away from my brushes.  It has been the details on the phone, setting up internet and such.

This painting was a great comeback.  I had sketched this out before the moving truck showed up.  Today work progressed very smoothly.  The light on the rocks was excellent, giving me a lot of texture to work with.  I elevated the painting a bit, and stood up to make sure I had accents and shadows where they needed to be.

My paper had a few imperfections, grabbing the paint in odd ways with the light wash in the sky.  A tissue to absorb paint in those areas made the suggestion of clouds.  I am surprised the darker blimishes picked up, but the paint was still wet.

The fisherman was easy to paint.  Fortunately, I had a steady hand when putting in the pole and line.  One hiccup would have doomed this one to mediocre.   

This on is a success.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Peace at Sunset

The challenge with sunsets is keeping the colors soft.  Some of the colors are medium dark in value.  Balancing water and pigment is difficult.  I want the colors to blend and I still want them to be distinct.  Today the work was wet into wet. 

Tomorrow I think that I will work with fluid washes but wait for them to dry between colors.  I also need to decide which blues to use and which reds.  Smooth and transparent is a way to go.  I am afraid to use some of the stronger blues, but I will have to get brave enough to open that can of worms.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Box of Coconuts

This was a box of green coconuts and a stem from a bloom from a palm tree.  Coconuts are taken out of the trees during hurricane season.  No one wants those heavy things to become cannonballs flying in a bad storm.  The green coconuts in a tall tree is impressive but it is not wise to stand under a palm that is loaded.  A number of people are killed each year from being struck by falling coconuts.

As a painter tonight much of my work was mixing different greens.  The stem  in this box created an interesting jumble of extensions.  The lines extending from the stalk become a major design element.

There are manyo different kinds of  palms.  The woody types of debris that comes out of these trees make interesting finds.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Green Fishing Boat

We went to Marco Island today, in the morning.  I love morning light.  The water looked like it was full of diamonds as we crossed the bridge.  I like stopping and exploring the little fishing nooks.  Surprises always spring up.

This is a painting of a boat heading out for a fishing charter.  The color of the sky defines the top of the. boat.  The two men on board gives it more interest.  I decided to add color to the water.  Describing sky and water with shapes and action of strokes help describe the motion.  I remember reading that water looks different in as your eye moves across it.  This is much different than when we just picked up the blue, and filling in the area as smoothly as possible.  This water I now see has more life.  It is a challenge to show that action and life.

Friday, January 16, 2015


I think that lack of an accurate photo is not showing this one in it's best light.  My move has been delayed until next week.  It has been crazy around here.  By next weekend I should be able to consistently post better photos.

When I first saw an Ibis, there actually three of them walking on the beach, among quite a few beach goers.  It was at the end of the season so the birds had lost most of their shyness.  These white medium size birds are so attractive with their orange to red legs and face parts.  This bird had great coloring so I chased him down the beach quite a distance to get a good angle. 

He has a stunning blue eye.  Daniel Smith, Horizon blue is just the right color

At sunset most of his body is shadowed but he is back-lit. I will definitely come back to this one later and develop values.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Flying Pelican

The is not one of my favorites, but it is a fair job.  I played around with opaque pigments.  I know that seems to be contrary to watercolor.  Transparency is held dear.  I am still fascinated with the opaque watercolor pigments.  They are see-through in watered down solutions, but can cover even dark colors.

This painting is done from a photo I took last year at the pier.  There were lots of birds.  I took over a hundred photos of moving birds.  This one was clear with a full wingspread.  It was shear luck and persistence.

The tension is over about my move.  We passed the closing date without confirmed funding.  At last we are moving next Wednesday.  I am going to have to get a few paintings ahead to keep up with the daily postings.

 I think my next painting I do will be using all transparent paint.  Watercolor is so much fun, because you can really mix it up.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Two Boats at Sunset

The advantage of the Gulf Coast are the sunsets.  If the sky is not clear no two are alike.  This painting was very low stress to paint.  It was easy to work different areas.  I under painted with orange in the water and much of the sky.  The water is usually darker than the sky.  One photographer said he liked sunsets with lots of foamy waves.  I think it is most important not to have hard edges in the sky and do not over due the color.  The subdued color of the water and sometimes the upper sky intensifies the fire.
Sunsets are a low light situation.


These are magnificent birds.  They can be mistaken as bald eagle from afar in a nest.  This particular bird is always at the end of the pier protecting a fish.  Seagulls often plot to relieve him of his catch, but I have never seen this happen.  Ospreys catch fish by grabbing them out of the water with their claws.  They don't dive and they don't swim much.  Their attacks are a swooping clutch.

The eyes of an osprey are large and intense.  I plan to do a larger painting of this bird.  Feathers need to be more defined and are beautiful, but the attitude of this bird's appearance is more important.  

Monday, January 12, 2015


This is my eleventh painting in the 30 Paintings in thirty days.  I do not know what this is.  It is related to a grapefruit, but it is called something else.  I have all kinds of photos of exotic fruits taken at the farmer's market on 3rd Street.

I think this exercise is all about how fast can I get with these painting sketches. I was finally ready to settle down and paint about 10:15 pm, but my husband informed me that we had to fill out some papers for the bank.  It looks like we might really be able to close on Wednesday.  I am holding my breath.  Tomorrow we wire money to the title company and I have to get a rider for flood insurance.

Back to the painting.  The strongest thing I have to say about this painting is that the colors make me happy.  Good night.

Snowy Egret Wading

This  painting is a dance between the sky reflecting into the water and what is seen under the water as well as the white egret.  I hope that it is evident that his feet and most of his legs are in the water.  You find these birds often at water's edge looking for small fish.  They are shy but their desire to fill their stomachs over-rides their fear of me, so I can get fairly close with a camera.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Horse Conch

I can't wait until I have room to set up my camera and lights.  Right now I am leaning over my painting table with the art light on to snap a photo.  You will definitely notice the difference when I change methods at the end of next week.

This is the only horse conch I have ever found.  It was buried in the sand on what I call the secret beach.  This beach appears at only low tide on the other side of the rocks at the entrance of Gordan pass. 

I have found it difficult draw as well as paint shells, thru the years.  This one only took two practice sketches.  Somehow I nailed the shell's structure.  When painting this shell, detail, shadowing and texture have to be the elements of emphasis.  This can be a daunting task in watercolor without coming up with a soupy mess.  Some how the brushes and water cooperated I a achieved my goals fairly quickly. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Drying wings

Cormorants stand on posts and rocks to dry their wings.  Flying is hard when wet.  They are much smaller that a pelican.  In the surf it is hard to catch a photo of these birds, because they are constantly diving for food.  They are good underwater swimmers.  The perch for this cormorant is mostly submerged at high tide but reveals algae and barnacles at  low tide.  The stillness of the water is important in this painting,  This is one case where the horizon and the sky form an almost disappearing line.    

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sunset Cruise

Sunsets are most interesting with clouds and lots of atmosphere.  A clear sky offers just a blinding sun that sets with little drama.  Of course the clouds can ruin a sunset if the sun dips behind a bank of clouds at the horizon.  Then you do not really see it set. 

The clouds give the sky a chance to reflect that color that appears and intensifies after the sun is gone.  Photogaphing the sun unfiltered results in a burnout of light, where you loose that ball of light.  It is more of a blotch.  On most evenings the drama after the sun has slipped under the horizon makes a better picture.

On rare evenings there is atmosphere at the horizon or even fog.  This can appear to be clouds that are going to dampen the show.  Instead the sun shines through, it's intensity is filtered just enough to become that magnificent ball of light and color.

I used orange in this painting.  A mixture of indigo, mauve, and ultramarine blue in the water and sky.  The light still in the water made this scene magical.  Often the water will appear almost black at sunset.  I have always said that the water and beach are different every time you visit.     

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Seagull at Sunset

I cleaned up my paints today.  Then I started messing around.  This painting crashed and burned early.  Once the painting is not working, experimenting is not so scary.  I played with laying different kinds of pigments next to each other.  I am not happy with the results, but if you are going to paint, you do should not be afraid of producing a few ugly ones.  The learning process is always of value.  I might try this one again in a couple of days.  Maybe there will be improvement.  I do need to do a couple of sunsets.  This painting did not start out as one. 

My photos are not the best.  I am moving into a bigger place at mid month.  I will have a whole room as my studio.  In the guest room I will set up for photographing paintings correctly.  I can leave the camera and lights set up, until I have company.  It is great to throw a painting on an easel and have an accurate photo in minutes. 

This is a very chaotic month to do a painting a day, but then again the challenge keeps me painting.  I am happier if I am painting.  After the move I can get more serious about my work.  This seems like play.  Play is good right now.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Boy Running

This is cool against warm.  Not sure I nailed the sketch.  It is a start and will turn into a studio painting.  I am enjoying the quick experimentation.  Painting #5

Monday, January 5, 2015

Wild White Egret

Painting #4
I was distracted today.  Looks like I will be packing to move tomorrow.  I am in desperate need of more room to work.  My husband likes bigger houses.  So we are upgrading to a bigger house, but not too big.  No need to have too much house to clean.  Real estate has been a roller coaster these last few years.  This morning it looked like we were going to walk away from the house we had been working on buying for the last few months.  I was willing to accept either outcome, but God laid upon my heart this morning that he had not had the last word yet.  We looked at other houses.  There where several possibilities.  Let the other house go.  It came walking back.  The sellers are now willing to negotiate.

It was 11:00 EST.  Not one brush has been wet today.  I was flipping through photos and I ran across the one where this great egret was voicing his opinion from behind some foliage.  Great.  I love to paint white.  I reversed things.  The bird was darker against the sky in the photo.  In my painting the sky defines the bird.  The color in his head and beak was brought down into his body.  This one was slapped down with not much fussing.  Good night.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Spotted Crab

I will write more tomorrow.  Right now I have an eye that is flaming red and tearing.  This is painting #3 of 30 paintings.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


This little guy was rougher to paint then I thought.  He was hairy.  Sand and water are a challenge.  As the days go on I will try different techniques.  Painting is all about practice.  I used a knife to remove some paint and also a battery operated nail file for a quick speckled look.  If this work was bigger, shapes could have been developed better.  

The Seagull in 30 Paintings in 30 Days

I am starting the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  My theme this month will be images from the gulf.  I am in Florida for the winter.  Life on the water's edge captivates me.  The seagull is looking at me with a wary eye as I was walking on the beach.