This batiked barn's still standing on the winding road to Rising Sun, Indiana, but it looks like it may not be long for this world. Next week will be spent creating batiks at the Art Department of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where I'm to teach a course about paper batik.

Batik can be a slow and tedious process, yet I really like the change of pace. It could be called artistic meditation when you're going through the process of waxing a batik.

We'll be using watercolor instead of the normal dyes, working on a variety of rice papers with regular paraffin to wax the places we want to preserve. The best part of batik is the surprise when the wax is melted off to reveal your creation.

I'll be posting more of my batiks next week which were created several years ago. To see some of my favorites, go to the LABELS sidebar at the lower right hand side of this blog, and click on batik.

Hopefully, the college class will give me permission to post their finished batiks here on line. You'll be in for a treat. I know I'll be having fun all week.

"RISING SUN" Transparent Watercolor on Kinwashi adhered to 140# HP Arches 19 x 15" COLLECTED



Tomorrow's the day for fire crackers and fireworks. The skies in the evening will be filled with amazing displays of colorful lights accompanied by lots of bangs and booms as we celebrate our nation's 232 'birthday.'

The little fellow here celebrates his birthday this coming Tuesday, too. He'll be eight and wants some basketball stuff for his birthday.

Becoming a grandparent and being an artist nearly requires that you paint portraits of your grandchildren. I painted this picture of our older grandson at the first Janet Rogers' Workshop I'd ever taken in Florida.

Learning to paint loosely is very challenging, especially when you're painting babies, yet I so enjoy the results when it turns out good. It looks like the paint was just haphazardly plopped onto the paper, but actually, much thought and consideration was given before quickly plopping that brush down each time.


"BLUE JEAN BABY" Transparent Watercolor on 140# CP Arches 18 x 18" COLLECTED



Last night at dusk, I was lucky enough to see a little hummingbird quickly inspect my flowers. I think he was grocery shopping. He didn't stay long at all.

This is another painting from the archives of twenty years of watercolor. Painting shadows has always been an exciting thing to create. This shadow on the side of our house caught my eye, and I had to paint it.

Shadows technically are darker, grayed down colors of the object they fall on. Their edges are hardest closet to the object they come from and get progressively softer the farther they are from it. Generally, shadows are also a bit warmer and darker closest to the object, and get cooler and lighter as they move farther away.

With those guidelines in mind, I try to paint shadows that are full of interest, adjusting the colors to be more than just 'gray,' adjusting the edges to be varied and softer, etc. Sometimes, I make sure that the object's local color also bounces some color into the shadow area near it.

I took Davey's Grey and Payne's Gray out of my palette about fifteen years ago. I think I've used Payne's Gray a couple of times since then but not for shadows. My tube of black watercolor is great to have for the right spot but not ever in a shadow. Shadows have color. Lots of color. Play it up when you paint shadows. Make them delicious.

"EVENING VISITOR" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches, 9 x 22"



For many years, I had the pleasure of filling my mother-in-law's small backyard with flowers. However, that eventually gave way to my painting - allowing less time (and interest) for landscaping.

I think that it's easier to paint a flower than to dig a hole in our hard packed, clay soil, plant the flower, and then have to fight off the rabbits and deer and slugs and bugs during our hot, humid summers.

This year, my mother-in-law moved from her home of 50 years, but she's still enjoying this painting that I did several years ago for her. She misses her garden, though.

These iris are painted on a full sheet of Fabriano Artistico, a paper that allows the paint to be lifted and blended more easily after it's dry. Fabriano is slightly softer than Arches, and works well for portraits, too.

Mother-in-law's are a lot like flowers - some more beautiful and special than others - which perfectly describes mine. When our older son was about 3, he wanted to help me plant some bulbs for his grandma. Each variety was packaged in its own bag, so he 'helped' by dumping them all out . . . in one big pile . . . over 300 assorted bulbs! I was mortified, thinking that now there was no way I could follow my carefully planned, color coordinated landscape design." My mother-in-law laughed and said it would be beautiful. The next spring, it was.

"MUMSY'S GARDEN" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Fabriano Artistico, COLLECTED