This hollyhock and buds were batiked via hot wax and watercolor paint on Thai Unryu paper. This mulberry paper has wonderful silky theads scattered through it to lend a graceful textured effect and is excellent to use when batiking a floral. It can also be purchased with golden or silver threads woven in it...adding a nice sparkle to a painting, too.

When working on watercolor batiks, I paint almost randomly with color after each layer of wax is applied, hence the blue touch of color in the pink flower here. The color accidents that occur by painting this way create more excitement in the picture than if everything is painted the 'proper' color. Although the colors I choose are mostly what I want in an area, I'm careful to not be careful about filling in the shapes accurately. The pinks that show up in the leaves attest to that.

"SPLENDID!" Transparent Watercolor on Thai Unryu rice paper, adhered to 140#CP Arches, 11 x 18" Collected



Early one spring this little fellow stopped his busy activities at the edge of our woods for just a moment. Bluebirds are such a gift when you see one - so pretty and breathtaking. I was happy to get his picture (on film back then) before he took flight again.

One spring I took photos of Papa Bluebird teaching Junior to take a bath in the bird bath outside the studio window. Mama joined them during the whole funny escapade, and I must paint it sometime soon. That day, I'd gotten up from painting to stretch, and as I walked toward the far window, I sensed the need for my camera - one of those 'intuition times' that I listened to. They'd been long gone if I'd gone to grab the camera and returned to the window.

It's always thrilling for me to observe God's creatures because they are immensely delightful and usually full of surprises, and so often I'm inspired to try to share their world in a painting. This was painted several years ago, and I'm itching to paint birds again. The birds were REALLY singing today a lot, and I think maybe the snow and ice melt a little faster when they sing so much. I can wish, anyway.

"WATCHING FOR SPRING" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches 8 x 18" Collected



Seeing Venice for the first time must be a thrill. We'll find out in late September when seven of us arrive in Venice to paint and explore for several days. I'm sure some shopping will be in order, too.

Our niece and nephew visited Venice several years ago so upon their return, I asked Kristin what she'd like painted from her trip - as a gift from us for her college graduation. She chose a more traditional style painting of Venice that I did for her, but the same scene as this one.

I had to try the picture again on rice paper using melted wax and transparent watercolors. I think the batik effect is both colorful and dramatic because of all the accidental textures, however, you never know until you iron off all the wax just how good or bad the painting will turn out.

My friend, Linda, first showed me the basics of how to do a watercolor batik many years ago. As a matter of fact, she's the one who finally convinced me to go to Italy two years ago! (Thank goodness!!!) And TODAY is her birthday. Check her blog out on the sidebar - Linda Schuler - and wish her a happy birthday. Thanks for sharing so much with me, Linda. Have a great birthday, too.

"CANAL VOYAGE" Wax Batik with Transparent Watercolor on Rice Paper 15 x 13" Collected



Any time that 'texture' is a strong feature in a painting, I usually want to paint on YUPO. The variety of textural effects that can be accomplished easily on YUPO still amazes me. Plus, the intensity of the watercolor on YUPO is so brilliant.

Can you imagine having been a pioneer and dragging the really heavy cast iron cookware across the country? I'm sure thankful for the ease of life we have now compared to the toil it must have been then. My grandma used to cook with cast iron skillets of many sizes. I think I've only owned three pieces of cast iron..... and prefer not to use it since it can't go in the dishwasher. Ooooh. Spoiled? Yep.

I had fun letting the pushy colors move the paint around on the YUPO to create the textures on this array of cast iron cookery. Click on the painting for a close up of the textures/pushy colors. It was also great to be able to lift off color where I wanted to pull an area back to white, too. Glad I didn't have to scrub these pots and pans after supper, though.

This was painted several years ago during the opening of an art show. Sitting at a show and watching people look at paintings makes me restless, so if I can, I set up to paint, usually with my back to the crowd so that they feel comfortable coming up to look over my shoulder.

Artists who paint in public certainly could write books about the comments they hear. Some are so sincere and generous, while others are hilarious, (but I dare not laugh.)

"REALLY CAST IN IRON" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 14 x 20" Collected (Giglee' prints available.)



Happy Birthday to Suzanne G:-) today, who's looking forward to learning more about painting reflective surfaces like glass. This painting's for her to study. Check out the shapes created by the darks and light values. Check out the placement of the darks and lights. Examine the edges carefully.

Some edges are sharp, hard. Some are soft, fading away. Some values literally disappear into another value, never having an edge.

Seeing what is there is so critcal in making something look real on a flat piece of paper. We all tend to observe what's around us fairly well. But I think the trick to painting realistically is not to just observe, but to carefully see and slowly look at the shapes, values, and their edges, then paint what we've seen. Keeping the really white shapes pure white helps a bunch in creating the depth in a watercolor. Painting really good darks where it's the darkest gives great dimension to the reflective surface, too.

At the end of this month, we have a special demo planned for Thursday morning's class on reflective surfaces. I'm looking forward to it. Painting glass and brass is easy to do as long as you look slowly and see where the edges and values are. We'll make it look REAL, three dimensional. Wish you all could be in class.

"APPLESAUCE SOON?" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches 10 x 22" Collected



There's a beautiful, historic home sitting on a hill above the Ohio River in a town next door to our town. "Hillforest" was built for the Thomas Gaff family, who lived there from 1855 through 1891.

There were three Gaff brothers who developed much of the town of Aurora and relied heavily on riverboats for their businesses. Notice the look of a 'pilot house' atop the mansion, and how the front porch resembles a steamboat deck. Designed by Isaiah Thomas, this home has since been carefully preserved in its Italian Renaissance style and is a favorite spot for visitors to stop, especially to see the gorgeous suspended staircase inside.

Just about every artist in this county has painted this house from one angle or another, so several years ago, I had to give it a try, too. I combined my taping technique with some miskit control (for the curved areas of the house and the big Sycamore) to create this painting. The picture now hangs in the Dearborn County Country Club.

An interesting historic fact about the Gaff family - - - their riverboat, The Forest Queen, was used successfully at the siege of Vicksburg as the headquarters of William Tecumseh Sherman for the Union cause during the Civil War.

"TOWN TREASURE" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches 30 x 13" Collected