Ahhhhhhh... The first day of spring is here! Pansies are blooming in the hanging basket outside the studio, and so far the squirrels have only dug them up once.

Why in the world does this little still life of last year's pansies have an apple core in it? .....must've been desperate for something to put there.

So glad spring's here. We had a light rain last night that smelled so fresh and clean. Our daffodils and magnolia are blooming, too. Hope you all enjoy the weekend!

"PRANCING" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches, 15 x 11" COLLECTED



This very small painting came from the leftovers from the bubble print which began as a tree line - being the leftover from the other half of yesterday's post. This section of that print is only about postcard size. The original bubble texture that remains in the light bar in this finished abstract shows off the textures formed from the colored bubbles.

The top of the trees shown cut off here - now the new leftover -really doesn't have any area that makes me want to design a painting. It will be saved for a part of a future collage, but I posted it above the new abstract so you could see where it came from.

The compressed design of this abstract is one of the many things that Gerald Brommer teaches in one of his excellent workshops. The idea is that the narrow band of color and texture at the top of the painting presses down. The larger shape at the bottom also seems to exert pressure up. The thin band in the middle seems compressed and becomes the focal point of the painting. Allowing the bubbles to show clearly there helps make a surprise for the viewer. I do like how the bubbles remained in many other areas, too, adding subtle textures that could not be painted with a brush.

"MOULDED" Fluid Acrylic Bubbles with Transparent Watercolor, Conte Crayons, & Caran d'Ache Crayons on 140#HP Arches 5 x 8"



Three weeks ago, this started out as a bubble print. It was not at all what I'd envisioned so I darkened the background hoping to save it. It looked worse, as you can see here.

Still hoping to salvage something, I headed to the sink to wash off whatever would come loose. I knew most of the bubbles would stay since they were acrylic, but I figured I'd loose that precious white paper in the process. After running water over it for quite a while, I rubbed off as much paint as I could with my fingertips and a sponge.

The results were a softer but paler picture that had no impact and looked really wimpy. When all else fails, it's time to crop.

Below you can see how the painting has been cropped off of the left hand side of the original. The paper was still a bit damp from all that scrubbing, so I used my version of Nicholas Simmon's sewing machine stitch - kind of hoping the old adage would be true - a stitch in time ... It helped. I continued by adding some more detail, a few birch branches, and some splatters.

While it's a huge improvement over the intial attempt, it does look more like a pastel than a watercolor. The finished piece is only an eighth of a sheet of paper.

The last pix here is an upclose of the details so you can see the bubbled textures on the trunk. The other half of that painting was my next challenge, and you'll see it in the tomorrow's post.
Several people have emailed me about the details of bubble print making so here's one of my responses back. It's a little wordy but gives more info about this process.

Mixing up the bubbles - I use those almost disposable plastic Glad containers that are big squares or rectangles, the shallower the better. In each one, I put in 6 oz. water, 3 oz. clear Dawn dishwashing soap, and 2 oz. fluid acrylics (or craft acrylics - just use a bit more or test the color to see how dark it'll be.) Mix really well, and plan to re-stir right before blowing the bubbles since the paint settles on the bottom.

Use hot press watercolor paper if you have it, but any w/c surface will do. With the paper beside you, blow into the freshly stirred bubble mixture until the bubbles reach over the top of the container. I often tip the container so I have more water to blow into. As soon as the bubbles are stacked high, place your paper down into the top layer or so of bubbles. Some of the best prints come from just pressing into a few bubbles rather than pushing the paper far down into the stack of bubbles. (You have less than 15 seconds from when the bubbles are blown to get a good print of bubbles, before the color starts to fade.) Lift straight back up, trying not to move the paper from side to side while it's touching the bubbles. Then, blow more bubbles since those are already loosing their color. Repeat with new bubbles and new colors as much as you want. Printing more bubbles into wet bubbles can create some neat effects if you're lucky.

Then the hard part is deciding how to use the bubble printed surface in a painting. Some 'look' for an image - which is hardly ever successful - usually looks too contrived. Others consider things that are curvilinear which will lend themselves to the surface texture of the bubbles. There's no limit to what will work - so stretch your imagination. The bubbles create a wonderful surprising texture to whatever part of the painting you don't repaint, and they still show through where darker paint is added. It's actually super easy to do this, and I keep the bubble solution sealed up in the containers for a month or so to re-use. Good luck and have fun.



Happy St. Patrick's Day. Don't you love these green bubbles - all in the name of art, too.

Check out Mary Jane Noe's new bubble painting here as well as Barbara Sailor's bubble painting here. Rhonda Carpenter's first bubble painting can be seen here, and she has another in progress right now.

Mrs. O'Conner (Irish of course) is all decked out for St. Patty's day. Way to go! Her bubble painting was tops - a claw foot bath tub with a woman in it. It was sophisticated.

Shirley, our Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society President, seems very intent on what to create with her bubble print. Tomorrow's post will include one of my bubble paintings so ugly that it got washed off in the sink. Have a great day.



This painting was the very first one of the my Malta street scene series, painted over fifteen years ago. Common masking tape was used to create - or actually protect - each new shape before paint was put down.
Plain masking tape was torn or cut into the proper shapes then placed anywhere I didn't want the paint to go. Each new layer of paint was one value darker than the last one, with the colors painted almost randomly without regard for what object was being painted. After each layer of paint dried, more tape was torn or cut to fit the next shapes that I didn't want paint on. This process continued for seven layers of tape and paint.
The advantage of using masking tape this way is that the wet paint sneaks under the edges of the tape and creates a unique, batik-like look. When the tape was removed, some corrections were brushed in to adjust edges or values, and the wall on the right had to be repainted a lot. The fence and details of the lamp were brush painted, too.
Compare this with the recent posts of the same scene to see what a difference technique choices can make on a painting. This is one of my paintings that I wish I still owned, but an architect bought it years ago. It was my first successful 'tape' painting, and although the lines and shapes were somewhat crookedy, I really enjoyed looking at its unpredictable qualities. Or maybe the crookedy part was my favorite part. (That's not a real word...but it describes it pretty good.)
Plans are in the making for painting it again soon with hot wax batik and watercolor. Once that one's done, I'll post the photos of five different paintings done from this photo of Malta, each created with different techniques. Although I've painted this picture at least a dozen times, I sometimes (often) neglected to take photos of my work. So, now I have no record of those other paintings. (Thank goodness for the convenience of digital cameras.)
"LIGHT UNTO MY PATH #1" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches 11 x 15" COLLECTED