Koi Games ll watercolor on Gessoed paper

Koi games ll NFS 5.5 by 8 inches

This morning I got up at 4:00 am so I could get everything finished. I’m working on my large painting ( see other blog at http://h20color.wordpress.com) and of course I’m doing my regular daily activities . Anyway, I didn’t paint a small painting today and I decided to put this little painting up for you to see. I painted it a few days ago and I ‘ll be sending this off tomorrow to one of my collectors as a gift. I usually try to give my repeat customers a small gift of a painting or an ACEO every now and then. She purchased a number of my koi in the past and I think this painting will go well with some of her other Koi paintings.

Hope you like it!

Snow Scene watercolor on paper 7″ by 9.75″ $ 50.00

snow driftsThis little snow scene was inspired because I needed something simple and uncomplicated as my painting brain has been in high gear these last few days. I have been visualizing all the fish I need to paint into my large Koi painting. Its sort of like looking at the clouds and seeing objects in them. In this case not only do I have to imagine them, I also have to figure out the color combinations and how to achieve the look without overly painting them. So this takes a lot of concentration and I needed a painting break. These snow paintings are very relaxing and calming.

The Dance

The Dance

5 and 3/4″ by 7 inches, watercolor on gessoed watercolor paper. $35.00 special of the Week.  SOLD

When I was at a recent Koi show, one of the judges explained to me that the females are usually bigger and rounder then the males… who tend to be long and thinner. Both can be beautiful, unlike birds. Sometimes, the female will be more beautiful than the male and both can grow to 30 to 35 pounds if allowed to live in a large pond with good filtration and food.

Silk and Silver watercolor 6″ by 9″ still life

silk & silver6 by 9 50.00  I painted this last year but I decide to post it again because it did not sell.   We get about twice the number of hits these days… so I thought it would be a good painting to display.I wanted to put something up for Daily Painters today and since I was working on my larger piece most of the morning, which I usually do on Sundays, I didn’t get a chance to photograph anything else.  I have some aceos…. finished, but I ‘m too tired to get them out and post them.  Maybe tomorrow.  If you would like to go to see  what I’m up too…my Work In Progress or WIP go to : http://h20color.wordpress.com  this is my painting a week blog. Its 35 inches by 35 inches.

ACEO Ancient Ritual Series #30

Ancient Ritual15.00 2.5 by 3.5 watercolor on paper.  This ACEO is part of a series I started over a year ago about the way in which we as human mark the passage of time and events in our lives with ritual.    I have a commissioned piece which is about 33 inches by 33 inches. I have been working on it all this week, and I want to try to finish it this weekend. If not, I actually have another week. I always give myself at least three weeks to get a painting complete. One week to think about it one week to do the painting and another week to paint another if I’m not satisfied. So far it works for me.I drew value sketches for the piece in about ten different formats, circle, triangle, steelyard, horizontal, vertical ribbon, cruciform, s or z and of course symmetrical. I really like the vertical ribbon but may do a cruciform to one side of the square with a diagonal fish creating movement pointing up to the cross section. I hope this makes sense its hard to describe what I see in my little brain. I finished my” Koi under the falls” but haven’t posted it yet because I may have to rework one of the fish.

Koi inka dink

Koi inka dink $40.00 US 6 by 7 inches

The name of this piece was suggested by a fellow artist and I’m sorry but I can’t remember who. It was during one of those times when I asked for suggestions and I received about twenty names.

This painting is is on Gessoed paper and I like the texture. How I make this texture is by spritzing the watercolor with water and wiping it off with a Kleenex. Where the spots of water fall onto the dry paint.. the kleenex picks up the color.

Ocean Wave

The Sea ll4 by 6SOLD  $25.00 

I painted two of these yesterday, not that I was overly motivated, in fact I started out the day with no real idea as to what to paint.  I have a commissioned piece  ( a large one) I want to start but I have to cut the paper from my 10 foot roll and that means asking my husband for help and clearing everything off my painting table.   Not wanting to get that started, I decided I would paint my daily painting and get it out of the way before getting out the big roll of paper which will take over my entire small 11 by 12 foot space space. 

Lately I have been painting snow scenes and I thought of painting another one but wasn’t overly thrilled with that.  I decided to clean up my painting area.  You know, sometimes this helps… Its like getting the cob webs clear from your mine… getting organized also makes painting easier once you have decided what to paint.


I made a cup of hot chocolate and took a look around…  dog hair dust bunnies clung to the corners of my walls and corners of the room like people at a meeting when volunteers are asked to step forward.  Oh yes, did I mention I love books and as a visual person I love looking at anything with pictures… so of course  there are old newspapers, magazine articles, piles of reference books, art books, and my own photographs all just lying about taking up space, space I definitely will need.


  I decided to just dig  in and clean, pick up and throw away so I started in at the bottom… I swept, then I took out the trash…  working my way up… I cleaned up my table by throwing away the used Kleenex, candy wrappers, (yes I like to suck on mints or candy when I paint) and misc napkins or scraps of paper I draw on. I took the wet towels to the washing machine, put away stray palette knives and pin knives, cleaned my brushes, and laid them out to dry… got my water buckets filled,&  squeezed out fresh paint ( don’t ask me why, but this always gives me a bit of a trill) into my palette and got some paper out and of course looked down at the white paper with a “what now?”  


This sometimes happens to all artists, especially if you have a deadline to paint a painting every single day. I decided to look thru some books. Hoping for some inspiration. I was looking thru a book a pal of mine lent me about oceans and beautiful beaches all over the world and I realized I love the way water looks… not beaches but the actual water itself, its reflective qualities, color, shape, movement, it all intrigues me. The first surface that I thought of to use was clay board because water on clay board is very slippery and no matter what you do it always looks wet.  After doing one wave ( posted yesterday) I did another using alcohol for the white. Alcohol when spritz on (or dropped in) pushes water away from the surface exposing the surface of the paper or in this case the clay board. It has a very natural appearance and is usually very circular in shape.  I use this natural shape to make the wave look foamy It dries very fast and leaves the white area of your paper for you to reintroduce more color or just to leave as is.


If you have any questions about the use of alcohol just write to me and I can explain its application further. 

The sea

The Sea 4 by 6 25.00 I was looking thru a book last night and the book has numerous pictures of oceans and beaches all over the world.   I can say….    I was inspired.   I don’t usually like the ocean as much as most of my friends, I guess you could say I’m more of a Mountain person.   But water itself has always captivated me.   The currants and the movement of water is as beautiful as anything on earth.   This is smooth clay board 4 by 6 and I thought the slick surface would enhance the way the watercolor moves and it would look very natural.    I opted for a very simple wave.  For a daily painting I think its a great subject. 

The Struggle

Most artists struggle. Either they can’t seem to get down their vision of what they want or they don’t know what they want, (they’ll know it, if they see it). I think this struggle is part of the process. Its too bad because of this constant push/ pull it sometimes seems not to be worth the effort. Its why some people give up doing their art. Also, I see people giving up their art because they don’t have enough buyers. Buyers equate “good artist”. No buyers (not counting family and friends) means not a good artist. This definitely is not the case.

We live in an age when people will buy a Persian rug for their dining area, cover their sofa in silks, and import tiles from Italy to decorate their home tastefully and expensively, yet these same people will have pictures of art rather original art on every wall in their house. They will pay more for a custom frame and mat then for an original piece of art. Go into any model home these days, same thing, prints everywhere. (Please, I have nothing against prints.. so don’t write me justifying your print purchases) Most from 18th and 19th century artists. I guess they feel pretty good or safe rather, that this art cannot be denied as good art. It has stood the test of time. The truth is… I think people don’t trust their own judgement when it comes to choosing art. They need someone to tell them what is good art. All they have to do is trust their inner voice that says “I love this” but they don’t trust that little voice so they listen to experts…But who? do you trust Gallery owners? Especially when they are getting 50% of the profits? Do you trust your own decorator who is going to choose a piece of art because it matches a sofa? You have to admit, even I may not pay some of the high prices for some art, especially when it appears to have been painted with a stick or a rag. People don’t like to be taken advantage of and they don’t like to admit they don’t “know” art. The other problem is a simple one, people don’t appreciate original art in the US as much as in many other cultures around the globe. Now as in the past, Art was OK as long as it was something to do as a hobby but not as a career. It isn’t real work. We have a very strong work ethic in this county and some parents often put creativity in the back seat while encouraging productive hard work, left brain thinking.

So, if we don’t buy original art and we encourage our kids to do anything but become artists, and we don’t support the arts in schools what we are we saying?

Its no wonder today’s artists may feel as though it isn’t worth the effort, that the struggle to produce good art is just that, a struggle. As an artist I’ll remind you, of a few important things.

1. Its takes a very long time to become proficient at something as complex as art.
In fact, if it were easy, would you still even want to do it?

2. Don’t take the advice from lay people. They won’t help you, even if they have good intentions.

3. Be a lifelong student, don’t plan to figure it all out right now. It really is about the journey not the destination. Its a journey for one, just you.

4. Do whatever you enjoy doing, even if no one buys it. Hey, its cheaper than therapy.

Big Sky Farm

Big sky farm

This is a watercolor on gessoed illustration board.  The size is 14 by 12 inches $50.00 $5.50 for shipping.

Its very cold here and I spent most of the day inside. I have been doing some planning for a commissioned piece…  I tried to get some ideas for the composition. I usually just do some pencil sketches for the placement of the focal point and for the structure of the painting. I also try to think of what I’ll do for the underpainting just so I can get started because as I paint my intuition will kick in & the rest will come.  I like to think about them as a cruciform or a triangle or steel yard composition to get started.. so I start with a logical idea but as I go along, I allow the piece to tell me what to paint.  This way, I use both my left and right side of my brain.  I think this makes for a better painting.  


Winter Snow Flakes

Winter Snow flakesThis is a very light snow scene.   9 by 11 on watercolor paper $50.00 I used salt ( sea salt) for the flakes. You’ll find in the last year in a half that I ‘ve been painting and posting daily and I ‘ve seldom used salt. It isn’t that I have anything against salt, but I just seldom use it. I usually just use water if I want the look of salt. Today I was asked about salt and how it works with watercolor so I thought I would explain it. The salt technique is all about timing.  I lay down a light wash of blue gray color for the sky… then… I put in the green/brown trees wet into wet right into the blue sky so that it will give the appearance that the trees are off in the distance and that they are a little blurry. Before the paper as lost its shine I sprinkle in the salt. You have to just put a pinch of salt other wise you will end up with a blizzard. At first it looks like it isn’t working, be patient after the background dries you will see where the salt soaked up the color leaving the white of the paper and because it is a natural substance it has a natural sharp. It will look like falling snow. Paint the foreground after the background has dried and add a little warm color somewhere to help the painting be more inviting and not so cold. Dust off the salt and Your done!Oh yes… You can use various types of salt to get different sizes of flakes.Now:   you should know there are a whole bunch of archival fanatics that claim salt will cause the paper to fall apart over time and  they do not allow their students the use of salt.    I usually stay away from it for this reason but also because water sprayed onto the surface will also give you an effect very much like salt without the controversy.  Try using various spray bottles to find just the right size of droplet.  A chloresceptic bottle has a great sprayer also the old  windex pump bottle  that used to be popular in the 70’s has a nice fine mist.   

Koi Ribbons

Koi ribbions5 by 7 watercolor on textured clay board. 40.00 plus s & hThis stuff (clay board) is great to paint on, you have to remember two things, the paint doesn’t sink in which causes it to sit on the surface and the second thing you need to remember is that the watercolor will not be fixed unless you spray it with a fixative. I use a universal artist grade fixative but I have been told by experts you can use Krylon fixative for arts and crafts which can be purchased in most hobby shops for about 75% less.   It comes in both mat and gloss.  If you use gloss I have found it doesn’t look like a traditional watercolor but is very attractive. If you choose Mat fixative the painting really doesn’t change in appearance This Koi looks like he is at the bottom of the pond playing in the ribbons of pond grass.

Tri Koi

Tri KoiThis is my painting of three Koi. The size is 8 by 10 inches for just $70.00  The surface is textured ampersand and watercolor is the medium.  at this time it has not been sprayed and there isn’t any but fixative may be used at your request.  It can framed without glass if fixative is used. 

“Fresh Snow” a watercolor winter landscape

Fresh Snow 2008 

75.00 8.0 by 11 inches watercolor on paper.This painting is basically the one from two days ago revisited. This is one of the good things about painting everyday.  Sometimes as an artist you will want to paint a painting again but of course change a few things and this is the case with this painting and the original..”snow hare”.  I obviously didn’t put in the hare and I feel the snow hare painting is beautiful but I wanted to paint one featuring birch trees and just the quiet of the woods.  So this is my answer to that muse who keeps telling me what to paint.  She says don’t tell them everything…. allow the painting to speak for itself.