Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

New Years Eve and it is time to see how many of my 2010 intentions measured up. In my last post I listed and answered some of the 45 questions that I keep posted in my studio. Those questions help me to keep an inventory of my accomplishments. Knowing my accomplishments helps me to feel successful and it keeps me motivated.

Creating my intentions for the year is another tool to help me see what achievements I have made, what I need to work towards and to encourage me to keep working harder. I have 5 main intentions: 1) Stay organized 2) Become a better painter 3) Step up my game and 4) Work on marketing my art. Under each of these intentions are goals to achieve these intentions. There are 25 goals and I completed 14 out of the 25. :-)

I admit that my least favorite and most need of improvement is my intention to work on marketing (forgive me Allyson Standfield I know this is every artists Achilles heel and I am no exception. Organization is my next area that needs improvement. I would bet if I polled all my blogging buddies, they too would have marketing and organization at the top of their lists of areas that need to be improved upon.

Below, I use the same 5 intentions with some of the same goals and some new goals. I may take baby steps that are repetitive, however I am happy in my art and any accomplishments I make are gravy. :-)

I want to stay organized. I can do this by:
Obtaining artist software for tracking my artwork and books.
Keep books up to date.
Keep files of my paintings up to date.
Keep my studio less cluttered.
Keep my portfolio/bio/artist statement/scrapbook up to date.

I want to become a better painter. I can do this by:
Improving my studio habits.
Painting 9 or more paintings for the year.
Keep teaching
Trying to paint "en plien aire" - creating a painting on site as opposed to painting outside.
Picking an artist to study their techniques/style.
Seeing exhibits at museums, galleries, art events, and art fairs. (4 or more local/far away)
Try a different technique.
Keep donating my art to the Boys and Girls Clubs Annual Fund-raiser.
Take a workshop/class.

I want to step up my game. I can do this by:
Enter 4 or more juried exhibitions.
Take better quality photos of my work.
Participate in 2 group shows.
Obtain commissions.
Make 3 or more sales.
Meet more artists in my area.
Renew my membership to those I belong.
Join another are organization and become involved.
Follow my friend Deb Wards ( ) lead and take care of my health.

I want to work on my marketing skills. I can do this by:
Ordering new business cards and postcards.
Work on mailing list and strive for 200+ names.
Research the costs of prints/cards of my artwork.
Blogging once a week.
Creating a website.

I have listed 29 goals that I will strive to check off in hopes to get more that half this coming year.

I want to thank everyone who visited my blog this past year. Your support and comments are invaluable to me. 

I wish everyone success in their goals, lots of studio time and a prosperous New Year!

Best Wishes,


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My 2010 Accomplishments In Review

It is time for my annual review of the past year. I have looked over the past year and compiled my yearly list. The list of questions I have is approximately 45 total and I have listed the ones that fit this past years accomplishments. As you can see only a third of the questions apply to me this year. Even though I have not answered all 45 I feel I had a pretty good year.

1. How many works did I create?  A career high of 8 finished paintings this year.
2. What trips (local or far away) did I make to nourish my art? 1 trip to Key West
3. What classes/seminars/workshops did I take (business or creative)?  Fluid Acrylic workshop w/Deb Ward and 3 mini workshops @ GCWS meetings.
                                                      4. What did you try that was completely new? Fluid Acrylics

5. Whom did I mentor, teach, or help out? I taught a watercolor class and a drawing class
6. What books or magazines did I read to help my career? I subscribe to Artist Magazine and Watercolor Magazine. On occasion I pick up and read International Artist and Watercolor Artist.
7. How many names did I add to my mailing list? 4 – Mailing lists and 
marketing is where I always need to improve.
8. What did I do to enhance my online presence, such as, a website, FB, Twitter, Linkedin, etc..? I added a FB “Like” page. I posted 52 times this year on my blog.
9. Did I create an Artist Statement/Bio? I updated both - click on "About" at top of page.
                                                      10. What organizations did I join? I renewed my membership to  
Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society.
11. What worthy causes did I support in some way? I donated a painting to the Boys and Girls Club Annual Fund drive.
12. What art events, galleries, museums or art fairs did I visit this year? 1 art event; 2 galleries; 1 museum; 1 art fair
13. What exhibits/shows or contests did I submit to? I entered 3                                                       juried shows. 4 paintings made it into 2 shows.
14. What was the single best thing that happened to your art career in 2010? Being accepted into 2 juried shows; Selling 2 paintings (one being a commission); Teaching 2 classes.

How was your year? 

Happy New Year!
PS I apologize that the page does not line up and flow the way I would like. It does so as I type it out (for the most part) Some day I will figure this out.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
Dr. Seuss

The wedding is over and all went well. The commission delivered and the patron loved it. Shopping was done with 24 hours to spare. I am ready to visit with our children and their partners, our parents, siblings and their families. But, most of all I thank the Lord for my year personally and professionally.

Wishing everyones Christmas "means a little bit more."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Felix & Oscar

Felix & Oscar

I finished this commission painting of two labs named Felix and Oscar. It was very enjoyable to paint them and I hope the owners love it.

I will be very busy in the next few weeks, not just because Christmas is upon us, but because my youngest daughter is getting married in a 3 weeks. So please forgive me if I do not post for awhile.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is a day to be with our loved ones and reflect upon things in our life that we are thankful for.

I am thankful for my ability to paint and to have the time and supplies to do so.
I am thankful for my many blogging buddies. I have learned so much watching their postings and sharing our love of painting. The camaraderie is priceless.
I am thankful for all who have stopped by to check out my paintings and left a comment. It means so much to read your input.
I am thankful to those that have bought my paintings. I am glad that my work makes you happy.
I am thankful for the shows that I was juried into this year.
I am thankful for my "Legendary Artists" group. Although we do not have regular painting dates anymore, I am grateful for your friendship and always look forward to our May show.
I am thankful for my girlfriends, fore there friendship means the world to me. I love the all dearly.
I am thankful for my job, both my co-workers and my interns. There is joy each and every day.
I am thankful for my country that allows me to do the things I want to do.
I am thankful for my girls. Though they are no longer living at home and have forged their own way, I am proud of them and thankful for their love and support.
I am thankful for my husband who encourages me to do the things I want to do.
I am most thankful for my religious beliefs, fore it gets me through everything I do in life.

Wishing you a very Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I had a whole weekend to work in the studio!  I have not had a free weekend in awhile due to family obligations. But, it is all good.

I really like the face on the black dog and his body is shaping up. I need to start working on the light Lab and get some detail in the foreground. There seems to be a dot on the light Lab's front leg that has come from my camera. I will have to figure out the cause.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Salute/WIP

It is Veteran's Day and I want to thank all who have served in the armed services past and present. Especially, my father, Norm Leist, who served 30 years in the Navy and our family friend, Paul Brondhaver, who served in Operation Iraqui Freedom and obtained a purple heart.They are very special men in my families lives.

Because of our nation honoring our Veteran's I was able to have the day off. Therefore, I had some studio time and worked on my pooches. I think the dark dog is coming along. I have been using my rigger brush to place the lines and texture of the fur. Because he is so dark, I find myself treating my strokes like sculpting to create his beautiful face.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Commission: WIP

WIP: Two Labradors
11 x 14

I have begun the two handsome labs. I like what I have done so far.The black lab needs to go a whole lot darker, while the yellow lab will only get a little more definition and color. 

I debated on whether to keep them in an outdoor, less formal setting or an indoor, very formal setting with a dark background. I decided they belonged in the outdoors. Happy with my choice.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Two Labradors Commission Drawing WIP

I have been working on these two Labradors for a while.  I have done several value studies making sure I understand the shadows and expressions of the pooches, especially the black one. He is so dark I wanted to get his expression right.

Time to get the patrons approval.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

WIP Troublesome Pebble & Viewpoint

 An update on the little girl in the bright floral dress. I have began laying in the greenery and flowers. I am liking the painterly (or impressionistic) flow of the painting so far.

I have been working on her off and on since my last post about her on September 15th. Today I spent 4 hours working on her in between laundry and other chores. My studio is in my basement next to my laundry area. So when I am captive in this area, on the weekend, I usually get a lot of painting/drawing/business done.

As you can see, I finished the day with the dark area in place. My goal was to not put the darks in until last. Obviously, I did not wait until completely last to put them in. I felt that I needed to get that huge dark area in so that I could get the proper shadowing on the bottom of the painting. The darks on the bottom are not as dark as the huge area, but close.

I was commissioned to paint two Labradors, yellow and black. I will have to put my little girl on hold until I get the pooch's done.

Now about Viewpoint....I received my letter of rejection today on the two paintings I had entered. Which were the same two paintings that are presently in the Middletown Art Center Show.(

The letter stated that 342 paintings were entered and 70 were accepted. With those numbers,the odds were against many of us that applied. I am sure it made it tough for Nita Leland who was the judge for this national show. However, this is awesome news for the Cincinnati Art Club, because everyone wants to get into their show!

This rejection will not keep me from trying to enter Viewpoint next year.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Middletown Art Center Show

Friday evening was the opening of the Middletown Art Centers ( Area Art Show. MAC was founded in 1957 and has been offering this event and classes in Middletown for 50 years. I was very lucky to have two of my paintings accepted into the show. They stated that there were 220 entries representing 22 cities in southwest Ohio and 97 pieces were chosen to be in the show. WOW!

This was my second attempt to enter this show and the first time to be accepted. I could not have been more pleased when I walked into the gallery and saw so many exceptional paintings.  The show runs until October 23, 2010. If you live in the Southwest Ohio area, I recommend that you stop by to see the show.

                                                    Best of Show         


                                                    Lesley Lawson

                                                    Middletown, OH

                                            President's Award & 1st Place

                                            "Make Your Own Kind of Music"

                                            Joyce Phillips Young

                                           Cincinnati, OH

The judges were Homer Hacker, Reggie Finkleman and Libby Birch.Mr. Hacker is a Ohio University graduate. He is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society and part of the organizing committee for the Ohio Watercolor Society, for which he was President for 3 years.  Ms. Finkelman studied at the Traphagen Design School & Carnegie Mellon University. She studied under Homer Hacker, Joseph Barrish & Don Dennis at the MAC. Ms. Birch has a BFA from the University of Iowa and has taught in the Middletown Schools for over 30 yrs. and Miami University for 7 yrs. Ms. Birch has been the Director of Middletown International for 27 yrs.

                                           First Place                                                              

                                           "City's Fast Tracks"

                                           Karen Benedetti
                                           Kettering, OH 
Each painting in this show was strong enough to be a winner. MAC gives out 1st ($100), 2nd ($50), 3rd ($25) and 2 Honorable Mentions per the areas of oils/acrylic, watermedia, pastels, drawings, mixed media, and photography. There were 25 awards, as well as, a Best of Show ($500) and a President's Award.

Above and the next five paintings are the award winners in watermedia. Please forgive the reflections on the pictures, as the lighting of the gallery interfered.  Also, my inability to keep everything so nicely aligned and spaced as I type, but goes haywire once published to the blog.
                                                    Second Place                                                    "Walking Home"
                                                     Linda Schuler
                                                     New Richmond, OH


                                                    Third Place
                                                    "Secrets and Symbols"
                                                    Sharon Stolzenberger
                                                    Kettering, OH

                                                   Honorable Mention Watermedia                                           
                                                   "U.S. Digital"                                             
                                                   Diana Ross              
                                                   West Chester, OH

                                                    Honorable Mention Watermedia
                                                    "Easy Rider"
                                                    Bob Nowicki
                                                    Loveland, OH

 Meeting other artist is a favorite part of attending show openings. I was pleased to meet Joyce PhillipsYoung and talk to her about her painting and sharing our backgrounds. Joyce is an artist that spent 30+ yrs. in education for Cincinnati Public and University of Cincinnati where she taught Black Art History. She is an active member of the Women's Art Club.

I want to thank my parents and girl friends for coming and supporting me at the opening. It was a fun evening and I look forward to trying to get in next year.


Monday, September 20, 2010

2 accepted to the MAC Show

                                                                Best Friend's Napping

Best Friend's Napping and Pop's Garden was accepted into the MAC Show! That is two of three admitted. I am beyond thrilled! :-)


Sunday, September 19, 2010


My friend, Tina, with excitement in her voice, was telling me how she went to an afternoon workshop to make sidewalk chalk. Tina did this so that she could participate in an event called Streetscapes in Clifton which is called the gas light district. It is located literally northwest of the University of Cincinnati campus.

Feeling her excitement, I volunteered to tag along to record the day. So, yesterday, I met Tina bright and early to head to the event. After we signed in we found Tina's spot where she was to paint her painting. The Clifton Business Association, who put on the event, had taped off the 4'x6' "canvas" aka the pavement of the street. Tina had chosen the smallest size to render because she thought she would be painting by herself for the two day event. Other sizes were 5'x5', 5'x8' and 8'x8'. The Art Academy of Cincinnati had a group of 7 and their painting was 16'x18'.

I helped Tina put down and taped brown paper around her "canvas", as well as, her sketch. Tina had poked holes along the lines of her drawing which allowed her to pounce powder, in a piece of cheesecloth, through the holes.This leaves dots on the "canvas". Once this was done she took the paper off. We then conected the dots with chalk to get the lines down. Tina had chosen to make a copy of the abstract expressionism painting The Scream by Edvard Munch (1863-1944).

It did not take long for me to go from recording the day, to jumping in and helping. Tina did the sky, lake, and the two men. I did the screaming figure and the areas on each side of him.

I have to say that I am not experienced with painting with chalk. My hands, legs, clothes were full of chalk when done. It was frustrating to have many little chalk pebbles every where and nothing to wipe it off with. Tina and I walked around and observed other participants to see what tools we should have. This was Tina's first time and other than making the chalk and signing up for the event, they did not give many tips. By lunch time we had compiled a list, such as, a large (6") brush to wisp away those pesky pebbles. :-)

 It was a long fun filled day and the Clifton Business Association was first class. They fed us breakfast and lunch, kept us in chalk, water, snacks and gave us a shirt.

We finished Tina's painting in one day and went back today for the second day to take pictures. It was a fun time and I thank Tina for letting me tag along.
Next year we will registrar as an official team.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

WIP: Troublesome Pebble Update

I am working on Troublesome Pebble and another painting at the same time. This can be good and bad. Good because you can move from on to another, therefore keeping you busy while one is drying. Bad because at some point you focus on one more than the other. However, when they both get done it is worth it.

I began laying some color in the flower beds. I did not like how much she looked like she had been crushing grapes with her feet. But, I had promised myself to get the little girl and her dress half way done before I began the flowers. Leaving the darkness behind her last.
I can not tell you how hard this has been for me to not jump ahead of myself.  So far, I am happy that I am taking it slow. As you can see, her shadowed feet do not stand out so much.  When I get more of the flowers and shadows on the ground then the little girls shadowed feet will look better.     

The Miamisburg Gallery Show has closed. Once those paintings are picked up (thanks Mom & Dad), I will then enter the Middletown Arts Centers Show this week. Since I do not have to save paintings for the Java, Jazz n' Art, I will be able to enter the two from the Miamisburg Show (Waiting On thee Rain, Pop's Garden) plus Best Friend's Napping.   With any luck at least one will be judged in by Mr. Homer O. Hacker.

I will keep you posted.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Java, Jazz n' Art Cancelled in New Richmond

                                                            Two Men and A Barge
 New Richmond on the Ohio...."It
is with deep regret that the Committee of Java Jazz'n Art has decided
to cancel the event for 2010. With contributions and artist
participation down by 50%, it was felt that the integrity and quality of
the event would be compromised."
I am deeply disappointed in the committee to prematurely cancel the local art show in October.  As the statement said, " artist participation down..." My reply is how can they determine this when the final date to enter is Sept. 10th. You would think they would wait until the 15th to look like they were trying to do their job. 
If most artist are like me they do not enter until the last possible moment because of finishing a painting, framing, finances, etc... I, myself had my form and check ready to mail in the morning.  So if only 45 artist had applied so far what are the odds that another 45+ would enter by the due date?
If numbers are down due to the economy, would it not make sense to make due with the numbers you have so that you keep the event going until the economy returns and make the show better. 
What about the businesses that were counting on this event to bring people in to the village? Many people came from all over just to stroll along the river on a beautiful fall day and listen to Jazz, look at art and shop the businesses of New Richmond.
Can you tell I am disappointed that a bigger fight did not happen to make this well attended event take place.
Gaylynn, 2008 Best of Show winner (of the former) Java, Jazz n' Art Exhibit

Monday, August 30, 2010

Viewpoint entries

Best Friend's Napping

I entered Best Friend's Napping and another painting in the Cincinnati Art Club's 42nd Annual Viewpoint National Juried Art Competition. This was a scary and nerve wracking process for me. To enter this show the process was very different then the two local shows that I have entered before. 

The process for this show was to make a CD to specification of my paintings. The jpg could not exceed 5 MB and the picture was to labeled a certain way, as well as, the CD it self. I have dyslexia and tend to flip things. I looked all my writing over carefully, but feel like I mixed something up and missed it. I have heard stories of organizations tossing an entry application when something is not to specification.  It was such an ordeal to get the nerve to enter such a prestigious show.  The process of burning a CD (for a show) was a first for me, therefore I will be crushed if my negligence keeps me from even getting a look. However, I am proud of myself for taking this leap and trying to show my paintings at another level.

I will keep you posted if any of my work gets in. Wish me luck :-)



Sunday, August 22, 2010

WIP: Troublesome Pebble

I have begun this piece of a little girl trying to get a pebble out of her sandal. I was drawn to her bright print on her dress. So that is where I have started the painting.

Jumping into on specific area without laying a wash of color everywhere else is not my usual pattern of beginning a painting. I usually place a light wash filling in the painting like a coloring book. Then I begin the background and move forward.  I only laid it in a few areas to frame the girl while I work on her.This is because the background is so dark and I do not want it to touch her until she is done. So in this piece I will work on her, then the fore ground and then the area behind her last. At least that is the plan. I am going to try very hard not to get ahead of myself. ;-)


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Entering Juried Shows:Eeny, meany....

My "REAL" job began this week with meetings and trainings (it is time for school to start next week). I spent my summer trying to get a few paintings done, working at a sumer job, go to my watercolor club monthly meetings, blog, vacation and to catch up on household chores (something I think will never be achieved).

Now that it is time to go back to work, the juried show season has begun also. I began by entering in the Miamisburg Art Gallery Annual Juried Show and was thrilled that the 2 paintings that I entered were accepted. There are 4 (probably more) juried shows  in this area between now and November. The problem is that they overlap which makes for difficult choices.

So the decisions to be made are:
Which ones to enter 
              - to do this I have to get a calendar out and map when the entry fees are due; the dates my paintings will be in their possession from delivery to pick-up (providing they are juried in).
              -If the shows overlap which do I choose to go where. Meaning I have to place my newest at one show while those done in the last year go another. Picking the paintings that will work best with the venue I am  entering. Then keeping track of where I have sent them so that I do not send them to the same place twice.
              -Another overlap or inconvience could be dropping off or pick-up of my work. If the time to do this errand is when I am at work do I have a back up plan, such as, someone doing this chore for me and will the event allow it?
              -Do I enter 1 piece? I can usually enter up to I enter 1, 2, or 3 paintings? How many I enter is determined by how many paintings I have finished, framed and available. This brings us to...
Fees & Entry
              -Do I have enough funds to enter the number of pieces for a show at the time the entry is due?
              -Some shows I have to send in the entry form and fee. Then on a set date I show up with the piece(s) I have entered and drop them off. I then wait for the acknowledgment either my mail, email or a phone call stating that I am in the show. I then go to the opening to see who won the prizes.
              -Some shows I show up on dates given and fill out my entry form, pay my fees and leave my painting(s). I then go through the process described above.
              -Some shows want a CD sent in with my painting(s) on it along with my entry for and fee. Then, again, I go through the process described above.
Which brings me to the questions....
Do I know how to make a CD of my work?
Do I know how to take my photo and make it the right jpeg?
Can I take the picture myself so that it looks professional? OR
Do I want to get professional photos done of my work? If I do then they can make the CD....

Whew! This is my thought process! I could go on and on with my questions. And, yes it can or could be paralyzing! It would be so easy to play Scarlet and just worry about it tomorrow. I could keep doing only 2 juried shows that I have done because they are familiar and I have been successful at them. (Which is what I have been doing) OR I could push myself to reach for something I have not accomplished before.

All this has to be decided between now and the middle of next month. As if I will not already be busy with the rush of the new school year, etc... Good thing for me goals will keep me moving forward :-)


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Miamisburg Art Galley Annual Show & AWS Exhibit at Middletown Art Center

                                                                  Waiting On The Rain
                                                           9X10 300lb Kilimanjaro Paper

 I entered two paintings in the Miamisburg Art Galleries Annual Juried Show and both were accepted! The above painting was one of the two that made the show.

My friend, Deb Ward ( won a Merit Award for her acrylic painting Daffodil and Fruit. This is the second time I have seen her win at this event. Congratulations to her!!!

The winner (on the left) in my category of Water Media, was called Forest by Laine Bachman.

I kept looking at the painting and thinking that I have seen it before. I went home and checked out my  Artists Magazine and found an article on Deborah Morrissey-McGoff. Laine's style is very much like this artists. Deborah calls her work "magical realism". This is how I would describe Ms. Bachman's painting. It had wonderful detail with whimsy and fantasy.

The Best of Show painting was Bennie In Black by Donna Brinkman. This portrait was very striking and well executed.
The person hanging the show did a good job by putting this piece by itself over the desk where patrons were asked to sign up for door prizes. It could not be missed.

I look forward to attending this show each year. This year my friend, Cindy, my daughter, Rebecca, and my parents, Norm and Carol, supported me at the awards ceremony. I was grateful for their presence.

Before the Miamisburg show, we went to see the American Watercolor Society Exhibit at the Middletown Arts Center (  I truly enjoyed each and every painting. I had seen all or most of them in the Artists magazine, Watercolor Artists magazine and Watercolor Magazine. It is much more satisfying to see them in person.

As much as I can appreciate those that won awards, (which can be seen @  such as, Gold Medal of Honor winner John Salminen, AWS Morning Fog; Silver Medal of Honor winner, Dean Mitchel, AWS Sunshine in New Orleans and Bronze Medal Winner, Susan Montague, AWS Far and Away, I really liked the detail and brush strokes of this painting by Alan Wylie called Casi in Casa.
This painting was hung left center as you entered the gallery and its prominence made it all the more interesting to me. It really drew me in.

The next one that struck me was Soho Shadows by Linda Baker, AWS.  I apologize that the picture does not show the detail better. I admire the work that went into this painting. For me, my eyes would cross with all the lines. The technical is superb.

I will confess that Dean Mitchel's painting was the coolest to see in person because I admire his work so much. I encourage you to go to the AWS site (above) to see his award winning painting. My shot did not do it justice, therefore, I won't be posting it.

There were many "famous" artist shown in this show. I am glad that Middletown brings it to our area each year.

As enjoyable as the exhibit was, I was privileged to speak with a AWS Signature member that was also taking the exhibit in.  I have met the man before and had written about him when he had an exhibit at the Middeltown Art Center in November of 2007, Homer O. Hacker. He was observing the exhibit with a young man that I assume to be a grandson (I apologize if I am wrong). As always, he was very nice to talk to. I was very honored that he remembered me (he knows my dad and my great uncle, Jim Harlan, was photographer for him at the Dayton Daily News where Mr. Hacker was Art Director for 30 years.)  and spoke kindly of my post about him in 2007. Timing is everything and I am glad that I was present and able to speak with this genuine, nice and very talented artist.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society August Meeting: Deb Ward speaker

So much time since my last post.....I finished a painting, had my birthday, gone on vacation, attended the August meeting of GCWS and entered 2 paintings in a juried show that with any luck will be hanging when the show opens on August 14th.

This month, at the GCWS meeting, the guest speaker was Deb Ward ( She talked to us about painting with casein.

Casein is a milk based paint that has been used since ancient Egyptian times. It is a fast drying water soluble medium that can be used on canvas panels, illustrations board, paper or wood. It is similar to egg tempera in its ability to  resemble oil painting.

Like gauche, it has been a preferred medium in the illustration or commercial artists. It fell out of use in the 1960's when acrylic paint was developed. However, today it is slowly making a come back with water media artists.

Deb began by showing us her tools. She uses a possum palette to hold the paint. However, she uses a styro foam plate to mix her colors because the paint stains. Deb uses her old soft brushes or cheap brushes because the paint wants to stay in the brush. She cleans them with brush soap and water. Deb says that once she finishes a painting she waits a few weeks then varnishes it. Deb likes that way it looks like an oil painting without the smell or mess.

Deb begins prepping her canvas board with lots of water just like she does with her watercolor or liquid acrylics. She stated that she usually starts with a yellow wash. This helps to give the whites a glow. If you let the casein dry and come back to work on the painting, Deb suggests that you wet the area that you are working so that it adheres.

Deb told the group how the darks seem to dry lighter. She instructed us how that when she mixes blues and browns to make a black it seems to be gray. Deb was not sure of why the paints reacted this way, therefore, she uses a black casein paint. She also said that varnishing helped to bring the darks out.
If you have read my posts before you know that I am a fan and blog friend of Deb. I took her workshop on fluid acrylics and value her opinion when I ask for help. Deb is a very informative and entertaining instructor. I love her "try it" attitude, as much as, I love her work.

So, summer is coming to a close and school will be back in session soon. My GCWS meetings are done until next summer. I so look forward to meeting other local watercolor artist, as well as, enjoy the guest speakers that I get to hear every summer. Best money I spend on my art.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

WIP Feeding horses

This is as far as I have gotten on this painting. In the last post about this painting, I asked for suggestions on how to do the gravel and hay. My good friend Deb Ward ( suggested that on the gravel I splatter and for the hay I build layers by using masking fluid. I failed miserably on both.

I tried the splatter and I did not get the effect I wanted so I scrubbed it off. I then tried salt. Nothing. I even used kosher salt so it would be large blots left. So I will probably go back to the splatter, but use gauche or liquid acrylics to achieve the look.

As for the hay, I could not get fine lines with my masking fluid. I suppose I need to look into getting a masquepen to get the fine lines I need.

I am still liking the painting. I like the how horses and the girl are shaping up. But, as my fellow GCWS and blogger pal Rhonda ( stated in her blog, I am starting to get too tight with my painting. I have given myself an finish date as a week from today. This will either frustrate me or push me to let it flow. We shall see.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Daily Painting ... Is it For You?

Daily Painting ... Is it For You?

This is a neat site. Artists Helping Artists is a weekly blog talk radio show, hosted by Leslie Saeta and Dreama Tolle Perry. Each week Leslie and Dreama discuss a specific topic that addresses how to "sell more art on-line". This blog lists all of the resources that are discussed on the radio show. 

The first show that I listened to was Daily Painting - Is It For You? Carol Marine, of the Daily Painting Practice, was Leslie and Dreama's special guest for this topic. Carol is one of the premiere daily painters in the U.S.I have followed her for three years now and as you can see she is listed on the right of this page.

I enjoyed the conversation tremendously.  I highly recommend that you check out this web site and talk show.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Review: The Simple Secret to Better Painting by Greg Albert

Last month when Greg Albert spoke at the GCWS Meeting he offered the opportunity to buy a few of his books. I chose The Simple Secret to Better Painting: How to Immediately Improve your Art with This One Rule of Composition.

In this book Mr Albert claims that you can improve your art with his one rule of composition. He states that his "goal is to make pictorial composition simple to understand, remember and apply."

Mr. Albert said that he came up with this concept from his experience as a teacher. While teaching the Principles of Design (unity, variety, harmony, contrast) and applying them to the Elements of Composition (line, shape, color) he found that the students often were frustrated in remembering and achieving them in their work. Mr. Albert explained that the theories worked for analyzing what went wrong after the art was completed better then
helping them complete the work correctly. He created this
One Rule of Composition to help avoid mistakes.

Mr. Albert claims that if you remember and apply his rule along with the formulas of The Rule of Thirds and Mostly, Some and a Bit, it will help you make better composition choices for your paintings. In the formula, The Rule of Thirds, you divide your picture into thirds vertically and horizontally. The intersections of these divisions create the best locations to place your center of interest in your picture. Mr. Albert reminds us not to give into the urge to put your center of interest in the direct center. He shows how that ends up being a boring placement.

When Mr. Albert talks about color variety he refers to the formula, Mostly, Some and a Bit. By this he means, "that you could use mostly one hue or family of analogous colors, with some of another color and just a bit of a third contrasting color...... To make your painting pleasing, you need to vary the quantities of warm and cool colors, so they are not equal......., the colors should be mostly of one temperature, some of the other and a bit of contrast."

I found this book to be helpful, not only in reminding me of the design principals, but a fresh way to look at how I create a painting. The book gives many examples of these design formulas and how it simplifies the Principals of Design. Mr. Albert talks about using variety, placement and leading the eye through a painting to achieve an exciting and pleasing composition. He shows how it applies to painting a still life, landscape, figures and portraits to create a more interesting painting.

It is a quick read. Teachers, if you adopt Mr. Albert's Rule of Composition, along with the Rule of Thirds and Mostly, Some and a Bit, it will make teaching composition so much simpler.  If I had read this book while I was in college, it would have made my design class a lot easier to grasp. I will post these formulas in my studio (per Mr. Albert's suggestion) for quick reference.

As for his have to read the book :-)


Thursday, July 8, 2010

GCWS July Meeting: Marlene Steele, guest speaker

This months GCWS Meeting was graced by local artist and teacher, Marlene Steele ( Marlene teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati's Community Classes, UC DAAP, Evergreen Art Center and in her studio. She received her degree from the Art Academy. Marlene is a member of the Cincinnati Women's Art Club. Marlene likes to paint with watercolor, colored pencils and pastels.

I was excited to hear her speak on Working with the Figure in Watercolor. I took drawing classes from her approximately 12 years ago. I enjoyed her class very much and tried to soak up everything she taught me.

Marlene went over her brushes, palette, paper and other various tools that she likes to use. All the while she told us about Jack Meanwell, whom she fondly called her mentor. Marlene said that through him she began figurative work in watercolor. She was into exploration and was more into volume than perfection of a painting. Marlene used conte' crayon and watercolor paints as her tools to draw the figure.

She encouraged us to get reams of cheap paper so we too could explore watercolor more fully.

Marlene talked about color mixing and her palette set up. She places her warm reds and yellows on the top and down the right with the blues on the bottom and up the left side of her palette. (see picture on the right) Marlene uses two of the same size brushes  to begin her painting.  One brush is for cool colors and the other is for warm colors. Her colors were fresh so she used more pigment and very little water to paint with. Marlene used a damp brush to lift out areas. She lighlty laid in her color to keep the value light and build the shadows with washes.

 Marlene talked how thumbnails can be helpful in organizing and/or re-directing a drawing/painting. When she is beginning a drawing session with a live model, Marlene does quick sketches in increments of 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, etc... whether it is charcoal or watercolor. She explained that this keeps you from getting tight.

Another tip she shared was to assign or find the shape with your brush as you lay the color when sketching. If you look closely to the picture to the left you can see the shape of the muscles, shadows and highlights on the figure she is painting. Marlene said, "Shadows make everything happen, shape the light."

Listening to her brought back memories of her class and a yearning to take another from her.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Feeding horses WIP

As I stated in my last posting, I am enjoying this subject. I thought I would post three pictures showing the progression of the painting up to this point.

I have approximately 6 hours (including the drawing/transfer process) into this painting so far.

I am trying to lay the washes in slowly and cleanly. Something I work hard to do because I get impatient and usually at some point start to lay the darks in too soon.

In this view, I was working on the lady's shirt, pants and the boys shirt while I was waiting on the leaves in the background dry.

Hay....not sure how I am going to paint the ground of hay and gravel.  As any painting it is a process and I will figure it out as I go along. That is why I am determined to go slowly.

Have you painted something that seemed tedious or difficult to you? How did you resolve it? Were the results how you envisioned them?

Ideas and critiques welcomed, just hit comment.

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