May the 4th be with you!

Being a huge Star Wars fan and a whimsical mermaid fan, I had a fabulous time creating this piece! Since May is MerMay month on Instagram, I am currently posting a mermaid a day there. Here is Rey the Mermaid with her floating pal, BB8 the Bouy!

Rey May.JPG

From Wrapping Paper to Christmas Cards

Last Christmas season I challenged myself to create a new painting everyday for 12 days in a row and share on my Facebook page. The last piece was completed and shared on Christmas Eve 2015, and the series came to be named The Twelve Days of Christmas...but no partridge in a pear tree here. I had a great time creating these little paintings, collaging scraps of Christmas wrapping paper as a background layer and then painting over them. You're still able to see little bits of the paper design peeking through, creating an interesting effect.

I am a huge fan of Mary Blair, who was an artist for Disney in the 1950s and 1960s. Much of the design of the It's A Small World attraction is based on her work. I love her simple and innocent paintings of children and was inspired by her style for my paintings. My work in a Mindy Lacefield workshop also helped inspire my design of these little folks.

I had several requests to sell these paintings on Christmas cards last year, but I finished up a bit too late in the season. Starting earlier this year, I spent the day packaging up little bundles of 12 card sets to fill orders. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in a set. I don't yet have my online store set up.



Tips and Tricks: Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground & Duochromes

I am excited to share a few fun Daniel Smith watercolor products that I really enjoy. Most of the time watercolor painting is done on paper specifically made for this type of paint. Daniel Smith offers a watercolor ground product that allows you to paint on other surfaces that wouldn't normally accept watercolor paint.

The grounds come in three different colors: Titanium White, Buff Titanium, and Mars Black. For this demonstration I decided to use the Mars Black so I could pair it with Daniel Smith's Duochrome watercolor paints. The ground is thick with a bit of grit to it, but easily spread with a brush. I chose to use one of my cheaper synthetic brushes to do this.  Below I am applying the ground to a piece of cardboard and leaving it until it is dry to the touch.

Most watercolors will not show up well on a black background, but Daniel Smith Duochromes are luminescent. They create a fabulous sheen over the Mars Black ground. In the example below I am using Duochromes Emerald, Blue Pearl, Oceanic and Hibiscus to create a few jellyfish and some seaweed. I do not need to use as much water with the paints as I normally would, because the ground is not as absorbent as regular watercolor paper. 

After the paint has dried, I add details with the best white pen I've found so far - a Uni-ball Signo in white. I love the effect of the light catching the shimmer of the paints.

Here is a photo of the finished demo, but I don't think a photo can really capture the shine of the piece. I hope you'll give it a try for yourself and let me know what you think!

Paper Doll Showtime

I always enjoyed playing with dolls when I was a little girl. It turns out that you are never too old to play! I created this mermaid to participate in a paper doll exchange with fellow students in the Jane Davenport Vitamin Sea workshop.

My little mermaid, Polaris, will be soon headed off to Australia, but I didn't want to send her alone so she has her trusty orca companion, Dipper.

Here they are enjoying a little under the sea fun.

A Whale Of A Commission

I really enjoyed doing this commission piece for a family that has a home in the San Juan Islands. I've been spending time on San Juan Island for the last 10 years teaching people about the local resident killer whale population and volunteering as an assistant for research projects. I have a special affection for the particular group of killer whales that are refered to as family groups of J, K, and L pods. They are a federally endangered species and I relish any opportunity to educate people about them, including through my artwork.

This whimsical piece uses the outline of a killer whale to illustrate many of the different animals that live in their environment, or ecosystem. I also included a chart naming the different animals in the piece since I can never fully let go of my teacher persona!

The Ideal Art Studio Space

THE VISION:  I've always envisioned that my art studio would look like something that might be featured on the Martha Stewart show. Highly organized which each supply in its place. I have an extra bedroom in my house set aside to create this dream studio.

THE REALITY:  I don't like being closed in a room upstairs. I want open space and I like to spread out. I want to be able to see many projects and supplies at the same time as I am creating. The spot best suited to this happens to be our kitchen table. Of course the auxiliary supply cart is now parked nearby!

The Kitchen Studio

The Kitchen Studio

So as my vision of the perfect working space has evolved I have discovered that what really matters is that I show up to work, enjoy the process and be thankful for the opportunity to create. And, thankful for a family that doesn't mind eatting dinner on their laps some evenings!

Do you have a special place where you go to create or dream? I'd love to hear from you!