To Each Her Own

By 1986, I was using photography to stage my compositions instead of just ‘finding them.

We have a summer home on a lake in Missouri. We were living in Oklahoma at the time, and drove to the lake often throughout the year. When summer arrived, my children and I stayed there most of the summer. My Mother and Father would come down from Sedalia to spend time on the lake with us, doing whatever she or he wanted to do. Everyone had a favorite pastime.

I took several photos of my daughter in a lounge chair reading and my mother playing solitaire, smoking and drinking a soda. Everyone was a peace with the world, enjoying them selves and doing their own ‘thing.’

I was studying various successful artists who used a ‘flat approach’ to their painting. In other words, their technique is not about using light and dark values  to show form and depth, but a more geometric, flat wash area. I tried it in this painting to see how I would like it. Although I loved the thought behind the painting, I did not feel this style of painting was very winning for me. It is the only time I used this technique.

“To Each” was first in the Watercolor West Annual Exhibition XVIII, at the Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, California, March 21 – April 19, 1986, judged by Barbara Nechis.

The next show was the Arizona Watercolor Association’s Spring Exhibition at the C.G. Rein Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, April 9-20, 1987, judged by Virginia Cobb.

As you might have figured out, I entered all my paintings frequently. Usually after two years I would retire them if they were not performing well in shows, as I always had new paintings to enter.

Breathless Reds and Phantom Blues

“Breathless Reds and Phantom Blues” watercolor is the seventh painting in the “Pots and Jars Series.” The series started with “Pots and Jars,” using natural colors of browns and blues in a realistic, representational technique. The next in line paintings in order are: “Hot Pots,” “Fire Pots,” “Ruthless Reds, Rogue Oranges, and Virgin Whites,’ “Passionate Primaries,” and “Red Hearts and White Lips.”

I originally started the series in a more precise style, and later went looser with “Rogue Oranges” and “Passionate Primaries.” I felt I needed to try to become less tight with more fluid interpretation to attempt a change in style.

I did return to my original style with “Red Hearts.” I made the decision to stay with the style of high color, hoping it would be my best choice to get the most success out of my watercolor paintings. This style allowed me to paint in layers by stacking pigment, resulting in clear, intense color. “Breathless Reds” took over one hundred hours to complete without using white paint or frisket.

My approach, when painting in this style, is to paint each pot as a controlled wash area. I made up this name to identify the limited area to paint one at a time. The area that is painted does not touch another “wet” area, thus becoming a “controlled area” to paint. Each “controlled wash area” is painted separately and in layers to completion. Each layer goes on the previous dry layer without pre-wetting the surface. The color wash is prepared and tested for the right consistency of pigment on a separate piece of white paper. When the desired amount of pigment is produced with the right color for the size of the area to be painted, it is brushed on and manipulated in short, hatching strokes throughout the controlled area. This might sound like ‘pig latin,’ but this is a tried and true method of painting I have developed by learning the properties of watercolor.

OK! So, I proceed in the upper left corner of the painting and continue to the right, back across to the left, and continue to work down to the lower right corner until all areas are completed. At this point, I study each ‘pot’ and make sure the composition is correct. I do some small adjustments to make sure all the edges, color, and tonality work together and flow.

My idea was a great success! It was a tremendous effort that paid off. First, the title of the painting was colorful and descriptive with feelings. Second, the painting technique produced dazzling, saturated colors that are luminescent. Michael Johnson, my archivist, called my colors ‘out of gamut,’ meaning the computer analysis could not read the intense colors, so he had to interpolate them!!

This has been one of my most successful paintings. It has been exhibited all around the United States. I still own this great painting, and enjoy all its amazing colors.

These are the following dates of “Breathless Reds” exhibitions:

“Watercolor West Annual Exhibition XXIV”, Brea Civic and Cultural Center Gallery, Brea, California. November 7-December 18, 1992. Juror of Selection and Awards: Katherine Chang Liu.

“Vista ’93,” Church of the Beautitudes, Phoenix, Arizona. February 7-21, 1993. Juror of Selection: Ellery Gibson. Juror of Awards: Robert S. Oliver. Honorable Mention.

“Western Colorado Watercolor Society National Exhibition,” Western Colorado Center for the Arts, Grand Junction, Colorado. October 1-28, 1993. Juror of Selection and Awards: Judi Betts.

“Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition, 1994,” The Foothills Art Center, Golden, Colorado, July 31-September 11, 1994. Jury of Selection and Awards: Mary Todd Beam and Charles Le Clair. Third Place, “The Colorado Watermedia Award”

“Kentucky Watercolor Society Annual National Exhibition,” Julies Friedman Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky, October 6-November 18, 1995. Juror of Selection and Awards: Marilyn Hughey Phillis. Best Of Show, The National City Bank Award.

“The National Watercolor Society Member and Signature Show,” Joslyn Fine Arts Gallery, Torrence, California, April 11-May 2, 1998. Juror of Selection and Awards: Michael Daniel.

“The Missouri Watercolor Society 2016 International Exhibition,” St. Louis Central Library, St. Louis, Missouri, April 2016. Juror of Selection and Awards: Elizabeth Wyckoff. Second Place.

Steps to Parnassus


During our years in Oklahoma, I was still depending on my photo archive from Arizona for painting subject matter. I saw a tile staircase from Sedona, Arizona in Tlaquepaque with great shadows and color. It brought me back home and what I loved.

The title to the painting was originally , “Southwestern Staircase,” which was a little weak. One day I was discussing this title with my sister, Sylvia. She suggested “Steps To Parnassus.” I had no idea what that meant. She told me why, and I looked it up. Mount Parnassus in central Greece was, according to Greek mythology, sacred to Dionysus, Apollo, The Greek Muses, and Pegasus. Since Sedona is know for its special mystique, the new Greek title sounded good to me.

As usual, I projected the slide image onto a 300 lb. cold pressed, deckle-edged Arches watercolor paper. This is a great surface to work on, as there is no stretching or buckling of the paper.

Working in my Oklahoma studio in the spring was wonderful. I was looking forward to the day we moved back to Arizona. The painting came together perfectly. My neighbor and good friend, Rose Fasching, would come over to visit and see what I was painting. She immediately fell in love with the piece, and checked regularly on my progress. Some years later, her children contacted me to purchase the painting for Rose. I knew she loved it, and sold the painting. Love to you, Rose!

The painting’s first show was ”The Edmond Art Association Juried Expo ’86.” It was held at the Museum of Art, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma, June 1-28, 1986. Juror: Ken Stout.

The next shows are in order: “The Arizona Artist Guild Spring Show,” The Gold Nugget Gallery, Wickenburg, Arizona, April 13-23, 1989. Jurors: Stephen DeLair and Ellen Meissinger.

“The Arizona Watercolor Association Spring Show,” The Sedona Arts Center, Sedona, Arizona, May 1-20, 1990, Juror: Jeanne Dobie.

“Glendale’s 29th Annual Festival of the Arts, 1990 Juried Fine Arts Competition,” Glendale, Arizona, October 7-22, 1990, Juror: Francis Beaugureau.

“Springfest Watercolor Invitational,” Casa Grande Art Museum, Casa Grande, Arizona, March 30-April 18, 1991

“The 18th Annual Transparent Watercolor Show,” The Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida, Panama City, Florida, March 15-April 3, 1992, Juror of Selection: Sam W. Kates and Louise Lewis, Juror of Awards: Judith P Bettes.

Pompous Paws

During a trip to visit my mother-in-law in Houston, my husband and I made a day trip to Galveston Island. We drove all over the island, especially through the older neighborhoods. I was watching for potential painting compositions, when we drove past a huge group of pampas grass. The sun shone brightly on the great fronds with the background in subtle tones of darkness. Grass in itself is not interesting, but the light on the huge, puffy frond heads was irresistible. Drawing and painting the giant grasses was a gigantic challenge. I loaded pigment over the drawing and came back in with a palette knife to carve out the grasses. One by one, I redefined each grass. This took so much time, but it was so effective. I am glad I did it.

The painting’s first show was “Women Creating Tomorrow Fine Art Competition,” Sedona Art Center, Sedona, Arizona, May 7-8, 1983. Its next show was “The Color Flow,” Galleria Mesa, Mesa, Arizona, October 26-November 15, 1983. I still own this painting.

This painting is on a ‘full sheet’ at 20.769″h x 28.835″w. It was painted on d’Arches 140 lb cold pressed paper with Winsor & Newton tube pigments, and Winsor & Newton Kolinsky Sable brushes. The paper, was water-soaked for a few minutes, drained, and squarely placed on a 1/4″ piece of Masonite board. Extra water was dabbed up with paper towels, and brown glue-tape placed 3/8″ over the paper on all four sides. The board with the taped paper is allowed to air dry in a horizontal position out of the sun. When the paper is dry, usually after one day, the paper is drumhead tight, and ready for painting.

Morning Hello!

This is the preliminary version of ‘Good Morning, Hello!’ It did better than his big brother! The painting was completed May 4, 1988. The painting’s first show was “The Kentucky Watercolor Society’s 11th Annual National Exhibition,” The Kentucky Museum, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky, October 9-December 11, 1988, by Morris Shubin. The next show is was exhibited in was “The Vista’s ’89” at the Church of the Beatitudes, Phoenix, Arizona, February 2-12, 1989, by Suzanne Brown, Jim Farnsworth, and Charles Lovell. It went on to be exhibited by “The Arizona Artists’ Guild Spring Show,” The Gold Nugget Gallery, Wickenburg, Arizona, April 13-23, 1989 by Stephen Delair and Ellen Meissinger.

This painting is on a ‘half sheet’ at 14.102″ h x 21.502″w. It was painted on d’Arches 140 lb cold pressed paper deckle edge with Winsor & Newton tube pigments, and Winsor & Newton Kolinsky Sable brushes. The paper, was water-soaked for a few minutes, drained, and squarely placed on a 1/4″ piece of Masonite board. Extra water was dabbed up with paper towels, and brown glue-tape placed 3/8″ overlap on the paper on all four sides. The board with the taped paper is allowed to air dry in a horizontal position out of the sun. When the paper is dry, usually after one day, the paper is drumhead tight, and ready for painting.

My friend, Linda Carpenter, bought the painting. She was gracious to let me archive and see the painting once again.

Pink Waterlily

My hometown is Sedalia, Missouri, which is the historic location of the Missouri State Fair. My Sedalia ancestry family lived just blocks from the fairgrounds. I rode my bicycle there often. During a summer visit to my parents, we made our usual trip to visit the fairgrounds. My parents loved the year round garden wonders. They collected seeds, plants, and experiences. Even though the state fair is only once a year, it serves as a pleasant local trip for everyone. Maybe the favorite part of the fair grounds is the lily pond. It has been there forever. I dreamed about walking around on the giant lily pads like Thumbelina. It is a cool and soothing relief in the hot, humid summer of the fair. During one trip there, I had my camera taking assorted photos of the lily pond. It was delightful. I got a great photo. The original painting was done on a 100lb. high glossy paper. It was junk paper from a local printing company. I thought I would try something that was looser in watercolor. The painting was less than I expected. It floated around in my studio for a while. In 1994, I went over the watercolor with a watercolor crayon. Bingo, that was just what it needed to be successful. You can save hopeless paintings! The painting was never exhibited, but I enjoy it nevertheless.

 

Spring Rubies

I suppose all these stories will mean something eventually, as I am the only one who knows “The Story.”

Again, I was in a funk with the early Oklahoma winter of 1987 and turned to my spring flowers. One of my favorite places for compositions was Tlaquepaque in Sedona, Arizona. I had managed to stockpile a numbers of photographs for future paintings. Searching for a successful composition, I selected one of red tulips. The first show it was accepted into was “The Vistas ’87,” Church of the Beatitudes, Phoenix, Arizona, February, 1987. The painting did not do well for future shows, and was retired. I eventually gave they painting to my friend, Joan Berryman. I hope she continues to enjoy it.

This painting is on a ‘half sheet’ at 15.252″h x 22.0″w. It was painted on d’Arches 260 lb cold pressed paper with Winsor & Newton tube pigments, and Winsor & Newton Kolinsky Sable brushes. The heavy paper did not need any stretching. The painting was painted to show the deckle edges.

 

Summer Serenade

This painting was from my inventory of photographs from Tlaquepaque. The scene is from the side of the chapel.

This painting is on a ‘half sheet’ at 15.0″ h x 22.0″ w of d’Arches 140 lb cold pressed paper. I used Winsor & Newton tube pigments, and Winsor & Newton Kolinsky Sable brushes. The paper, was water-soaked for a few minutes, drained, and squarely placed on a 1/4″ piece of Masonite board. Extra water was dabbed up with paper towels, and brown glue-tape placed 3/8″ overlap on the paper on all four sides. The board with the taped paper is allowed to air dry in a horizontal position out of the sun. When the paper is dry, usually after one day, the paper is drumhead tight, and ready for painting.

The first and only show the painting was seen was “The Arizona Watercolor Association Spring Show,” Shemer Art Center, Phoenix, Arizona, April 16-30, 1989, by Morris Shubin. ‘Summer Serenade’ was purchased during the show. It is a peaceful painting. I miss it

Spring Poppies

During the years around 1981, I was teaching local classes for the Desert Botanical Gardens and the City of Phoenix. I was experimenting with rice paper painting. I found that mounting the rice paper with white glue to illustration board to  stabilize it for painting worked the best. I had time to drive around town to find great spots for my class to paint. The Fashion Square Mall below the Biltmore had planted special poppies all around the property. They were huge and gorgeous! I made a plan to go there and paint. I had the boards prepared, and made the trip there. Finding the right poppies was not hard, but a quiet area was a problem. Being out painting by myself can prove to be difficult. I was able to find a spot to paint in an Asian sumi-e manner, but not for long. I made just one painting there, and left. I just did not feel comfortable. Too bad. Maybe I should try again, but no one plants poppies any more. Painting is 17.159″h x 15.913″w.

Regular rice paper was mounted onto illustration board with 50/50 water and white glue. Winsor & Newton pigments with Asian brushes.

Morning Rockers

Every child’s wish is to go to Disney Land in California. It was my wish too, but very delayed. My Sedalia, Missouri family lived in the Central Midwest, which made Disneyland too far west for us to drive on two lane roads. I watched every single Mickey Mouse Club episode each week to catch a glimpse of that wonderful, magical world. I lived vicariously through the eyes of those who had the opportunity to go there. I wished on every star! My chance finally arrived when my husband and I decided to take the family summer vacation to Disneyland with our two children. We lived in Phoenix, Arizona, so it was not much of a drive to get there. My heart pounded like a child as we walked into the park. I just couldn’t believe it was real. After a whole day of sheer joy, it was time to leave. The sun was starting to go down as we passed the big, white building at the entrance. The sun caught the whites and shadows of a group of rocking chairs on the long front porch. The family was ready for dinner and wanted to go. For a short spur of the moment, I took a few photos of the chairs, admiring the rhythm of the rockers. I still own and enjoy looking at this painting with it’s memories.

The first juried show for “Morning Rockers” was “The Arizona Artists’ Guild Spring Membership Exhibition,” Valley Bank Center, Phoenix, Arizona, April 26-May 2, 1987. Jurors: Stephen Delair and Jason Williamson.

The second juried show was “The Arizona Watercolor Association Annual Fall Show,” The Joan Cawley Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, November 12-23, 1987, Juror: Katherine Chang Liu. Award of Excellence.

The third juried show was “The Arizona State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition,” Phoenix, Arizona, October 20-November 6, 1988, Jurors: Woodard Payne, William Ahrendt, and Sue Malinski.

The fourth juried show was “The 18th Annual Transparent Watercolor Show,” Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida, Panama City, Florida, March 15-April 3, 1992, Jurors of Selection: Sam W. Kates and Louise Lewis, Juror of Awards: Judith P. Bettes.