Summer's Favorite Things, Part 2: A Flower Full of Sun

Bursts of yellow faces
 drifting with the Sun
bowing, bending here and there.
Ever so shy 
searching for the morning's yellow rays,
 you nod your head and send a smile 

Testing the Colors

You might say she has gone Abstract.  You might say she can't imagine anything to paint. You might say she is doodling around
out of boredom.

None of the above.
Basically most of my work is in Oil, Acrylic, Oil Stick and  Gouache. These are my main standbys my painting buddies. 

But lurking in the back of my mind has been the desire to try TUBE watercolor. 

"Oh, no the most difficult of all mediums to use," my inner critic wailed and moaned.

I pretty much listen to my "inner critic" who calls the shots.

I kept lingering over the myriad of wonderful water color sketch books, blogs, magazines, children's books, galleries and artwork of friends...

"Watercolor is just too expensive, those elegant sable bushes, tubes of color, special palettes, and 300 lb paper," she nagged on.

A compromise was in order as I was planning on sneaking around my inner critic.

I would work slowly, very slowly into purchasing a few tube watercolors. But they couldn't be any ordinary colors, no there had to be a punch and a wallop to them.

Taking a long hard look at my pan watercolor swatches, the question was: what is missing. Nothing wrong with my pan watercolors, but where was the Wow Effect?


Daniel Smith, Quinacridone Watercolors...eleven glorious, punchy, wowed, glorious over the top hues.

A fairly pale,  nondescript watermelon sketch was the test...just how much zip could I put in that red watermelon.  Rose, Red, Fuchsia did just the trick!

Next was to create an entirely new painting with a minimum of pan watercolor.  Off to my photographs for inspiration. I found two that appealed to me on several levels: color, styling, size, texture.

The Muse was set, the I.C. silenced and 

Rougeatre Aubergine makes its debut. 

To Love Many Things

Vincent van Gogh made the statement:

"But I always think that the best way to know  God is to love many things."

Our extremes in weather is a case in point. 
The Funny Bunnies were staying with me for a few hours. Funny Bunny #1 is terrified of thunderstorms and lightning. Funny Bunny #2 just copies her every move.
Without a moment's notice, the blue sky turned black and ferocious, clouds zipped across the sky on roller skates, faint booms became deafeningly louder and louder.

Then the THUNDER and LIGHTNING STRUCK. Its force was so strong it split our neighbor's tree in half.

Fortunately we only lost a few plants and many heavy items blew over.

Painting with Henna

Summer is the time when lovely ladies, fun-loving teenagers, and happy pre-teens pay attention to their nails: toe and finger. 
Look down at the feet passing by and you will see green, lavender, orange, shell pink, black, white or shiny red nail polish.
Petite additions of paintings, jewels, press on designs
are not uncommon. 

Nails have achieved icon-ic status!

Grammy Candy and her cutie-pie Granddaughter, Ella were wandering about a very eclectic mall in Singapore. 

An elegantly decorated booth in brilliant colors and Indian motifs
attracted their eye and in the end their HANDS.

Free Henna Tatto!

Grammy and Ella sat down next to a young woman dressed in a golden silk sari, her implements and colors carefully laid out.
Charmingly she offered to do their hands in a traditional floral design.

Hands of a Crone
hands of a Child
each adorned.

"Don't bump or rub these designs for half an hour," the woman in the  golden Sari firmly stated.

They didn't.

Mehndi is a ceremonial art form which originated in ancient India.
Intricate patterns are most typically applied to brides before wedding ceremonies. 
Today they are used in ceremonies and for simple adornment.

The astonishing, intricate, detailed henna designs blend beautifully with the silky SARIS decorated with golden embroidery and jewels.

Henna paste is usually applied on the skin using a plastic cone or a paint brush, but sometimes like Grammy and Ella discovered, a small metal-tipped jacquard bottle used for silk painting is used.
Slowly squeezing the bottle (no shaky hands allowed) the paste is applied like cake frosting.

One line builds upon another, scrolls, leaves, floral shapes, blend into one another
creating a masterpiece for the skin.

Grammy Candy and Ella were pleased as punch with their newly
decorated hands.
The designs lasted for several weeks. But as time passed the designs slowly faded to a blush of pale brown.

Summer's Favorite Things: #1 Farmer Markets

I have been thinking about how much I love summer. Light weight clothing, sunshine (for us mixed with huge thunderstorms), BBQ's and S'mores, painting outside, surrounding field crops near our home, community swimming pool full of splashing kids, trees chock full of dense leaves and song birds, out door art shows, inviting white wicker chairs, open windows, and our wonderful gurgling porch fountain...

This little posting is the first in my list of favorite 

Number 1

Half a mile from our home is this colorful market. Just love to go there. I am not sure if it is the wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables to choose from, or the very quaint, European market styled red umbrellas that cast a rosy glow over everything.

Behind the scenes of a market can be as interesting as the front. Those gigantic sunflowers make me smile....

My painterly interpretation of  summer's many markets...complete with little floral bouquets wrapped in lacy 
paper doilies. This is a large painting and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute creating it. Available on website or through RiverView Gallery in Maryland.

Four years ago I participated in an outdoor art show in western Maryland, up in the scenic high hill country. Near my booth was this amazing market with its blazing oranges, rusts, and greens. 
Amazon sized pumpkins, stacked corn stalks-squirrels darting in and out, from the awning hung bronzed dried corn, everything autumnal sprawled every which way. Yes the building was a beautiful shade of AUBERGINE!

Now if only one or two fruits seems recognizable, you are probably correct. 
Bali is the setting for this open air market.

No brightly colored umbrellas to protect sellers 
from the scorching sun.
Cement and dirt to put one's wares and produce on.
Rustic, hand-woven baskets filled with fruits 
and vegetables which to me considered EXOTIC.

So many colors. So many textures. So many tastes.
So much to experience.

I love the way this smiling woman's green head scarf matches the green of the plantains.

Patiently she will stay in this position from EARLY morning until afternoon. 

Aren't these baskets wonderful. Weaving baskets is part of the economy and provides a minimal wage. This woman is sorting very hot peppers, a key ingredient in delicious Balinese food. 

Always my favorite, the fragrant, brilliant colors and textures of cut blossoms. 
Many of these flowers are used to make DAILY offerings to the GODS.
Others are used in cooking and adornment.

Along the side of a winding narrow road we saw this dilapidated  wagon. This is a typical
"market" on wheels found in India. Corn is roasted right on the spot, providing a tasty snack or dinner for a passer by.

One does not need to go half way round the world to enjoy an open air market. But it surely is fun and informative. These women are very proud of their fruit and vegetables; just like the energetic 80 years young woman, selling her produce near our home.

The following are pages from my sketchbook inspired by markets around the world.

These paintings are in an 8 x 8 brown paper sketchbook. All are painted with gouache. 

Petite Painting: The Secret Corner

I photographed it as discretely as possible. Since returning to the states I have painted it several times. The original painting was a watercolor. It was with delight to paint this new version in oil. The process brought back such beautiful memories.

Hanging Out in North Carolina

Grabbed the camera, a few clothes,  one coke, one root beer and my trusty iPhone with AT&T navigation!  We were heading to the eastern coastline of North Carolina. When we lived in the FAR FAR WEST I barely knew the location of the tucked away southern states on the map. Now we want to explore everything down, down, down south. Dramatic country landscapes, endless acres of crops, flowers and trees,weathered tobacco shanties, drooping vacant porches, scrumptious mom and pop BBQ diners, Civil War historical sites, smoky-blue Appalachian Mountains ( we westerners view them as hills), bigger bugs and snakes, take it all and toss with liberal doses  of friendliness. Southern Charm!

Add to that amazing birds.

Premier Event

Premier Event...well for me it is a Premier Event. No cameras, commentators, red carpet, name on the nightly news, fancy-schmancy ball gown, botox and five inch heels. Fact is, I am sitting here at the computer in my gardening clothes, flip flops, grass clippings clinging to the soles and eating cookies blamed on a grand case of "nerves." But nevertheless this posting is a Premier Event for this blog.

For ever so long, way back to when we lived in Maryland, I have tinkered with the idea of offering paintings directly for purchase on my blog and website. Yays, Nays, asking opinions of others,  self-talk,  research, indecision,  wondering if I could keep it up, would it change my blog's intent which is just to connect and add a smile to your face. SOOOO after much soul searching and taking many things into consideration, my intention  (working word here is INTENTION) is: I will post at most once a week a Petite Painting. By petite I refer to 8 x 10, 10 x 10, 8 x 8 oil painting. The designs will be varied and reflect what I am interested in at the moment. Included will be a stand to hold painting on a desk, table top, shelf or small corner in your home needing a spot of color and attention.  You can also choose to frame. Each size painting sells for the same low price of 125.00.

My gift to you: NO shipping or handling charges. (If I set up the paypal account correctly!!!! smile at this another cooky.) 

I like to think of this new adventure as a gift to you, my wonderful readers. An original piece of art....ready for an affordable price.

So without further adieu... here is the first Premier Petite Painting....and cross my fingers that Paypal works like a charm. Okay time for yet another cooky!

Parisian Fresh Market 

Sketchbook: Say Cheese

Still contemplating, in other words, daydreaming of Provence, dining under ageless trees that hold secret conversations and sweet words, the flickering stars blinking through the cushion-y green leaves, crickets serenading the night sky, friends and family gathered around an immense stone farm table spread with figs, berries, olives, breads and cheese........

It is no "daydream"-- that there are over two thousand kinds of cheese. Cheese in its myriad of forms, aromas, textures and taste could provide a life time of dining adventure. Imagine a different cheese a week! A day!

The ancient Greeks believed that cheese was a gift from the Gods.

 Last night while wishing I had a slice of creamy brie cheese accompanied by a few nutty-wheat crackers, I started doodling around. 

In my studio I have a fold up table, covered in a pretty cloth, topped with heavy glass! Pens, pencils, brushes, watercolors, crayons everything imaginable scattered about me. Barely room for my sketchbook. But this is where I can start a page at a moment's notice...

After a little preliminary sketching with a pencil, I settled on the design and lightly inked with a Micron 05 permanent black pen. Next came  soft watercolor tints. (I finally purchased a watercolor mop is super to use, holds enormous amounts of color/pigment and forms the finest, most delicate point.) This is now a MUST watercolor brush for me.

Excuse the upside down view, can't seem to rotate properly. All light washes of color are in place and the fun part of deepening/intensifying the color begins. I have used Caran d' Arche Fibralo water-soluble ink markers. Use as is, or blend marker with wet brush. A great addition to watercolors.

Looking good!  Now just decorate as though you were working magic on the top of a fancy cake!  Deepen colors, use various widths Micron markers for line work and cross hatching, more Caran d'Ache marker, and  white high lights with White Out Pen.