Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh, darn it!

Well - if I had taken my camera out with me this morning I would have had the greatest picture of my cat, Forrest, and Bennie Bunny playing together. Let that be a lesson to me! He was jumping at her and she was tapping him on the top of his head - it was hysterical! Oh, well, at least I got to watch the show. It was a great way to start the day.
Hope you enjoyed your day!
God bless,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Metallic Watercolor Paint ~ Fun!

This little ACEO original watercolor and ink painting is called "Little Red Bird by Moonlight".

I like the look of metallic watercolor paint when just a little hint of it is added to a painting. There is metallic watercolor paint in several places on this painting.

The little red bird is painted in metallic paint. There is also a little more metallic paint on the branches and on the nest.

...and, the silvery moon is painted with metallic paint...

Fun! The metallic paint is opaque like gouache and I like the way that the transparent watercolor contrasts with the opacity of the metallic paints.

Just had to share the fun I have with metallic paint =)

God bless,


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Much better background!

Oh, yes! I love these trees and the clouds are great! This will be a much better background for Billie Jane. I just need to decide what elements of this photo to add behind her and then sketch them into the background on my painting.

Well, I had better go get to work!

God bless,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A good start!

Well, I got a good start on my new painting of Billie Jane.

Tracing paper is my brain *laughs* This first image shows the basic 'block in' of Billie Jane as she will be on the painting. I use graphite transfer paper to transfer this image from the tracing paper to the watercolor paper. You can see the shadow image of the transferred image beneath the tracing paper.

All I have blocked in at this point are the large light and dark areas, general proportions, and basic shapes.

Now it's time to turn this into a sketch that I can paint. I am going to change some details and leave a bunch of stuff out. I love to take photographs, but I don't always pay attention to what is in the background. Oh, well - I did get a lot of great movement in this photograph - even if there is a lot to change. By the time all is said and done about the only thing that I may have from the photograph is Billy Jane and even she will have 'morphed' quite a bit.

Check out the last image to see some of the changes that I plan to make.

Well, it looks like a good start. I left out all of the background because I am not sure what I am going to do... a barn? a pasture? trees? wide open spaces? hmmmmm..... But she does have four legs now, her eye is open (yes it is closed in the photograph), her tail is rearranged a little bit, and a few other changes have been made. I'm ready to start painting!

Hope you are enjoying following the progress of my latest painting.
God bless,


Friday, February 13, 2009

Helping... one starfish at a time!

I remember hearing a story a long time ago about a young person walking along a beach that was covered with hundreds of starfish washed up during the night. Without the water, they would soon die. This young person was tossing them, one at a time, back into the ocean. Another person walked up and told the young person that the job was impossible – there were too may starfish – give up! – and then asked the young person “Why do you keep tossing them into the ocean?” The reply was “It makes a difference to this starfish.”

We can help others – sometimes just one person at a time – but we can help! Over the last few weeks, I have seen several opportunities to “toss a starfish back into the ocean” so I thought that I would share them.

Check out these wonderful Kochanie “My Love” Baskets that bless those in need:

I thought this was a great way to toss starfish!

And here’s a group of starfish lovers all in one place:

These are all just ordinary people who have a heart to help and they have moved forward to do just that - help. Where is your heart leading you? Grab a starfish and start tossing!

God bless,

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What to paint next...

I thought - continuing with my "How I do what I do" series - that I would give you a peek into how I decide what I will paint.

I have so many ideas for paintings rolling around in my head that it is hard to sort them all out. I keep sketches and photos that I use as reference for my paintings - piles and piles and files and files... When I need inspiration, I go digging in my photos or my sketches and before long I have just the right image for my next painting.

I love this photo of my horse, Billie Jane - it's just a fun angle and there is some great 'tail action' going on there.

I did a small watercolor ACEO of that painting of that photo. It was fun! I cropped the image in this little ACEO which gives it a little different feel and look than you usually see in equine art.

When I sketch out the larger painting, I don't plan to crop it the same way. I want to show a bit more detail and make her interact with her surroundings a little bit more. However, I am not going to paint exactly what the photo shows.

I have a few problems with the photo. The background is boring, the mountains come right across Billie Jane's ears, the shadows distract from the great tail swish, and Hershey's butt is all you can see of him. (Yep, he's in the picture, too - right under Billie Jane's neck.) This photo will need a bit of work to turn into a great sketch for a painting.

That must be why I am a painter and not a photographer!

Well, I know what my next painting will be - now I just have decide on the size, what kind of paper, and get the sketch on to the paper. Next time, I'll share all that =)

God bless,

PS and then I will go work on a way to organize all those photos and sketches... It too me forever to find this photo in all those files and files of photos! argh!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How I do what I do....

This is the first post in a series of posts that will take you through my studio as I create a painting. Hope you find it fun and I hope that I may be able to pass on a hint or two that will help you in your studio!

This is my very messy palette - all full of paint from several paintings. I never wipe it clean, I just keep using the paint that is there. Since I quite often am using the same group of colors, I don't have a problem doing that. The only problem is... what exactly is that color????

When it comes time to refill an empty spot it is really hard to know exactly which color I put in there the first time. Admittedly, I love to try new colors or new brands, so sometimes the same - or very similar - color will be in two wells right next to each other.

Watercolor paint has different levels of transparency and opacity as well as different qualities from brand to brand. I came up with this way to give myself all of the information I need to know what brand, color, and transparency each color has.

I have created a small watercolor notebook that is devoted to information and color charts about the paint that I use. I use a black sharpie to write the name and brand of the paint on the paper in a chart that I have made. The chart is like a map of my palette where each color will be painted in the same location as it appears on my palette. After I have done that, I paint a good sized area that goes over the chart and covers the words of the color.

Now I can see at a glance what brand, color, how transparent, and whether I am comparing it to a previous color that I have used.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little tour of my palette. I will be starting a painting soon and I will share more of my painting process during the creation of my next piece of art. So, as they say, "stay tuned"!

God bless,

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

*whew* the latest on the CPSIA

The CPSIA realized that their law was not going to work:

CPSC Grants One Year Stay of Testing and Certification Requirements for Certain Products
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously (2-0) to issue a one year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers of regulated products, including products intended for children 12 years old and younger.

And here's all the rest of the blurb.... try not to drown in your coffee, tea or whatever if you read this!

These requirements are part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which added certification and testing requirements for all products subject to CPSC standards or bans.
Significant to makers of children’s products, the vote by the Commission provides limited relief from the testing and certification requirements which go into effect on February 10, 2009 for new total lead content limits (600 ppm), phthalates limits for certain products (1000 ppm), and mandatory toy standards, among other things. Manufacturers and importers – large and small – of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements.
The decision by the Commission gives the staff more time to finalize four proposed rules which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted.
The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010, at which time a Commission vote will be taken to terminate the stay.
The stay does not apply to:
Four requirements for third-party testing and certification of certain children’s products subject to:
The ban on lead in paint and other surface coatings effective for products made after December 21, 2008;
The standards for full-size and non full-size cribs and pacifiers effective for products made after January 20, 2009;
The ban on small parts effective for products made after February 15, 2009; and
The limits on lead content of metal components of children’s jewelry effective for products made after March 23, 2009.
Certification requirements applicable to ATV’s manufactured after April 13, 2009.
Pre-CPSIA testing and certification requirements, including for: automatic residential garage door openers, bike helmets, candles with metal core wicks, lawnmowers, lighters, mattresses, and swimming pool slides; and
Pool drain cover requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.
The stay of enforcement provides some temporary, limited relief to the crafters, children’s garment manufacturers and toy makers who had been subject to the testing and certification required under the CPSIA. These businesses will not need to issue certificates based on testing of their products until additional decisions are issued by the Commission. However, all businesses, including, but not limited to, handmade toy and apparel makers, crafters and home-based small businesses, must still be sure that their products conform to all safety standards and similar requirements, including the lead and phthalates provisions of the CPSIA.
Handmade garment makers are cautioned to know whether the zippers, buttons and other fasteners they are using contain lead. Likewise, handmade toy manufacturers need to know whether their products, if using plastic or soft flexible vinyl, contain phthalates.
The stay of enforcement on testing and certification does not address thrift and second hand stores and small retailers because they are not required to test and certify products under the CPSIA. The products they sell, including those in inventory on February 10, 2009, must not contain more than 600 ppm lead in any accessible part. The Commission is aware that it is difficult to know whether a product meets the lead standard without testing and has issued guidance for these companies that can be found on our web site.
The Commission trusts that State Attorneys General will respect the Commission's judgment that it is necessary to stay certain testing and certification requirements and will focus their own enforcement efforts on other provisions of the law, e.g. the sale of recalled products.
Please visit the CPSC Web site at for more information on all of the efforts being made to successfully implement the CPSIA.
Statements on this vote by Acting Chairman Nancy Nord and Commissioner Thomas H. Moore are in portable document format (PDF).
Send the link for this page to a friend! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at
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