Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Product Review

Last week, the kind folks at Martin F. Weber sent me a packet of their new Mijello Mission Gold watercolors to try. I'm in the middle of an acrylic painting, so I haven't done a lot with them yet, but I couldn't wait to at least give them a try! I have to say, if you like really bright, intense colors, you should check these out. One thing that is nice is that they don't fade very much when they dry. I didn't have a lot of luck with lifting out, but it could be the paper I was using; I have had trouble lifting out on Strathmore paper whatever brand of paint I use. The colors went on very smoothly and dispersed well in water washes. I'll definately be playing with these some more.

I also tried out my new Copic fountain pen. I didn't realize Copic made these as well as markers. I had a little trouble with the ink line petering out before I was done, as if the ink wasn't flowing as smoothly as it could have. It could be that the pen has to be used a bit more to get the ink really going, or perhaps it was because they had been stored flat, rather than point down. So the jury is still out on that one!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Trip to England continued

A trip to England wouldn't be the same without a stop in busy, bustling London! It was exciting to be there during the run up to the Olympics, although it did mean that some areas were off limits, and other areas were very busy. We managed to get all the priorities done though! The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St James Park, The London Eye, Covent Garden, etc, all in one day!

I have always been fascinated by ancient graffiti. One thing I like to do when visiting very old castles and buildings is to see what is the oldest graffiti I can find. In the prison cells of the Tower of London there are beautiful, intricate wall carvings. Some were done by the prisoners, others were done for the prisoners.

One thing I really enjoyed in many of the places we went were the "living statues". Mime artists who paint themselves and create really elaborate poses.

And of course, there is just so much prettiness and visual interest wherever you go.

York is full of interesting carvings like these, that date back to the time before most people could read. The shops would have a carved sign to indicate what they sold; a sheep for a wool shop, etc. This devil's imp shows that this shop was originally a printer's. The boy apprentices who ran around delivering the work were called printer's imps!

Of course, I can never stay in cities for too long, so we headed for the coast. This is the castle on Lindisfarne, an island that can only be reached at low tide. At high tide the road is completely covered, so you have to time your journey carefully so you are not marooned!

From there we drove to Seahouse, where we could hop on a boat to the Farne Islands, a bird sanctuary. I was in bird watching heaven! We were very lucky with the weather; as you can see, the North Sea is quite calm, which is unusual!

We saw so many wonderful birds. PUFFINS! of course, and terns, guillemots, razorbills, just about every sea bird you can imagine. It was one of the best days I have ever had.

And to top it all off, after we left the island we saw seals!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Trip To England (part one)

I have been gone for a very long time, but for a very good reason! I took my daughter to England to visit our relatives and to introduce her to her heritage. We stayed with my aunt and uncle at their 500 year old cottage, which is in a picturesque village.

Actually, all the villages in England are picturesque! This is Kersey. It is a pity that there are cars in the photo, but you can't fight modern life, I suppose.

It was important to me to show my daughter all the places that are special to me. This is the spot where my dear hubby proposed, all those years ago. (26 to be exact!)

There are so many photo opportunities, of course.

One thing you really notice is just how green everything is. There is really nowhere else quite like England.

We visited castles, of course. This one is in Colchester, Britain's oldest town.

And we went to Beatrix Potter's cousin's house, Melford Hall. This is the original toy that Beatrix saw and based her Jemima Puddleduck books on! I never knew that.

And here is the pond where she did her paintings for Jeremy Fisher. I confess, I got a bit geeky about being around all of Beatrix Potter's things! My daughter said I was annoying, but hey, that's what mum's are for.

It is always good to be with family!

Whew, that is enough photos for now I think. I will post more later, including our trip to the Farne Islands to see the PUFFINS!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Do you keep a sketchbook? I am addicted to the thin, softcover ones from Moleskine. They come in packs of two and are perfect for keeping in my purse. I like that they have fewer pages than the other sketchbooks because it is so satisfying to finish one up and then start on the next one! I haven't decided what my favorite pens are. I tend to use whatever is available!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer Days

Where do the days go? I can't believe it has been so long since I have updated my blog. Life has been busy, but now we are getting in to the swing of summer. For Father's Day we took our special fella to do what he loves best: go to the mountains! We have a friend who owns a 70,000 acre ranch in the mountains. We started by fishing for trout in the pond by the barn.

Then we thought we would go to a different portion of the ranch where we could do some nice hiking. But when we went to move the car, it was sunk in deep sand with a rock stuck underneath! We were completely bogged down and afraid that the rock would rip out the bottom of the chassis. So John and the ranch manager had to dig the rock out from under the car, then everyone had to push with all their might to get us free. John is showing his dominance over the rock by Tebowing next to it.

Once we finally hit the trail, we hiked back to where there were the remains of some old cabins. I wonder what they looked like while they were still intact. It was fun to explore.

We took our new dog Mollie with us. Even though she is 7 years old, I don't think her previous owner had ever taken her out into nature before. She was excited, but a little afraid of some of the new sights and smells. She was certainly a tired pup by the end of the day!

There is lots of wildlife out there and we found some deer antlers, which is always fun. John is modeling them. Finally we walked along the top of a ridge, from whence we could see Pikes Peak and a view for miles.We love living in Colorado!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Join me in welcoming my new little studio buddy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spring Colors

"Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world."-Virgil Kraft

Oh, it is so wonderful to live in a world of color again! I like winter and think snow is very beautiful, but I am always ready to see flowers again. My paintings seem to have more and brighter flowers in them than ever before. Soon it will be time to start painting Christmas images again. I usually need to start doing that in mid-summer. It will be hard to get in the mood! Until then, I will revel in all the vivid colors of the burgeoning garden. Welcome Spring!

On another note, don't forget to check out my Etsy store. I have started adding prints as well as originals. The prints are in a collage style. Click the link to the right. See you there!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Just added two new paintings to my Etsy shop, as the first two have sold. I thought I'd try kittens and froggies this time and see how people liked them compared to my usual birds.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Comparing Papers

I am still playing with different art materials, trying to come up with the best possible combination. For this most recent painting, I tried Fabriano Artistico extra white hot press paper. I really liked how bright the colors look on the extra white surface. And unlike the hot press Strathmore Mixed Media paper, I was able to do some lifting of highlights, although not as much as I could with cold press watercolor paper. The hot press surface allowed me to get very tight details too.

However, when removing masking fluid, I noticed that the surface of the paper "pilled" a little bit, which meant that some of the washes didn't go down quite as smoothly as I would have liked. Has anyone else noticed that? I wonder if it had something to do with the fact that my masking fluid was a bit old and congealed!

Thanks to Jacoba for her advice on working with Blogger in my post from a week ago. Seems like Blogger has changed their format and I think that probably had something to do with the problems I was having. And now, back to the drawing board, yay!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Etsy at Last

Well, I have decided to take the plunge and start selling my original art on Etsy. I have only listed two paintings so far, and will add more once I have the whole thing figured out. I'm not the most computer savvy girl in the world, but if people selling collages made from their toenail clippings can figure it out, so can I! Check out my shop:

Now, does anyone know how to add an etsy button to my blog? Blogger has changed everything around!
Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Silly Blogger!

Well, Blogger is being silly and won't let me type any more on the previous post! It isn't letting me type after I post photos on this post either! Does anyone know what I am doing wrong? Anyway, the photo above is me with some of my products in a gift shop, and the mansion photo in the post below is were we had high tea. It is called the Miramont castle and is in Manitou Springs. Manitou is a very artsy, hippy village, with lots of galleries and cute boutiques. I liked the paintings on all the windows:

Spending Time Together

Today I am thinking about what a treasure it is to spend time with the people you love. My dear mother is visiting and she is sitting beside me sewing as I type this. Mum, Margaret, and I spent the weekend down in Southern Colorado in Colorado Springs and Manitou and we so enjoyed being three girls together!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Multi-media Paper

I recently purchased some of the new Multi Media paper from Strathmore. This is a portion of a painting I just finished and I did like the new paper very much. Some of the pros are that it took watercolor washes quite well, and colored pencil worked much better on it than on the coldpress paper I had been using. For this painting I used watercolors, watercolor crayons, and colored pencils.

Some of the cons were that the watercolor seemed to have less depth, and the washes seemed more flat. Also, I was unable to lift highlights out with clean water, like I do with regular watercolor paper. I think I will try hot press watercolor paper at some point, as it will probably have the same texture as this paper, and I can buy it in a block, which is what I prefer. Watercolor paper comes in different textures: rough, coldpress, and hotpress. Coldpress had a medium texture and is more absorbant than hotpress.

All told though, I enjoyed using this paper and playing with my new watercolor crayons, and can't wait to start a new painting tomorrow!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New and Fun

I recently bought some Caran D'Ache watercolor crayons, and I am having such fun with them. This is a portion of a painting I did using the crayons for the background. I did a crayon layer, then a thin acrylic layer, then more crayons on the top. It is such fun to color again like I did as a child! For more detailed area, you can use the crayons just like a pan watercolor, and load your wet brush directly from it. I also purchased some mixed media paper to try instead of my usual watercolor paper, so I get to play with that next!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sample Time!

I love opening the front door and finding a great big box from one of my manufacturing partners. This week I got boxes from Carson Home Accents and Bits and Pieces Puzzles. I'll just show you a few things, but trust me, my basement is getting full! Here is a Summer floor mat from Carson. I am ready to see flowers again, aren't you?

I put this flag straight outside. I know I should have waited until after St Patrick's Day to put out Easter decorations, but I couldn't wait. We are having hurricane winds today, so I had better check this morning to make sure it hasn't blown half the way to Timbuktoo! (You know, I never realized what a dull gray my carpet was until I took these pictures!)

Here is my first shaped puzzle. It was difficult to design it to work within the hat shape, but it was a fun challenge. I think I'll get this one set up in the family room this weekend. It will be a good project for wintry weather!Finally, here is a picture from our trip to Estes Park last weekend. Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National park and is an hour's drive away. The town is rather touristy, but the views are spectacular. I was pleasantly surprised to see my Aeropostale line on display in one of the shops!