In spite of the fact that I rarely if ever post on this blog, or the CreativeColor Blog anymore, I continue to have new subscribers on both.

Flowering Purple Oxalis Mandala

Flowering Purple Oxalis Mandala

For those new subscribers, as well as the rest of you, I want to remind you that I post more regularly on my website blog.  Link:  You may subscribe by following the link.  You may also subscribe for the monthly newsletter.  The “Subscribe To Newsletter” box is below the “Subscribe To Blog” box. Two separate subscriptions.

I’ve posted quite a few new videos on ….. check those out, too!

Since my return to traveling, teaching workshops, painting en plein air and intuitive studio painting, the creative juices are flowing like Niagara Falls.  The focused color study by playing the color Scheme Game is paying off.  This year’s focus is on design through geometry.  I’ll be teaching in Maryland in March and back in California in May, November, and possibly July or August.  The workshops are better than ever thanks to the feedback from my students!  Workshops and Events are posted on my website as well as updated in the monthly Newsletter.

I hope you tune in to the new blog.

My children have fabulous friends and I’m fortunate that they share them with me.

Flowers from a loving friend

Tom and I sat in the backyard.  We raised our glasses to all those we love and have loved.

A UPS truck rumbled up the driveway.

“The coffee!”  Tom anticipated the arrival of another giant bag of beans from Chick. Tom was repairing Chick’s coffee bagger when his heart rebelled.  Chick watched over Tom the entire week he was in the hospital in Long Island.  He continues to keep us supplied with coffee and Tom still keeps Chick’s machine humming along, one of the few coffee customers whose baggers he still services.

Tom returned to the table with not one, but two boxes.  The second box was a long purple box, obviously flowers.  It was addressed to my son, Michael, whose father passed away on Saturday.  Flowers for the living!  Flowers for and from loving friends.  The cheerful daisies survived their voyage in the cardboard box and have now recovered, bringing smiles and hugs across many miles to touch not just Michael’s heart, but my heart, too.

Thank you, dear friend!

Painting for Michael:  ink and watercolor, drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by watercolor, followed by a few more lines drawn with the fountain pen.

This amazing Roseville Vase has a matching pair of candle holders and a leaf-shaped serving platter.  I’m not sure what I should serve on the platter that will  go with flowers and candles.

Flowers in Roseville Vase

I remember my mother arranging flowers in this vase when I was young.  I’m happy to fill it with flowers in my own home, brightening a chilly winter day.  The flowers were not nearly as bedraggled as I made them appear.

Sketchbook painting: drawn first with fountain pen filled with mix of red and black Noodler’s ink, followed by watercolor.

Until two days ago I didn’t know such a poinsettia existed.  It is totally outrageous.

Ruby Frost Poinsettia

The plant is meant to be hung, but instead, I gave it a tall, small table all its own.  The giant blossoms hang over the edge as if taking a bow following a magnificent performance.

Drawing:  Drawn first with Fountain Pen filled with Noodler’s Nikita ink (red) and dip pen using Noodler’s Gruene Cactus Eel (green), followed by watercolor washes.

A tiny schlumbergera with a giant bloom.

Schlumbergera, Christmas Cactus

My first Christmas Cactus was given to me by Mike Skibra when I was seventeen years old.  I had it for at least ten years and watched it outgrow several pots.  Every year but one it flowered.  When I left Boston to head west with my brother and my climbing gear, I gave my schlumbergera away.  I haven’t had another until last year when Maria Somers gave me a few potted plants along with a two-segment piece of a schlumbergera which I potted and placed among the other plants of the front porch.  It has thrived, growing into a rather unbalanced, asymmetrical form.  When I awoke yesterday morning it had flowered, a ridiculously long and narrow bloom.  The sun illuminated the petals making the cluster look like a tiny neon sign.  How could I resist trying to capture that moment?

The sketchbook paper is extremely thin, not well-suited to watercolor.

Sketch: Drawn first with fountain pen filled with black ink followed by washes of watercolor.

While writing the check for the latest delivery of heating oil my mind wandered to thoughts of Spring and the new shapes and colors that will fill the landscape and delight my eyes.  I remembered the series of pastel paintings I did several years ago of fresh lilies from the garden.

Lilies, pastel painting

This pastel painting was done prior to my return to study of color and prior to my squiggle ink drawings.  I’m amused when I recognize the roots of something that has developed into a technique that I return to again and again such as the squiggles.  I remember playing with the warm and cool variations of the colors hoping to create an illusion of depth, but felt that I didn’t understand what I was doing enough to push the painting any further without overworking the paper and losing the brilliance that I love so much about pastel.  When I look at the painting now, I understand a great deal more than I did back then.  Perhaps I will attempt another lily painting when the weather turns warm, the garden is abloom and I’m no longer writing checks to the oil company.


When designing for needlepoint the ability to execute the design must be taken into consideration.  I kept that issue on the back burner instead of the front burner.

First Color Sketch of Jean Jacket Design

My mind was on embroidery, not needlepoint.  As a result, I created edges and shapes that are not conducive to successful needlepoint design.  To remedy this, I simplified some of the shapes and added more flowers in place of the blades of grass that I had originally incorporated.  the butterflies will have to be simplified even more than shown above.  The value changes and shapes of the flowers against the sky will have to be worked out carefully, avoiding curves as much as possible.  The colors of the flowers will be adjusted.  After laying down the first wash in watercolor I went into the sketch with gouache as I started making adjustments.  The gouache dries lighter in some cases and darker in others making value judgments difficult, but not impossible.  This first color sketch illuminated the problems that need to be solved.  By the end of the weekend I hope to have the design worked out and completed for approval.  I wish it were to be embroidered instead.  I could leave in the beautiful edges of the butterfly wings and the intricate negative shapes between the flowers and stems.

The lower right corner needs to be redesigned.

One of my co-workers at the prop shop asked me to design the yoke of a jean jacket that will be embroidered by her dad as a gift for her daughter. The yoke is made of canvas mesh for needlework.

Preliminary sketches for yoke of jacket

Once a preliminary pencil sketch is approved I will work up a few color sketches, simplifying the drawing so that it can be executed with various colored embroidery floss.  The final stage will be to paint it onto the canvas mesh using the colors of the threads that Maria’s dad will be using.  I enjoy creating designs for customized clothing.

The Lavendar Survived the Deer

The small circle of plants at the end of my driveway has been thriving for the past three weeks.  I was delighted that the multitude of deer that camp out in our yard didn’t desire the lavendar, the screaming orange flowers (I can’t find the tag or remember the name), or the little purple pansies.  Yesterday I stopped and picked up plant food to give the flowers a real boost.  When I arrived home my mind was occupied with other thoughts and I didn’t glance at the circle garden as I turned into the driveway.

First thing I did , even before changing my shoes. was scoop plant food into the watering can and fill the can with water.  The plants looked odd as I approached.  The lavender caught the setting sun and stood out boldly in comparison to the rest of the garden, no longer more than two inches in height.  Footprints were everywhere.  Not only did the deer devour the screaming orange flowers, they pulled half of them out of the ground.  Both the lavender and the little purple pansies were left untouched.  Maybe they don’t like purple.

Pruned Screaming Orange Flowers