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.

Drawings often deviate from the original plan.

Pressed Red Tip Photinia Branch with shadows, backlit illumination

The plan was to paint the drawing according to color value rather than color hue using illogical and discordant hues.  I began drawing with a dip pen using Diamine Ochre ink.  I wanted to see what variations of hue the ink would separate into when I added only clean water along the edges of the lines.  The flow of ink into the water worked beautifully for the dry, pressed leaves, more of a burnt sienna hue than an ochre hue. I followed the inspiration of the leaves rather than proceed with my original plan.  After painting the shadows and cell shapes the leaves looked flat and uninteresting.  I pale wash of aureolin with a touch of burnt sienna brought life back into the leaves.

I’ll give my original plan another try and post it on the Creative Color Blog later today.

Sketchbook Drawing: Pressed Red Tip Branch and Shadows, ink and watercolor.  Limited palette of aureolin, french ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

My plants are never pleased when they are brought indoors after living happily on the front porch from May until late autumn.  All of the pots were brought inside before Hurricane Sandy hit land.

Unhappy Oxalis Plant

Three days after the hurricane hit, I caught a plane for California to teach two Color Scheme Game Workshops in Santa Rosa.  Tom, without power for almost two weeks, pampered my plants in my absence.  They have all survived, though a couple are still struggling.  This little pot of Oxalis has a giant corm standing out of the dirt in the middle of the pot.  Survival is such a strong, driving force among all living things.

Sketchbook Drawing: drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Whaleman’s Sepia followed by watercolor.

Color Scheme: Modified Triad (Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green and Blue Green)  Pot and dirt are neutralized hues of the triad.

Sometime during the night my backyard was taken hostage by an instant population of mushrooms!  Even coffee didn’t get top billing this morning.

Morning Mushrooms

I’ve spent far too many hours online attempting to identify my new neighbors.  The gills show on both the top and the bottom of the cap.  I think they might be Marasmius Oreades, often called Fairyring Mushrooms.

Study No.1 of morning mushrooms

The stems are thin, straight and very white.  The caps are white to cream with a darker smoky dolor in the center.  It was fun mixing the subtle grays and browns from the travel kit I grabbed along with my sketchbook, water, pen and brush.

Attacked by ?

Hundreds of mushrooms shared territory with grasses and clover.  Only these three mushrooms were less than perfect.  Odd …  What might have happened to these three gentle souls?

Time for my cup of coffee …. long overdue.

Sketchbook studies: drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor.  I used one of my vintage Sheaffer fountain pens.  The cartridge that I had refilled with Noodler’s Black Ink ran out.  Without rinsing it, I refilled it with Noodler’s Rome Burning.  I like the tone of the Rome Burning, a touch of bronze.  I think it works well with botanicals.

An attempt at working in the same style, but larger.

Much larger than my sketchbook!

Using the same Rives BFK paper and my fountain pen I began a large drawing of the sweet potato vine in the hanging basket.  I wanted to see how the ink and watercolor sketches might translate into a larger format.

Laying in the washes

A drawing of this size, in this style, demands hours and hours of attention.  I had drawn too much detail, with ink,  into one of the leaves.  I had hoped I could disguise the problem.

Finished painting

Along with each new disguise, I created a new problem.  With each new solution, I lost some of the freshness and clarity of the painting.  I finally decided it is best to start over.  Numerous lessons learned along the journey!

Detail at an earlier stage

Sweet Potato Vine: Drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by far too many washes of watercolor.

My potted herbs offer a variety of leaf shapes and an opportunity to play with warm greens and cool greens.

Potted Herb Plants

I braved the heat to sit outside and draw a selection of potted kitchen herbs.  I was hoping for at least one good thunderstorm to refresh the fields of corn and the crunchy grass.  No such luck.  Thanks to my watering cans, the herbs are still alive, though not thriving.

Drawn en plein air.  Line drawing using an old Scheaffer fountain pen filled with Noodler’s black ink, followed by watercolor.  Color Palette: Phthalo Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Carmine, Cadmium Red Scarlet, Cadmium Yellow, Gamboge, Viridian.  I used only a tip’s worth of the Carmine and the Cadmium Red Scarlet to tone down the green in a few areas.

I returned to Keyport to paint again in Renee’s garden.

Gladiolus blossoms

The absence of rain has taken its toll on the flowers.  The gladioli had just bloomed and were the only hydrated flowers in sight.  The blossoms were fresh, full of life and absolutely gorgeous.  They bent at odd angles, giving them the look of being blown in a gentle breeze in spite of the still air.

Gladiolus Blossoms, watercolor, detail

Another detail of the gladiolus blossoms

The drawing was complicated and demanded an enormous amount of concentration to capture the character of each petal without getting too stiff.  I wanted the drawing to look as alive and fresh as the flowers.  I’m pleased with the result.

What a joy to sit on my front step and draw the Spiderwort (Tradescantia) that Alexis planted by the front door, many years ago.

Spiderwort plant, (Tradescantia)

I was counting on it storming all day, both today and tomorrow.  Instead, it was a gorgeous.  The sun shone brightly and a cool breeze kept the air fresh while I sorted boxes and piles in the basement, years of unsorted, need-to-be-thrown-out stuff.  It it emotionally wrenching to be smacked in the face with flashbacks every two minutes.

Before the sun had dipped too low in the sky, I treated myself to drawing the blossoms that had been battered by last night’s powerful storm….. the one that was supposed to have arrived today.  It’s so much easier to be stuck in the house cleaning when it is pouring rain outside.

Sketchbook drawing: drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor

Fabulous visit with an old, younger friend this afternoon. I feel like a proud mother.

Flopped Over Peas in Bloom

As I recall, today is really Memorial Day, May 30th.  I thought more today about the men and women who died serving the United States Armed Forces than I did yesterday as I ate my deviled eggs during the legal holiday.  I believe all, or at least most, legal holidays now fall on a Monday or Friday for the convenience of a three day weekend.

Back to feeling like a proud mother.  Beth Brader, after going through a terribly scary episode in the local hospital, has awakened her artistic soul.  She covered her hospital room walls with drawings when she wasn’t catching flying tennis balls. She begins every day and ends every day with drawing using a bic pen and markers.  The work is incredible!  Klimt, Beardsley and Matisse all come to mind, yet her work is not derivative. Her drawings are uniquely Beth Brader.  Had Beth not made it through her crisis, the exquisite drawings I saw today would not exist.

I returned home, drank half a bottle of wine on an empty stomach and drew my pea plant monsters in my sketchbook, still feeling the thrill of Beth’s return to her art.  I think about the tragic loss of musicians and artists who died fighting wars.  I think about the loss of all those whose lives were cut short.  Yes, they died fighting for our freedoms.  A greater contribution than one’s life cannot be given, yet I wonder …… what art, what music, what inventions do not exist today because the inventor, the creator, died in combat before the contribution could be made.

Sketchbook drawing: drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor, followed by white gel marker, followed by dip pen in ink.

Last night I colored in more of the page in my sketchbook that I referred to yesterday as my homemade coloring book.

Pea plants and potted herb garden

I think I will keep adding to this …. more peas and more potted herbs stretching over to the facing page.  I might leave areas as ink drawings and diminish the watercolor as I move across the page….. It’s a work in progress, a new phase of my ink and watercolor sketchbook drawings.

Drawn in large sketchbook made of watercolor paper.  Drawn first in ink using a fountain pen, followed by washes of watercolor.