Saturday, May 31, 2014

Win An Original Watercolor Painting!

The "Waynesburg Prosperous and Beautiful" organization
in conjunction with Greene County Tourism
will be raffling off my watercolor painting
"High Street Panorama"
at their upcoming Summer Open House
June 6, 2014, 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
in downtown Waynesburg, Pennsylvania

"High Street Panorama," 24" x 6" watercolor with pen & ink on Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. paper

Raffle tickets are only $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00
Available now at the following locations:
52 East High Street
Waynesburg, PA
First Federal Savings and Loan
25 East High Street
Waynesburg, PA

The painting is beautifully framed and matted. It shows the historic buildings that line the south side of High Street, the main thoroughfare through our town.


This panoramic view of High Street was painted especially for the Summer Open House. I wanted it to have a happy, summery feel, so I used a bit of artistic license with the colors, turning the dark rust-colored brick of the police station into a bright salmon color...

and the dark red of the adjacent building into a pretty pink!

 The bright colors of spring worked their way into my painting.

The courthouse stands proud and tall in the center of town, with General Nathaniel Greene on top of the dome, perpetually doffing his tri-corner hat.

The Job Services office on the next corner looks kind of perky with its striped awnings.

The Veterans' Affairs Department's windows are decorated with red, white, and blue.

Since the yellow building to the right of Veterans' Affairs is currently empty, with a FOR LEASE sign in the window, I re-imagined it as a cute little restaurant.

At the end of the block is InMotion Dance Studio, with posters of dancers decorating every window.

Put them all together and you have one cute little All-American town. Our town... Waynesburg, PA.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sketches from "Between the Covers" Art Show

I promised I would show you some of the sketches from the artists who participated in the "Between the Covers" art show that I was involved with at Artbeat gallery. I had a hard time choosing which sketches to share, since there was such a huge variety of styles and subject matter. In the end I decided just to pick some of my favorites. Enjoy the show!

By Sharon Nolin...


 By Judy Barno...

By Merry Dorean...


By Candace Radel...

By Kit Paulsen...

By Cathy McCort...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bleeding Heart Sketch with Watercolor Calligraphy

Every spring I'm tempted to sketch the bleeding heart plant that grows by our front porch, but I'm usually so busy weeding, pruning, mulching, and planting that I never get around to it. It's easy to feel overwhelmed in the spring with all the yard work and gardening I have to do, but this year I decided I needed to practice what I preach to my students - I needed to just make the time, and DO IT!
Pigma Micron pen & watercolor in 10" x 7" Canson Montval watercolor sketchbook

So I did it!

I decided to keep the design simple. Instead of filling the page, as I usually do, I focused on just one undulating stem with its pretty pink blossoms.

Painting just a few leaves was enough to suggest the rest of the plant.

The lettering was done with a traditional calligraphy nib. I first lightly sketched in a few curving guidelines and roughed in the quote with pencil, to figure out the spacing of the lettering. Then I inked it with a calligraphy pen.

One of my students (and favorite artists!), Sharon Nolin, introduced me to the idea of using watercolor paint in place of ink in a calligraphy pen when adding lettering to a sketchbook page. "Tape" brand nibs work well with this technique because they have a reservoir on top, making it easy to fill with a watercolor brush.  

Just load a brush with paint and dab it into the reservoir. (Sometimes, to start the pen flowing, it seems to help if I wet the underside of the nib with the brush, also.)

I like having the freedom now to coordinate the color of my lettering with the colors in a sketch. Lettering done with a calligraphy pen looks a bit more formal than my usual hand-drawn lettering styles, but I think on this page, it was the perfect choice.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sketching at Phipps

Flowers, friends, food, and sketching - put them all together and you have the makings of a perfect day!

Ink and watercolor, 7" x 10" Canson sketchbook with 140 lb. paper

This past Wednesday, I joined a group of artists from the McMurray Art League on an outing to Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh to see and sketch the summer flower show. Many of the women had taken my recent sketchbook journaling workshop and wanted to try out some of the ideas they had learned.

I used Speedball opaque white ink to draw the iron framework of the conservatory after I had painted the green foliage inside

We dispersed to all corners of Phipps and spent two hours sketching to our hearts' content. I headed outside to the Japanese Garden to enjoy some warm sunshine...

and sketched a scene which included a wooden arbor and the view beyond. (I drew and painted the garden scene on location, then added the border and background stripes later at home. I find that's what works best for me.)

Lexington gray ink and watercolor, plus a bit of brown Pigma Micron pen in the dot/dash border. 7" x 10" Canson sketchbook with 140 lb. paper

Then I went inside, to the leafy jungle of the Palm Court.

In the Orchid Room, each exotic blossom seemed more beautiful than the last.

The group came back together at 12:30 for an incredibly good lunch at Cafe Phipps, where we took a peek at each other's sketches while gobbling down quiche, soup, and salads.

After lunch, I wanted to finish the sketch I had started earlier in the Desert Room. With the sun pouring in and temps soaring, the Desert Room was feeling more and more like an actual desert as I sat on a rock and sketched, but it felt kind of good to bake awhile. It seems like I've been cold for the past seven months! After these pudgy round cacti and their prickly neighbors were drawn, I moved on to the Sunken Garden for one last sketch.

Lexington gray ink and watercolor, plus Speedball opaque white ink for the prickly barbs on the cacti. 7" x 10" Canson sketchbook with 140 lb. paper

Close-up of cacti with opaque white ink

I was pressed for time with this last one, so I dashed it off quickly, which gave it a more spontaneous look than the others. I like that. Guess I need to speed up more often!

I thought you might enjoy seeing some of sketches my friends did that day, too. It's fun and inspiring to see the variety of styles and techniques.

Some have vibrant color...

Others are studies in black, gray, and white...

Some are loose and simple...

Others are more detailed...

But they all reflect the fun we had, just taking some time to play, be in the moment, and do something we love.

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