Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Billy Crystal - Meg Ryan / When Harry Met Sally

 "I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes.  And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.  And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve."

"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
Harry Burns to Sally Albright (Nora Ephron writer)

Here's to new beginnings with happy endings!

Wishing everyone the best of health and much happiness in 2016, 
 and praying for peace on our beautiful earth.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Get the Lead Out (Links for Artists)

Here are a few links to some great articles / sites that might have a positive impact on you as an artist.

This is one of the best articles around that addresses motivation.   It supports the reason why I deleted my Facebook account:
Killing the 7 Motivation Murderers - Kyle Eschenroeder

This Forbes article convinced me to accept a four month long local art commitment.   The offer would not have even been considered if it hadn't been for Margie Warrell's article:
The Impostor Syndrome - Margie Warrell

If only one inspirational blog were available to artists, this would be a top contender:
Nicolas Wilton - Reignite Your Creativity

A short, but sweet, FASO (FineArtStudioOnline) article on "luck:"  How to Get Lucky - Clint Watson

Things wouldn't be the same without a weekly dose of Alyson Stanfield.  Her blog is great reading, especially when you need to "get the lead out:"  Alyson Stanfield - Art Biz Coach

Hood River, Oregon  -  Would you want to sell your art here?

If you have any other recommendations, I hope to read about them on your blog.

See you soon!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

O is for Oregon

Summer Creek - Oil / 20X20; Artist Randall David Tipton

This is my birthday / Christmas present - for the next two years.   It is an original painting by one of my favorite contemporary landscape artists, Randall David Tipton.

I've been cyber-stalking Randall since I lived in Michigan.  After we moved to Oregon about three years ago, I discovered his work on exhibit at the White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach.   We finally met at his open studio a few years ago.

We attended Randall's open studio again in October.  I told Tim, "Now I promise not to do anything impulsive..."

The next thing I remember is waving bye to Randall and thanking him for holding this painting for me.  

I justified the purchase to Tim by reminding him that I have no interest in clothes, make-up or jewelry.   Well, maybe I buy a lot of art supplies, but Tim has quite the stash himself.   

Anyway, when I walked into Randall's studio and saw this painting, I immediately thought "home."  To me, this is quintessential northwest Oregon:  wet, green, lush, beautiful. 

There's no place I'd rather be...

Monday, December 7, 2015

Wild Things Continued

Sleepyhead - Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper  - 8X10 / NFS

Little Princess - Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 8X10 / Sold

These are a few more watercolor batiks to add to the "Wild Things" series for a local project we're doing.

Friday, December 4, 2015

For Better or For Worse

There are no finished paintings to show, so I thought I would post these pictures of a strong,  good looking family man - my husband.

As you can see, he's a good sport, too.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I'm All Ears

All Ears - Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 8X10 / Sold

"Only the weak are cruel."
Leo Buscaglia

Monday, November 30, 2015


"Adored"  Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 10X8 - Sold

“A dog has one aim in life... to bestow his heart.”
J.R. Ackerley

Births, deaths, business, travel...   The past month has been a blur of ups and downs.   It's nice to be back to work.  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

You Had Me at Woof

Wild Things series - Puppy #2 / Watercolor Batik 7X5 -  Sold

"Puppies are constantly inventing new ways to be bad."
Julie Klam, You Had Me at Woof

Monday, November 2, 2015

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Wild Things series - Puppy / Watercolor Batik - 7X5

"Heaven goes by favor.  If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in."
 Mark Twain


Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Week of Batik

Watercolor batiks - in progress (sizes 8X10, 12X16, 16X20)

These recently finished watercolor batiks have been affixed to hot press paper with matte medium and set out to dry.

Some of the paintings were based on favorite old reference photos that have been scaled up or scaled down (yes, I'm a painting repeater).  If enough wax has been removed, I can easily go back into a few and add a little more detail, depth and sparkle. 

I look at the clock and realize these must be matted and framed by noon tomorrow.  I'm off.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Blog Topics for Artists

There are always times when life gets a little crazy and you're not able to post artwork, so I thought I'd share a few blogging topic ideas.

Favorite art books on your bookshelf
Favorite art magazines
A peek at your art journal
Photos of your studio / work space ( I mean how it REALLY looks)

Your creative process
Guest blogger
Your use of art prompts (strategies that prompt imagination & creativity)
Visually inspiring trips around town

Workshops you would like to attend 
Stories behind your art
Best art advice you've ever received
An art workshop experience (Here's a link to a Leslie Saeta workshop I attended:  Leslie's Workshop.

Leslie's workshop was in California.

Art blogs that inspire you
Links to Calls for Artists
Favorite art YouTube videos / podcasts
Favorite Artists from a particular period


Monday, October 19, 2015

Portland Open Studios

This was the final weekend of Portland Open Studios, so off we went into northeast Portland to visit the home studio of artist Shanon Playford.   Shanon is really prolific (there is art EVERYWHERE in her home),  and is a very gracious hostess.



 We left Shannon's and went to many more studios, but the visits I enjoyed the most were to the home studios of Annie Salness and Jo Reimer.

Annie Salness is an artist who suffered a horrible stroke five years ago.  She has had to relearn to talk and walk, and is now painting with her non-dominant left hand (and you should see how she's painting!).   We were treated to a great presentation by Annie in her work space.  You can find Annie's beautiful artwork on her blog:    You can read the heartwarming story her recovery here.  

From Annie's,  we went over to artist Jo Reimer's  house.  Jo's home / home studio is chockfull of incredible collage and textile pieces.  She also has some of the most beautiful art journals and sketchbooks I have ever seen.  I'm glad to have recently discovered her blog ( because it is loaded with generous instruction and advice.

Shanon's open invitation

Although my camera died (hence no photos from Studio Salness or Studio Reimer) and I missed the party, it was a very inspiring day!

So that's it from me for now.  I'm back to a doing replacement batiks for the Lake Oswego show.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Java Tjanting

Today was a no painting day.  I was a little under the weather, but perked right up when the postman delivered this package from the Dharma Trading Co.

It is an electric tjanting tool kit.  The tool itself is a pen-like contraption with a reservoir for holding and releasing melted wax.   The nice thing is that it comes with two tips for different line widths.   The rheostat controls the temperature of the wax to ensure constant even flow.  I thought the rheostat was important because I've used canning wax (such as Gulf wax) as well as candle making wax for batiks.   These waxes melt at different temperatures.

Of course,  there is a learning curve.  My husband reminded me to walk (as in doodles) before I run.

I've been enjoying the work of artists Jennifer Rose Phillip over at  FuzzyDragons  and Sharon Veares on Art by SM Veares.  Both are participating in InkTober, an annual 31 day drawing challenge for artists all over the world.  It's inspiring, so I will practice drawing a little every day with the new batik pen.

Monday, October 12, 2015

They Were Framed

We've been busy framing, but managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the studio of artist Randall David Tipton during this first Portland Open Studios weekend.

The bad news is that we weren't able to walk away with a piece of Randall's artwork.  But the good news is that we placed a deposit on one of his beautiful landscape paintings, and that it will be mine (I mean "ours") next month!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

African Elephant

Out of the Blue - Watercolor Batik - 12X16 - Sold

According to National Geographic,  "Ivory-seeking poachers have killed 100,000 African elephants in just three years."  China is ivory's largest market.

Sometimes I like animals more than I like people.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bird Dog

Bird Dog - Watercolor Batik - 12X16 - Sold

A few more paintings for the studio show are in progress because replacements are needed for pieces that have sold. 

I went through some old smaller challenge batiks - the ones that I thought would look better a little larger.  "Bird Dog" seemed like a good place to start.

This guy reminds me of my dog Cobie only I could never get Cobie to pose with anything that resembled something to eat.  He's pretty food motivated, to say it nicely.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tough Guy

Tough Guy - Watercolor Batik - 12X16  (almost finished) -  NFS

"I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep.  I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."
Alexander the Great

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Baby Love 1 - Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 12X16 / Sold

Baby Love 2 - Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 12X16 / Sold

Portland's emphasis on all things artsy extends into the suburbs, especially to Lake Oswego.   And that's a good thing for painters because many L.O. business owners grace their walls with the work of local artists.

Rhonda Webber, IM+X Pilates Studio owner/trainer, has invited me to exhibit in her studio through Christmas.  If you're local, I hope you get to a chance to stop by this beautifully serene venue located in downtown Lake Oswego at 436 First Street.

I am enjoying a week long visit with out of state company right now, but am looking forward to getting back to the blog next week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lazy Days of Summer

Unfinished - 20X16 watercolor batik

After a brief reprieve, we're back into the thick heat of summer. 

Fast and furious is not my mantra in these warmer months.   I'm actually trying to stay in the moment and savor the time spent doing artwork, gardening, home projects - anything to prevent these long days from flying by as quickly as they usually do. 

I think it's working.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

How to Watercolor Batik - Step-by-Step

This is the step-by-step process I use when doing a batik.  If you have some painting experience, you will understand this post.  If not, you might have a little trouble with it, but I hope you look at the pictures and get inspired to do something artsy.

Colors /values on batiks are preserved by painting melted paraffin wax (canning wax) onto rice paper with old watercolor brushes.  Once the brushes are used for wax, you will not be using them again for regular watercolor paintings.

To melt wax, I place chunks of paraffin into a clean tuna can and then place the can into a mini electric skillet (from a garage sale).  Make sure your skillet has a thermostat.  Place clean water into the skillet. Turn the thermostat to about 210 degrees.   The wax will melt when this optimal temperature is reached.   If the wax gets too cool, it will not spread easily.  If it gets too hot, it will begin to smoke and could create a fire hazard.

Batik in a well-ventilated area and cover your work area with some kind of a tarp, plastic garbage bag  or a Dollar Store tablecloth.

I have used both Japanese Kinwashi and Ginwashi papers (short fibers) and Unryu (longer fibers). Unryu comes in different colors which is fun to try.   Remember, though, that no matter what paper you choose, make sure the weight of the paper is at least 24 grams; anything less will be too thin.  It will shred when it is wet and you may get discouraged.

I begin by doing a drawing with big thick lines similar to a coloring book drawing.  You can do the drawing on copy paper or newsprint.  The main thing to figure out is the number of values (lights and darks) you're going to have in your batik.   If you want it to look kind of edgy or contemporary, limit the number of values.  If you want it more realistic, use as many as your patience will allow.

For new batikers, you can even draw the individual values onto your paper and number them to guide you during the process sort of like a "paint by numbers" painting.  All lightest values are assigned a #1.  All second lightest values are assigned a #2, and so on.

The drawing is placed on a rigid support.  I use plexiglass from the local hardware store.  Plexiglass doesn't break, doesn't warp, and is washable and re-usable.  The drawing is covered with a piece of wax paper to keep it dry.  Use masking tape to keep the drawing and the wax paper stationary.  In this case, Japanese Kinwashi rice paper is then placed on top of the wax paper and taped at the corners.   Place the rice paper smooth side up - always paint on the smooth side.

To begin, I usually drip a little wax on the dry white rice paper in strategic spots for added interest.  Then I spray the rice paper with clear water, and wash a diluted value of color (one that will be your lightest light) over the rice paper.  Colors / values are preserved from light to dark as with most watercolor paintings.

The rice paper is allowed to dry completely. You may use a hair dryer to help it along, but be careful or you will melt and spread the existing wax.  After the rice paper is dry, wax out the areas of the image you want to preserve as your lightest light.

Wet the rice paper and add another layer of color that is darker than the first for your next value.  Wait for the rice paper to dry.

Wax over the area where you want to preserve this new darker color.

Wet the paper, add a darker value, and repeat.  The number of values at four for this particular piece.

Allow the rice paper to dry.  I finally wax over the darkest value and any areas where I think I might have skipped wax.  Let the wax cool.

At this point, many batikers squeeze the rice paper into a ball (over a garbage can), and then apply a dark or middle neutral color on top of the batik and allowing it to settle into the cracks.  Then another thin layer of wax is applied.  I don't do this anymore because I can't tell you how many batiks I have ruined because big puddles of dark paint (sometimes ink) were allowed to creep through the cracked wax.    

When the wax has cooled, you must separate the rice paper batik from the wax paper (no photo).   To do this, place the waxed batik face side down and gently pull up the wax paper.  Doing it this way will prevent tears in the rice paper and will prevent the wax from cracking.

The waxed piece is placed between sheets of newsprint (the kind you buy at the art supply/craft store).  With a relatively hot dry iron that is reserved for batik (bought mine at a garage sale),  run the iron over the newsprint.  This will lift the wax.  Remove the wax soaked newsprint and place the batik between fresh newsprint, and repeat.  Keep repeating until the newsprint does not pick up anymore wax.  And remember that the wax on the newsprint must be liquid-y (don't burn yourself) when peeling off the rice paper.  Trying to peel rice paper away from hardened wax will result in tears to the rice paper.

As you can see, color seeped through onto the nose of the image.  This was supposed to be reserved as the lightest light.  

Mistakes can be corrected and batiks can be enhanced with great results or you can just leave the "mistake" and pretend like you planned it that way.

. . . . .

Different artists create watercolor batiks in different ways.  Some, for example, draw their patterns directly onto the rice paper.  I've used this method for certain types of batiks and it really simplifies the process.  If you do try it, be sure to use a WATERPROOF marker.   Also remember to place some wax paper between your support and the rice paper.  This will keep the support dry and will prevent the wax from seeping through to the support. 

Another alternative is to draw onto the shiny side of freezer paper with a WATERPROOF marker, attach it to a support and then lay your rice paper over it and proceed.

This was a relatively subdued batik.  Many paintings are done by throwing wax and color all over the place - just depends on your vision and your mood.  When batiking, you are not stuck in a box.  Relax and have fun.  Just start with something simple like a piece of fruit of a flower (not a face).

If you are able, take a class or a workshop from a batik artist. You're gonna have a million questions - Can I repair a hole in the batik? (yes).  What do I do if the value is too light / too dark?   I've got too much splatter on the rice paper.  What now?, ...  

Check out YouTube for batik demonstrations.  All of your questions may not be answered, but the videos will give you great ideas for projects and will get you going.

And, of course, if you have any questions,  ask in the comment section of the blog on any post that is made.   You can also feel free to e-mail me with questions at  " "  I've only taken (2)  one day watercolor batik workshops, but they were taken in 2003, so I've got a few miles of rice paper between then and now.  I can help you.

If you would like to batik and have absolutely no experience painting, it would be helpful to enroll in a beginner watercolor class where you will learn about color and value.  If you need help with drawing, there are also books and classes offered.  Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards was an immense help to me.  YouTube also offers free tutorials on drawing and painting.

Please don't be intimidated. Don't say you can't draw a stick figure.  Drawing is LEARNED.  Painting is LEARNED.  It's never too late. 

We're all creative whether we're cooking, decorating, loving fashion, gardening, ...  If you have always wanted to do artwork, there's a myriad of options out there - some where you don't even have to learn to draw or paint (as in some alcohol ink creations).  Just have fun!