Friday, December 31, 2010

Beautiful, Chilly, Winter Day

Braving the 27 degree temperature and taking advantage of the sunshine treat, Ebony and I ventured out this morning on the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington.

I must admit, we Washingtonians cherish a sunny day no matter what! Everyone Ebony and I encountered on our walk happily commented on the beautiful day. Pleasant way to start the day.

I took my camera along and snapped some photos of the frozen ponds and reflections. A few ducks found a small hole in the ice to swim and dive.

According to my trusty Peterson's Field Guide these ducks are Bufflehead. It is interesting that they are not listed as living in Washington. Is this a rare find?

Inspired, I came home and began a watercolor painting of this beautiful scene.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Number Three

The third in the series of bougainvillea watercolor paintings is conpleted, I think.

Having entertained a fleeting thought the other day of adding pastels or contour lines, I did not divert from painting with watercolors. As I look at all three together, maybe I will add something different......especially to the second one which feels a bit too stiff. I seemed to have loosened up as I painted these delicate flowers.

Here is the series with the newest painting first.
Let me know which one is your favorite.

Bougainvilleas seem to be very happy and abundant in Greece. As I painted them memories abound and brought smiles to my face.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


On her blog, Making a Mark, Katherine Tyrrell each year posts art awards which showcase outstanding artists. Although she chooses from the artists who have been nominated for various categories, she invites us to vote for the Making A Mark Award for the best artwork on a blog in 2010.

Tonight while reading her blog, I came across a fabulous artist, Deborah Secor, who embodies the giving spirit by sharing her book and expertise with the world. Her book, Landscape Painting In Pastels can be read and studied in full on the internet. She says, "The blog format allows me to give it away freely to all." WOW! Thank you, Deborah.

I am enthralled by her pastel paintings and cannot take my eyes off of them. I immediately fixated on chapter sixteen - water and reflections. I fell in love with Granite Tranquility and you will see why. After I finish writing this blog, I am going back for more!

I feel as if Katherine has introduced me to some incredible artists to help jump start the new year with loads of inspiration.
Thank you, Katherine.

Monday, December 27, 2010

More of the Same

It is a well known fact that humans repeat patterns that are familiar because they are comfortable doing the same thing.

Today, being bold and brave lost out to staying in my comfort zone. I delighted in painting shapes with watercolors instead of layering pastels or creating contour lines as I thought I might try at the end of yesterday's painting session. That is not to say that I still might do that. Who knows where the creative mood will take me next time?

Here is today's watercolor painting continuation of the bougainvillea still taped to my drafting table and accounts for the weird angle.

I just realized in the photograph of yesterday's rendition the ominous shadow in the lower part is my head. Symbolic of my "head" being in the way of freedom to explore something new and different. Ah, the art therapist in me comes through!

Do you see my head?

What will unfold tomorrow?

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Back painting with watercolors on my third bougainvillea rendition.

Total freedom! FUN!

But now at a crossroad.........what to do next?

My first thought was that I was going to do a line drawing over the watercolors.

Now, I am thinking of pastels over the watercolors.

Hmmmmm, which shall it be?

to be continued........

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Spirit

This Christmas Eve I was gifted with a lovely spiritual movie that captures the essence of the holiday.

May it be the messaage, the beauty of the photography, the tranquility of the music, or simply the few moments of peace that it offers, I hope you enjoy.

Watch the Inner Christmas Movie by Lynn Jericho

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Third Time

Do you find the expression, "third times the charm," rings true for you?

Many times it takes me three times before I learn the lesson or make an attempt to get something just right. This THIRD time I am hoping to achieve a final and expressive watercolor painting of the bougainvillea from my travel photos of Greece.

In the first watercolor painting, I am not happy with the color of the bougainvillea and I believe there is too much detail.

The second watercolor painting, which I finished today, is more playful and colorful. But then, I found myself laboring on a few details.

The THIRD watercolor painting, which I began today, will flow more smoothly having had some experience painting the bougainvillea.

Stay tuned........

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

Did you watch the lunar eclipse last night (or rather, earlier this morning)?

It is interesting that one of my tall Douglas firs split in the last wind storm and provided me with an opening to the sky to watch the lunar eclipse from the comfort of my studio. Since this lunar eclipse on the solstice will not occur again for another 84 years, I thought this was very fortuitous.

Also, here in Washington we had a very light cloud cover. Another rarity! I was expecting darkness at the point where our full shadow was across the moon, but it was rather light instead. I could not see the orange glow as photographed by people living elsewhere. The clouds seem to pass in front of the moon and I could still make out its image.

Today, December 21st, in the Northern Hemisphere, is the Winter Solstice. I plan to celebrate the return of the "light" with friends eating and creating art.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


One of my watercolor paintings has been invited to an art show. What an interesting way to convey that one's art was selected by the juror to be included in an art show.

Having applied to several art shows, I was uncertain which show this was and which painting as I have a tendency to change painting names.

According to the e-mail, I am one of 224 artists from every corner of the state of Washington who submitted artworks for consideration by the juror, Dennis Peacock. Dennis selected 129 pieces for inclusion in the show from nearly 700 that were submitted. WOW!

Collective Visions Gallery (aka CVG) is an artist-owned and operated gallery representing over 25 Puget Sound artists working in a variety of 2D and 3D modes and media in contemporary, abstract and traditional styles. The Gallery is located in the heart of downtown Bremerton. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 5 and Sundays from 1 to 5 during the summer months & February CVG Show; the one my painting will be included.

And now the watercolor painting....

Iris Family
Joanne Osband

Monday, December 13, 2010

Everyone Is Talking About It

A new art book was recently released and everyone is talking/blogging about it.

James Gurney, New York Times best-selling author and artist of the Dinotopia series, follows Imaginative Realism with his second art-instruction book,

Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter.

This book is a comprehensive art instruction book about all the important aspects color and light for students of art and those wishing to improve the quality of their painting in any media.

I understand that it is a very accessible art instruction book, and it articulates very clearly how you can make choices about how to use different features of color and light in a painting.

In addition, I hear that the images and graphics are outstanding.

It is time for me to head to my local Barnes and Noble book store and see for myself.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Good News About Rain

Yes, rain is good for all living things, and that is why Washington is so green and beautiful. But some of us in the Pacific Northwest have challenges with the number of rainy days, myself included.

Today, I took advantage of wanting to stay indoors and created a watercolor painting. So, that's the positive side of rain.

This painting is from one of my photographs I took when I was on the island of Antiparos in Greece. I love the white and gray patterned walkways and the abundance of the bright bougainvillea.

While painting I thought of the warm days and sunshine as well as the fun I had.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Illusion and Realism

Realism in the visual arts is a style that depicts the actuality of what the eyes can see.

Realism is the art style most people regard as "real art", where the subject of the painting looks very much like it appears in real life. From a little distance everything looks "real" but up close you will see it is an illusion created by skillful use of paint, of color and tone. The artist uses perspective to create an illusion of reality, setting the composition and lighting to make the most of the subject.

Real or an Illusion?

Here is the artist at work.....


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shades of Gray

As an artist, I am aware that there are nine shades of gray.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I believe that we get to see all nine shades on a regular basis during our dark winter days.

How many shades of gray do you see in this photo?

The photo was taken this morning with my phone camera while walking the Chehalis Western Trail with my dog, Ebony. I liked this view because there was a patch of blue sky a source of delight not only to the eyes, but to the soul.

Also notice the dark, ominous cloud.

Rorschach Test: What does it look like to you?

The Rorschach test (also known as the Rorschach inkblot test or simply the Inkblot test) is a psychological test in which subjects' perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex scientifically derived algorithms, or both. Some psychologists use this test to examine a person's personality characteristics and emotional functioning.

It is similar to finding images in clouds or in splotches of paint with or without the psychological interpretations.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sponge Painting

One of my art therapy clients liked the effects of sponge painting. Upon her closure with therapy she gifted me with a couple of sponges.

When I was in Greece, I fell in love with the olive tree. After a few attempts painting them in watercolors, I have been disappointed with my ability to capture the silvery shimmer of the leaves in the sunlight. I have been enjoying painting the shapes and forms of the bark of the olive tree, but the leaves have escaped me.

Glancing at a photograph of a grove of olive trees, I realized that the leaves in the distance looked like the texture of a sponge.

With wild abandonment, I began to sponge paint.

I remembered the enjoyment and freedom that I observed watching my art therapy client sponge paint. I, too, was playing as I built up the layers of color and watched the sponge texture. What FUN!

I have been staring at this painting for a few days and decided that after all my fun, I had over worked the sponge painting process. Although it had wonderful texture, it was too dark. I thought about using pastels over it as some artists do, but I did not want to lose the watercolor effect. Looking though my supplies, I found some acrylic paint that I had won at an art demonstration. Hmmmmmm......

As I lighten the leaves of the olive tree, I still desired that lovely sliver-blue sparkle. To my delight, I found a metallic white which I mixed with greens.

Painting done!

Sunlight Dancing in the Olive Grove


Sunday, December 5, 2010


Washingtonians get rather excited when two sunny days are linked together.....especially in the dark days of winter. On one of those sunny days, a couple of friends and I took a hike on the McLane Creek Nature Trail in Olympia hoping to see the salmon spawning. Unfortunately, we were a bit late and saw the aftermath...huge fish bodies in and along the creek. My dog was in heaven with the smell!

The McLane Creek Nature Trail consists of a 1.1-mile outer loop and a 0.3-mile connector trail. This trail takes you on an up-close and personal journey along McLane Creek and an adjacent beaver pond. There are interpretive plaques and observation decks. Time of day and season will dictate which critters you might observe.

Reflections captivate me, how about you?

McLane Creek reflections:


Friday, December 3, 2010

Festival of Light

What an appropriate time to be reminded of the "light" when I have been complaining about how early it is getting dark these days.

Chanukah is the "Festival of Light" in celebration of the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days after the Jews retained control of the Temple in Jerusalem.

I have always enjoyed the ritual of lighting the candles each night. Yet, as I grew older I found even more significance in the symbolism of the word "light" and "miracle".

As an artist, I focus on the effects of light and capturing that in my creations. I have learned that light is essential to my well-being and that I am affected by the amount of daylight or not. Light is an illuminating source and I look for it in those people I encounter.

Miracles abound everywhere. Daily, I remind myself to be appreciative and grateful.

As I walked by the lighted menorah this evening, I was delighted by the still life that miraculously occurred.

Art and light.......

It reminds me to straighten the Matisse!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Goddesses come in all shapes and forms.

I created this one while sharing the practice of art therapy with our International Trauma Treatment Program's practitioner from Sri Lanka. Her graduation and the annual auction will be on Sunday, December 5th from 5-8PM at the Phoenix Inn, 415 Capitol Way North, Olympia, Washington.

This goddess is made with paper mache that comes in a powder form requiring the addition of water. She is a rather hefty goddess in contemplation; she ponders her true potential by the banks of the river.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Colorful Artist

I was just cruising around the Internet this evening and came across an artist whose art I thoroughly enjoy. Being an animal person, I was very drawn to her pet portraits. I really like the way she captures the expressions of the pets and her choice of colors.

She has challenged herself to do 30 pet portraits in 30 days.
She is on number 21.
Take a look.

By the way, here is one of my cats, Gypsy, immortalized in a mixed media collage painting:

and in an oil painting:

She has very expressive eyes and can out stare anyone.

Wonder if this is a message that it is time for me to paint my other pets.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Greece Paintings

I cannot believe how long this watercolor painting took!

Actually, I found myself getting lost trying for too much detail. Even though I had this fantastic view in mind, I lost the spontaneity of painting that I love. So, this was one of those "labors of love". But I am still not sure I really like the painting.......

The view is from the city of Oia on the island of Santorini in Greece. I was looking down from the main street to the water and the island, Thirasia, that separated from Santorini in one of the many volcanic erruptions.

I might paint a different, more freer, rendition of this view.

Stay tuned.....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dog Artist

Very clever and just in time for the holidays.

A paint kit for dogs!

This is how it works. First, place plastic on the floor, and then the canvas. Next, apply some paint followed by a top layer of clear plastic. Your dog can now walk and play over the canvas. By the way, a toy is included to help encourage your dog to "paint".

Presto, your dog has created a work of art!

Ready for is called Pup-Casso!

Check it out here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Sculptures

Occasionally, we get snow in Olympia, Washington. This is day two of the winter wonderland.

This morning I looked outside and found my garden sculptures wearing white coats.

One more day of snow in the forecast :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010


A foot of snow each day!

This past weekend I was in Lake Tahoe, California, helping my cousin, Anne Roos, celebrate the release of her two new CDs; Velvet and Blue Jeans. Fun evening!

Anne at Play

The snow was an added bonus......little did I know that I would be treated to more when I returned home to Olympia, Washington. I arrived on Friday and the town of South Lake Tahoe was buzzing with the news of the first snow storm of the season. As predicted, about ten inches of snow fell that evening. I was up early to take a walk in the pristine fluff before human intervention.

Camera in hand, I recorded a few photographs.

More snow followed adding another foot the next evening.

I felt like I was in winter wonderland.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Art Symposium Day Two

Last weekend was the fifth annual Arts Symposium put on by the Tacoma Arts Commission at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. It was a two day event dedicated to providing local artist and arts organizations with nuts and bolts information in order to become and remain successful in the arts.

I took advantage of this FREE opportunity to take classes from local professionals and educators.

The second day I attended two classes by Miriam Works, Works Consulting, an artist and consultant; Things You Wish You Learned In Art School: The Art Of Marketing and The Creative Maker: Time Management for Artist. Miriam emphasized the "art" of marketing with crucial tips as well as creating a marketing plan. In the second class, we learned more effective ways to manage our time. I found sharing our "time wasters" and "excuses" similar and it felt as if we were confessing in a support group. Needless to say, I left both classes with great insights and information to uplift and motivate me to create.

November 2010 marks the 9th Anniversary of Art At Work: Tacoma Arts Month. It has become a fall tradition providing a diversity of offerings illustrating the richness of the Tacoma community. Many of the activities are free and most are family friendly.

If you live locally and missed out this year,
mark your calenders for next year.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Art Symposium

This weekend is the fifth annual Arts Symposium put on by the Tacoma Arts Commission at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. It is a two day event dedicated to providing local artist and arts organizations with nuts and bolts information in order to become and remain successful in the arts. You get to choose from a range of informational sessions which are presented by professionals and educators. AND IT IS FREE!

I attended the class, The Business of Art - How to Keep the Starving Away From the Artist presented by Audrey L. Godwin, The Godwin Group PLLC.

In this class, I revisited the idea of a business plan. Audrey shared the four principles of success in business:

1. Have a clear vision for your business.
2. Have a solid strategy for making necessary changes and achieving your goals.
3. Have practical systems to help you achieve your goals.
4. The best ideas, principles or talents are useless unless they are executed consistently.

We also looked at our core values and answered the question, What do I want my business to do for me? Then, we were to write what our business will look like in 25 years when it is finished. Lastly, we assessed our core competency in the areas of developing products and services, generating demand, fulfilling demand, and planning and managing the business by rating our passion, skill, and time for each.

Being an accountant, Audrey went over the big picture of cash flow projection and compared five different business entitles; sole proprietorship, partnership, regular C corporation, S corporation, and a limited liability company.

What a thought provoking, informative session!

Tomorrow, I go back for more.....

I you live in the area and missed this year's event, save the second week in November for next year's Art Symposium.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Picasso in Seattle Washington!

The other day, I went to the Picasso Exhibit
at the Seattle Art Museum.

The exhibition features more than 150 extraordinary paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and photographs which were part of the Musée Picasso Museum in France. Because the Musée Picasso has recently closed for renovations, the museum is allowing the global tour of these works. The Musée Picasso’s holdings stand apart from any other collections of Picasso because they represent the artist’s personal collection of art that Picasso kept for himself with the intent of shaping his own artistic legacy.

It is claimed that the exhibition presents iconic works from virtually every phase of Picasso’s legendary career, documenting the full range of his unceasing inventiveness and prodigious creative process.

Despite the crowds, it is well worth seeing.

At the museum, I became intrigued by the work of Cai Gao-Qiang and would have loved to have seen the installation of Inoppotune:Stage One, 2004

At first glance, I wonder why the cars were at the Art Museum?

This work is one in a series by the artist where a sequence of objects is set in motion in space, often acted upon by an invasive force - cars shot through by lights, taxidermied tigers pierced by arrow, or a pack of stuffed wolves that collide into a glass wall. Time appears in suspended animation, compelling viewers to pause and interpret these startling scenarios with narrative or explanations of their own imagination.

Cai Guo-Qiang has also worked extensively with fireworks, a medium which resonates here, and which also has deep culturqal significance in his native China. Wheather celebratory or ominoius, this work is intended to evoke a range of interpretations.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Next Watercolor Painting of Greece

Being that the rains have set in here in Washington and those "sun breaks" are few and far between, I have begun to stay indoors and paint.

Greece is still very fresh in my mind and painting from my photographs actually brings me back into the experience. Painting Greece will be a great way to spend the dark winter months.

This second painting is a composite of favorite elements of the Greek landscape; olive trees, the hillsides, and the architecture. While traveling by car with a friend into the mountain area of Crete, we came across a huge, ancient olive tree which begged to be immortalized in a watercolor painting.

I am just getting warmed up.......there will be many renditions of this theme.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Autumn Leaves and Rainbow

Yes, we get rained on a lot here in Olympia, Washington. Fortunately, it fosters fantastic skies and today while walking the Chehalis Western Trail with my dog, a full rainbow spread across the sky.

I have not been very successful photographing rainbows, but with only my cell phone camera at hand, I gave it a try.

The sunlight came at an angle which highlighted the maple leaves on the trail. As you already know, I love leaves and could not resist another cell phone photo of this spectacular sight.

Close up, it looks like this.

I was reminded of a story Leo Buscaglia, who was a professor at the University of Southern California and beloved speaker, told in one of his speaking engagements about his neighbor's who did not like the look of all the leaves on his front lawn. One day as he was teaching a small class at his home, a neighbor came to his door to complain and request that Leo do something about the leaves because it was a disgrace to the neighborhood. Leo said he loved the leaves (I can relate!). At that moment he told all his students to help him gather all the leaves and bring them into the house. Which they did. The lesson was continued while they sat in the leaves in Leo's living room.
My kind of guy!

I found this last photo very dramatic with the dark sky, a single white cloud, and the dark tree with the moss lit by the sunlight.

Another glorious morning on the Chehalis Western Trail!