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!