Monday, May 8, 2017

As part of my studies for Dianne Sutherland's classes, we have to make a chart with our greens.  I've been dreading it for some reason as I thought it was going to be mundane.  But, I actually really enjoyed it!  I've used the charts many times and want to do more charts with different colors... I don't know why I still have problems with figuring out if colors are cooler or warmer..... Maybe that comes with practice or I think I need to focus and learn more about colors.....   Many blogs have helped me with this... I'll add my favorites as soo as I can find the exact posts.

This white peony surpised me with a bloom within a month or so of planting it in a pot to get an early jump on the spring.  I didn't even think they would bloom the first year you plant them.  How awesome!

It's a frilly little guy.... I'm not that happy with the center.  This is the first study I painted in my new
handmade watercolor journal from Pfeiffer Art Supply.  It has cold press paper which didn't bother me on this study.  But I've tried two other paintings and I feel the paper isn't working for me personally.    So, I'm switching to my Stillman and Birn Zeta mixed media journal for the next work.  That paper agrees with my style more than any other.  I actually already ordered an entire huge sheet of that paper but it doesn't feel the same.  It's smoother than the paper in the actual journal... we'll see how it goes. 

This spring was alive with all the many varieties of daffodils and other bulb flowers I had planted earlier in the spring... the frilly ones were especially gorgeous.  Of course, I took many many photos to paint!

This was painted in my mixed media Stillman and Birn notebook.  I'd like to start doing more detailed "studies" like this as I get time....

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I never realized how gorgeous seemingly simple zinnias are... They have such interesting centers and I love the darker back sides.  Last year all I grew was this red variety.  Now, this year, I have over 40 varieties of seeds!!! I can't wait to see them all and have lots of reference photos for the winter time painting! 
Zinnia painted last year in mixed media journal...

I really enjoyed painting this one.  It was painted in my new Stillman and Burn mixed media journal. 

I'd like to add some drybrush work now at this time.... 

Painting leaves for Dianne Sutherland's leaf class...

I've been slacking behind on my art this past month... we got an order for 5,000 packs of our fishing lures (Stubby Steve's Fish Food Fishing Lure) so while working on that night and day and also working at our Veterinary Hospital full time I haven't had much time nor energy to paint a lot or blog at all....   plus planting about 400 pots of plants I've over wintered... ugh!!!!

Anyways,... here is the painting leaves assignment I've been working on for my class by Dianne Sutherland.  I never thought I'd enjoy painting leaves since I've been kind of scared of them all this time.  One main thing is finding the right shades of green... and I never realized so much the blues and yellows that can be in each leaf to portray warmth and coolness.    I have so much to learn about color mixing and color temperature,etc.   Dianne's classes have helped a ton with that.  As well as the many blogs of wonderfully talented botanical artists who share their theories and explanations on color matching.    In Anna Mason's newest tutorial Pink Magnolia she explains in more depth about how to color match.  I found it very helpful!

Here is some of my leaf studies in my mixed media journal.  I went back after several days and tried some "drybrush" work over the layers of paint already there. It was nerve wrecking but also exciting..... it's still going to take lots more practice to get that technique down. 
Gerbera Daisy leaves (not finished yet...)

A Peony leaf bud... I thought it looked so neat!

Hibiscus leaf... also, not finished....
Poppy leaves (not finished at all, yet)... These are kind of silvery greenish.  Really fun to paint!

Saturday, April 1, 2017


Dianne Sutherland is an amazing talented artist who teaches online botanical art classes throughout the year.  She also teaches hands on classes at different places and even in Portland, USA (which is as close to my neck of the woods as she's gotten so far). 

Right now I'm taking her Drawing and Painting Leaf course and Botanical Illustration course.  Both, I highly recommend.  I've learned a great deal about greens for leaves (which was a huge problem for me before I started the class) and will be learning about painting leaves of other colors like silvery, hairy leaves and autumn reddish leaves, etc.  

For the Botanical Art class she teaches studies pages in pencil and watercolor.  She has great videos demonstrating various techniques.  Teaches watercolor techniques, drybrushing (which I'm wanting to figure out so badly).....  She's wonderful to answer questions and gives truthful advice and commentary about her student's works.  There are dedicated Facebook groups where we all encourage each other and share our work.   It's been a very positive experience and I'm no where near completed.

(for leaf class: accurate measuring and drawing of leaves and then continuous tone shading - which I got some really good feedback from and need to do some work on)

(more accurate measuring and drawing of leaves... I tried to find different types of leaves to practice with)

(a candlestick flower leaf)

(Hydrangea leaf - the painted leaf isn't completed, I still want to add drybrushing to it)

Being on Instagram you find lots of cool stuff!  I came across these handmade watercolors.  There are three main ones as far as I can tell:  "Redwood Willow", "Greenleaf and Blueberry" then "Pfeiffer Art Supply".  You can usually buy from "Pfeiffer Art Supply" with no problem... I don't know if they have more staff and keep up with stock? "Redwood Willow" and "Greenleaf and Blueberry" watercolors are made by just one or so people.  It's plain luck if you get to pick up any of their paints.  They'll post when some will be available and then everyone all over the world at the same time try to snatch up the kits or singles.  I was fortunate to get two colors!
And then a few weeks later last Christmas I was watching and watching the time,... just hoping and praying I'd be lucky enough to get some more.  At the perfect second the products became available I was quick to get one of the kits and in my cart and paid for before the rush of everyone else!!!  An entire kit from "Redwood Willow"!  Whoo hooo!  The whole store was sold out in under three minutes. 

They seem to be more natural colors and as of yet I still haven't painted anything except for a color chart.... But just knowing I have them makes me happy!      As far as "Greenleaf and Blueberry"... no luck there.
I did order a kit from "Pfeiffer Art Supply".  They look like gorgeous colors and more bright.  Maybe better for my botanical art.  I still haven't even opened up the tiny little packages of each color.  I'm saving it for a special day. 

Friday, March 31, 2017


Last autumn I was walking around my garden seeing what all was still blooming.  In a far corner under a tree I had planted some flowers a garden friend of mine had given me which I didn't have any idea what any of them were... at the time it was all just greenery.  Well, out of the blue, this little flower was in full bloom!  It has tight little flowers all clustered together .  It reminds me of a type of aster. 
 I painted this one in my Stillman and Birn zeta notebook which is just amazing as I've mentioned before.  I don't know why I don't use it for everything... it's like I hold out for really special things to put in it.   (I'm thinking about painting a protea in it this very day!)

(I paint from looking at photographs.  It's how I've always drawn... drawing from real life is something I should probably practice but with my life as crazy as it is I just can't sit down and have a completed drawing before having to stop and start a dozen times.  The blooms will have already dropped by the time I get done!  The "proper" botanical artists paint only by looking at the plant in real life.  Which I agree you can see much more detail or more 3-d detail than by looking at a photograph and you can get a "feel" of the plant's texture, etc by real life.  That being said, cameras have gotten so amazing in how they can capture the tiniest of details forever!  There is a conversation I started on Anna Mason's website/school about this topic.  She mostly paints from a photograph so she understands my point of view.   I DO like having the plant in front of me while I paint, when possible... just for good karma and it's there if I have a question the photograph doesn't answer for me.....  )

(Finished study of...?.....)


This is a tiny study of a dahlia before it opens.  I love the delicate colors.  This was done on an expensive watercolor paper.  I painted it back late last summer.... it's showing some improvement from my start in January.... but still sooo much to learn!
(first layer put down using Jane's Gray mix which is a sort of "botanical gray" using French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.  Many botanical artists us a "botanical gray" consisting  Light Red with French Ultramarine Blue.  Pretty much the same thing except the Light Red is brighter and more orangey in my opinion.  I need to do a side by side comparison of the tow and see which I like better!)

(Some yellows and greens going down - I don't know why this photo turned out so yellowish)

(Finished dahlia.  I felt a little more confidence in myself after I painted this little study)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


This is a fascinating flower with the lacey greenery and the awesome pods that grow after the flower fades.  It's supposed to self-seed in abundance but I always pick the pod before it dries and the seeds mature.  There is white one at my new home my Mom had planted when it was her house years and years ago.  It should be sprouting from the ground any day now, actually!

This is one of the plants I found at one of our client's garden... the one with all the poppies! She had these love-in-the-mist that almost looked like bushes they were so tall and full.  I didn't know they'll do that.  Along with a gazillion of poppy seeds, Mrs. Gillespie gave me many of these seeds as well (both in their dried pods which is awesome for painting and arrangements).

(I'll add color mixes in a little while)


I've never seen nor heard of this plant before last year... my friend was in the creek by our work putting out crawfish traps (that's a whole other story... and I happened to see a bush with these strikingly bright orange berries.  Immediately I went to artist mode and just HAD to have a few branches.  So God bless him, he waded through the freezing cold water to get to the other side of the water where I was pointing!

So, so interesting and pretty.  And now that I know what it is I hope to watch for it to bloom this year and maybe dig up a start for home.  The stems dried and the berries crinkled but not before I took lots of photos! 

This study I painted last winter and it actually is on watercolor paper (not very good one but, still).  I drew it again in my Stillman and Birn Zeta series journal.  Which I LOVE very much!!!! And everyone really likes how you can paint across the seam for a full page study.  Hobby Lobby has a 40% off sale many times through the year so that's a great time to stock up on their journals. 

(color mixes I'll list shortly)
  I hope to really capture the glossy sheen on the red berries next time.  And I think some drybrushing on the more textured orange covering will be a much needed improvement.


What a crazy neat flower this one is!  I've not seen one in real life until last year as I was driving home from work one Saturday,... I spotted a big patch of them at the end of a driveway.  Well, they  looked abandoned to me (wink, wink).  After taking bunches of photos of all stages of growth, I pulled up a couple of baby starts from the clump.  Which will make it spread its wings and be an even happier plant so that was a good thing!

I never would have imagined all the tiny little flowers that make the whole.  And the colors how they slowly fade from top to bottom.  It's such a gift to see through an artist's eye.... I see so much more than I ever would have noticed before. 

 This is a study painted from last year.  It's very subtle and on the mixed media paper which is why there are some many wrinkles.  But it served it's purpose which is to)figure out my color mixes for when I paint a "real" painting and again, on "real" watercolor paper. (I can't figure out why but when I crop the photo and save it that black line pops up.  I'll take another photo and try again.  So weird!)


My Mom brought this flower to me to paint one day at work last year.  I wish I had photographed it more but will hopefully have another chance this season.  It's a neat flower with the greenery at the top and the frills and veins... which I will hope to paint much better next go around!

This is one painted by talented botanical artist Dianne Sutherland (I highly recommend taking one of her many online courses).... Dianne's awesome site
(Crown Imperial by Dianne Sutherland)

(working on the base layers)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


This old forgotten and beat up kitchen cabinet was my Aunt's.  There was one a lot like it in my Granny's kitchen I hoped to get after her passing but someone else got it.  So, my Aunt let me have this one from her husband's side of the family. 

I instantly got to work on it!  A good cleaning, new paint and door knobs and she looks brand new.  It's where I store all of my papers, paints and brushes. I just love how it turned it!

I've since changed the table I paint on, now it's my round kitchen table switched out for this one.  Made more room in my dinning room....  And I put the round table right underneath the only light source (I can't see squat - need better lighting).  I always use an extra light shinning right down on my work as I paint.  Finally got glasses so I can see better what I'm painting.  No more excuse..... lol!

Monday, March 27, 2017


I just dahlias!  Right now I have over 40 different variaties in flower pots in my sunroom getting a head jump on the season.  Last year the few I had bloomed several months and these should bloom even longer since I'm starting about a month earlier!  I hope to dig up the roots and store them safely for next year... the ones I dug up last year I just saw yesterday weren't properly stored.  I don't think I'll get any survivors from that bunch.  Better luck and more wiser next year!

Sketchbook Squirel (Jarnie Goodwin) is a talented artist who has gotten into teaching online.  I love her soft details.  Here is a dahlia she teaches along with the tricky center parts...Jarnie Goodwin Art Dahlia Tutorial
(Jarnie Goodwin Art, AKA Sketchbook Squirrel's Dahlia tutorial)

This dahlia was particularly beautiful with it's brilliant hot pink... which was fun to figure out the color mixes.  It was painted in my mixed media journal but I've also already drawn it on real watercolor paper to paint at a later date.    I really need to find an awesome watercolor paper journal! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017


My only regret about growing this flower is I bought only one bulb. The green hue is so weirdly bluish.  It's in the same family as the checkered lilies botanical artists love to paint.  So, I painted one
in my mixed media jounral and began another one on watercolor paper to see the difference.  How awesome water color paper is!!!!  I really enjoyed painting this one.