Halloween and Fall ATC's

I am in the neatest little group and we just had a Fall and/or Halloween  ATC swap.  I chose to do one for each theme and frame them for my
partner so that they would become small works of art.  The maple autumn leaf and acorn piece is my own design (and yes, I know that acorns grow on an oak tree and not a maple but I wanted to do maple leaves and acorns, and since I am an artist I used artistic license) and the other is a portion of a design by one of my favorite artists', Monika Britt.  I also used a bit of artistic license on her design by extending the ghost out onto the frame....  I LOVE her cat with the zig zig scared wiskers...so funny. 

My partner just received them so now I can show here on my blog.

I love painting and doing ATC pieces.  These were done on handwrapped portrait grade canvas and is practically nubless which is great when you are working small like this.....

My partner loved them so that "made my day" and is what art is all about.

Liquitex Soft and Full Body Acrylics

Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics

I love mixing the colors, achieving depth, and have colors that are bright and speak well of themselves to others.

With these paints I am assured that the work I do will be of the best quality, archival, etc. 
Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics

The paints come in soft body (jars) and full body (tubes) but have the same great qualities of artist grade paints.

They come in a wide variety of colors and hues but I find I pretty much have been working with a limited palette.   I love winter scenes the best as I love the
white and blue of winter so this means only a few colors many times.

There is a WIDE variety of mediums which are available and I have just begun
working and playing with some of the more unusual ones which creates some neat texture.

So...if you are looking for a change, want to venture away from the craft paints and into fine artist paints and mediums do as I did and buy just a couple to see how you like them, what they can do, etc.  I am most certainly glad I have ventured outside my box and stepped up a notch.

Jerry Yarnells' Book Library

Paint Along with Jerry Yarnell Volumes 1-3 Value Pack
If you are wanting to learn some GREAT basic information on painting Basics, Magic, etc. you cannot beat these books by Jerry Yarnell. 

Jerry uses Liquitex acrylic paints and uses a very limited palette so you will get some great tips on mixing.

He is a well known artist who paints in a  realistic impressionistic style that is easy if worked step by step.  He provides information so that you understand and can apply it to your own work. 

Taking college Art classes is great if  you have the time, and the finances to do so but if you don't this is a wonderful learning experience provided by a well rounded
artist..from landscapes, to still life to wildlife.  He pretty much does it all..which is so important in looking for a teacher or mentor.
Today was a gorgeous, actually hot, fall day so I ate lunch in the park beside the Senior Center with my camera before my Tai Chi class.  I definately need to do this more often.  Appreciate what is around me.  The simple things in life we don't appreciate enough.  The pompass grass was gorgeous and one of my favorites as well as the berried out
sumac trees which line the driveway and a section of the parking lot.
Notice the colored stone sidewalk or walkway in the first photo... 

Enjoy the fall scenery where YOU are.

Feather Woman

                                               The feather that is marbled was done  by a very talented artist.  The eyewear is designed  by an Etsy artisan who makes all types of different, exotic,  false eyelashes.  In this photo she has used one of  her feathers in her design.  Totally awesome.  I said if I was 40 years younger I would be willing to give this a try.  LOL....

Feather Woman ( as I have lovingly dubbed her) does a beautiful job with her marbeling  and I have several of her hand marbled papers as well as her feathers  that I have used in my artwork and will be using in the future.   She is truly a skilled, talented artisan. 

It just proves that many times in order to create you have to have the artisticness of another artisan to complete your own work. 

Memo Clips

I have really enjoyed painting these memo clips and have a lot more to go.  These are designs by:  Monika B., Debby H., Chris H., and Cindi C.   It is always relaxing to paint
another persons' designs.  I can let my mind wander, add little embellishments such as the Glamour Dust Paints, change the color palette, etc. 

These memo clips come in 6', 9' and a whopping 12'.  I love them.  They are great for holding my pattern information for the project I am working on, a recipe in the kitchen, to do list, grocery list, to show off a photo, a Christmas card....just a very versatile household item that also adds some fun, decor, etc.   It seems that handpainted items that are useful sell a little better than just decorative pieces. 

I am working on a rose one now of my own design.  The background (right now) is Driftwood and I am using Burnt Sienna and Bleached Sand for the roses.  TOO FUN...

Nice People DO Finish First ????

It is not so much finishing first that is the most important thing in life.  How you ACHIEVE first is the most important thing.  The friends you make along the way who support, the detours that you veer off on and what you find unexpectedly that adds to your lifes'  journey.   And although nice people do  finish first, second and third isn't bad either...
                                      Being first is something that a lot of people strive for in life.  I strive for things of the heart.  Friendships, relationships, the journey of life.  The blue ribbon in life consists of how you get where you are going, not so much the ribbon and my ribbon is personal so sometimes I am REAL happy with a 2nd or 3rd.  And first by who's standards?  Mine or others?  
                                          My parents were kind, loving and brought me up to respect those who deserve respect.  My childhood was a happy time in rural Pennsylvania and I wouldn't trade those early years.  My father was a carpenter and I learned so much from watching him as he created with his hands.  My mother was a homemaker so I learned to be a good cook, sew, crochet, embroider, knit, etc.   Although my sister lives 3000 miles away she is close in heart and we share a lot of ventures and adventures as well as memories. 
                                    Unhappiness?  Don't we all have this in life?   The secret is not to nurture the unhappiness.   Loosing parents way before we are ready to do so is a hard time in ones life.  Divorce, having a child who suffers with a life threatening illness, saying goodbye to family and friends as you move away to new life adventures.   Unhappiness makes you stronger, teaches lessons, and often leads to a greater happiness.
                                      I have run across those in life who are detrements to my happiness and I have learned to create a shield against them.  I don't allow them into my life.  I am sure that everyone who reads this knows of people they shield themselves from. 
                                      Personally I feel that I have a first place life.  I don't think that there is anything that I would change.  I feel pretty content in who I am, where I am, and where I am going.  I love to give, share, and create.  
                                     In the art field I have surrounded myself with artists in the fields where my interests lie.  These artists have provided me with learning.  They have nurtured and supported.   I go where I want to learn.  I strive and I am happy with where I have gone, and where I am going.  
                                     Regrets.  Yep.  Most people have them.   We make mistakes in life, but we go on.  Mistakes are good.  It is how we learn. 
                                     I am not a "dweller".  I am a "Get it Don'er".
I don't have time for negative thoughts, and negative people.   I consider the source....and I move on.   My life is busy, and life is short.
I have goals to reach and a road to journey.  




Santas Mustache and Beard Brush

With the holidays coming up faster than we would like and many of us getting an early start on holiday painting I felt that what I did with this
brush warranted repeating and reshowing.

I could never find a brush narrow enough for painting Santas mustache,
beard finishing lines, or maybe hair on an animal or feathers on a bird so I took things into my own hands and gave my brush a haircut.

I had rakes/comb/feather edge brushes in different sizes and brands  in both flat and filbert so I took one and cut both sides of the bristles off completely at the ferrel leaving just a few  bristles in the center to paint with.  They were already feathered to give me neat linework so I just needed "narrow". 

Ruin a brush one woman said .... I don't look at it as "ruining a brush" I look at it as making a brush I needed and just could never find narrow enough.  It is much better to cut a brush to make it work than to buy a brush thinking it will work and it doesn't...been there done that....and have never picked the brush up since.  It sets in my "give away" brushes...and I continue to use the brush I cut over and over.

So,,,,,,,,,, if you find you also need a narrower brush here is the solution. 

Good luck and enjoy painting those mustaches....

Christmas Charms by Tierra Cast

Christmas Holiday Charm Mix Pack - Santa Angel Bells Candy Cane - TierraCast Silver-plated Lead Free Pewter - I ship Internationally


My daughter just brought me Tierra Cast's new Christmas Charm line.
The charms are so nice as they are two sided, something you don't always see.  The charms are even prettier than the photo shows.

It is going to be fun making holiday bracelets this year using these.
I love the nutcracker and the rocking horse....tooooo cute.

Check out her site on Etsy:  http://www.dragynsfyre.etsy.com

and for seed beads my grandaughter:  http://www.dragyngirl.etsy.com

TAI CHI for GOOD Mental and Physical Health

One of the best things that a woman, especially a creative woman can do for herself,  is take a class in Tai Chi.

I enrolled in a class that meets twice a week for an hour.  It is at an odd time and cuts into my day awkwardly  so I am trying to re-arrange my weeks schedule to accomodate this class and have it blend in so that I still get the important things done. 

It has been 3 months and my health has improved.  I am able to relieve everyday stress, my stiff, aching joints have become more "fluid" in movement and I am finally being able to use mind, legs and arms at the same time which has been no easy feat.   LOL....  I have always admired the graceful movements of Tai Chi....and the medatative quality of the

I also have a tape that is just for seniors which follows real close to my
instructor of the class so I can use this on off days.

This form of exercise is good for mind, body and soul and so much better than medication(s).


The following information is important for glazing and provides the information
you need to make your own glazes dependent upon your own designs' color
palette.  You will want to use colors which are transparent over what your basecoat color is so trial and error comes in to play.  Just "using" any color of glaze is not the primary idea of glazing....  Use your basecoat color and the color you are wanting to use as the glaze and "test it" as is shown below.  
How to Test if a Paint Color is Opaque or Transparent
How to Test if a Paint Color is Opaque or Transparent
How to Test if a Paint Color is Opaque or Transparent
Image: © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
Different pigments have different covering properties. Some are extremely transparent, barely showing on top of another color. Others are extremely opaque, hiding what's beneath. Considering this, and not just what the color is, can enhance a subject. For example, using a transparent blue in a sky gives a greater feeling of airiness than an opaque blue will. Compiling a chart of the colors you regularly use, such as the one above, shows at a glance how transparent or opaque a color is.
You Will Need:
  • All the colors you usually paint with.
  • Medium-size brush.
  • Cloth to wipe the brush on.
  • Jar of clean water.
  • Pen to record the color names.
  • Piece of white paper. If you've got about a dozen colors, you want a sheet about A5 size.
  • Ruler (optional, straight lines aren't essential).
  • Hairdryer (optional, for acrylics or watercolors).

How to Make a Chart:
  • Sort out your colors in an order that makes sense to you, such as the color spectrum (rainbow).
  • Mix up a little of each color. Paint a vertical stripe of each. Wait for them to dry.
  • Paint horizontal stripes for all the colors, in the same order.
  • If you're using a ruler, wipe the edge after each stripe so you don't contaminate the next one.
  • Record the names of the colors next to each stripe.

Check the Results:
  • Opaque pigments are dense and tend to block out other colors. This makes them ideal for subjects that are solid and heavy, such as tree trunks.
  • Transparent pigments are light and airy, barely showing on top of other colors. This makes them ideal for atmospheric subjects such as a misty morning or diaphanous fabrics.
  • Semi-transparent are somewhere between the two.
  • With time, you won't have to refer to the chart, but will instinctively know the properties of a particular color. Until then, stick the chart up on the wall where you can see it while you're painting.
 Paint Tube Labels -- Opacity and Transparency Label Information


I was asked by a friend to do an article on Glazes and glazing in regard to
acrylic painting. 

I don't very often work with glazes as I do mostly landscapes and not photorealism designs which is basically the "type" of painting that utilizes glazing the most in decorative and fine art painting.  (Glazing with and in mixed media work is an entirely different topic of conversation).

There are a few sites you can find by googling Acrylic Glazing or Photorealism which can help you with acrylic glazing.

When I am going to glaze I prefer making my own glazes so that I can choose colors based upon my basecoated colors and how light or dark I want the glaze to be.

A Glaze is used AFTER you have basecoated your design and many times after you have hightlighted and shaded your design.    A glaze is used to deepen your shade or highlight or the main color of an area within your design but remember that A GLAZE MUST BE THIN, MUCH LIKE WATERCOLOR CONSISTANCY.  Several applications of a glaze may be desired or needed to be effective and make a change in your basecoat.

I have purchased containers that are see through plastic; which I feel is really important, so that I can see how dark or light the glaze is by mixing in the container over my basecoated piece.

When using a glaze you must take into consideration the surface absorbency, temperature, humidity and airflow (doors/windows open, fan on)....etc.

Very soft haired brushes are the best to use when applying a glaze so that the bristles do not scratch your basecoat.  I love the faux squirrel brushes by Dynasty for my glazing, and any type/size of brush can be used dependent upon your design ie:  filbert, wash, angle, chisel blender, etc.  I prefer using pitty pat strokes for glazing highlights and shaded areas and a pouncing for central areas; but this again is preference and what works best for me.  You may choose an entirely different technique.

Add glazes to your suface flat so that they don't run or puddle. 

The "magic tools"  for making a glaze are:
1.  See through mixing cup(s)
2.  Stirring sticks such as a large tooth pick, popsicle stick, etc.
3.  A mister with water
4.  A Glazing or Retarder medium.  The Glazing medium will dry quicker than the Retarder.

I also recommend using a  travel hair dryer which is smaller, easier, not as clumsy to use, less noisy and doesn't get as hot as a regular hairdryer.  (You can find these economically priced at Bed/Bath and Beyond, Linen and Things, etc. for under $10)

Put aout 1/2 teaspoon of Glazing medium or Retarder into your mixing cup and a very small dollop of the color you are wanting to use to your cup.   You can always add more paint depending on the darkness you want, so just start with a VERY LITTLE BIT OF COLOR.   Add a bit of water.  Continue to add your Glazing medium or Retarder and water until you have achieved the value of color you are wanting to use.  Place your see through cup over your basecoat periodicaly to see how light your color is becoming.  If you don't use small amounts to begin with you will mix WAY too much glazing medium which will be a waste unless you are wanting to glaze a large area.  (If your glaze begins to thicken as you are using it and it is out in the open simply replenish with a little of water from your mister...you will just be replacing what has evaporated). 

You will dry each layer of glaze BEFORE adding another with your hair dryer keeping it about 8 inches away from your design. 

After you are done you will want to add a glaze of whatever medium you used
for your glaze over the entire design otherwise you will have shiny and matt areas. 

So...if you want to use glazes do a bit of research, use your color wheel and decide if your design is the type that glazes will theoretically benefit from.  They
are NOT for every painting and maybe just here and there in a painting.
Transparent  Capri Blue- Color Code 1 - 11/0 TOHO Seed Beads - 40gm -Refill bag 2x3 - I ship Internationallyx
My grandaughter has just decided to open up her own Etsy shop and will be selling  (to begin with) gorgeous Seed beads for all of your many art projects from jewelry to altered art.  This color is gorgeous (and I am afraid I will have to purchase) as are the other color choices she has been putting up.  All total she will begin by offering either 34 or 43 different colors in two different size packages.  She  has already listed the gorgeous handloomed, cored Pandora beads for sale that she handmakes.  Other neat items will follow... 

I know that I will be one of her steady customers as  there is no where in town for me to purchase seed beads and I love using them ,,,,, especially these gorgeous colors...so do me a favor and check out her site at http://www.dragyngirl.etsy.com and give her a try if you purchase and use seed beads for "your "designs.    I love being able to so clearly "see" the color of the beads.

    GOOD JOB MEGHAN AND GOOD LUCK IN YOUR NEW VENTURE.   I   LOVE YOU...........................

Plaid's new Martha Stewart Line of Paints

On one of the Yahoo groups I belong to there has been talk about the new line of Martha Stewart Paints that are being advertised at Michaels so thought I would see what I could find out about them.

She has a spray paint kit ($29.95) that instantly converts any of the colors into spray paint.

Special applicator tips with sponge tops are available for a smooth roller look as well as pouncers, etc.

The paints come in 160 colors which can be purchased for $249.45. 

There are special finishes ie: chalkboard, gilding, glow in the dark, etching, and crackle. 

The paints can be used on all surfaces, even fabric, are good indoors and outdoors, and are dishwasher safe as well as non toxic.

As you can see above she has her own line of brushes, different applicators to attach to the bottles, finish sprays, etc. So it involves a start to finish line. 

The thing that kinda "threw" me was they are being advertised as
"Beginners paint"....but I think that the next time I go to Michaels I will have to pick up a couple of bottles and see what they are all about.

Unless the size of the bottles are different her applicators could be used on any paint and I wonder if the spray paint kit couldn't also.  Just a thought as I sit her thinking....

In looking in Paintworks magazine I wonder if now that Donna Dewberry has phased out a bit...they are looking for a new method of selling.....

I surely can't yay or nay them until I have tried them. 
Someone wondered if they were going to compete with Traditions.  I
think we are talking orange and apples....although all paints are in competition with one another....and I "feel" that paint is personal preference based on the artist.  If you aren't achieving what you want, maybe a change in paint is the answer....or maybe you just want to add it to what you already have and/or use.    

It will be interesting to see what happens and I am a curious soul so I will have to "give them a try".....
I love thunder storms and evening clouds so when we have both I run for my camera. These are 3 of the better shots I got tonight. 


What a neat item to hold your brushes.  The holes are different sizes and your brushes stand up straight or at a slight angle.   This could also be used for claying, mixed media, and jewelry tools so that they are right there at your "beck and call".  Toooooo Cuutttee.

This item can be purchased for $19.99 at:  www.cheapjoes.com/art-supplies/31128_brush-holders-cleaners-accessories.asp

Think Art Wave Paint Brush Holder, Green

Shading / Highlighting / Floating/ Glazing

Shading and highlighting in acrylic painting was always hard for me until I realized several different things.

1.  I didn't HAVE to use the brush brand, type or size that the artist was listing or using.
2.  There are several different techniques associated with shading and highlighting.
3.  Sometimes you will like one technique better than another based on your design and you can even mix techniques within the design.

My brush brand preference is Dynasty based on years of trying different brands and finally settling on Dynasty for 3 very specific reasons:
1.  They work the best for me, my style and technique of painting and provide an ease of painting that I find relaxing.  The brushes do exactly what I want and need them to do.

2.  Superior quality
3.  Several different lines to choose from
4.  Price is reasonable 

I use brushes within the Faux Squirrel Line, Eye of the Tiger, and IPC2 lines.  There are different sizes and I would recommend buying every other size ( you can pretty much force a brush a size up or down just by the pressure you exert) and adding the other sizes as you can. 

One very important aspect when shading, highlighting and glazing is that the lighter your touch and the less you spread your bristles the happier you are going to be with your "float" of color. 

Glazing is done AFTER you have completed your painting and provides a depth of color change...  Any color can be used for glazing purposes by simply adding a glazing medium to your color.  Transparent colors most generally are used but in some cases you may want a more opaque wash or color.   What colors are transparent and how can you test?  Stay tuned for the last article.

                 These are my favorite brushes for floating color:

(Brush identification below). 

So if you find "floating" color difficult; go out of the box and try different brushes and even brand (All brushes are NOT alike), to find that ease you are striving for as you paint.  The right brush will make all the difference in the enjoyment of painting and also your final results.  2 Important elements in painting.

Everyone has a different "style".  Some paint loose, some tight, even the grasp of a brush is significant.  How you load your brush,
your touch etc.  So as individual as we are, we also become individual in our brush "needs" and techniques.

Dynasty Faux Squirrel Shader
Dynasty IPC2 Pointed Flat
Dynasty Faux Squirrel Dry Brush
Dynasty Faux Squirrel Chisel Blender
Dynasty Faux Squirrel Angle
Dynasty Eye of the Tiger Filbert

The next article will go into specific techniques for shading and highlighting ie:
1.  Pitty Pat
2.  Dry Brushing
3.  Circular
4.  Angular

Smoky Quartz Crystal Vampire Smile Necklace

I just finished designing this necklace for Halloween for those who want to celebrate the holiday in a subtle, more glamourous way.  I am going to be making several between now and the beginning of October....what doesn't sell on Etsy will be going Eastward.

This first one is done with Smokey Quartz Swarovski crystals .... I will use crystals for all of them but will vary color and maybe even size.  The side teeth are so cool as they are both opaque and transparent.  The necklace just looks lacey, delicate and pretty.  Nothing grotesque or scarey.


What a regal name for a Bobcat....  Today when I went to Michelle's I was able to get a good face shot of this guy....  He is licensed, and has been in captivity since birth.  Michelle is the 2nd owner and his brother is in our High Desert Outdoor Museum. 

Edward has a kitten (cat now) that lives with him and has been his companion for years.  When Michelle got Edward she had to take "Itty Bitty" too.  They are inseparable. 

And as much as I love cats............ I am highly allergic.  Sneezing,  runny , scratchy eyes, scratchy throat, swelling, the whole 9 yards so I pretty much have to be content with photos. 

I love the way this photo turned out...See his Poof of fur below his
right ear...and the size of his feet?   


Freezing fog on a pine tree bough.