Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Life Study - Pam

Pam, Watercolor, 20 x 15
detail, Pam
I'll be out of town until Jan. 4th. I look forward to reading your comments when I return. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fuju Persimmons

Watercolor, 5 x 7
I'm always happy when I have home grown subjects. These were as delicious to eat as they were to paint!
Happy Holidays to Lee!

PLEASE NOTE: I'll be out of town until Jan. 4th. I look forward to reading your comments when I return. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Watercolor Sketch for Silk Tallit (Prayer Shawl) #2

2nd watercolor sketch for a large Tallit. The sketch is 6 x 10, the tallit will be 43 x 72

Monday, December 15, 2008

Watercolor Sketch for Silk Tallit (Prayer Shawl)

When I am designing a new silk prayer shawl, I will often make a watercolor sketch of the design before hand. This design is for a very large tallit, about 43 x 72. The sketch is about 6 x 10.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Watercolor, 16 x 16
Another painting from a model painting day, organized by Kamillia Hardy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Speaking of Hebrew Calligraphy...

Have you seen my instructional book on Hebrew Calligraphy? Here's a direct link to see it on my web site. The cover is below. If you click on the web site link, you can view a few pages. It's on sale through my web site for the holidays for $15.00 (or email me to purchase).
It's a complete how-to book, with practice pages included in the book. A great gift for the creative Jewish person or Hebrew learner in your life! I also have two gift bags which include my instructional book, a calligraphy pen and pen nib, and a bottle of ink, regular $36.00, now on sale for $32.00. Please email me if you're interested.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tell Me What You Think!

A few weeks ago I asked those willing to help me test the email subscription services. If you were kind enough to sign up for both the Feedburner and the Feedblitz email subscription to my blog, I'd love to know what you think. Were they both reliable? Do you like one better than the other? If you signed up for just one of them, please let me know if you're getting all the posts, and what you think of the service. Thanks for your help! I appreciate it!

(Monkey painted on Eli's Canvas tote bag,
when he was at the age where
that kind of thing was cool)

Calligraphy on Silk

To prepare the silk, so the calligraphy letters won't spread, I apply a layer of Jacquard's No Flow mixed down with some water. Then, I thicken up the silk dye with some Pebeo Soie Thickener. I've got a template underneath the silk for placement of the letters (and so I don't forget any). I use a flat brush, creating thick strokes with a flat stroke, and thin lines with just the edge of the brush.
This Hebrew calligraphy is the traditional blessing said when one adorns a tallit, or Jewish Prayer Shawl: "Blessed are You O Lord, our God, King of the Universe Who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to wrap ourselves in tsitsit."
The calligraphy in the context of the almost-finished prayer shawl.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mixed Media Piece

Buddha, Mixed Media, 12 x 9

It's getting too dirty, so I empty out the water soluble silk dyes palette. Wow! It looks so cool, the colors are amazing as they swirl and ooze away. So I grab a piece of canvas paper, and lay it on top of the colors. Voila! Instant beautiful toned ground for a new painting! This painting has been submitted to Karin Jurick's Different Strokes for Different Folks Blog where she posts an image an invites artists to interpret it in any media they choose. When the toned ground dried, I used an acrylic spray to fix it, and then painted over it with water soluble oil paints.

background for Buddha

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Narrative Figure Study

Susan Ironing, Watercolor and Watercolor Crayon, 15 x 22
detail, Susan Ironing

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gesture Life Drawings

Gesture Life Drawings, Watercolor Crayons and Water on Bond Paper, 18 x 24This one is about a third of a page,

As is this one...A gesture drawing is very quick, and meant to capture the essence, especially the motion through space, of the subject. Three to five minutes were given for each of these poses. Gesture drawings are most often done as a warm up to a more lengthy study. Stay tuned for the longer pose!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oy! I've been Tagged! Twice!

First let me say, that I understand it is considered an honor to be tagged. And since I was tagged by my dear friend and mentor, Erika Nelson, as well as my new blogger friend Irit Bourla, I will honor their (dubiously : ) ) kind acknowledgement and play the game. It's definitely not a bad game. It's just that, well, here it is, I hope you can forgive my blatant bigotry: I'm anti-game. Don't get me wrong. Game is fine for some people, just not me. Other people can have their games, as long as they don't expect me to join in that stuff! But since I also live by the "I'll try almost anything once" creedo, I'll go for it today. I'm glad I came clean - now you all know that sending me a game could land it in the "dead zone" (creepy music here, please).

The Game:
This is a fun way to get to know your blogger friends in art! The rules of this game are:
1. Put a link in your posting to the person who tagged you.
2. List 7 unusual things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 other bloggers at the end of your post and comment on their blogs to let them know.

Seven Things about Me:

1. I stopped teaching community college about 5 years ago, so I could paint, paint, paint.

2. I traveled to Iceland this summer. Here's my favorite Photo:

3. I'm a good listener.

4. I've been happily married for 26 years and have two extraordinary teenage boys.

5. I'm new to blogging, just a couple of months. Erika is responsible for bringing me into the 21st century!

6. Everyone covets my dog, Lily. See photo - who can resist?

7. Hey, six isn't bad when you're anti-game

If I've got to suffer, so do you: I am boldly tagging these fine artists, whom I hope will not shun me for putting them in the game (heck, it's hard to tell who's game and who's anti-game these days):

John Singer Sargent
Dori Dewberry
Pablo Picasso
Suzanne McDermott
Carol Feldman
Susan Abbot
Winslow Homer

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What the Hills Look Like Now

After the Fire, Watercolor, 18 x 24
After the Fire, detail

This is what the hills around us look like now. This painting, like the previous post, was painted after the last major fire here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Surrounded by Fire

Detail, Fire on the Ridge
Detail, Fire on the Ridge
Fire on the Ridge, Watercolor, 24 x 40

It's not new, but it's alarming every time. This time the notice of possible evacuation became an actual evacuation, and we were out of our canyon home for three nights. My sister in Yorba Linda barely escaped losing her home (but thank goodness she did - her neighbor behind her was not so lucky). Here in Carbon Canyon, Sleepy Hollow, no houses were lost. This painting is from a previous Carbon Canyon fire, in which we were not evacuated because a month before, a different fire had burned everything near our homes. We hiked up to the top of our hill to see the flames crowning the next hill top.

Thank you to all the well wishers who called to make sure we were safe! And a huge THANK YOU to Julie and Steve, who put us and our neighbors up at their home in grand fashion for the duration of the evacuation.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hillary, Why Do You Have TWO Email Subscription Services?

I'm glad you asked! I started with Feedburner, but it seems some people aren't receiving my posts by email, after they've subscribed. So I thought I would compare it with Feedblitz. I'm asking anyone who is willing, to subscribe to both services for a week or two, and then comment back to me here or by email, letting me know if you are receiving all of my posts, and which service you prefer.

Remember, you can unsubscribe (not that you'd want to!) at any time from either or both services - look for it at the bottom of the email posts.

Many thanks to you all for helping me!

The picture here is an illustration done for the awesome Julie Leavitt's 50th Surprise Birthday Party.

Texas Julie, Watercolor, 12 x 9

Patty II

This is the second piece from my day at Kamillia's Life Drawing Session. By this time I was warmed up, and even though this pose was only one hour, I was able to accomplish a good amount.

Patty II, watercolor crayons and watercolor, 24 x 18

Detail, Patty II

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Life Drawing

This week I joined Kamillia Hardy's Life Drawing Group for a day of sketching and painting from the model. This is something I love to do but I don't have very many opportunities. I really appreciated being able to join in, and it looks like I may be able to attend again soon! Lucky me!

Patty, Watercolor, 24 x 18

detail, Patty

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Three Purses

Watercolor, 16 x 16
This is my first submission to Karin Jurick's blog,
"Different Strokes from Different Folks."

It's a fun blog where Karin posts a photo each week and then
invites artists to send in their rendition. Check it out!

Olives I

Lucky me! This fabulous client ordered two!
Watercolor, 4 x 6

Monday, November 10, 2008

Olives II

It's so great to receive a commission where the client simply says, "please paint me a small painting with some olives," and let's me figure out the rest...Watercolor, 4 x 6

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The H Quilt Erika Made

The H Quilt Erika Made, Watercolor, 16 x 16

This piece was made in time to participate in Watercolor Wet n Wild's October Challenge, which was to paint a quilt. This quilt was made for me by my dear friend Erika Nelson, who, unbeknownst to me, worked secretly on it for years and years. She surprised me with it when I came to visit her in Arkansas exactly two years ago. It has graced my bed ever since, a wonderful reminder of our friendship and also that Erika is always full of surprises! Thank you Erika!

The H Quilt Erika Made, Detail

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pomegranates in Blue Bowl

16 x 16, Watercolor. The last piece before they need to be eaten!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Silk Painting Demo - Part 6

Here's the piece, "Earth and Sun Tallit" all finished. It's been hemmed, button holes have been sewn in the corner areas, and I've tied the "tsitsit" on the corners (click image for larger version).

The detail shot shows the Hebrew writing and the cool salt texture in the border. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed the demo. If you have any questions about getting started, just let me know. Happy painting!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Silk Painting Demo - Part 5

The painting is finished and dried. Now we're going to steam it, a process which will permanently infuse the dye into the fabric, making it colorfast. The artwork is layed flat on two layers of unprinted newsprint paper, and rolled up (I've got a PVC pipe that I roll it around to ease the job.
When it's all rolled up, I use masking tape to hold it closed and to seal up the ends.

Here are the components of my steaming system. Thanks go to David Ludwig for sharing both his silk stretcher and steamer system with me. I've placed the rolled silk into a pair of tights (the tights legs are one inside the other), and tied it on to a piece of wooden dowel. The bottom of the steamer is the fry-daddy (an electric fryer), and the top is the stove pipe behind the table.
The stove pipe sets into the electric fryer, which I will fill with water and use as a steamer. Hang the roll of silk into the cylinder of the stove pipe, and rest the dowel on top. Place a clean, folded towel on top of the stove pipe, and dowel, as you see in the next photo.
The old chair with no seat has straps attached to it, which holds the stove pipe in place, just in case someone isn't careful or there's an earthquake. I steam the silk for two hours. Then I throw it into the washing machine to remove the gutta and any excess dyes, and iron the piece until it's dry and beautiful. If you'd like more detailed information on the process, just email or send me a comment.

The next and last installment of the demo will be....The Finished Piece! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Silk Painting Demo - Part 4

As promised, this part of the demo shows how lovely salt technique is on silk. On a wet, just painted area, toss, throw or sprinkle regular ol' salt. You can also try rock, margarita and kosher salt for some interesting variations!

Above is a close-up of salt applied in the multi-colored section on the left. It has already started reacting and will dry soon.

The entire border of this piece is painted in a multicolored wash, and after painting a foot-long section or so, I throw on the salt, and continue on to complete the border.

Here's a couple of close-ups after the salt has dried and been brushed away. It's unpredictable, and varies with the wetness of the silk, the kind of salt, and, of course, the weather...

In the next installment, I'll show you how to set the colors permanently into the silk, and finish off the piece.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Silk Painting Demo - Part 3

Here's the finished olive green field surrounding the sun. It's still wet now, and will be lighter as it dries.

Tune in next week when I'll show you the salt texture technique in the border of this piece.

Silk Painting Demo - Part 2

Silk painting is similar to watercolor in it's basic techniques, i.e. washes and wet into wet. In this piece (which will be a tallis - Jewish prayer shawl) I'm going to use washes that change in color or intensity. I've painted the sun starting in it's middle with yellow, and as I've gone to the outer edge I've changed to orange-gold. The colors continue to blend with each other long after I've moved on to another section.

For the olive green color, I'm starting with a small brush because I have to work around the Hebrew lettering that borders the sun. The gutta I've put on the letters will keep the olive color out, but I need to be careful not to flood the area as that would send color over the gutta instead of just up to it.

I've lined up various values of my olive green colors in these cups, and will gradually change from on to the other as I paint the large field of color. Keep the paint nice and juicy, and overlap your strokes for the smoothest transition possible. Don't answer the phone - you gotta keep it going until you've finished the entire shape.