Sails at Sunset, watercolor, 4.5" x 6.5"

Sails at Sunset, watercolor, 4.5″ x 6.5″

As the winter’s grip lessens and we have warm days interspersed between the snow storms, our thoughts have turned to spring and the prospect of getting our sailboat back in the water.  We look forward to the (warm) wind in our faces, relaxing days in the sun, and visiting our favorite anchorages again.


The Daily Post’s challenge for this week is to depict a tangible object as both the inspiration and the subject.

Since it is winter here and the days are cold and windy, I decided to feature our wood stove.

Our Wood Stove, watercolor, 7" x 5"

Our Wood Stove, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

This cast iron beauty sits on the hearth in our living room and keeps us cozy when there is a fire within.  Although the recent rain washed away most of the snow and melted almost all of the ice in the creek, the temperatures are still too low for me to want to paint outside.  But with items like this in the house, I can find my inspiration and stay warm, too!

The Lord is My Shepherd, watercolor, 5" x 7"

The Lord is My Shepherd, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

A friend saw that I had painted a picture of sheep in a meadow and wanted to buy it.  However, that picture was painted in a Bible study notebook, so she asked me to repaint it, and could I please make it 5″ x 7″ instead of 8.5″ x 11″?  So here is the repaint and it will be on its way to her house shortly.

Mist in the Mountains, watercolor, 5" x 7"

Mist in the Mountains, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

I’ve been working on commissions recently, the most time-consuming being a gift, so I can’t post it.  But I have been painting.  Here is painting of an imaginary place in the mountains, with the sun just beginning to break through the mist.

In this week’s challenge from the Daily Post, Ben has asked us to light up the comment section:  “In time for the shortest days of the year (at least in the northern hemisphere), let’s give our trusty lightbulbs, flickering candles, and pedestrian street lamps their due respect… Take a look around you. Choose one of the light sources you see, and make it the focus of your challenge entry.”

A Light in the Darkness, watercolor, 7" x 5"

A Light in the Darkness, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

My brother asked me to let him use one of my paintings for his Christmas card this year, and suggested the candle picture that I had painted last year.  I decided to repaint the picture since I didn’t like the greenery of the first painting.  I went to our father’s house and picked up bits of holly that had fallen off a tree (his dog doesn’t like stepping on the spiny leaves!) and used them to surround the candle.

As we in the northern hemisphere approach the shortest day of the year, may your days (and evenings) be filled with cheerful light!

We will be going over to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and I was asked to bring a pumpkin pie.  Not sweet potato, nor another kind of squash, but specifically pumpkin.  And just as there are many ways to make a pumpkin pie, there are also several ways to paint pumpkins.

As I walked through the markets this fall, the shapes and colors of all the squashes, gourds, pumpkins, and Indian corn called out to me to paint an autumn still life.  I set up the scene and painted it directly, using whatever colors from my palette that seemed “right.”

Autumn Still Life, watercolor, 10" x 14"

Autumn Still Life, watercolor, 10″ x 14″

And because my students were asking about painting with a triad of colors, I painted the same set-up using only three pigments, a red, a blue, and a yellow.  I was able to produce all the colors I needed with just the three pigments.  I also changed the direction of the light and tried to emphasize the pears instead of the pumpkin, with this as the result:

Autumn Still Life #2, watercolor, 10" x 14"

Autumn Still Life #2, watercolor, 10″ x 14″

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!




My friend and her husband live in the farmhouse that belonged to her grandfather. There are chickens, ducks, and ponies for her grandchildren.  Not too long ago, one of her children got married here.  They set up a couple of doors to be the entrance to an outdoor “church” and hung a couple of stained glass windows near the front. Hay bales covered with burlap served as pews for this outdoor wedding.

Barn Wedding Site, watercolor, 5" x 7"

Barn Wedding Site, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

What kind of music would you play for a wedding at this venue?

Being in a beautiful garden makes me want to capture the scene on paper!  Last weekend I participated in an art show at Historic London Town and Gardens, a county park south of Annapolis, Maryland.  As we were setting up the show, I looked outside and was enthralled by the sun hitting the gazebo in the gardens.  So after I had finished my chores, I took some time to go out and paint.  As I sat down to sketch out the scene, I found to my dismay that I had forgotten a pencil. Instead of going back inside to get one, I decided that I would just paint directly without drawing first.

London Town Gazebo, watercolor, 5" x 7"

London Town Gazebo, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

I don’t remember why I stopped before I had finished the painting.  There aren’t any shadowed spots in the overhead leaves and the small tree in front of the gazebo doesn’t have a trunk or branches.  I remember not being happy with the depiction of the sun on the wood or the roof of the gazebo, but liking the feeling of spontaneity conveyed.

I made sure to bring a pencil the next day and managed to get a sketch done outside before it started to rain.  (I have enhanced the drawing with a photo editor so that you can see the lines, as I usually draw lightly on the watercolor paper.)

Sketch for Londontown Gazebo, pencil, 5" x 7"

Sketch for London Town Gazebo, pencil, 5″ x 7″

Several days later I painted this picture in my studio, using the first painting and my memory as references.

London Town Gazebo #2, watercolor, 5" x 7"

London Town Gazebo #2, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

So what difference does a pencil make?  It helps me plan before I start painting.  I can save light spaces better if I delineate them first. A pencil sketch lets me see the composition before I start painting, and allows me to measure elements for their relative sizes.  Maybe with more experience I could do it without the pencil, but for now, I rely on it to sketch.




I’m participating in an art show at Historic London Town and Gardens, Edgewater, Maryland, a beautiful county park with reconstructed colonial buildings and eight acres of native and exotic plants.  One of the benefits of being here this weekend is that the fall-blooming camellias are at their peak.  At the far reaches of the garden path, overlooking the South River, I saw scores of bushes filled with blooms: reds, whites, and pinks.

London Town Camellia, watercolor, 5" x 7"

London Town Camellia, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

I painted for about an hour before coming back inside to warm up and make some final adjustments.

For this week’s challenge, Michelle of the Daily Post asks to see the stuff of the everyday, the places we go, the things we do,  the people we see – those things that make up the constants in our lives.

Homeward from Market, watercolor, 6.5" x 10"

Homeward from Market, watercolor, 6.5″ x 10″

My family lived in Italy for three years.  I felt like I had to learn to cook all over again.  Refrigerators are small, grocery stores are nearby, and the attitudes about food are different from in the United States.  Fruits and vegetables come misshapen and with the dirt still clinging to them – because they were picked fresh and fully ripe that morning!  (And unlike here in the U.S., the produce is bursting with good flavors.)  It needs to be eaten within a day or two or it will go bad.  So shopping is a daily habit.  One goes to the market and sees what is available and plans the menu around that, a habit I miss now that we have returned to the U.S.


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