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Posts from the ‘watercolor’ Category

Collage to Painting

Okay, while waiting for some raw canvases to arrive from Amazon, I had done a collage version (an artistic rough draft) of my favorite view: the sunset over the Palisades and the Hudson River. Now it was time to try and convert that into a painting. Collage to painting: easier said than done.

My collage had been all about flat color and hard edges (see my previous post). I decided to try to create a watercolor version, which would be all about soft edges (or no edges) and fluid color changes. Still an experiment though, since I wanted the final painting (which I could see in my mind’s eye) to be acrylic on raw canvas. Watercolor would allow me to test and practice the shift from collage to painting.

I ended up with three attempts (it’s been a long time since I worked with watercolor) and one of them gave me the idea I was looking for:

wc sunset

Lord knows, it wasn’t anything I wanted to brag about, or even really acknowledge, but it was the start I needed.

So I moved to acrylic on raw canvas backed with gesso. [Technical aside: you can buy canvas pads which are gessoed only on one side. I simply opt to paint on the back, or raw canvas, side.] It’s not the same as working on stretched raw canvas, which is NOT gessoed on the back, but it IS the next best thing.

So ended up with two versons of my sunset on canvas, only one of which I will post:

Acrylic canvas pad sunset

Now we’re getting somewhere. Not my final destination, but closer.

Next step: wait for delivery of the stretched raw canvas and then tackle the painting. Depending on how long that takes, I may do a few more canvas pad versions. To be continued …

Acrylic isn’t watercolor

Acrylic paint on raw canvas behaves differently than it does on watercolor paper, even though in both cases the acrylic paint is watered down so it looks like watercolor.  The advantage of acrylic paint over watercolor is that once it dries, it’s permanent … can’t be changed or lifted as it can with watercolor. The disadvantage is that once it dries, it’s permanent … mistake or not, intentional or not. Even though the finished painting can look like watercolor, acrylic isn’t watercolor.

And watered down acrylic paint on raw canvas isn’t the same as watered down acrylic paint on watercolor paper. Unlike with watercolor paper, Acrylic Flow Release must be added to the water or the paint won’t sink into the raw canvas; it just beads up on top.  Getting a hard edge is much harder on raw canvas; Matte Medium must be used with tape otherwise the paint just seeps under the tape in weird ways.  You can use masking fluid with raw canvas to get a hard edge, but the masking fluid can be incredibly hard to get off the raw canvas (unlike watercolor paper).

So you can see why the last few months have been a trial and error learning experience for me. Ronnie Landfield and some of the class members have been very helpful, but until you actually do it yourself, you haven’t really learned it.

In no particular order, here are some of my recent acrylic on raw canvas paintings:


Sunset       8×11       Acrylic on Raw Canvas       $450

This was my very first acrylic painting on raw canvas and I simply got lucky. Everything worked the way I intended.


Days End

     Not Listening     Acrylic on Raw Canvas     11×8      $425

Even though some things in this painting of my view of the sunset over the Hudson River and the Palisades didn’t turn out exactly the way I intended, I like the end result. We call them “happy accidents.”



     Moonscape      Acrylic on Raw Canvas      17×13      $875

This is still very abstracted even though the clouds do look like clouds. I took out the bridge, blurred the Palisades and included the navigation lights and their reflection.  You never know what should be included until you try it. Miraculously, the masking fluid for the tips of the clouds and the navigation lights and reflections was easy to lift up.  I can’t explain it.


My Abstract Sunset

     My Abstract Sunset      Acrylic on Raw Canvas      16×12      $850

This is a larger variation on my earlier Day’s End painting. While I was busy fixing what hadn’t worked as intended in the earlier painting, the masking fluid for the Palisades Parkway and the little bridge was unbelievably hard to lift off the raw canvas in this painting.  Go figure.

As I said, it’s been a learning experience.




Evolution of a Painting

I’ve done this before, written about the evolution of a painting.  But this time the image evolved and the medium changed.

It all started as a watercolor, one I wasn’t especially thrilled by:

From the Earth wc 9x12

From the Earth    wc      9×12

I didn’t like the three lines on the left, I couldn’t seem to get any push-pull going, and the whole thing was pretty washed out.  Given that it was watercolor, anything else I could do to it would just make mud.

So I did the painting again on different paper, this time larger, and intending to fix the mistakes.

From the Earth 2

From the Earth 2     wc      18×24

Well, I got rid of the lines on the left; the red flowers (did you know that’s what they were?) aren’t washed out anymore, but the rest of the basket (did you know that’s what it was?) certainly is; the flowers are sorta flat and the push-pull with the flowers and the basket really isn’t working. Rats.

Frank O’Cain (my instructor at the League) said he liked the first, smaller watercolor better and that I should just paint over it again with acrylic (he actually said that’s what he would do).   Well, who was I to argue?  After all, I didn’t like either of them the way they were.

So the final acrylic painting:

From the Earth 3

From the Earth 3       Acrylic over Watercolor            9×11.5

Well, it isn’t washed out anymore. Painting acrylic over a failed watercolor: I couldn’t completely get rid of the three lines on the left, but they are much weaker now. The red flowers  do seem to be coming forward.  And it’s certainly more interesting.

It’s better but still no cigar.  I guess evolution can only take you just so far.



Thanks to everyone who came, bought or donated.

Well, the Gifts of Art fundraiser for Memorial Sloan Kettering cancer research was a success. A lot of people showed up, art sold, raffle tickets were bought and claimed, and a number of people who couldn’t make it to the event made contributions online.  Many, many thanks to everyone who came, bought or donated.

Among the sales were my two watercolors:


Croton     14×10

Croton grows everywhere in Florida, but notably around my mother-in-law’s house in Delray Beach, FL. Rose died in 2009 and this painting will forever make me think of her. Like the plant, she was bold, varied, colorful, and always interesting.


Elephant Ears

Elephant Ears     14×10

While in Florida recovering from cancer and waiting for my hair to grow back, my husband and I visited the orchid place (can’t remember the name) near the Morikami Museum in Delray Beach.  The large leaves of this plant caught my eye and they told me it was called Elephant Ear.  I loved the colors and the name made me smile.

I am so thrilled that my two paintings that made me happy while I was recovering from cancer will now make someone else happy.

I wasn’t terribly inspired

It was the last day of summer classes at the League. The fabric was the same. The vases and baskets and books were the same. The only new things to paint were the flowers left over from the day before. I wasn’t terribly inspired, but sometimes you don’t have to be.

Yesterday's Blooms

Yesterday’s Blooms      9×12      $600

All it took was a different color combination as a result of the (relatively) new  flowers. I left out the vases, baskets and books, modified the color of the fabrics somewhat and, voilà: my daily painting.

Why did it take me so long?

Why did it take me so long to get back to Wave Hill? It’s a wonderful place: the Toscanini estate with flowers, plants, trees galore and a constantly changing color palette. Absolutely beautiful. No explanation.  No excuse.

But there I was today with another artist friend, painting away.  And then lunch with a third artist friend.  I’ve missed this kind of interaction so much.

So here’s the result.  First:

Wave Hill Complements

Wave Hill Complements      7×5      $300

Technically, blue and orange are complements, but I’m not going to be picky.

And second:

Wave Hill Complements 2

Wave Hill Complements 2     9×6     $350

For this one, I decided to try defining the flowers and foliage around them using my LePen water-soluble ink pens.

I’d forgotten how much fun this whole process is.  It’s good to be back.


My paintings in Gifts of Art Fundraiser for MSK Cancer Research at the National Arts Club on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016

Twenty-two artists (of which I am one) from the Art Students League are joining together for a Gifts of Art fundraiser for Memorial Sloan Kettering cancer research at the National Arts Club on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016.  Each of us will be selling 2 paintings and 50% of the sale price will go to cancer research. In addition to the good art, there will be good food, raffles and goodie bags.

This fundraiser means a lot to me since I am a  two-time cancer survivor. The two watercolors I am selling were both painted when I was recovering from cancer treatment. Both paintings signal to me the period when I went from being a victim of cancer to a survivor with a future.  I was in Florida, trying to grow my hair back and hoping it would be curly (it was, but not for long) and hoping I would stay skinny (again, not for long). (You know, there are worse things to worry about than straight hair and not so skinny.)  Both paintings are supremely positive, hopeful reminders of how fragile but wonderful life can be.

Here’s one of my paintings:

Elephant Ears

Elephant Ears

This plant, with its strangely appropriate but funny name, made me smile. And painting it kept me smiling. Worth its weight in gold.

I’ve reduced the price of each of my two paintings because I really want them to sell.  50% of the sales price goes to MSK Cancer Center, an organization I wholeheartedly support.

Please come to the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South (20th Street, west of Park) on Friday, Sept. 9th at  for a fun evening with good art, good food and drink, raffles, goodie bags.  I really really hope I see you there.

Nothing said: “paint me”

My last painting of the summer session at the Art Students League.  I didn’t like the set up, nothing said “paint me.”  What to do?

Well, I did what Frank (O’Cain) always tells us to do: you have to pick and choose what to paint.

So I pick a green vase, alter its shape somewhat, pick a few flowers, alter their shape and color somewhat, add some stems in different positions, and, well, it’s my last real painting of the summer session.

The good news: nothing is really what it seems. The bad news: nothing is really what it seems (but I DO remember what it really was).  Memory is a funny thing. All it takes is a trigger, however altered.


Circle        9×12        $600

My paintings help me remember. No matter how altered the image, composition, color … each painting contains a trigger that brings back the memory of what was. My body remembers painting it, and that brings it all back.

What is the matter with the art world?

The Salmagundi Club, one of the most prestigious art organizations in New York City just had the Closing Awards Reception for its Non-Member Exhibit and only one piece sold.  How is that possible?  What is the matter with the art world?

There were 140 paintings and sculptures, juried out of over 500 submissions.  So the quality was high. There were oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, marble, bronze, alabaster … so lots to choose from. Prices ranged from $300 to $20,000 … and everything in between.  True, there were only 3 abstracts (one of them mine), but the representational work included portraits, landscapes, still lifes, animals, and even a dragon (sculpture).

In other words, there was something for everyone.  But, only one piece sold!  It’s not just that my abstract didn’t sell.  The only thing that did sell was one small portrait. Nothing against that portrait, but how is that possible?!?

The reception was packed, tons of people.  And I happen to know that a fair number of people saw the exhibit during the two weeks preceding the Awards Reception. So it’s not that nobody knew about it or that nobody saw the art.

What is the matter with the art world?  NYC is full of people with lots of disposable income.  I read in the paper that megabucks are being spent on art from established artists at Southeby’s auctions, etc.  People bought Picassos and Rothkos when they were still unknown, why isn’t that happening today?

Why don’t people with money want to buy art that speaks to them from artists that are as yet unknown?  Put it on your wall or on a stand and enjoy it.  Look at it every day.  Pat yourself on the back for having bought it and smile.  You’re enjoying it now and, hey, maybe someday it will be worth megabucks.  In the meantime, you’re enjoying it.

What is the matter with the art world?

But maybe I’m asking the wrong question… or at least the right question of the wrong people.  Maybe it’s not the moneyed class I should be challenging, maybe I should be asking other artists and run-of-the mill others (middle class people).  I know times are tough for many people, but there ARE others with some disposable income.  Why aren’t middle income people buying original art, original affordable art?  Art is not something that should be restricted to the super-rich.

And everyone knows what he or she likes. So why aren’t they going to exhibits and buying what they like? The same arguments apply. Put it on your wall or on a stand and enjoy it.  Look at it every day.  Pat yourself on the back for having bought it and smile.  You’re enjoying it now and, hey, maybe someday it will be worth megabucks.  In the meantime, you’re enjoying it.

So what IS the matter with the art world?

Although I hesitate to include this image, just for the record, here’s my painting:

Running the Rapids

Running the Rapids        18×24         $1400

I know it’s not for everyone.  I understand the price may be high for some (low for others). But we’re not talking about just my painting. We’re talking about 140 works of art with only one sale.







Merced is not just a river

The Merced is not just a river. This painting has been in my brain since 2011. That’s when my husband and I joined our friend, Barry and his wife, in a trip to Yosemite. I took a lot of pictures, many of the water rushing over and around the rocks in the Merced River. Such good memories!


Merced      12 x 9      $600

Merced = Memories. I remember the water and the rocks.  I remember the BnB, the wonderful breakfasts and the hummingbirds, the deer, the waterfalls, the magnificent Yosemite beauty.

As I painted this it all came rushing back.  I hope Barry’s and Jen’s memories are as good.

Date: 2016. Size: 12 x 9.  Price $600.