Starting Point I am working on Creative Workbench Encaustic Wax Pans.  This new Creative Workbench features an encaustic artist painting bench.  If you are not familiar with encaustic paintings, they are paintings made with hot colored blend of beeswax.  The wax is painted or dripped onto the surface and built up in layers.  It is a fascinating medium provided intriguing results.  The artist workbench is from Shary Bartlett, and she graciously is allowing me to use her reference photo.   Underpainting In order to preserve the white or light highlights on the pans, I put mastic fluid everywhere that should remain white.  That shows up on the image as a teal blue tint.  Once that was dried, I used a neutral tint paint to define the areas of shadow.  This underpainting will help the color appear darker and create contrast. Glazing With the underpainting in place, it was time to add color.  I started by adding thin layers of color, this would still be considered light values.  Later I will move into mid-tone values, but you will have to check later to see how this project progress.  I will add new images of the progress over time. Midway I am about

Traditional Watercolor Framing I have always taken great care to protect my watercolor paintings using an acid-free backer board, acid-free mat set in a frame with either glass or plexiglass.  This is the traditional method of protecting the water soluble pigments and dyes from humidity.  I love the look of a beautifully mounted painting and there is so many possibilities for framing them that is method perfect.  I would never have thought to do it any other way, but I had an idea that sent me into the world of waxed watercolors opening up new possibilities worthy of consideration. What are Wax Sealed Watercolors I had this idea that I would like to paint on a wooden block that could be set on a shelf or mantel.  I looked up how to watercolor on wood, which led me to watercolor ground (coating that you can paint on).  I tried watercolor ground on a small wooden coin, but what do you do to preserve it?  So further research and I found there is a fixing spray (varnish) that works well, but that led to me wax.  So for a small investment I purchased some Dorland’s wax and applied to my tiny

Just Say Yes A fellow artist informed me that Mount Horeb Driftless Historium had two weeks to find a new display for their their large street windows walk-up gallery and would l like to display my watercolor paintings.  Two weeks, was he crazy?  How do you set up a show in just two weeks?  How many paintings, what was the theme, how much room would I have to fill, what kind of advertising and posters?  So many questions, so little time.   I immediately went into cynic mode and texted him back saying no, just not enough time.  He said he would inform the 14 South Artists organization we belong to and see if any of the other artists would be interested.  Working quickly because of the short turn around time, he sent off a post on Facebook.   Earlier that day, I had listened to a motivational podcast about another artist that had finished a new collection and was looking for place to show them.  Covid hit and nothing was available.  All she wanted was a big enough room to hang her work to take photographs.  Then, all of a sudden a space became available for a short period of time

Ask More Questions I had finished some pretty intense, detailed paintings and I had not figured out what my next project should be and mentioned this to a friend.  She spends her winters in Hawaii and thought she might like a couple of new paintings for her house.  I asked her what she would like and she said a whale and an octopus.  Excellent, I have done a whale before and I like octopuses, so I agreed.  I proceeded as if I knew what I was doing and painted the sperm whale painting (above).  I was pretty happy with it, the whale appears to be coming out of the dark ocean background and sunlight ripples over it’s back.   Failure to Launch I sent her a photo of the painting and she liked it well enough, but she wanted a humpback whale with a baby whale.  One more question would have been useful to have determined the kind of whale she liked.  I did proceed to create a sperm whale and baby painting, that I believe she loves.  If anyone is interested in this Sperm Whale painting let me know and we can make a deal. Beholders Don’t Always Know What

      “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”      George Bernard Shaw What does Childlike Wonder Look Like It was a beautiful cool Saturday and I was sitting near my art booth when two small boys (5 and 7) came running over to see myTiny Wonders original watercolors.  I had one painting of a vintage red race car and the older boy just had to pick it up and look it over very carefully.  The younger child quickly checked out all the other paintings and was squealing with delight.  I could not have been more pleased.  It was refreshing to see how my paintings brought out so much joy in these young people. Where Did Our Wonder Go A little later there was a young man, perhaps around 26 who also came over to the admire the Tiny Wonders.  He looked at all the paintings quite intently and after awhile I said hello and made a comment on the weather.  I explained all paintings were originals and he confessed his admiration for my work.  You could see delight in his eyes but no squealing like the young boys.  He

I live in an area of Wisconsin known at the Driftless Area.  I am not a geological expert, but I understand during the ice age, the glacier covered most of Wisconsin and skirted this area leaving a completely different landscape with unique rock formations.  This driftless concept was never explained to me during my informative years and has only recently been thrust forward because of my interest in watercolor painting.  I began hearing this driftless term when looking for art shows and found some special shows devoted to driftless area artists.  Then recently when our local historical museum expanded, it reinvented itself as the Driftless Historium, kind of a cool name with a bit of a Victorian nature.  In my quest for locations to display my watercolor paintings, I approached the Driftless Historium with some new products and as a result, they suggested I paint prairie flowers because they fall into their Driftless concept. I have done several floral watercolor paintings and this seemed to be a logical step, helped limit my scope of subjects and I found myself in research mode.  During the research process, I found a local remnant prairie on Instagram called Moely Prairie.  It is only

A couple of months ago my son jokingly sent me a message with a photo of his workbench.  It was just full of stuff,  some in-process work, tools, along with some adult beverages.  I laughed when I saw the photo, knowing that my son is extremely inventive, but tends to have too many projects at varying stages of completion.  When I saw the photo, I thought the workbench was a visual interpretation of the many synapses firing in his brain.  Too many to control requiring the need of some fluid refreshments to slow down the impulses.  It was a crazy photo, but after a while I thought wow, wouldn’t that make a great painting. This started me down the path of a new series I am calling Creative Workbenches.  It will be an intimate look at a variety of work spaces from a diverse group of creative sources.  I have enlisted the help of a jeweler who fixes watches and clock and a fly fisherman who ties his own flies.  I hope to recruit additional artisans over time.   One thing I am learning about creative workbenches is how intimate this project is becoming.  How a person lays out their work

I was searching the World Wide Web about a year ago when I came across an article about ACEOs.  What the heck is an ACEO I wondered?  Well it is an Art Card Edition or Original.  Okay, that makes no sense at all, so I searched for more information and it turns out there are a world of collectors that buy paintings specifically made on 2.5 x 3.5 inch cards.  Ebay appears to be the best buy and sell for ACEOs.   I thought, with my level of patience, maybe I should start making ACEOs and selling them.  I can make a complete painting in 1 to 3 hours, mount them and sell them at art shows and my followers can have an original artwork for less than $50.  And so, I have created over 30 tiny water media paintings in the last year.  They are so much fun and rewarding. Well I looked into the “tiny” art concept a little more and found out there are a lot of different definitions of tiny art and there seems to be a difference in maximum size for these art pieces, some ranging up to 10 x 10 inches. That was kind of

My Big Boy Painting Journey starts with a blank piece of paper, the most fearful stage of the journey.  The idea is in my head, I even have a tiny test painting I laid out to see how it might look, but actually starting a painting is the hardest part.  All my fears of inadequacy come to the surface.  Thoughts like, “Am I good enough; is it too hard; will anyone like it; can I satisfy the viewer, etc”.  The other side is I can’t wait to see how it will look when I am done, but I know it will be a long time until it is complete.  I don’t work fast as a rule because I get a bit bogged down in details.  In this case, the Big Boy Steam Locomotive is an historical engine and there are many people that would look closely and critique my work if I get the detail wrong.  So much angst placed on one piece of paper. It is time to start.  Most of the time I would draw my image on the paper either free hand, or by using a grid to transfer the image.  In this case, because the details

Tuesday morning, April 9th, I saw an Instagram video of Wingra dam jumping muskies starting to jump the Wingra Lake dam in Madison, WI.   I am 60+ years old and have lived in the Madison area all my life and never knew about this interesting phenomenon until last year when I saw a You Tube video,  Wingra Jumping Muskies.  I was pretty excited when I learned that the Muskies where starting their annual jumping and wanted to go see them. I told my husband that he should go check it out with his son when they went into Madison to work that morning, but Dave thought he could wait.  I said, not waiting, today was the day, it was was 60 degrees F and the next day it was suppose to be below freezing and snowing.  I explained to him that my father was the type of guy that new when there was something special going on, that work could wait.  I told him that when I was a kid, about every other year the DNR would “shock” the Mt. Vernon Creek to check on the health of the trout and throw out the suckers.  When dad heard they were