I have been working on a series of paintings I call my Creative Workbench Series.  I have done a Jewelers bench, a chaotic innovator’s bench, and a fly tying bench and now I am working on a small engine bench.  Technically this isn’t a bench, but it is a collection of items used to work on small engines, so it is an acceptable alternative to a bench. Identifying the Problem I thought I had made pretty good progress on my Small Engine watercolor painting until my husband looked over my shoulder and said, “It looks great but your plastic box is out of perspective”.  Well, when did he get to be an expert, I just ran him off and told him it looked great.   The next morning I had a message from my mentor saying she loved the progress on the painting but the plastic box looks a little out of perspective.   Apparently my plastic box is out of perspective,  which left me with a choice:  To Fix, change the plastic box perspective. Not to Fix, leave it alone. If I painted with oil or acrylics, no problem, I would just paint over the offending wonky plastic box and fix

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

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

In November I was extended the opportunity to exhibit some of my artwork in a Reedsburg Bed and Breakfast.  I didn’t have enough available pieces to meet their entire needs, so I started coming up with ideas of what would be interesting for their guests.  One of the attractions in this area is the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI, so I thought it would be interesting to paint a crane.   I checked out their website and they had some wonderful photos, but there was one that really appealed to me and that was the Siberian Crane in the drop wing threat pose.  I thought how appropriate to paint a threatened species in threat mode.  I asked permission to use that image as a reference photo and they kindly agreed. I was a little intimidated at first because I typically paint small pictures (less than 10 inches on the longest side) and this was going to be 18 x 24 inches, which is huge from my perspective.  Facing the big, blank piece of watercolor paper started all kinds of negative thinking on my part, it took me several days to figure out how I was going to sketch out the

Dave and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary on the 31st of December.  It seemed like a milestone for two people on their second marriage, so we had a bit of a celebration.  My bridal bouquet was made up of Star Gazer Lilies, so I ordered my centerpiece to include these lilies and supporting flowers.  It was beautiful and I thought it would be a great subject for my next painting. It is difficult to find lighting that would be dramatic enough to capture all the colors, but one late afternoon, the sun was coming in from the west window and streamed over my work table giving a brief moment of light that was so dramatic it looked perfect.  So I started what I think I will be calling “Celebration Bouquet”.    I cropped the picture so I could make a painting the would be vertical on the card.  It also reduced the number of flowers I had to paint, because this is looking pretty complicated.  I used a masking fluid to keep some of the areas white for later, so they look kind of blue like in this picture. I am trying a new method of adding color, slowly building

August Work in Progress In June I attended a birthday party for my grandchildren at a farm outside of town that had a menagerie of animals that the children could play with.  It was an older farm that wasn’t being actively managed and some the garden areas had been neglected.  Near one of the outbuildings was a grouping of peonies that were competing with the bull thistles.  My step-daughter and I immediately  knew this was a special opportunity to show the “beauty and beast” of life. I started to paint this picture in July, but I am not very skilled at painting white flowers.  Trying to get the soft shading on the petals and still have the flower appear white was hard and I ruined the first attempt.  I guess that will be called the practice painting.  So I regrouped and I made the picture a little more defined, trying to show the thistle pricks more clearly and came up with a better layout. The first wash of the new painting started out pretty well and I was liking the detail. I have added more intensity to the thistle at the this time, but now I have to move to