Painting “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”

Living the good life!
Living the good life!

Thought I was finished with this painting “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”  till I got up the next morning and took another long look and realized I wasn’t. I haven’t painted much with acrylics, and didn’t know, as they dry they become darker. I soon recognized I no longer had enough contrast in my values which caused the painting to appear flat. I also saw I didn’t have the 3rd dimension represented either, so I added some distant trees and foliage. It is surprising what you can see after you get

lower left side
lower left side

away from a painting for a while. At this point I was sure I was ready to sign and frame, but I was wrong. After several more days of staring and tweaking I decided it was good?? That brings up a good question, how do you know when a painting is finished? One I have asked myself many times. There is no one answer for everyone but some of my favorite are: This one was surprising to me, “when it is no longer yours.” LOL! I guess that is one way to be finished.. Another good one is “when you can’t find anything that bothers you”. I suppose the best one for me is “it’s not finished till I say it is.” After all it is your decision, you created it and no one can tell you when it is finished… I know some of you are probably thinking, how did I come up with this subject and arrangement and why did I name it “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”? The truth is it started off as a field of wild flowers and slowly evolved into something totally different. I didn’t have a photo to use so I had to use my imagination. I knew I wanted some daisies as one of my main flowers. I have a lot of flowers on my Pinterest board so I went to it and found all of the flowers I needed. Pinterest is an excellent place to keep things you love and what a great place to save photos for inspiration. Then as I got busy painting flowers I knew I should be thinking of composition, which is not something I have much, if any, knowledge in. So I went to YouTube and searched composition videos. It seemed like the rule of thirds was the simplest so I went with that. After I figured out where the center of interest should be located I knew I needed a little bird to fill that position. As I stumbled thru my process the painting began to reveal its self to me and it’s story began to unravel. I learned a real important lesson in that moment. If you allow your imagination to take over your hand will manifest it in paint. This is what I saw in my mind, I was standing on the edge of a lush forested mountain overlooking a deep foggy valley. In the distance I observed a little bird who was taking a break, from sitting on her eggs, she was hungry and needed to grab a bite of breakfast. She flutters over to the nearest branch where she finds some very tasty ants. She thinks to her self, what a special place to live and raise a family. Life is good for her on Mount Tiffany. Yes now you know why I name this painting “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Well I can’t tell lie, my husband looked at the painting and said he had the perfect name for it. “And now you know the rest of the story.” Till next time, my wish for you is to find your Mount Tiffnay…XOXO’s Barbie

distant leaves and trees
distant leaves and trees

Water-color Garden

A journey in water-color
A journey in water-color

“Water-color Garden” started out loose and then turned tight. So enlightening for me to realize how fast you can switch from right brain to your left. Needless to say, I am still working on my water-color technique, improving but not there yet. Which for me is exciting because the learning of new things is why I get up in the morning and I hope I never loose that excitement. There is a learning curve with all new things, whether it is a new medium or style of painting or new things you experience in life, for that matter. If it was too easy it wouldn’t be a challenge and, for me at least, that would be boring. So with that in mind I am having fun with the challenge. Each time I pick up my brush I learn a new way of expressing my subject in this beautiful medium, and that keeps me coming back for more! My goal is to have, at the least, a cursory level of understanding in all the major mediums. I do believe that will allow me to elevate my abilities in all forms of art. My goal is to incorporate numberous mediums into my art, which has been coined as mixed media art. I like pushing the limits on what is comfortable and usual into something that is different and unusual, but at the same time is pleasing to the eye.

I have babbled on for long enough. My hope is this will inspire you to try new mediums and see where it leads you in your art quest. I will leave you with this thought, paint, paint and then paint some more…xoxo’s, Barbie

“Roses are Red” rose water-color

Study in water-color
Study in water-color

“Rose are Red” rose water-color study, was a real learning experience for me. Roses are a difficult flower to paint, considering they have so many petals, but once you get the shape and angles of the petals in your head it isn’t as bad as I had imagined. My biggest challenge has always been getting the right mix of color, but with each painting I am becoming more familiar with good color mixtures. Just like all things you must keep trying!
My palette consisted of permanent rose, maroon perylene,red violet, ruby-red, purple magenta, perylene green, phthalo green, aureolin modern, cadmium yellow, french ultra marine blue, cobalt blue, cerulean blue. Finishing touches was done with cadmium yellow and white gouache. Used some pure color glazes to add depth to the rose as well.
If you have been thinking you would like to try painting a rose my suggestion is to just go for it. I know the thought of it is intimidating but like I said earlier isn’t that bad. This was my 3rd try to paint a rose and with each try I gained more confidence.
I hope this post will inspire you to be bold and challenge yourself. The rewards are great. Enjoy!

My Cotton Tail Bunny

“My Cotton Tail Bunny” was so fun to paint even though  it was quite a challenge.  Rabbits, for me at least, are really hard to get a accurate likeness.  I remember the first one I drew looked more like a rat! LOL.. Not the look I was going for!  I painted this picture in Oct. of 2014, started the story but had not posted it.  Hope you enjoy my rabbit tale!

Let’s begin by saying, I dearly love  all kinds of rabbits!   When we were kids one of my favorite memories was mom’s solution on how to make some extra money and supply us food as well, yes you guessed it, raise rabbits!  Mom was always trying to figure out how to improve  our lot in life, but most of her well laid plans didn’t pan out. This was one of her not so good ideas.  I guess she miss judged how cute they were and that daddy was just about as soft-hearted as us kids, so when it came to actually killing one of those cute rabbits he couldn’t do it and even if he had I am sure none of us kids could have eaten them.  We all helped feed them and watched them grow and have babies.  I think mom realized her plan for the rabbits was doomed shortly after we got them.  She had many more great ideas but I will save those for another day.

Back to why I chose to paint this little rabbit.   I have raised two babies rabbits, one was a jack rabbit and the other was a cotton tail. Both had lost their mothers in a mowing accident and would have died without intervention, so of course I had to try and save them. This one reminded me of my little cotton tail baby. Both grew up to maturity. We released the cotton tail, on our land in the hill country, where he was born.  He or she, had many generations of rabbits,  all were raised in the yard behind our house.   It warmed my heart every time I saw one of those little creatures eating grass, stopping long enough to look up and then to continue peacefully eating, as if to say thank you for protecting us.   The Jack we released out behind our house in Victoria. After his release I would go out in the back yard and call him. He would run out of

5x7 water color on 300 Lb. cotton rag paper.
5×7 water-color on 300 Lb. cotton rag paper.

the woods, with those big ears standing straight up, looking to see were my voice was coming from. When he was sure it was me he would jump sideways and run straight to me for his ear scratch and of course some treats. Then one day he didn’t come when I called, my heart fell, fearing the worse.  Then a few days later I saw him playing with some other rabbits.  I called to him and he looked up as if to say I am with my rabbit family where I belong, he never came back to me.   Several months later I saw some strange-looking rabbits at the edge of the swamp.  They had big ears,  looked like they were part swamp rabbit and part jack rabbit.  Even though I never saw him again, I prefer to think he found a mate and started his own species of swamp/jack rabbits.

Study in Water-Color and Acrylics

Reverse painting technique

Reverse painting  technique
Reverse painting technique
8×8 Acrylic on primed panel


Decided to post both paintings a study in water-color and acrylics   at the same time.  On the water-color my goal was to  become familiar with mixing colors to keep the clean fresh look that makes water-color so beautiful.  It’s not easy and I find myself getting a little stressed over it all.  I know the more I practice the easier it will become, so plan on doing a lot of these little studies to help me with color mixing.

Water-color is fast becoming  my favorite medium.  It is also the most challenging medium for me.   With that being said I love a good challenge .  As I look at it I am thinking the pomegranate needs to be a shade or two darker to make it stand out from the rest of the painting. It helps to take a picture of your painting and study it, somehow it allows you to  see problem areas that you didn’t see before.  If I decide to make a change in the painting  I will post the two versions side by side so you can see the differences .

The second study was done in acrylics on a primed 8×8 board.  I have been trying to learn how to paint a rose for a while and I still don’t have it down but feel like I am making progress every time I try to paint one.   I am using the David Jansen, hope I spelled his name right, acrylics which has a long open time.  He worked with Chroma for 18 months developing  this product and mixing the colors.  If you are interested in learning more about his paints check out his videos on YouTube.

Stayed up too late last night so am not going to bore you with more of my babbling.  If you have any questions please contact me or post a comment.  If you would like to be notified when I post a new piece of art please sign up in the subscribe box.



“Sister’s Forever”

Sister's Forever

I named this water-color painting “Sister’s Forever”. It reminded me of the days when I was young and Mama would say, go put your “Sunday go to meeting clothes on”, which meant we were either going to a church function or some place special. When I found this old photo, in black and white, I knew I wanted to paint them. I love painting people of color, they have such expressive faces and strong features. My hope is this painting brings back memories of days gone by and the special bond between sisters.  This painting was done on 9×12, 140 lb. Arches cotton cold press paper.  I will have to say it was quite a challenge painting their little faces which is approximately  2 inches long.  As I was trying to steady my hand to paint their eyes I remembered why I promised myself I wasn’t going to paint on such a small-scale again, and here I am, painting small.  I think I was unsure of my ability to accomplish the subject matter so  to keep from wasting a large expensive sheet of paper I choose a smaller piece of paper.  Wrong thing to do!  Learn from my mistake.  Starting large makes it easier for you to accomplish your painting, especially when the subject is a portrait which requires painting small features.  None the less I really did learn a lot painting this one.  I hope this will inspire you to paint out side your box and always challenge your self.



“Bug Patrol Rooster” water-color

Call bug patrol and ask for no more bugs rooster!

“Bug Patrol Rooster” water-color was inspired by a photo I saw of this beautiful rooster pausing in front of this old milk paint chair full of flowers. I could just see the rooster being so proud of himself for eating all the bugs off the flowers. You know, everyone needs to have a purpose in life. The rooster has many but one of his most important is eating bugs. Not only does it add some protein to his menu but does the flowers a favor as well. If we watch the behavior of the animals it will teach us how to balance our own life. This painting took me back to my childhood. I didn’t realize it then but now I see how important all those animals were to me and the person I became. Animals teach you how to share and by doing so strengthens not only you but all those around you. They give you unconditional love and what a lesson that is! It is my firm belief that God gave us animals to teach us how we should live our lives. They have been a great inspiration to me not only in my art but in my life. Thank you God for the animals!

“Bad Rooster” water color painting

If you don't think so just ask me!
If you don’t think so just ask me!

” Bad Rooster” water-color painting, is a gift for a friend who loves chickens and roosters. I grew up around them, chickens that is. My grandma, Mammie, had a whole flock.  One of my favorite memories was helping her at feeding time. It always made me laugh when she would holler, here chick, chick, chick and they would come running, flapping their wings and squawking. Chickens represent pure joy and happiness for life. They are always singing and just happy to be alive. When I am feeling blue I remember the chickens and it brings a smile to my face every time. I want to paint a lot more of them so stay tuned. “Bad Rooster” water-color painting, reminds me of the old rooster we had on the farm. He was always strutting around the chicken yard looking like he was the baddest rooster in the yard and would prove it if any of the other roosters wanted to challenge him. I would sit for hours and watch them going about their day, scratching and pecking. Memories of a simpler time makes me smile.  I hope it makes you smile as well.

Framed and ready to find a new home.
Framed and ready to find a new home.

Happy Holidays 2014!

Happy Holidays 2014! I can’t believe another year is almost gone! If they keep flying by as fast as this year did I am going to have to give up sleep altogether!! LOL.. I have so many things I want to do there just isn’t enough time in the day to get them done. I have to tell myself to slow down and focus on one thing at a time, and believe me when I say, that is really hard for me to do. I have so many ideas running thru your head I tend to get scattered. I have made a New Years resolution, you know we all have to have one of those, anyway I digress, my resolution is to have a journal ready to write down my ideas when they pop into my head, not a novel idea I know but it had never occurred to me! Yeah I know you must be thinking, what was she thinking! Well I guess I wasn’t!! LOL. This is my solution to staying focused. At the least it will keep me from feeling like I am going to lose the thought, and at my age that could definitely be a danger. This will hopefully keep me focused on the task at hand. Then when I have time, or feel like doing something else, I can go to my journal and pick one of my ideas and have fun. I also want to start doing thumb nail sketches and testing color mixtures before I start on a painting. I was watching an online class of Mary Wythe, one of my favorite water-color artist, and she shared how she used thumbnail sketches to get the most pleasing composition. She also did a quick sketch of the main subject and painted it so as to work out the colors she wanted to use. I am usually so impatient to get started that I don’t take the time to do the ground work, but in watching her I do see the benefits in those practices. So here’s to the New Year and keeping the resolutions we make!

I did get one thing done this year that I have been saying I was going to do and never had. That was painting my Christmas cards! I will have to say it took quite a bit longer than I thought so if that is something you want to do I would suggest giving yourself at least 6 months to get it done without feeling rushed. That is going to be my plan for next year as well. We’ll see if that happens..LOL!

In closing I have decided to open a Esty shop to sell some of my art that is beginning to pile up. I use to make jewelry and have a very large stash of that. Also have some of my hand-made journals and mini albums I need to pass on to someone else instead of just stacking them up. Running out of storage space as well. Don’t want to be considered a “hoarder”, oh well it may be too late for that..LOL!!!! It will probably take me a while to get this done considering I have to take pictures and write a description for each item, but I am going to focus and get it done one day at a time… Speaking of that I have two paintings I have not posted yet so will try to get that done before the new year begins.. Barbie signing off….

Prairie Dog Love

Who knew Prairie Dogs were so loveable!
Who knew Prairie Dogs were so loveable!
Here is the picture of the frame I had such a hard time getting right.
Here is a picture of the frame I had such a hard time getting right.

?Why did I decide to paint Prairie Dogs

The answer is my sister had three Prairie Dogs she loved very much.  They have since gone to Prairie Dog heaven.  It was her birthday so I looked on the web to see if I could find some photos for reference and came across several cute ones capturing their loving personally.  I was inspired so I sent them to her and she picked this one.  I added the greenery and flowers which I found to be more challenging than painting the Prairie Dogs.  It has been a real labor of love and have learned a lot about mixing colors and values.  Each painting I do I learn so much about color.  Color mixing is certainly my greatest challenge and I am realizing I need to take time to just sit down and do a color chart using the three primary colors to become more familiar with how to combine them to get the colors I want.  It is not as much fun as painting but I think I would have more fun, as well as success, if I took the time to do it.  I used acrylic with a retarder and glazes to allow me the time to blend them like you would with oils.  I have found acrylics to be a very challenging medium for an old oil painter.  I love the fact you do not have to wait days to let your painting dry in-between layers and the toxic mediums you have to use but to get the effect of oils with acrylics is something I am working on.  I know you can do it but I have not perfected it yet.  I decided to use some 300 lb. cotton rag paper since I was having trouble using it for water colors.  It worked great!  My husband had made me some flat frames and it fit perfectly after I got my matte and glass cut to size.  I knew I wanted to paint the frame black, but was not sure what else I wanted to do, if anything.  Went to the craft store and got some black caulk paint, I knew it would be good choice for adding some flowers to my frame.  I had this idea in my mind I thought would work beautifully but when I finished I did not like it so back to square one. The painting and frame are finally done and I am happy with the results.  Hope it will make her smile every time she looks at it.