Just a quick post on my latest water-color, “Bluebird”, demonstrating the difference it makes when you add more contrast to your water-color’s. When I complete a painting the first thing I do is take a number of pictures in different lighting, in preparation for editing and posting on Facebook. Thinking it looked pretty good, I posted it on my Facebook page. Soon it became apparent to me it was lacking contrast. I know how important it is to take a picture or look at your painting in a mirror to get a more objective view of your work and I thought I had done that, but the longer I looked at it the more I began to realize it looked washed. That is why I wanted to post the two pictures together so you could compare the two.

Needs more contrast.
Needs more contrast.
Finished painting
Finished painting

Now you can see how adding more color helped the bird stand out. Water-color proves to be a big challenge in more ways than one. I have taken a few water-color classes online and have learned some basic techniques, but like all new things, I need a lot more practice. The whole process is totally different from oils and acrylics and I struggle with holding the lights. Even though it is a challenge I really am enjoying learning how to paint in water-colors. It has taught me to me paint more intuitive and let the color describe the objects. If I could suggest one thing to help you become a better artist, it would be to try different mediums. This allows you to be more playful with art and gives you permission to experiment with color and intuitive techniques.

Flowers in Oils and Acrylics

Pink rose study.
Pink rose study. Wanted to add more depth to the rose so here is my re-worked example.
Oil on 8x8 deep canvas
Oil on 8×8 deep canvas
Acrylic on 8x8 deep canvas
Acrylic on 8×8 deep canvas
Painting for a friend...
Painting for a friend…

As you can see I love flowers! One of my fondest memories was as a little girl helping my Mom plant and tend to her flower beds. One of my favorite flowers was her roses. She only had one rose-bush which she received from a neighbor. I can remember watching with great anticipation for the first blooms of the season to arrive. Still to this day the rose is my favorite flower. I have several different varieties in my garden each beautiful in their own unique way. I know I can never expect to capture its true beauty for God is the only one that can do that.
One of my other favorite flowers is the hydrangea. Hydrangea needs an acid well-drained soil and Corpus Christi is humid and the soil is mostly very dense clay. So it wasn’t until we moved to the Texas Hill country, which has a drier climate, that I first encounter the majestic hydrangea. I fell in love with the way the flower would change colors during its bloom cycle. But the most wonderful part was how well they dried. I have vase’s full of dried flowers that I enjoy all year-long. I hope my flowers give you the inspiration to try painting some of your favorite flowers as well.

Water-color Journal

First time I have used this for journaling.  Hope to use it a lot more.
Got a really nice water-color art journal with 180 lb. cold press paper.

I have been wanting to start a journal mainly to keep a record of how different water-colors mix with each other. I had several journals but none of them had a good grade water-color paper. I saw a post on-line, can’t remember who the artist was, but she recommended the Stillman & Birn beta series journal. So far I am impressed with how the paper takes the color. There is no point in using a journal for this purpose if the paper is not of a good quality. I had so much fun with this first page I can’t wait to play some more.

Practicing layering colors
Practicing layering colors

I think this is going to be a very productive thing for me to do. I have already learned a lot about choosing colors and now this will allow me to see the color combo before I put brush to paper.
chart to show transparency

My thought is to do a sketch on one side and map out the colors and mixtures on the other side then loosely paint the sketch. I think this process will give me confidence in my decisions before I start painting. Water-color is not a spontaneous medium. It has to be planed before executed and that is not my strong suit. For that reason, if for no other, I need to learn this medium. Will share when I have come up with the procedure that works best for me.
I am sure in time I will become more adapt at mixing water-colors but as of now I feel like a fish out of water, no pun intended. LOL.. I would encourage you to try working from a journal before you jump into painting. I am so impatient I have been skipping this process but now see how beneficial and fun it can be.

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!