Cheerful and Colorful Paintings

Cheerful and Colorful Paintings in Oil, Acrylic, Mixed Media and Collage

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Canvas by Canvas ~ Square "H" ~ Where's Dan ~ Marla

10" square for Canvas by Canvas commission of our Red Truck
I painted this Monday at the Upstairs Gallery and it doesn't stand alone as many of our squares do. (For first time readers, I belong to this group of 9 Texas collaborative artists.) It looks better surrounded by its friends. It's "H", bottom middle, and you can see the peek on our CBC website.
Last weekend I heard from Cecelia about a Sketch/Crawl and I was interested but the body weak. I discussed the possibility of participating in the September one with CBC. One of our members, Karen, is taking a figure drawing class and suggested that on Mondays when we go out to eat bring our sketch books and while we're waiting for lunch sketch something. What a great idea but I'm not ready to post the results. I quickly sketched the salt shaker after being so enamored by Dan Price's work.

I own his books, "How to Make a Journal of Your Life",
"Moonlight Chronicles" and "Radical Simplicity" and Dan sketches everything and makes the mundane look great. Amazon carries his titles.
I have enjoyed reading about how Dan has tried to simplify his life and then drawing all aspects of it. I need all my "stuff" but I am desperately trying to organize it. A family member has lived with me for several years and moved out this weekend and I sent with him most of the bedroom stuff, bed, chest, desk, treadmill and promptly went to Home Depot and got 3 wonderful shelves, 72" H, 24" deep, and 3' wide and for the next year I will probably be working in that room (studio) to get my art stuff together, gathering it from forgotten places. The shelves went together so easy and I didn't even need a rubber mallet. So this is stage 1.

Last week I watched a Netflix movie, My Kid Could Paint That, that you might find interesting about a child painting prodigy, Marla Olmstead. Here are some sites I checked out about the movie and the controversy.
NPR and what is art?
and NPR has other programming about this movie.
The LA Times Art as Child's Play

Maybe there's hope for us late bloomers if a four year old is having great success.

Monday, June 16, 2008

CBC ~ CCP ~ Nick DVD Inspired Art Work

Nancy painted the "H" square in the new painting, Magnify, by Canvas by Canvas
Acrylic on Canvas
Our signature style is nine 10" canvases painted by each of the 9 members and you will see this one soon as a sneak peak on the CBC web site and it is kept very up to date by Betty Taylor (real name Elizabeth Taylor!!) one of the nine. She's our efficient web guru. Each member of the group provides and shares their talents and special gifts and this makes for a stronger organization and more painting experiences. I know if I weren't a part of this group I would not have painted this square ever on my own. For the 10" size painting a member presents an idea and if the majority rule in favor, it gets painted. CBC member, Karen Foster, took this photograph at a local antique shop and what were we thinking? We voted yes. However, anyone can begin a project on their own in a non-standard format without the majority votes. For example, if you've just taken the perfect longhorn photo and you just have to paint it, decide on the size canvas you want and you'll have 8 others to meet with you at the Upstairs Gallery and draw for squares. Not all members can paint together on a given Monday but TUG is a great place to meet when we can and the studio has large tables and an overhead mirror.
This painting will be entered into an art show based on Luke 15 and the parable of the Lost Coin. In my 10" square I got a small piece of this coin to paint and this is the second Monday of painting on this square and I'm finished and I am sooooo glad.
What a drastic change from last week when painting at the Nicholas Simmons workshop painting fast, loose and large and today to get out my smallest brushes and have to be so careful. I protested some today to my Canvas painting friends about the little details but they were not sympathetic but they wanted to hear all about the workshop and some want to take from Nick the next time he comes to Dallas. Nick is a great instructor and once we began painting he was up walking the room, going from table to table observing and answering questions. He was always willing to be interrupted with a "painting emergency". I don't think he had lunch any of the 5 days because someone was always painting through lunch...not me but some did. I always do lunch and that's another perk with the Canvas by Canvas group. We're always "doing lunch" somewhere and talking art. The Artists' Showplace is a great place for a workshop and it had room for him to walk around to each participant and Nick gave a great critique on Friday.

I think I'll just throw down the gauntlet here and mention Creative Catalyst and Nick's DVD. CCP is having an art show with the theme: The Art of Creative Catalyst Inspired Artists and entries close August 7, 2008. No jurors and it's just for fun.
You're invited to share your art work and post it in the gallery and I think it would be super cool if Nick's DVD inspired more entries than all the others. How about it? Let's post a Nick DVD inspired painting on the CCP site. I posted in my blog a site that helps with photo resizing so no excuses.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Nicholas Simmons Workshop ~ Friday, June 13, 2008 ~ Small Painting

Nancy's Small Painting, Day 5, Quarter Sheet

Day 5 could have been a real downer if there had not been talk about Nicholas Simmons making a return trip to TX. for another workshop. We began by seeing a demo of the Da Vinci liquid acrylics with washes beginning at the top for the sky with some overlap of colors. Nick says put it down and leave it alone. Easier said than done and I may have to have my hands restrained to follow this rule. We painted several trying to perfect our technique. We added a little splatter, a few people and some birds. They were supposed to be sketchy people but he found some arms on my figures. Later in the afternoon, Nick gave a demo with his favorite well worn brush and painted with gesso and later some trees with branches that wrap around with a razor blade. We should try that at home with some supervision looks like to me!
Nick had a drawing for the painting on Friday and lucky Teta had the winning number.

I would like to share a photo resizing site especially for those times when, for example, you're instructed to send in a picture no wider than 100 px. Well, who knows what that is? Here is the site for you at Photosize and the best part, it's free.
My friend, Betty Taylor, from Canvas by Canvas has shared two great tools with me. One from Microsoft for XP called Power Tools when added to your computer you can right click and resize photos immediately. Scroll down to Image Resizer.
The other (and I haven't used it yet but it sounds promising) lets you upload a photo and create large poster size images at Block Posters. Something you could use taking a Nick workshop.

I will post a few of the beach scenes in the slide show below. In some of the images you will see that is masking tape around the edges. I know it looks a little weird in the photos but Nick likes to use it to get a little more buckling action of the paper and all this time we've been told to stretch that paper flat!! Nick doesn't follow all the watercolor rules as you may have figured out with talk of loving blooms and crawl backs.
Hurry back to Texas, Nick and until then we'll catch you online. Thanks again to Artists' Showplace for hosting this workshop.
Mouse over for captions.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nicholas Simmons Workshop ~ Thursday, June 12, 2008 ~ Poured Paintings

Nick and Bebe - Poured paintings

Here we are in day four of the
Nicholas Simmons Workshop at Artists' Showplace in Dallas, TX. and this is a surprise day as Nick was a little secretive about our paintings for Thursday and Friday, wanting it to be a surprise.

Today I worked on my first poured painting on a canyon type design with successive liquid acrylic colors poured in layers using a full sheet of watercolor paper, which is large to me. The power of the Da Vinci fluid acrylics is apparent with the individual washes remaining transparent and not absorbing the previous layer. This is a little more difficult than the finished painting might appear and there were a lost of gasps and “help me’s” heard around the room during the many layering and drying process.

Here is Nick's finished piece.

The one below is my attempt and I haven't placed a "soaring bird" in it as I decided I'd better find a reference instead of "winging" it. One thing I will try and improve next time is that last dark wash as mine was too opaque but this was a new process to me and we were all working hard not to get an unwanted run across the page (canyon) while manipulating the paper and to leave a few edges showing of each wash we did.

Nancy's painting:

I would encourage my readers to visit and join Wet Canvas if you are not a member. Wet Canvas is a forum for artists to gather and discuss their work. Nicholas Simmons has posted some works in progress that I think you’d enjoy looking at the paintings and reading about the techniques he uses. I’ve printed them off for my "Nick Notebook" and enjoy reading about the process. Artists also post photographs that you may use in a painting.

Wet Canvas is a community of artists that began in 1998 and it has a gold mine of information with 119,000 active users. It is the largest bulletin board on the internet focused on the visual artist. Nick is a contributing member of Wet Canvas and most artist's would enjoy reading the articles he has presented on Wet Canvas.
Faded Glory
Watercolor Batik: Koi
Watercolor Life-Sized: Tarantella

Below is a slide show of some of the photos taken during the workshop. Mouse over for captions.

Other blogs where I post:


Nancy's Web site

Eat Well ~ Paint Your Food ~ Laugh Often

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nicholas Simmons ~ Wednesday, June 11, 2008 ~ KoI Finished


Nick's Koi Painting

I made sure I got to class early today so I wouldn’t miss a beat for the morning workshop discussion and slide show that Nick had prepared for a Photoshop demonstration with his digital projector and laptop. It wasn’t about learning Photoshop but about choosing and combining photographs, designing and composition in paintings. It also helps him in choosing the size of the painting as he believes every painting has its perfect size. Nick takes lots of photographs and mentioned possibly taking 1000 shots on a recent New York trip, one of his favorite places for photography. One thing that was encouraging to the class was his declaration that he was not a computer or Photoshop whiz or guru but he has discovered a lot of his techniques by trial and error. Another reason he likes the projector is the ability to compare different compositions without printing out a lot of photo possibilities.

A feeding frenzy after lunch and it had nothing to do with the koi. A box had arrived with copies of Nick’s new DVD produced by Creative Catalyst and cash and checks were flashed and the box emptied fast. We gathered around the overhead mirror for Nick to demo the next steps in painting one of his famous Koi fish and to explain what we were to do next. The class was full and there was a waiting list and resulted with students being in adjoining room. One of the innovative ladies in the second room brought a baby monitor to set up by the demo mirror so they would be alerted for any updates. A high tech fix for a simple problem and I thought it a tip worth mentioning along with some jokes and questions about blackmail. I took a picture of some of Nick’s brushes all lined up ready for the war. He can wield a mean toothbrush along with a 4” house painter’s brush for some of his techniques. I had to ask for teacher’s help with my toothbrush technique as I was getting a fine splatter in all the wrong places and yes, there is a definite way he splatters. He uses the technique to shadow and model the koi and helps integrate into the background.

Nick finished his Koi, moistened it front and back and placed it under a weighted backing board to sit overnight waiting for the lucky new owner to pick up Thursday. I completed my Koi today and it is so interesting to walk around the class and see all these different fish in various painting stages. It really helps in learning the techniques when others are working on the same project.

Nick would not tell us what we’d be painting for Thursday but just said it will be a new painting with a different technique.

Nancy's Koi

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nicholas Simmons Workshop ~ Tuesday, June 10, 2008 ~ Koi Painting

Nicholas Simmons and Da Vinci liquid acrylics

Nick's Koi ~ A Beginning ~ Stop by later for the finished painting

We learned so much today and had so much fun trying out Nicholas Simmons’ “batik” technique of painting a Koi fish. He prefers working large, but to save time he painted a demo with a ½ sheet (15” x 22”) hot press paper. He drew a contour drawing of one Koi with plants with wide leaves in the background, did some splatter with mask and then the magic started with Nick painting with the Da Vinci fluid acrylics and boldly wielding a spray bottle, and mixing the colors on the paper and not on the palette. He welcomed crawl backs and blooms and made slight color changes. We had a great time walking around and viewing the other students’ work and seeing their colors as we all wanted to paint a Koi like Nick.

If you’d like to see the whole process with about 2 hours of instruction his DVD, Innovative Water Media, from Creative Catalyst is now available. I found my copy in the mailbox as I was leaving the house to go to an art opening on Friday and oh, how I wanted to stay home and watch it but felt fortunate I got to see it all the way through before the workshop began Monday. He gives a good discussion of his materials including his brushes and they run the gamut from a toothbrush to a 4” house painter’s brush. One innovative thing about this DVD is that Nick composed and performed his own original music.

I didn’t finish my painting today as I need to work on my Koi and I will post it later. Artist Showplace has an overhead mirror and a separate table for each of us upstairs in a quite area of the gallery with a microwave and refrigerator nearby and a large sink for cleanup. It’s just a great experience and the participants are so fortunate to be able to take a week off and get a chance to study with this 2007 National Watercolor Society top prize winner.

Other blogs where I post:




· Web site:

· Eat Well ~ Paint Your Food ~ Laugh Often

Nicholas Simmons Workshop ~ Monday, June 9, 2008

Nicholas' Painting Day 1 of the workshop

Traditional watercolor on cold press paper

Nicholas Simmons

The Artist Showplace Class

There were 27 eager workshop students gathered this morning early (9:30 a.m.) at the Artists' Showplace today for our Nicholas Simmons workshop. Fresh Sushi , a print of his prize winning painting greeted us as we unloaded and chose our tables.

This was Nick’s first Texas workshop and he enjoyed putting faces with many of his email friends and making more friends who had traveled great distances to study with this wonder boy of the watercolor world. The morning was spent by lecture and some short demos and he even had some of the students participating. He has an art theory about good art with 3 questions to ask.

1. Do I like it?

2. Could I do that or paint something similar? Yes…that’s why we’re here..we want to paint like Nick. He thinks technique can be learned and most artists are at this stage. Now for the kicker.

3. Would I have thought to do it? Why didn’t I think of it? That’s the interesting question. All great art comes from imagination and creativity. One look at Fresh Sushi hanging on the wall and I’d have to regretfully fail on No. 3.

Nicholas encouraged us to paint large, experiment with nonstandard sizes and shapes and while in his workshop “Do Nick’s thing while here” – in other words follow instructions and when he arrives at your table to check your work, don’t have a finished painting for him to view but wait for his demo and explanation. He encouraged us to embrace the blossom or crawl back and even encouraged them to happen. Let the hair dryer become your best friend to create unpredictable edges.

Today we used cold press paper and traditional watercolor for our paintings after Nick told us several things he hates to see in watercolors and we will use the fluid acrylics on Tuesday. One of these things that drives him crazy is “clunky buildings” so our mission today was to paint a non-clunky building and he mentioned artists that we should study their work for good building examples. Since our time is limited, a simple structure was chosen and we were admonished to do a simple building well.

Here is my simple building. I wish you could join us for Tuesday’s class.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fort Worth Community Arts Center ~ CBC ~ Karl Umlauf

This is one of the Canvas by Canvas' newest paintings and can be seen "On the Easel" on the home page.
Yesterday found some of the members hanging our show at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center Art Cafe. Excusa if some of the photos are a little blurry or off centered as our main concern was getting them hung, centered and 58" from the floor.
Karl Umlauf will have a show in the main gallery area. To read more about the artist, check out the June FWCAC newsletter. Other sites of interest would be the Gallery 2 David Dike Fine Art and Estates and David Dike Fine Art.
Classical station WRR 101.1 FM has the event on their arts calendar and will be announcing other details.

See some of our paintings below and please visit the FWCAC and check them out in person as they will appear a lot clearer than in this slide show. Mouse over for captions. If you're not familiar with our work, we are a collaborative group of 9 artists and we each will paint an individual square and look closely at the paintings and you will find our initials somewhere on each square.