Deja Vu

Have you ever been somewhere and you know the place, but you have never been there before? The surroundings are familiar and you know what lies beyond the corner. This is Deja Vu I believe. Is it a spiritual thing, a past life prehaps? It is very profound especially if you are praying and talking to God about the same experience or subject matter. Then is it a vision of something good in your future?  It is the same thing as Seed, time and harvest I believe. You plant a seed of Faith about something you hope for or work for in your life. Then time…..good old time…the test of virtue and patience. When you are going through   [fill in the blank] it takes forever and you feel it will never be over. Then when the time has passed and you reflect on the waiting you just went through and passing of the time seems like a week ago, but in reality it was a year or so ago. In retrospect we need to Trust God and His way even when it doesn’t seem like the situation will work out in our favor; the Time.  Then the Gift…….the Harvest and Blessings. My father always told me you get out of life what you put in into it……..seed, time and harvest. Very interesting. When God opens a door…..No man can shut. Take a moment to reflect on your blessings and notice how and where God is in the mix. Saying no where is NOT an option.

Just thought I’d share. I think it makes me the artist I am. Do not ever be afraid to be who you are or someone you were create to be. Don’t be afraid to dream Big dreams for yourself…..God will fulfill the desires of our hearts to those whom Love Him.

Loud House.

Here I sit in front of the computer and a watercolor waiting behind me waiting for my attention. Awe. Loud house! All the family is home, the friends are coming and going and just too many distractions to paint. I need to find a mellow zone so I can concentrate for a certain bit of time. Now, someone wants a haircut…..I just want to paint and create my art. I am patiently waiting for that season to show itself. Count my blessings right? I think at a certain point in a super Mom’s life we need our needs met.

On a happy note, life drawing is awesome. I love Thursday nights at Lafayette College. A special Thank you to Lafayette College for hosting and Crayola for sponsoring. Life drawing is the foundation for all art. You need to know how to draw realism before you can manipulate it, plain and simple. I will post a few new sketches as follows. I love drawing Elizabeth when she models for us; she is so elegant and her persona as a greek goddess would look. My drawings are not picking up on that like I’d like to portray. I am really beat and much need of a rest in every aspect and I see my artwork here is reflecting it. By Thursday evening I was exhausted, but didn’t want to miss the class time. The perspective is off………But, with every drawing comes a store-house of solid foundation for the next drawing. Keep pressing through. I enjoy this next sketch, but I ran out of room at the bottom of the paper. I like challenging myself with foreshortening views.

Another day.

Tonight is the last night for life drawing at Lafayette College for the next two months. I am a bit sad because once in life drawing studio again I realize how much the class has reinforced what I have already studied. That life drawing in the foundation for all art, either if you are a painter or whatever medium you work in. It is hard to manipulate realism if you do not have a basis or understnding for it first. Like I stated before sometimes I am not in the mood to draw by 7 pm at night! For the simple reason it has been a long day, I have back pain and really don’t do not feel like putting forth effort….many other reasons, but I need to prove to myself this is the only way I will improve as an artist on all levels. I need to have a strong foundation in order to stand tall so to speak. So, today I will attend in hopes to draw a professional model that doesn’t move so much. If I get tired of sketching gesture poses I will and need to concentrate on drawing hands and foreshortening views.  I have this watercolor I am starting in hopes to enter this juried show in NY by the end of July. I have it drawn out and I like it so far; I am having some trouble with the foreshortening of the one hand. I will try to work on that in a bit.

I have included a picture of my sketch that was drawn out in a “H” graphite pencil. If you use the H pencils be careful not to press hard on the paper/board because it will impress your paper with a mark or indent that will not come out. Do not press hard!  Also when starting to prepare your watercolors make enough of the base color, for example: This wc has blue as the base color of the car which means I need a lot of blue pigment. I use a porcelain egg tray for my palette, I find it works better than a porcelain plate because of the wells. I will make at least three pots “wells” of the same color blue in sure that I have enough of the same color blue to pull from. If one dries up it doesn’t matter just add water once again. Covering up a watercolor palette until next time just makes the paint have a funny texture for the next time…..just re-water to activate again.

This composition is starting to come into a 18 inch square and this I don’t care for. If it was Folk art then it would work, but I need to extend it somehow. Maybe by continuing the car a bit longer on the left side? That will give me the opportunity to show off some reflection work. I will see once I work a little longer on this.

 I ended up changing the arm angle and drawing in the hand larger in the picture below. Took the composition to 16×20, this way it wont be so expensive to frame because 16×20 is a standard size. I need about three hours straight to start painting and right now it’s late…home from life drawing which eas excellent as always. Now, for two months I can have Thursday night free.

Follow the Form.

It is very important to follow the form in drawing when trying to create realism. Shade in the form in the direction of the object you are trying to render. In the next two pictures notice how the cat’s backside is flat in the first picture below. Notice how the backside looks after the highlights were added in the shape of the form. Use the light and dark contrast to your advantage. We worked on composition and putting in darker values.

I know how intimating drawing can be and it gets very frustrating when you are not sure what to do next, but keep trying and don’t be afraid to use rich “B’s” pencils. Squint at the picture and see how your drawing looks….is there a value range in graphite? Joan still needs to fine tune the drawing; the darks need to be added and don’t be afraid of the eraser. This drawing of Belle Looks Fabulous! Way to go Joan! A+. Great job!

Artist tip: The “H” pencils are hard and warm tone and the “B” pencils are cool tone and softer graphite. The coolness in value shades will sink into the background while warm tones will come forward in space.

Art shows Great site for juried show listings.

Remember before you get completely wrapped up in a protenial show read all the fine print! The shows have requirements such as size, material, medium, framing, title of show/entry, theme of the show and dead lines etc. Know that you may need to take your artwork to a certain place on a certain date, so make sure you can get the artwork to the place they tell you at the time they state.

Also read who the judges are and look up what style of artwork they create. It is helpful to view their work on line so you know what to expect. The show may also be for members only and closed to the public. Just make sure you read all the fine print.

Art Competitions as follows:

deadline is July 16th.















All Media Art Competition

This competition is now accepting entries.  The top winner will appear in our July/August 2013 issue.

Click here for guidelines and to enter.



Pastel Journal Pastel 100 Competition

The 14th Annual Pastel 100 is now accepting entries. Winners will be featured in the April 2013 issue and will be awarded more than $15,000 in cash and prizes.

Click here to learn more and enter


Over 60 Art Competition

The Over 60 Competition presented by The Artist’s Magazine is now accepting entries. Winners will appear in the March 2013 issue.

Click here to learn more about this competition


Southwest Art Artistic Excellence Competition

Southwest Art’s newest competition is now accepting entries. Winners appear in the December 2012 issue. Deadline to enter is July 15, 2012

Click here for details and to enter



Being an artist; part 2

Hey there, I finally had a chance to print the two pictures I want to take this new watercolor from. IDK why I am so afraid of my photo printer? Anyway, I have two pictures I am going to pull from. I decided it is time I start to enter juried shows. The show entries’ fee can be expensive and it adds up quickly. Who really has an extra hundred dollars lying around these days? I am gonna bit the bullet so too speak and enter a show coming up by the end of July. Who knows maybe my lucky stars are with me and I can win something right? As soon as I get this new watercolor drawn out I will start to post the progression.

Being an artist.

I was thinking about when people you are meeting for the first time and they ask “What you do for a living?”  It took me a long time to be able to say “An artist” in a prideful manner.  In my experiences people often have a raised eye brawl and look at you with disappointment that you don’t measure up somehow.  Not that you need their approval.  I think it is just human nature to want to be accepted on some level. Unless you are truly known for your art, then these people can’t wait to be seen with you. In college studios you’re surrounded by other artist usually a bit stranger then you and you fit right in no questions asked! Boy, do I miss my college days. I don’t know if for the reason of being young again or if I knew then what I know now? probably a little of each. Young people today have the same stresses just bumped up a notch or two; this I have noticed the past few semesters in the college darkroom.

 When I was teaching and someone would ask “What do you do?” and when I replied; “I am a teacher” I didn’t feel so convicted or out-of-place and somewhat respected. Maybe it’s just me? 

I believe that my art talent is God-given and If I feel ashamed about being an artist God can not honor my work or even bless and anoint it. Like I said it has taken me a long time to get to this point, and not that I don’t care what people think of me…..I have grown spiritually in my life and I like where I am in my life [this season].  Then I was thinking earlier today “I am not painting/drawing enough” and then in my studio I have recent artwork everywhere! Wow! The past six months I have been working my butt off with my portfolio. Then it occurred to me “Do not let the devil trip your ass up”! Whisper crap into your ear; always something negative “Your not good enough” or “Your art sucks”. I tell you ……it is Not you thinking all these negative thoughts! Don’t believe the lies of the devil. God loves you and has a great plan for your life. Just imagine what artwork you can create if you had a positive view of yourself. Plus, your artwork will flow with ease. Keep a sketchbook because you may not be able to paint all the ideas you have at once!

Composition is key. Taking 100 pictures of the same subject forces you to not only look at the subject differently; it forces you to see the composition outside your comfort zone.  Presses you to challenge your skills and the norm of the subject you are photographing. In so you will learn to see and recognize good compositions in the future. You want to provoke emotion in your art. The person viewing your art will stand in front of it much longer if you tell a story in the artwork itself. A subject matter that means something to them the viewer; a fond memory of growing up for example. You need to set the scene in your art and why would someone look at your work?  A strong title is important also. I struggle with composition myself from time to time. You want movement in your composition meaning lines, shapes and forms that have your eye going throughout the artwork.  A light source to establish the time of day and what feeling or experience do you want the viewer to take from your art? There is a lot to think about when it comes to composition. Just the look on someone’s face in your work can tell a story.

I like to photograph and use my own pictures for reference; do not use someone else’s artwork for your own unless you ask the artist. If then give credit to the artist whom took the picture.

I am going to start entering juried shows, I had some photography published in college and it has been a long time over-do and its time to turn my work up a notch!

American Artist Watercolor magazine is hosting a juried competition for watercolor artist named, “What do you love?”.  Here is the link: for all the rules. Deadline for entry is August 6th, 2012.

I have a few competitions and dates written down somewhere and I will post in the next day or so. I have a great awesome composition in mind for this juried show and I will post the in-progress of this new piece. I did the photography today!


Water study.

The reflection of colors I would miss if I didn’t take the time to see. Simply beautiful.In the last two post I posted pictures of the fountain water. As an artist I know how the light changes the appearance of the water or any subject. The water actually doesn’t change color. It is the strength of the light that changes the color or reflection of color at a glance. Isn’t it interesting when the water is in our hands it is clear and simply not able to contain rich color meaning we can not stand alone without God. Only in a deep-sea [with God] its blue or rich with color. It reminds me of a scripture when Jesus told His disciples to cast their nets out into deeper waters if they wanted to catch fish. Out in deeper waters [with God] and only there are the reward of more blessings and fulfillment.

The following pictures are at different light times; daylight and pre-evening sunset. In three of the pictures there are reflections of all color or rainbow sparkles. Look at the picture directly below in the upper right hand corner; there I captured the reflection of all colors. I was trained to see the pending art in the camera lens and I like it that way. It may take more time and effort on my part; but that does allow me to see and appreciate the beauty the way God made it. Not a way I can change it,  because then the results are false. The outcome  of spending time and appreciating the beauty God created makes me feel closer to Him by spending the time well spent. Obedience is rewarded by Blessings from God. I could enhance the reflection with brighter colors, but I know I wouldn’t be happy with it because it’s not a true picture and there’s a falsehood about it. Taking the time to go back into a subject also forces me as artist to improve upon my insight of composition. How can I improve the angle of the subject or what makes this picture a portfolio piece? What sets me apart from other artist photographing water? I can tell you this if the picture has been altered in an art program it doesn’t have the value as the untouched photo does. So, if I get a chance today or tomorrow I will photograph again and see what God shows me.  I am going to paint one of these pictures and will post the progression.

How light changes colors.

I always knew but recently noticed how the color of the water changes so much in the water reflection of my fountain. I will photograph more pictures of the fountain at different times  and post the comparisons. Here are the few I have; Pre evening below.DaytimePre sunset.

Prepare for art.

Life can be busy sometimes if we let it …..

and a bit overwhelming. If you are an artist and I am assuming you are even if you don’t actually have the time to sit down and paint/draw, but have a great idea for a piece of art…… keep a drawing journal. Jot down small thumbnail pictures or quick sketches for later when you have a bit more time. Look around you there are beautiful pending pictures or ideas everywhere. Last night I had a few hours of silence in this house and it was a welcomed quite. I took the time to sit on my porch and just listen to the birds and watch the sun set. I like to spend the time listening for God to speak into my life [heart]. I worked on my fountain and tried to get it not too leak! I am adding a few pictures of the water, which looks amazing up close. It’d be a hard watercolor I think, not sure what medium I’d use? I will look again tonight to see how the sun comes in over the water. I just love these pictures.  I also photographed a bowl of hard-boiled eggs; fabulous shadows and value study. I believe I will work on a drawing of the eggs, maybe wc. The water photos I will work on in the near future; I just want to catch the water when there is more colorfull light. God is so good.