God's Palette

Watercolor on Montval Watercolor Paper
It's feeling like Autumn today. The air is cold and the wind is blowing like crazy. And, all of the leaves from the trees are swirling around in the air. I let Pearl out and walked out back with her. Leaves were scattered around my feet all over the patio in a beautiful array of colors and patterns. I picked up a few and set them on my desk. Later I was inspired to get away from my computer for a bit and try to capture a little of the outdoor color from God's palette on my paper.
And, now I'm back to Christmas card illustration on the computer. The fun was nice while it lasted.

New toys

Actually, new tools is what they are. I bought some cool, new brushes for Photoshop and Painter from John Derry (one of the original authors of Corel Painter), and I've been trying them out on some projects for 123Print. I'm liking them very much! The Photoshop brushes make Photoshop behave much like Painter, which simplifies my workflow considerably. Everything I do in Painter I have to bring into Photoshop anyway, so now I can do it all in one place. Here are a few things I've tried...

While I was watching (I guess listening really) to one of John's videos about using the Dry Media Brushes, I painted along, too, in Photoshop. He painted an apple and I decided that was a good place to start just for fun.
Having completed that, I thought I'd try out the brushes on some real work...
The cover and inside to holiday greeting cards went very smoothly and the client approved!
So, I tried again...
And, again they liked the result.
John's Artist Brushes for Photoshop and Watercolor Brushes for Corel Painter are equally as cool! And, when buying one of these, I messed up—hadn't had my first morning cup of coffee yet. I contacted John and heard back right away with a fix for my problem. From his emails he sounds like a great guy!
Thanks for the help John, and keep those new toys... er... tools coming!


Gouache on watercolor paper

We celebrated 28 years on September 4th. Since I had the big Summer wedding prep behind me, I was able to sneak in some time between other projects to paint a piece for my Sweetie, which was very long overdue. He's a big astronomy buff and he sang this song to me at our wedding. When I was thinking about quotes I might use I thought of this and thought no more. It seemed like the perfect thing to give him.

I love you Sweetie. Here's to at least another 28 years.

Art in the Mail!

I received the most wonderful package in the mail over the weekend! A couple of weeks ago I tried my luck at a giveaway on one of my favorite artist blogs—and I WON! Original art! By a very favorite artist who lives now in Miami but is originally from Venezuela! Valentina Ramos' art is truly exquisite—the detail in the patterns of her beautiful illustrations and art blows me away. And, now I own an original piece of hers. It's a beautiful three dimensional piece and I am in love. Please visit her website or her Etsy store and show her some love, too!

Now, my dilemma, where to hang it?!

¡Muchas gracias, Valentina!

Oh Poop!

This morning I got pooped on. Really. Pearl got all nervous on the way to the groomer and it was flying poop in the car. So I set her down on the grass (freshly MOWED grass) next to the groomer's to see if she was done, and she started to run away! I ran after her, picked her up and my favorite light tan shorts got smeared in grass clippings and stains. I had other plans but had to come home to get cleaned up. Forget the other plans. I thought about going back to bed. But, I pushed past the humiliation and despair and sat down at my computer. That's a good thing. It would've been real easy to forget it all after what happened. So, instead I cranked out a few more of the bulletin board pieces.

Ok, so they weren't ALL done today. But these are the ones I've finished up since the last post. Seeing them all together like this, I'm realizing I need to do some tweaking on the color for balance. Another good thing.
Then I played around with some gouache while listening to some good music—a little Death Cab and some Iron and Wine—some of Rachel's favorites I think.

Gouache and Micron pens on watercolor paper
I've recently seen quite a bit of this kind of pattern used a lot, especially in gouache. Thought I'd try it myself. It was fun and mindless. Not a bad thing.
Then I painted some lettering—a very favorite Torah quote—from the Torah portion that both girls chanted at their bat mitzvahs.
Gouache on watercolor paper
I did it freehand—no sketching before—just me and a paint brush, some nice chalky, matte gouache on a blank white sheet of paper. Fun. And nice to get past the fear of making mistakes without lots of planning ahead, even for something that doesn't really matter. Do you understand what I mean?
Now I'm going to check the laundry and see if the poop and grass stains came out of my shorts.

Photo Play in Carmel, Indiana

We went on a road trip a couple of weekends ago, bringing all of the wedding presents to the newlyweds. I brought along my "big" camera, but so often it's just too big to carry around. Having the iPhone in my pocket is so convenient and the cool apps make picture taking even more fun. Even when I'm shooting photos of everyday "stuff" apps like Toy Camera and Hipstamatic give me interesting artsy pics. Carmel is a cool town and provided some good subject matter, especially around the Arts and Design District. We had a great dinner at Woodys Library Restaurant, where the menus were inside volumes of old encyclopedias. Very fun! H & D are lucky to be living in such a cool place. Enjoy the pics!

Play Day

I took some time away from the computer today to play with watercolors and colored pencils. I probably had too much work to do, but I did it anyway. I've had this blog for about 5 years now. Where has the time gone?! I don't think I've changed the banner image in all of that time. So that's what I did today—I painted a new banner. It didn't make me any money or give me billable hours, but I had a nice break in a quiet house to play. I think I need to do that more often!