Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fealing Lin

The National Watercolor Society hosted a demonstration today with Fealing Lin.  The new gallery was a great spot for the full-house crowd who came to see this internationally recognized NWS signature artist. It was interesting to learn that Fealing was originally a dentist from Taiwan.  Besides being an outstanding watercolorist, she has a delightful personality.

Fealing used a hot-press block for her portrait, which was taken from one of her Renaissance Fair photos. While using local color as a basis, she identifies the subtle warms and cools to lay in a variety of colors as a tinted background.  Using her "Sean Connery" model of facial planes, she carves out the features by changing temperature or value as the planes change. Subsequent layers keep warms over warms and cools over cools in most cases.  Fealing beautifully linked and opened passages into each other through lost edges.  I found it enlightening to see how she made shadows and their larger shapes. Rather than lay in a literal "shadow-colored shape", she moved through the shape adding darker colors of the local color.

"Beyond Melody and Poetry"
This demonstration was inspiring and quickened my inner enthusiasm for painting people.  I thoroughly enjoyed my first full workshop ever with Ted Nuttall and saw similarities in their approaches. Fealing Lin gave an excellent demonstration, and I cannot wait to see the completion of the painting!!  With apologies for the flash glare and poor photo quality, the picture to the right  shows her recent work that was juried into the 2010 National Watercolor Society Annual Exhibition.  She is one of the contributing artists to the Northlight book Watercolor Secrets by Rachel Rubin Wolf.   Her self-portrait is featured on the cover of the book.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kyliefornia Watercolor Awards

My granddaughter, Kylie, had the day off school yesterday, so my daughter and I took her to visit the spectacular Watercolor West Exhibition in Brea.  It is a beautiful gallery, and I thought the show was outstanding!!  I particularly enjoyed how they grouped the paintings together.  All the florals were together, all the portraits/figurative works, all the glassware, urban scenes, water scenes, etc.  It gave the viewer an opportunity to enjoy the various subjects side-by-side.  Kylie and I would look at the panels of florals, for example, and she would pick out her favorite.  Then, we would talk about why she liked that painting best.  It gave this Uma's heart joy to see her eyes light up about a particular painting and give concrete reasons that it appealed to her.  I was also thrilled to see how her little, five-year-old self often picked those that were picked by the exhibition's juror!  So, here are the choices and juror comments of the Kyliefornia Watercolor Awards...named after it's juror, Kylie Devoto.  Kylie has been studying art with an emphasis on markers and crayons at her preschool for 3 years and Kindergarten for 2 months.  Her personal works can be viewed on Uma's refrigerator by appointment.
"Crab Cooker" by Francesca Brayton
"The Barnacle Boat"  by Dan Burt

"Kohala Honu" by Marilyn Wear 

"Chinatown Restaurant" by John Salminen

"Double Delight" by Katherine Barrows

My daughter's selection for BEST OF SHOW
"Dancer's Glow" by Maureen Wheeler

"Butterfly Delight" by Clonard Thomas

"Mosquito Wash"  by Mike Padian

"Wave Action" by John Hewitt

"Gompha 2" by Ratindra Das 

"At Rest" by Bev Jozwiak


"Valentine Roses" by Kathleen Ballard
I asked Kylie to guess what painting I would want out of the whole show.
She raced around the panel and said, "This one, Uma!"
And she was exactly right!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nancy Goldman ~ Tustin Art League

This is the second month that I've attended the Tustin Art League meeting. This relatively small art group has offered excellent demonstrators.  Sharon Sakimoto, a professional photographer, was the demonstrator in October and gave an extremely helpful tutorial on how to photograph art work for entry into competitions.

Last night's demonstration was given by Nancy Goldman, a diversely talented and hard-working artist from the Santa Ana/Tustin area who presented the beautiful art of silk painting. The audience was fascinated about the dyes and other products used.  While the application looked similar to watercolor, silk painting requires a resist to prevent the dye from invading reserved areas in the fabric and had other characteristics that determine the desired method of application.  Nancy was extremely knowledeable about the product choices and techniques.  She was an excellent demonstrator, fielding almost incessant questions from the audience who were eager to learn more about it. She provided numerous finished samples of her handiwork to depict the results of each technique.  It was very apparent that Nancy had invested hours preparing to give real-life examples of each stage of the process.  It was like a cooking show where she would paint on the fabric and then "pull one out of the oven" that was already dried and ready for the next step. 

She showed how different types of salt resulted in various textures and how droplets of alcohol could yield beautiful variations.  From the first application of the drawing on paper to recommendations on framing the finished piece, Nancy gave us a wonderfully full picture of the medium's beautiful qualites. She also generously donated two GORGEOUS paintings to be raffled off for the group.  People were grabbing up tickets like a day-after-Thanksgiving frenzie!!  Unfortunately, my daughter and I didn't possess the lucky tickets, but two grateful individuals went home with treasures.

Check out Nancy's short video of the process on her website post from November 1, 2010 "Silk Angels":

She will be teaching Silk Painting classes soon.  Contact Nancy at:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gerald Brommer

The Demonstration Artist for the Huntington Beach Art League last night was Gerald Brommer.  It was glowingly evident that this past President of NWS loves to paint.  The main message I got out of his demo was that an artist is free to edit a scene to make it better or to communicate a message.  He said that copiers just copy stuff.   Painters are trying to  visually convey a descriptive feeling about a place. Brommer said, "A picture is something you're in.  A painting is something you create."  We all laughed along as he shared several stories that resulted from his skillful editing of scenes.  One person "recognized" the exact location of a painting that was really a conglomeration of the best parts of several towns. Another couple took a picture of their painting with them on vacation to track down the exact spot.   They concluded he must have painted it in a private location.

Mr. Brommer laughed with enjoyment using a handy little tool that Joe (Cheap Joe) gave him at a workshop  - The Cheap Joe's Paint Pusher. ( After applying a healthy thickness of paint, he scraped out trees, striations on the mountain half-dome, and grasses.  Better than using an old credit card, the inexpensive paint pusher has several angles and edges to give different marks. Broomer smiled at his handiwork, delighted with the ease of the gadget, saying that we can now throw out most of our brushes. 

Brommer told a humorous story about palettes. He and his wife were watching another artist's demonstration.  After a few strokes of color, the artist took out a tissue and carefully wiped his palette clean.  Brommer's wife leaned over and whispered to him, "What is he doing?"  His own palette is, shall we say, "well-seasoned" with layers of paint and sufficient palette mud.

A beautiful print was donated by Gerald for the door prize winner.  The ticket sales go to fund an HBAL scholarship. One of his beautiful w/c + collage pieces was auctioned.  For those interested in collage, my friend Nancy Standlee posted her Gerald Brommer Collage Workshop photos at Seems like he's got lots of fun techniques up his sleeve. I'll never tire watching master artists do their handiwork.  Each has such a unique approach.  It is encouraging and exciting to use a medium where there are always new ideas emerging.

Monday, November 1, 2010

John Salminen

Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a demo day featuring John Salminen.  Sweet friend and mega-talented artist, Nancy Goldman, also attended, and we soaked up many new ideas from this AWS Dolphin Fellow!  Initial technical malfunctions enabled us to have a lengthier time hearing about his background and mentors including six quarters of instruction from the amazing watercolorist, Cheng Khee Chee. Due to their style differences, I would have never guessed this influence in Salminen's paintings, but Cheng Khee Chee's words of wisdom were repeatedly acknowledged throughout the painting process along with a few techniques from another surprising influence, Bob Ross! A beautiful painting was accomplished in the day, despite the technology challenges.  Oh, how I wish I could have bid on the piece which went to the lucky bidder for a song! 

Unique tools were used including a Magic Eraser Original and a mouth atomizer.  Hardware store masking tape was a key player in the result. It constantly amuses me to hear how masters, such as Salminen, use such tools as generally "whatever brushes he gets" to produce such enviable results.  I am always eager to discover what secret brush or paint brand artists hold in their arsenal.  It actually runs through my mind that if I purchase that product (not necessarily USING it), my paintings will soar to new heights.  With an 84 color palette (ok...a slight exaggeration) and packages of unopened stuff in my closet, it hasn't happened yet!  I'm beginning to get the picture that there are a few important items:  quality paper and a handful of artist grade paints!  It has become clear that the more important ingredients are a knowledge of values, basic design principles, and color characteristics. Top that with actually cracking open some of those goodie bag tricks and practice, practice, practice to learn when and how to use them.

Even after viewing in person one of Salminen's mind-boggling masterpieces, I believe it was "Rainy Day, Times Square,"  I was still surprised to find he does 90% of his painting with a #4 brush!! 

They announced that Fealing Lin will be doing a demo on November 14th.  I can't wait to see yet another approach to this fantastically diverse medium of watercolor!


When we walked out of the NWS luncheon Saturday, my husband noticed a beautiful grand piano in the hotel lobby.  It was draped with a crisp white linen cloth and had a little, but clearly worded note on the top:  "PLEASE DO NOT PLAY THE PIANO.  The Management"

It really struck a chord with him.  How many of us have some level of abilities and even some training or expensive tools to use them, but we don't" play the beautiful piano"?! We're afraid we won't be good enough or that we'll mess it up, so we let it sit idle in the corner.

NWS President, Mike Bailey has a great post on his blog with similar sentiments.  He says:

Mastery is not a trait someone is born with or is given as a gift. Every good artist I know puts in way more time than many folks do at a job. They dream about it at night. They read and study about it. They drill themselves in exercises and studies. They are often compulsive about it. They are willing to risk failure daily in order to have the opportunity to make a single success at painting. So, if you want to really compliment an artist (musician, dancer, actor, painter, sculptor etc.) let them know you appreciate their insatiable efforts to get better and better. It really is quite a cool way to live . . . . .it is most fulfilling!!

Read the entire post at

I'm determined to pull off the cloth, sit down, practice and get better at whatever measure of talent I've been given.  It might not be pretty to begin with, but I'm going to put some brushes and paint on the paper daily and make some kind of music!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

NWS 90th Anniversary Luncheon and Exhibition

This has been such a wonderful day!!  My husband and I attended the NWS Awards Luncheon and Opening Exhibition.  I didn't even enter, let alone get accepted, but I was taking the advice of Judi Betts.  At our workshop, Mrs. Betts said that she attended the national shows for years before getting accepted.  It's a means of viewing excellent art and seeing the juror's eye. It's a great opportunity to get advice from seasoned professionals.  Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life) has introduced a new series called "Decade of Destiny" where he encourages outlining a goal process for the next 10 years of our lives.  Without a hopeful plan of action, it's easy for goals to go by the wayside as the years disappear.  So I've made some long-term aspirations for myself, both  personally and with art.  Attending the exhibition was a little bit of vision-casting and an amazing event.

When we first walked in to the luncheon, I could not believe my eyes!  My Wetcanvas/Facebook friend, Marvin Chew, had flown in from Singapore as one of the artists juried into the 90th NWS Exhibition.  I have such an admiration for this accountant-by-day watercolorist who is brilliant at perspective and more!  He does some of his work plein air on a little low stool that makes my back hurt just describing it.  It was such a joy to get to meet him in person. Check out Marvin's watercolors at :
He has a new book out, as well, that is shown on the website.
We sat with Marvin at lunch, and he introduced me to another artist at the table, Keiko Tanabe.  My mouth dropped, because I realized that I had just read the most lovely article in the December 2010 Watercolor Artist about Keiko. It highlighted a beautiful blog post  she'd written about the importance of Cherry Blossoms emerging in Japan. ( Keiko has been juried into the 12th Biennial Salon de l'Aquarelle de Belgique, was a finalist in the Southwest Art's 21 over 31 Emerging Artist's competition, and was awarded the Merwin Altfeld Memorial Award and Signature Status at today's NWS Exhibition.  She is so NICE!  Her son served as Mr. Van Winkle's helper in distributing Richeson door prizes to lucky winners. Keiko has studied with Alvaro Castagnet, who is an obvious influence in her work.  One of his magnificent watercolors was also part of the paintings juried into the show.

Other outstanding artists at our table were both from California, too.  Nancy Near's "Sunlit Andrew"(right and below) took my breath away when I saw it at the gallery.  Khris and I were both surprised it didn't nab one of the awards.
Sally Tippman's "Body Language" was a super figurative work!  I misapplied the term gestural to it -thinking that term meant full of movement in the figures, but I intended it as a compliment.  Her figures came to life on the paper. View her work at

At one point, I nearly accosted Jack Richeson for a photo. He was also a super nice guy.  Among the other honored guests, including several past NWS presidents, I was rather star-struck with John Salminen and Mike Bailey. 

At the exhibition, we got to see  paintings from Castagnet, Paul Jackson, Frank Francese, Judy Morris, Todd Levetzow,  Fealing Lin, Kathleen Maling, Kim Seng Ong, Sandi D'Alessandro, Donna Zagotta...the list goes on and on.  One of my favorites in the show was the amazing work of Myrna Wacknov.  Talk about a creative individual - WOW!

If you have the opportunity don't miss out on the exhibition in San Pedro, CA!

Palm Springs Rocks

Clever title - ehhh?  I don't know if this one is actually finished, but I am the point where every little change made is regretted - so it's time to stop.  I am not fond of those background droopy things. I came close to tearing the paper when trying to remove some of them, so they'll have to hang around. (Pardon the pun!)  This was done in a class on how to paint rocks - which I truly enjoyed.  Now, to sign up for a rippling water class and a wall of palm fronds class...sigh.  Even though it was a "learning painting", I think my Mom will enjoy it for Christmas. (Mums the word!) This was started in class from a reference photo provided for us by Geri Medway.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

If you get a chance to take classes from Geri Medway, TAKE CLASSES FROM GERI MEDWAY!

For the last five weeks, I've had the pleasure of weekly watercolor classes from Geri Medway, and they have been wonderfully challenging.  The class has loaded me with techniques to practice on for a long time! As I've mentioned in an earlier blog post, Geri is an NWS signature member and long-time Festival of the Arts exhibitor. Her paintings are some of my favorites ever - filled with saturated color and artistic realism.  Her range of subject matter is amazing. Most impressive to me are her incredibly complex scenes of congregated koi or tumbled grasses along pebble-filled creekbeds.  Her approach consists of glowing underpaintings, built-up glazes, painting shapes, and value contrast, but beyond her years of experience perfecting those strategies, she shared with us a treasure chest of color knowledge that will hopefully, as implemented, keep many of my paintings out of the trash heap.

My favorite class was - ROCKS.  How can someone make a painting of boulders so fascinating and luminous as Geri?  This class followed a study on sedimentary colors where she gave us her favorite granulating combinations.   As I watched her apply one particular mixture onto the paper, my mind wondered, "That looks like Sepia. Why not just use Sepia and save the trouble?"  As it dried, the question was answered as well as the glaringly obvious reasons she's NWS and I'm not - she knows what she's doing!! Her "mud" mixture separated into a glowingly warm mixture of siennas and blues with touches of green and brown. In fact, we spent a whole afternoon mixing "mud" with her combinations that seperated into lovely arrays of colors that could never have been manually painted. I must also admit that my mother has encouraged me to do these color studies for years.  Geri took the photo above of my start to the rock painting.
It might take awhile to get this finished since I'm in GA right now visiting my new grandbaby, Sophie!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Huntington Beach Art League

The Huntington Art League holds monthly meetings just a stone's throw from the beautiful ocean.  I attended the meeting on Wednesday and was really impressed!  All levels of artists from beginners to master class painters attend.  This month's demonstration artist was Bernard Fallon. He is from England and is an excellent photographer and artist in several mediums.  His demo at the meeting was a scene of a mountainside field - done in pastels.  The group has many submissions to their monthly art contest.  Mr. Fallon chose the winners in each category.  I felt lucky that my painting, Inkoiry, was selected as Honorable Mention, especially given the number and quality of work exhibited in the watercolor category.  Michael Allen (Punke)'s gorgeous painting received the blue ribbon.  He is one of the many art teachers that are members of HBAL.  I know it will be a great experience to be part of this organization.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


The Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach is one of the most spectacular things I've ever seen!  We attended the special Gala tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The Pageant is part of the Festival of the Arts.  Live people in costume are placed in scenes within illusionally engineered backdrops from master paintings.  Then, the lighting is altered and, before your eyes, the people look "flattened" and part of a gigantic painting.

To quote the pageant website, "What is it? Ninety minutes of "living pictures" - incredibly faithful art re-creations of classical and contemporary works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. An outdoor amphitheater, professional orchestra, original score, live narration, intricate sets, sophisticated lighting, expert staff, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers have won recognition for the Pageant as the best presentation of its kind."

Cameras were not allowed in the pageant, but we were allowed to take photos of the gala in the festival area. The Festival of the Arts exhibitors were truly a cut above. Their work was displayed in beautiful indoor/outdoor galleries that encircled the festival grounds. Included in this select group was Geri Medway, the watercolor artist that I watched demo last week in San Clemente.  Her pieces were even more remarkable in person.  I'm excited to begin a five-week series of lessons with her in September.

A note to the wise who may attend this in the future...take a coat.  This is an OUTDOOR amphitheather.  That would have been good to know.  I had to stop and buy a fah-bu-luz hoodie to wear over my dress so I could survive the chilly ocean-side Laguna evening!! It kind of spoiled my attempts to play dress-up!
Bring a coat, but DO plan to attend this sometime in the future.  It's unique and amazing!

EDIT:  I just found another blogger who posted professional photos of  behind the scenes and pageant.  Check it out to see more fully what the pageant looks like.  INCREDIBLE!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nancy Goldman and Geri Medway

I had the pleasure today of meeting two fine California artists. One is a fellow blogger, Nancy Goldman.  She was volunteering at the Guggenheim Galley for the Orange Art Association's 14th Orange Open Juried Exhibition.  The show is great - including three of Nancy's excellent watercolors! Check out her blog

Nancy told me about a demo in San Clemente which I attended this evening featuring NWS signature artist, Geri Medway.  I was so impressed with her work and her ambitious paintings of such varied subjects.

Meeting new artists around the country - and world - is part of the fun of being an artist!

Geri Medway's demo at San Clemente Art Supply was GREAT! She showed a slide show of fifty or more paintings. She was super generous with information about techniques she used to accomplish each scene. It was like a quick-fire class of painting after painting. It was a wealth of information for anyone with even minimal painting experience. She’d answer endless questions about each painting and tell the brush, the colors, etc. She had several unique combinations of colors that result in different qualities for each application. On each painting, she would point to a particularly challenging or unique area and say, “I did this and this by doing…” I took notes until my fingers cramped, so I’ll have to go sort it all out. What I particularly loved were her candid comments about mistakes. On two different slides she said something along the lines of, “Now this is, unfortunately, not what this painting looks like now. I 'ruined' it later by glazing this or that over it…” How refreshing and encouraging for an expert painter to be so transparent (pardon the w/c pun)! The biggest “take-away” I got from her demo is that she is willing to tackle anything. Her subject matters were extremely varied (eucalyptus trees, koi, creek beds, desert rock formations, geese, comic strips, marbles, Christmas ornaments, complicated palm fronds, sunlit barns, rusty gas pumps). Each were ambitiously difficult and excellently rendered with the attitude, “Can I do it?!” I loved her tenacity.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Skip Lawrence SWS Demo

The SWS workshop was sold out, but I had the privilege of watching Skip Lawrence paint a demo for our SWS May meeting.  His gestural style resulted in a fantastic painting within the hour.  In addition, Stephen Quiller was in town for another workshop and decided to join us in the audience!  What a treat to meet these two talented individuals!

Friday, May 7, 2010

National Watercolor Society 2010 All Member Show

We just returned from the NWS 2010 All Member Show at their beautiful gallery in San Pedro, CA.  It was particularly special because my son, his wife, and my granddaughter were able to attend with us. Mr. Bailey spoke to her and said, "Are you the little girl who went whale watching?"  Kylie loved being recognized from the painting. It was such a treat to see many admired artists' work. To me, it was an awe-inspiring learning experience to walk through the gallery full of NWS and AWS signatures, as well as artists from all over the nation.

The view from San Pedro is gorgeous!  We took Loa Sprung's advice to go see the Korean Friendship Bell and enjoyed the incredible overlook area.