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Cat & Chicks


Hello Friends!

The other night I decided to get my Chinese brushes and ink out to play! So I tried painting the back of a cat and the little chicks it might be looking at.

My first chick came out a bit dark. Painting with ink is definitely a challenge!

I have finished my pen and ink drawing of a leafy sea dragon and am about to do a watercolor of it also. I will be submitting these to the publisher in Monday, hopefully. I need to get them scanned to send in an email. I still don’t know for sure yet whether they will use either one, but just in case, I probably shouldn’t post them.

I hope everyone is having a great Saturday! I am getting ready to paint the watercolor of the leafy sea dragon and hopefully finish my eagle watercolor.

Have a wonderful day and give someone you love a big hug! 😀


Sumi-e Painting By Children!!

Hello Friends!

I found a short but very cute video of some young Kindergarten teachers teaching the kids how to paint with Sumi-e Ink.  I used to teach pre-schoolers and doing art with them was one of my favorite things.  We never made the kids all do the same project.  We let them paint at their leisure whatever they wanted to paint.  I think this fosters their natural creativity and helps them feel free to express themselves.  I sometimes miss teaching kids, and someday I hope to be able to do something with pre-schoolers or kindergarteners again but only in the areas of art or teaching them to read.  Enjoy this!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

“Painting has to get back to its original goal, examining the…”

Art of Quotation

“Painting has to get back to its original goal, examining the inner lives of human beings.”

— Pierre Bonnard, French. Painter

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Inspiration Is All Around Us


Hello friends.  I saw the following wonderful video on the blog called Art of Quotation just now, and it inspired me…again.  This link takes you to Doug’s great blog!

First of all, I have shared this song “Vincent” by Don McLean on my blog before.  The song plays while Vincent van Gogh’s paintings are shown in the background.  However, I had never seen one of Don singing and playing the song.  I am sharing it because it is lovely.

I have always loved his voice especially the way he sings this song in particular.  When it came out in the ’70’s, when I was a whole lot younger, I didn’t really know it was about Vincent van Gogh, because I wasn’t interested in art back then nor did I know who van Gogh was!  I don’t remember ever learning about artists in school to tell you the truth.  I remember doing art in first grade and later in Jr. high, but I never had any good experiences with it back then.

I do have vague memories of painting at an easel in Kindergarten which are good.  These came back to me when I was taking classes for pre-school teaching 24 years ago and was working in the college’s child study center as a student aide.   That job was the best one I ever had!  The smell of the paint we mixed for the kids brought back my memories of painting at an easel in Kindergarten!  I even remembered the crinkly sound of the paper when my teacher took down our unique creations after they had dried.  Believe it or not, she didn’t make us all paint the exact same thing!  I don’t remember a whole lot about Kindergarten except a few kids who were in my class.  I have a few pictures of them around here somewhere.

Isn’t it funny how strong our senses are connected to our memories?  For instance, whenever I smell the spice of rosemary cooking on chicken, I remember the first time I ever cooked with it.  I was just about eight weeks pregnant, I think, and I had just put the chicken with rosemary and butter on it in the oven.  A little bit later I started feeling very nauseated so much so in fact, that I almost got sick.  (Sorry)  I just lay on the couch and felt like dying.  I went outside and walked around a little bit, though, yet  I remember how I suffered through the cooking of that chicken!  I felt stuck, because I couldn’t go off and leave it cooking in the oven when no one else was home.  My husband was at work, and we were living literally paycheck-to-paycheck, so I couldn’t just chuck it in the garbage either!   So I just waited for it to finish cooking as I moaned and groaned.  My husband said it tasted really great, but I wouldn’t know…I felt too sick to even look at it much less eat it! It’s funny because rosemary is my very favorite thing to put on chicken when I bake it now.  Strange, but true.

So what does any of this have to do with the song “Vincent?”  Nothing much really except to say that whenever I hear the song now, I see van Gogh’s beautiful work in my head.  I feel inspired.  I feel like someone who lived so very long ago understood where I am at right now even though he had no clue what really may have been causing his troubles.

Lately, I have not had any kind of plans for drawing or painting except to paint Sherri’s fox which was a pleasure to do.  As soon as I learned of her father’s death and saw the fox on my calendar (which is where it came from, but I have not photographer’s name to credit) I knew I wanted to paint it just for her.  Perhaps my own motivation comes when I want to bless others with something meaningful instead of just painting for the heck of it.  Not to say by any means that what I do for myself or for fun or for experimentation isn’t meaningful because it is.  Time spent on art is never a waste of time.  It’s just that when someone (in this case, Sherri) tells me that she cried when she opened her package, that is what made it all worth it.  I did have fun doing it, but knowing it touched her heart so deeply is what made it even more worthwhile for me.

Vincent van Gogh was an emotionally frustrated man, tortured really, by what people think may have been bi-polar disease.  I have a right-brained way of thinking myself….creative and packed full of feelings, plus clinical depression to boot, which I take medication for.  So I suppose this is why I love van Gogh and his work so much.

In the last couple of years I have been reading his personal letters to his brother Theo which I have posted about before, and they do reveal a very sensitive and loving man who just wanted and needed the validation from others for who he was and the work he did.  He desperately wanted to be taken seriously!  Isn’t that what all of us crave for the work we do?  Well, I know I do, so that is why I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all the wonderful compliments to my work that I have received in the last few days (and years) here on WordPress and on my Facebook page.

Let your friends and family inspire you.  You’ll be glad you did!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂



“This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.” For they could not love you But still your love was true And when no hope was left in sight On that starry, starry night You took your life, as lovers often do But I could’ve told you, Vincent This world was never meant […]

via “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.” — Art of Quotation

Sherri’s Red Fox


Hello everyone!  Today I learned that my friend Sherri Matthews finally received this 8×10 painting I did for her in honor of memories she has of her dad who recently passed away.  She loves foxes and the colors of Fall and it reminded her of all the times her dad used to take her and her brother out in the woods to explore when they were children.  So those were the things I was thinking about as I painted it for her.  (The picture will become bigger if you click on it.)

It was truly an honor to do something that meant so much to a good friend.  Sherri and I met here on WordPress a few years ago.  She lives in the UK with her lovely family whom she clearly loves with all of her heart.  She has been a really great friend to me even though we have never gotten to meet in person…..maybe someday!!  😉

I always feel encouraged whenever I receive a message from her on Facebook.  We became friends on there as well so that is how we communicate.  It is great to be able to make such a meaningful connection with someone so far away.  The only downside is not being able to sit down and talk over coffee or give each other hugs.  However, just being able to keep in touch across the miles is a really great gift.  I am so glad to have met Sherri here.  She has a beautiful blog here on WordPress called A View From My Summerhouse.  Here is a link to the story she wrote which inspired me to do the painting for her.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  She has many great stories, and she works hard as a writer.  I am thankful she is in my friend and in my life.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

(I love you, Sherri!  Big hugs to you!)

“Sorry, Charlie!”


Hello everyone!  Yesterday, before I did the Moose drawing I traced Charlie, the Tuna fish (some of you older folks may remember those commercials) onto some watercolor paper and painted him.  I have always loved tuna; my mom used to make the best tuna fish sandwiches I have ever eaten.  She put sweet pickle relish, Miracle Whip, and chopped up boiled egg in it.  I realize that may sound gross to some people, but we never had mayo in our house.  For some reason, we were a Miracle Whip family.  My family I have now has both in our house.  One to satisfy the Southern born girl (me) and the other to satisfy my Illinois raised husband and my daughter who has decided she likes mayo and dill pickles better in her tuna or chicken salad.

I don’t know what made me want to draw Charlie.  Maybe it was the fact that his glasses are same kind my dad used to have and my son has now.  Maybe nostalgia.  Or maybe just for the halibut! HA!  All I know is it was fun.

However, my background wasn’t planned and could be better so who knows maybe I will do him again in a different part of the ocean.

Have a wonderful day, (what’s left of it)  and give someone you love a big hug.  🙂

p.s. It is evening where I am right now, but all I know is it is 5:00 somewhere!

p.s.s. Here’s one of the Starkist Tuna commercials I remember being on television when I was a kid!


Painting Chinese by Herbert Kohl

 Hello Friends!

A couple of days ago I finished this book by Herbert Kohl called “Painting Chinese-A Lifelong Teacher Gains the Wisdom of Youth.”  This book is about an aging man who lived in San Francisco and had been a teacher for many years.  From the time he was 65 until age 70 he “created and directed a teacher education program at the University of San Francisco based on the idea of integrating issues of social justice throughout the curriculum, hoping to bring young idealistic people into public school teaching and to fortify them with the skills and stamina to make their dreams practical realities.” (pg. 3)  His program was successful and had helped thirty students.  After four years, much to his dismay, the university cut the program.

However, during the last year of that job, he wandered the streets of San Francisco gravitating toward Clement Street which was predominantly “Mainland and Taiwanese Chinese and Koreans with a mix of Asian Americans…” (pg. 4)  One day during one of his daily walks in that neighborhood he stumbled across a sign that said “JOSEPH FINE ARTS SCHOOL.”  The school taught classes in sculpture, calligraphy, drawing, and painting.  Herbert was a painter himself who had become bored with what he was doing on his own.  He went in to find Joseph Fine and inquire about the classes.

He found out that Joseph’s last name was really Yan.  He and his wife Janny taught classes there in all of the mediums the sign had listed.  Then feeling sheepish, Herbert realized his blunder…there was not a “Joseph Fine” as he had thought.  “It was the Joseph Fine Arts School.” (Page 6)  He decided to enroll.

Herbert’s first semester was a drawing class where he learned a great deal under Joseph’s patient and encouraging tutelage.  After he completed his first class he asked Joseph if he could take a painting class, and Joseph said yes, but he would have to start in a beginner class.  Much to Herbert’s surprise he found himself in a classroom of small children on the first day of his new painting class.  There were two five-year-olds, two seven-year-olds, and one six-year old.  It felt strange to Herbert at first to find out he was the only adult in the class, but as time went on he felt more comfortable.  Herbert had taught elementary school for many years before he was at the college so he loved getting to be around small children again. It made him feel like a child himself in his old adult body.  However, he did have to learn to restrain himself from helping the children whenever it seemed like they were struggling with something.  A couple of times he naturally tried to since he was used to teaching small children, but all it took was one stern look from Joseph to tell him it wasn’t his place.  Herbert learned to respect Joseph and his place as the instructor.  He learned to be a student again and loved it.

I could go on and on about this wonderful little book; instead, I would encourage you to read it for yourself especially if you are an aging person like I am.  I am 55, my youngest child is a senior in high school, and I am looking forward to my latter years in life much more than I have in a long time.

I want to learn to paint well with Chinese brushes and learn Asian calligraphy.  I have my new brushes now and my new book.  Today I tried doing the beginnings of Asian calligraphy with my Chinese brushes and ink.  Wow, it is really difficult!  I plan to stick with it as long as I can, though.

I admit I sometimes feel bored in life, but I have learned that as long as there is breath in me, I will never stop trying to learn something new.  Learning brings growth.  Growth brings maturity.  And hopefully, the maturity I gain will be able to be passed on to others as I age.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Chinese Brush Painting-Watercolor of Tiger, Bird and Fish

Hello Friends,

It has been a while since I have been able to post anything I’ve worked on this week.  This was my daughter’s first week back to school, and even though I only had to take her three days out of the four, two of those days I am in town with her are long.  She has a morning class and an afternoon class and two hours in between.  So we are there from 9 to 2:30.  When we waited in between classes, we went to Barnes and Noble and just hung out.  However, I did find a really great book there (even though I ended up ordering it for half the price on Amazon.)

The other day when my son took my daughter to school (which he will be doing 2 out of the 4 days now,) I painted this!

Tiger, Bird and Fish

The day before I painted it I was just messing around copying these images from the book “Chinese Brush Painting – Project Book for Beginners” by Helen Tse and Rebecca Yue that came with the kit I ordered.

The tiger is the first project, the goldfish is the third (I skipped the second which is a Chinese dragon) and the flowers and bird is the fourth project.  I am not fully satisfied with the instruction booklet because I feel it doesn’t spend enough time on showing and explaining brush strokes to learn with these Chinese brushes.  Also, one of the brushes that came with the kit kept losing hairs as I painted which was frustrating.  But as with anything in art I have learned that cheap equipment doesn’t last long.  I will probably have to invest in some much better Chinese brushes in order to continue learning this art.  However, that may have to wait until I research which are the best to buy.

In the meantime, I do have to say that the only part of this painting that I actually did with the brushes was the watercolor!  The drawing was done with my pens at Barnes and Noble that day because that was all I had with me.  I still love the look of pen and ink mixed with watercolor.  So my next project is going to be using the brushes in the Chinese ink that came with the kit.  I am not sure of how high a quality it is either, and I haven’t tried it just on the rice paper I bought without adding watercolor.  So that is what I plan to work on today.

In conclusion for today, I want to say that I do like the way this painting turned out.  I have never drawn or painted a tiger before.  Even though by Western standards of drawing in proportion, the goldfish is too big and the tiger too small, I still like the way they look separately. The bird is a little goofy looking, too, but I really want to do more fish now! (And more tigers!)  I will be sharing more at another time some of what I have been learning about Chinese brush painting and other things that go along with this beautiful art.

My next painting project is going to be a Stickleback fish for my friend Derek who also has a WordPress blog.  I think he is a wonderful photographer and writer, and his blog is great!  Check it out!

Until next time, have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

P. S. Tomorrow is my trip to the East Bay area of Walnut Creek, CA, to attend the picture book workshop that I signed up for a few months ago.  I hope it’s fun!  Stay cool everyone!



Chinese Brush Doodles

Hello friends.

Yesterday I said I was going to post my Chinese brush doodles that I did day before yesterday.  It was really a lot of fun!  However, as you can see, I do need a lot more practice!  I only used ink and will not be adding watercolor to my doodles for a while yet.  The kit I have came with six basic colors of watercolors.  I haven’t tried to use them yet, but I’m not sure that they will be much different than what I already have.

Anyway, the first things shown in the book are basic techniques:

  1.  Holding the brush – this is interesting, because I have to hold it straight up for many of the strokes!  My fingers have to grip it completely different than I learned for using a regular watercolor brush.  I like it, though.  It’s unique.
  2. Practicing strokes.  The different strokes are called:  Line, long dot, dot, rice, curve, blend-and-tip, slide, and press-and-lift strokes.
  3. Then it shows how to use watercolor paints and create a value scale.
  4. And finally, warming up.

The two warm-up exercises are how to draw bamboo and how to draw a Koi fish.

Here are my very first doodles where I only tried line and long dot strokes and then attempted to draw bamboo.


Then I attempted to draw a Koi fish.  I really want to practice this kind of fish a lot more, because I want to paint it in watercolors with the Chinese brushes as well.


Of course the fish I really want to learn how to do that is demonstrated in the book also is the goldfish.  Why, you may wonder?  My son is 19 years old.  Ever since he was barely over a year old, my mom began giving him Goldfish crackers for a snack.  He still eats them to this day.  And I think they are still his favorite snack!  Thanks, mom!  So I can hardly wait to try to paint one for him.

That’s all for today.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.  My daughter starts school on Monday, but this year my son will be helping with the driving until she gets her license.  This means I’ll have more time for painting!  Yay!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Yellow Tang Fish – The Secret Painting

Yellow Tang for Earlene


Hello everyone.  Well, here is the “secret painting!”  I actually painted this Yellow Tang before my other bigger painting of the multiple Yellow Tangs, but I couldn’t share it yet until my friend, Erlene Johnson, who lives in Washington,  had received it.  She loves it which makes me very happy!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

P.S.  I just learned that this is my 500th post on WordPress!  I’m so excited.

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