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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Three weeks mixed media painting stuff in a carry-on suitcase

Setting up painting stuff

I spent three weeks assembling  mixed media in preparation for a new painting process for me to play with for three weeks in Hawaii. Almost all of my art stuff fit in a carry-on size suitcase with most of my personal clothing, snorkel,  trekking poles, personal care products, two hats, sandals, spare pair of athletic shoes, and book.
 Also above are the paintings that I started in February in Kailua Kona , the big island, Hawaii. The two white boards made a table and painting support. The bag for carrying stuff from our Jeep to a location also worked as a weight to stabalize the easel.  The painting of a light house is by another artist but it might have influenced my more realistic painting this time..

When I packed, I wasn’t sure the pocket sized Winsor Newton watercolors would be enough, so I took a set of tube watercolors and gouache white. I only supplemented the pocket palette with the tube of white gouache and a tube of Winsor yellow. The heavy cardboard packing for Acquarello hot press paper is unnecessary weight.  The extra clamps were not necessary because the easel was strong enough to hold the table. Also not needed was accordion folded watercolor paper books.  I didn’t carry them on tours or walks because in Hawaii roots and sharp lava require all of my attention to be safe.

In Kailua Kona there is a very complete art store. At Akiani Art Supply I purchased Absorbent Ground White 8 ozs.,  Gloss Varnish UV archival, and Saw Tooth Hanger Adhesive, opening up the possibility of finishing the work to give away.  I gave away the absorbent ground and the spray can of varnish to an artist friend who lives in Hawaii.

Coming home my suitcase weighed 34 pounds. Next time I can reduce the weight. No snorkel unless I have snorkeling companions!  I will reduce the amount of paper and leave home most tube paints. Planning ahead my brushes, mixed media supplies and paper are stored in my suitcase so packing for the next trip will be faster. I became too attached to a painting I thought I would give away. Maybe later after I live with it for awhile.

Making watercolor permanent: An alternate to glass on watercolor presentation

There is little change after brushing on one coat of Liquitex Gloss Medium. Only the multiple layers of French ultramarine wanted to pick up and spread as well as the charcoal black line.. To regain the spots on the Damsel Fish I soaked up the layer of ultramarine with a Q-tip.

There is a spray special for finishing watercolors for a presentation without glass, but it contains hazardous chemicals so I do not use it even though there would be no pick up smearing of paint.
Next when the gloss medium is dry, I will brush on more medium. I can still work on the eye that got mushed on the first coating. Then I plan to glue this canvas board to a small box and attach a wire for hanging.  When hung on the wall it will appear to float in front of the wall. The gloss finish and the appearance of floating out from the wall both suit the abstracted underwater ocean-scape subject.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

the little things

by Rain Trueax

For some people, joy is found in a nice restaurant, fancy hotel, big vacation, going to a show, etc. etc. It's found in big things and changes from their daily routine; for some it can be thinking they are experiencing a world other than their own.

For me, joy is found in small things and almost always where I live. It's in observing the little creatures that share my land. They are the wild ones, the ones who live without a fence or even a boundary other than where they can find food.

The little ones are at the bottom of the food chain and hence have to be wary of what is around them as death can come from the sky or the land. When here, we see the predators-- Harris hawks, bobcats, and coyotes. Sometime I'll do a blog on them as they are not the bad guys. They kill because their lives depend on doing so. Even the javelina will kill on occasion even as they eat prickly pear cactus and other plant matter.

Observing these little ones at the bottom of the food chain, its easy to see how their knowledge of what also lives here influences their behavior. They don't stay somewhere for long. They cannot though hide from the rest of the world as, other than when they are babies, food does not come to them. They go to it.

Below are a few of those who share our little piece of Arizona desert. Sitting on the patio and just watching them, with no expectations, that's my joy especially when the other world, the one I can't avoid, seems too much. Connecting with them, hearing the music they make, that changes my blood pressure and slows my pulse rate. I can go outside, feeling pressured, like a weight is on my chest but soon I am grounded and feeling it all lift away. Sure I'll pick those burdens back up but be better able to handle them when I do.

These little guys are aware of us as we are of them. We could also be a risk. They have to assess that. It's the nature of their existence. All the photos were taken with a telephoto.

cardinal because black around face

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

To use photo inspiration or not.

In my paintings I will  not borrow the color arrangement in these photographic compositions. I will not reproduce the detail that is recognizably in these pictures. Turneffe Flats Adventure Guide, Abel Coe, gave those of us who he took snorkeling permission to publish his pictures on the internet or publish them in a book if we give him a copy. Yet copying his pictures in paint is plagiarism. And also important is the split second  exposure makes a picture frozen in time unlike how I am experienced it.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cause and Effect

Yes, I try to stay off serious issues here, the kinds of things that are controversial and where all the sides are angry at each other over them. I had a post about life and being positive all written and ready to go for today-- and then Valentine's Day and Florida happened.

Well, I just can't do it today; so if you have a hard time with such, come on back Wednesday and next Saturday where we'll return to regular programming. But I am mad about this.

immature Harris hawk in our Tucson backyard

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Diane Widler Wenzel Rotating Paintings in our Dining Area - a step in the painting processs

When I rotate paintings, I ask, "What if?"
Most of the work done on a painting is looking at it and making choices. Some choices are thought of before I roll back the table cloth and paint. I like to see the changes in season and lighting as they change the way the painting strikes me. Changing paintings can be a valentine to myself because it makes me feel good.

Happy Valentines enjoy rotating art



Several days after working on the color scheme of the large painting  I replaced the painting just to the left to an earlier painting with similar colors but different subject - Waterloo Park, Oregon.

What if I put a closeup of the foreground like the painting of Waterloo Park?   Maybe put the electric and phone wires in  with one bluebird on the wire and one scouting out a bird house? What if I increase the value contrast to have the same range in both paintings?  Instead of increasing the contrast, I could increase the misty atmosphere.  To make it my experience and feelings in a nostalgic painting I could put more animals we see out back.

The process of making the painting sentimental is fine with me as I also seek to hook a want to be rancher family to continue ranching.  Small farms within city limits is a good idea to uplift a neighborhood to be in closer contact with the earth and life values.

After two months when the ranch painting was facing the wall and I didn't look at it, I pulled it out thinking I might hang it up and think about it before deciding if I should take a new direction or continue to add more animals and details.
I decided to put it back against the wall and continue the series of abstracts from memories of snorkeling.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Changes-- I got changes

by Rain Trueax

Not just indie writers sometimes change their book title or cover. It's, of course, easier for an indie because you only have to please yourself. I have a couple of books where the covers have never changed, titles worked from the get-go. Others just seem not to gel even though I had thought I had them right when I brought them out. The right title is a keystone-- those few words can kill sales or lead a potential reader to explore further. It matters even more that it depict what is in the book.

What was wrong with my book titled Enchantress' Secret was the meaning of the word enchantress. I had thought of it originally as connected to being a witch but also a beguiling woman. My heroine was both. The thing was-- she was not an enchantress, a rather negative word for those who are aware of paranormal meanings
"a woman who uses magic or sorcery, especially to put someone or something under a spell. Synonyms: witch, sorceress, magician, fairy, Circe, siren-- 'the enchantress put a curse on all the young men of Underwood Village'"
The business, of putting a curse or spell on someone, is not the nature of the Hemstreet Witches. They use energy and natural-born and supernatural gifts but only to do good. Sirens are another of those titles that many don't think of as evil but in the mythology, they were. 
"In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and singing voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli."
Some might say I am splitting hairs, as aren't witches also bad creatures. There are indeed, many ways of seeing witchcraft, from those who don't believe it exists, to those who see it as Satan worship and intended for evil. It's never been my understanding of witches. When women were killed as witches in the dark ages, they were often natural practitioners using herbs and helping women birth babies. I thought this was a pretty good piece on how witches can be seen-- [What is a witch?]

Paranormal books are different than fantasies. Paranormals are set in a real world, our world, with those who have special powers. They share this world with other supposedly fantasy beings, many invisible to those who choose or are told not to see. A paranormal novel will have ordinary people sometimes caught up in a world they were told does not exist. 

In my Hemstreet Witches series, the women are human, with a natural life span, but born with special powers to use energy in ways most cannot. They have been taught to use it to keep the street safe for the ordinary folks, who might stumble across something that could hurt them. To be an enchantress would be regarded as evil and not remotely part of their charter. So how could I let the book be called Enchantress' Secret? What though could I use as a title that would let the reader know they would be stepping into a different world? 

In my paranormals, I try to put truths about the 'other' side that I have been told exist from those with more powers than I certainly have. To many humans, those other elements are illusions or are they? Are we just not aware of what shares our world? Many religions do believe in the supernatural world also, like angels and a god who intervenes with prayer. What we believe often is based on what we have been taught and which words make us comfortable.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

One collage led me to doing another

My abstract memory painting goal was to focus on organic patterns in movement of the algae and coral. Paper I made in a slurry has the random dispersion I remember from my snorkeling experience in Turneffe Flats.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Amelia C. Adams -- guest author

While writing has always been in my life, it wasn't until I brought out my first books as an indie author that I met others who wrote in my genre. It's been one of the bonuses along with my opportunity to bring some of the authors here when they are bringing out a new book. 

Amelia C. Adams is the author of the bestselling Kansas Crossroads series, as well as a contributor to River's End Ranch and Mail Order Mounties. She lives in Idaho, is a wife, a mother, a taco eater, and a taker of naps. She spends her days dreaming up stories and her nights writing them down. Her biggest hero is her husband, and you might just see bits and pieces of him as you read her novels.

Below is the cover, blurb and link to her next book, the first in a new series, Brody Hotel. Involving itself with an old hotel, renovations and decorating, this contemporary romance sounds like its extras are right my alley for books I enjoy the most.

Generations: Brody Hotel Book One 
by Amelia C. Adams
Andrew Brody, investment banker and self-made millionaire, has just lost his father, but gained an estate. Along with inheriting stocks, bonds, racehorses, and undeveloped land, he learns that he is now the owner of a hotel that has been in the family since 1875 and should probably just be torn down.

Marissa Clark needs a new challenge - staging homes to sell and rearranging pictures on walls isn't what she dreamed of doing when she became an interior designer. When she gets a call asking her to help renovate a historical building, she leaps at the change - what a great way to use both her love of texture and fabric and her love of history.

They believe they're just taking an old building and giving it a second chance at life . . . but they have no idea that they're getting a second chance too.
Amelia C. Adams, author of the bestselling historical Kansas Crossroads series, brings us this romantic spin-off featuring the same location, but 140 years later.  You can learn more about Amelia at

Amelia C. Adams
Author of sweet Western romance