Monday, May 4, 2009

A platter for Gracie, with her favorite color displayed in these roses.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Olympus C-4000 4.0 mb refined using iPhoto/Mac

Without our honey bees, will the breeze and the wind be enough to pollinate our crops and flowers of our fruit trees? What happens if the bee disappears and they are not here to do the job that God gave them?  Home gardens can be pollinated by her owners, using a soft brush and tipping into the pollen and them touching the other flowers.  Only the pollen from a male cherry tree will pollinate a female cherry tree. Without pollen-no fruit.  Same with the peach and plum, almond, pecan and walnuts.  That is a great number of flowers to reach and pollinate. 
Between temperature and pesticide attacks the honey bee's population is dwindling.  I don't use pesticides.  When the white fly makes it's appearance, I bring out the vacuum cleaner and I shake the plant and suck those suckers up, then about 10 days later another infestation occurs and I bring that vacuum out again.  I cut all branches that carry the white fly eggs/larva, but all my neighbors white flies are my business too, so I watch and vacuum and cover some of my veggies with bridal toil, this works if I get it on the plants before the eggs have been laid.  Besides, pesticides do not kill white flies.
The African Daisy is fast, easy and fun to paint on porcelain china, as in China Painting.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Survival circa 1976

Survival was entered into the competition at the Kern County Fair.  That year there was no category that included animals, so I had to compete against portraits.  I was awarded an Honorable Mention and told by the two Laguna Beach judges that if there had been an animal category I would  have received Best of Show.  I was very disappointed and discouraged.  I got over it.  The name of the painting and it's reason I will leave up to the observer to understand it meaning.  This painting was painted during the late 1970's earthtone furnishing craze.  Now it hangs over the fireplace in the recent earthtone craze.   
Survival circa 1976    
 36" x 36" oil on canvas

Friday, July 4, 2008


The 4th of July.
The large flag draped the coffin of my Uncle Harold, who served in WW2 in the SouthPacific.  He was, oops,  is a Marine ("Once a Marine, always a Marine") and he survived the GuadalCanal invasion.  I have never met a Marine who could talk about those days, without choking up with tears rising in their eyes and some of them spilling over, as they began to relive those sad days.  It was easier not to talk about that day.  In those days men didn't boast or complain about the horror they witnessed.  He was a big man, standing 6'4", and he talked like a gangster, for you see, he was from New York, and this little girl idealized him.  He was my Uncle Harold.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Kitchen Tile Shows off the Apples

Apples in Shaker Box
c. 1986
The tile is fired the same way the porcelain is.  
My husband loves my cinnamon rolls.

Tile~Wood Paintings

At the time we bought this home, while it was under construction, I had painted tile for close to one hundred homes.  This home was the first time I had the opportunity to paint the tile for our home.  The builder gave me three weeks to get the two bathrooms and the kitchen tile painted for installation.  I purchased the tile and got high behind the drawings and the painting.  At the time I had commissions for other jobs for a builder and a home buyer.  As you can imagined I was very busy as those deadlines went rushing across the calendar.  Two weeks later I received a call from my builder telling me that he needed the tile now, that they were ready to install it and that the tile man was scheduled to do the work in 2 days.  OMgoodness, I delivered the tile unfinished, but all that tile looked gorgeous and I was pleased, but I knew that I could have done a lot more to reach the perfection that is always my goal.
The terra cotta pot holds violets and the dragon fly that hovers is not shown here. 
The strawberries are painted on a routed block of wood.  I have taught the strawberries to many oil painters and china painters.  They are a favorite to paint and to eat. 

Yellow Wild Roses~Porcelain Platter

I wanted a completely different background color and this taupe seems to work.

Back to the Garden

If I had one Rooster in my garden the snails would not be there, but I may not have any vegies either, and oh, that chicken poop, it never lands where it would be useful.  
I did this little platter for a neighbor who loves hens, roosters and little chicks.  I think he is a Rooster with an attitude.
Have you ever had a rooster?  They do have a very macho presence.  They will lay down their life protecting their "ladies" hiding in the hen house, because Tony the pony broke into their yard hoping to get that chicken feed.  Yep, I saw this happen.  Tony, a shetland pony, I had rescued from a child who had to get rid of him.  I paid her $100.00 dollars and she was grateful. I had been buying a bale of hay for Tony for weeks  Tony lived across the section that spread out across the street from us.  I didn't have any place for him to be corralled, so I put him in my fenced garden. First he ate all the strawberry patch, while I was on the phone trying to find some portable corrals.  Then he went into the veggies and what he didn't eat he trampled, but that was ok, because the little girl was thankful that Tony didn't go to the dog food maker, and my children were itching to ride him.  She also gave me the 2 by 4 with the carved handle she always had to have with her when she rode him.  "All you do is show him that you have this stick and he will behave himself, when he get stubborn, you just show him the stick".  This is the animal that pushed through the protective fence of the chicken yard, where the grain had been served up to the hens. Big Red, our rooster, saw this and with wings flapping and talons poised he raged at Tony, cutting and gouging at his forhead.  Tony was a wise old stubborn &%@*+$&%" pony and he knew exactly what to do with this annoying attitudinal bird, because he was a practiced *^&%_$@":<**@$ pony and he pulled back his lips revealing one of his weapons, his teeth. He stretched his neck forward and grabbed Big Red by the front of his neck, but this was the winter and the winter coat of long full feather scarf ended up in Tony's mouth.  Big Red's neck was intact but naked, which was not going to stop him from driving this 4 legged beast out of his harem's home.  The battle started like greased lightening with the little ole' green horned mother, me, running and screaming for the kids to get me that 2 by 4, as I charged out to the hen house.  The kids knew what to do too, and they already had the "stick" ready for me.  Anyway, boy to I digress.......
When I painted this little platter I was reliving that day and the incident and the Rooster who lived to tell about it in his grumbling rooster voice of complaint.  The pony?  he was very busy spitting feathers out of his mouth and for a week we would see him rubbing his forhead on the fence post.  The rooster?  would strut his stuff along the fence cursing a warning at Tony.

Handled Platter~Pink Wild Roses

10.25" x 10.50"
c. 2003
The Pink Wild Rose plate is the first lesson my students paint.  The subject is useful for learning the technique of china painting, makes an excellent introduction to china painting.
The pinks are all gold base colors.  The amount of gold in the paint will determine the shade of the vibrant pink that will be achieved.
This piece has been painted with several layers of paint and with each layer the piece is fired in the kiln.  This causes the glaze to soften making it possible for the paint, which is a mineral, to be asorbed or accepted into it.  As the glaze cools the paints remains.  On this piece there were 6 firings.  
I have bulk gold base paints, in powder form and all those years ago that I was purchasing it the gold prices seemed high, but now gold is much higher in price and I am thankful now for those long ago buys.  

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Taking Pictures of my Work

Thank you for your interest in my new blog, which is still under construction.  Check back and more will be here.  

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rose Study

Roses are free. Roses love to be studied. Roses have confidence. Roses are proud of their color. Roses are aware of their fragrance and that they are envied by all other flowers in the garden. Roses know that they are a challenge to paint onto china and on canvas, but you can do it. Study the rose in it's development and become aquatinted with their intimate composition.  Painting a rose is 10% talent (a steady hand) and 90% desire.

                                                       Roses love my garden

MayBelle guards the creations

Tray of Orange Roses

Every china painter wants to paint roses, roses, roses.  In class the student is eager to paint their first rose-now.  It is a challeng to have them accept that they will have to do five or six pieces before they go on to tackle the rose.  I encourage them to get a fresh picked rose and pluck each and every petal while they study the construction of this romantic beauty.  Calling to your minds eye how the petals unfold into a lush fragrant beauty is important, if you are going to compose it, or construct it into the layered resemblance of a rose.  Many china painters will eye your work with suspicion to see if you have performed this painting feat with success. 
I have a granddaughter who loves the color orange, and she will receive this gem on just the right day.
The large tray is a wonderful piece to paint on.  First the purchased
of this beautiful "blank" and five more of the same arrived at my studio, and I already new that it would hold orange roses. I wanted to do something different with the background.  I wanted rich red-brown leaves resting on the dark browns of the earth, next the roses had to have some contrast complimentary leaves of green.  I painted one layer of transparent oil based porcelain paint to show the placement of the roses, and this was fired to 1400+ degrees. Second painting is the second most exciting layer to go onto the platter, because the detail of the rose and the presence of the background, which will frame the roses, pulls the subject together into an organized composition and a hint of the beauty to come is fresh before the viewers or painters eyes.  This is fired again, at the same temperature for the same 1.5 hours, before the cone collapses and trigger the automatic turn-off to come down and shut down the kiln.  
I always fire at night, because I can go to bed, after kiln shuts down, and sleep while the kiln cools.  When I was firing up my kiln in the daylight hours, I would be tempted to take a peak into the kiln, which allows cool air to rush in and on some of those occasions I  would hear that loud crack of demolition and all my efforts would be lost.  Another reason it is wise to fire at night is the electric bill, the kilowatt hours are about 50% cheaper than during the day.  

                                                      13.5" x 9.75" Porcelain Tray c. 2007

Sunday, June 15, 2008

First Framed Painting~Landscape with Barn

10 x10 canvas ~ my first landscape and my first frame.  The teacher was Dorene Terryberry a true teacher, because she taught by demonstrating on her canvas only, allowing the student to paint on theirs, so when I took a finished painting home it was truly painted by me. My teacher taught me about color and how it can be used to add perspective to a subject, by using cool colors and warm colors to create a subject with "volume".  Instead of a ball appearing only shaded, the ball can be shaded using the paint colors temperatures played off against each other to create a volume or "plump"ness.  The color temps can also be used to make a point of interest stand out or come forward.  

                                   oil on canvas 10" x 10" c. 1967
Example of the use of cool and warm colors used to allow a volume to an interest in a painting can be found in this French painting.  Although the photo is not of excellent quality the pearls do show this cool/warm truth. Look for this "truth" that will be galleried on this blog.  Another example of the play of warm and cold can be seen in this painting;hex=M2000_179_3.jpg where you can see two warm colors in the robe" drape, but the warms are differentiated by the warmest coming forward, which causes the cooler warm to recede away, thus causing the illusion of a perspective in the clothing.  I don't assume to compare my work to the "Masters", but I do assume to learn from their learned experiences, and I just thought I would include this color/perspective color use secret to the learning novice or to the struggling artist, at this time.
When I realized what my teacher was showing me, with the use of oil paint pigments, I was excited.  It was as though she had unlocked a mystery, as she moved her brush, loaded with paint, across her canvas.  I always tell my students, "Yes, listen to the words of your instructor, but always, always watch her hands. What paint is she loading onto her brush?, how is she loading it?, is it a cool paint?, is it a warm paint?, did the warmth of the color, just painted, change to a cooler one as it responded to the warmer touch that she just put next to it or did it cool?  Listen to the words, yes, but watch what she is doing, because she isn't going to tell you every little long used information she is calling up from her imagination and mind, especially if she is a quiet and or humble artist, so you need to watch her hands, her brushes, her angles, her choices, and then her words."  
This is true for other fine arts. A pin stripper, who are usually male, have little to say from their mouths, but if you watch ther use of their brush, the way they load that brush, how they apply the paint to the vehicle, with what pressure on brush, what finger is supporting and steadying  the brush as it glides over it's subject?  All you learned from the pin stripper's words were minuet compared to watching his hand create a coveted design.  Analytical you must be.
A word about the frame on my first framed painting.  I had to purchase a custom frame, because I used stretcher bars that weren't of "standard" sizing, meaning that ready made frames were not available. The price for the frame was $14.00, and that was  a lot of money, "back in the day", 1967. 
I was a "starving artist", when first I began.  I was a young mother with three children and a husband who always said, "no", to my requests, whether for underwear or paint supplies. etc. So I wasn't starving for food, I was starving for essentials for my personal "me" life.  I had no money to paint, and if it hadn't been for my dad giving me a big gift of brushes and canvas, I would never have been able to take lessons from a wonderful artist/teacher, who lived just around the corner and down the street from where we lived, at that time.  BUT, I needed some sable brushes with their soft bristles, and I also needed $$$ for lessons.  
We all know that "Necessity is the Mother of invention", right?  Well, I needed supplies, and I noticed that my instructor had a lady who cleaned her house, and I heard Dorene complaining that the woman had quit and now she needed someone to clean her house.  She had six kids.  I went to her and asked if I could have the job of cleaning her home and she said, "yes".  Now I had a new necessity, what with three small children, and only one in school, 1st grade, and one in diapers and a very active and inquisitive 3 year old.  I now needed a baby sitter, and I found a wonderful, loving, Hispanic, grandmother, who like me didn't have any "pocket" money and after striking a deal, she took the job of caring for my children.  After I paid my babysitter $2.00 an hour I was left with $1.75 an hour for my work, it would have been worth it, except I was so exhausted I could hardly make dinner and set the table that night.  When my husband came home, from work, he could see how tired I was, and because he didn't know what I was "up" to, we progressed through the evening, at a slow pass, toward bed time.  I was weepy, because of my absolute fatigue, I realized I would never get away with my conspiracy.  I soon learned I had hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and until I learned of that and corrected the timing of my nutrient intake, I was almost incapable of caring for my family.  That was all discovered and corrected  by my mother, not by the doctors, who just wanted to put me on tranquilizing  drugs.  Anyway, back to the bedroom scene, when I broke down out of frustration of not having any money for me not even money to buy fabric, so that I could sew clothes, while all the time he was wearing designer labels and new underwear and impressing everyone with his fanciful beauty thoughts of himself.  I confessed to him how "rebellious" I was and about my scheming and all that shit.  I was a broken women. my emotions telling me how caged I was, by him.   For the first time I realized a womanly secret, that emotions can work against a bully, a tyrant,  sometimes, and I unknowingly "manipulated" an allowance out of him, the mechanical engineer, and some promises for stretcher bars and canvas and staple gun and staples, which came to around $7 or $8.  I am not one to manipulate anyone, for I prefer to be "upfront", some times without tact, but I would rather we honest than conniving. So it was a bitter pill I swallowed that night, and his payoff?  Sex.  @%#&*+&+(.  The selfrigheous would call that an ugly label.  He and his life are no longer blessed by my presence and hasn't been for a wonderful, glorious 24 years. 
I did learn how to paint and mostly on my own, because I was only able to take lessons for a few months. 
I soon ran out of stretcher bars, but I found a source for them.  One day while visiting my father in Manhattan Beach, Ca, I saw a home that had been demolished and right their in the ocean breeze, thick with salty ions of inspiration, perched a window, the largest, biggest, bestest window, with layers of chipping paint, probably loaded with lead, which we weren't savy to yet. The top layer was the 1950's ever popular dark green!  I quickly got my father and some rope, and broke out the remaining glass,  and we hoisted my gifted stretcher bars, all assembled, all squared, onto the top of my Valiant station wagon.  WOW! I had struck gold, streets of gold! 
I am a Christian and I knew that the Lord had provided.  How could it not be so?  I was jubilant and I was sooooo very happy, and as I write this story for the first time, all these years later, I am crying, remembering His blessing on my painting.  
Please try not to be skeptical, but instead look to Him for all your needs, and He will supply them according to his riches in Glory.  This is a truth.  I have come to realize His great love for me, and that He has always been there for me, even when I didn't recognize it.  Accept Him into your life, know His work on the cross and know His forgiveness and then live your life full of His grace, which is undeserved favor.  You will go jumping and leaping and praising God.  Amen Nuff