Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is Crowd Funding For You?

PawPaw's Adventures in France

PawPaw’s Adventures in France

Launching a new project or product can be financially daunting. If you are anything like me you don’t have stacks of cash laying around just waiting to finance your next brilliant idea. Enter crowd funding.

Basically, you present your project online and ask for start-up donations. Typically, donations are rewarded by offering a variety of perks. It is a great way for an entrepreneur to fund their project and each participant gets in on the ground floor of new products they are interested in.

I am the illustrator member of a 3 woman team seeking to publish two new children’s books. Diana Scimone (the author) is chronicling our experience with indiegogo on her blog.   I encourage you to follow along and decide if crowd funding might be the answer to your publishing needs.


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My Review of Liquitex Acrylic Surface Prep Mediums

Originally submitted at Jerry’s Artarama Art Supplies

Surface Preparations are used to seal, prime and add tooth (for color adhesion) to all surfaces such as canvas, wood, paper and metal. This same preparation is used for both acrylic and oil paint. Our professional gessoes usually take just 1 coat. Clear Gesso – Use for masking under-paintings and u…

Super heavy gesso

By Leah from Ormond Beach, Fl on 2/14/2014


5out of 5

Pros: Great texture, Easy to apply

Cons: Great

Best Uses: Art, Adds Texture To Canvas

Describe Yourself: Artist

Primary use: Business

Was this a gift?: No

I apply super heavy gesso to my canvas with a palette knife. I try to get random looking texture which serves me well when painting foliage in landscapes.

Shadow Stretch – 12″x 16″ – oil- Leah



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Why Teach?

Class assignment

Class assignment

So you have a particular skill set.  Maybe you know something  about computers, knitting, music, writing or as in my case painting. Why should you consider passing on some of those skills to others? Here is what I discovered while teaching an oil painting class recently.

Planning a class forced me to think about why I do the things I do when I’m painting. I’m an intuitive learner, but that doesn’t work when teaching. It would not help my students to tell them to feel their way to a beautiful painting. It forced me to become conscious of every detail of my process.  Knowing why I do things has made me a better painter.

Your mother, father, teacher and any adult you came in contact with as a child encouraged you to share.  It’s still a good idea to share. Sharing your knowledge and skills with others broadens your world and enriches your life.

The last day of our class many of my students made a point of  letting me know how much they enjoyed the class and learned. One of my students became so passionate about painting she reported that she painted all the time now. She doesn’t cook, clean or do any of the things she used to do. I’m hoping her family doesn’t come after me. Another student told me with tears in her eyes that her mother was an artist and taught her to paint years ago. But since her mother passed away she hadn’t been able to pick up a brush at all because it made her so sad. This class was the first time she held a brush in years. She was so happy to be able to paint again. Then she thanked me.  You never know how sharing your expertise will change another persons life.

Teaching hones the skills you already possess. It enriches your life to share. And best of all, you can have a part in improving someone else’s life.

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5 Ways to Blow the Block

up against the wall

up against the wall

Every creative person experiences  dry seasons from time to time. The sooner you can get out of the desert, the sooner you can start your next masterpiece.  But what can you do to shake things up and start the juices flowing again? The following are some of the ways that I blow the artist block blues.

1. Learn something new. Take a class.  The wonders of the internet have made education very affordable. Nobody is cheaper than yours truly, but I will happily pay for a reasonably priced online art class. I’ve taken a number of classes online from Ken and Johannes Vloothuis through . They are beyond reasonable and  informative. I always come away with wonderful nuggets of artistic wisdom to put into practice. If you can take an ‘in person’ class so much the better.

piles of tiles

piles of tiles

2. Try a new medium.  If you are a painter you could get some clay and try your hand at molding or sculpting. If you work predominantly with oil paints then give watercolor , encaustics, acrylic, scratch board or pastels a try. The unfamiliararity of a new medium can release your pent up creativity.

art show

art show

3. Visit a museum or go to an art show. Find out what other artists are doing. Look at the work of some old masters as well as some new cutting edge artists. Are there techniques you see that you can incorporate in your work?

4. Spend time with other creative folks. Art groups and writers groups are invaluable sources of creative inspiration and support. Find a group and get involved.

5. Try teaching a class. Every time I teach a class I learn a lot myself. It forces me to examine why I do the things I do and to pay closer attention to my processes.

These five practices for finding your creative sea legs again work for me. What works for you? I’d love to hear how you blow the artist block blues.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

This year has brought a lot of newness to our lives.  My family and I find ourselves in a new town and of course a new home. We weren’t necessarily looking for change, but now that it has come we are very happy.  This is my new studio. Don’t you love that big window?

new studio

new studio

I have new plans to begin plein aire painting.  Our new location is near the ocean so I expect my work to reflect that fact. heron

This guy posed for me today. I’ll be back to paint this area on a day the sun makes an appearance. There is much exploration and local roaming to be done. As we continue to unpack boxes and become better organized the roaming will commence. I believe it’s true what they say. Change is good.

May all of your changes will be good changes.


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Pets, Their Portraits and Their Names

Lately I’ve been painting a lot of pet portraits in soft pastel. This is some of the most enjoyable commission work I’ve done. We love our pets! And judging by their expressions, our pets love us back.

And why not? Is anything too good for our faithful companions? No! We dress them, play with them, provide comfy beds (sometimes OUR beds) and prepare the best food available.

But before all that, we name them. It has been great fun learning all the names bestowed upon these furry friends and I thought I’d share them with you.

Sweet Pea                          Linus                     Guinness

Nutmeg                              Olive Oil                  Ziggy

Tink                                   Heidi

Bailey                                Daisy

Now for a game… can you match the picture with the name?ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage


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How to Paint a Ceiling Mural Without Breaking Your Neck

Painting a ceiling, especially a ceiling mural can be a pain in the neck. Since I just completed six months of fairly intensive chiropractic visits to take the kinks out of my neck, I wasn’t anxious to undo all that good work. So, when I was contacted to paint a ‘pretty, cloudy sky’ on a ceiling I suggested that I paint it on canvas and install it like wallpaper.
I assured the designer and homeowner that they would receive a superior product for no additional money and very soon I was ordering 63inch wide, eighteen foot long rolls of canvas. My client, in a flurry of indecision bought six or seven sample cans of various shades of blue paint trying to find the perfect shade for her dining room walls. These little cans became the base shades for the sky.

A blend of bues for a base

My plan was to paint the mural in two pieces that would be fit together on the ceiling. I tacked up fourteen feet of canvas in my studio and went to work. I was careful to keep track of my shade variations along the seam line to avoid needing too much touch up after it was installed.  
After completing the second canvas we were ready for the big moment. I met the team of paper hangers at the clients home and with just a little direction about how I wanted the canvases to  come together they took over the measuring and planning from there.
One canvas up and starting on the second
 The paper hangers were wonderful and I wouldn’t trade jobs with them for all the tea in China. Unfortunately in spite of all the care they took, due to the  thickness of the canvas the seam was very visible. Also the canvas torqued a bit causing it to shift towards the center line. Fortunately there was still just enough canvas on the outer edges to keep us from having a gap.  But it threw all of my careful color matching off. So much for my brilliant planning. I would have to touch up thirteen feet down the center line. Oh well, not the end of the world, and it would probably only take a couple of hours. The real problem was that pesky seam.

UGH! Unsightly seam!

 We decided to mix up some joint compound with some blue paint and carefully cover the seam. To keep from creating more edges we took a wet sponge to the outer edges of the ‘mud’ smoothing it out. I used a hair dryer  to speed the drying time of the joint compound.
Success!  The joint compound completely leveled out the seam and created a beautiful seamless mural . We paused to do a little dance of joy before I tackled the color matching.

Hooray! Problem solved.

  While I did have to spend some time with my neck craned up, it can’t compare to the pain involved in painting an entire ceiling. I’m happy, the paper hanger is happy and the client is thrilled. A good day. Have you ever run into a similar problem with an unsightly seam? How did you solve it?

Just one more 'cause I'm so happy.


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