Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY 2012!


Another year has come and gone and my(!) how fast it flew by. It seems the older I get, the quicker time goes. We now have another brand new year to make of it what we will. This past year has been a mixed bag for me as I'm sure it has for everyone. Good times, bad times. That's life, I guess. In terms of my art life it has been the best year yet with more sales at the gallery than I've ever had and I've enjoyed trying new painting techniques and products. I'm also thrilled to see I have more followers on my blog. It's you, my followers, my visitors and those that take the time to comment that help keep me going. Thank you for a wonderful 2011 and I wish you all the very best for 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Doodles

I am in such a funk this holiday season it's ridiculous. I realized I'd produced nothing of creative value in weeks so I got out a drawing pad and an array of pencils and have kept them next to me on the sofa. When I get in these moods I tend to spend way too much time in front of the TV so I figured why not keep some art supplies handy and doodle while staring at the idiot box. It worked. Santa cat and his sleigh pulled by a team of house mice was the result. I'm not sure I will develop this any further. I don't plan to create Xmas cards again this year and it's really too late anyway. Maybe next year. Something that I've noticed...people will buy Xmas cards at the gallery during the summer months so I may put paint to this idea and offer cards later in the year.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Scanner Art

In this image I applied the red eye filter, adjusting the level until I liked the results.

For this effect I moved the poppy while the scanner was running. I think it looks like little red tetras swimming in the black water of a Peruvian lake.

Here I've applied the 'twirl' filter to the image below.

The same silk flower/bud with decorative paper as a backdrop.

My silk flower simply scanned on the scanning bed w/o editing.

While watching a DIY show today I saw the host create some very cool scanner art as decorative wall art. Scanner art aka scanography isn't anything new but the creative possibilities are practically limitless. I will assume most people that own a computer also have a flatbed scanner so why not experiment with it? For the record, I used my Epson Artisan 725.

I used a silk poppy with an attached bud and some art paper I had on hand to see if I could come up with anything worth posting. I did several scans of the poppy and bud sandwiched between the top of the scanner and the bed, with the art paper as a backdrop and even did a few scans while moving my poppy across the scanner as it was running. For some of my scans I played with the resulting images in my photo editor to get further effects. I did not bother to use a black cloth to cut off all incoming room light but that is a common method used by many scanographers.

Some interesting links regarding scanography:

Tim Fleming~What is scanner art?

Tim Fleming blog


Thursday, December 01, 2011

Ladies on a Park Bench #I


I hope everyone of my visitors that celebrate Thanksgiving had a great holiday. Mine was kind of weird this year and Christmas looks like it's stacking up to be the same. I did finally get one version of my 'Ladies on a Park Bench' finished, though.

After tranferring my drawing onto 90# Fabriano CP w/c paper and saving the areas I wanted left white with Pebeo drawing gum (love that stuff) I applied a thin wash of walnut ink over all. I then added more ink at the ladies' feet, base of the bench and dog to ground the whole scene a bit. I used subsequent washes of ink on the bench and was very happy to see the darker tones and richness of color my homemade walnut ink produced. I had some real fun painting the hair, jewelry, etc. with my Jacquard Lumiere metallic acrylics. When all the painting was completed I went over all my lines with an 05 Micron pen. The ladies needed some blush on their cheeks and lips so I mixed up a concoction of red and orange soft pastel and applied that with a Q-tip. Voila!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Playing with Lines ~ Ladies on a Park Bench

The line portion of my Ladies on a Park Bench(my working title) is complete. I drew and re-drew these ladies so many times I hope I haven't lost that wonderful sense of spontaneity the original ball point pen sketches possessed. I went over the entire drawing with a 05 Micron pen and the finished drawing is approx. 14" x 9". There's a few glitches in some of the perspective( one of my weaker points)but overall I'm happy with the results. I now have my master drawing which I can enlarge, reduce, add background (or not) and tweak however I wish. I plan to try a few variations with different mediums, styles, etc. using my drawing to see what works and what doesn't.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Playing with Lines ~ continued

After umpteen tries I think I've hit the mark with my center subject. I created a little panorama to see how well they relate to each other. It works for me!

When rendering human facial expressions I'm certainly in unfamiliar waters. In fact anything gestural human-wise is new to me when translating it to paper. Fortunately being a human myself I have a handy model that works for For some reason I have had a devil of a time producing a satisfactory lady for the center of this comp. I think I've finally found her, though. I've also set a challenge for myself. I will not look at any reference photos while I put this one together. I want to see if I can complete this strictly from my own imagination, common sense and whatever else I can muster.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Playing with Lines

Don't you love the friend that enjoys talking in your ear while you are engrossed in a good book? I too!

Here one gal is reading her paperback book and is in the habit of rolling half of the book while reading the pages on the other half. I'm not sure who I've seen do this but as I was drawing it popped into my head so I went with it.

I confess...I don't do much sketching. I don't even own a sketch book. However I realized how much I enjoyed doing the nude in my previous post. All done very impromptu and without a reference I somehow managed to keep her in proportion and her position make sense. I kinda surprised myself actually. I began doodling today with a ballpoint pen all the while trying to recall three older ladies I saw sharing a park bench this past summer. They looked like they could've been sisters and at the time I so wished I'd had my camera with me. I did try to recreate them in a line drawing but the middle sister turned out looking a bit like Marilyn Manson so I cut her out of the picture. Can't win em all, I guess and two outta three ain't bad. Seriously, I do plan to pursue this type of line drawing with my walnut ink and see where it leads me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Black Walnut Nude

I've never done figure work, especially a nude but tonight I was in the mood to break out and see what I could create. This is my result and I like it! Done from imagination, the majority of the painting is walnut ink, the black outline is Inktense pencil and the color is SMi soft pastel.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Homemade Black Walnut Ink ~ Completed

To give an idea of the color I've used my ink on a scrap of 140# watercolor paper to achieve an aged effect by toning the paper and applying a heavier wash around the deckle edge. I'm very happy with the results and find this ink very easy to work with. I did a small still life of an acorn and oak leaf last night but it was too rushed so I plan to re-do it before posting.

The finished ink waiting for a drop or two of clove oil to help preserve it. I will also have to cover the jars to block out any light or replace with tinted glass containers. Walnut ink should be protected from direct light.

I decided to go with coffee filters to strain my ink. I felt the filters would do the best job removing any unwanted sediment. Once the liquid was strained from the husks it still contained a lot of 'sludge' so I left it to drain all night to get every bit of useable ink possible.

Mold forming on the top of the ink. It didn't show up until 3 weeks into the steeping process and was easily removed.

My ink is finally ready for it's debut. I let it steep for a little over a month, scraping mold from only one jar twice. The second jar of ink did not produce any mold at all. I noticed no foul smell during the process from either jar. The ink has maintained it's original earthy aroma which is ok by me and the resulting ink is a beautiful warm shade of sepia.

After separating the husks from the liquid I wound up with barely two cups of finished ink. My steeping jars held slightly less than a quart each and the husks took up half the space in each jar to give a rough idea of what amount of ink can be expected. In hindsight I wish I had put the removed husks in cheesecloth and wrung out more liquid. Instead I arranged them on newspaper and paper towel to drain, then double bagged them in ziploc baggies and put them in the freezer for storage. I hope to thaw them at a later date and see if I can make more ink using these same husks.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Homemade Black Walnut Ink (continued)

The waiting begins. My ink may be ready to strain by Halloween, possibly the week after.

Boiled husks with liquid.

Rusty old screws and washers to produce that iron tannate in the ink.

Clean jars waiting to be filled, rubber gloves handy.

A boiling pot of walnut husks. The aroma is a not unpleasant earthly scent. I'm sure my house will smell of hot walnut husks for days to come.

The task of boiling the walnut husks and pouring the resultant 'soup' into my jars wasn't nearly as messy as I had feared. I did have a small boil over so I cut the heat back and let the husks simmer for 30 extra 10 mins. for good measure. I sacrificed an old teflon pot for the cause, also a wooden spoon which came in handy to prevent another boil over. I then used a small coffee cup as a ladle to get my soup from pot to jar. Paper towels are another thing I'd recommend having handy for splashes and spills.

I wanted to understand the part rust plays in the ink making process so I began another online search. Rusted iron combines with the tannins in the husks to produce iron tannate which is black. As walnut ink is a sepia color I understood this to mean it will create more depth of color. I also found more recipes for walnut ink, some producing faster results than the instructions I've posted but requiring more cook time. Some recipes called for an all day(or longer) boil. Some called for skipping the shelling process and boiling the whole nut, husk and all. I'll post links to a few walnut ink making instructions I found interesting:

Walnut Ink Instructions 2

Walnut Ink Instructions 3

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Homemade Black Walnut Ink ~ Instructions

When one of the members of my garden forum posted a photo of his black walnut harvest in progress I thought it would be fun to try making my own walnut ink and instructions online are not difficult to find. At my request this member kindly sent me a gallon size ziploc full of black walnut husks. He had already completed the really hard and messy job of removing the nuts from their husks(walnut husks are terribly staining). When the husks arrived some were still green so I set them out on my deck in the sun on newspaper to thoroughly dry and finish turning black. If you're interested in trying this squirrels can do the husking for you! As I understand it, squirrels will husk the nuts and store only the nutmeats in their shells leaving those precious husks under the tree, free for the taking.


1.) Black walnut husks

2.) Gloves!

3.) Two glass jars

4.) Some rusty nails or other rusty material that will fit in your jars.

5.) Fine mesh cheesecloth or muslin.

6.) A cookpot to boil the husks.

7.) Clove oil (can be purchased from a pharmacy).



Step 1) Procure your husks. You need only the outer husks, not the shells or the nuts themselves. If you are doing your own shelling wear gloves...please!

Step 2) You will need a few rusty nails or other rusty material that will fit in your jar. This will help cause a chemical reaction in the ink making process.

Step 3) Crunch the husks as best as you can. I plan to do this step by putting the husks in a clean ziploc and tapping the bag gently with a hammer or meat mallet. Put them in a pan with an equal amount of water (a good guess here is fine) and boil them for about 20 minutes, just long enough for them to start to break down. Let them cool a bit.

Step 4) Put your 'yummy stuff' in a glass jar with a couple of rusty pieces of iron and seal it up. Glass is inert and wont add anything to your mix, unlike some plastics and other metals. Now the waiting begins. This lovely stuff needs to ferment. Open it in a week (oh, you should do that outside. It’s stinky.) and scrape off the mold. Close it back up again and let it sit. Do this for another 4 weeks.

Step 5) Now you strain it. A piece of fine meshed cheese cloth(or several layers of regular cheesecloth), or muslin works great for this. Cut a piece off and with a rubber band put it over the top of another jar (recycled mayonnaise or pickle jars work great for this. I'll be using spaghetti sauce jars.) Push it in a bit with your finger to make a little depression or bowl. Slowly pour in your mix, scraping off the husks and depositing them in another bowl. You can use them twice, so go ahead and keep them!

Step 6) The best storage for your ink is something that doesn’t let in light. Ceramic or naturally tinted glass is great. UV light will break down the plant material in your ink. As a preservative, add some clove oil, just a couple of drops, and your ink will last for over a year. It should be a shade of brown. Let it sit out in the air to evaporate the water to get a darker shade, or add water to get a lighter shade. It makes a fairly permanent stain on paper, and is great for drawing or calligraphy. The same stuff can be used to dye fabric.

I just got my supplies together today so my results won't be ready for another 1 1/2 -2 months. I will be posting updates on my progress.


Friday, October 07, 2011

Daisytown Peepers ~ WIP 2

Since last post I completed the fourth frog and the centers of the flowers. When I started painting the petals I ran into a snag. Arches hotpress paper ain't what it used to be and I knew this when I began the painting. Foolishly I thought I could work around it and I still can but it will take longer than expected. The surface of this paper roughs up very easily when removing frisket film or masking fluid and no matter how careful I am I'm left with trouble. All the other elements of the painting were easily handled but the petals must be as smooth and pristine as possible and that's not going to happen with any water based or 'juicy' medium. I'll have to resort to heavy body acrylic and probably more than one coat to get the job done right. I will be working on this one here and there as my patience dictates but for now I'm moving on to something that hopefully will go much faster. I will post the final painting when it's complete.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Daisytown Peepers

I thought I'd post a quick update to keep things moving and to plug a product. Today I took a couple of closeups of my Daisytown frogs. I'm using a new(new to me)product, Lumiere by Jacquard. Lumiere is a light body acrylic paint similar to fluid acrylics although this paint offers more application options. Here I've used it as watercolor, applying it undiluted over a damp glaze of DS green gold and DR Vivid green. The color I chose was Halo Blue Gold, a mixture of pearlescent blue, green and metallic gold. I love metallics but I know how easy it is to over-do them. In this case they worked perfectly to make these frogs stand out. The gold shimmer makes these peepers look wet and sun kissed.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Daisytown Peeper Quartet ~ WIP 1

Apologies to all my visitors for the gap in updates. I've had some health problems this month and haven't felt like picking up a brush. I finally decided I needed to get off my duff and get to work so I started with this project.

I first protected the subjects with frisket film, then poured the background paint which consisted of DS Pyrrol red, DR Quin. gold and WN Quin. red. This painting is a full sheet so the pouring was done in my bathtub over a period of two days. Note: It was kind of disconcerting to see dried splashes and smears of red in the tub. I'm sure if someone had been visiting and saw that they would've feared the worst. LOL

I removed the frisket from the stems and the leaf, then started with a glaze of DS green gold followed by DS Perylene green. The current plan is to complete the frogs next, then the centers of the blooms and finally the petals. I have some cleanup work to do on those petals as I had some leaking under the frisket film during the pours. I will most likely use some white gouache to correct that.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Donny ~ Complete


Better photo, colors/values more true to life. Donny has also been slightly revised. Marcia told me the dark area on the left side of his face by his whiskers was more than likely a tear stain, common in Persians because of their tear duct issues and particularly apparent on the white haired of the breed.

I just completed Donny. I added a little soft pastel to his body fur and white gouache to his tail to give it that feathery fur look. I used primarily DS Moonglow, DS Indigo and warm sepia throughout the painting. The only exceptions were a bit of cerulean blue and FUB for his eyes and permanent rose for his tongue and one ear. I'm very pleased I went with the pedestal. Donny has a habit of perching on top of hampers, trash bins, etc. The Greek pedestal will bring him up in the world in other ways.

I created a panorama of Marcia's three furbabies so I could see what they will look like hanging together. Umm...not bad. Donny does stand out, though!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Donny ~ WIP 1

Quick update. Apologies for the weird angle. I took the shot while the painting was still on the easel. I really love the Greek pedestal. Donny is lookin' pretty darn regal sitting there. Maybe Marcia will have to change his name from Donny to Adonis? Sorry..I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Donny ~ Sketch

Donny is one of three cats belonging to Marcia Van Osten who is another crazy cat lover like myself. He's a beautiful all white Persian with incredible blue eyes but like many white haired, blue-eyed cats Donny is deaf. It's an unfortunate but not uncommon genetic issue that many of these cats share. He lost his litter mate and best buddy, Marie to illness a few years ago and has since become Marcia's constant ankle hugger, bedmate, etc.

Marcia has been kind enough to let me use one of her many photos of Donny as reference. I chose a great shot of him perched atop his cat condo. He looks for all the world like he's sitting on a pedestal so I thought I would give Donny a proper pedestal. The detail work is patterned after the Greek Ionic style and I think it suits him purrfectly.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Daisytown Peeper Quartet ~ sketch

I kinda like this palette so far. It's a smidgeon of Pyrrol red(poured) with Quin. red, Quin. gold and streaks of a green I mixed up applied with a brush. I glazed over the green with Quin. red to tone it down. I drew a little daisy with soft pastel on my trial sample to see how well the palette worked with my subject.

This is my current working title until something better comes to mind. I finally completed the sketch after adjusting the tall daisy on the right three times. At first it looked too imposing so I reduced the size of the flower. Too small.:( Then I enlarged it slightly and still too small. Wrong, wrong, wrong.}:( Spent all afternoon tweaking this flower until I felt it meshed with the rest of the composition only to find I had returned it to the original size! Apparently it just needed some refining. Oh well...I don't ordinarily work this large (full sheet) plus this is a compilation of five+ photos so I'm discovering all kinds of challenges I've never faced before.

At the moment the plan is to use Arches HP w/c paper for this project. I'll be saving the white daisies and frogs with frisket film and will probably be doing some pouring of paint unless I can find a really big brush. Hotpress can be so tricky to work with but frisket film works best on this surface. Even though the setting is in a garden I want to avoid using a lot of green this time so I've been experimenting with various reds. With the green frogs I want to be careful not to let it become Christmas-y looking, though.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Subconscious Painting

Last night I felt compelled to work on something creative but nothing I had in the works interested me. I picked up a piece of scrap w/c paper, a cheap brush and some ink and simply began doodling. I added color with leftover watercolor paint on my palette. I vaguely remember thinking the results looked like some of Myrna Wacknov's work. It was then left to dry and forgotten about. A few hours later I looked again at my doodle and realized I had painted a self portrait of sorts. The pose I rendered was the exact position I was in while doodling...head cocked at an angle, side of chin propped on back of bent hand, expression the same. Oddly, I've always felt that my ears stick out but not to the degree that I had painted them...thank God. Wish I had those voluptuous lips, though.

In reviewing this event today it made me think of free association. Free association is a psychiatric tool that is attributed to Sigmund Freud and is commonly used by therapists to help their patients figure out what's happening on a subconscious level. The basic premise as put forth by Ludwig Börne, who(according to Wiki) influenced Freud's conclusions...'write down, without any falsification or hypocrisy, everything that comes into your head'. I've used this technique with my journaling to figure out what's bugging me when the cause was not obvious and have had great success with it. The premise as Freud worded it(according to Wiki)...'where there is a creative mind, Reason - so it seems to me - relaxes its watch upon the gates, and the ideas rush in pell-mell'. My next thought... so why not use it as a tool for artistic creativity? A way to break artist's block or to become a more personally expressive artist?

A further search turned up this site:

Theory of Subconscious Painting by Louise von Wrangell

"At a subconscious level we already know everything. Knowledge from the subconscious comes through the medium into the painting. The subconscious image interacts with the subconscious of the observer which enables each viewer to see his/her own painting in your painting." (an interesting theory to say the least)

In classical painting:

The act of creation begins with the object.
The observed object is transposed into the painting.
The artist is bound to reality by line and color.

In subconscious painting:

The act of creation begins randomly. The artist is free of reality.
The work is observed by the creator, and from that observation comes forth the subject of the painting.
The act of creation ends with the object.


Conclusion: Whether I agree with Ms. Von Wrangell's theories or not, I believe the use of free association can be an extremely useful tool to artists and their creative process.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Wildflowers ~ Complete

I just completed this painting and I'm pretty happy with the results. I held myself in check for fear I would add too much or try to go for unneeded detail. After removing the drawing gum it was exciting to see the white Queen Anne's Lace come to life.

Thanks to one of the members on my garden forum I now know this plant is called Bladder campion. It's a very common wildflower in my area and I remember enjoying popping the bladders when I was a kid. They make a satisfying little *snap* when pinched, rather like bubble wrap.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Weeds or Wildflowers?

My main subjects are the three Queen Anne's Lace blooms which I masked prior to painting with Pebeo drawing gum. I've yet to ID the little flowers also masked in the lower right corner. The two objects that look like large Q-tips are some field grasses I added to the bouquet for a vertical element. I want to keep the background loose and juicy to contrast with the tighter style of the main subjects.

It's the August blooming lull in my gardens so I went 'weed' picking. The weeds are blooming just fine through all the dry days and overly hot temps we've been experiencing this year while their more gentrified and hybridized cousins (that have received special treatment all summer long, I might add) are done for the season. What I came home with was a lovely bouquet more than suitable for a painting.

Even though everything I picked was very familiar to me by sight I did not know the proper names of most so I did an online search..'native weeds of Michigan', then 'native wildflowers of Michigan'. The same plants came up in both searches which begs the question...what distinguishes a weed from a wildflower?

I recall a quote I read somewhere in the past that stated, "A weed is a plant out of place." I discovered this quote didn't come from a gardener but from the lead character in a book by Jim Thompson titled, 'The Killer Inside Me'. The lead character is Lou Ford, a laid back, rather slow small town sheriff in Texas who is also a psychotic killer in his off hours. Haven't read the book but I did see the movie and it was chilling...but I digress.

On a happier note I also discovered a book written by Aliki, (author of 50 children's books) titled, 'A Weed is a Flower, The Life of George Washington Carver'.

Conclusion: Whether a plant is a weed or a flower lies in it's nature and in the eyes and mind of the beholder.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Sizing Up A Comp ~ Part 3

The past few days I've been slooowly adding things to this composition. I compare prepping a comp for a full sheet painting to giving birth. Committing to a full sheet is a huge deal to me as all my supplies are precious. Wish that wasn't the case but it is. I want to take the utmost care in planning with the hope that the outcome will be a success and I will be rewarded with something of which I can be proud.

Taking my time and looking at each addition to see if it works in the overall scheme of things is crucial. The tall daisy on the right needed some tweaking. That long straight stem was too harsh and looked like the mast on a sailboat listing in the wind...with a flower on top. I softened the angle by curving it slightly. I also added another large daisy bloom in the lower left corner in hopes that would create depth. Surprisingly both large daisies look about the same size in the image even though one is over three inches wider than the other. Camera distortion maybe?

It has become obvious to me this will be a WIP for awhile so I'll probably start working on some other, smaller projects just to keep my brushes wet.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Sizing Up a Comp ~ part 2

I've added another frog to the picture and put a blossom on the end of that big stem on the right. I took numerous photos of my own shasta daisies and will continue to refer to them when adding additional daisies. The way it's going this will turn out to be a full sheet when completed.

Conclusion: This project was taking too long, using up too much tracing paper and looks like a crazy quilt. I finally broke down and called our local print shop. Kwikie Print has become Village Graphics(not sure when that happened..I need to pay more attention when I'm in town) and they now offer more services including enlargement of drawings. My tracing paper quilting days are over!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sizing Up A Composition

I've got a new piece brewing already. One of the members of my Michigan garden forum posted photos of tiny tree frogs sitting on her shasta daisies and generously agreed to share them with me for a painting. I'd like to make this at least a half sheet, maybe larger. I'm trying to determine how large I want each frog in relationship to the others within the composition I have in mind. This is a compilation of two separate images so I will need to do some adjusting.

I used edge detection in Irfanview and traced my line drawing onto tracing paper. BTW, I use my PC monitor as my lightbox. I then taped the tracing paper to a scrap piece of foamcore and am posting a photo so I can size things up(pun intended). Pretty rough at this point. PSP is outside my budget and I've about given up on my Elements 6. I think it's been corrupted. Whatever it's malfunction, it's just too darn frustrating to try and put together a comp with it. I'll have to use some ingenuity or just do it the old fashioned way and make umpteen drawings until I'm satisfied. I'll also need to take some photos of my own daisies to complete the scene.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Garlic Braid ~ Complete

I just finished this a moment ago and wanted to post it so I could check for problem areas and make tweaks if necessary.

The braid and the loose stem tops were painted with DS Undersea green, burnt umber, raw umber, a little violet I mixed up with Crimson lake and mauve and various greys I made from palette muck. I removed the drawing gum and finished off the roots with a mix of mauve and burnt umber. The twine is also palette muck grey. I'm not going to do a background. I like this as just a simple vignette. I even left the Fabriano mfg. mark clearly visible which I've never done before. It seemed to work with this painting as part of the composition.

P.S. This is my first painting done entirely from life. Working from life has it's challenges but I enjoyed it much more than anticipated.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Garlic Braid ~ WIP 2

Quick update: I'm happy with the garlic bulbs at this point and am getting ready to start on the braided stems. I used a mixture of blues as my under painting, then glazed over that with a mix of mauve and burnt umber. I want to bring in some DS Undersea green where ever it will work. This needs some green, IMO.

I don't usually paint still life and rarely from life. I normally work from photos. This is certainly a new experience for me. I'm anxious to see if painting from life really makes that much difference in the final result.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Garlic Braid ~ WIP

Just starting to add color. So far my palette consists of cerulean blue, phthalo blue, raw umber, mauve & a tiny bit of crimson lake. I used a little Pebeo drawing gum to mask the roots of the garlic beforehand.

My sketch

Braided softneck garlic hanging on my studio door knob over my painting smock

mid-July 2011~almost ready to harvest

I've been the moderator of a garden forum devoted entirely to Michigan gardeners for the past several years. In recent years the forum has seen more and more experienced vegetable gardeners join and I've learned so much from them. Being primarily a flower gardener I didn't know much about veggie gardening but these members got me fired up.

One member is a connoisseur of garlic and an expert at growing his own. He graciously offered to share a few bulbs from his private stock with me for planting. Since I had already planned to convert one of my flower beds into an edible garden I started with his garlic. It's easy to grow...peel and break apart the bulb, plant the largest cloves in the Fall and by the following July you have a lovely crop of the pungent bulbs. There's a bit more involved but not much.

After the bulbs were harvested and cured I made my first garlic braid and decided it was a worthy subject for a painting.