August 22: And the first painting is complete.

Tore this photo out of the newspaper.  Couldn't believe this cherubic face was wanted by the police but then Karin Jurick (one of my most favorite portrait/anything painters) paints from mug shot files on the internet.  She never names them or says where they're incarcerated, but she always has faces to paint!

When you photograph the "real" person and then photograph the painted person, the errors are glaring. But......this is the first painting in 4 years so gimme a little break.  I didn't think it was all that bad and as a result, I'll go to class again this week - perhaps with this character redrawn and ready to paint again.

August 20: Karin Jurick, a voice from my past

Many years ago, maybe 6, maybe 5, I followed a blog by a woman named Karin Jurick.  She posted portraits (photos) once a week for all of us followers to paint.  We submitted our paintings to her via email and she posted them for all of us to study. It was a monumental effort on her part, very time consuming, but oh so wonderful for those of us struggling to learn the face.  I was so taken with her generosity that unbeknownst to her, I captured the names and emails of the participants and wrote them on the side asking them to take part in a huge thank you to her.  I sent everyone whose name I could find a copy of Karin's picture asking them to paint her, send me an email photo and I would post them all at once in a huge thank you to Karin.  All went well, until (you can see this coming), someone wrote Karin saying when should she send her the portrait she had painted.  The jig was up which was too bad but the project turned out wonderfully.  I'm wondering if I have any of those portrait posts still available.

What started this letter to all of you today?  Karin Jurick has started posting, blogging, once again and I'm hooked all over again.  She paints small:  4x6, maybe an 8x10 if she's feeling adventurous. She only uses flat brushes and look what she accomplishes.

I took a look at her blog and I'll be darned.  There is one of her final portrait posts.  She had all of us who had painted along with her send her a "selfie".  She then swapped/emailed us someone else's selfie.  We were told to paint the stranger (who was painting us) and return our painting via email.  I was sent a fabulous photo of what I termed the "hairdresser".  Wonderful colorful picture.  Alas, the hairdresser never got her act together by the deadline but Karin, wonderful manager, filled the blank spot by painting me!!  You'll have to guess which one.

Enjoy this sequence of paintings by other people.

August 18: And then the video I should have started with.

This man is in Spokane.  How lucky people are to have access to him and to his teachings.  The best part of this video, in my opinion, is his involvement in a local junior high school as a volunteer art teacher.  When he speaks about art in our lives, in our childrens' lives, he waxes eloquent and true.

Enjoy this.

August 17: Painting with values, not color. Fascinating demonstration

This man demonstrates using color value not necessarily color.  It's really interesting and something that we all should have learned years ago and didn't.  I know I struggled for a long, long time as to what "value" meant - I held up the grey scale, I held up the camera slide, I nodded my head when the teacher mentioned "value"......I think I'm beginning to understand and it's only been a gazillion years.

August 16: And then I start wavering, wondering whether I should really be learning oils........

This is the same Sheldon School of Painting in Los Angeles.  This man works with high school students who want to study art, who want to prepare a portfolio for an art degree somewhere.....he has videos of painting in every medium and every subject.  His oil technique is much like water in that great expanses of color are never laid down, dabs here, dabs there and the eye emerges.

August 15: Another watercolor portrait demo....I can't watch these enough!

Sheldon's Portfolio Art School in Los Angeles.

So many of these techniques remind me of Ted Nuttall's method of painting.  Many of us were lucky enough to study with him here in Los Angeles.

Enjoy these videos and hopefully some little tweek of technique will appeal to you.

Hopefully we'll all improve.

August 12, 2016 - Watercolor's back!!

Having just taken up a paintbrush again for the first time in 4 years....I've spent this Friday morning watching videos of other watercolor portrait painters, trying to get that "feeling" back again and yes, definitely, a lot, lot, lot of technique! Enjoy this first video by Stephie Butler.

Day One of 2015.

It's nearing the last day of 2015 which prompted me to take a look at my blog - that long ignored website that so occupied my thoughts when I was a painter.  Life has sure intervened in the past two years and many, many zany things have happened.  I am now the owner/operator of a hand printed wallpaper company, C.W. Stockwell.  I manufacture and sell the very famous "Martinique" pattern - a pattern that my company designed and copyrighted in the 1940s and which has always been featured at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the coffee shop.  It's a fascinating business and with the lure of the 50s in design and decorating, the wallpaper is very much in demand.

This business is keeping me busy and involved and I love it!

Just thought I'd post and see if anyone's still out there.

Day 50: Danny Gregory's commenters have such an interesting comment....

I follow Danny Gregory's blog: Every Day Matters.  Danny quit his day job several weeks ago and is now thinking out loud about the next step.  His blog followers have had quite a few comments on what Danny has had to say.  Today's comment suggested he take a look at the TED talk by Amanda Palmer.

Such an interesting conversation.

Just makes me think of my friends out there who take the time to read this when it is so sporadically issued.  Every Day Matters.

Day 49: 2013 Danny Gregory gives a drawing lesson

It has been so, so long since I've posted anything but I haven't forgotten about this blog or what my goal was when I started it.  In an email today from Danny Gregory of "Every Day Matters", he gave a mini-drawing lesson.  It got me started thinking about all those sketch books upstairs, with 6 or 7 or 10 days of sketches in them....and how little time he says it actually takes to do some sketching.  He just had a sketching workshop in the Berkshires, in upstate Massachusetts, and it was totally filled with fabulous "sketchers".

Here's today's lesson.

Here's his invitation to his workshop.

And here's his blog entry talking about the workshop.

Danny has a wonderful blog, wonderful newsy email if you subscribe.

Day 48: 2013 Correcting lettering in a journal

When I asked Cathy Johnson for permission to quote the blog.....
There's a correction: this wonderful suggestion is from Pam Johnson Brickell and her wonderful work. Sorry Pam that you didn't get the initial credit but I'm hoping this will make up for it?

I follow this wonderful blog on keeping a watercolor journal - "Artist's Journal Workshop".  I can always dream of being able to keep a beautiful journal like Cathy Johnson or maybe Brenda Swenson can't I? Cathy is a generous teacher of journaling and workshops and how to's.

In today's blog, which I've copied whole - I did ask permission because I think this is a wonderful lesson for all of us -  she talks about making a typo on a "precious" journal page (Those Are My Words) - I would have committed hara kiri if I'd drawn that wonderful page and then made a huge typo.

I thought this was a useful lesson for all of us.

their work and words, interviews, blogs, images, hints, tips, websites
and more...


Correcting Lettering Mistakes

A lot of times I'll wait until I get home before adding lettering to a journal page. Mainly because of time and comfort. But on this particular day, I felt quite comfy perched on my camp stool and the 8.5 x 11 journal page in my Stillman and Birn Alpha hardbound journal was such a dream to work on.

However, on the way home, I began to wonder if this really was Harbour Town's Liberty Oak. There were two very large oaks in the heart of Harbour Town.  The magnificence of this tree, with it's sprawling low lying branches surely struck me as the one to bear this name...... Not!

Long ago, a skilled calligrapher taught me how to correct mistakes... Tip: correct your mistake before you lift any unwanted lettering.  Huh? Yes, write over the lettering on the page, then white out or lift off what you don't want.
That way the stroke of the corrected lettering will be smooth and you won't have to contend with the often bumpy texture left by white out or white ink.  I used a Signo Uniball broad tip white pen, available from

I decided to turn Liberty Oak into Live Oak.  The RTY of Liberty would be taken out.  A good size space would be left between the two words.  I decided to put the tree's Latin name between Live and Oak.... a quirky fix, but it worked for me :)

Since this is a journal page and not a piece of calligraphic art, I was willing to live with a bumpy surface to write the smaller replacement text on.

Day 46: 2013 Portrait Drawing Session Six

Barbara, Terry Kelly's wife had to step in
and play the part of the model when the model failed to show up.
One of the hazards of trying to hire live models.
They're a flaky bunch.

Jill's initial blocking in

Terry said to get the darkest of the darks into the drawing

Final drawing.  I was pleased.

I thought I'd remember each person
who did these drawings but it's been
several weeks and the memory has gone.

Another person's drawing

And a final drawing.

Day 45: Portrait Drawing Session Five

Photo - these are " professional" models.  They charge $10 per person  attending the class to take photos.  I can understand the adversity to photography in a life modeling class, but a portrait class!  This guy is fully clothed down to the black hoodie!

Day 43: 2012 Portrait Drawing Fourth Session

Sebastian, the model

My attempt to draw Sebastian.
Terry Kelly's hands explaining blocking in the shapes

Terry Kelly, the teacher, blocking in an eye

Terry Kelly's drawing

Barbara, Terry's wife's drawing - wonderful work!!

Another student's work

Sebastian was a wonderful model, easy to draw, well lit, good planes to his face.

Just because Christmas is almost here.......

Saw this video on someone's blog.
Couldn't resist posting it
And if you have time to waste as I obviously did?
Actually I chose to waste time....
Don't tell anyone that I'm not upstairs
Wrapping presents......
Enjoy and go to YouTube
type in "Scary Snowman"
and enjoy the rest of this man's video work.
Most of all?
Happy Holidays!!

Day 44: 2012 - Letters of Note - Your loving Santa Claus

I subscribe to a blog, Letters of Note

Every day or two or three, in my inbox, is a wonderful letter from someone of note, in the past, or in the present..........talking about something wonderful.  I would tell everyone to give themselves this gift, this wonderful letter that arrives in your inbox.

Today's "gift" - because that's what I think it was at this frenetic moment in time, was a letter from Mark Twain to his daughter Susie, talking about Santa, love and Christmas and how they are all intertwined.  I remember when my son was a little one, and he thought that for sure he'd discovered that Santa wasn't real, and he announced it loud and clear...........I looked at him and said that if Santa wasn't real, then who was he? 

And there was no answer.  I said, Santa is everyone who loves you.  Everyone who loves you wants to put a gift in your stocking to prove how much you're loved.  And at age 6? 7? I can't remember the exact year?  That answer was more than enough to let him believe in Santa for another year.

An explanation of today's letter:

During Christmas in the 1870s, when he wasn't sending horse-led sleighs piled high with food and toys to his less fortunate neighbours, the inimitable Mark Twain could usually be found at the family home with his wife and young children, often pretending to be Santa Claus. On Christmas morning of 1875, Twain's 3-year-old daughter, Susie, awoke to find the following charming letter on her bed.

Palace of St. Nicholas.
In the Moon.
Christmas Morning.

My dear Susie Clemens:

I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me by the hand of your mother and your nurses; I have also read those which you little people have written me with your own hands—for although you did not use any characters that are in grown peoples' alphabet, you used the characters that all children in all lands on earth and in the twinkling stars use; and as all my subjects in the moon are children and use no character but that, you will easily understand that I can read your and your baby sister's jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all. But I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your mother and the nurses, for I am a foreigner and cannot read English writing well. You will find that I made no mistakes about the things which you and the baby ordered in your own letters—I went down your chimney at midnight when you were asleep and delivered them all myself—and kissed both of you, too, because you are good children, well trained, nice mannered, and about the most obedient little people I ever saw. But in the letter which you dictated there were some words which I could not make out for certain, and one or two small orders which I could not fill because we ran out of stock. Our last lot of kitchen furniture for dolls has just gone to a very poor little child in the North Star away up, in the cold country above the Big Dipper. Your mama can show you that star and you will say: "Little Snow Flake," (for that is the child's name) "I'm glad you got that furniture, for you need it more than I." That is, you must write that, with your own hand, and Snow Flake will write you an answer. If you only spoke it she wouldn't hear you. Make your letter light and thin, for the distance is great and the postage very heavy.

There was a word or two in your mama's letter which I couldn't be certain of. I took it to be "trunk full of doll's clothes." Is that it? I will call at your kitchen door about nine o'clock this morning to inquire. But I must not see anybody and I must not speak to anybody but you. When the kitchen doorbell rings, George must be blindfolded and sent to open the door. Then he must go back to the dining room or the china closet and take the cook with him. You must tell George he must walk on tiptoe and not speak—otherwise he will die someday. Then you must go up to the nursery and stand on a chair or the nurse's bed and put your car to the speaking tube that leads down to the kitchen and when I whistle through it you must speak in the tube and say, "Welcome, Santa Claus!" Then I will ask whether it was a trunk you ordered or not. If you say it was, I shall ask you what color you want the trunk to be. Your mama will help you to name a nice color and then you must tell me every single thing in detail which you want the trunk to contain. Then when I say "Good bye and a merry Christmas to my little Susie Clemens," you must say "Good bye, good old Santa Claus, I thank you very much and please tell that little Snow Flake I will look at her star tonight and she must look down here—I will be right in the west bay window; and every fine night I will look at her star and say, 'I know somebody up there and like her, too.'" Then you must go down into the library and make George close all the doors that open into the main hall, and everybody must keep still for a little while. I will go to the moon and get those things and in a few minutes I will come down the chimney that belongs to the fireplace that is in the hall—if it is a trunk you want—because I couldn't get such a thing as a trunk down the nursery chimney, you know.

People may talk if they want, until they hear my footsteps in the hall. Then you tell them to keep quiet a little while till I go back up the chimney. Maybe you will not hear my footsteps at all—so you may go now and then and peep through the dining-room doors, and by and by you will see that thing which you want, right under the piano in the drawing room-for I shall put it there. If I should leave any snow in the hall, you must tell George to sweep it into the fireplace, for I haven't time to do such things. George must not use a broom, but a rag—else he will die someday. You must watch George and not let him run into danger. If my boot should leave a stain on the marble, George must not holystone it away. Leave it there always in memory of my visit; and whenever you look at it or show it to anybody you must let it remind you to be a good little girl. Whenever you are naughty and somebody points to that mark which your good old Santa Claus's boot made on the marble, what will you say, little sweetheart?

Goodbye for a few minutes, till I come down to the world and ring the kitchen door-bell.

Your loving

Santa Claus

Whom people sometimes call "The Man in the Moon"

Day 42: 2012 - Portrait Drawing Third Session

And back to Terry's garage for the third, actually it was the fourth or fifth session as I didn't start taking photos until now.........Again, measuring, measuring with calipers, pencils, sticks.  I actually took a very thin knitting needle to class with me thinking that that would be easier. 

I'm having a horrible time with all the different versions of charcoal.  We draw with HB pencils, add a little 2H perhaps, put in the darkest darks with vine charcoal, use a paint brush to rub some of the charcoal out and about to smooth its surface, go back in with Conte to make very dark darks, then go back in with the kneaded eraser to erase out the lights.........I get so confused with the materials and which to use when...

My start....angles, angles, angles!
 My start, Terry stepping in and helping saying if I would get the darks in, the drawing would come together automatically.  Easy for him to say.   ;-))

more lines added  

mine with darkest darks started
barbara's i think

eric's i think

Day 41: 2012 - Portrait Drawing Second Session

And back to Terry's class I went the following Tuesday night.  Oh the measuring! How hard it is!!  We are to block in the face, drawing angles, no round shapes allowed......

 Sitting to the side isn't bad in this class as there are only 4 of us.
But, you can see that I didn't "quite" get the angle.

Terry's lighting the models from the top so that everyone has a "lit" model, no artistic lighting.  We are to see the roundness of the face, the progression of shadow from the forehead down to the chin.
And enter the shadows accordingly.  Darn, this is really hard and here I thought it was just going to be practicing skills I thought I had nailed down years ago!
The models charge us to take photos.  I could understand charging us if they were nude models...... but these guys are sitting there, fully clothed, in Terry's garage....and one of the women wanted $20.00 per photo!  I'm too cheap. I have no photo of that model.  Most of them were $5 or $10, take a couple of photos, that'll be fine.  I like to have a photo of the person I was "trying to draw".

Day 40: 2012 - portrait drawing class first session

Decided to get back to drawing's been a very long time with what all's been happening around this house since last Spring.  Signed up to take a course from Terry Kelly, a Pasadena artist I got to know because of his participation in the Arlington Garden Artist Event.  His oil paintings of the Garden sold quickly - wonderful small works. 

He alerted a group of people to the fact that he would like to teach a portrait class, at night, for 10 weeks and I "took a flyer" as we say.  I hate night classes!

So, off I trudged to work with charcoal, an unfamiliar medium, and to work with a person who really knew how to draw portraits.  We were told to bring calipers to measure.........whoops! 

That's getting serious folks!

Here/s the model:

Here are my "starts" to drawing and then Terry stepped in and offered up some help, thank goodness

Discussions about putting in the darkest darks......

Started head too high on the page, oh well........

Trying to teach me how to do the shadow under the nose.....

And here's my final version after Terry helped me.

Day 39: 2012 - The Traveling Chicken ........again

The Traveling Chicken made it to Hyderabad, India!  She left Carol Marine's house in Oregon and made the perilous journey in the company of El Pollo Loco, across the ocean to a very foreign place for her.  She had a wonderful visit and met some wonderful friends. 

Take a look at  and enjoy her Indian visit.

She goes from Hyderabad, India to Great Britain............the list of artists who want to join her and us in her traveling quest is growing!  Take a look at where she's going! and "Oh The People She'll Meet" to quote Dr. Seuss.

If you have any interest, and if you are a blogger (one of the requirements), please click on the appropriate spot on the blog and let Nancie Johnson of New Jersey know you're interested.

I get the biggest smile on my face each time an artist posts her painting and her story.  Such fun!

Day 38: 2012 Sketching/Drawing

My whole life, whenever I've been on the telephone with someone, I've always drawn heads. When I'm in a long meeting, I draw heads and any people's faces I can see. It doesn't seem to take me away from the conversation/concentration but I suddenly realized that this is what I do and what I've always done.  Maybe I've always wanted to be a portrait person.

Was on the phone with a friend the other day.  All over my desk are accumulations of photos torn out of the newspaper.  On top of the pile was a photo of Joe Paterno left over from that mess at Penn State.  I started my initial sketch.  This is as far as I got that day.

Some other phone call, I'll do him again, and again, and pretty soon I'll photo enlarge him, having gotten the gist of his face, draw him 8x10 or so and have at him with the watercolor paints.  That part is always so much fun.

Here's as far as I got the first time.

Day 37: 2012 The Little Chicken and Sketchbooks with removable pages

Have you seen what a group of us have been up to with regards to the Travelling Chicken?
About the Project

Would you have any interest in joining in? It's been fun, seeing what other people can think of with regards to the Little Chicken.
We "require" that the participating artists have a blog and most of you most certainly qualify!
If you want to join in on the fun, send me an email:  polsby     at

And then for all you sketchers out there.  Came across an interesting sketchbook which has removable, replaceable pages.  You can organize your sketchbook long "after the fact", you can remove "bad" pages, you can insert more sketches.........sounds pretty good and I didn't know if you'd heard of it yet.
50# paper
Never have really like canson products but this could be interesting.