Day 71: Thursday, April 28 - Eagles!! and one more person viewed my Sketchbook.

Got up early, drove around town with the nicest man, Mike Gillissie, a Los Angeles Fire Paramedic. He's the son-in-law of Betty and Charlie McKenney who had the vision 6-7 years ago for Arlington Garden.  Little did he know when he married their daughter 3 years ago that he would one day be driving a truck, with Jill in it, going from place to place, house to house, picking up the 6' tall, 2'wide grids that are used to hang paintings in art shows.  It's d**n hot today in Pasadena so we started early.  Took our truckload back to the Garden about noon. 

So there, that's the painting aspect of today.

Except for one wonderful email:

We just wanted to let you know that Anna B. just viewed your sketchbook (#35593) at Mercer Gallery at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY!
Your book has been viewed 3 times so far.
The Brooklyn Art Library Librarian

eat your heart out Nancie Johnson.

and then?                                 Eagles!!!!!

I don't know how I forgot about "my" eagles! Every year I find a live cam (live camera) that's been positioned on an eagle's nest somewhere in the United States and have watched with incredible joy as these majestic birds build nests, mate, hatch, tend, care, feed the eaglets. 

This particular camera in Iowa is live 24 hours a day because of infrared technology.

The actual website is

This pair of birds have produced 3 eaglets, a record for me. Usually I've seen two and have also seen horrible "accidents" as the larger eaglet pushes the smaller eaglet out of the nest, an eaglet simply disappears.  In this nest three healthy eaglets hatch and there's an accident that resolves itself nicely. The father bird (I'm assuming here) is trying to straighten out the nest and inadvertently catches one of the eaglets in his beak and throws it to the side of the nest..........It takes almost two days for the little guy to be drawn back into the nest and to be warm and toasty again under the breast of the babysitter.

Get ready to waste (except I don't and never have considered it a waste) time with fascination.

I usually have the website up and running in the background of whatever else I'm hear the wind blowing, you hear one eagle calling to the other when he/she is approaching the nest, you hear the babies chirping.....and you click over occasionally an spend another 5-55 minutes with a loopy smile on your face.

Day 70: Wednesday, April 27: Crochet Like Your Grandma

My son, as I've mentioned before, knows all about my slightly warped sense of humor. So........he sent this clip.

I'm not going to tell you anything about it other than it should make you have a huge smile on your face, especially when one of the visitors to this site says "You can hang your freak flag out in Los Angeles".  I thought that aptly described this woman's wonderful sense of humor.

Enjoy as always.

Day 69: Tuesday, April 26

Took my sadly in need of work paintings that were on yesterday's blog to my watercolor painting class this morning. Our teacher, Peggy Reid, is trying to get us to understand color theory, triads, tertiary colors, complementary......I listen, I think I understand....but.

So the blue urn that I liked, out of all the paintings I did in Arlington Garden, with a lot of triad/tertiary color discussion using the color wheel, using the acetate overlay to show what happens when you put that third color into/onto a painting. Voila!!

Here's the finished painting with a lotta advice from Peggy.

before peggy

after peggy....
badly taken photo, sorry!

Day 68: Monday, April 25

I've actually been painting and drawing.......I've been going to that glorious Arlington Garden every afternoon and drawing.....birds are singing their hearts out, gorgeous weather, maybe 65 degrees and sunny.  Here are all my attempts........only one do I like at all, the big blue vase.  The rest I had a great vision in my head but my hand didn't execute. Drat!

More work to be done, but I love what's starting
to happen on the pot.

This is done on a clayboard left over from another painting.
Lots of underpainting showing through. Kinda fun.

Like this one, the colors in the agave especially.

Another version of the giant agave which
glows cerulean blue with orange edges in the afternoon sun.

Supposed to be a fantastic wash of
California poppies, greenery...........yuk.

Sunday, Easter, 2011

I started out about 6 or 7 years ago, I think about that long, wanting to paint portraits in watercolor and that's pretty much what I've done until very recently.  It's always a challenge to capture the expression that gives a face life.  In prior posts I've shown the portrait of my cousin Philip and the portrait of Carol Marine both of which are two of my favorite paintings.

Today, my sister sent me an email about a woman, Kaziah Hancock, who lives in Utah, who is painting portraits of the fallen, the soldiers killed mainly in Iraq.  She does this as her gift to the soldiers' parents. It's moving to watch her paint, moving to think about our freedom and why we have it on this Easter Sunday, moving to think about the parents who have lost their sons and daughters.

Watch this.

Day 67: Saturday, April 23

For those of you who loved the "Music Man" as much as I did........

Received this fabulous video and just had to share the joy of the whole thing with any one of you who's reading this blog.  I know it's supposed to be all about painting, painters, technique............... 

Oh, I know. Today actually qualifies as I went to the California Art Club's Gold Medal Exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. It lived up to the rave reviews that it's been receiving from everyone.  Some phenomenal paintings and sculpture. 

So now that I've admitted to my "art for today", here's the "76 Trombones" as performed by the Ambassadors of Harmony from St. Charles (Metropolitan, St. Louis) Missouri.  They received a score of 100 out of 100 and probably should have received more points if they had been available!  Enjoy with the same smile on your face as I had.......feet tapping, trying to sing along as I remembered the words from Meredith Wilson's Music Man.

Day 66: Thursday, April 21: Story of Maxine

Happy Thursday. I know this is supposed to be a painting blog and I did spend all morning at the Arlington Garden painting with a group of friends....I guess I should have uploaded my attempts at greatness but the "history of Maxine" was much more entertaining.  Turns out that the "inventor of Maxine" is a man who works/worked at Hallmark.  Enjoy. And Happy Easter or Happy Holiday.  Talk to you again tomorrow, Friday.

 John Wagner, Hallmark artist since 1970, says Maxine was inspired by his mother, his maiden aunts and his grandmother, the woman who bought him art lessons when 'fill in the pumpkins' was about the extent of his art classes at St. John's Catholic School in  Leonia

John remembers doodling as a preschooler and says both his grandmother and his mother encouraged his artistic interests. He eventually attended the Vesper George School of Art in Boston and landed at Hallmark as part of a new artists group.  But it was the birth of the humorous Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) in 1986 that added a new dimension to John's professional life. The Shoebox way of seeing the world unleashed his talents and he created Maxine.

'Cartoonists are sensitive to the insanities of the world; we just try to humanize them,' John says.
   'If Maxine can get a laugh out of someone who feels lonely or someone who is getting older and hates the thought of another birthday, or if she can make someone chuckle about stressful interpersonal relationships, then I'm happy.  Putting a smile on someone's face is what it's all about.'

Those smiles have led to Maxine's becoming a bit of a celebrity. She (and John) have been the subject of media stories, including People , USA Today, Good Morning America , The Wall Street Journal, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, and Las Vegas Journal-Review, and they have been included in a majorAssociated Press story.
Collector and trade publications have reported fans nationwide are collecting
Maxine items. Letters from consumers and fans to John and Maxine reveal a very personal connection to Maxine.

Many people say they are just like her. 

Why the name 'Maxine'? 'People at Shoebox started referring to the character as 'John Wagner's old lady,' and I knew that would get me into trouble with my wife,' John says. The Shoebox team had a contest among themselves to name the character and three of the approximately 30 entries suggested 'Maxine'.  John says the name is perfect.

John, who says he's humbled by such acceptance of Maxine, admits he's proud of her.

Now you know the story of how Maxine came to be. 

I haven't seen these before. Good ones.

Day 65: Tuesday, April 19

Lynne Fearman, whose oil paintings I really like, stopped by the house yesterday to drop off 5, count 'em, 5 paintings that she did in/of the Arlington Garden for our party on April 30th.  She's got a one-woman show coming up September 3- October 1, at the Segil Gallery in Monrovia.  BTW: If you've never stopped by the Segil Gallery, do. It's one of my favorites in that you can wander in, wander around and never have the feeling that there's pressure to buy.  They always have wonderful artists featured.

Lynne painting in the Garden
This painting will be for sale on April 30 at the
2nd annual celebration of the Garden's Fifty Anniverary
And then today at w/c class, Gail Green donated a wonderful watercolor that she had painted in the Garden last week. She said the Garden could keep all the money when her really nice painting sold. Thanks!!

Day 64: Monday, April 18

Regarding my blog entry back in February about Splash 12 and Splash 13, magazines issued once a year that contain the best of watercolor.  Ted Nuttall is still the cover "item" on Splash 12 even though I cited it as Splash 13. And then I listed all the painters in Splash 12, but they were the winners of Splash 13 which will be issued sometime next year.  Brenda Swenson brought this to my attention because she was a winner in 12, not in 13. And I want Brenda to always get the credit she deserves for the wonderful painting work she does!

And by making the mistake and listing the winners of 13 instead, I heard from a favorite new friend of mine Rudy Halili who said: "I recognized one of the winners on Splash 13. His name is Oscar R. Dizon, a Filipino. He was featured in the American Artist Watercolor this winter. He has a solo exhibition this March in the Ayala Museum in the Philippines. I hope his exhibition will still be on when my wife, Carmen and I get there by this Tuesday. I will be back here in time for the Master Ted Nuttall's workshop in June." 

I am once again offering a week-long workshop with Ted at the Glendale Brand Studios if you might be interested.

Sunday: April 17

About 2 weeks ago I decided to try to learn how to paint with oils. Why? Who knows! Except I must have been really frustrated with watercolor that week. So a friend and I signed up for a true beginner's class at Pasadena City College and needless to say, in my inimitable fashion, I have failed to follow any of the rules she's trying to teach us. But.  I had a wonderful photograph of the lavender filled entrance to the Arlington Garden and I really kind of like what I did with it. So, it will be my painting at the Party on April 30th unless I'm able to finish up a watercolor that I started.

And then I drove to United Frame on Colorado Blvd., in Pasadena, where everyone had said I had to go to buy a frame for my first oil painting. Met Mark Greenstone there, family has owned the frame shop for a gazillion years. He couldn't have been nicer helping me pick out a not too expensive frame for this, my first oil painting.  He has a wonderful assortment of frames both for watercolor and oil and has an interesting website where you can look at the frames and get an idea how much your choice of frame might cost.

To see a style, you can just plug the style number into the quick find box at the bottom of the home page.


Frame Style
Frame Size
Single Frame Price
Box Price per Frame
(4 to 6 frames depending on size)
20” x 24”
18” x 18”
24” x 36”
12” x 16”
20” x 24”
20” x 24”
24” x 30”
8” x 10”
9” x 12”
11” x 14”
12” x 16”
16” x 20”
20” x 24”
24” x 30”
11” x 14”
20” x 24”
8” x 10”
11” x 14”
16” x 20”
20” x 24”
14” x 18”
12” x 16”
16” x 20”
20” x 24”
24” x 36”
20” x 24”
24” x 36”
24” x 36”
24” x 30”
24” x 36”
30” x 40”
9” x 12”
11” x 14”
12” x 16”

Day 63: Friday, April 15 - my son's 37th birthday

Every so often my son, an inveterate reader of interesting "stuff", sends me a link that he knows I'll like.  The following was on a list of books that depending on your interests had the "one" book that you should be reading. This is a site/book that talks about Watercolor Painting.  I spent way too much time, following the links to other sites, reading here, reading there.  Have fun with this the way I did.  I plan on spending a lot more time reading this "experience" with painting.

The author is Bruce MacEvoy

The coming weeks are filled with painting shows, flower shows, gardens in bloom.

April 16-17: Descanso Garden in La Canada is having several activities and events including an art show in the main building near the entrance.
April 30: Arlington Garden's 2nd annual celebration of its Fifth Anniversary to be celebrated with an art show/sale, marmalade sale, garden tours and talks. Starts at 9:30 a.m.
April 30: Maranatha School is hosting a paintout by artists from the Mid Valley Arts League. Wonderful painters painting away. I think there's a fee to enter the school grounds.
April 29-30: San Dimas Festival of the Arts. I've been to this show several times. Fabulous art!

Day 62: Thursday, April 14

Oh my. I mentioned the fact yesterday that Arlington Garden and Pasadena are bathed in sun? I got to the Park about 10 a.m. to meet and greet painters and to try to recruit their paintings for the party on the 30th.........I am fried. I am sunburned. Never even entered my mind to wear a hat! It's just the first day of sun that all of us have stood around in. 

Painted a bit, had a great time. I think we're going to have some wonderful paintings at the Party.  There was one smart woman, parked in the shade, doing some fabulous line drawings and gentle paintings: Phyllis Kato
Have always painted in watercolor, have always painted portraits. This whole trip into plein air painting is really something. It's darn hard!!  And then a while ago I decided to try to figure out oil painting. I started a class at PCC (Pasadena City College) being taught by Jill Kiefer that's an oil painting class for total beginners.  I've actually finished one plein air painting from a photo of the Park that I don't think is all that bad.  I couldn't figure out how to get it dry so I have it in my car where it's hot, hoping that it will dry.  When I can take a photo I'll post it here.

That's all for today folks. It's 10 p.m.............and it's been a long day.

Day 61: Wednesday, April 13

Have been painting away at the Arlington Garden today.  Went over there initially to "pimp the party" on April 30th where I'm in charge of art sales (and obviously I have to recruit painters if we're to have anything wonderful to sell).  It was absolutely so glorious, sun, cloud cover, sun, birds singing, sun, people strolling, a group of photographers being led through the garden by the garden's designer, school kids walking the labyrinth, and a whole group of plein air painters!  The whole scene got me so excited that I got my stuff out of the car and started in.............thinking i'm Monet? VanGogh?.......someone great for sure.

Here's what I painted, right after high noon, so no shadows to speak of..took about an hour and a half.  Loved my sketch, not so sure about the painting but I'll be there most of the day tomorrow, Thursday, and hopefully, there'll be something else painted.
The Main Entrance off of Arlington Avenue

My version of the main entrance
And then about 4:30 I went back to the Garden to get some pictures for all of you specifically. My photos don't do it justice.

The shadows on this dusty grey (name?)

Gazillions of Bearded Iris - of all colors

Architectural interest and seating areas everywhere
This Bearded Iris is probably 7" x 7" - Huge, in other words

And more California Poppies and red Asian Poppies
 than the Antelope Valley could ever have!!

Day 60: Tuesday, April 12

I don't know if any of you have seen this. I think it's one of the more clever YouTube videos that's arrived via email. How long did this couple have to practice? They're called the "Italian Answer to the Irish River Dancers".

Sorry that there's no painting being done by me. I'm working hard "pimping the painters" at the Arlington Garden hoping to get enough wonderful paintings to sell at the event on April 30, Saturday.  Contact me if you've painted in the Garden and have an art piece you'd like to show off that day.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, the MidValley League painters will be at the Park and Thursday the plein air group led by Walter McNall and Brenda Swenson will be at the park for their second go-round.

If you are a painter, it's fabulous to go watch people paint but what I find so informative is looking through their eyes: why did they choose that vista, why are they incorporating that piller.........

Day 59: Monday, April 11

The new magazine "Splash 12" has been issued. It's a collection of wonderful paintings by over 115 artists this year.  Local artist Brenda Swenson was one of the winners.  (Earlier in this post I made a huge mistake. I mentioned Splash 13 and published the winners from Splash 13. I've now corrected this.)

The cover painting is by Ted Nuttall, the watercolor portrait artist that I've hired to teach a workshop June 13-17 here in Glendale, California. Thrilled to have him one more time as it's always a wonderful week spent painting with a "master".

See if you recognize the names of any of the other winners?