OMG! Gouache – Week 2

Twice a week we get more videos in Mary Ann Moss’ OMG! gouache class. She presents us with so many ideas and techniques it’s hard to know which one to try first.

Ya just gotta dive in!

Who knew there are yellow and red striped peppers?  I guess we all do now. This little guy went through so many layers… ugly, ugly, ugly and then…  Boom!    Done!

But too much blank space… one of the ideas was to use gouache when lettering. But what if I ruined it?   …and after all that work!

Sometimes you just have to go for it.

Btw… remind me what a pain it is to paint background around an object! I used matte acrylic craft paint from Jo-Ann. Cloudless. Yum!

I now have a small selection to use instead of wasting my good gouache on backgrounds.

Next I was inspired by a favorite batik pattern… ooops! The full tortoise in the lower right is the correct pattern. I forgot the second line on the shell for all the others. And yes, I painted the entire page first with acrylic before I even thought about gouache.

I thought I was brilliant but in fact I was too smart for my own good. I wanted to keep the paint nice and juicy so I kept a slightly dampened sponge in my palette and tucked the whole thing in a zip-top bag. It must have been way too humid because my M. Graham Sap Green seemed to be growing MOLD!  A “science experiment ” as Roz Stendahl says. Ugh!  Just a small square of sponge now and no more plastic bag! It must have been the honey M. Graham uses to keep the paint soft and moist.


Today was hot enough for me to pull out my mother’s old silk chinese paddle fan. As I cooled myself I admired the hand-painted bird and flowers. Could I do that someday?

Why wait!

I’m off to re-watch the videos to see what I might want to try next… I’ll just be here playing.  Have a great day!

Summer’s Here

… and the time is right for dancing in the street.

‘Tis the season for outdoor concerts ! Lots of dancing on the green giving me the perfect opportunity to indulge one of my favorite activities… people watching.





Black PITT Artist pen F in an inexpensive Daler-Rowney pocket sketchbook (3.5″ X 5.5″).

I like to travel light!

Quilts For Pulse


I started my artistic endeavors with quilting and although this blog is mostly about my drawing and painting, I’ve never totally given up my love of fabric and quilting.

Late last week a call came out from our guild’s community service chairs. The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild had started a campaign to make quilts for survivors, family of the victims, first responders and if there were extras they would be distributed to the LGBTQ community centers in the Orlando area.

Was any one interested in participating?  Yes!  Years ago I’d lived in Orlando and still have a soft spot in my heart for it. Fortunately, others in our guild, Northern Lights Quilt Guild,  wanted to participate!  A plan was hatched to create our own quilt comprised of various sized heart blocks. 12.5″, 9.5″, 6.5″, and 3.5″ blocks will fit together like one big jigsaw puzzle!

I worked out my plan in my journal… my external brain 🙂

ROY G BIV… red orange yellow green blue indigo violet,  Rainbow colors!

For my blocks I decided to change up the color sequence by using the indigo-violet as the background and using a violet-pink for the final strip.


12″ block  – 12.5″ unfinished:

  • 6 – 2.5″ X 12.5″ strips (one of each color)
  • 2 – 6.5″ square background
  • 4 – 2.5″ square background

9″ block – 9.5″ unfinished

  • 6 – 2″ X 9.5″ strips
  • 2 – 5″ square background
  • 4 – 2″ square background

6″ block – 6.5″ unfinished

  • 6 – 1.5″ X 6.5″ strips
  • 2 – 3.5″ square background
  • 4 – 1.5″ square background

Let the cutting, sewing and pressing begin!

I don’t want to waste fabric… I think I’ll be able to get some half square triangles if I sew another line.

A little more cutting, pressing and sewing and I have a finished block!

… and extra blocks too! I later discarded the smaller ones, they were too small to easily expand.

Once I cut the half square blocks down to size… 3.5″ square… I had a nice selection.

The extra blocks even make a few nice pinwheels.

I can’t wait to see the blocks made by the other members of the Northern Lights Quilt Guild. Thank you Niña, Sarah and Candy… We’ll soon have a beautiful quilt stitched with love!


G!  … as in Gouache!

I’m taking another Mary Ann Moss class… OMG!… this time it’s all about gouache, an opaque water media very similar to opaque watercolor only more so.

This first thing I learned was that it’s pronounced g’wash… rhyming with squash.

Fair warning… lots of photos ahead!

I bought a lovely selection of Schmincke gouache selected by artist, Roz Stendahl and to that I added a few tubes of M. Graham gouache. I squirted it into pans and arranged my palette.

When closed the palette latch is a little loose so I made a band out of 1.5 inch elastic. I love the turquoise!

I started playing first by adding white to get tints and then seeing if my pens would write over the matte surface.

Hmmm… I wonder what secondary mixes I can get with my selected primaries?

Ah… nice!  But what do I mix to get the brightest hues?

I’m still finding it hard to judge how much water… or rather, how little water to use. My gouache blocks on this spread have lots of streaks. I wonder once I conquer the water issue if I’ll also get rid of the streaks, but for now I rather like the wabi-sabi look.

Great practice but now what? Well. I decided to draw my Friday. My black Uni-ball Vision wrote like a dream but my white Signo?  Not so much. After a few issues with hard starts and skipping I learned to use a light hand. It’s a nice arrow to have in my art quiver.

I better get working on the next lesson or I’ll be behind my amazing classmates.

Thanks MAM… It’s my summer of gouache!

If you want to see more of Mary Ann Moss please check out her blog: Dispatch From LA.

Learning New Tricks (Test)

Yesterday I learned a technique or two I’m hoping will streamline how I post my sketchbook photos.

Previously I scanned my pages and loved its bright, clear look… but my scanner has since stopped communicating with my laptop. The last time that happened I lost nearly a week of my life on the phone with tech support. I have no desire to experience that again. Over the years I’ve also found myself relying on my phone to handle more and more of my life. In fact, last October I started posting with the WordPress app for iPhone.

Since the scanner debacle I’ve only been posting photos of my work. They’ve been OK but I’ve had to do quite a bit of editing to get an acceptable image.

Enter Tina Koyama of Fueled by Clouds & Coffee. Tina did a test post in preparation for her July trip to Manchester, UK as an Urban Sketchers Symposium  correspondent. She’s testing various apps and methods for uploading photos and images of sketches to the urban sketchers blog. Her June 7, 2016 post, Green Lake Intersection (Test) prompted me to ask why she preferred to use a scanning app, in particular Cam Scanner. (available for both Android and iOS)

Based on her images I downloaded CamScanner and gave it a whirl. Fantastic! It saves me multiple steps as it brightens, straightens, and crops with just one click.

See for yourself… the image was done with carbon black ink and watercolor on Strathmore 500 Mixed Media paper.

Natural evening light… dusk, approximately 8 PM. 

Same, with Cam Scanner. 

Indoor LED desk lamp. 8 PM. 

Same, with Cam Scanner. 

Natural morning diffused light, west window. 

Same but with Cam Scanner. 

The mid-body yellow was burned out in both of the other attempts but the Cam Scanner image from yesterday  morning shows the yellow glow and came the closest to the true image in my sketchbook.

One more thing. The majority of this post was dictated!  Yeah, I felt funny talking to my phone but it worked surprisingly well. I need to brush up on the commands, like what to say to get the program to capitalize, but I think I’ll be dictating more and more. 

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!