Monday, December 28, 2009

Red Apple with Green Grapes

Red Apple with Green Grapes
Original Watercolor on 300# Arches
7 x 81/2
Original Watercolor
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This is my latest watercolor effort. When I say Effort, it was a definitely an effort because of my paper choice. I ordered a 'sample' package of watercolor paper and this was one of the rough sheets. I've never worked on rough watercolor paper before...don't think it was really suitable for this subject. Perhaps it would be better suited for landscape or perhaps architecture.

As you can see, I'm working on those dark backgrounds again. Each time it comes out a little better. As usual, the colors don't show up great here. The background looks rather flat in color here, when in fact it has many subtle colors in it.

My biggest challenge with this 'rough' paper was trying to get smooth edges and make the surfaces appear shiny...I decided that this paper would probably be better when you want to show more texture.

So...anyway, up for critique here.
John 15:4
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
John 15:3-5 (in Context)

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Private Christmas Showing

The photos shown here were taken of My Framers Holiday Window display. She regularly uses my drawings and watercolors as framing examples, which for me is like having a private showing that is changed out with the seasons.

The store front is recessed several feet from the side walk and has huge display windows. The right side is always devoted to her framing and my artwork. The back wall has a huge wreath with a 'framed' limited edition print of Mr Lincoln in the center. (difficult to see)

More of my framed work hangs on either side of the wreath and scattered throughout the side window are various prints and other small framed pieces.

She frames my work and doesn't charge me a dime until it sells. My work shows off her framing and her framing enables me to display my art. How much better can it get?

These last two photos are of the other side of her display windows...showcasing the works of the 'stitch group' that meets at her establishment each week. The display window is full of the most beautiful knitted and crocheted slippers, capes, sweaters, scarves, purses, hats....and on and on.

"Serendipity Framing and Needlework" is located in downtown Lincoln, Ill. right on the square. The wonderfully decorated windows attract much attention especially as our local movie theater is close by. You can always find people (day or night) studying the display windows, smiling and calling they point out 'new finds' to their friends.

What a blessing it was when God placed Jeanie in my path. If you are ever in the vicinity, you simply must stop by her shop. Women come from quite a distance to buy her wonderful yarns and her framing,'s simply a work of art in itself!

Psalm 128:2
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Psalm 128:1-3 (in Context)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mr. Lincoln...carbon and graphite drawing

"Mr. Lincoln"

This portrait of Mr. Lincoln was commissioned and donated to the Lincoln College Heritage Museum in Lincoln Illinois.

This is a younger Lincoln than we are used to seeing. The main photo reference was taken in 1860, just prior to his nomination for president. Lincoln would have been 51 years old.

Being from Illinois I wanted the finished drawing to be indicative of the period of time when Lincoln was in the area and still practicing law. I also wanted it to emulate his stature, which we all know was tall and lanky.

Then, and perhaps most of all, I wanted his eyes and expression to tell the story of the weigh he carried as he contemplated his presidency and the hope he had for his country's future.

This image is also offered in:
(an edition of just 45 prints)

Proverbs 10:28
The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
Proverbs 10:27-29 (in Context)

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Defining Moment

My life took a detour this year. Health issues stopped me in my tracks. For those who have so faithfully prayed and sent encouraging emails, I thank you.

I still have no answers and the health issues persist. This really hit me hard...emotionally as well as physically. In fact I think the emotional part has proven to be the most difficult to overcome.

I've felt better physically for sometime...but have found it difficult to get back in the swing of things. I haven't blogged or sent a newsletter because I really didn't have anything to talk about except my illness, and it had been magnified enough.

I believe that what we see, hear, and speak effects who we are. If you say a word often enough it becomes you. I had allowed this to happen...I had become my disease. Not to say that what is going on is not serious...I just don't want it to dominate my life any more. I don't want it to be who I am.

When I do have real news or this health issue is resolved...I will let you know. In the mean time, I need to get on with more positive, enriching thoughts and projects.

I have several layouts done for both drawings and paintings and of course lots of ideas in my head. There also are at least two firm commissions waiting for my attention.

I am back...perhaps not as regular as before, but I AM HERE and thankful to be able to say it.

Proverbs 15:30
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.
Proverbs 15:29-31 (in Context)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Long Distance Hug

"My Long Distance Hug"

It's been pretty quiet here lately. I've been experiencing some reoccurring health issues the past couple of months that escalated in July, preventing me from working in the salon. I have fortunately been able for the most part continue with my Tech Support job and do a little painting.

I told you about the issue with Shingles in April...well in the last part of May I began to have repeated bouts with diarrhea. It was first diagnosed as diverticulitis. The most recent tests found NO diverticulitis, No polups, No infection, and best of all No Cancer. (no real answers)

I still don't have any definitive answers but have started eating a gluten free diet the last few days and do seem to be edging ever so very slowly to having less pain. Since I'm also on medication I don't know if it is the change in diet or the medication that finally kicked in. Either way I am thankful for the relief.

The pain and diarrhea are at their worst late afternoon, throughout the night and into the mid morning. The flowers you see arrived this Wednesday morning, after a particularly rough night. I was setting at the table wondering how I was going to continue and not sure I wanted to.

My stamina and my energy were tapped out. I was so blessed to know it wasn't cancer but didn't know if I was going to be able to tolerate things until answers came.

You know, GOD does know just what you need and when you need it most.

The doorbell rang and I was handed this beautiful bouquet of flowers sent from my fellow FASO Tech Support Team. They live throughout the US...Texas, California, Colorado, and New York.

The timing was perfect. It was the HUG that I needed...I could almost feel their arms around me as I read the enclosed note.

I have another Dr. appointment Tuesday. Pathology reports should be available then and perhaps some more difinitive answers.

You may not hear much from me here as I work through this. I thank you for your love and prayers.

Psalm 30:2
O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.
Psalm 30:1-3 (in Context)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award...passing it on

Karen at Karen Blados Artist and Designer presented me with the Kreative Blogger award last week and I'm just getting around to passing it on. Karen is a successful graphic designer, sharing both her art and her life's struggles on her blog...sometimes humours, sometimes very serious. but always making you 'think'. Her illustrations are pure 'eye candy' from the candy jar. I enjoy visiting and hope you will as well.

I now need to list seven things about myself:

1. I love to listen to soft jazz while working in my studio.
2. I enjoy 'doing alleys' on early evening bike rides.
3. At the age of 30 I won the Demolition Derby at our local fair...great fun!!
4. With regret I tell you that I have never visited a foreign country.
5. I will do anything to get out of housework.
6. I used to show and raise Standard Schnauzers.
7. I would 'die' for a piece of my daughters coconut cream pie.

Finally, I'm passing the Kreative Blogger Award along to seven other deserving artists. I hope you will take a few minuets to visit their sites and enjoy their beautiful art and inspiring words.

1.Fay in Watercolor, creating the most wonderful paintings, telling the story of her Oregon country side. I once told her that "her paintings made me want to ride horses".

2.Karen in Acrylic. Her lively figurative paintings interpret our everyday life. They are bold with color, posses wonderful composition and stimulate your emotions.

3.Susan in Oil. Susan is a portrait artist. Her portraits are exciting...she has a real talent for not only capturing the essence of the subject but the emotional feeling of the moment. Susan freely shares her talent in weekly online painting sessions and workshops.

4.Karen in Pencil and Pastel. Karen started out as a pencil artist working in graphite and has most recently fallen in love with pastels. Her graphite drawings are to be envied but I have to admit, I just love the soft smokey quality of her pastels. She has a style all her own and a great eye for composition.

5.Annlein in Watercolor. Annlein is someone whose ability and style I envy. Her paintings are loose and expressive. Annlein's willingness to let the medium just be itself is evident. Most definitely an inspiration and a quality to aspire to.

6.Belinda Del Pesco...does Watercolor and Printmaking. Belinda's paintings fascinate me. She has done many paintings of interiors and has the uncanny ability to capture light and shadow in a way that makes you feel as though you are there sitting in the room.

7.Tracy in Watercolor. Tracy paints the most wonderful miniatures. I'm amazed at the detail she packs into a 1.75 x 2.25 space and I believe you will be also. She also shares a video tutorial on her blog that you won't want to miss.

As you visit these wonderful artist's websites and sure to let them know much you appreciate their dedication and willingness to share. It is through the works and words of other artists that we all learn the most. ENJOY


Romans 8:28
[ More Than Conquerors ] And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:27-29 (in Context)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"The Arrangement"

Watercolor on paper...9 1/2 x 15

This is another one for the 'wine window' my framer is doing in August. I attended a wedding some time ago where the wine for each table was incorporated into the center piece. It was really quite well done.

Each table had two bottles of wine and a cork screw was included in the grouping along with the grapevines you see and an assortment of grapes. I took lots of photos and combined them for this painting. I wanted kind of a misty illusive background and am pleased with that...but as usual the subtle colors are not showing up well.

Hope to get one more done in time for framing.

The weather is beautiful here today. Should be painting but think I'm going to take my camera and go for a bike ride.

See you later and thanks for stopping by.

John 2:9
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside
John 2:8-10 (in Context)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

2009 Literary Contest...First Place Winner

Lillie Story
Wins First Place

Learn more about past "Literary Contests."

Lillie is a Freshman at Lincoln Community High School. She in involved with Swim Team, Speech Team, Soccer Team and the winter Guard Flag Squad. Lilly enjoys spending time with friends and family and loves to read and write stories.

Lillie says she chose the drawing "Major League Dreams" to write about because, "To me the person standing on the base of the baseball field was a girl. It reminded me of the time I went out for the boys wrestling team. It was a boys sport and they didn't accept me joining at first. Gut I proved to them that I could do it. As as soon as I thought of that story of mine I just had to write my story on that picture."

Congratulations Lillie
Marsha Robinett


Here is Lillie's descriptive essay...Enjoy!

"Sam" by Lilly B. Story

Her name was Samantha, a bit of a "tomboy" if you might ask. She was short, with really long hair, and had just turned 8 1/2.

Samantha was good in school. She loved it. She called school her second love. Her first being quite unusual for an 8 1/2 year old little girl. While she should be playing with Barbie's, Samantha was playing ball, baseball that is.

Samanatha LOVED baseball, and she was good at it. She was better than the boys of her neighborhood, who ment on Saturdays, to play baseball at a nearby field. She could run those bases blindfolded and still make it home without being tagged out. And the way she swung that bat to the ball was like an instince to her.

She wished she could play with the boys, just once, and show them how good she was. So there came another Saturday, and Samantha was watching the boys pick who's on whose team, and who the captains are.

The game began and not long after Samantha shouted "Hey!" Nobody could hear her over the "hey batta' batta' hey's" that were being shouted. She yelled again as she ran out to the field. "What!?" one of the boys yelled, "can't you see we're in the middle of the game?" "Well..."she mumbled "why can't I play?" Laughter starts. 'Um...because you're a girl!!!"

It was at that moment Samantha thought of something she's never thought of before. She ran back to her house as fast as she could. She went up to her room and put on the baseball shoes and outfit she had gotten for her birthday. Then she went in her brother's room and grabbed a pair of scissors and his ball cap.

Samantha went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, she smiled as she began to chop off all her hair. She put on her ball cap and her game face and snuck out of the house without anybody catching her.

Samantha returned to the field: the boys were still in the game. "Who are you ?" one of the boys shouted. "I'm Sam. mind if I join?' "Go ahead, you're up to bat"

Samantha's team won because of her amazing skills. All the boys were so amazed, they even invited "Sam" to come play next Saturday. Samantha smiled and said, "I thought you didn't let girls play!"

The recipients are excited about their awards...anxious to see them published and anticipating your comments.

Zechariah 8:5
The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there."
Zechariah 8:4-6 (in Context)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Latest Painting..."After the Wine"

After the Wine
Watercolor on paper...8x10

Here's another for the wine display coming up in August at Serendipity Framing. This one I REALLY like:) Please excuse me if I sound overjoyed with my last two pieces. I have struggled with watercolor for so long. Much longer than any of you realize.

I have walked away from the easel, beaten up, battered and 'emotionally' bruised so many times....swearing NEVER to paint again. Then my eye would catch a painting, sure enough it would be a watercolor. I just couldn't get past the desire to take control of this illusive medium.

For years now, I would pull out my pallet periodically, mess around a little....sometimes with a project in mind sometimes just playing with the colors. I would read books, watch DVD's. (Oops...watercolor started beating me up before DVD's existed.) THAT'S HOW LONG IT'S BEEN.

It's just great to finish a painting and actually still enjoy looking at it the next day!

So, here it is. I welcome your opinions and thank you for your continued encouragement.

Isaiah 55:1
[ Invitation to the Thirsty ] "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Isaiah 55:1-3 (in Context)

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Watercolor..."Hidden Perfection"

Hidden Perfection
7x9 1/2 watercolor on paper

This is my latest watercolor painting and this time I am pleased. I just wish the colors were a little more accurate in the photo...going to have to work on that some (in my free time).

My framer and dear friend...has these wonderful huge display windows and is doing a 'Wine' themed window for August-September. I hope to get a couple more pieces done before the end of the month. After the 'Sea Shell' fiasco...I considered putting away my paints! Soooooo glad I didn't.

I promise, when the window is done I will post pictures. As always...I'm open to critique. I know it is difficult from the photo. The original has stronger burgundy tones on the leaves and grapes. There is even some in the background that seemed to 'take' more purple in the photo.

My camera will do a 'custom white balance'. If I have time I'll try to set that up next time. Love my camera...the lens is great at capturing detail. I think it's the lighting that's throwing off the color.

John 15:5
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-6 (in Context)

Friday, July 17, 2009

2009 Literary Contest...Second Place Winner

Shelby Kotteman
Wins second place for her essay..."Girls Trip"

Learn more about past "Literary Contests."

Shelby is a Junior at Lincoln Community High School and an active participant in National Honor Society, Future Educators of America, Spanish Club, library Club, and has been a Peer Leader both her freshman and sophomore years. She had perfect attendance both her freshman and sophomore years and included in the Who's Who Among American High School Students in 2006 and 2007.

Shelby received the Lincoln Jaycees Outstanding Young Citizen Award in 2004. She was nominated for and attended the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. in 2005, 2007, and 2008. and the state

Active also in her community, Shelby has participated in the Big Brother and Big Sister Program...tutoring and mentoring others...volunteered at our County Health fair and at Illinois State Fair Governors Day with her 4-H club.

Congratulations Shelby
Marsha Robinett


Shelby says she chose the drawing, Butterfly and Flower as her subject because..."The butterfly and flower in this picture remind me of the butterflies and wildflowers I see on our trips to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The trips I take there with my family and our mother/daughter girls' trips to Naubinway are very special to me, and I decided to write about some of my cherished memories and experiences there.

Here is Shelby's descriptive essay. I realize for a blog entry it is quite long...I hope you will enjoy the cherished memories of this young writer.

Girls' Shelby Kottemann

Last summer, my mom and I went on a girls' trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This is something we have done together each summer for the past three years. We Stay in a small, rustic cabin in the Hiawatha Sportsman's Club near a small village, called Naubinway for about a week. The weather there is almost always nice, the people are so friendly and welcoming, and there's so much to see and do.

We always leave early to start our eleven; hour drive. We listen to music and talk along the way. We always stop at the rest area at the state border. Here we eat our packed lunch; a salad with crackers. My favorite road we drive on is Highway 26 in Wisconsin. It's a really pretty drive. We pass by country homes with cows and red barns. The lilacs are in full bloom in the first week of June. They add to the beauty of the places we go through. We always stop in Menominee and stay the night in Econo Lodge. Right next door is a restaurant Mom and I love to go to, called Schlogels. Their food is so good! The next morning, we get up early and drive the rest of the way, we stop in Escanaba to get the things we may need for the week. It is the last Wal-Mart we'll see for the next 164 miles on U.S.2.

When we get to the cabin, we unpack and head to Naubinway. There is a marina and two stores there" Valiers, which is a small grocery store and King's, which is a little shop for tourists to buy souvenirs or smoked fish. It has been there for as long as my family has been coming to Michigan, and so has some of the merchandise. Naubinway is a small fisherman's village. It is the home to the largest commercial fishing port on the Great Lakes. We bought fresh whitefish from the port to take home in coolers, so we can have it throughout the year. A lot of days we went to the beach. Since it's not peak tourist season in June, we sometimes have the beach to ourselves. I like walking around the waves, feeling the ripples of sand beneath my toes. Sometimes I'll run across a school of minnows, and chase them through the water.

When I was little, I used to take home Monarch Caterpillars. They are my favorite butterflies and the U.P. is one of their main habitats. I collected milkweed for them to eat and kept them in a jar with netting at the top. They built their cocoons at the top, and after we returned home I would watch their cocoons change from green to clear, making it where you could see the butterfly inside. Then one morning, they would hatch, and once their wings had dried, I let them go outside. Every once in a while, I still see a Monarch flying through our yard and wonder if it is one of the babies of my butterflies.

At the end of our day, Mom and I sometimes went to Pizza Pronto for supper. They have the best pizza in the world! After supper, we went back to the cabin to relax. Some nights we'd watch one of our favorite movies and have popcorn. Other nights we'd read our books or do a puzzle.

Our cabin is very small. There is a kitchen/sitting room with a wooden table to sit at. Then, there's a small bedroom, in which the twin bed takes up most of the room and a bathroom that's so small, you can use the toilet and wash your hands at the same time! The shower is just as small. We have just enough hot water for the two of us to take quick showers. Even though we have small living quarters, it's a great experience.

In the mornings, Mom and I sometimes like to get up early. I drink hot chocolate, and she drinks her coffee. We watch the deer and her fawns play together near the edge of the forest as the sun rises. The fawns chase each other and kick up their heels and the doe even got in on the fun too. We'd go for walks in the afternoon along the club road some days. Our cabin is across the street from Lake Millecoquin.

During our girls' trip we always go to Mackinac Island for at least one or tow days. Mackinac Island is my favorite place in the worked. We take the Star Line Ferry from St. Ignace, which is about an hour away from Naubinway. The ferry ride is exciting with the waves crashing into the boat and a big "tail" of water shooting up from the back of the boat, making a little rainbow beside it.

Once we get to the island, we go shopping in the unique little shops that make up Main Street. We always have to get a Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream cone, and since the island is famous for it's fudge, we bring fudge home to the rest of our family. We walk along the streets and look at the beautiful old Victorian homes whose yards are filled with pretty spring flowers. No cars are allowed on the island, so you see many horses and carriages. Once, Mom and I went on a carriage ride with an old couple. It was really interesting to learn about the island and its history from our guide. We walked along the boardwalk in the cool breeze and the warm sunshine, seeing the pretty flowers with the lake and the Mackinac Bridge in the distance. Being on Mackinac Island is like stepping into another world.

The morning we left was very bittersweet. It was really hard to leave, but we were ready to get home to our family. As we drove down the club road, we saw the fog rising from Millecoquin Lake against the pine trees. It was as if the lake was giving us one last pretty view before we had to go. I watched Naubinway until it disappeared into the distance as we drove down U.S. 2, and we both dreamed of the trip we would take next year. when we would make more memories together that we would both treasure forever.


The recipients are excited about their awards...anxious to see them published and anticipating your comments.

1 Peter 1:24
For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,
1 Peter 1:23-25 (in Context)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 Literary Contest...Third Place Winner

David Fulton
Wins Third Place

Learn more about past "Literary Contests."

David is a Junior at Lincoln Community High School and participates in concert, marching hands, FFA, school drama department plays, book review committee, and National Honor Society.

David also supports his community through his church choir, youth group band, local bluegrass band, and other community services.

As a 4-H member he has won various awards through the years.

David says he chose this drawing because it depicted agriculture. According to David..."Agriculture is my background and it is how I connect to home life. The title of this drawing is Checking the Yield. I think this drawing stands for much more. It is not just about corn, but rather agriculture itself. This drawing made me feel like I was getting ready for harvest in the country. It was inspiring to my agricultural background.

Congratulations David,
Marsha Robinett

Here is David's descriptive essay...enjoy.

Checking the David Fulton

Checking the yield is mostly associated with crops. Crops, to our family, symbolize faith in God. The crops that are planted every year are a gamble. You never know if the good Lord will produce enough rain to even grow your crop. Sometimes we receive too much rain, often resulting in flooding. Even great wind damage can ruin a farmer's income.

Watching corn grow is also an amusement for a farmer. The smooth, silky-green husk forming from a sprout is very significant. This is a good sign for a farmer. There is still worry a drought does not settle in and dry up the land. Farmers always hope for a good spring and summer. After they plant the seed, it is in God's hands.

A farmer puts forth much effort and hope that money will be made off of his or her bumper crop. There is only one thing a farmer can do during the progress of his or her crop growing. That is get ready for the harvest. Harvest is a very important time for the farmer. The work must be efficient and steady to get all the grain possible.

If God has truly blessed the farmer, they will receive a good price from the elevator for their grain. The grain is then used to feed people, livestock, and make fuel. This is all accompanied by God's watchful eye when checking the yield.

The recipients are excited about their awards...anxious to see them published and anticipating your comments.

Leviticus 26:4
I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit.
Leviticus 26:3-5 (in context)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Extraordinary Pencil...2009 literary contest winners

Art always tells us a story. In fact I believe there are two stories to be told...the one that inspires the artist and the one that inspires the viewer.

My hope each year is that through the writing process students will develop a greater appreciation for fine art of all types, and learn to view an original drawing, a painting, or even a piece of sculpture with a questioning mind.

This years contest has had several hurdles. The teacher who usually handles the contest had some medical issues and as you know I've had mine as well. The contest usually takes place during the first semester but this year, winners were not announced until the last week of school.

There has also been some difficulty with the students not complying with the rules. One of the requirements is that they send me an email copy of their entry. This makes posting here much easier and is just part of the learning process of 'following instructions'. Needless to say I'm disappointed in some of them and haven't yet decided whether to go ahead and take the time to post their entire essays or not.

This is the third year that I have sponsored this Literary Contest at Lincoln High School and it continues to grow. There more entries this year, and the quality of the writings submitted by the students just keeps getting better and better. The students entries are individually judged by a select group of teachers and the winners are announced in assembly.

As mentioned above, I usually publish them here on my blog. So far only one of the winners has complied with sending me an email copy of their winning essay. In the next couple of weeks I will post an exurb from each and a little about the author.

The drawings shown below are the ones the winners chose to write about.

Announcing the winners for 2009

First Place...Lilly Story with a short essay about "Sam"
Second Place...Shelby Kottemann with a short essay about "Girls Trip"
Third Place...David Fulton with a short essay about "Checking the Yield"

Be sure to check back next week. I will start by posting the third place winner David Fulton's thus far his is the only one I've received by email. It is a very well written essay about "Checking the Yield". A
most enjoyable read.

Again...a Huge the winners and a special thank you to all who took the time to enter.

1 Chronicles 28:19

"All this," David said, "I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan."
1 Chronicles 28:18-20 (in Context)

Saturday, July 4, 2009've seen the good, here's the bad

"Just a Shell...of what he used to be"

This is my painting from last weekend. I'm not happy at all and wasn't going to post it but figured failure is part of the process. Someday perhaps when I look back...this one photo will show me how far I came. How's that for a positive start to the day.

Drawing is easy and natural for me and was from the start. Watercolor just beats me up. I think I try to control it too much instead of letting it do it's thing.

Anyway, here it is. Off to a new painting for this weekend. Hopefully it will turn out better.

Have a great July 4th and many blessings.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mother's Pearls

Mother's Pearls
Watercolor on paper 7x7

What a challenge...I actually threw away the first attempt at this painting. Second time around I got a little smarter by doing a few small practice paintings of the pearls and and the background before getting into the 'real' painting. Even at that, this was a real struggle.

The photo colors aren't real accurate and the highlights on the pearls are more subdued. I did a wash on them when I was done and scrubbed the edges to soften. The camera just wouldn't pick up these subtle changes.

My framer is doing her summer window in a beach theme this year...this painting will be part of the display. I hope to get a couple more done but time is getting short.

She has been a real blessing...framing and displaying my work (not charging me until it sells). All my other water colors have sold this spring except two. How good is that?

Anyway, here's my for critique.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Following the Doctor's Orders...

...Old Fashioned Iris...
I did this drawing a couple of years ago
and posted it here today because it
always makes me feel good.
The starts for this little iris were
a gift from
my grandmother when we first got a place of our own.

It went with me each time I moved.

Well guys...It's been almost a month since I've sat down to write on my blog. The bout I had with the shingles took much more out of me than I thought and I stepped up to my regular schedule way too soon.

I'm not one to be sick or let a little pain keep me from 'life'. Therefore, once the major symptoms were past (fever, nausea, severe headache), I forged ahead...resuming my regular day to day schedule, pushing through the fatigue I felt.

This return to work took much more out of me than I expected and when I complained of lack of energy and stamina along with the continued sporadic nerve ending pain...I was told plain and simple by my Doctor to (slow down and rest more to give my body time to heal)!

I've always had tremendous energy and stamina to push forward through any obstacle to get things done....this experience really through me for a loop! For someone who has always been early to rise and late to bed...burning the candle at both ends, this was a most difficult prescription to follow.

I had to rethink my daily life. Do the things that absolutely NEEDED to be done and let the other things slid. I continued to work my salon schedule (although cut back a bit on the hours) and worked my tech. support job in the evenings...after all the bills did need to be paid!

Backing off from the house work was easy...I hated it anyway and could always find something else more important to do like write in my blog or draw! But I followed my Doctors instructions, putting my creative life on hold to allow for the down time to let my body heal.

You're going to laugh but I actually covered my drawing board with a huge bath I couldn't see it. I put my paints in the closet and shut the computer off except for work hours.

Well OK...I will confess, I did do some reading on the computer...but no blogging! And, I also did a few quick sketches as I sat in my chair watching TV...that was a change for me, I never watch TV (still not sure I get the attraction).

I usually draw or paint in the early afternoon and on the weekends, but instead actually took a nap or read a book. Yes, the Doctor put a bit of fear in me when he said that if I didn't slow down I may never get over this. I think he said something like "Your body is telling you it needs rest and you need to listen."

I'm not sure I'm up to par quite yet...but do believe at this writing, I'm most definitely getting there. My energy level is returning and plan on getting my paint brushes out tomorrow.

It's awful...I feel like if I don't do something creative I'm going to 'burst'.

Any way...I thought I would sit down and let you know that I had not dropped of the face of the earth and that I hope to be posting a new painting soon.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and encouraging emails. It's amazing the relationships you can build with people you have never seen or spoken to. You have been such a blessing.

It's just great to be back.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"The Clubs"...carbon and graphite pencil

...The clubs...
ORIGINAL Carbon and Graphite Drawing on paper
9x7, double matted

Original Pencil Drawing
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Also available in: edition Giclee Print @ $40 edition Giclee Print @ $49

This would make a great gift for Dad on "Fathers Day".

The Story Behind the Image: It was early evening and the mist was rolling into the low places on the course. Everyone was joking and adding up their final scores. The golf bag was just sitting there in the cart. The light reflecting from the club heads and the deep shadows caused by the late day sun were what caught my eye.

I was never very good at this sport, and tonight I was just along for the ride...but for those avid rain or shine golfers, this is drawing is for you.

I used carbon pencil for this drawing...concentrating on the "mood" of the scene. The angle of the setting sun produced wonderful shadows and the fog rolling in added a certain mystery to the drawing...all this and the reflections on the club heads themselves made for what I considered a very interesting setting. I used a piece of felt to create the smoky background and chamois to render the shadows and reflections on the club heads (used some graphite here).

My Website...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
The Extraordinary Pencil...blogspot
My Squidoo...Drawing Techniques

Tutorial...see the full progression of this drawing.


Monday, April 27, 2009

SHINGLES...are not just found on your roof!!

Well, I'm back from NY...actually got home late on the 21st and flew home sick. I started getting sick Friday evening after I arrived. (flu like symptoms, aching and nausea...along with welts on my left eyelid and in the hairline) I had been outside playing catch with my grandson and thought I had been bitten by gnats.

I just kept getting worse and the headache...oh my. We did have my birthday dinner on Saturday, but it was hard to enjoy.

Monday we started looking for a doctor I could go to. The doctor took one look at my forehead, hairline and eye...diagnosed me with SHINGLES and prescribed 'mega antibiotics". I still tried to object, even as I was sent to an eye doctor because of concern that the eye was involved. (I had spots on the lid and it was swollen and itchy). I still thought I had gnat bites!!

The eye doctor confirmed...SHINGLES. The good news was that the eye itself showed no signs of infection. I was to fly back on Tuesday...thought about canceling my flight as I was so sick but I just wanted to get home and to my own bed and my own physicians. (I was told that with 24 hours of antibiotics in me I would not be contagious.)

So, Tuesday morning, looking and feeling pretty rough, I covered the offending part of my forehead and eye with Neosporen...covered that with makeup...carefully combed my hair (the left side of my head was now involved and very sore)...put on some big sunglasses and headed to the airport. (Hoping people would just think that perhaps I was an 'old movie star' and not notice how sick I was.)

After two doctor visits, four appointments with the optomitirst, various antibotics, pain pills, and lots of PRAYERS from everyone... I'm going back to work this week (both Salon and Tech Support).

Despite everything...I am surely blessed. My flight home was good, my eyesight was unaffected, and I have this wonderful support system of friends. They brought in groceries, meals, and took me to my doctor appointments. They called my salon small job in itself.

Most importantly...they prayed.

It's so good to once again be part of a functioning society...good to be alive!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Flying Out in the the Big Apple

Just a quick post here to let you know 'my new camera' and I are headed to NY to visit my daughter and grandson. I can hardly wait. I visited Christmas for Teddy's Barmitzvah ...but things were really hectic. There was very little time to just sit and enjoy each other.

This trip is just for pleasure. They live on Long Island, about 4 blocks from the can actually smell the water when you step outside. Wonderful. The weather doesn't sound great but who cares about the weather when you are in good company.

My daughter "the chef" is fixing me a 'live lobster' dinner for my birthday with my favorite desert "coconut cream pie"...can't you just taste it?

The first time she fixed fresh lobster I almost jumped out of my skin...I'm such a midwest country girl at heart. I didn't know you could buy them live and keep them in a box in the frig until time to cook them.

Tami set the box on the table...I didn't know what was in it. When the lobsters got warm, they began to move and the box was jumping around. For a moment I thought perhaps I had had too much Scotch!!!!

My, My, My....I really don't think it gets much better (a little 'good wine', fresh whole lobster, drawn butter, a loaf of hard bread, fresh roasted asparagus and coconut cream pie....all served up with the company of family)

The food alone is worth the trip!!

I will write more in a week or so and hopefully have some pictures to share.

Take care, I will miss everyone.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Midnight Rose...carbon and graphite

...Midnight Rose...
carbon and graphite pencil on paper, 7x7
prints available

Small Open Edition Giclee Print
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Also Available in: edition Giclee Print @ $49

The Story Behind the Image: Have you ever looked into your rose garden on a warm summer night when there is a full moon. Take a look sometime, you'll find your roses dancing in the moonlight!

I thoroughly got into this drawing. I swear I could almost feel the velvety petals in my mind as I worked. I applied carbon directly to the paper in the deep creases of the petals, using a stump to blend towards the areas touched by the moonlight. I then applied graphite with a chamois square to the brightest highlights and used a 6B carbon pencil to fill in the background.

I'm proud to share an exurb from Matthew Merrighn's essay, "The Gray Rose". I sponsor a Literary Contest each year for Young Authors at our local High School ...and Matthew's essay won third place this year. The students must select one of my drawings as their subject and Matthew chose to write about "Midnight Rose". Read all winning entries.

The Gray Matthew Merrighn

"The gray Rose is most desired, not for it's beauty, but for it's uniqueness. The Gray Rose Will be immortalized for it's uncommon color. As time progresses, people will realize the greatness of the Gray Rose and in doing so the Gray Rose will become most desired. But only those who first recognized it's significance will have a Gray Rose of their own."
Click here to read Matthew's entire essay.

My Website...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
Portfolio of Works...learn more about "Midnight Rose"
Literary Contest...introduction to the 2008 Literary Contest
Literary Contest...2008 winning entries
"The Gray Rose" Matthew Merrighn

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Major League Dreams...carbon and charcoal

...Major League Dreams...
Charcoal and Carbon pencil on paper, 9x7
*This is the companion drawing for "Batting Practice".
Small Open Edition Giclee Print
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Also Available in: edition Giclee Print @ $49

The Story Behind the Image: Major League Dreams was a gift for my ten year old grandson. As with most boys this age, he is an avid baseball fan and an aspiring major league player. I took this photo of him standing on third base, waiting for his opportunity to make the winning run for the game.

I really like the composition of this drawing...I used both charcoal and carbon pencil on the shoes in order to show the different tones and textures of the dark leather. The rest of the drawing is mainly carbon pencil. The socks have many, many, many, layers of carbon, blended with a chamois square and tissue.

Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm So Excited...finially purchased a pocket camera

My new 'Pocket Camera'

I've posed the question "which small camera" on this blog before. I have read your recommendations and researched, and looked, and pondered...what am I giving up to have a camera small enough to carry in my purse?

Saturday I took the plunge and purchased the Cannon PowerShot SX110.
Here are the things I liked about it.... 9mp, 10x zoom, manual choice of flash use, good auto modes (for quick shots), manual settings as well, and a great macro.

The 'icing on the cake' is only 4.4 x 2.8 x 1.8 in size...actually fits into my hand, I'm in love. A man might not consider this a true 'pocket camera'...but it will fit into a jacket pocket or perhaps a pair of dockers. As for my purse, I hardly know it's there.

I have to admit, I spent most of Saturday playing with my new toy.

I have the Rebel XTi...and two 'very nice' lenses.
Love this camera and I use it regularly to take photographs for commissioned portraits, still life setups, and to photograph my art. Yet, of late, it remains in my studio...just too big to keep with me all the time. I'm continually missing good photo ops.

I'm heading to NY in a couple of weeks to visit my daughter and grandson. I'm really looking forward to 'traveling light' with my new camera. I'm sure I will have more to say when I get home...for now, I'm excited with what I see.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekend Chat Line...Blogger Issues

"Uncle Sam Wants You"...artist unknown

"Uncle Sam is going to want me...if I don' get my taxes done, and it wont be "to join the armed forces". Hmmm...Wonder if they would let me take my art supplies with me to the jail house?

No "studio time" this weekend, Drats.... I have a tax appointment on Monday and I have been a very bad girl this past year. I'm frantically getting my books in order. All my expenditures are in their little envelopes, but NOTHING is posted in the ledger!

I usually do this throughout the year but one missed month lead to another and see where I am now. I decided the best way to get it done was to make a "Tax Appointment". You see I work pretty good when threatened with a delivery date!

Now for my other problems...Are any of you experiencing problems with blogger? I've had multiple issues of late. ALL your comments for the past two weeks went to the 'comments moderation page'. Since I have my settings set to be notified by email....I thought NO ONE LOVED ME ANYMORE!!!

I only found them a last "hopeful' resort I checked the moderation page.

THEN...when writing this post, I find I cannot upload a photo.

I am really getting frustrated here. I went to blogger to see if others were having the same issues. Couldn't see any specifics...was a quick look. I will go back later.

THIS IS WHEN I HATE BLOGGER....there is NO ONE to contact and NO ONE to get answers from.

So I ask...Are any of you experiencing issues with your Google Blog? If so, how on earth do you resolve them? Have you considered switching to another provider such as Word Press or Type Pad?

The "Chat Line" is open... Remember...when you share, others are blessed. In this case, since I'm the one with the blogger will be blessing me!

I would really appreciate your input here...these issues with Blogger are so frustrating!


UPDATE: as you see, the image upload issue has been resolved, for lets see what happens to your comments this week...I'm still considering switching to something else.


Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
The Extraordinary Pencil...blogspot
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First Colors of Spring

...First Colors of Spring...
Watercolor on paper 7x10

Here is another look at my progress with watercolor. I actually took the photo last summer at a friends house with the idea of using it for a drawing. Every painting is a 'new' struggle. I'm still 'fiddling' too my fiddling, I'm loosing highlights. The background is a little darker and the leaves not quite as prominent as they show here. Yet, the colors of the tulips are fairly accurate...interesting.

I've always wanted to do really 'loose' watercolors...I think I'm stuck on the detail. When you figure I came from drawing, I guess it's only natural. So...I guess I'm going to quit fighting it and settle for the realistic style of watercolor you see here. Maybe I can loosen up later.

When walking in my own garden this week I noticed that my tulips were bursting through the ground. It always fascinates me...once they stick their heads up, it's like they grow in front of your eyes. My tulips aren't nearly this pretty. Possibly because my flower garden doesn't get the care it should.

My friend is a 'master gardener'...I just love visiting (with my camera) and sitting on the patio with a glass of wine. She doesn't even have mosquitoes! We have a deal...she provides the wine, the grill, and the 'extras'...and I bring the steak. Such a deal. We get together several times during the summer months. She is just as a good a cook as she is a gardener.

I'm open for critique...I look forward to your comments

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sharing...My Latest Marketing Find.

Commissioned Portrait

As many of you know, I'm also a working hairdresser and this is a 'salon day' for this is going to be a quick post.

I wanted to let you know about a great new little marketing tool for your blog....that is FREE.

Check out the Widget at the bottom of this post. It automaticly pulls up three of your previously posted related articles. It is supper easy to download. I think this will be great to point people to other articles written on the same subject...or close.

It will retrieve and index all stories from your blog archive, not just recent stories, making them accessible to new or casual readers of your blog who would not otherwise encounter them.

You can learn more, see it on other sites or try it out by clicking the link below the widget at the end of this article or by using the link here.

Marketing is a never ending process and one that continually fascinates me. I've always felt that many of my better articles get lost in the shuffle. So far, this little guy seems to be bringing them forward. Granted some of the matches are not always spot on...but If you post a photo of your work, your reader may be enticed to read on because what they see is interesting.

Notice the three photos there anything that makes you want to look further?

Have to go for now...Enjoy!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday's Watercolor..."Standing Together"

...Standing Together...
Watercolor 140# Arches

Well guys, I'm posting this only because I said I would. The painting does look a little better than the photo. The background and foreground are fairly accurate. The cherries are considerable brighter when looking at the actual painting.

This painting is waaaaaay different than the first ones I did. I've seen the really dark backgrounds used and liked the contrast...obviously I need more practice at this. It looks a little muddy here, but when looking at the original...I think that is actually one thing I managed to avoid.

Obviously...unlike many of you thought, I have not found my 'style' yet:(

One lesson (of many) learned here...Friskit does not last 10 years! I had planned to use friskit on the stems so I could do smoother washes on the background. Got my brush all soaped up and when I opened the friskit was a mucky mess. Absolutely unusable.

Trying to paint this dark around those skinny stems did not give the look I wanted.

I also REALLY had a difficult time staying out of this is definitely overworked in a few places. I learned that I had to have more paint on my brush than I expected or the painting lightened up on me. And, if I used the paint too thick (not enough water) it tried shiny!

I wish the cherries popped in the photo like they do on the original...they're actually the coolest part of the painting. I'm going to also have to learn how to do a little better on my photo editing.

Anyway...I'm open for critique and advise. I look forward to your opinions.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I've Been my first love

I cleared my drawing table, put away my pencils...and got out my watercolors, brushes, and paper. As I neatly placed my drawing stuff on the shelf and closed the door...I did feel just a little 'unfaithful' to the thing I love, but I did promise to return.

I started trying to paint water color maybe 10 years ago and my instructor stressed so strongly the importance of drawing and composition and being able to 'see' light and shadow that I laid the watercolors down and took a drawing class. The drawing class rekindled my childhood love...and you know the rest.

I've written often in my comments on other blogs and in the things I write here that I am a "watercolor want-a-be". I have never lost my desire to conquer 'watercolor'...I'm always drawn to the medium as I look at your websites and blogs. said you wanted to see. I wasn't going to post anything until I was satisfied but thought my 'journey' might be an inspiration to others who want to try a new medium.

My love is of course Portraits and Still Life...and would love to someday be able to paint some street scenes. Yet I chose to start with flowers because I thought they would be less complicated and help me practice the layering of colors and once again learn my pallet.

I probably struggle most with watercolor styles that I like and what I am able to do now. I'm not a patient person and very critical of my work. Right now...I tend to rework too much and wow, staying away from the wet areas was a challenge. In my drawings I start on one side of the paper and move to the other...this jumping around to stay out of the wet areas so the paint didn't run together was a challenge.

My plan is to paint again next weekend. Most likely more of the same 'simple' subjects. I'm still trying to learn my pallet and get a feel for the process.

Be kind. Remember '"I'm still just a watercolor want-to-be"....with much to learn.

Sincerely...I'm very open to critique and would love to here what you have to say. This is a learning process and I'm no where near where I want to be.

Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
The Extraordinary Pencil...blogspot
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

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