Saturday, October 22, 2016

39 Years and counting!

Last year artist Jessilyn Brinkerhoff was commissioned to paint some beautiful mural art in my hometown of Medford, Oregon.

Today was the first time I got to see it in person, and my, oh my, it is gorgeous! 

Today Jim and I are celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary, so we went out to lunch and then visited this beautiful art.

It was painted on the pillars holding up a freeway overpass, in Hawthorne Park. There are 12 mural in all. Here are some pics I took, plus some from Jessilyn’s website, which is HERE.

Oh, and while we were there, we were attacked by Zombies!! Well, actually, it was a run called the Running Dead 5K, with proceeds going to Southern Oregon Goodwill. And all the runners were dressed up as various gory zombies. It was hilarious!

Happy painting,


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Virtual Paintout 28: Medieval Castles in Napa Valley!

For the month of June the Virtual Paintout gang visited Napa Valley, California, USA. I fell in love with this gorgeous castle, called Castello di Amorosa.

This 12th century style medieval castle is a fully functioning winery! The building began in 1994, and has become world famous. Dario Sattui, the owner who fell in love with medieval castles while touring Europe as a young man in an old VW van, is the great grandson of Vittorio Sattui, an Italian immigrant who founded V.Sattui Winery in 1885 in San Francisco. 

The whole story is fascinating, and I loved reading it and touring the castle via Google street view.

Here is the original location (as always, you can
enlarge any pics by clicking on them):

I dinked around in Photoshop, playing with color ideas:

The line drawing on the birch wood panel:

First I painted the values underpainting. I wanted an old, aged effect:

Here is a crummy photo with glare, showing the blues being added. I used Ultramarine blue. In Medieval days it was a sign of wealth to use that blue, it being an expensive color to create from genuine Lapis Lazuli.

Some close ups:

And here is my finished castle, complete with actual images from inside and outside the castle. The gargoyles sit atop stone walls, guarding the entrance to the castle drawbridge. The iron dragon is outside, hanging from chains. The rest are painted images from inside, most on the walls of the Great Room.

"For the Love of Castles"
Castello di Amorosa
Napa Valley, CA  USA

8x10 acrylic on
birch wood panel

I hope you enjoyed visiting Castello di Amorosa.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Virtual Paintout 27: Ducking in to visit Maine, USA!

Last month in June the Virtual Paintout gang went to Maine, USA. What a gorgeous state! 

As my habit has been lately, I kept my eye out for an animal to paint. Say what?? Not one animal to be found along Route 1 in Maine. 

But then... aha!! I spied this Duck in the window of the Siren Song Tattoo Parlor, in Rockland, Maine. A duck! How cool.

Here is the original location. See my little duck on the very left?

I had blast researching tattoos from the Old School, traditional American tattoo styles. Being a coastal town, I wanted to make my design fit the theme. Hence the lighthouse, compass, waves, roses, anchor, North Star symbols, etc. Those were all tattoos used in Old School tattoos from years ago. And I left some of the birch wood showing, and gave the painting a weathered "old" look, as though exposed to the salty sea air.

First some quick thumbnail sketches I did to try out some ideas:
(can click on any pics to enlarge)

After drawing out my final design and putting it onto the wood, 
I lined it using an acrylic paint pen:

Ack!! The paint pen smeared when I went to seal it. 
Don't know what happened; used this same technique last painting.

I stuck with it, and started the underpainting:

Here it is with the value underpainting:

And finally, it's finished. First here are the sides, 
which each have their own little motif going on:

And the finished painting "Siren Song... aka Ducking In For A Tattoo"

"Siren Song aka Ducking In For A Tattoo"
8 x 8 x 1 5/8 acrylic on
cradled birch wood

Hope you enjoyed this adventure from Maine!


PS: As always, anyone is welcome to join the Virtual Paintout. It's free, it's fun, and each month you can choose to participate or not, as your schedule allows. For this month of June, the destination is Napa Valley, California, USA. I have my spot all picked out! Join me??

Visit here for more details:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Virtual Paintout 26: Sri Lankan Princess!

Yay, I finished in time!

This paintout was irresistible. How could I NOT paint an adorable little elephant I discovered along the roadside in Udawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka.

That's where the Virtual Paintout gang went for the month of April: to Sri Lanka. It was a blast! They revere elephants there, and even decorate and beautifully paint them for festivals. 

In light of that, I imagined my little Asian elephant was on her way to a Festival, and gave her a leg bracelet with turquoise stones and golden bells.

Here is the original location where I found her (you can click on any pics to enlarge):

The design surrounding our Princess was influenced by the traditional style of arts and crafts in Sri Lanka, and I left some of the birch wood showing in the finished painting.

First layers and linework:

Starting to add shading and hints of color:

 Working on grasses and the Princess:

"Sri Lankan Princess"
Sri Lanka
acrylic on 8x8x1.5  cradled birch

I hope you enjoyed meeting our Sri Lankan Princess!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Princess

Here it is almost the end of the month, and once again I'm scrambling to finish my painting for the Virtual Paintout! I really did start early. Life just loves to get in the way!

My new goal: defend my Studio Time like a Mama tiger!! :-D

In the meantime, below are a couple of pics of my progress on the painting based on Sri Lanka, the country we are virtually visiting this monthly.

When I spotted this little elephant along side the road, I knew she was my subject. They revere elephants in Sri Lanka, and even decorate and paint them beautifully for festivals.

Fun factoid: Sri Lanka has more festivals in the year than any other country in the world!

I included border design based on the arts and crafts of Sri Lanka, and since my little elephant is on her way to a Festival, I gave her a beautiful belled leg bracelet.

Here are the first layers of Sri Lankan Princess - let's hope I get it finished before the end of the month!!

Hope you like my Princess,


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Stamping My Feet with Excitement

I'm excited! My new chops have arrived from China.

While I enjoyed painting Carpe Diem Rabbit, I had a heck of a time making a nice looking "chop" signature to go along with the Asian theme for it. It's sort of... chunky/funky. :-}

So, I did something I've wanted to do for a long time: ordered my own genuine Chinese signature chop that has my name, Retta, translated into Chinese. In the same order, I had one created that translates to Blessing.

I found a wonderfully talented Master Seal Cutter on Etsy named Feng Zhuo. He did an amazing job. The square one (my name) is a green agate with a light swirl in the stone, and the other is a very dark purple with a shimmer. Beautifully and delicately carved. I am so impressed!

I can highly recommend Feng Zhuo. He works with you, and personalized my order. He answers emails promptly, and shows you a sample from your stamp for your approval before he ships. 

His Etsy shop is called Chineseseal, HERE.

This is from his About Me page on Etsy:

About Me:
Feng Zhuo, poet, master of seal cutting, was born in Confucius’ hometown: Qufu City of Shandong Province, China. He is the 28th generation disciple of the Dragon Gate sect of the Complete Reality School of Taoism. He graduated from Jining Polytechnic, majoring in Foreign Trade English, and then got his bachelor's degree at Jining University. 
He worked on a project for the development zone and translated the instruction of the film washing machine. He also worked at the press centre of Jining Electric Power Company where he earned the title of Excellent Editor.
Seal carving is a personal, artistic, and professional exploration for Feng. His inspiration for this craft follows in the tradition of seal art from the Qin and Han Dynasties. For Feng this is a combined study of history as well as of his self-expression. His capability and expertise is broad and suited for all interests from traditional to contemporary. He has pleased customers world-wide who can offer enthusiastic recommendation.

If you get one for yourself, let me know, I'd love to see it.
Now, off to make a painting so I can stamp it!

Happy stamping,


Friday, March 18, 2016

Ready to Cowgirl Up?

I've been busy lately puttering around in my Zazzle store, learning how much I did NOT know. Hopefully soon it will be organized.

In the meantime, after having joined a health support group with some like-minded online friends, I created a new motivational card from my ink and watercolor illustration. It was fun!

I left the side front blank (just place holding words that are removed) , so it could be customized, either with a person's  name, or a special greeting.

 Here's a peek:

Anyone interested can pop in to my Zazzle store here (please excuse the disorganization; it's still under construction!) and visit my Cowgirl.

Have an artful day,