Paintings – Sister, Sister!

A love of fine art runs in the family. My sister has just launched a website: Sunday Afternoon Studio. Here’s a sample of her art and bio.

Copyright – Amy Elizabeth

Studio Artist and teacher working in a mixture of media and art disciplines.

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art

High Point University

Art Educator in North Carolina Public Schools

If you are ever in Greensboro, NC. You can find Amy Elizabeth Fine Art in Only Just Be Gallery.

Copyright – Amy Elizabeth
Copyright – Amy Elizabeth

Painting – Sophie’s Auntie

Sophie’s Auntie – Copyright 2018 K A Drissel

Last year, while enjoying Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica, we bought fruit from a beautiful island woman. This lady wore her basket of fruit like a crown and was dressed as if she was going to church. In a word, she was regal. We didn’t ask her name, but when the next vendor came by, selling necklaces made out of bead and shell, she told us the fruit vendor was her ‘Auntie.’ This time I remembered to ask a name, the necklace vendor said, “My name is Sophie.” So, the title of the painting was ordained before I even put brush to paper, “Sophie’s Auntie.”

At 24 x 24 inches, the painting is larger than I usually attempt in my watercolor painting. It is painted on Arches 300 lb Cold Press paper with Winsor & Newton watercolors. My palette had a mother color, this is a shade that I mix in varying degrees into all the other colors. The mother color in this palette was Burnt Umber. Additional colors were Winsor Blue Red Shade, Winsor Blue Green Shade, Quinacridone Magenta, Winsor Yellow, Olive Green, Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. I also used my Derwent Inktense Pencils to create the flecks of color in the sand. The tip can be found here: Creating Texture with Colored Pencils. I hope you like “Sophie’s Auntie.” I relived the beautiful sunny day while I painted her and felt like I was on vacation again.

Painting – Throwback Thursday/Bob Ross & Sepia

Today’s Throwback Thursday is a tribute to Bob Ross and his ‘Happy Little Trees.’ Bob Ross had a magnetic, upbeat personality that came right out of the television and touched your heart. I watched his show many times, and my youngest son, in his pre-teen years, painted using Bob’s techniques a few times too.

Robert Norman “Bob” Ross (October 29, 1942 – July 4, 1995) was an American painter, art instructor, and television host. He was widely known as the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States, and also aired in Canada, Latin America and Europe. With a soft voice and a permed afro, Ross went from being a television personality in the ’80s and ’90s to an Internet celebrity popular with fans on YouTube and many other websites. ~ Wikipedia

Many of Bob’s videos can still be viewed on YouTube. During these long winter days and snowed-in weekends, break out some old paints and try his technique. You might amaze yourself at what you can do.
* Thanks to a comment on this post I can also add Netflix and Amazon Prime as two sources of Bob Ross Videos.

Sepia is today’s Crayola color in Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola.

“Sepia is a reddish-brown color, named after the rich brown pigment derived from the ink sac of the common cuttlefish Sepia. The word sepia is the Latinized form of the Greek σηπία, sēpía, cuttlefish.” ~ Wikipedia


I have a few Sepia tones in this unfinished watercolor. The watercolor, a painting of the creek that runs near my home, has been untouched for months. Why? This might sound strange, or perhaps you can totally relate, but I am so pleased with the form and colors to this point, I am terrified to touch it again in case I mess it up. This came about because the last thing I attempted to paint, or should I say, fix in the painting, was the reflections of the tree trunks in the water, and they gave me a devil of a time. Now, I am afraid to go back into it with my brushes because I don’t want to risk losing what I have done thus far. How silly you are probably saying, and I am saying it too. Perhaps this confession will lift the fear, I’ll laugh at myself and continue on. I wonder if this is why some paintings in museums tend to look not quite finished. Perhaps the artist was afraid he was going to mess it up if he continued. I’ll update…one of these days…when the painting is finished. Sigh….

Painting – WetCanvas November Painting Challenges

It’s been awhile since I’ve included a painting challenge in a blog post. These two challenges are posted on the WetCanvas Website. If you love art of any type, take a look at the many forums on this site.


The first challenge I might attempt is in the Watercolor Studio. The reference photograph, posted by Yorky, is of Baddesly Clinton Manor, in Warwickshire, UK. This challenge is limited to the medium of watercolor. If you have a set of watercolors gathering dust, break them out and attempt this challenge. Follow along, or comment in the forum. The Wetcanvas website is free. Register to post art or comment in the threads. When you finish your painting, post it in the forum for others to see. There is not a set date for posting or a deadline for this challenge.

Lily by Stalksthedawn
Lily by Stalksthedawn

The second challenge is offered through the Floral/Botanicals forum on Wetcanvas. This month’s WetCanvas Plant Parade/November 2015 Challenge is the beautiful Lily. There are many reference photographs included, or you can use a reference of your own. All art mediums are permitted. This challenge has a posting/reveal date of November 25th.

Hopefully, I will get my brushes busy and be able to show a step-by-step example of how I attempt these challenges.

Project – Charcoal Sticks


When straight wind storms blew through this year, they brought down hundreds of small sticks from the trees surrounding our yard. We collected these and used them in a campfire. Forgotten, the remains lay in the fire pit and weathered for a few weeks. Oh my! Imagine my surprise when perfect sticks of charcoal for artwork caught my eye.


A quick autograph of my initials on the surrounding fire pit bricks assured me they were art-worthy.


I collected a good amount and brought them into the house.


Although I haven’t created art with charcoal in years, I’m eager to give the homemade sticks a try. There might be a bit of frustration involved since the thinner sticks break easily, but hey, it’s an endeavor that won’t cost me more than a sheet of paper.

A good example of charcoal art can be viewed in the following video:

Philm & Painting – Woman In Gold

I had high hopes for this film and it did not disappoint. If you savor stories of victory over the establishment, if you feel we should all be reminded of the Holocaust to prevent the atrocities from happening again, and if you cheer for people who persevere even when all the odds are against them, you will LOVE this motion picture. “Woman in Gold” is widely available for home viewing at this time. I LOVED it.

A great article was written by the New York Times: The Woman in Gold.

Painting – Celebration Art

Copyright - Amy E. Davis
Copyright © 2015 by A.E. Davis – 12 x 14 on Canvas

My sister teaches high school and middle school art. I love her most recent mixed media artwork. Her painting is the perfect choice to use as a blog post for starting off the Memorial Day Weekend. The colors, the energy within the painting…Beautiful!

I emailed my sister, and asked what mediums she used for her painting.

“The mixed media project was done with Acrylic paint, paper, and one of my favorite substances-MODPODGE.”

Her artwork inspires me to get out my own supplies and attempt some exciting art myself. Isn’t that what good teachers do for us? For me, creating art is a celebration of life. When I am painting or crafting I always have a feeling of peace and gratitude in my heart. Give creating a try today. Any type of art will do, from doodling to sculpting, and everything in between. Take a few moments to create a celebration of spirit today.

Phascination & Painting – Praying Mantis Pods


My husband and I spent the good part of an hour this past winter in search of a praying mantis pod. Praying Mantis are a terrific predatory bug for keeping garden pests in check. Unfortunately, they cannot discriminate between a bad bug/good bug, and will eat caterpillars, butterflies and ladybugs too. There have even been instances, captured on video, of praying mantis devouring toads, frogs, small snakes, juvenile rodents and other small creatures.

We never found a pod this year, and I thought…’Well, maybe it is meant to be…the butterflies will be safer this year.’ Imagine my surprise to find a pod, as in the past, quite close, hidden in my holly bush.


I have mixed feelings about the praying mantis. I want a mantis in my vegetable garden to keep cabbage moths and other destructive bugs at bay, but I don’t want to lose any beneficial or beautiful creatures to their powerful forelegs and mandibles. Praying mantis in the garden are definitely a mixed blessing.

This month’s Floral Plant Parade Challenge at WetCanvas is a combination work of art with the subject matter of any flower with a butterfly included. Plant Parade Challenge – May 2015

Welcome to the Plant Parade for May, 2015, or a ‘Symphony of Colors’!!

With Spring showing off the different flowers, a remarkable sight begins grabbing our attention!! We notice that the flowers are not the only attraction, but small insects that have brilliant and colorful wings start ‘strutting’ their stuff!! They put on a grand show of flitting and swirling around the flowers and amaze us with their beauty!! How can there be so many unique shapes of the Butterflies? But, watch, when they land on a flower, we have stereo colors. . .both are competing for our attention! But, wait, competing or becoming one? A flower alone is sometimes breathtaking, but with a Butterfly so brilliant with its own remarkable markings, wow, what a kaleidoscope of colors!!

This month we are going to paint brilliant flowers with equally brilliant Butterflies attached to them. We will call it a “Symphony of Colors”!!

Floral Plant Parade reference photograph courtesy of WetCanvas Library and DominicM

Plant & Painting – Dahlias/Update & WetCanvas April Plant Parade


My Dahlia Experiment is succeeding at an astonishing rate. One of the tubers has grown into an eighteen inch plant with many of the others following close behind.


All six tubers have sprouted. It’s time to repot one more time into individual containers. I will grow the dahlias on in these containers until there is no danger of frost. At that point I will transfer them into my garden beds.


As I stated in an earlier post, my reason for starting the tubers indoors is the dahlia in the photograph below. I purchased this plant from a nursery several years ago. I’ve never had a better blooming dahlia, and I’m hoping for the same success with the tubers I started early.


The WetCanvas plant parade flower for April is the Dahlia. Here is a link to the thread and the information.

WetCanvas Plant Parade – April 2015/Dahlias



“Please don’t post your paintings until 25th April, which is “reveal day”. It’s much more fun if we all post our paintings on more or less the same day. So when the 25th rolls around wherever you are…post your painting/drawing of Dahlias then.

You can draw, paint, sketch etc, use any medium you wish and change the photos as much as you like. You can zoom in add 2 photos together etc but make sure your flower is this months’ subject THE DAHLIA

You can ask any questions, discuss anything to do with this Plant Parade and generally enjoy talking to other members about it BUT please don’t post your artwork until 25th April.”

Here are two of the reference dahlias for the April Plant Parade courtesy of Vivian Maloney.

Dahlia - Courtesy of WetCanvas and Vivian Maloney
Dahlia – Courtesy of WetCanvas and Vivian Maloney
Dahlia - Courtesy of WetCanvas and Vivian Maloney
Dahlia – Courtesy of WetCanvas and Vivian Maloney

Painting – Floral Parade Challenge – Magnolias

Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas Library and Duhvinci
Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas Library and Duhvinci

The WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge for March 2015 is the Magnolia.

Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas and Macdragon
Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas and Macdragon

These are a few of the reference photographs available for the challenge. You are also free to use one of your own. Any media can be used for the challenge. Please visit WetCanvas and the Floral and Botanical forum for the rules and more information. WetCanvas Plant Parade March 2015

Photo courtesy of WetCanvas and Lady Carol
Photo courtesy of WetCanvas and Lady Carol

Painting – Aquabord and November Plant Parade


I recently took part in the WetCanvas Plant Parade for November. The category was rainbows and I chose the rosebud reference photograph to watercolor.

large rosebud

I used a piece of 5×7 Aquabord for this painting.  I love Aquabord’s sturdy, non-warping background. I also am impressed by Aquabord’s easy release of watercolor. I “lift” paint quite a bit when I watercolor, and the Aquabord lets the paint loosen and lift like a dream. Unfortunately, this same asset can quickly become a nightmare. I never use Aquabord without a struggle to get my washes smooth. Often when I lift the paint, more is removed than necessary.

I enjoyed creating the background for this watercolor. The Aquabord stayed very wet and allowed the watercolors to blend beautifully. The same wet into wet blending also caused a bit of a problem…the paint ran over the outer edges of the rosebud.


No worries about losing edges when painting with Aquabord. A stiff brush, a little water, and I wiped and dabbed the watercolor off the rosebuds petals and stem.


One day, I hope to use Aquabord for a large watercolor, but right now I’m content to learn on smaller versions of this interesting watercolor board.


The best news of all about Aquabord is that it does not need to framed under glass. A light spray of clear matte acrylic and your painting can be hung without the glare of glass to distort its shape and colors.

Painting – November Challenges at WetCanvas


I love November’s Challenges at WetCanvas. The November Plant Parade is hosted by Bluemoonstar who says:

“November… here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are finishing up with a lovely fall and both leaves & flowers will soon fade into memories until Spring returns. I was thinking that it would be lovely to see a whole rainbow of color this month . I looked back thru my garden photos and the reference library to find a perfect rainbow of blooms.

The challenge this month is to include a touch of rainbow into your artwork. Use your imagination for its placement- could be in a petal, could be in the background, or somewhere else!

Feel free to substitue one of your own, as long as it fits into the category of “Rainbow hues”. (Hard to miss that target when it comes to flowers, lol).

Remember “Roy G. Biv “? Here we go!

I hope you join our trip over the rainbow this month in search of the rainbow hues that surround us.”

The Chinese Gardens at Montreal Botanic Gardens


The Watercolor Studio November Challenge is of the Chinese Garden in the Montreal Botanic Gardens. Yorky says,

“This month’s challenge give scope for painting reflections and shadows. This is the Chinese garden in the Montreal Botanic garden taken on our tour of Ontario after the Meet this year. I suggest you darken some of the conifers for variation.”

Your artwork in this challenge must be done in watercolors and can be posted to the forum at any time.

Painting & Quick Tip – Two on Tuesday/Tracing with Ease

I know “How to Grid a Photo”. I have used the technique many times to enlarge a photo to a larger-sized canvas or paper. The finished results are usually acceptable and contain a lot of detail. The drawback is this method is tedious and chews up a lot of time. I work in watercolors and often don’t need a lot of detail in the initial sketch. For me, a quicker way to get results is to enlarge a reference photograph in a photo editor, remove the color, and filter with a “find edges” application. After I print this out, it becomes easy to trace over the found edges by taping the print to a window allowing the light to reveal the outline for tracing. A lightbox also works, but they can be expensive, and become one more piece of equipment I must store.


This method provides me with a basic sketch, saving hours of time, and allows me to add any detail or adjustment I need. This technique will work for journaling, poster making, lettering, any type of artwork that needs to be traced.

Painting & Phavorites – October Wet Canvas Plant Parade Challenge & Color Palette Generators

big huge lab

The Summer of 2014 was not very hot, but that fact was an advantage for my wildflower garden; the closely packed flowers thrived without the wilting heat. I spied a sweet bumblebee visiting a bachelor button and managed to snap a photograph at just the right moment. I have chosen this as my reference photo for this month’s WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge.

WetCanvas is free for anyone to join – Welcome New Visitors Page
WetCanvas Create New Account Page

Joanne N is the host for the WetCanvas Plant Parade October.

The October 2014 Plant Parade

“Welcome to October!

Fall is just beginning in the Northern Hemisphere, while Spring has just arrived in the Southern Hemisphere.

But I’m not ready to let Summer or my garden go quite yet (even though we had a huge dump of snow in early September). So if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to share some photos from my garden with you to use as reference photos this month. Feel free to paint your own garden reference if you wish.
Use any media you like, we love them all! If you have time, do more than one!

Keep the banter going, share your adventures and misadventures while you’re creating.
All we ask is that you do not post your work until October 25th!.”

Joanne N posted an amazing array of reference photographs to use. I’ve chosen three of my favorites for this post.

PicMonkey Collagejpgwc

After I chose one of my own photographs as my reference for the October Plant Parade I broke down some of the colors in my Paint application.

Bachelor Button Chart

When I create a color chart I have an easy time choosing watercolors to use.

I also enjoy using color lab palette generator sites for viewing the color charts they create. I’ve included three for you to take a look at:
Color Palette FX
Color Palette Generator
Big Huge Labs

Painting – Faux Botanical/Zinnia


I love botanical watercolors, but I don’t have enough minutes in the day to attempt painting one. If truth be told, even if I had the time, I’m not sure I would have the inclination; botanical watercolors are painstaking and precise. I like having a bit more freedom and fun when I paint. Instead of following the traditional route I paint “faux” botanicals, or maybe a better term would be a floral portrait. At first glance my watercolors appear to be botanicals, but on closer inspection a professional would see there are many flower details left out.

Step by Step Slideshow


Watercolor Tip – To remove a finished painting from a watercolor block, use a piece of an old credit card and slide between sheets. Gently work the card around until the paper completely lifts away from the block.

Thanks for looking! 😀

Of course, I had to include the inchworm.


I’m pleased with the new addition to my “faux” botanicals in the hallway.


Painting – Monthly Challenges at WetCanvas

Photograph courtesy of Yorky

The WetCanvas Watercolor Studio has a terrific challenge posted for September.
September 2014 Watercolor Challenge – Sailing on Windermere

I love this reference photograph and I am determined to take part in this challenge.  One of the aspects I especially like about the Watercolor Studio Challenges is there is not a specific day you must post. You can even post after the month is over. I enjoy looking at the interpretations of those who have finished their watercolors in the early days of the month.

As I looked over the paintings already posted, I was entranced by the work of Jan Pastor. I followed the link at the bottom of her post to her Website and also looked up her Youtube Channel: Jan Pastor Youtube Channel

Check out some of Jan’s terrific tutorials if you are a painter. I can’t wait to find some extra time to watch these amazing videos. I know you will be impressed by her work too.

Photograph courtesy of Dewi

The WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge for September is White Flowers. Hooray! I paint in watercolors and white is a challenge for watercolorists, but it will also be a joy to try and capture the essence of their purity on the paper. There are many good reference photographs included. I’ve included my favorite above. You can find the challenge here:
September 2014 Plant Parade Project

Anyone can take part in these challenges. To post your finished painting or artwork you must be part of the Wetcanvas forum. Wetcanvas is free, to join click on this link.
Register for free at Wetcanvas.

I can assure you after years of being a member I have never received Spam or a solicitation from this terrific site.

Painting – “An Iris with Words” / July’s WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge

Iris / Plant Parade Challenge July

I am delighted when I find the time to take part in the WetCanvas Challenges. In July I painted an Iris in watercolor in the Plant Parade Challenge. I went outside my comfort zone and added a bit of word collage to the watercolor. The purist within screamed, “NO! The brave soul in me won and shouted, “Onward!”

The painting, 5 x 7, Winsor & Newton watercolors,  is not my best floral, nor is it my worst. It is a watercolor floral I will remember always though…why…because I DID step out of my comfort zone. Hallelujah!

Iris with Words

You can follow the whole thread here:
July WetCanvas Plant Parade July 2014 Thread

The August Plant Parade Challenge/Daisies/Hosted by Just Jean
You  can find the link here:
August Plant Parade Challenge




Painting – July Challenges

I’m posting three art challenges on my blog this month. Two are through WetCanvas, and one is through a site called Paint My Photo. To take part in the challenges you will need to sign up with the sites, but they are free, and it is very easy to begin and take part. Give them a try.

Watercolor Studio Challenge – Clematis


Photo courtesy of WetCanvas/Yorky (Doug)

Here is what Yorky (Doug) says about the challenge for July 2014:

“I am posting a photograph of my Clematis for you to try. You can paint the whole thing or make it a macro where traditionally petals touch three sides of the painting.”

You can find more information on July’s Watercolor Challenge here: Watercolor Studio Challenge/Clematis


Photo courtesy of WetCanvas/Karrie

The Plant Parade Challenge this month will be Iris. The photograph above is one of the reference photos provided. You can use a photograph from the challenge or an Iris photograph of your own.

Viven says: “The Topic for July is;

“The Iris”

The Iris – is only second to the Rose as the world’s most popular flower. Irises are a favourite subject for artists to paint, because of their stately form and beautiful, frilled petals.

There are a few rules……….

Crop, enlarge, distort, play, manipulate a reference in any way you wish. You can paint/draw in any size and any medium. “Reveal Day” is the 25thJuly,so please do not post your painting before that day. It is much more fun, and more interesting, if we all post more or less about the same time.”

The link for this challenge can be found here: July 2014 Plant Parade Challenge

I am including the “Paint My Photo monthly challenge. Take a look at this amazing artist resource and take the time to join in. You can find the information here: Paint My Photo July Challenge

Suzanne says of the challenge:

“This challenge is all about the creatures that live in the seas of the world…whether they are fish, sea-turtles, whales, seahorses, or coral …..anything that is supposed to live, swim, or exist in the watery world below the surface of the ocean.”

I’m not sure if I will be able to take part in all the challenges, but I am certainly going to try my best to do one and all!

Before I sign off here is a photo collage posted to WetCanvas of many of June 2014’s paintings of Peonies. Enjoy!


Painting – WetCanvas Challenges

This months Plant Parade challenge at WetCanvas Florals and Botanicals is the magnificent peony. Oh my! What gorgeous reference photographs Marionh has included with this month’s challenge. I have included two of the photographs here, courtesy of Mariohh and Maltman. There are many more reference photos to choose from and you are also able to use your own. The challenge is open to anyone, but if you wish to include your artwork in the challenge posts you must join WetCanvas. Joining Wetcanvas is free…give it a try. Here is the link to this months challenge: WetCanvas Plant Parade – June 2014



In the WetCanvas Watercolor Studio Yorky (Doug) has chosen Clumber Church, in Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire, England, once part of Sherwood Forest, as June’s Challenge. You can see more posts and Yorky’s watercolor of this church at this link: Watercolor Studio Challenge – June 2014


Painting – Here’s Mud In Your Teeth/Longwood Anemones


About twenty years ago, my then teenaged son purchased a moped. The first time he took it out to ride was after a rainy day. When he walked in the house after the ride he was covered in mud, and when he smiled his teeth were covered in mud splatters too. What joy he must have felt as he rode. I still imagine him in my mind riding through those puddles while the mud flew in an arc of earthly joy all around him. The photograph is a favorite of mine, as is the memory.


I had the best time painting these anemones. Although there are quite a few flaws, the painting is full of life and I think captures a bit of the enthusiasm I felt while I painted it. You see…I love to paint. I have decided it does not need to be perfect, my joy will not be diminished by what others may think, or if I deem it perfect or flawed. What matters to me is the GRAND time I had painting it. I hope I smiled as big as my son as I splashed the paint onto the paper.

I wonder if that is why historians think Vincent Van Gogh ingested his paint. I have read more than once that many attribute some of his health problems, physical and mental, to paint being internalized. Perhaps he did not nibble his paint, but loved painting so much he smiled with joy when he painted, and the paint somehow got into his system. Oil paints at that point in time contained many dangerous chemicals and metals. Since I love Van Gogh’s paintings and his words in the numerous letters he wrote to family and friends, I hope this is the case. His joy in creating overrode his caution. By no means is this in any way a fact, just a theory I like to daydream about.

I wish I could paint like Van Gogh, but I will always be me in everything I do, and a Van Gogh I am not. But I do love to create and I do love to paint. If you are interested here is a short step by step video of the creation of my Longwood Anemones. I wish I could have videoed the wild background as I painted. It is wet into wet and was SO much fun to paint.

Longwood Anemones: 12 x 14, Winsor & Newton Watercolors, Arches Hot Press 140 lb Paper

You can find the thread to the April Plant Parade here: April 2014 Plant Parade

Take a look at the gorgeous paintings the other artists have created.