Sunday, September 30, 2012

Farmers Market Sunflowers #2

Farmers Market Sunflowers #2/ oil on canvas board/ 6" x 8"/ sold
We saw these at a Farmers market in Portland. I immediately loved the red bucket as much as the beautiful huge sunflowers.

I have been working on a business Facebook page  (new learning curve). It is PaintingsbySueChurchGrant. I will eventually figure out how to use all of these great resources.

Tomorrow, eleven of my 2010-2011 paintings will be hung in the gallery in Winston Salem.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Plum, Plum, Lemon and Lime

Plum, Plum, Lemon and Lime/ oil on gessobord/ 6" x 6"/ sold
I loved the colors of the fruit and the bounced color.

The visual compliments are apparent also.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pansy Study #1

Pansy Study #1/oil on gessobord/ 6" x 6"/ sold

This is a glimpse of the some of the paintings that are being gathered and wrapped for delivery to the gallery next week. Edges and color transitions are the focus of most of my time with the larger watercolors that I love to do. Looking at these paintings from 2010-2011, and comparing them to 2012, there is progress.

The pansy painting is today's daily challenge.  I am continuing to think about transitions and edges. As the season changes, pansies will make a great series. This series will also give me a great reason to obtain and plant all of the beautiful colors and patterns.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mexican Sunflowers

torch tithonia/ oil on canvas board/ 8" x 8"/ sold
Torch Tithonia, otherwise known as a Mexican Sunflower, is responsible for a late summer burst of orange that is loved by the butterflies.

Tomorrow I will post photographs of the preparation for my exhibition of eleven large watercolors at 
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Family Medicine Gallery. These paintings will be displayed  from October 1- December 31, 2012. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tonal study of Pear

Tonal Pear/ oil on gessobord/ 6" x 6"/ 
My class was studying tone (value) and we painted pears.  We used Gamblin Asphaltum as our brown plus black and titanium white.
In addition to great tonal range, this particular color also provides some color temperature shifts to add to the dimensionality.

GamblinColors. com describes this color as a transparent brownish-black. its pigment: transparent mars red and bone black.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Red Flowers and Cherries

I had a late last hydrangea bloom a soft lilac color. You can see it painted below. For me, this painting didn't work. Today, I repainted it, starting with the flower, the leaves, the background and finally adjusting the red on the cherries. Now, I like this little painting, but I am not certain whether the red flower can be named.

Red Flowers and cherries/ oil on board/ 6" x 6/" sold

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Miniature Irises

Miniature Irises/ watercolor/ 4.25" x 2.25"/ sold
A tiny painting squeezed in around the gardening as the seasons change.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Venice/ oil on canvas board/ 8" x 8"/ sold
This is a view looking up from a gondola. The hanging geraniums look fabulous against the old brick and arches.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cosmos 2

Cosmos Study 2/ oil on board/ 6" x 6"/ sold

This was under painted in red acrylic paint to start to express the "heat" associated with these bright summer flowers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Zinnia: "Color must be felt before it can be seen"

Zinnias/ oil on gesso board/ 6" x 6"/ sold
Using Harold Speed's  "Oil Painting Techniques and Materials" as a syllabus for my oil painting class,  the instruction for this practical exercise was to "concentrate on color and color values. Don't be frightened if you make an awful mess; you can often learn more by doing so, than never launching out but keeping to safe unambitious efforts. Let yourself go"; "color is more purely ecstatic".

My Monarch Experience

You know, from my paintings, that I love flowers and that is where this began...

Please visit Early this spring, I planted (and gave away) milkweed plants from the link above. About 3 weeks ago, my yard was visited by three monarch butterflies. Soon I found the caterpillars, collected, fed (milkweed) to three of them and watched the others in the yard. To actually experience this is indescribable. If you have children in your life, please consider learning more. Everything you need is at the link.

1.Monarch caterpillar and milkweed. 2. As it attaches (makes a "holdfast") to become a chrysalis. 

3. Early and 4. later stages of early chrysalis. 

5. About 9 and 10 days later and minutes before emergence.

Look at the newly emerged butterfly: tiny wings and thick body that in about 20 minutes, became the sleek bodied beautiful winged butterfly that stayed about 2 hours, drying.

I saw them again this morning. And now back to painting.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pomegranates for Sonja

Pomegranates for Sonja/ watercolor/ 4" x 6"/ sold
I wanted to paint the "shine" and still keep the painting fluid and "made of water".  This was fun to do because there was "shine" on the little pomegranates, but also "shine" on the saucer both along the rim and with the bounce back of the light in the shadows.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Anemone/ oil on gesso bird/ 6" x 6"/ sold
In my garden, the beautiful, fragile anemones bloom as the season shifts.

"Within the woods,
Whose young and transparent leaves scarce cast
A shade, gray circles of anemones
Danced on their stalks"
William Cullen Bryant

Painted first with sharp petal edges and shadow borders, this painting did not "feel" like the little anemone. Repainted with soft blurred edges, the gentle movement or "dancing" as Bryant describes seems to work, for me.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thank you

"Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul- and you answer" Terri Guillemets

To each of you today, thank you for your ongoing enthusiasm and support!

A new painting tomorrow!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Windows St Paul de Vence Study #1

Windows St Paul de Vence/ oil on canvas board/ 6" x 6"/ sold
About 4 years ago we were lucky enough to travel to St Paul de Vence which was filled with beautiful bougainvillea-covered walls.  I have wanted (and have tried...) to paint what I still "feel" when I think about this trip. A fantastic 5 day workshop with Dreama Tolle Perry this past June has allowed me to begin to capture what I want to paint . Can't wait 'til the next one!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cosmos Study

Cosmos/ oil on gesso board/ 6" x 6"/ sold
Working on the bright colors and free feeling of the cosmos in the summer garden.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Paint Water Droplets in Watercolor

Droplets over Poppies/ watercolor artist trading card/ 2.5" x 3.5"/ sold
This is a Strathmore Watercolor artist trading card. The water droplets were inspired by a daily painting by Barbara Fox on Daily Paintworks. Barbara's beautiful watercolors can be found at:
( On the Daily Paintworks site, Barbara had a small exquisite painting of glistening water droplets sitting on top of a wash of color.  Susan Harrison-Tustain describes painting water droplets in her beautiful book "Glorious Garden Flowers". 
I have been fortunate to have had Susan as a teacher. Her fabulous work can be found at: Dew droplets add sparkle to some of her lifelike florals.

This is how my water droplets are painted.

1. Lightly draw droplet where it will be on the painting.

2. Carefully remove the color within the droplet by wetting, waiting and then lifting with a tissue or a "thirsty" brush.

3. Put in a cast shadow and very thin outline around the rest of the droplet.

4. Replace the color within the droplet leaving a white highlight at the end opposite from the cast shadow. Do this by wetting within the droplet but leaving the highlight dry. Drop the darkest color in the wet area closest to the highlight and allow the color to bleed away from this area. (If you lose your highlight, you can paint it back in with white paint but it won't be as white as the paper highlight would be).
When the inner color is dry, add a rim of white inside the droplet edge farthest from the highlight.

Monday, September 10, 2012

 Study Radishes/ oil on gesso board/ 6" x 6" / sold
Small study where the most difficult part was finding a way to paint the radish leaves.  Blue again onsets the red of the radishes.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Grapes: Visual compliments #3

Grapes/ watercolor/ 5.5" x 8"/ 

Again, referring to the Visual Compliment Chart at, the ultramarine to cobalt blue of the grapes should be visually brightened by a yellow- orange. Both little grape groups were painted wet leaving rims of dry paper between individual grapes.  The top painting has some blue added to the orange to grey and cool it slightly.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lemons and Lime

Lemons and Lime/ oil on gessobord/ 6" x 6"/ sold
Small, loose, bright sunlit colors made this little painting.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Roses #1

Roses #1/ oil on gesso  board/ 6" x 6"/ sold
Three small roses from the yard were today's subject. To make the cream rose come forward, a small line of blue was painted along the outer edge of each petal. The addition of the small blue rim also seemed to visually brighten this rose. (The visual compliment of yellow is blue.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sunlit Hibiscus #1

Sunlit Hibiscus #1/ watercolor/ 5.75" x 7"/ sold
To paint this hibiscus, a wet silhouette of the flower image was laid down and colors were flooded into the wet area. This technique was used to get it "less tight" than the layered hibiscus painted below. Now, to combine the shadow glow of the bottom image with the looser flower....Painting wouldn't be any fun if there wasn't a new challenge!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cherries on Green: Visual Compliments Part 2

Cherries on Green/ oil on canvas board/ 6" x 6"/ $125

I decided to again use the Visual Compliments Table discussed on Sept 2 found at to plan today's painting.  Because the main cherry color is a deep magenta,  I under painted with acrylic Pthalo Green (and a little Ultramarine Blue). I planned to have the pthalo green "peek"through to intensify the color of the main cherry in the painting.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lily Study

Lily Study/ watercolor/ 8" x 21"/ SOLD
This lily study uses the mixing compliments (discussed in yesterday's post) to create the shadow greys.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Red Geraniums #2: Visual Compliments Part 1

Red Geraniums #2/ oil on canvas board/ 6" x 6"/ sold

These are bright red geraniums painted beside their visual compliment of bright blue. More precisely a vermillion red color is paired with a turquoise blue.

Unlike red's mixing compliment of green (which will neutralize or grey down the red as it is added to it) its visual compliment will appear to make the red more vibrant when it is placed beside it in a painting. Printed color pairs of visual compliments were established by Ellen Marx in "Optical Contrast and Simultaneity". The pairs are reprinted in an article on Daniel Smith's web site: