13 October 2013


Wednesday was the day I discovered something new about painting: Everything matters. On Tuesday morning and all day Wednesday, I kept trying to practice the techniques Jane had demonstrated the day before, but I kept making big fat messes--I couldn't control the water, I couldn't control the paint, nothing was working. Things seemed to be going well for the others, but nothing I did was pleasing me. Finally, towards the end of the day, Jane decided to demo it again for me, and as almost an afterthought, Bixxy said "Here--try some of this good Arches paper. Maybe the practice paper is the problem." (The practice paper was nice, especially for illustration, but it was smooth and didn't have a lot of tooth.) After Jane did the second demo, which really helped me visualize the steps and exactly what to do, I tried it on the good paper and it worked SO much better. It didn't seem to make a big difference to Cristina's and Giovanna's pieces, but perhaps they are more skilled than I; at any rate, I used the good stuff after that and my pieces improved. Here is yet another kind of berry that I tried after Jane's second demo. It was painted "dry" and then surrounded with a clear water wash and touched here and there to make it bleed. All the color in the background came strictly from bleeding out the color from the berries and stem, with nothing added after.

I have forgotten to mention one very important character who participated in our week--Chippy! There are, as you can imagine, lots of ducks living at/around/on the lake, and two days before we arrived, Drew became an inadvertent mommy. One of the duck eggs fell out of the nest, and when that duckling hatched, the mama ducks paid attention to it and left the rest to fend for themselves, so when Chippy hatched afterwards, the only mommy to bond to was Drew, who was staging an intervention. Chippy lived in a big box in the living room, with a nest and food and water, but whenever he came out of the box, he was Drew's very tiny little shadow, waddling after him everywhere he went and cheeping madly when he got left too far behind. We all took it in turns to hold and play with him, and he would come if you called him and snapped your fingers, but Drew is his first priority. Here is a photo of him with Cristina:

And here he is riding around in Bixxy's pocket, where he would happily fall asleep:

More later...


  1. hi melissa ...the paper is so important ...i use a variety of different papers all give different results esp working wet in wet ....it's good to explore ..i was so happy when things started to work for you.

  2. "berries" are virgina creeper ....miss chippy

  3. It's so nice when you get an 'aha' moment. The duckling is just too cute for words!