Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Leaning Birches

Leaning Birches by linfrye
Leaning Birches, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

8" x 12" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

Though frost rims the grasses and the trees have now lost their cloaks, and the color of the sky is more grey than blue, I am still clinging to the fall's warm colors and having a hard time saying good-bye to a season I clearly love.

My walk yesterday between rain showers had me marveling at the architecture of the now-naked trees and the sheer number of ochre leaves beneath my feet. The rain hushed the once-crackle of these leaves and their slick surfaces made walking up and down the small hills a challenge, but I loved seeing their browns and umbers before they become the fodder of compost ....

This painting is an outgrowth of that walk. Though we have no birches of this type in our neighborhood. I used the white of these trees to play against the remnants of warm sienna-colored grasses and the wet-dark of the single tree I painted to represent those I saw yesterday. The painting is imagined and though it grew more from emotion than planning, I like it and will repeat the lessons I learned - colors, darks, how to 'warm up winter' ... to try this again.

We've all heard that painting is like our signature - we have a style or approach that is our own no matter what we do, and thus adding something new, trying to change, enhance, add, loosen, tighten or whatever to move our artwork forward can be mighty difficult, frustrating as well as rewarding. I'm finding that to be so true -- as well as tiring! LOL But like any new habit, it will take constant repeating and repeating before the changes become more 'natural' than consciously produced ... but oh is the process of change slow .. sigh.

Back to the painting table ....

Have a terrific week!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fall's Ending

Fall's Ending by linfrye
Fall's Ending, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

10" x 13" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

For the last week or so when I go out to feed the kitties, the water in their drinking bowl has frozen over. Quite honestly, I know it's been cold in the mornings, but by afternoon, we've been outside with a light jacket. No longer.

This weekend seems to have turned the season. The potted basil on my side porch has been completed blackened by the frosts, there are a few leaves here and there, but those are mostly brown, and the leaves underfoot are all crunchy. Yes, the end of fall ...

A while ago, I was asked to share a bit about the workshops I took during Art of the Carolinas ...and I'll do over time. It had been a few years since I took several classes over the four-day period, and this year was one of those. Instead of all watercolor classes, I decided to try something very different - acryllic and abstract. To be honest, I am feeling that 'change ahead' nudge that often accompanies a style, thinking process or something else of change in my painting. It happens more frequently than I acknowledge - where I find I am being internally 'directed' to try something new, favoring different photographs or paintings, and I feel a real SHOVE to try something different. It was with these feelings that I took those 'different' classes.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of them ... and they have me thinking and viewing my paintings in a new way. So instead of simply posting what I painted in those classes, I'm trying to 'think' out my thought processes, what I'm noticing needs something else, practice a bit of the things I want to change, try some techniques that will move me where I may be headed, and then write a bit about what was involved.

This piece, for instance, is one of those 'nudges' that may not be fully realized, but is the first of something changing.

I want to work a bit on my brushstrokes to make them more expressive... To make my lights lighter and my darks darker ... This piece uses 'some' of that - but not to the extent I want to go -- but it's a start.

And another turn in the road's journey .....

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


On this day of joyous gratitude, I am most thankful for the simple things: family, friends, food, shelter, health, nature, peace,kindness, love and so much more.

I am grateful for the support and encouragement from you, my flickr friends ... and I wish you a most joyous, heart-filled day of thanksgiving ....

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Watercolor Calendar 2013

Watercolor Calendar 2013 by linfrye
Watercolor Calendar 2013, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

For those who might be interested, I have created a 2013 calendar with many of YOUR favorite watercolors for 2013.

For more information, please see my zazzle site:


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Frosty Morning - Denis Collette

1/4 Sheet Mixed Media (gesso, watercolor, frosty ink)
Arches 140#CP

The late fall see-saw of weather changes are here -- today, for instance, was a mild 60F, but this morning -- a FROSTY 34F ... BRRR .... along with a covering of morning frost that rimmed the leaves, made the grass crunchy, and for the south, the look of a light snow. OHHHH, I am not ready! LOL

But knowing that these colder days are coming to stay, I was truly inspired by Denis Collette's recent capture of a frosty morning in his woodlands. I was so taken by his photo, I painted this interpretation, and thank Denis most sincerely for allowing me to post it here. Please stop by Denis' flickr stream to enjoy a rich array of poetic images of a homeland that he clearly loves. Once again, blessings, Denis!!!

With Thanksgiving this week, we are busy preparing for the holiday as we'll be hosting the dinner this year. Afterwards, my son and daughter-in-law will make their annual 'Black Friday' trek to dozens of stores, malls, the discount houses, and wherever the sales take them. Meanwhile, we will be enjoying the grandchildren, and in exchange, my son will be doing a bit of holiday shopping for me, too ... personally, I think I got the better deal!! LOL

Stay warm ... the holidays and winter are fast approaching!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rosey Grapes - FIRST PLACE!

Rosey Grapes - FIRST PLACE! by linfrye
Rosey Grapes - FIRST PLACE!, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

1/4 Sheet Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

I painted another series of grapes after I visited Doris -- and for this particular one, I wanted my grapes to be a bit rosey - almost like one would find in a rose wine ...

I entered it in the Kerr-Lake Art Society Autumn Exhibit -- and won first place for watercolor!! I AM THRILLED TO PIECES!!! Even comes with a monetary gift! WOW!

Thank each of you for your encouragement and kindness during my 'watercolor journey' ... Truly, you cannot know how your comments and invitations and generosity have kept my brushes moving along white paper ...

Blessings and gratitude!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Plums after Jean Haines 2012 - Final

9" x 12" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

With the approach of Hurricane Sandy 24 hours away, the last day of Jean's workshop lost several participants as folks made their way home before the storm. In order to accommodate all the requests Jean received and in order to maximize the time remaining, Jean worked on a few more demons, and then launched into her prepared lesson to move us from 'free flowing practice' to work that was a bit more 'story telling.'

I was given permission earlier this year to paint from Rupa's fabulous plums and I had her photo reference with me. Though I painted these before in a more traditional way: I wanted to see what they might look like in a looser style. (Thank you once more, Rupa!!!)

Jean was kind enough to demonstrate how she would approach this image, and for the rest of the workshop, I practiced. Each of my practice pieces came closer to the 'story' I wanted to tell... but this one, done a few days after the workshop, seems a bit closer to the combination of Jean's looseness and a bit more of my own style.

The workshop ended with the promise of Jean's return to New York next October, and then everyone scrambling to homes, last minute planes and trains, all to get out of harm's way.

It was an incredible workshop -- and I thank Jean for all her sharing of skills, enthusiasm, encouragement and joy!!!!

Can't wait to do it again next year! (without hurricanes, of course!)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bittersweet Berries - After Jean Haines - Part 4

1/8 Sheet Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

Jean's workshop really made an impression on me - her ideas, approach to painting, FLOW of the paint, expressiveness, imagination.

After the first day of the workshop, I began playing with Jean's ideas - and have done several small paintings of bittersweet berries. I LOVE their red, orange and yellow colors.

This painting was done from memory -- from the walk I did prior to Jean's workshop and my memory of bittersweet berries along the roadside.

Looking at this painting now, I want to define those berries a bit more ... but love the washes and colors I'll take the things I like about this quick, small painting and do another couple of exercises and see what happens ...

More workshop info to follow. (I've been involved all weekend in classes at Jerry's 'Art of the Carolinas' and will lots to share in the next week or so about those classes and experiences.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Viburnum after Jean Haines 2012 - Part 3

9" x 12" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

This loose painting of viburnum berries was done in Jean Haines workshop in NY following a number of demonstrations. It is my attempt to paint in Jean's style and keep things loose, abstract, and suggestive without finishing the entire work ... thus leaving some of the painting to the imagination of the viewer.

It's a bit challenging to put into concrete terms how I might describe Jean's way of painting. So here's my attempt to suggest what I see as her approach ... I may be entirely wrong .. and if I am, I hope Jean will correct me!! LOL

Jean's approach is far different than any other artist I have ever had the privilege of learning from. In my words, I see Jean's method as somewhat 'subtractive' ... in other words, and speaking for myself, my approach, and most artists I think, is to ADD more and more paint to an image - improving values, adding highlights, and pretty much COMPLETING a painting with negative painting, more layers, ADDING splashes, splatters, blown paint, etc.

If my mind, how I see Jean painting is somewhat OPPOSITE -- Jean seems to SUBTRACT paint by using WATER to adjust her values, create a background, textures, forms and the like. Jean starts with rich, juicy paint in a rich wash and adds more and more WATER or water and pigment to her painting as she works on her first wash. Jean has this most amazing ability to judge, control and USE the water on her brush and the water in her paintings. She starts on DRY paper - thus keeping more control than painting wet into wet, and yet, she continues to add water to the wet paint on dry paper to spread her paint, move it around, create her images. Her first wash guides the bit of finishing she'll do on a painting (usually after it dries) - she does NOT FUSS to fix things, but uses those 'blooms and events' to the advantage of the painting. All the time, she's watching, learning from what is going on on the paper, and USING what she is seeing to the advantage of the painting. Her first wash has about defined the subject, spread paint for the background and has her values almost perfect. Her second, and rarely, third, wash completes the painting. Her results - fresh, spontaneous - and brilliant!

What amazed me the very most was how much WATER she uses -- and how she uses WATER to paint! But all the while -- controlled. I know, I know, it is WATERcolor after all -- but I know few other artists who use water in just the same way. Her pigments are used strongly, and again, she uses water to thin out their values, water to add different colors. And though Jean's work feels somewhat 'splashy', I was reminded to be careful with all my splattering (LOLOLOL!!!).

I hope this makes sense ...

It is an amazing approach to painting and one I hope to continue to practice and incorporate into my own 'signature' way of painting.

More to come.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Painting for the Bin - My Tomato and Part 2

1/8 Sheet Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

Jean's long anticipated workshop began on Saturday with Jean reviewing her philosophy and approach for painting watercolors, materials, paints, paper, brushes and the like.

Our first task was to warm up by 'painting for the bin'. In other words, our task was to paint simply to get the paint flowing freely and with abandon -- and all the time, WATCHING and LEARNING what pigment and water do on the paper. We reviewed the use of splatter (oh yes, I do LOVE to splatter!! LOL), adding salt, moving the paper around, adding water, trying colors that we normally don't use, using saran wrap to create textures, and the like. (One of these warm up exercises created my recently posted "Wash Out" (

After several of these, Jean suggested we visualize and paint a tomato ...simply, paint a tomato. The purpose of this exercise was to use water and pigment to create that fruit all the while learning -- and more -- ENJOYING -- again what is happening on the paper! To learn what each different pigment does on the paper, how it reacts to water, to salt, to the addition of more water. To learn to have a playful attitude toward a particular subject, to paint with that kind of joyousness that most often results in spontaneous, fresh and marvelous works. And we were to accept our painting events - the blooms, the runs and the like. Then Jean gave each of us a real tomato to paint the subject once again ... again painting with the same attitude and joy.

The tomato abve is my tomato attempt using the tomato in front of me as a guide. It was fun! And more, the pressure was off to 'produce a frameable' painting - since we were 'painting for the bin' ... with nothing more pressing than to simply enjoy AND LEARN from the process.

(Painting like this is so INVIGORATING and REENERGIZING and RECREATES the reason WHY we paint watercolors in the first place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bless you, Jean, for this gift!!!!)

The workshop continued with Jean demonstrating flowers, eyes, dogs, people and more. I cannot truly express what her enthusiasm and artistry gave to that room of watercolorists !!! We all were painting tomatoes and marveling at Jean's demos --- and each of us trying to replicate what we were learning with images of our own. (More on the next post.)

Jean's 'tomatoes' are shown below along with some of her demonstrations in process.

Jean suggested that we paint a tomato every day -- that doing so would teach us everything we needed to learn about watercolor, and all that we needed to learn would be in that single painting - and by the continual painting of the same subject day after day after day ...

(To learn more about Jean's philosophy, exercises, demonstrations and the like, please see: And try her books and DVDs ... all of them marvelous!)

I will be offline much of the rest of this week and weekend as the annual Art of the Carolinas is going on in Raleigh. If you've never had a chance to enjoy this awesome event filled with workshops, a trade show with prices that are to die for, demonstrations and the like - hurry over or see for more information.

More to follow ...

Jean and Lin - Part One

Jean and Lin - Part One by linfrye
Jean and Lin - Part One, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

What an absolute JOY it was to finally meet Jean Haines. I read about her workshop in New York almost nine months ago (from Jean's website -, and I immediately signed up for the class. I typically make several trips a year to NY to visit my sisters and mom, and I thought what a fabulous experience it would be to be able to combine the two!

I truly felt blessed to have the privilege of taking a watercolor class from this incredibly talented, enthusiastic, exciting and inspirational artist!!!

The sessions began with an introductory 'demonstration' by Jean on Friday night. This demo was also part of an open house exhibition of local Long Island artists at the Art League of Long Island.

As Jean began her demonstration, the room began to fill, and fill, and fill, until by the time half an hour had passed, there was standing room only!!! LOL

Jean talked about her love of watercolor, some of her paints, papers, methods, and began painting - to the oohs and ahhs and flashes of cameras as everyone sat on the edge of their seats to take in everything she was saying.

Jean graciously signed books or pamphlets or posed for photographs ... and all too soon the demo ended, and we went home to anticipate two full days of Jean's workshop.

I've included a few photos from the workshop ....

More to follow ...

Monday, November 05, 2012

Sassafras - The Glorious Color Before Sandy

Throughout the fall, I have been moaning about the lack of color in the trees of our neighborhood.
But when I went to visit my mom and sisters and I took a walk around the neighborhood, I was in a virtual HEAVEN of incredible reds, golds and oranges!!!

I took these photos two days before Hurricane Sandy ripped the leaves from the tree branches. Oh did I enjoy the colors!!!

On another happy note, I met two wonderful blogger friends - Joan T.( and her fabulous blog and Susan (

They joined me for Jean Haines demonstration the Friday evening before her weekend workshop. WHAT FUN! Then Joan and I spent a couple of hours together after the storm passed just chatting and sharing and making plans to get together again. Flickr and blogging have been such blessings to meet the most talented, wonderful, generous and marvelous friends!!!

When I finally was able to return home, most of the color of my own trees was gone, and with temperatures dropping and wind and rain blowing (yes, we got some strong wind and rain from Sandy too), most of the fall color is now behind us.

But since I so LOVE the fall season, these photos will paint my world fabulous colors in the gray days ahead.

Hope you enjoy them too!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

WASH OUT- Hurricane Sandy 2012 - GLAD TO BE HOME!

7" x 9" Watercolor Wash
Arches 140#CP

Thank each of you for your thoughts and wishes and notes. Please continue to remember and pray for those so adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy.

There's much to report about the past seven days ... my visit to see my mom, Jean Haines workshop, the storm's aftermath. But let me say this for those who have expressed concern for us: We are fine, and we have made it through the storm virtually unscathed, with minor home damage, tree loss, and the inconvenience and disruption of power outages, cable, telephone and internet outages, some food shortages and major gasoline shortages and the rebuilding of destroyed towns, beaches, and lives. Compared to so many who have lost their lives and their homes, we were blessed indeed, and have nothing to complain about.

My one sister is still without power, cable, or cell service since the storm and is staying with friends. Her boyfriend awaits a tree service who, they pray, will get to the tree leaning on his home before the wind shifts, and makes the tree fall through the roof and into the second fstory of his home.

My other sister, with whom my mom lives and where I was staying, had power restored after 36 hours only to have it wiped out by a drunk driver who ran into the single power pole providing a neighborhood much needed light and energy. Cable, phone and internet service was restored to this same sister 48 hours after the storm, and lights were re-restored late last night.

We got through the worst of the hurricane with a generator, candles, a gas range, and the relief of having gone through a major crisis with our lives and property safe.

This makes the fourth major hurricane I have been through: Agnes, Hugo, Fran ...and now Sandy. Through each one, I wonder anew at the enormous forces of nature and the power of humankind to pick up the pieces and begin again and again. Hope and help from others, are mighty powerful.

This artwork was an exercise done in the workshop I have been privileged to attend with Jean Haines. I will have more to say and post about that wonderful experience and the opportunity of meeting an incredible, talented and remarkable artist. Her workshop, I might add, was held the day before and on the eve of superstorm.

While this exercise was merely a practice of mixing of two colors we really liked on a small piece of watercolor paper, the flow of the paint, the colors, and the mixing, all done without forethought two days before Hurricane Sandy's wrath, seemed fitting to post while describing a bit of our experience through the storm.

Again, please continue to keep the thousands of hurricane victims in your prayers and thoughts. There is so much repair work to do in New York, Long Island, New Jersey and elsewhere along the Eastern seaboard, that continued prayers and good thoughts will certainly be appreciated.