Category Archives: Art

Open Studios Napa Valley 2017

Important dates: September 16-17, 22-23

Open Studios is only 6 weeks away!

This year I am exhibiting at venue #33 with Kathy Tranmer. We are trying a new location more central to downtown Napa. Our exhibits are located in the Fellowship Hall of the First United Methodist Church. The parking is located on 5th street just as it meets up with Randolph St.

You can find more information and directions to all the artist venues at the Open Studios website, here. I'm also responsible for editing the website information, so let me know if there are any errors or anything is unclear.

My husband and I are currently sailing in Desolation Sound, British Columbia.
See you in September!

Applying New Knowledge

First Attempts at applying workshop skills

So, I have a great subject with the early morning light striking an interesting sailboat just right. But as most artists know, controlling watercolor only comes with practice.

I like the colors in attempts #1 best, but I think the focal point is much better in #2.

What do you think?

Attempt #1

Boat off Orcas Island Ferry Dock, Attempt #1

Attempt #2

Boat off Orcas Island Ferry Dock, Attempt #2[/caption]

Watercolor Workshop with Michael Reardon


The Bridge Across the Creek, my 1st day painting 

Just before our summer sailing trip I was able to take a watercolor workshop with Michael Reardon. Reardon is teaches many workshops near my location in Northern California and I’d heard taught architectural rendering in w/c. In fact, I thought that was what the workshop was going to be about.

The workshop was hosted on a Friday and Saturday by the California Watercolor Association at the California State East Bay campus in Concord. I thought crossing the Benicia Bridge on Friday might tough, but there was really no problem traffic. There are also several different routes to get to Ygnacio Valley Road from Hwy 680, so many options to get there with the bonus of several Starbucks along the route.

Michael liked to to a demo in the morning and then have us work on our own paintings for the rest of the day. My only issues were 1) we received poor guidance on which reference images to bring, and 2) there were too many students for such a short workshop. I had many more appropriate references had I known what he would demo. Once I started on an image, it took a long time for Michael to get back to me. I felt my painting on the last day failed because I couldn’t get enough help.

That said, I would still highly recommend a Reardon workshop because this may just be the information I needed to take the next step in my watercolors. I don’t know if I’ve heard this information enough times that I’m finally getting it, or whether the way he explained things just clicked. Either way, I’m excited that I may be able to actually paint what I envision rather than end up with disappointments . I have his book with me also, and I can recommend it highly also.
Images from the workshop

Drying Shift in Watercolors

From an article I wrote for Art Association Napa Valley.

Drying shift can be a challenge for watercolor artists. Many of us experience the problem where watercolor paints shift color or value as they dry. In my sample images above, my dark grey roadbed becomes a paler grey when dry.
The reason has to do with the different refractive indices of water and air. As the water dries and evaporates from the paper, the paint appearance is affected by air more than water. You can read about this effect in detail on the Handprint website written by Bruce MacEvoy.
The important thing to understand is that you need to be more assertive with your color initially so that you end up with what you intend. An additional challenge is that watercolor pigments have differing amounts of drying shift. Some pigments change very little whereas others change great deal.
The data in the Handprint Watercolor Paint Drying Shifts table can be overwhelming, but I recommend picking out a few of your favorite colors to see the drying shifts MacEvoy has recorded. It helps explain how much adjustment you might have to make.
For example, two of my favorites have very different drying shifts. French Ultramarine Blue has a total drying shift of 47%, whereas Hansa yellow has a 14% drying shift. That means I have to make my blue a lot stronger than my yellow to end up with similar strength of each pigment.


Preparing Images with an iPhone

The iOS is the operating system that controls the Apple iPhone.  In this article I investigate whether an artist can complete the image requirements for Open Studios Napa Valley using only an iPhone.  My initial answer is “not entirely”.
The Call For Entry(CaFe) system allows you to upload images to a Portfolio.  These images stay in your account and can be then be selected to be part of any Calls for Art, including OSNV 2017.
First, we need to understand the digital image submission requirements.  The CAFE portfolio image requirement is that the dimensions be a minimum of 1920 pixels on the longest side and the image be less than 5MB in size.  OSNV has the additional requirement that the image for the catalog must be 7 inches by 300 or 2100 pixels on the longest side.  In addition, the title of that image must be CATALOG-FirstInitial.LastName, i.e. CATALOG-A.Nunziata.
I won’t go into how to take the photo.  Most smart devices are fairly good at adjusting lighting, but you will need an app or apps that can do the following:
  • Cropping
  • Lighting Adjustment
  • Resizing
  • Renaming
  • Uploading
Most apps, including the default Apple Photos have cropping and Light adjustments.  The difficulty with using an iPhone to prepare images for the Call For Entry (CaFe) online application has to do with resizing and then renaming the image.  The iOS does not give you the ability to access the file name or size.  However, you can almost get the job done with applications or “apps” from vendors other than Apple.
I found Dropbox to be the easiest way to rename the file. You can open or share the image to Dropbox and then Dropbox allows you to rename it. Note that the file Name is not the same as the file Title.  Lightroom allowed me to add an image title, but the filename was still IMG_6577.jpg.
My problem was that I could not find an app to resize the image.  I tried Adobe’s PS Express, and Lightroom apps and also many others including PicMonkey, PhotoToaster, and SnapSeed.  SnapSeed was the only app that had the ability to resize the image, but the choices were limited to very specific sizes.  You can choose 1920 pixels on the longest side, which matches the CAFE requirements exactly, but you cannot choose 2100 pixels to meet the OSNV requirement.
So, in conclusion, the Apple iOS is not conducive to resizing images.  There may be an app out there that can do it, but I gave up after trying many of them unsuccessfully.  I welcome any comments my readers may have on apps that may be able to resize images.

Valentine Sale at FlyingPig Farm

watercolor batik

A Rose for your Valentine – Rose Fire ‘N Ice

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, all items in my Etsy Shop are discounted 10% with this special coupon code BEMYVALENTINE and a $5 minimum purchase.

Rooster ornament

Year of the Rooster- Baynyard Rooster Batik Print

My lavender sachets and miniature artwork are the perfect items to tell that special someone that you care.

This special code is valid for the entire month of February, but I recommend you order by February 10th, or your items will not arrive in time for our most romantic holiday.


Purple Mesh Handmade Lavender Sachet


Pink Handmade Lavender Sachet