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This page last updated: January 23, 2003

Most of the paintings displayed from this page are painted on porcelain.  A year or two ago, I started taking classes in watercolors too.   I have completed several watercolor paintings to date. As I finish each watercolor painting, I am placing a picture of it on this page for display.  I'm only just learning this medium, which because of its transparency, is in many ways, similar to porcelain painting.  I really enjoy watercolor painting, but although my china painting has slowed down since I moved to Hawaii, watercolor has not replaced my painting on porcelain. Now I have two ways to express myself!

Hawaii has such an abundance of lush tropical plant life (and birds too) that I don't think I will ever run out of resource material for either my china painting or watercolors.

Check back often for future paintings displays on this page.
If you have visited this page before and would like to skip to a particular section on the page, just click on one of the links below:
China Paintings on Porcelain
Luster Paintings on Porcelain
Watercolor Paintings

China Paintings on Porcelain
I have been china painting for over 20 years.

I originally took classes from teachers at Mary Foster's "Foster and Capps Studio" in Downey, California. Mary retired over ten years ago and this studio no longer exists.

In 1990, after I moved to Westminster, I started taking classes with Hulda Stoppelmann, at her studio in Orange, California.  I took classes from Hulda for over ten years until my move to Hawaii in the year 2000.   Hulda has a web page on the Porcelain Painters International Online (PPIO) web site at http://www.porcelainpainters.com/hulda.html.

I have found no china painting teachers here on the Big Island. I may start teaching china painting myself, in my home, if I can find the time to prepare materials for teaching.


Luster Paintings on Porcelain
Around 1997-98, I began taking classes with Michael Sullivan, to learn how to paint with lusters.  I continued weekly classes with Michael until I moved to Hawaii in the year 2000.  Michael has taught me all I know about painting with lusters.   He has a web page on the Porcelain Painters International Online (PPIO) web site at http://www.porcelainpainters.com/MSullivan.htm and a Catalog page on the same web site at http://www.porcelainpainters.com/msullivancat.htm.


Watercolor Paintings
Within the year I moved to Hawaii, I started taking watercolor lessons.   I began a class with Jane Wilson.  Unfortunately, Jane became too sick to continue her classes, but I was able to find Martina Stephens, a talented watercolor artist and teacher who had recently moved to Hawaii from Saudi Arabia.  Martina has her own web site, (which I designed), at http://www.martinastephens.com.  Many of her beautiful paintings are displayed on her web site and there is a page listing her class schedules.

I took Martina's "Basic Course", where she teaches watercolor for the beginner and techniques for using the medium.  After that, I took her "Color Mixing" class where you learn to mix the colors you want and know what to expect when you mix the different colors together.   I continue in her Monday morning "practice" sessions, where each student works on their own selected painting, with advice and help from Martina when needed.   It is a fun class.  In May, 2001, I completed my first complete watercolor painting of the African Tulips (displayed in the Watercolor section on this page).

Last year I took "Mac" McKenna's Figure drawing and painting (watercolor) class, where we draw and paint, using live models.  Although I enjoyed this class and feel I learned about painting the human figure, I prefer painting animals and objects in the watercolor medium.  Mac is not online (yet).

Several of my other completed watercolors are displayed in the Watercolor section of this page. Check back often as I will be posting more watercolors as I complete them.


Tiger in the Snow
(Image Size: 26kb)

As I've said before, I love tigers.   I liked doing this one.   It was painted before I started using my own photos for subjects.   It won First Award in the 1994 Los Angeles County Fair.


(Image Size: 14kb)

This Leopard painting is on a size 9 x 13 inch tile.

It won 1st Award in the Animal Class of the China Painting Division in the 1995 Los Angeles County Fair at Pomona, California.


Milky Stork Vase
(Image Size: 76kb)

This shows four views as the vase is turned. The vase is 12 1/2 inches tall.   It depicts some water fowl, typically found in India.   There are three Milky Storks and two Bar Headed Geese,   There is also a Heron on the vase.   Although there are Herons in India, I am not sure you would find a Blue Heron there.

I entered this vase in the 1997 Orange County Fair in July of that year.   It was entered in the China Painting Class of the Fine Arts Division.   That was the first year that the Fair had a category for china painting in the Fine Arts Division. I am proud to tell you that my vase won First Place in the China Painting Class!

I later sold the vase to a co-worker.


Macaw Platter
(Image Size: 36K)

I completed this painting the week of August 9, 1998.  The original photograph from which this painting was done is on the web site of Michael Myers, "Michael's Photo Gallery".  Michael has some very nice photographs of other birds on his site.   You can see the original Macaw (under Parrots) and many other bird photos if you visit his site at http://www.netaxs.com/~mhmyers/image.html.  Paul Grothe, whose wife, Betty, is a china painter, sent me a very high-quality print of the photograph.   I used it as the reference for the painting.   The background in the painting is my own.   Although I am not a flower painter and don't especially like doing leaves, I do like doing jungle leaves and branches.   Since my move to Hawaii last year (April, 2000), I now have an abundance of resource material for "jungle" plants. This painting was sold to a fellow student in one of my watercolor classes.


Tiger Fun in an Aquarium
(Image Size: 36K)

This is the second in a series of paintings I did of "animals in strange places/positions".  The first painting in this series is my "Cougar in a Sunroom".  This is also the final fire of the first painting I did on the Step-by-Step page.  I thought it might be nice to show this painting and the "There's a Giraffe in the Nursery!" painting (the next in my "animals in strange places/positions" series), another finished painting from the Step-by-Step page, on this page so you can see what they look like without all of the markings showing the paint colors used.  If you want to view the "steps" (10 fires in all) and the history of this painting, you may click here.

This painting was shown in the Orange County Fair (I can't remember which year, probably about 1998-99).   Although it received no awards, I had offers to buy it and I sold it to a man in Paramount, California, who collects art. He said, although he liked the way it was painting, he mainly was attracted to the painting because of the unique subject of the painting.


There's a Giraffe in the Nursery!
Image Size: 70K)

This is the final fire of the second painting I did on the Step-by-Step page.  To view the "steps" (11 fires in all) and the history of this painting, click here.

This painting now hangs in my home in Hawaii.


Tiger face in Mist of Waterfall
(Image Size: 33kb)

I don't know where I got the idea for this painting. One day I just thought it would be interesting to paint a vision of a tiger face in a waterfall. I found the waterfall photo (This was taken in Hawaii) and, with the help of Corel Photopaint, worked up a hazy vision of a tiger face "floating" in the waterfall.   I printed out the resulting picture and used it as the source for the painting. The painting is on a size 9 1/2" x 13" tile.

I have framed it and it hangs in my home.  I did not mat it in the frame; the tile fills the whole frame.  With the painting not being too large, I'm not too pleased with the way it looks framed this way. I will probably reframe it later, using some type of mat or surrounding surface between the tile and the frame.


Tiger Face for a Teacher
(Image Size: 26kb)

This is a painting of a tiger face. As I painted this picture, I planned to give it to Hulda Stoppleman, my china painting teacher, as a token of thanks for all the help she has given me by her valuable suggestions on color, shadowing and highlights.   I penned a little note of appreciation on the back of the plate.   I did not tell Hulda ahead of time, while I was painting it, that it was for her.   She was pleasantly surprised when I gave it to her after it was finished.


Macaws on a vase
(Image Size: 24kb)

I found these two macaws at the San Diego Zoo.   The Blue and Gold one is named "Sinbad". I know this because, once when I visited them, he was dozing. While I was waiting for him to come to, so I could take his picture, a nearby keeper called, "Hey Sinbad, wake up!".   I tried to find out if the Scarlet Macaw had a name too, but no one seemed to know.   I had planned to enter this vase in the Los Angeles and Orange County Fairs this year, but my mother talked me out of it, so it went to her in Hawaii. Since her death in the year 2000, I have it in my own home here in Hawaii.


Nature Scene on Urn
(Image Size: 22kb)

I painted this urn especially for my mother.  She had placed it on an antique coffee table which belonged to her grandmother.  Some time after she moved to Hawaii, she had the vase shipped to her. Unfortunately, it broke into too many pieces to be put back together. This photo collage shows the various sides of the vase.


Portraits of My Grandchildren
(Image Size: 37kb)

I did these three portraits as a set.   They are paintings of my three grandchildren.  At the time of these paintings, Jason (left) was 16 years old, Stacy (middle) was 11 years old and Bradley (Right) was 7 years old .  They are all a several years older now.  Jason is over 20 years old and Stacy graduates from high school this year (2001). These paintings were hanging in my dining area.  But, shortly before I left to live in Hawaii, I gave them to their mother (my daughter), Gina.


Mel Gibson Portrait
(Image Size: 11kb)

I did this one especially for me.  Mel Gibson is my favorite actor.  This painting is from the movie Forever Young. The painting hangs in my home.


John Wayne Portrait
(Image Size: 20kb)

John Wayne is a very good subject for portrait.  I like painting him at this age better than when he was younger.  I actually painted about 6-7 John Wayne portraits shortly after I began china painting.  I gave all but this one away. Unfortunately, it broke when it was shipped to me in Hawaii. Maybe I will try painting another one sometime.


Strawberry Dish
(Image Size: 30kb)

This is two views of a berry serving set I painted.  The left shows the serving set as it would be displayed.  The right shows the creamer and sugar lid lifted out.  It is supposed to be used to eat a single serving of berries, providing the individual cream and sugar serving to go with it.  I like to use it as a serving set when I have guests, such as at Christmastime.  That is one reason I selected the red strawberry design to paint on it.  It is trimmed with gold.


Black Luster Butterflies Plate
(Image Size: 53kb)

This Plate was my first attempt at doing a piece where the whole painting was done in lusters.

To begin with, the butterfiles were outlined, using a Stabilo pen.  This type of pen fires off in the kiln, so it is good to use for drawing your design on the china.    A "Sharpie" pen will work as well.  The luster was then applied to each of the three butterflies.  I used Hanovia Rose luster and Engelhard Mother of Pearl on the large butterfly.  Hanovia Blue Luster was painted on the side-facing butterfly.  This comes out as a very dark blue, almost like a midnight blue.  The other butterfly was painted with Hanovia Rose and Hanovia Green luster.  The Butterfly bodies were painted with Hanovia Sapphire.  Then the plate was fired at cone 18.  This is the cone temperature recommended by Michael.

For the second fire, resist was applied over the butterflies and then Black Luster was painted all over the unmasked area of the plate.  Before it dried, the Black Luster was pounced.  You have to work very fast when pouncing luster, as it dries pretty quickly.  After the Black was dry, the resist was peeled off and a little more color was added to the butterflies.  The plate was again fired at cone 18.  When it came out of the fire, the Black Luster had not covered well enough, so I resisted the butterflies again and applied another coat of Hanovia Black and pounced it again.  It was fired again at cone 18.  On the final fire, I used Liquid Bright Gold to outline the details of the butterflies.  I found the Black kind of hard to work with, as it is kind of hard to see what you are doing.  I am satisfied with this plate though, especially since it was my first serious attempt at working with lusters.


Luster Fuschia box
(Image Size: 50kb)

This is the second piece done entirely in lusters.  As with the butterfly plate, I outlined the fuschia design with a Stabilo pen on the lid of the box.  I painted the outside petals of the fuschia flowers, using Hanovia Rose.  The inside of the flowers were painted with Hanovia Blue.  The leaves were painted various colors, using the Hanovia shades of Turquoise, Green, and a Yellow I obtained from Michael.  Then the box was fired at cone 18.  On the second fire, more Rose was added to the petals, to provide a semblance of shading.  Some of the Yellow leaves were painted over with Turquoise, and for others, Sapphire was added.  Some Yellow Leaves were left Yellow.   Then, using the Stabilo pen, I outlined a design of mostly leaves and branches on the body of the box.  The branch was painted in Hanovia Rose.  The fuschia buds were also painted, using Hanovia Rose.  The leaves were painted similar to the leaves on the lid, varying the colors of adjacent leaves all around the box.  Both the lid and the box were fired at cone 18.  For the third fire, everything was oulined with Liquid Bright Gold.  On some leaves, I painted in the vein details, for others I just painted a main vein down the middle and for some of the smaller ones, I painted only the outline of the leaf.  The final fire was the same as all the others, cone 18.  I find that painting in lusters is satisfying because it does not seem to take as long to finish a piece as with conventional china painting.  It seems that most items only take two or three fires, including the addition of gold.  This makes them a good candidate to create as gifts.


Pillow Vase Painted with Luster Aquarium Scene
(Image Size: 37kb)

This is the third subject I completed using lusters.  It was a little more challenging, but very satisfying.  It is a comtemporary underwater scene, displaying various aquarium fish and plants.

As with the other luster paintings, I first outlined the fish design on the vase.   The main subjects are a fancy goldfish on one side of the vase and three angelfish on the other side.  I used Michael's Pumpkin (orange) for the two fancy goldfish and one of the Siamese Fighting Fish (Betas).   Another Beta was painted with Hanovia Green and yet another with Hanovia Rose.  I used Hanovia Amber on one of the other fish (not sure whether it was a Gourami or Oscar)  The fins of this fish were painted with Hanovia Sapphire and I applied Hanovia Black to various detail lines on the body of the fish. On the other side of the vase, I painted the three Angelfish, using Engelhard Mother of Pearl and Hanovia Black.  Another Beta was painted with Michael's Yellow.  The two Discus fish were painted with Hanovia Sapphire.  They are hard to see in the picture, because they are in shadow.  I painted the plants with Hanovia Green. The vase was fired at cone 18.

I nearly had a bad firing on the main fancy gold fish and a couple of the Betas.   The luster "bubbled" in some areas of the fish.  I think this shows up in the picture.  Luckily, it did not flake off, but instead produced an interesting effect on the bodies of the fish on which it appeared.  On the second fire, I applied resist to the lower part of the fish and then "swirled" paths of color on the lower portion of the vase.  I used the Hanovia colors of Rose, Amber, Brown, Green and Michael's Yellow. I used some of the Amber and Yellow to indicate pebbles at the base of each of the plants.  After the luster had dried, I peeled up the resist.  Then I added some more color to the fish.  The Green I painted on the plants was very light, turning a kind of light blue color.  I applied more Green, but only on part of the plant strands. Other parts I left as is, for shadowing. The vase was again fired at cone 18.

On the third fire, I outlined the design with Liquid Bright Gold.  On some of the fish I indicated more detail than on others.  Some were just outlined.  I also traced lines around the color separations on the lower part of the vase where I had "trailed" the color strokes.  I outlined the pebbles at the base of the two plants and outlined the plants too.  The vase was fired at cone 18.

When it came out of the fire, the application of gold was thin in some areas, so I applied more gold where needed.  Then Scotch plastic tape (like a car striping tape, but it stretches around curves very well) was put very close along the the top rim of the vase to mask an area for a gold rim.  When the tape was all around the rim, I painted the open area, close to the inside of the vase, with Liquid Bright Gold.  When the gold was dry, I peeled the tape off.  Then I fired it again at the same cone temperature.  It is hard to get the luster finish to show up well in a photograph.

This vase was sold in February 2002.


Parakeets Vase with Blue Satin and Luster
(Image Size: 17K)

This painting was done using Rose Luster and Yellow Luster for the parakeets.   My memory fails me as to the colors (lusters) I used for the upper background between the birds.   I know it was two fires, two different colors.   I think I used Green Luster, first fire and Sapphire Luster, second fire.   The lower background is Blue Satin, a specialty paint sold by Judy Jaussaud. It has a velvety texture.   Presently, Judy only sells the Black Satin, and no longer carries this Blue Satin because of its expense and the large quantities which she must order  She says she has had some inquiries (in addition to mine) about making this color available again, so she is still considering the possibility of carrying it in the future.   Judy has some of her own paintings on this site, available from the Other China Painters page.


Luster Irises Vase
(Image Size: 47K)

I finished painting this vase on April 8,1998.   I really enjoyed doing this painting of various colored irises around the tall vase.  The vase was completed in 5 fires.  It would have been completed in 4 fires, but I did not complete the gold rim around the vase at the same time I outlineed the irises with Liquid Gold Bright.  I used various luster techniques on the flowers.   The deep blue iris was done in a "dry brush" method.  Its a little different manner to paint on the luster than the usual full medium method.   I fired the vase to Cone 018 at each painting.  I sold this vase to a co-worker (gift for his wife) in 1999.


Goldfinch with Berries Vase
(Image Size: 57K)

This painting was done entirely in Lusters but, unlike most of the other luster paintings I had done previously, the subjects were not outlined in gold.  Only the base and neck of the pillow vase were trimmed with Liquid Bright Gold.   For the first fire, I traced the two goldfinches onto the vase.  Then I went over the graphite outline with the black Stabilo pen.  Next, I used the same pen to draw on the vines, leaves and branches of the berry bushes in a random pattern all around the vase.  I also drew the pussywillow branches that the one Goldfinch is perched on.  Using a scrolling pen and Brown Luster, I outlined the birds, berry bushes and pussywillow branches.  Then I fired the vase to Cone 018.

For the Second Fire, I painted the goldfinches, using Black Luster and Yellow Luster.   The leaves were done in a variety of luster colors, Blue, Turquoise, Green, Pumpkin, Amber.  I used Brown Luster and Amber Luster for the berry and pussywillow branches.  Rose, Carmine, Blue, Sapphire and Turquoise Lusters were used to paint in the berries.  Again I fired the vase to Cone 018.

On the Third Fire, I used some of the same luster colors as before for the leaves, but often I painted a different color over the Second Fire color to create yet another hue.   On some of the leaves, using a dry-brush technique, I painted shadows, leaving the Second Fire color to come through for hightlights.  I sculpted the roundness of the berries by painting a darker shade around each of the seed fruit of the berry.  I painted more brown on some of the farther back branches, leaving the forward ones lighter.   More Yellow Luster was added to the Goldfinches.  Since I had no Gray Luster, I thinned some of the Black Luster with Luster Essense and applied that color to the inside of the Goldfinch wings.  I added Black Luster as needed to darken the Black on the birds from the Second Fire.  I fired the vase to cone 018.

The final fire consisted only of painting the Liquid Bright Gold on the base and the neck of the vase.  As a guideline for the gold on the base of the vase, I used striping tape as a "resist" edge for the gold so I would have an even line.   I removed the tape before I fired the vase to Cone 018.

I gave this vase to my youngest son, Steve.


Waterlilies Vase
(Image Size: 57K)

This was a fun project.  First, I traced some waterlilies and lily pads on the vase.  Then I went over the design with the Stabilo pen.  The waterlilies were painted in Mother of Pearl luster.  For the leaves, I used Sapphire, Turquoise, Apple Green and Green Luster.  The branches were painted with Green and Brown Lusters.   The background was left bare for this fire.  I got an effect on the leaves, which was not planned but not altogether unattractive.  I usually have to carry my pieces home in my car from the studio.  I had thought the luster was dry enough on the vase to wrap it, as usual, in a plastic grocery wrap.  Since it was late when I got home, I did not think to unwrap it until the next morning.  As a result, the plastic stuck to the leaves on the vase a little, creating a kind of marbelized look.   The Mother of Pearl had dried enough so that it was not affected.  I went ahead and fired the vase to Cone 018.

On the Second Fire, where the marbelizing did not look right, I painted darker luster over that area, in various patterns.  The vase was again fired to Cone 018.

The Third Fire consisted of masking the lilies, leaves and branches with resist and then "daubing" Turquoise Luster and Dispersing Liquid all over the background, letting the fluids run sideways around the vase, to create the illusion of water. Vase was fired to Cone 018.

On the Fourth Fire, the waterlilies, leaves and branches were outlined with Liquid Bright Gold and the vase was fired to Cone 018.

The background "water" was so light that, from any distance, it was hard to distinguish the leaves and lilies from the background.  So I applied resist to the waterlilies, leaves and branches, making sure to cover the Liquid Bright Gold outline,   and painted the whole background with Blue Luster, thinned with Luster Essence.   Then I fired it to Cone 018.  After that application, the lilies and leaves were much more distinguishable.

I gave this vase to my good friend, Nora.


Poinsettia Plate
(Image Size: 73K)

This was a class project done in Michael Sullivan's class, around Christmas, 1997, but not finished until after Christmas.

The Pointsettias and leaves were traced onto the plate.  I painted the flowers with Mother of Pearl.  Apple Green Luster, Green Luster and Turquoise Luster was used for the leaves.  The berries were painted in Mother of Pearl also.  The plate was fired to Cone 018.

On the Second Fire, resist was applied over the flowers and leaves.  Then, using striping tape, I marked off the area for the red outside band around the plate.  Red Luster was applied to the center of the plate. Very quickly I started patting the Red Luster.   The Patting is done with a cosmetic-type sponge, wrapped in grocery-bag plastic, covered with silk.  The silk and plastic wrap are pulled tight over the sponge and secured with a rubber band, twisted tightly.  The plastic over the sponge assures that the Luster paint won't be "sucked up" by the sponge.  I patted until the luster became tacky and started making a "smacking" sound.  Then I painted the red band around the outside of the plate.  The resist and the striping tape was peeled off and the plate was again fired to Cone 018.

I was not satisfied with the deepness of the red on the inside center of the plate, so on the Third Fire I first applied resist over the poinsettias and leaves.  Then I put one length of striping tape right at the edge of the red band, around the plate, and then placed another length right up against the first strip all around the plate.  Then a third length was placed against this second one.  When all three lengths of tape were down, I then lifted the middle length away from the plate to form a guide for later painting of a gold band around the plate, just inside the red band.  First I again painted red luster in the middle and patted it with the sponge wrapped in plastic and silk.  Then I painted the gold band around the plate, using the two lengths of tape as a guide.  A "finger edge" was applied around the rim of the plate.   I removed the resist and pulled up the striping tape and fired the plate to Cone 018.

On the Fourth Fire, using a quill-type metal pen, I outlined the poinsettias, leaves and berries with Liquid Bright Gold.   When the plate came out of the Third Fire, I discovered that, when I pulled up the resist and striping tape, I had inadvertently dragged some of the Liquid Bright Gold across the red area in the outside band on the plate.  Because the Liquid Bright Gold is reddish brown before firing, I had not noticed it against the red band.  Not to worry.  Michael suggested that I do a kind of "crackle" or brick-like pattern with Liquid Bright Gold on top of the red band.  Although this took me the rest of the class evening and some more time at home, it was worth it.   The pattern (barely visible in the photo of the plate here) actually added something to the plate.  After I finished the pattern, I again fired the plate to Cone 018.

Probably sometime on the trip to Hawaii, this plate got a small chip on the edge of the rim.  Regardless, I have it hanging in my home now.


African Tulips

The African Tulip blossums grow in very tall trees here in Hawaii. It is a very unusual looking flower.  The brilliant flame-red flowers grow in clusters around the hard shell buds.  At first, I thought the buds were seed pods because they have a "shell-like" case.  But on closer observance, I realized that the flowers were coming out of some of the open "pods".  On a few, I could see the red of the flowers just starting to emerge from the bud case.  Some of the trees are over 15 feet tall and I think I've read that they can grow to 20 feet.  It is hard to get a good photo of the flower clusters, showing the top of the flower because of the height of the trees and the fact that these flowers usually bloom quite high in the tree.  I was able to photograph the top of several blossum clusters along Mamalahoa Highway because the trees were downhill from the highway so I was able to look down on the flowers.  I took a little "artistic license" with the coloring on the leaves.  The actual leaves of this tree are probably a little deeper green than I have painted them.  When I sent a few files of the photos I had taken of these flowers to Marci Blattenberger, my partner in PPIO, she said they look like "alien flowers".  I would tend to agree.


Coffee Mill

This coffee mill can be seen along the Mamalahoa Highway, just south of Captain Cook, on the big island of Hawaii. It is on the "mauka" side of the road. Mauka means "mountain" in Hawaii. Most of the time, when giving directions in Hawaii, one will say a building or location is on the "mauka" (mountain) side of the road or on the "makai" (ocean) side of the road, rather than on the left or right side. I think this is more descriptive, since Hawaii is an island surrounded by the ocean.

Coffee is a pretty big industry in Hawaii and there are many small (relatively) coffee farms throughout the island. Since I live in Kona Paradise, 13 miles south of Captain Cook, I drive the Mamalahoa Highway back and forth into town several times a week. I spotted this coffee mill on my way into town one day and thought it would make a really nice painting.



For this painting, I used some photos of a Blue and Gold Macaw, named "Sinbad", and a Scarlet Macaw (name not known) who reside at the San Diego Zoo. I have painted these two macaws before on porcelain vases. Macaws are one of my favorite birds to paint. The foliage is taken from photos I have taken of the numerous types of plants which grow along Mamalahoa highway here on the Big Island of Hawaii. There is no lack of resources for foliage in this area.

I wanted to have the area behind the Macaws very dark so that they would "pop" out, but I wanted a suggestion of foliage in this background. With many watercolor paints, you can "lift" out the color after it has dried by using a stiff brush that has been wet a little. But I wanted to use Indigo, a "staining" paint for this background. It is one of my favorite watercolors for shadows and very dark areas. It is next to impossible to lift areas out of staining colors. I was able to accomplish the lifting by means of a special product called "lifting preparation". I applied the lifting preparation to the watercolor paper first and let it completely dry.  Then painted on the dark color, using Indigo, Alizarin, Hooker's Dark Green and a few other dark colors, just "mottled" together as I painted them on.  After this background color had dried completely, because of the earlier application of the lifting preparation, I was able to come back with my lifting brush and wipe out shapes to define muted foliage in the background.

I experimented (on a scrap paper, not on this painting) with the use of the lifting preparation over watercolor paper which had already been painted (with an application of yellow and a little light green). I made sure the paint was completely dry before I put on the lifting preparation. This worked alright, but for this painting I preferred the effect of the unpainted watercolor paper beneath the lifting preparation.

Dancer the Gecko Cat

Dancer is my cat. He was already a grown cat when I got him in January of this year (2002). The woman I got him from said she named him "Dancer" both because of his white "leggings" and because he often got excited and danced around the house. He still does that, though its more like racing. He does not get along with other cats but he is very affectionate to people. He is very good company for me since I have no other animals.

Dancer LOVES Geckos. Geckos are very prevelant in Hawaii. They are said to be good for the house as they eat unwanted insect pests. My experience has been that they don't do a very good job of this. So I really prefer them to stay outside and not leave their droppings in my house.

When I first got Dancer, before I installed a cat door, so he could go in and out of the house, he would jump at windows anytime he saw a Gecko on the window. He was so excited and fast at this that it was hard to catch him before he had lept at a window and fallen to the floor. I was afraid that, if I left the windows open, with the force his impact, he might go sailing through the window, to the rocks below, taking the screen with him. My house is situated on a very steep hill of lava rocks and the house has two floor levels. Because of the steep slope, even the lower floor windows are about one story high. The upper floor windows are anywhere from one to three stories high. I was afraid that, if he went through the window, he might hurt himself on the lava rocks below.

Fortunately, now that he has the cat door and can go in and out, he doesn't leap at windows much anymore. He does sit on tables or counter tops near a window or on the window sill itself stalking or waiting for Geckos. He also goes outside and brings Geckos into the house to play with. As soon as I see him do this, I catch the poor creature and put it outside, much to Dancer's confusion.

I recently painted another painting of Dancer, a head and shoulders portrait. I have not taken photos of this painting yet. I will be posting it on this site in the near future.


Cup of Gold Flowers

One of my favorite plants in Hawaii, in addition to the African Tulip, is the Cup of Gold Flower bush.

Depending of your source of information, this plant is either from the West Indies and a member of the potato family - or - it is a Mexican branch of the tomato family. Evidently my sources of information cannot get their story straight.

Regardless, it is a very beautiful, large, leathery-like flower which grows on bushes which can attain heights of 10 feet or more. The flowers can grow to a diameter of 12 inches but I have only seen flowers as large as 6 inches across.

When I expressed my desire to plant this flowering bush in my yard, someone told me that the bushes can take up as much ground as my car. I'm still thinking about the practicality of planting this plant in my yard.

I had originally planned to do a portrait of this flower, containing only 1 to 3 flowers, but when I noticed how interesting the fallen flowers on the ground looked, I decided to paint the lower part of a bush with several flowers and some dead flowers and leaves on the ground.

Still, it is such a striking flower, that I will probably still paint a portrait of the flower in the future.


Tiger Face

After Marci, my partner in managing the Porcelain Painters International Online (PPIO) organization, and I participated in the IPAT Biennial Convention in Los Angeles this July 2002, we took a trip down to San Diego and visited the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park.  We both took several photos of the tigers in the Tiger River section of the zoo.  I knew that I wanted to do a watercolor close-up painting of a tiger face later in the year, so I took lots of photos of the faces of the two tigers which were roaming around the compound when we were there.

I enjoy painting tigers as much in watercolor as I do china painting.


Portrait of Dancer, My Cat

The pillow in this portrait is a hand sewn Hawaiian quilted pillow, made by my mother.



These flowers begin blooming around October each year and stay until after January. Many varieties on the island of Hawaii have double and even triple layers of petals. They grow abundantly along Highway 11, especially where it goes through Captain Cook, Kealekakua, Kainalui and the other small towns in the South Kona District. They flood the roadside with a riot of brilliant reds

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