Matthew Bird Still Life

Apricots and a Bowl #3

Matthew Birds realistic still life. While I like the looks I am not fond of all the masking and layering. I kept making mistakes and having to start over. My fault not his of course.

Attempt #3 was best. I kept my lights on most of the apricots. The rock looks good. Background wash might need another layer. Last.

Three looks much better in person. I saved almost all the lights on the fruit but the iPhone flattened them out darn it.

Apricots and a Bowl #2

Attempt number 2 screwed up the darks on the front of the stone. Painted it all alizarin. Oops off to a bad start from the first. Fabriano 300# cold press. Background washes hmm does it need more? I do like the bluey black.

Attempt 1

Attempt #1 140 fluid cold press paper. Not great for lots of washes. What was I thinking using a 140 for all those layers of washes?! Will probably finish it sooner or later. Someone will want it.

Still think they need more background washes. Might just mix up some green alizarin and indigo and give them two layers but I do like the blue shining thru the back. Really pretty in person.

Best of all. Those Dynasty faux squirrel reservoir brushes. Have had them for a couple of years and never use them. They worked great for those endless lines on the bowl. I loaded the 12 once and did ALL THE LINES WITH IT and the hearts too. Who would have thought??

There they are.
My sweet kitty Haley being a good girl this am.

Margaret tahred from painting all day. Xoxoxoxo


A fun paint with George Politis a lovely Greek guy who was such a helpful concerned teacher. He was worried I had a question about masking. And offered any help. I didn’t for him – it was for the teacher before him like why couldn’t you tell us we needed to mask BEFORE class. Not a lot to ask. He walked us thru this painting in a concise simple easy to understand manner with great results. I really enjoyed his class and would take from him again. He also has quite a few videos on YouTube though I have not had time to look.

Still slogging away at the blue black background washes. Tomorrow I am painting them no matter what else happens.

No idea how many times I have glazed these. But I think I might be done. Will sleep on it for now. Gorgeous blue. Prussian blue layer then a black layer repeat ad nauseum til it’s lovely. Now for those darn fruit. Fabriano 300# cold press
Yesterdays sunset got better and better till it was just glorious. Today nothing but grey skies. Oh well you can have gorgeous everyday.

Margaret whose tahred xoxoxo

If at first u don’t succeed

Make another one and another one and oh wait make a third. Apricots in a bowl one day if one of them turns out.

First one I drew on 140. Since it gets a wash of Prussian blue then black I decided it would t work out well on 140. So I drew it again on 300# fabriano cold press.

Oops I painted the bottom of the 300 alizarin. NOPE it’s suppose to be grey. Back to the drawing board! No way u can overcome that red and make it grey. Black yes grey nope. and my wash at the top is doing odd things. It backwashed a bit. Not exactly blooms but holidays.
Number 3 also 300#. Finally all the colors where they belong. AND I found my masking picker upper in my old paint box. Haven’t used it in years and there it was waiting for me. Peeled all that masking right on up. The masking ripped surface of the fluid 140# surface. Peeled it right off. 😳😳😳

By the way a layer of Prussian blue with a layer of black over it makes a delicious blue. And if that didn’t work you can alternate them til you get them really dark. Right now I have a light one and medium one and a dark one. All nice blues. Try it u might like it.

So now I have plenty to practice on. Surely one will turn out. We shall see.

Chicken pot pie

Hubster started saying the pie is burning. I told him can’t check it I am running a wash. It didn’t get too brown. Margaret with her feet up. Xoxoxox

Another watercolor

From watercolorlive2023

Chasing after Iain Stewart for an hour and a half Saturday. Got WAY too purple in the foreground so I tried to calm that imperial purple down. Then I Vlad-it a bit. Putting in tiny details w a dark dark grey. That was fun.

Then I went too far on the water but I can’t leave water just plain. I mean the only time the water here is flat is when there’s no current or no breeze. One or the other is always happening. Turned the wowed tree on the top left into a Christmas tree. That was fun.
I mean eek. What’s with that purple. I swear that’s the color he said to paint it. He does love that purple. He suggested using a palette knife for the dark lines.

I actually had the same one. Thanks dad. It was my fathers old one. I tend to the triangular springy small ones that look like cake knifes. Anyway I tried my old springy one to do the poles but didn’t work to well. Dug out dads during the break between classes. So much easier. Then I made a lot of lines w it. Did walkways gang ways porches. Over the top as usual.

Night night. Though I had. A nice long nap I need another one to get rid of this cold. Oh yes u have had quite the cold thru this whole crazy long days of painting. Xoxoxox @

Done done done

Mexican Cactus Flower 1/4 sheet Kilimanjaro

I added a lot of darks to it and used a gel pen to add more whites. Gotta love a gel pen. The quinacridones had smeared when I removed the masking fluid from the stamens. Tried gouache. Of course that didn’t work. So the white pentel gel pen came to the rescue.

Here it is before I darkened it. I went to town adding darks. It wasn’t terrible before but like it much better now.
Also tweaked this one some more. Tried splattering it do more fireflies would show but like the stamens they didn’t show up either. Maybe they will tomorrow.
Can you tell what I did to it. This is before the latest tweak.

Margaret tired once again. Good tired though. I have how many left to do??Xoxoxoxo

Where I have been

In the dining room madly painting. I signed up for watercolorlive 2023. It’s all my friend Mikes fault. She talked me into it. What a mad three days of wild fun painting. Classes and seminars lasted from 10 am til 9 pm. Will be posting them the next few days.

My Swan from the hour Paint along with Shelley Prior one of 18 teachers we had . She was awesome. She held our hands and walked us thru it step by step. I am in love w my swan and will be checking out her extensive YouTube feed. Her instructions were clear step by step with no need to rush to keep up. This swan just glows. My favorite out of my stack of paintings.
Most of the paintings I did. There are TEN still left to do that I didn’t get around to for various reasons.

We started off with Julie who does Cheap Joes two minute art on you tube.

This took abt five minutes and was Julie’s tip. A fun way to start the day and to loosen up. We were all tense. I mean 18 teachers and all those hours. Eeek.
Out agenda. We were VERY busy. No potty breaks no lunch breaks. A good way to diet. Lol.

Next up the great Thomas Schaller. Now almost all the teachers supplied a sketch for us to draw before class started. This was NOT a drawing workshop but a painting workshop. For some reason. Thomas didn’t think we needed a drawing. Hmm. Off to a rocky start. I madly drew it and started flinging paint around.

On a half sheet. My perspective was off. Supposedly his odd idea of firefly houses. Who knew they don’t have fireflies in S California where he’s from. They got his attention in his new home in NYC. My husband loves it Me not so much.
Fireflies half sheet 140lb.
So I had to cram in time to tinker with it. It was really bothering me. The perspective was wonky. Hate that and all that glaring white paper on the top left screamed at me. Better. Still won’t be my fav. He can hang it in his mancave. Lol. Still may need more tinkering. Time will tell.
Next up a portrait with Patricia Guzman a lovely painter from Mexico who specializes in indigenous people. She’s a realistic portrait painter not my bag but she was a great teacher. At some point I got tired of painting every wrinkle and quit. LOVE the way this painting turned out. 1/4 sheet arches 149
Cold press I think.

Every artist had a different kind of paper or color of paint so I just used what I had and matched it up as closely as I could from my stash. Did I say I have way too much paper?!

My friend Mike my cohort in art crimes I mean classes. We met at a Charles Reid class in Boone at Cheap Joes 8 9 years ago and been friends and Charles Reid worshippers ever since. we are going to have a weekly zoom meetup til we finish out pile of not done drawings. There are quite a few. Eek

Another day another sunset. More tomorrow. My fingers are tired. Xoxoxox Margaret

#ericrhodes @

Full report

On watercolor live 2023 unless I am comatose from the very long day 10 am -9 pm. starting the day off with the great Thomas Schaller who I have long admired.

In the meantime from when I was hanging out with Mario Robinson in Raleigh a couple of years ago. He has a great book and dvd out and has been compared to Andrew Wyeth. Big buddies Wyeth granddaughter Victoria. Recently his art has been sold at Sothebys. Crossing my fingers it goes big. I own the painting that’s on the cover of his dvd.
I suppose I should get her framed.
On the way to and from Raleigh I had to stop at South of the Border. What a great kitschy place to do some urban sketching. Hand print cloth journal I bought at Jerry’s Artarama or was it Cheap Joes. Lovely paper that Mike and I discovered is fluid paper which Charles Reid always recommended. Great sturdy paper that holds up well and is relatively inexpensive. Lamy pen and Faber Castell watercolor pencils on all these drawings.
Mario keeping an eye on his students. The class was at Ali El Bernamis studio. What a great place to work. So much room and foam cushions for our tired feet on the concrete. The hostess w the mostest!

Margaret who I am sure is plumb tahred as they say in the south. Xoxoxox

BYTW did u know that Georgia and South Carolina are two of the five slowest speaking states in the union. since I was born in California I can pick it up if I need to be but those low country people? What is it they are saying is it English?! That said LOVE the low.Country and YES I have been to Hampton where the Murdaugh trial is and we used to have a beach house on Edisto where they did.

Haley is finally done

Over painted her with muck on my palette instead of using fresh color. Then I added some white gel pen to our sweet girl. Even the turquoise was already mixed on my palette. Super aquabee 93 lb paper. Loved watercolor and dries almost flat. Just a little waver. Spiral so cheaper than a Stillman and Birn.
My amaryllis had finally bloomed. Fighting the urge to write what took you so long a little late for Christmas on it. Was trying to take a page from the late great Charles Reid’s playbook when I painted this. Loosing some edges. Hard and soft edges. Really needs fresh paint for it.
The Very Vera chocolate pound cake overflow that I turned into cupcakes. They were actually better than the pound cake. Super soft and moist. At book club we all voted we liked my lemon Very Vera pound cake better. I bought her book just for the lemon pound recipes but it’s actually the same one on the back of the Swan Cake flour box. The cream pound cake with an extra teaspoon of vanilla and two teaspoons of lemon. Yummy.

Nap time. Starting Watercolor live 2023 tomorrow. Runs 10-9 every day for three days. I will really need a long nap on Sunday.

Margaret who hopes she’s ready! Xoxoxoxo

Haley is finally done

Over painted her with muck on my palette instead of using fresh color. Then I added some white gel pen to our sweet girl. Even the turquoise was already mixed on my palette.
My amaryllis had finally bloomed. Fighting the urge to write what took you so long a little late for Christmas on it. Was trying to take a page from the late great Charles Reid’s playbook when I painted this. Loosing some edges. Hard and soft edges. Really needs fresh paint for it.

Nap time. Starting Watercolor live 2023 tomorrow. Runs 10-9 every day for three days. I will really need a long nap on Sunday.

Margaret who hopes she’s ready! Xoxoxoxo

And I thought I had zero to do today


But NO I promised I would bake a chocolate pound cake for book club which is today not next Tuesday. Did I say I used up all the eggs yesterday duh. So off to the store. I always end up with a few cupcakes because my pan is only ten cups and the recipe is for a 12 cup pan. A delicious side benefit right?!

We are going birds around here. Counted 30 cormorants flying south before it got dark last night. Add in a bald eagle or two and all the normal birds we enjoy the birds. Crows love to chase the bald eagles. Not sure why but they do.
Here’s a few more. I do enjoy doing a scribbly great w with my black ink pen.
One line crow on a page full of birds and cats. Drawn with a uniball micropen.
Almost forgot these funky fabulous birds. Drawn during Inktober. Maybe next year I will draw a bird every day. So much easier than using the Inktober prompts.
A pair of Hanukkah socks I knitted for a friend for her birthday. She’s all set for next year.

Margaret who will post the cake tomorrow after it’s out of the oven. The hubby pronounced those cupcakes perfect. Almost like a cheesecake.