Studio insights, classes and tutorials

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

How fast time seems to go these days.  Another year has come and gone by so quickly.

This has been a year of challenges and growth.  We are never to old to continue to grow and learn new things, learn from our mistakes and never to old to appreciate the little blessings along the way.

There has been a lot of buzz on social media as to what your word is for the coming year.  One word that sums up your hopes, dreams, aspirations or a word to live by.  

My word for 2016.  Webster describes it as a large amount of something.  A plentiful or overflowing supply.  Synonyms are; lot, barrel, basketful, bunch, bundle.

"Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life."  Wayne Dyer

When I think of the word, abundance, I don't necessarily think of material wealth.  Abundance to me means more than material wealth.  It means doing what you love and surrendering to the experience of what unfolds when you follow your heart.  New friendships, life long friendships, family, love and life.  Living full and embracing what comes my way.

1 Timothy 1:14:  And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

What is your word for 2016?

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year!!

Ursula xo

Monday, December 7, 2015

"Whether a whisper or a shout".

Creating artwork that expresses all that is inside.
I have been on a month's journey of doing just that.  Discovering what I have inside that needs to come out. 

Tapping into what is deep inside and continuing to work, study and push myself.  Moving out of my comfort zone to learn new methods, rediscovering mediums I have forgotten.

This is just one of the projects I recently completed.  Well, maybe not complete.  I may revisit her later, but I am calling her done for now.  This was completely done with soft and hard pastels.  I had more or as much pastel on my face, hands and clothes as I have on the drawing!  I have a very old set of soft pastels I inherited from when I subbed.  I enjoyed blending and blending and blending some more.  I think one could sit and play with a pastel drawing for an entire day.

Learning to use cold and hot wax in a composition was also fun and a new way to look at things.  Both projects are unfinished.  The one below is waiting for an order of cold wax I purchased on Amazon.  I will be adding it to the top half of the piece, in hopes of creating a misty atmosphere.

I have absorbed so much in the last month or more.  Two very different teachers and two very different ways to approach art.  My mind is spinning and I want to do so many different things all at once!  Have you ever felt that way and then don't know where to begin??

I hope to continue to learn, grow and share along the way.  Tapping into my own intuitive style 
Listening, experimenting, pushing and sharing along the way.  A whisper or a shout.

Before I close, let me share a little excitement with you.  Save this date and join me and 23 other artists for Artist's Play Date in 2016.  I am thrilled and honored to be in this great group of teachers and share our art together.

Merry Christmas to all!  
May Santa fill your stocking with many blessings, new art, supplies and classes for 2016!!
Ursula xxoo

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Have you ever taken an online class? 

Doing so allows you to see and do things that are slightly or completely out of your comfort zone.
My return to painting began with Youtube videos that led me to artists teaching on line.  That was two years ago and I have met so many beautiful artists, a great support team and new friends by doing so.

It isn't always easy for me to get away and take a class out of town and we do not have much to offer here in Springfield. So, the on line classes have been a great resource for me.

Each on line class, simple, challenging or just for fun, has taught me something.  

My recent on line workshop is a drawing class taught by the very talented Gillian Lee Smith, Drawn to Expression.  The above study was the most recent in the four week study.  Probably my favorite so far, using ink, a brush, gesso, reed pen on watercolor paper.  First time using a handmade reed pen I made from a bamboo stem.  Love how you can use the pointed tip or make line wider by using the entire tip.

A great study, going back to the root of just drawing, letting go and drawing expressively.  Working larger than I usually do and enjoying the use of my entire body, not just my hands as I draw.

We have two more weeks of study before the class is finished.  But like some, it is available for life and I can revisit it any time I wish.  In my jammies, at home, late at night, whenever the spirit moves.

So, just a word of encouragement, if you are on the fence about taking an online class, or at all hesitant, I highly recommend it.  I have signed up for two more that begin in January.  (Actually, I won a spot in one.)  Woo hoo!

Here is a link of a few classes I am teaching on www.

Coming in January:  "It's All About the Face."  Putting the pieces together..............

Happy Painting!  
Ursula xo

Sunday, November 1, 2015

                      Every adventure requires a first step....

A quote from the Adventures of Alice In Wonderland.  The subject of an Artist trading card group.  
Our first cards were smaller, trading card size.  One of our members (10 total), thought we should make them larger so they would be easier to paint and add more detail.  
I chose the theme of Alice and The Rabbit in most of mine.  Cutting each card, 6 x 4 from canvas paper.  White and black gesso, old book pages, a clock photo I downloaded and Americana Decou Page Paper to each.
They sat in my studio for quite some time, not sure what direction I should go.

"I knew who I was this morning but I've changed a few times since then."

Appropriate quote as I did change direction as I painted each one.  Taking them from a more literal translation to something more imaginative.

Can you tell which ones were the first?

All in all this was a very fun exchange.  I have received all but two of the cards from our group.  I will post a group picture when my collection is complete.  Each card has been accompanied by a variety of collage pieces, napkins, sayings, ribbon, drawings and more.

Such a fun and talented group of lades from all over the world.

We also decided to send birthday greetings throughout the year.
Here are a couple I sent out for October birthdays.  Keeping the card idea and size the same.  Each envelope is embellished and special treats are included.

I hope you enjoyed our little journey into the Land of Alice and friends.  My hope is that it  has inspired you to join a group, paint your own Alice cards and just have fun!

Happy November!!
Ursula xo

Monday, October 12, 2015

All Angels come to us disguised....

I love this quote from Michelangelo; " I saw the angel in the marble until I set him free."

While painting this angel, I didn't realize how much I would need my own physical angels in the weeks to come.  An oil painting on canvas through an on line class.
This painting will remain in my studio to remind me of the angels that God sent my way during a very trying and frightening time. 
The process of this painting was unique and new to me.  It taught me to go out of my comfort zone.  It taught me to keep trying even when the difficulties of the painting caused frustration. It taught me to keep trying and going back over the areas that seemed hard.  Leaving it for a while and coming back to it with new eyes and a new perspective. 

My angel painting is a reminder to trust, seek and be thankful even in the toughest circumstances.  

There will be an end to this difficulty and in the mean time I will embrace the angels that God sends my way.

Ursula xo

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Don't you just love the change of season....Fall is such a beautiful time of the year.  
Love the crisp morning air, the falling and color of the leaves; all the activities that accompany the season.  And, did you see the super moon and eclipse a couple nights ago.  Wow!
Decorating with pumpkins and pinecones.  Baking apple crisp in my slow cooker.  The aroma permeates the air for hours!
It is also a time to re-group, organize the closet, put away all the summer furniture and memories.
Cleaning out drawers and organizing my studio for new ideas and designs are among my list of fall clean up.  It always feels so good to throw out the old and welcome in all the new projects and ideas.
A new on line class is on the horizon.  In the past I have shared my journey of Ledger girls with you.  So, I thought it only fitting to add one to a workshop.  

She is a fifties girl painted on a canvas board, using acrylics, stenciling and developing a face.  
Class opens up on October 12.
Playing Dress Up II
Step by step instructions, pattern included and at your own pace.  Special price of $15.00/ fall special......  Eight videos.

Funny story, while filming my canvas fell off the easel.  So, if you are watching the video and you think, what??!!  It quickly reappears.  These are live, so you never know what will happen. Plus, I am still learning the ins and outs of filming my classes.
Hope you join me.
My first on line class with the same network was in February of this year.  Playing Dress UP

            This class is still available if you are interested.

                                      Please join me for fun and  Let's Play Dress Up!

Happy Fall!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Sweeter Day...

I adore the fashions of the the 30's and forties, old movies and painting vintage girls inside the pages of an old ledger journal I have shared with you in earlier posts.
I thought it would be fun to share a step by step tutorial of my most recent entry and the supplies used.  Always begin with DecoArt white gesso.  Laying down a thin layer,  and allowing it to dry.  Taking an alphabet stencil, a palette knife and Texture Medium to the background, creating a texture.  I added a note from a friend to the background as well.  I liked the lacy edges it provided, giving more interest and texture to my background.  Add quotes, notes, photos, etc.  
I have enjoyed using The Americana Drying Time Extender in most of my paintings.  This will give you more play time and create a beautiful softness.
After applying this to the background, apply thin layers of DecoArt Mixed Media Antiquing Cream, Patina Green and Raw Umber.  Adding a small amount of Quinacridone Magenta and Titanium White.  Drawing is outlined with a Medium Charcoal pencil.
Begin laying paint onto the face and hair.  DecoArt Mixed Media fluid acrylics are my choice and I use them in almost everything.  They are highly pigmented and compared to other fine art fluids, DecoArt  is less expensive with comparative quality.
Begin by developing the face, using mid value base to the entire face.  Develop features, planes of face with darker value.  Highlight with lightest value.  
Begin with these four colors, Titanium White,  Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red and Cerulean Blue.  Mix the darkest first, then add white to each pod to achieve the desired flesh tone.  These do appear slightly redder in the picture.  If they are too red or purple, add more Raw Sienna.
Burnt Umber is added to apply features, darken eyes and nostrils with Paynes Grey.  Apply Cadmium Red lips and Cerulean Blue pupils.
Cerulean Blue is added above eyes and some darker shadow areas. Darkest shadows are applied with a small amount of Paynes Grey and Titanium White, creating a soft grey. Now is the time to go back with more highlights and shadows where needed.  
Base hair in with DecoArt Drying Time Extender, followed by Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber and White. Using a stylus or the end of a brush, carve into damp area to create a hair like texture.

Add a thin layer of Titanium White to dress. Darken shaded areas with Paynes Grey, Cerulean Blue and a small amount of Burnt Umber.  Create texture with a swirl or lace rubber stamp.  Brushing on Titanium White to the stamp and stamping onto dress and some background areas.  This creates a nice lacy look.  
Spatter background with Cerulean Blue.
Go back over any areas for definition with charcoal pencil.
If you have any questions, please contact me.  I enjoyed sharing this tutorial with you.  You can watch a short clip http://You Tube/Vintage Ledger Girl

Did you know that JoAnn fabric stores now carry the DecoArt Mixed Media line?  Or, contact them on line
If there is no JoAnn store near by, you can also go directly to: http://decoart/mixedmedia/purchase
Also visit:

Thanks For Joining Me and Happy Painting!!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Every Adventure Requires a First Step

We just returned from a four day adventure to San Antonio, Texas, the river Walk.   A much needed vacation for me and my husband.   
We walked miles each day to see the sights, sounds and the people.  A very interesting area with lots of history, good food, drinks and colorful people.  The above photo is the amphitheater, taken from the other side of the river.  Our hotel over looked the river and I enjoyed visiting the ducks and geese each morning.  August weather in Texas can be quite toasty and it was.  High nineties to 100 degrees each day.  Luckily, the heat doesn't bother either one of us.  My favorites were the Briscoe Western art museum and LaVillita village.  The little village was the home of a small museum and a row of artists shops and cafes.
Resting along the way, right outside of the art museum.  Love the little gift shop inside the art museum.    There I found some wonderful Frida Kahlo inspired stickers, sayings and cards.
After my return home, I wanted to add my thoughts and Frida inspiration into my vintage ledger journal.
This is cut out from a brochure of the art village.  I decided to transfer the image to my journal page.  First, using gesso and allowing it to dry.  Take the image and add DecoArt Matte Medium to the image and the journal page where it will be transferred.  Using a flat tool,  secure image to area and make sure all the bubbles are gone by pressing down.  Allow to dry.  Then, using water and your fingers, gently wipe away the top layer and your image should appear.  
I then decided to try Americana Decor Chalky Finish (Primitive) paint to the remainder of the two pages to cover up more of the writing underneath.  Using washes of color, charcoal and a pen to add text, I added my Friday Kahlo portrait.  
"I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you."  Frida Kahlo
This will remain in my journal and always remind me of the great time and memories that were made.
Amor, Ursula

Monday, August 17, 2015

My Journal Pages

              "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began."  
Love this quote from Mary Oliver.
This is a page from my vintage ledger journal, dated 1919.  A great find at a local flea market.

I adore how the old pages look against a finished painting.  Each page is prepped with gesso, adding text, doodles and quotes appropriate for each piece of art.  I have also experimented with oil sticks on these pages, adding it to the finished piece and page.  I am a little obsessed with it, I know.

Beginning stages and the quote reads; " Always keep your beautiful imagination and exquisite sense of humor."  I thought it appropriate to add a vintage girl!
Finished by adding layers and washes of color before adding the oil sticks.
She is the first one, Journal girl #1.  I added texture and antiquing to her background.  "The essence of joy and wondering".
I have many more pages to fill, some have text and numbers on them, and some are just blank.
The first photo, above, is my interpretation of a John Waterhouse painting from 1908.  "My Sweet Rose"  
Eleven years before the date stamped inside the ledger
I hope you enjoyed peeking inside my journal and are inspired to create your own, whether it be in an old ledger, notebook or home made papers.
Enjoy the process.
See you soon.

Friday, August 7, 2015

New Beginnings

I am ready for this next chapter of my art journey to unfold.  As I have said once before, I was away from art for a while and only did an occasional art project. I did not know how much I really missed spending time in my studio.
Two years ago, I bought my first art journal and I remember telling my husband that I was going to paint something on a daily basis.  Sometimes it was just a doodle and other times it was a little more. All the while learning as much about mixed media art as I could find in books and on the internet.
Here is a collection of some of the journals I have collected.  Notebooks, old books, and hard back art journals are among a few of the journals I have made.  Using them for inspiration, thoughts, and learning new techniques.  A little peek at my take of a Joan Brown painting.  The floral was created for an on line class I had.  The nice part of a journal is that no one else needs to see what was created within it's pages.  As I look back at my first, I see the progress and what I have learned along the way.
Some are small enough to tuck into your purse, or take along when you travel.  Here is a little travel kit I have made.  Sometimes adding a few more supplies, depending on where I am going and for how long.  Koi watercolors, an idea notebook, charcoal, pencils, marker and water brush.

I prepared my background with both white and black gesso (DecoArt media), art papers (Americana Decou Page Paper), pencil markings, a quote and washi tape.  Lightly gessoed over the prepared background, and it was ready to take along with me.  I sketched her out with charcoal and adding values.  Watercolors layered on top.  Added the words, "New Beginnings to her shoulder.  Flowers, doodles are on the other page.   The quote reads; "We have to dare to be ourselves however frightening or strange that self may prove to be." May Sarton

Look back at your older drawings, musings and journals.  A fun way to see where your life and art journey are headed....Wishing you new beginnings,  and happy journaling!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Exciting news and portrait study....

As I was packing and getting ready to go to Kate and Kelly's workshop, I received two emails from the DecoArt Company.  They asked me to be part of their Decoart mixed media program and also part of their Blogger outreach program.  I really didn't have time to process the news until I got home.

Since then, I have completed my first project and it will be on the Deco Art mixed media blog the middle of August.  I have used their paints for many years and absolutely love the mixed media fluid acrylics and mediums.  I am very honored to be part of these two programs!

This project was inspired by an art play date I had with my good friend.  We each took a photo from a magazine as our inspiration.  This portrait  is on 140lb watercolor paper, using , ephemera, DecoArt fluid acrylics and alcohol inks.  Using what we learned at the portrait workshop and adapting them to our own styles.
            The background is washed color, ephemera, pencil markings and alcohol inks. 
                                             Blocking in features with gold brown tones. 
"Let no one tell you what you are to do or how you are to do it".  Love that!  A happy accident applying the saying and didn't discover it until well into the painting.  So had to circle it!
I used DecoArt fluid acrylics and Americana Extender Medium. to create my layers.  Lightly applied to each area as I layered color.  Drying in between layers.
                                   Just couldn't resist adding Malcolm Liepke lips to her!
She is finished for now.  But, you never know, I may come back to her later .....

Thanks for stopping by and hope you get a chance to check out DecoArt and see what they are all about.  Look for "Nostalgia" watercolor tutorial the second week in August!
Ursula xo

Monday, July 20, 2015

My long time friend, Tryphena and I loaded up my car and headed to Excelsior Springs, Mo. for a week long portrait workshop with Kelly Berkey and Kate Thompson. 

We stayed at the historic Elms hotel which was built in 1888.  A beautiful hotel in a quaint little town.  

Here we are having dinner at the hotel one night.  The food all week was very good.

Each morning we met in Kelly's kitchen where she used her skills as Barista and made the most delicious Salted Caramel lattes. (or whatever you chose)  They were accompanied by fruits, pastries and spreads.  Then, over to the studio to learn and share each day.

We were the first group in Kelly's studio.  So it was special all the way around.  It was wonderful meeting such talented artists.  I learned so much from them and the experience was so valuable.  Not only were they all talented, but funny, friendly and warm.  

Here is our carpool group.  I love how we bonded and I will miss them.  But hope our paths will cross again and we can stay connected through social media.  Megan (on the right) kept us laughing to and from the workshop each day.

Kelly had a live model come in one evening and we stayed to watch her paint and draw along with her.
Kate taught us the planes of the face.  She also used flow medium with her open acrylics and I fell in love with the technique.  
One of my paintings on watercolor paper.  I cannot watch tv now without looking at the planes and shadows in a person's face.

They both opened my eyes to artists that I have never heard of and will continue to explore.  Modern day masters!  We even recreated a Malcolm Liepke with what we learned.  I will not only cherish the valuable lessons I learned, but the memories and friendships that were created.