Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wild Ones 12" X 12" Oil on board

  Just for fun!

I've been excited recently by the techniques of Chris Cozen,
an abstract expressionist painter,
in her newest book, "Acrylic Color Explorations."

Emphasis on "COLOR."
My focus for this work was to try some negative painting and
to create atmospheric distance by pushing back with paint 
several of the blossoms in this scene. 

It all offered a great learning experience for me, re-do's and all,
and I'm excited to soon take some of my learnings into another piece,
again with flowers.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"Within" 8" X 8" Pastel on UArt

Happy New Year everyone!
I hope 2016 will be a great year for all you try to do!

I continue to experiment with abstracts based on 
real-life items or parts of them, similar to the agave abstract in the previous post.
Basing the abstract on something real gives me a starting place
for this new direction.

About a year ago my son took a photo of a rose
he saw while walking. 
I loved the colors and the way the petals kind of
swept around the center. Here is his photo of the original rose.

I'm hoping to become familiar enough with the components and arrangement of shapes, line, value, color, etc. to feel confident in designing my own abstracts.
To that end, I've ordered two books from Amazon.
One is written by Chris Cozen called " Acrylic Color Explorations," and
the other is a new book coming out in February called
"Bold Expressive Painting" by Annie O'Brien Gonzales.

Both women use abstract, semi-abstract or abstract expressionism design
in their mixed-media work.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Blessings To You At This Time of Year!

Wishing all of you a 
wonderful holiday filled with family, friends,
joy, love and peace.

Thank you for being supportive blogging friends 
who have given me encouragement,
feedback, information and support
with your comments
and with your creative and moving art which inspires me!

Thank you!
Merry Christmas and a hopeful, peaceful 2016!
Carol Flatt


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Agave Abstract 6" X 12" Oil on masonite

I've been wanting to experiment with some abstract ideas for some time. It's certainly taken me a while to get started...working up the courage, I guess. I think part of it, too, is that I didn't really understand what abstract art was. I knew I liked some abstract paintings - others, I guess I just didn't understand.  Then, I ran across Mark Mehaffey's article about abstract art and it made more sense to me. I even ended up buying one of his DVDs where he demonstrated using acrylics on Yupo paper which was excellent in my opinion. At least I let go of my inhibitions concerning painting in this style.

I found that I prefer abstracts to be based on something in reality. That is, to use the concept of a real thing - a tree, for example - and do something with it that is unusual or unexpected. Maybe something emotional or conceptual. Or, just play with colors and shapes.

My husband is a photographer who photographs many plants and animals of our desert environment. Here is one he took some time ago of an agave plant on its way out.
When they're in their prime, they are magnificent and some can be quite large. When they die they just sort of crumble and collapse into themselves. But, sometimes the colors can become saturated with vibrant greens, blues, purples and grays. Some of the shapes that come about because of the changes in the structure are interesting. I took his photo and tried cropping it in several ways to see what might make an interest design with lines, shapes and colors that were pleasing. Here, are some examples I found:

I think I could have gone another direction and used the shapes and colors as a starting place and not been so precise with my edges. Just put the paint on in some planned way.
Much to learn. Hopefully, more to come.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Can You Hear Me Now? 12" X 12" Oil on panel

With this painting I used for the first time a set of Cobra Water-Soluble Oil Paints. I had read that with these paints no mediums are required and cleanup is done with water and soap. Sounded good to me. I was delighted with the creamy texture of the paints, and Cobra has some striking colors that are rich and heavily pigmented. The only problem I encountered was the long waiting time to dry particularly the initial background. That was a bit discouraging as I usually come back in the second day and paint the "fat over lean" stage.

I'd heard that if you add water to the paint it will take a long time to dry, but I hadn't added any water or used any mediums even the kinds that one can choose to use for this type of paint. All in all it took three days just for the thin background layer to dry. I will use them again and see if other colors in my set do the same or if the experience repeats itself. I hope not because the colors again are so gorgeous and they have a luscious texture.

My husband took the reference photo for this painting with two Cottontails sitting side by side engrossed in something they saw. For me, it was all about the ears!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bright Spot 5" X 7" Pastel on Ampersand

This little bouquet caught my eye with its beautiful colors against the creamy white. I loved their little button centers and the opportunity to play with colors I haven't used in a while.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

They Hang Out at the Local Branch 8" X 8" Pastel SOLD

I have to smile at the path this painting took to completion. I started with an Aquabord made for watermedia. I had just purchased a couple of new tubes of w/c and thought this would be a good time to use them. I liked the transparent colors, but decided to paint pastel over the watercolor to bring out some of the textural qualities in the photo.

Pastel needs to be worked on a surface that has grit on it in order for the pastel to stick to the surface. I put two coats of clear gesso over the watercolor which created a sanded-like coating for the pastel. I didn't lose the watercolor, but was able to create some interesting textures with the pastels particularly in the leaves. Who says a girl can't change her mind?!

Available HERE.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Play Time! Testing New Waters!

One of the things I tried to do during the past few months is experiment with a few new materials I purchased or old materials I hadn't had a chance yet to try. Sometimes, as artists, (especially me anyway) we feel an urgency to "produce," to jump right into the process of creating art instead of exploring what the products we use can do. What are they capable of, how do they feel, what surfaces produce a look I like, what tools can I use, etc.   I have been guilty of this so many times, and yet, I feel "I don't have the time." So I plunge right into the planning, preparing and painting of a work of art and miss out on one of the most valuable learning experiences I could have. 

Many of you who use water media may be already very familiar with this product. I've been using primarily oil paints and pastels, so when I saw an ad for BRUSHO I thought perhaps I could use it for the underpaintings I do for pastel. Besides, I have always carried a secret desire to do some abstract watercolors and thought this product might be fun to try for effects.

I purchased these five containers of Brusho after reading a description on Dick Blick's website. They are watercolor ink crystals that you can sprinkle or brush onto paper, canvas or wood. The "crystals" are more like a powder to me, but once you put them on a wet surface they seem to blossom and create their own designs and patterns. They come in a multitude of colors (see them here) but I purchased the five you see above. Below, are some examples of some very unscientific results when I used it on regular watercolor paper (140 lb.) or Yupo paper.

Scarlet used on regular w/c paper

I left the paper white, wet it with a brush and sprinkled a relatively small amount of crystals.


Gamboge and Burnt Sienna  on Yupo

I think when Brusho is used on Yupo you get a more detailed, clearer pattern.

(Julie, this might be fun to try on parts of the wonderful bird nests you paint.)

Leaf Green on Yupo

Again, a more detailed design. Each color seems to have a subtle combination of another color or two. Very subtle, yet it helps to make it more interesting.

Leaf Green and Yellow Ochre on regular W/C paper

Less detailed but an interesting marbled look.

A couple of other observations:

*You can use a spritzer with water to move the color around. Be careful. A little water goes a long way.

* Use a tissue or paper towel to dab up runs or to minimize amount of paint.

*When the water dries there may be some powder on the surface that escaped the dissolving effect of water. It can be brushed off fairly easily.

*A warning! There are two ways to open the canisters. Punch a small hole in the indentation on the lid, or pull the plastic "sealer" around the lid. HOWEVER, if you pull the sealer do it slowly and carefully. When my lid popped off my white slacks were sprinkled with about half a teaspoon of a bright, pretty Gamboge color. It was my fault, but I had to really work to clean it. I'm just saying...

Monday, May 4, 2015

It's Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White pastel 6" X 8"

Where I grew up in Washington State Spring always announced itself with beautiful blossoms on many fruit and decorative trees. It was all quite a show and impressed itself on my young mind. There was a song with the lyrics you see in the title of this painting. I can still sing the tune and remember a portion of the lyrics, but I cannot remember who the singer was. Perhaps one of you can tell me.

I hope this week will be good to you and bring you something beautiful!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ready For Picking 6" X 8" Pastel on Wallis

Oh, it is soooo good to be back in my blog world. I missed you all, and I hope you're still with me as a fellow blogger! Thank you for the kind words and support you offered for the past couple of months. I'm so happy to let you know that my husband is doing well. He's going on morning walks and continuing daily exercises the physical therapists set in motion. He still is quite stiff and sore from the break, but we know he'll be better as time goes on.

My art making has been minimal these past weeks, but I'm looking to remedy that. I started with a familiar and comfortable subject...a pear!! It felt good to be "dusty" again,  and smudge that pastel over the surface. I did manage to do quite a bit of research on various artists whose work I admire and worked with some new materials I had ordered. Thank goodness for online shopping!! I even bought an excellent DVD on abstract art by Mark Mehaffey. I'll be sharing with you over the next few weeks some of the things I've learned and found and will try to get up to date on all of your art efforts over the past weeks. Can't wait!!!

This painting is up for auction on DPW HERE.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How Sweet It Is! 8" X 8" Oil on c/b SOLD

I apologize for not posting or commenting on your delightful, inspiring blogs for awhile. In mid-January my husband had an accident while hiking and broke his hip when he landed on a large rock. Surgery to repair it was the same day, and since he left the hospital he has been rehabbing at a local facility. He is making slow but continued progress, and it will take some time to mend and, hopefully, regain the movement and flexibility he had before. He's working very hard, and is so anxious to get to the point where he can come home.

This dove has been sitting on my work table patiently waiting to be finished. My husband took the photo at the end of last summer when the Saguaro Cactus blossoms were in full bloom. These blossoms feed a host of critters including doves, bees, woodpeckers, insects and starlings. The Saguaro is such a stately and majestic cactus and sort of a symbol of the Sonoran desert where we live. They have been the subject of many an artist's paintings.

As time permits, I plan to do some experimentation with gouache, watercolor and acrylic paints which I have tried only minimally so far. I also would like to try a broader range of subject matter including some abstract work. With my fellow bloggers I have so many fine examples of quality work and ideas shared. I can't wait to start! And, I gradually will catch up with posting comments on all of your blogs!

Link to Purchase

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Two Peas in a Pod 6" X 6" Oil SOLD


We were delighted in late spring when a hummingbird couple decided to nest in our garage. They chose the pedal of my husband's bicycle hanging from a hook in the ceiling. They built the nest in two days and the mom moved in. She had two eggs hatch a day apart from one another. Did you know baby hummingbirds eat food their mom gives them while laying on their backs? Guess that's the only way Mom can manage to get that long beak in their mouths. We enjoyed the little ones from birth, through feeding, through pin feathers, through flight attempts. One of the coolest experiences we've ever had!
I used a palette knife for the paint in the nest and background. It will take about a week to dry because of the thickness of the paint.

Below the painting is a photo of the nest. Compared to the penny, it's not very big, is it?! Hard to believe these two little guys lived and grew side by side in that little nest for about two and a half weeks. We will give the nest to our grandsons for their science corner at school.

Painting is available via auction at DailyPaintworks HERE.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Just Hangin' Pastel 7" X 10" SOLD

My grandmother had a plum tree in her yard when we were kids. It was a great "climbing tree" and was so lovely in the spring with all the flowers on it. Of course, in the summer we very much enjoyed all the juicy, fresh fruit, and we would take many boxes of them to the cannery and process them for winter.

Available HERE.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas to All!

I wish all of you a most blessed Christmas with sincere wishes for a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year! I thank you for and am very appreciative of your interest in my artwork. Thank you immensely for looking at and commenting on my posts, and for being the cheerleaders, motivators and sounding boards that I need for  help, ideas or feedback. Bless you all. It is a joyful, comforting thing to know you're out there and just a "Send" button away!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Chock Full 11" X 14" Oil on panel

It looks like I've been on a tomato kick for awhile with the last two posts. I enjoy painting tomatoes with their different shades of reds, oranges and greens. I painted the shapes of the tomatoes first and let them dry. Then, I began to glaze them using thin coats of paint and linseed oil. 

I struggled with the glass jar big time trying to get the glass to "relax" and not be so stiff-looking. I think it'll take more practice to master that skill, so I'll see what other things I can put in a glass jar. Marbles? Golf balls? Candy?

The photo came from Morguefile, a source of free photos given with permission for an artist to paint and use commercially if they wish. I've found several on the site that are inspiring. 

This will be available at auction on DailyPaintworks beginning Tuesday, December 2nd.
Here is a LINK. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Plenty of Room oil on board 12" X 12"

A photo of this bowl has been sitting in my photo folders for some time. I knew eventually I would put it with something red and paint the still life. When I set it up I moved the spotlight this way and that to try to enhance the reflections coming through the bowl.The square format worked for it, I think.

This will be available on a DailyPaintworks auction beginning tomorrow, November 18th. HERE,, is the link to see it.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I was honored to be asked to participate in the "Around the World Blog Hop" by a multi-talented and professionally astute artist and friend, Barbara Benedetti Newton . Barbara and I grew up in the same town of Auburn, Washington and were in the same graduation class in high school. When I joined DailyPaintworks a couple of years ago, Barbara and I reunited, and she was a wonderful resource for me to ask questions and seek advice. Here is just a smidgen of her work to whet your appetite.

Growing up, I always enjoyed creating. When I was two and a half I developed Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis which limited my abilities to be active physically. My mom encouraged art as a form of expression for me, and she saw to it I had the supplies with which to do it. When I began my teaching career years later I was determined to give my students as much exposure to art as possible. I developed a curriculum of Art Appreciation activities for primary students with a co-teacher, a friend who had an interest in music. I involved the students with as many art-related activities as I could fit into our schedule. Throughout teaching I watched my primary students carefully while they painted. They were engrossed in pure wonder as they applied color, and they were filled with no trace of fear or worry as they applied big, expressive strokes and large shapes and lines. I wanted to be like that! "Oh boy!" I promised myself. "Just wait until I retire!"

What Am I working On?

Currently, I'm trying to spend more time with oils. I still love pastel painting, but I marvel at the feel of the brush being pulled through paint, the bounce of the canvas (or smoothness of the panel) as paint is applied and the look of brushstroke mark-making. More specifically, I am presently painting a small oil floral still life of roses in a vase. I have become enamored of  artists Barbara Flowers and Christine Lafuente's works of floral still lifes. I'm also trying hard to be that kid again that I mentioned above. I'm trying to schedule more time to just play with color combinations, design and limited palettes.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

If by genre you mean subjects or categories, I'm very eclectic! I find something that interests me and want to paint it be it still life, animals, landscape, floral or figurative. So far, still life has been my dominant area of expression. I also tend to focus on the intimate view as opposed to a large scene with many objects.

Why Do I Create What I Do?

I've always had a creative urge in my life whether it be for art, teaching, writing, quilting, etc. I need that opportunity to express "something from Carol" mainly, I think, because it lets me know more about myself.  Presently, art-making is that expression for me. In recent years artists have taken the still life genre to a new place with informal, colorful, humorous (at times), approachable still life paintings. They have become relevant to current everyday life with their spoons and forks, fruit and veggies, ceramic animals and old trucks. I love that!!

 How Does My Creative Process Work?

Sometimes, selecting a subject or theme is the most difficult part for me. That may sound silly. One would think that would never be a problem with the whole world before you. Often resource material is lean if you have a particular wish to paint cows and you live in the city, or you want to paint children playing, but you live in a retirement community. But, for me, the biggest requirement is good lighting. Light is everything in painting. It's the excitement and challenge in the process.

Being inspired is the first step. Then, I do some sort of value study, mostly very informal. I prepare the surface with an underpainting or do a monochrome value study directly onto the surface. Or, I sometimes block in the big shapes in the beginning then modify each shape gradually by adding more and more detail. Thin paint first, then a heavier, thicker layer. I rarely paint alla prima. I have to admit I work too slowly for that, but two to five days to finish a painting is about average.

Now, I am passing the Blog Hop Baton to two talented and inspiring artists. They will post next Monday, November 10th. Look for them. Here are their links:

Diana Marshall  I have followed Diana for some time enjoying her beautiful work in oil. She paints in a Contemporary Realist manner and her work is exquisite! Wait till you see her grapes! Diana lives in Ireland, and paints with rich color and beautiful light. She has a real talent for composing her still life setups, and also paints animals as well as her amazingly beautiful Ireland. She's a very gifted and respected artist!

R H (Rhonda) Carpenter   Rhonda's blog is called "Watercolor and Words" and it continues to be an informative, inspiring blog about methods, materials and projects with watercolor. She will walk you through her processes with these materials and carefully explain do's and don't's regarding them. Recently, she worked with "pours" and had lovely work come out of that project. When I began blogging over three years ago, Rhonda was one of the first artists to welcome me to this blogging world. Thank you, Rhonda!


Monday, October 6, 2014

Orchids and Shadows Pastel 9" X 12" SOLD


As a Mother's Day gift my son presented me with a gorgeous orchid plant similar to this one. I've never had an orchid plant before and must admit I was a bit intimidated by them. It's October now and the plant is still doing well. Surprise! Surprise! It's gone through the flower-dying stage and the old stem cutting-off stage, it has grown two new leaves, and it has also been re-potted! I'm kind of proud of myself actually.

I was worried about being able to paint the "faces" of the flowers with all the parts they have. I decided to simplify the centers quite a bit, and I think it worked. The Wallis paper had been dry-mounted to foamcore, and it was really a nice surface to work on. I liked the stiffness of the foamcore underneath it all.

Available HERE.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mesquite Leaves al Fresco 8" X 6" oil on canvasboard SOLD

One of our favorite animals in the desert area we live in south of Tucson is the Cottontail Rabbit. In the mornings they wander the neighborhoods looking for food and water. My husband was on HIS morning walk when he spotted this little one feasting on some mesquite leaves. The rabbit would grab the branch and pull it to himself so he could nibble.

This painting will be available beginning September 1 on Daily Paintworks. Click  HERE.

Have a wonderful Labor Day!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Shell Seekers 9" X 12" Pastel

The coastal towns of central California -Monterey and Pacific Grove - are wonderfully scenic and a great environment for enjoyment and for learning. People climb the rocks looking for shells or enjoying the tidepools that are teaming with life. We watched these two young ladies climb all over several formations fascinated with every nook and crevice.

I was a wee bit tired of rocks when I finished, but enjoyed the many different colors found in the rocks themselves. Wallis pastel paper has a heavier grit for the pastel to cling to than most other papers for pastel. I use it whenever I have a subject that is highly textured such as

This painting is available at Daily Paintworks. Click HERE.