The Friendship Hummer

The Friendship Hummer Watercolor - 8x10 140 lb Saunders Cold Press

The Friendship Hummer Watercolor – 8×10 140 lb Saunders Cold Press

The Friendship Hummer.

One of my besties is on a well-deserved vacation.  It is her first extended vacation away in two years from being a full-time caregiver to her parents who she loves so dearly and takes such wonderful care of.

In her travels through Oregon, she visited a gift shop where she discovered the amazing art of Dean Crouser.  She sent me a photo of a wall of his artwork with a friendly “challenge” to create a similar piece for her.

So here is my attempt.  It was fun creating it with the love I feel for this special friend.  And though it is nowhere near the artistic genius of Dean Crouser, I’m hoping she will love it since it was made especially for her full of love and admiration and gratitude for her friendship.

Love you Janet!

Cheers & Hugs,



A Birthday Dachshund Puppy

8x10 Watercolor Dachshund Puppy on 140lb Saunders Cold Press

8×10 Watercolor Dachshund Puppy on 140lb Saunders Cold Press

A Birthday Dachshund Puppy Watercolor Painting.

I have to say I was a bit taken aback when we received a message on our McKinneyx2Designs Etsy page from a sweet lady named Sarah telling us (my daughter-in-law, Colleen and I) that she loved our shop and asked if I could paint a dachshund for her best friend’s birthday.

My first reaction was to immediately decline.  Then I decided to wait a day before responding and secretly give it a try… just for fun… to see if I could even do it.

I seriously allowed myself to have fun with it.  Not worrying if she would like it or not.  I had recently picked up a tube of Daniel Smith Lunar Black just for kicks recalling Debi Riley mentioning a while back, and thought this would be a great opportunity to give it a try.

For this painting, I used only three colors:  Daniel Smith Lunar Black, Yellow Ochre, and Permanent Deep Red, and I painted loosely and quickly.

I’m happy to report Sarah loved it!

And don’t tell Charlie…. but it makes me want want one of these cute little Dachshund puppies!

Cheers & Hugs,

Jenna’s Roses in Watercolor

Jenna's Roses in Impressionist Watercolor 8x10 Saunders 140lb Cold Press

Jenna’s Roses in Impressionist Watercolor 8×10 Saunders 140lb Cold Press

Jenna’s Roses in Watercolor.

My super-talented, creative, artistic blogging friend, Jenna at The Painted Apron reached out recently to ask if I was interested in a “crazy idea.”

Jenna asked if I would be interested in both of us doing a floral watercolor from the same photo and sharing them to show how every artist interprets differently and has their own unique style.

I immediately said “Yes!”  Initially honored and excited, then doubtful and nervous, I waited for Jenna to provide the photo.

When Jenna sent this photo of gorgeous roses, I said “Let’s do it!”  Then I thought…. what did I get myself into?!  Roses are so complex and intricate.  And look at all of the detail in this photo.  My first painting was an effort to replicate.  It was ok, but it wasn’t “Jodi.”

I then decided to just create the beauty I felt from the photo, and I came up with my version.  Still not sure I love it, but I like it… and I really, really enjoyed creating it.   I painted it this past weekend during a sunny afternoon on the deck.  It is fun and completely different painting outdoors when the air and sun dries the paint much faster than while inside in the studio.

Here is Jenna’s painting of the rose photo.  Isn’t it beautiful?!   She is a real artist!

Jenna is my blogger “soul sister” in so many ways.  We both enjoy being creative with art and recipes and decorating and entertaining.  Be sure to check out her blog, The Painted Apron.  I’m sure you will enjoy!  Jenna also sells her art at where her art is made into tote bags and mugs and pillows and iPhone skins and many other beautiful things.  Hope you will check it out.

Thanks for the fun challenge, Jenna!

Cheers & Hugs,

The Warm Up

Pink Roses Warm Up Watercolor 5x7 Saunders 140 lb cold press

Pink Roses Warm Up Watercolor 5×7 Saunders 140 lb cold press

The Warm Up.

It’s a good thing to warm up…

In life…
when going to bat,
when giving a speech,
when writing,
when painting….

And sometimes…
the little warm up
surprises us
with unexpected joy
and unexpected satisfaction
and pleasure.

This little painting
was a warm up
for painting some roses.

Just a super quick, five-minute
loose test of sorts
that turned out to be something
I found to be quite beautiful.

Much like life…

So many things
we consider to be
the “warm up”
turn out to be
beautiful surprises.

Cherish the moments!

Cheers & Hugs,

Be Bold

Pink Rosebuds Watercolor 5x7 140 lb Cold Press Saunders

Pink Rosebuds Watercolor 5×7 140 lb Cold Press Saunders

Be Bold.

Be bold…
in doing what you love,
in doing what feels good,
in doing what makes you happy.

Be bold…
in making your own kind of beauty,
in being your own kind of beauty,
in seeing the beauty in others.

Be Bold!
Be You!

Cheers & Hugs,

Quick, loose painting done on Saunders 140lb cold press watercolor paper using Daniel Smith Rhodonite Genuine and Sap Green watercolor paint.

The Orange Azalea in Watercolor

Orange Azalea Watercolor 8x10 140lb Saunders

Orange Azalea Watercolor 8×10 140lb Saunders

The Orange Azalea in Watercolor.

Inspired to create and paint once again
from our recent visit to Phipps Conservatory,

I made a first go at
the orange azalea in watercolor.

For this painting, I used Daniel Smith watercolors in Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Deep Red, Green Gold, and Perylene Green.

Hoping the April Showers are bringing you May Flowers.

Cheers & Hugs,

PS – This painting, like most all others I do, is available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop as an original, in prints, or as greeting/note cards, along with some great upcycled, re-purposed rustic pallet wood signs my daughter-in-law makes.  Enjoy browsing!

Pink Apricot Watercolor Tulips

Pink Apricot Watercolor Expressionist Tulips - 8 x 10 Fabriano 140 lb Cold Press

Pink Apricot Watercolor Expressionist Tulips – 8 x 10 Fabriano 140 lb Cold Press

Pink Apricot Watercolor Tulips.

I found a few extra moments to steal away to my art studio this past weekend.

I felt like painting some tulips – inspired by our recent trip to Phipps Conservatory‘s Spring Flower Show.

I gave this one a couple tries before I finally decided I liked this version.  I started too tight and too “literal.”  I so admire folks who paint things that look exactly like real life, but it is not my passion.   In my first go, I tried much to hard to replicate the photo.  I then loosened up a bit and created this version that more represents the beauty I felt looking at the tulips.

To me, this painting speaks Joy and Happiness and Life.

And that is what I am feeling this week as we count down the days in wedding week!

Cheers & Hugs,

Daniel Smith Watercolor Paints used:  Rhodonite Genuine, Cadmium Yellow Light, Green Gold, Perylene Green

Paper:  Fabriano Artistico 140lb Cold Press

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods Watercolor - 8x10 Fabriano 140lb Cold Press

A Walk in the Woods Watercolor – 8×10 Fabriano 140lb Cold Press

A Walk in the Woods.

I took some time one evening this week
to splash some paint in a way that is a challenge to me – landscape.

Not allowing myself to get bogged down in the details,
and following the inspiration of Andrew Geeson once again,

I created this little painting I call
“A Walk in the Woods.”

One week from today, a very special couple –
our youngest son and our future daughter-in-law

will be taking a very important walk…
A walk down the aisle.

A walk into a new life.
A shared life.

A lifetime commitment
to each other.

I am so happy for them
and cannot wait to share in this walk with them.

Love you dearly
Nick and Liz!

Cheers & Hugs,

And Happy Earth Day!  A landscape painting is only fitting for #EarthDay!

Potted Blue Lavender in Watercolor

Potted Blue Lavender in Watercolor - 8x10" - Fabriano 140lb Cold Press

Potted Blue Lavender in Watercolor – 8×10″ – Fabriano 140lb Cold Press

Potted Blue Lavender in Watercolor.

Oh what fun I had splashing this blue – Cerulean, French Ultramarine, and a splash of Red for some violet tint.

This painting was inspired by one of my favorite watercolor artists, Andrew Geeson.  I love Andrew’s loose style and his fun Youtube tutorials.  I like to watch him do it, and then walk away and try to create it in my own way.  Mine usually look quite different, but that is the beauty of everyone’s personal style.

I love the smell of lavender!  For my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Liz’s bridal shower, her sister made favors for everyone of lavender sugar scrub.  I use it almost every day!  She made it from coconut oil, sugar, and lavender essence.  It is so heavenly to rub between the palms and fingers of my hands and on my feet, making everything so much softer and smelling beautiful.

Lavender can also be used in gourmet cooking.  I’m excited to try a recipe one of Liz’s aunts has made for the wedding cookie table.  She made earl grey tea bread with lavender butter!  Doesn’t that sound amazing?!

So no wonder I am thinking of lavender.  I think I will look into buying a lavender plant and seeing how well it does in my little corner of the world.

In the meantime, I thoroughly enjoyed painting lavender in watercolor with a short little half hour break at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,