Red Cardinal Watercolor

Red Cardinal Watercolor.

I was away this past week on a wonderful “GFC” (Girlfriend Camp) trip, followed by a couple days of grandie girls and family fun.

This past Sunday afternoon, after over a week away from any ARTing, I found a bit of time in my art studio to paint.

I always fear when I’m away from it for a while, I will “forget” how to do it.

I decided to do a bird, then chose a cardinal.  I had some Simon & Garfunkel playing.  I felt completely relaxed, and just painted.  No drawing.  No warm-up.  And I got lucky and loved the result.

Just in case it turned out, and because I’ve been asked about sharing my process and “teaching,” I took a few quick iPhone photos of the steps I took along the way to share with you.

I found a cardinal photo on my ipad and then started with the eye placed where I thought was about right on a 10×16 sheet of Arches Cold Press.  I used Daniel Smith Indigo and Quinacridone Gold, leaving some white for the highlights in the eye.

When painting loose, you need to have a focal point, and when a bird or animal, a good focal point is the eye and/or beak/nose.  So from the eye, I used a wet brush to outline the beak, then added some Daniel Smith permanent deep red and water to blend the colors.

I deepened some of the colors and added the crown shape of the cardinals head and the shape of its neck.  This is pretty much all the “detail” I wanted in this painting.

From here, I added some more of the red and some cadmium yellow.

Then I just got super loose adding some violet and blue and green gold, lots of water for movement, and more indigo splashes.  I held the painting up vertically to let the drips run.

And this is what resulted.  I’m happy with how it turned out, and so glad to know I didn’t “forget” how to do it after being away for a while.

This painting – as an original, prints, and greeting cards – is available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy Shop and at Berry Vine Gifts in BradfordWoods, PA.

Have a wonderful day, and don’t be afraid to fearlessly and joyfully go for whatever it is you love to do!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Purple Parakeet in Watercolor

Purple Parakeet Original Watercolor by Jodi McKinney 11×14

A Purple Parakeet in Watercolor.

On my purple kick this past weekend, I created a random splash of color and topped it with cling wrap to create an abstract design.

I often like to do this when I don’t have anything special in mind to paint, but just want to create!  Then I look at it – sometimes for days or longer – until I see something appear.

My oldest DIL and I were at a local event this past Saturday at Quality Gardens and Bloom Cafe in Valencia, PA with our McKinneyX2Designs art and signs, and a man asked me if I ever painted a parakeet.

I hadn’t ever thought to, but when I looked at my “blob” of paint the next day, a parakeet appeared!  Mind over matter??!!

So I painted this.  I don’t even know the man’s name (who sweetly purchased a copy each of Klaus the Mouse, and Lucas the Lucky Lion for his grown artist daughter), but this painting is lovingly dedicated to him wherever he is, in honor of the sweet parakeet he and his wife recently loved and lost.  May they somehow feel the love.  And if he ever sees this, I will surely gift him with a print!

Happy #WorldWatercolorMonth!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Original, prints, and cards available at McKinneyX2Designs and Berry Vine Gifts!

Evie the Egret

Evie the Egret.

Evie was the cutest egret
you ever will have met.

The way her big blue eyes were set
was in a way you couldn’t forget.

Evie’s fluffy feathers, even when they were wet,
created the most fantastic egret silhouette.

Evie was a part of an all-girl egret quartet
where she was featured playing the alto clarinet.

The other girls, whose names were Annette and Suzette,
played backup to the leader, a brunette named Claudette.

Evie was known to fret
and sometimes get upset

because her name wasn’t Yvette
or maybe even Paulette.

But Evie didn’t long regret
for it was silly to be upset

when you really were the cutest little egret
from the U.S. to Tibet.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Evie the Egret is another in a series of paintings and poems I am working on for a new children’s book.  This new book will be kind of special because it will feature characters that are based on the grandchildren of my best friends.  Evie is the first grandaughter of my bestie, Jill, and the second child of Jackie, my McHendy daughter, who first inspired me to start this blog.

I have two more special surprise characters to create before I begin putting this book together, so look for them in upcoming posts.

Prints and greeting cards of all of these paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop, where you can also order a customized painting and poem of or for someone dear to you.

 

 

 

World Watercolor Month 2018 – I’m an Artist Ambassador!

World Watercolor Month 2018 – I’m an Artist Ambassador!

My amazing buddy, Charlie O’Shields at Doodlewash is at it again!  He is hosting the annual World Watercolor Month celebration in July, which he created three years ago to inspire people to paint with watercolor while raising awareness for the importance of art and creativity in the world.

Art has brought me so much joy since I discovered watercolor about three years ago that I want to be a part of sharing it, so Charlie honored me with the privilege of being a World Watercolor Month Art Ambassador.

For the month of July, I will be donating $1 from every watercolor sale (originals, prints, greeting cards) from our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop to Dreaming Zebra which helps support children in need around the world by providing art supplies and art education.Research has shown that art education has a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has proven to help level the learning field across socioeconomic boundaries. Unfortunately, arts education programs are too often the first to be cut when cuts are made, so more and more children each year are missing out on the important benefits of art classes.

The Dreaming Zebra Foundation is unique in that they provide an art recycling program that is free to the public. Reusable art & music supplies that would otherwise be discarded, along with new or unsold materials, are donated by individuals and businesses and matched to recipients who have requested those materials for arts education purposes in communities around the world.

And Charlie chose my Yellow Canary, which I created in honor and memory of a special blogging friend, Terry, as the MX2 watercolor to be put on this year’s limited edition Artist Ambassador zippered pouch souvenier merchandise for World Watercolor Month 2018.  100% of the proceeds from the purchase of these zippered pouches will go to the Dreaming Zebra Foundation!

To learn more about World Watercolor Month, click here.

I’ll be sharing more in July, which is only 17 days away – can you believe it?!  Hope you will join us in the fun!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

#WorldWatercolorMonth

Showing Your True Colors

Goldfinch – Mars, PA – April 2018

Showing Your True Colors.

If you could show your true color,
what color would you be?

Yellow is the color of sunshine, hope, and happiness.

Yellow stands for freshness, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, honor, loyalty, and joy.

Bright yellow is an attention getting color, and when used in combination with black,  it creates one of the easiest color combinations to read and see from long distances. This is why school buses, taxi cabs, and traffic signs are painted yellow and black.

If you were a color – would you be yellow?

If I could be as beautiful as this goldfinch that visits our backyard, I sure would be.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Bluebird of Happiness

Snowy Bluebird – March 2018 – Mars, PA

Bluebird of Happiness.

The beggar man and the mighty king are only different in name,
For they are treated just the same by fate.
Today a smile and tomorrow a tear, we never know what’s in store.

So learn your lesson before it is too late.
So be like I, hold your head up high
’til you find the bluebird of happiness.

You will find greater peace of mind,
knowing there’s a bluebird of happiness.

And when he sings to you,
though you’re deep in blue,
You will see a ray of light creep through.

And so remember this,
life is no abyss.
Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness.

The poet with his pen, the peasant with his plow,
It makes no different who you are,
it’s all the same somehow.

The king upon his throne, the jester at his feet,
the artist, the actress,
the man on the street.

It’s a life of smiles and a life of tears.
It’s a life of hopes and a life of fears.

A blinding torrent of rain and a brilliant burst of sun,
A biting tearing pain and bubbling sparkling fun.

And no matter what you have, don’t envy those you meet.
It’s all the same, it’s in the game, the bitter and the sweet.

And if things don’t look so cheerful, just show a little fight.
Fore every bit of darkness, there’s a little bit of light.

For every bit of hatred, there’s a little bit of love.
Fore every cloudy morning, there’s a midnight moon above.

So don’t you forget,
you must search ’til you find
the bluebird.

You will find peace and contentment forever, if you will be like I.
Hold your head up high, ’til you see a ray of light appear.

And so remember this,
life is no abyss.
Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness*.

What a sight to find this beautiful blue bird on the back railing the other day.  A bright, beautiful spot amidst the blustery snow storm.  It made me think of the phrase, “The Bluebird of Happiness.”  A little googling led me to the song and the beautiful lyrics.  A lot of truth about life in this.

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Kathy’s Bluebird in Watercolor

Kathy's Bluebird in Watercolor - 11x14 140 lb cold press

Kathy’s Bluebird in Watercolor – 11×14 140 lb cold press

Kathy’s Bluebird in Watercolor.

I finally remembered to post a bird painting on the right day for Draw a Bird Day which a gang of friendly, artistic bloggers celebrates of the 8th of every month (when we remember!).

Kathy, who blogs at Backyard Bird Nerd, always supplies us with plenty of great inspiration with her bird photography.  She recently captured a photo of an Eastern Bluebird that caught my eye and inspired this very loose interpretation.  I used her bird as a model, but had fun splashing it up in the loose style I love to do.  I took some artistic license in changing the piece of wood to a twig, adding the tail feathers that were hidden in her photo, making it a bit more of a summery, green scene instead of winter, and having some fun with color.  Awww – the beauty and freedom of art!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

This bluebird painting is dedicated to the memory of my brother, Johnny, whose birthday would have been today.  RIP John P. Towle – February 8, 1964 – December 27, 2016.  You remain in my heart always.

This painting (original, prints, and cards) is available at McKinneyX2Designs as well as Berry Vine Gifts.

Daniel Smith watercolors used:  Cerulean Blue, Indigo, New Gamboge, Cadmium Orange, Olive Green, Perylene Green, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber.

A Winter Warbler Watercolor

Yellow (rumped) Warbler in Winter Watercolor 11×14 140 lb cold press

A Winter Warbler Watercolor

I was looking at some beautiful photos on Mike Powell’s Photography Blog the other day of a fluffy little yellow-rumped warbler he spotted eating berries in the frigid winter weather at the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Reserve in Virginia this month.

He was so cute, I asked Mike if I could paint one of his photos.  He kindly obliged.  My watercolor doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the bird or the magnificent shot Mike caught, but it was fun to do.  It’s been a while since I painted a bird.  And this little guy had his fluffiest coat on in the frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing in the Northeast part of the United States lately, which made him just too irresistible for me to resist.

Thanks for giving me a shot at him Mike, and I hope you all might find some time to  check out Mike’s lovely photography blog.   And if you really love bird photos, you must also check out Kathy’s blog at Backyard Bird Nerd.  Kathy has the best backyard birds I’ve ever seen.  She claims one of her secrets is the bark butter.  I think every bird on the planet would like to live in Kathy’s backyard!

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

A Bright Spot in the Storm

Red Male Cardinal - Backyard, Mars, PA - taken through glass window - January, 2018

Red Male Cardinal – Backyard, Mars, PA – taken through glass window – January, 2018

A Bright Spot in the Storm.

Need we really look
any further

than out the window
amidst a storm

when searching
for a bright spot?

Nature’s examples
teach us

there is always a bright spot
amidst a storm.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Bright red male cardinals fill my backyard in the winter and seem even more vibrant when the snow is swirling and blowing and the tree branches are bare.  Such a bright spot in my day.

Let the Rain Fall

Goldfinch in the Rain - Autumn, Mars, PA

Goldfinch in the Rain – Autumn, Mars, PA

Let the Rain Fall.

I watched you as you sat proud and beautiful
while the rain fell on and around you.

You didn’t need
the sun to make you shine.

In fact,
you stood out even brighter in the cloudy drizzle.

And I was reminded
true beauty comes from within.

It can’t be soaked or drenched
or washed off.

It can’t be dampened or doused
by the storms of life.

Let the rain fall.
Let the storms crash.

And continue to shine
your authentic beautiful self.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi