Watercolor Blues

Blue Irises Watercolor 11×14

Watercolor Blues.

I had the watercolor “blues” this past weekend.

Not the sad blues, but the HAPPY French Ultramarine and Cerulean and Cobalt Teal blues with a punch of Crimson and Quinacridone Gold for more fun!

The flowers and trees are just bursting right now during the Spring rains and sunshine creating such inspiration.

It was so wonderful to spend a few hours painting and printing and framing and organizing supplies in my art room.   Treasured, cherished, creative time…. at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,




Iris I Could…

Blue Iris in Cascade Green Negative Watercolor 11x14

Blue Iris in Cascade Green Negative Watercolor 11×14

Iris I Could…

Iris I could make one unhappy person smile today.
Iris I could remember punch lines to jokes to make one person laugh today.

Iris I could wave a magic wand that sprinkled happiness and joy.
Iris life was easier.

Iris each one reading this
finds one small moment to cherish today.

Iris you found humor and a bit of light-heartedness
in my silly pun.

Life can be difficult,
and we must help each other get through.


I painted this Iris this weekend.
It was my fifth try!
I was trying to use a negative watercolor painting technique,
and I just had to use this amazing new color a friend here at TheCreativeLifeinBetween told me about – Daniel Smith Cascade Green.

I struggle with this technique, but I so wanted to create a background with this green color that fades and granulates into the most amazing blue with more water.  The green (and light blue) all around the iris are from that one color.  I splashed in a little new gamboge and a drop or two of orange and ultramarine to tie the background colors into the flower, but the background is mostly this mesmerizing cascade green.

The technique involves painting the background first around the shape of the object – creating the negative white space, where you then paint the object.  This is where I kept getting thrown off.  I’m not good at having outside lines to stay within!

Thanks to my friend, Dena, who visits here often and leaves such lovely comments, for this color recommendation.  I love when other artists or photographers or bakers or writers share tips and tools of the trade.

Iris you a wonderful day.

Cheers & Hugs,

My original painting is for sale at our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop.  It is also available in prints and greeting cards.

Purple Irises in Watercolor


Single Purple Iris Watercolor Loose 8 x 10

Purple Irises in Watercolor.

Continuing on my kick of violet and crimson and gold
and thinking floral…
and thinking Spring… (it continues to be in the 60’s and sunny here this crazy February of Spring in Western Pennsylvania!)

I created a couple iris paintings.

They are both very different, but I kinda love them both.

I painted these on Sunday after dinner on what was such a beautiful sunny, warm day.

I have to admit I gave purple irises a try on Saturday (in the midst of “construction” work on another project in the house).

I painted four or five different versions.  They were all terrible!

I hate days like that.  It makes me feel like I’ve “lost it.”   Not to say I’m anything magnificent in the whole big world of amazing watercolor artists.  But I’ve finally come to a place where I feel like I have some bit of my own style and can often appreciate the beauty in some of my work.

When I did this first one, I was so pleased.  I felt like I finally achieved what I was going for.

I thought I’d try another version, and I like it too.   In fact, I can’t decide between the two.  I wish the photos better represented what they look like – or maybe it ‘s just me, but they look so much better in real life.


Single Violet Iris Loose Watercolor 8 x 10

Wishing you a day filled with simple little victories and moments to feel good about yourself!

Cheers & Hugs,

I almost missed you

first purple iris

First Purple Iris – May 2016 – Mars, PA

You showed up
in your regal purple cloak
and delicate golden tassels
on the other side of the house.

I almost missed you.
Your hours were numbered
until you gracefully retreated
and made room for the others.

Thank you for the reminder
that beauty is everywhere
and often fleeting
and often in places we rarely look.

Thank you for the reminder
that we must open our eyes
and open our hearts
and take the time to simply look.

Cheers & Hugs,

What’s NEW at McKinneyX2Designs?

I’m excited to share some of the new things Colleen and I have been creating for our new Etsy shop!  We are having so much fun with this, and we are pleased to have had over 25 sales already in our first month!Mx2 logTo show our appreciation to our friends here at LifeinBetween, we want to offer a little gift to you.  If you refer someone to our shop who makes a purchase, we would like to thank them AND YOU with a free card of their and your choice. Each of you can choose one of any of the cards offered in our ETSY shop for FREE!  (Simply have your friend let us know when they order that they came here from LifeinBetween and mention your name.)

Have fun perusing the photo gallery of our newest Spring things.

You can visit our shop here:  McKinneyx2Designs on ETSY and follow us on Facebook and Instagram too if you like.

Happy Spring Thinking!

Cheers & Hugs,

Dreaming of Spring

blue purple iris matted

Sometimes in the cold and slush,
the starkness and the blustery winds of Winter…

I dream of the warmth and beauty,
the colors and the gentle breezes of Spring.

blue purple iris watercolor

After a few long, cold, busy wintry days, it was nice to relax and loosen up and dream of blue and purple irises that will bloom in Spring…

and splash paint on paper

bringing them to life

with glimmers of hope

and the promise of renewal.

Cheers & Hugs,


To every thing there is a season… or is there?

white iris

They say to every thing there is a season,

a time,

and a purpose.

So why is this amazing Spring white iris blooming in my Fall garden right now?

Makes me wonder….

I was talking to my dad on the phone yesterday morning (like I do every weekday at 7:05am) and walking around the yard with Charlie checking out the beautiful Autumn day it was going to be.  All of the sudden, I caught glimpse of a bunch of white irises blooming in my front garden up against the house.  IRISES blooming amidst the browning leaves and dying off summer flower baskets!  Irises are one of the early Spring blooming flowers here in Mars.  What an unexpected, yet pleasant little gift.   Life is so full of surprises.  

Cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,


PS  Dad said, “I guess I’ll be seeing this  on lifeinbetween.  You were right, Dad!  xo

An Iris Watercolor Experiment

watercolor iris experiment

The other evening, after hubby went to bed, I had the urge to paint.  I didn’t know what I  wanted to paint, and I didn’t feel like putting any effort into it…. I simply wanted to paint.

Watercolor Iris Card 1

So I just grabbed some scrap pieces of watercolor paper and decided to try irises – very abstract irises…  Not sure if you can even tell that is what they are (except I gave you a hint in the title of this post!).

Watercolor Iris Card 2

I literally only spent about 15 minutes on all five of these “paintings” – one rather large that I started with, followed by four smaller ones.

Watercolor Iris Card 3

I just starting mixing colors and splashing it on – spending about 3 minutes tops on each.

Watercolor Blue Thistle Card

After a few irises, I did do this other “flower” – supposed to be those blue thistly things you see growing alongside the road.  (Maybe called blue thistles?)

Watercolor Iris Large

As you can see, I was being completely “loose” with all of these.  I just ripped scraps of paper and painted.

Some I like… others not so much… But I went to bed happy, feeling like I had this opportunity to unwind and “express.”

When I awoke the next morning, I realized this could be a little gift set of sorts.  I simply adhered the small ones – all about 3.5 x 5 inches onto card stock and the larger onto a sheet of 8.5 x 11 inch black card stock, which I could frame.  The gift could be four blank floral note cards and a framed floral picture.

I’m trying to discover my “style” in this.  I’m getting comfortable with small single items, but can’t even begin to imagine taking on a landscape or cityscape or detailed painting like so many others can that I admire.  Maybe someday, but then again maybe not.

I do have to say I felt satiated after completing – or was it the Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade I was sipping while painting…. ?


Cheers & Happy Friday Hugs,