10 Gratitude (Journal) Prompts for November

Healthy Maven blog post for November 6.

1. Who/what made you smile today?

2. What is something you take for granted that you’re grateful for?

3. What is the best thing that happened this week?

4. What cheers you up when you have a rough day? How can you incorporate more of that in your life?

5. When I reflect on my friendships, what friendships are giving life that I’m so grateful for?

6. What do you love about yourself?

7. What friends or friendships am I grateful for and why?

8. What inspires me? Am I finding inspiration regularly or just going through life?

9. What are you grateful for this season? What are your favorite things about fall?

10. I am looking forward to…

I can easily see these as a prompt for a sketch!

I’m reworking for the fourth time, a gouache I painted in Dubuque in October. I’m not sure how many layers of gouache one panel can take, but I’m determined not to throw in the towel.

Fairfield Plein Air

Fairfield Plein Air was a very successful event this year in many ways. First and foremost the residents of this area are so welcoming and truly seem to love to have this event. They are so gracious to the artists in every way striving to make sure we have what we need.

My first stop is Johns Butcher Shop. They make the best sandwiches that are so big I get 2 meals out of one order….for $4! They always give us 2 coupons for a full lunch meal, but I couldn’t wait for my packet coupons. Thus I had three meals there in the week. Cherry smoked ham and cheddar cheese with the works on rye bread. My mouth waters thinking about it. The ladies that work in the shop are wonderful. I felt ‘at home’.

I have a host family that has provided their family cabin for 4 artists to share. Marcia, and Tammie were my roomies. The log cabin is nestled amongst pine trees with a porch swing and table and chairs on the front porch. The porch view is a beautiful pond. This year we had a resident frog that was in the shower.

The weather was great. The outdoor studio just can’t be beat with the chance to immerse myself in painting. I was honored to receive the award for Best Watercolor on my painting of the chicken coop from the judge Nyle Gordon. To ice the cake, my sales were very good. I meant a fantastic couple who brought me wine as I painted their house portrait. Priceless.

Watercolor on Aluminum panels

Painting on Aluminum panels is not a new technique, but it is one that is new to me and I’m loving it. I have purchased small panels and started experimenting. Every manufacturer has their own name for it. Alclad is used in the airline industry. AlumaComp is sold through Jerry Artarama. Jackson’s Art Supply has their own Jackson Aluminum Panel. DiBond is yet another brand. If you don’t mind prepping them with gesso, it is cost effective to purchase through a sign shop. Plus, they cut to your size specific.

I like applying the gesso myself so I can experiment and sometimes control the texture. Brush strokes can be intensified, directional, and the gesso can have different thickness. I’m using watercolors, so all of that is adding to the base challenge of watercolors ‘mind of its own’ on a slick Surface! The paintings can appear like an acrylic or oil painting, yet you have that dreamy fluid watercolor effect.

Another plus, if you don’t use a Krylon varnish to fix it, you can wash it off. Usually there is a ghost image, but a thin added layer of gesso will cover that up. When I do produce a keeper, I spray it with the Krylon. BONUS: No need for GLASS OR MATTING! Yeah!

I also gesso paper. If I use expensive 300 lb. paper and have a flop, I rinse it, dry it and gesso it for a second try.

Here are some examples. The top 2 are on Aluminum panels. If you look closely you can see the gesso brush texture and direction. The beets are on gessoed Arches paper. I found a huge full roll at an estate sale, and have been experimenting on it.

Steelville Plein Air #steelvillepleinair

SPA was good to me this year. 5 days of painting and I brought home one. Here are a few pictures of the event. Also, a few of my thank you cards I painted for the wonderful people who support the arts and bought my work. *Not all paintings were finished in the photos.

Derald and the fur babies joined me this trip. We camped in the Airstream just outside of the city limits. The trailer was subject for 3 artists. 2 sold, one of which was auctioned. It was a fun event. Always well organized by a great staff of volunteers. They never get enough credit! They herd cats all week, and many times I’m sure we neglect to say thank you. Thank you SPA volunteers and generous community! We were fortunate to dodge rain (one hour of rain), and I managed to also dodge ticks and mosquitoes!

Practice, practice…

I Purchased an online short video from John Lovett this week. #johnlovett First I copied his demo then I tried to apply that knowledge to a photograph that I had of similar subject matter. I wasn’t really happy with the first one, so I did a second. And I could see I could probably paint it 12 times and still learn a lot. (12 maybe a little short….)

From last to first, here they are.

#oneweek100people2019 and new waterbrushes

Here are a few of the 108 people I sketched. It’s a fun challenge, and I always enjoy the possibilities! Carrying a sketchbook with me all the time makes it easy to accomplish.

I ordered a set of 7 waterbrush pens. They just arrived and I haven’t used them to write a review, but I certainly plan to! So keep your eyes on the blog!

Daniel Smith Demo


The ATCs are tossed in the post for fun.  I’m in a group trade through Unity Church.  These are all sky studies to trade. It’s Mail Art ATC!

I attended a really cool DANIEL Smith demo Friday. This representive had some detailed information on the watercolor products they sell. I found the history of the company interesting as well. He is holding a piece of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise! The Kingman mine has been closed for years. So expect this color to disappear when their stock runs out.