I Digress

Sewing Studio

Sewing Studio


Over the years, I’ve experimented with many types of hobbies that involve making things with my hands… crafts, sewing, crocheting, gardening, cooking, drawing, and painting.

Painting is my favorite activity, and the one I most like to share on my blog. However, sometimes I go off on a tangent and focus on other creative ventures for a while. During the 27 years that my husband and I have lived in our house, my hobbies have expanded to fill up all available work and storage space, overflowed into galleries, an external studio, and a storage unit.

At the beginning of this year, I decided to do some clearing of my creative clutter in order to clear space for new interests and projects. My word for 2017 is spaciousness. I’ve cleared out a storage unit, and consolidated and downsized some art supplies. There is more do to as I explore what is “enough”. It’s a day-to-day process to see how that will play out in terms of mental and physical clearing.

Recently I’ve signed up for a Master Gardener class, and I’ve felt the urge to get back into sewing clothes. When I got out my sewing 43-year-old sewing machine and second-hand serger and started sewing in the basement, I needed more light and wanted to be able to use my light-filled studio at the back of the house. So I put away some of my painting supplies and set up my sewing in the studio. There’s not enough room to do both at once.

For the foreseeable future, I’ll be learning about gardening and sewing, and doing a little less painting, and trying to find my preferred level of spaciousness. Please bear with me while I figure out what comes next.

Posted in Studio Tagged |

Remembering Wallace

Wallace's Pink Acrylic and pastel on canvas 24x24" ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Wallace’s Pink
Acrylic and pastel on canvas
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Camellias are favorites in the southern garden, having glossy evergreen foliage and blooming through the winter when few other things are in bloom. Frost often turns the blooms into brown mush, but this winter has been so mild that the camellias are full of blooms. The blooms are white, pink, red, single, double, and variegated. Many cultivars of camellia japonica have been developed and given expressive names like ‘Pink Perfection’, ‘Debutante’, and ‘Pearl Maxwell’.

Early in our marriage, my husband and I visited his favorite uncle in North Carolina. Uncle Wallace had a beautiful lakeside garden with traditional plantings of wisteria, irises, forsythia, and camellias. He gave me rooted cuttings of plants that are still in our garden today. When he gave me a camellia, I asked him if he knew what variety it was. He took his cigar out of his mouth, holding in between thumb and forefinger, shook it for emphasis, and said, “It’s the PINK one!”

The unidentified pink camellia has grown into a small shrub that is blooming profusely this year. When I cut these blossoms and arranged them, I was glad to have the remembrance of Uncle Wallace in my garden, and I enjoyed some good memories of him while I was painting.  

Posted in Acrylics Tagged |

Bon Mardi Gras

Tuesday Flowers 14x11 inches Mixed media: acrylic, pastel, tissue paper, Sharpie marker ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Tuesday Flowers
14×11 inches
Mixed media: acrylic, pastel, tissue paper, Sharpie marker
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Happy Mardi Gras!  This small mixed media floral painting reminds me of the colors (green, purple, and gold) and excitement of Mardi Gras.  Hope you have a colorful day! 

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged |

6 Tips to Improve Your Plein Air Painting Experience

Popcorn's Ready 5.5 x 17 inches Watercolor on Strathmore Watercolor boo ©2017 Lucinda Howe Not for Sale

Popcorn’s Ready
5.5 x 17 inches
Watercolor on Strathmore Watercolor book
©2017 Lucinda Howe
Not for Sale

If you haven’t painted outdoors (“en plein air”), you might be hesitant to meet up with a group of painters and get started. I encourage you to join in the fun.

On Saturday morning, I joined the About Face group at Soda City market in Columbia, South Carolina. I was running late, so I had only an hour to work before critique and lunch. The market was busy, so I knew I couldn’t capture a lot of detail. I decided to work small in a watercolor book. I sat on the low wall at Boyd Plaza near the Kettle Corn tent. The man rang the bell every time the popcorn was ready. Although you see only the painting, I remember the ringing of the bell, the smell of the popcorn, and the movement of the people, dogs, and strollers. For me, the best part of painting in a busy environment like Soda City is the memories of the sensations I experienced while painting.

If you would like to try outdoor painting, here are 6 tips to get you started….

  • Supplies- Pack your kit with easel, paints, supports, brushes, tools, bug spray and sunscreen. When I started plein air painting, I would go out in my back yard and paint, and I always forgot something.   I’d go back into the house to get the paper towels, then I’d go back for the bug spray, then the kneaded eraser, until I finally had everything I needed. Then I made a checklist to be sure I had the essentials when I ventured out with a group.
  • Scouting – When you arrive at the site, scout around. Look at the angle of the sun, take photos, think about composition before you select your spot.
  • Shade – It’s important to be in the shade for the sake of your skin. Also, your canvas should be in the shade or the painting will be too dark when you take it inside.
  • Small Supports – Sketchbooks, small panels and canvases require minimal paint and can be completed in a couple of hours. It’s more satisfying to complete most of the piece on site than to just get started before time to quit. Painting small also forces you to narrow your focus and simplify your composition. Save the large canvases until you have more experience.
  • Senses – Outdoor painting is not just about what you see. Observe the smells, tastes, sounds, and feelings that surround you as you paint.
  • Sharing – Be sure to share your drawing or painting with others. You’ll learn from group critique, but you will also be able to share your unique view of the experience with others. I’m always amazed at how all the artists have different perspectives on similar subject matter. Isn’t that what visual communication is all about?

As we move into spring, there will be more opportunities to paint with plein air groups and to pack your art supplies for vacation travels. If you would like more information about painting with a group around Columbia, SC, contact me. If you don’t paint here, paint somewhere!

Posted in Plein Air Tagged , |

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Big Bold Roses and Lilies 30x24 inches Acrylic, charcoal & pastel ©2016 Lucinda Howe $1,400

Big Bold Roses and Lilies
30×24 inches
Acrylic, charcoal & pastel
©2016 Lucinda Howe

I appreciate you for reading my blog and being interested in my art.  I wish you love and peace in your life.  Happy Valentine’s Day to you!


Posted in Acrylics Tagged |

White by the Gate

White by the Gate 20x16" Acrylic and pastel on masonite ©2017 Lucinda Howe

White by the Gate
Acrylic and pastel on masonite
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Here is the finished painting of the “White by the Gate” camellias that I started last week.  I’ve reworked the background to add more definition to the edges of the arrangement and added details with pastels and graphite.  

Posted in Acrylics, Garden Tagged |

Working in Layers

Today I’m working on a painting of the “White by the Gate” camellias blooming in my garden.  In spite of some near freezing temperatures this week, it is loaded with blooms and not showing much cold damage.  This variety has an unusual form of two buds back-to-back on opposite sides of the stem, making it tricky to arrange in a vase.  I like the contrast of the soft round white blooms and the pointy oval glossy green leaves.

"White by the Gate" Camellias

“White by the Gate” Camellias

I started blocking in my painting on a recycled 20×16 inch panel that already had white, purple, and green colors on it. 

Studio set up for camellia painting

Studio set up for camellia painting


Camellia WIP #1

Camellia WIP #1

In the next layer, I cut in the back ground, then “messed it up” with a brayer while the paint was still tacky.

Camellia WIP #2

Camellia WIP #2

After that layer dried, I drew with pastels, repainted the background to add shape to the leaves, and threw paint to create drips.  

Camellia WIP #3

Camellia WIP #3

This is where I stopped for today.   After giving it a chance to dry throughly, I’ll continue the push-pull of blurring and refining until I’m satisfied.  The process of working in layers adds depth and texture that can’t be achieved in one pass.   By next week, I should have more photos of the process and the finished piece. 

Posted in Acrylics Tagged |

Emerald Palmetto

Emerald Palmetto 7x5 inches Gelli print with Sharpie ©2017 Lucinda Howe $125

Emerald Palmetto
7×5 inches
Gelli print with Sharpie
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Emerald Palmetto is the fifth in my series of monotypes of palmetto trees. Each image is similar to the others, but has unique colors and textures due to the unpredictability of the process.

The emerald color in the background represents growth, reflection, peace and balance… qualities that seem to be much needed in today’s world. 

Each piece of this series of monotypes is matted in a white mat to fit into a standard 10×8 inch frame.  $125 each. Click here to purchase.


Gelli plate monotypes 7x5 inches matted to fit 10x8 inch frame Available on Daily Paintworks

Gelli plate monotypes
7×5 inches
matted to fit 10×8 inch frame
$125 each, click here to purchase 

Posted in Acrylics Tagged , |

Green and Brown Palmetto

Green and Brown Palmetto 7x5 inches Gelli print and Sharpie ©2015 Lucinda Howe

Green and Brown Palmetto
7×5 inches
Gelli print and Sharpie
©2015 Lucinda Howe

The warm weather in South Carolina this week inspired me to continue my series of palmetto trees.  Layering the stencils and varying the colors make each piece unique. 

Posted in Acrylics Tagged , |

Gervais Street Bridge (reprise)

Gervais Street Bridge North 12x12 inches Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2017 Lucinda Howe $395

Gervais Street Bridge North
12×12 inches
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2017 Lucinda Howe

As I tried to get back into the routine of studio work this week, I started by clearing out the clutter,  vacuuming the floor, and putting fresh plastic covers on my work surfaces.  To find inspiration, I mined my studio notebook for the last year or so, and returned to a series of paintings of the Gervais Street Bridge I started back in the autumn of 2015.  This piece is based on a view of the riverwalk before the big flood.  It combines my favorite elements of natural forms, architecture, and a bold palette.  One of the many advantages of working in a series is that familiarity with subject matter and materials makes it easier to find a starting point of new work.  


Posted in Uncategorized