Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

5.5x8.5 watercolor and ink, inspired by a can of blackeyed peas containing tomatoes, onions and jalapenos, commonly known as Hoppin' John.  Sometimes served with rice or just on a bright white plate, the peas are a tradition for good luck if you eat them on New Year's Day.  So HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Image is Copyright Kay Smith 2014/2015.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Eve

8.5x6 mixed media done today just in time for New Year's Eve when this post will run.  Tick tock! Almost 12 midnight we will count the final hours of 2014.  Drawn with Pigma Micron 01 pen on ColorSketch paper, I next added yellow colored pencil to the 12 numerals and watercolor over most of the clock.  Upper left is Auld Lang Syne, one of my favorite songs.  Here's to all my friends, followers and faithful relatives:  Have a Happy happy happy new year! God bless America!
COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith

Monday, December 29, 2014

Doctors Office People

8.5x5.5 watercolor and ink of two people trying to check in at a doctor's office the Thursday before Christmas.  As I need practice sketching people this was the perfect place, from the bored clerk behind the counter to the young girl in a hurry and old impatient man with a red cap. In reality his cap was blue but artistic license dictated its change to a warm color.  An apparent homeless woman kept coming thru the waiting room and using the clinic's bathroom; as she was pretty disheveled and unkempt I did not even try to sketch her although she would've been a good subject.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Frozen Trees

7.5x5.5 watercolor and white wax crayon on 140 lb Arches paper done today using no reference and no pencil (brush only).  I first applied white crayon at random on dry paper then did a light wash of raw umber and Prussian blue over most areas.  While still wet I used a wadded up facial tissue to blot at the top and over small area of the water.  As it dried too light I added more washes using carbazole violet and sepia; when dry I used the same colors to do negative painting for tree trunks, limbs, and branches.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


12x9 watercolor on Bristol 100 lb paper done yesterday.  A limited palette underpainting was done first with Prussian blue, alizarin crimson,and quinacridone gold over pencil drawing.  Next the darks of windmill blades and parts was painted using UB, quin burnt orange, burnt sienna, carbazole violet, indigo, sepia, quin violet, periwinkle blue; warm colors used to indicate rust.  Tree limbs were a dark mix of burnt sienna and UB.  A mix of aureolin yellow, quin gold, Prussian blue, UB, indigo was used for leaves.  When dry, splattering of Halloween orange and a dark mixed green was done.  This windmill is a crop of my initial reference featured on WetCanvas, courtesy of Mary.  We had 2 hours to do our painting.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Fox Theatre

10.25x9 watercolor and ink on paper done today from one of my many town photos that have not yet been painted.  This one shows the legendary Fox Theatre, conceived in 1928 and opened on Christmas Day 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.  With its ornate architecture rising in the sky, the theatre overcame many obstacles and was rescued from demolition by the town citizens.  For the past 10 years, the Fox has been rated one of the three top American theatres.
COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dyer Dogs

9x12 watercolor dog pet portrait commission for Christmas of three pets on the couch, dressed in their sports clothing.
Image is SOLD/Copyright 2014 Kay Smith.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Poinsettia Party

12x9 watercolor on 140 lb cold press Canson paper done today, brush only, no pencil drawing first.  I used a dark red silk poinsettia and drew with a brush from life, selecting three red leaves and bracts, then did negative painting elsewhere.  This is wet on dry direct painting completed in about 1 hour.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


5.5x8.5 mixed media (ink, watercolor, colored pencil, gouache) on paper done today from A Christmas Carol featuring Ebenezer Scrooge.  Written by Charles Dickens in 1843, the stingy old curmudgeon's name is synonymous with misers who detested the giving Christmas spirit.  I don't think I've ever seen any Scrooge images painted so thought, why not?  MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!
Image is copyright 2014 Kay Smith.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Kitten Khristmas

5.5x8.5 watercolor and ink on paper, sketched this weekend and painted today of an imaginary orange tabby kitten enjoying his first Christmas.  He's managed to get three ball ornaments off the tree and play with them until the owner put a little Santa hat on and told him to pose.
Copyright 2014 Kay Smith.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


8.5x5.5 watercolor and ink sketch on paper partly done Thursday morning while waiting in a doctor's office.  The black and white purse belonged to a young woman sitting in the next chair; it is partly open.  The other two bags were for sale in a western store and are not attached to anything.
COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Letters to Santa

9x10.25 mixed media on paper done yesterday. I sketched with black Uniball pen, then applied watercolor. When dry colored pencils applied to envelopes, then I drew in snowflake shapes to help balance the composition. Poor Santa looks quite tired, and obviously doesn't have email yet. Merry Christmas everyone and Peace on Earth good will to men!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Santa's Shipping and Handling

9x12 watercolor of Santa busy on someone's rooftop preparing to descend down the chimney with his too large bag of goodies.  That family must have been extra good this year for so many crammed into one bag.  Now you know why shipping and handling costs so much.  Splatters of white gouach for snow were added when painting dried.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Lamp Post

10.25x9 watercolor and ink line on paper, a festive lamp post with its Christmas red fancy bow trails and blows in the town wind.  Only the flag across the way waves higher and more majestic in anticipation of the season.  Uniball pen and Daniel Smith watercolors were used in this urban cityscape.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Front Entry Nature Decor DIY

During Sunday afternoon's sandstorm I was busy paying attention to the theme of an old decorating book called Use What You Have.  Since this is a creative blog it is time to show some of the other interests up my holiday sleeve.  I had the old metal pail and watercan, pinecones, curly willow branches, and plaster mourning doves.  Hometalk online had recently featured paper snowflakes on straight twigs as flowers.  But I did not have any white paper snowflakes as Dollar Tree was out, so opted for their small and large plastic ones, and paper stuffed stars for ornaments to put on the branches.  Pinecones filled the bucket while the glue gun heated and I was able to either hang snowflakes or glue them.  Tiny silver frosted Christmas balls were put on at random for an outdoorsy natural set up...all for just a few dollars.  Corny? Maybe, but who knows, this do-it-yourself array might find itself my next unique still life.  Now all we need is snow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Old Christmas Tractor

12x9 watercolor of an old broken down farm tractor in the snow.  I've put a wreath on its front.  Background trees were negatively painted.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Kay Smith.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Caribou Christmas

8.5x5.5 watercolor and ink (Micron 01 pen) on Masters sketchbook paper done yesterday, a lonely reindeer awaiting his orders from Santa to begin trip preparations.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Curious Christmas Fawn

8.5x5.5 watercolor and ink line wash on Masters sketchbook completed yesterday, an imaginary scene of a young fawn checking out  bright shiny ornaments.
COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Barbershop Downtown Big Spring TX

5.5x8.5 watercolor and ink done plein air last Sunday afternoon following rain so there were no great shadows.  I've only sketched three buildings on the east side of Main Street as each one is unique; lots of details have been omitted.  The sign for City Barber Shop is actually white outlined in red but it didn't show up well.  You can see 1900 at the top of the far left building and I did not put James Currie sign under it in this composition (this was longtime store Big Spring Hardware owned by the Atkins family).
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Santa's Workshop

12x9 watercolor on Canson 140 lb cold press paper of a busy old St. Nick working steadily by candlelight in his shop, getting ready for the big sleigh ride coming up across the night skies.  In this imaginary vignette, I've tried to show his intense concentration.  This is using brush only, no pencil drawing done prior.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Midnight Christmas Tree

10.25x9 mixed media imaginary Christmas tree, brush only, so no pencil drawing first.  I used watercolor, gouache, white wax crayon, black India ink, Inktense watersoluble colored pencils on paper.  Paint colors used were Payne's gray, indigo, thalo green, alizarin crimson, Grumbacher red.  Inktense was green.  Splatters were done with both the cool red (alizarin) and warm red (Grumbacher).  White designer's gouache was applied at the end over the pale gray background.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Santa's Snacks

8.5x5.5 watercolor and ink line on Masters sketchbook paper done a few days ago.  Candy canes and chocolate chip cookies with a cold glass of milk await Santa, when he stops by to leave gifts and enjoy a quick refreshment for the road.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Monday, December 8, 2014

World Blog Hop Continues On

               © "Art Studio" ~ Watercolor 2014 Kay Smith/Brushworks Studio Gallery 2014  Big Spring TX


My invitee gets a big Texas "Thanks!" Thank you, Laura Leeder for inviting me to my first World Blog Hop.  Laura has been a follower of mine quite awhile and hails from British Columbia.  Her link where you can check out this watercolorist's latest creations is; she's been blogging since 2008.  So hop on over and see her delicate teacups and lace and other activities she is engaged in.

© "The Gift" ~ Watercolour  Dec 18, 2013  Laura Leeder
~ WORLD BLOG HOP ~ My Chosen Artist To Continue The Hop
I'm thrilled to introduce you all to another west Texas artist named Leada Wood.  Leada has a lovely country home in Colorado City, a full and busy studio, Studio 20, off I-20 interstate, and when not busy painting, teaching, or taking workshops works next door in the family business, Wood's Boots.  We met in 2002 at a Douglas Walton workshop here in Big Spring, TX and I was amazed at Leada's fearless and bold methods of creating art.  Check out her blog here at:  She will attempt to follow the hop by posting on Monday, December 15!

                                                     © "Easy Riders" ~ Watercolor June 17, 2014  Leada Wood

~ WORLD BLOG HOP ~ Question and Answer Period

1. What am I working on?
Currently I am concentrating again on watercolors with nature themes.  Mostly birds or other wildlife from photos taken while outdoors in Texas or New Mexico.  I photograph many views from many angles and enjoy finding hidden areas no one else notices.  Now I am painting a red-winged blackbird, a happy fellow partly hidden by shadows and rocks in a roadside marsh.

 © "Red-Winged Blackbird" ~ Watercolor work in progress December 2014 Kay Smith

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Mostly my art has a vivid color component in design, even with more photorealistic subjects.  I like to include color surprises for the viewer to find.
3. Why do I create what I do?
That question is asked of me all the time and really it depends upon what inspires me on a daily basis.  Sometimes it is a still life, others I feel like going outside to paint plein air with pen and ink and a sketchbook, like yesterday.  I have to feel an excitement for my subject first, though, or the creative juices don't start flowing!
4. How does my creating process work?
An idea is the catalyst for any piece of art.  If unfamiliar with the subject, as in a commissioned work, I'll ask the client to provide photographs.  From there I will usually do a value sketch to get a feel for what I need to zero in on, then apply all my energy in that endeavor, such as pet portraits.  Lately, after having signed up for Sketchbook Skool online, I find more and more the joy in creating sketches of my environment.
Thanks for joining in and learning more about the World Blog Hop!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cool Colored Cat

11x15 watercolor on Canson 140 lb cold press paper painted today.  We had been given December's watermedia challenge on WetCanvas and it was to make a painting bold and bright using ideas given.  This kitty is an orange tabby so I've taken artistic license and selected a color at random and voila! He is a purple puss with bright orange and red accents; background darks are a combination of indigo blue and carbazole violet.  Bed linens and pillow are thin washes of blue bice and light purple then darker splatters while still wet.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bali Princess

30x22 acrylics on paper, an older work that is SOLD.  I drew with wax crayon on dry paper from a small doll figure, then added paint.
This image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Secret Santa

10.25x9 watercolor and ink (Pigma Micron 01 pen) done today.  I drew this wacky Santa this morning around 5:30 then added paint after work.  He looks like he is up to something naughty.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chickadee in a Christmas Tree

10.25x9 watercolor done today.  It is my version of a little chickadee removed from his post he was perched on in the WetCanvas reference, and placed in a loose, splashy tree.  No brush was used, just spritzed paper with water and added several greens, then sprayed sap green in a mister, splattered white gouache, let dry, then with a no. 1 rigger brush, put the darks in his head and wings by negative painting.
COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Birdhouse

6.5x3.5 watercolor done recently for a special painting friend after a birdhouse seen in the mountains of New Mexico. Painted wet on dry I used Daler Rowney 140 lb cold press paper and not too many colors (quinacridone burnt orange and gold, UB, Grumbacher true red, mint julep, green gold.)   No masking fluid was used.  This work is SOLD.
COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

White Amaryllis

11x15 watercolor done a few years ago and is now SOLD.  These Christmas bulbs were too pretty to pass up.  As painting white subjects is at the top of my list this one was a go.  Later I added a multicolored background but think with an unpainted one they are just as grand and elegant.
Image is COPYRIGHT Kay Smith 2011.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Amaryllis Monte Carlo

12x9 watercolor on Canson 140 lb cold press paper completed yesterday of a large red amaryllis with a white star known as Monte Carlo.  I've painted lots of these blooms and thought it was perfect for the first day of December.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Chester Cat Slap

6x8.5 watercolor of our adopted altered male cat, Chester, who is the meanest cat on the plantet.  Not even Jackson Galaxy could tame him.  I took a photo of him trying to slap me and if close enough, the claws come out.  He has been with us 3 years now along with a very sweet little black and white female named Midget.  Both were rescued from our Animal Shelter aka the pound, a kill shelter.  Chester is missing his top eyebrow area whisker and another prominent one by his nose.  No doubt he was sticking his nose in someone else's business.
Image is COPYRIGHT Kay Smith 2014.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Condo Kitchen Sketch

8.5x5.5 watercolor and ink sketch of our mountain condo kitchen, done two weeks ago, one of our last Sketchbook Skool assignments.  In the lesson, we were instructed by Tommy Kane to sit and sketch in ink our kitchen, ignoring perspective, and adding as much detail as possible.  So please excuse the wonky stove range top! On the wall is a very long chef painting on tar paper done by Leada Wood. In the corner is red, black and white chef ceramic pitcher given to me by Barb Miller.  A reflection of the painting can be seen in microwave window, chef spoon rest is on range, red handled knives sit in knife block and you can see the dark plank flooring just installed.  Quartz counter tops are black, white with gold flecks.  Hanging on the oven door rack is a chef themed kitchen towel.  This was all the detail I could get as I was backed up to the sink in the narrow kitchen.  I love the warm golden apricot painted walls.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Plein Air Sketch: Alberto's Crystal Cafe Downtown Big Spring TX

9x10.25 ink sketch using new Lamy pen which I didn't realize had blue ink that was not waterproof.  After Thanksgiving dinner, I drove downtown and drew this townscape plein aire in about 30 minutes, focusing on the cafe and leaving back buildings unpainted.
A prominent landmark for decades, this TexMex restaurant is now closed and relocated to north Hiway 87.  Our family ate here weekly while we were in school and many years following.  Note the pigeons on its roof.  Across the street is The Chalet, a resale shop that benefits the state hospital.  Now there is a large ugly weed growing in front of Alberto's on the sidewalk, a silent salute to one of Big Spring's finest and most colorful buildings.  This work has been posted to Urban Sketchers of Texas Facebook page.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Late Rosebud for Thanksgiving

12x9 watercolor on Canson paper started yesterday and finished this afternoon, a late rosebud just in time for giving thanks for our flowers that brighten our days.  Happy Thanksgiving!
COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rust in Peace (old car)

11x15 watercolor on Arches 140 lb hot press paper, of an old antique jalopy car, broken down and giving up the ghost on an abandoned road.  Parked and left to rust in peace, this ancient vehicle slowly crumbles and settles into the earth.  I did negative painting around its sides and background for trees and branches, overgrown and reaching out to cover the junked metal automobile.  For this work I used only 3 colors:  Winsor Newton Alizarin Crimson, Antwerp Blue, and Arylide Yellow which were spritzed onto dry paper, blended, then developed.  (Ref courtesy WetCanvas)
Image is COPYRIGHT 2010 Kay Smith.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Canning Tomatoes

9x12 watercolor and ink on Bristol 400 series paper/Micron 05 pen finished today, a country still life of Ball canning jars and fresh tomatoes.  This common imaginary scene will bring back memories for some when times were simpler and summer was longer.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Monday, November 24, 2014

November Country Road

11x15 watercolor scene of a muddy country road in November.  Fall leaves have been disappearing just as the warm days have; recent rains add to the ambience of autumn with just a hint of colder weather to come.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Downtown Big Spring TX, 211 Main St.

5.5x8.5 ink and watercolor done this afternoon plein air in our historic downtown. Parking across Main Street I sketched this old corner brick building with Micron 01 pen on Masters sketchbook. The store next door does not have a red awning but it seemed to balance the red sign of The Chalet seen to the left which is on 2nd Street. Two other signs were on the antiques building, The Record Shop, and Militaria, but those were left out as they did not add anything to the composition.  Neither did the sandstorm add anything!  I've joined Urban Sketchers of Texas so today's work will be posted on their Facebook page.  Stay tuned for more from our quaint town in Big Spring, TX!
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Spruce Cones

7.5x5 watercolor and ink (Uniball pen) on Moleskine done today in under 2 hours for the weekend drawing event on WetCanvas! where you have 2 hours to select a photo then make a painting or sketch.  I worked from a black and white image and added my own color choices.  White gouache was splattered for snow when dry.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Politician Cats

22x15 watercolor of 8 different cats who reminded me of politicians, hence its title.  Some are asleep and oblivious, others chewing on everything, one hiding, one sinking maybe drowning (Obama), one cunning and crafty calico, one smirking, and my favorite is the pale tabby licking his chops and winking.  Too funny for words.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Red Laundry Basket

7.5x5 watercolor on Moleskine done today of such a mundane subject, the laundry.  Everybody's got it.  Mine keeps getting piled higher and higher waiting on the weekend.  Here you can see pink socks, bright shirts, and of course, blue jeans which are always at the bottom.  Painting the clothes was easy but the basket's holes were not.
Image COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pear Study

8x5.5 mixed media of my pear, drawn today before I ate it.  At first it was too pretty to eat.  After studying it awhile I got out my black Pigma Micron 01 pen and Strathmore Visual Journal for mixed media and drew the whole pear.  Then I cut it in half until seeds visible, and drew that along with its end and other sections including the core.  Then I took apart the seeds and sketched those.  Crosshatching was done for dark areas.  Media used was ink, watercolor, and colored pencils; the CPs were "color-sanded" into wet areas with fine grit sandpaper so the tiny specks you see are CP pigment bits.  When dry, I stamped 'pears' in black ink at the top and flicked wet paint spray.  An enjoyable Bartlett pear for sure after studying it first.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chickadee Cheer

10.25x9 watercolor and ink of a chickadee in a willow tree of which I've tried to do negative painting in parts.  Some branches and twigs were left natural while others are positively painted.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Monday, November 17, 2014


8x5.5 mixed media on Strathmore Visual Journal for mixed media done today.  Drawn with Uniball black ink pen from life, the first pigment was Sharpie markers at random, then watercolor colored pencils, two different brands, finishing with watercolor for background.  I did wet the colored pencil areas with a 1/2" flat brush to see how/if colors would mix and blend.  Opaque watercolor for the persimmons' green tops was placed over blue green using Coastal Fog, Prussian blue, and Mint Julep.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Condo Living Room

10.25x9 watercolor and ink on sketchbook page, part of an assignment in Sketchbook Skool to do a detailed scene with ink then add color.  Tommy Kane is this week's instructor and he did an demo of his kitchen.  I've also drawn our condo kitchen with its wonky appliances for the homework.  Our condo living room was done last night and took over 2 hours.  From its stone fireplace to Mexican metal sunflowers to ceramic owls it spells fun.  Today just finished reading An Illustrated Journey by Danny Gregory, one of the Skool founders.  I did not realize keeping sketchbook journals was as popular worldwide as it is.  This weekend also was trying out new Uniball black ink pens found in Walgreen's that lots of artists use; I've employed it here in this scene from our Pinon Park condo, and really love its effect gliding across smooth paper.
Image is COPYRIGHT 2014 Kay Smith.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Black Cat

11x15 watercolor of a fellow artist's black cat outside sunning herself. Background and her chair are imaginary.
Image COPYRIGHT Kay Smith 2014.