Painting The Light: part 2

Beginning the sky

Beginning the sky

Stage 1

Sky step 2

What next? Right away I knew that the sky wasn’t working. Did I start all over again? or make it work?

So I began to “unpaint”. Now my students are wondering how I unpaint. I’ve never been fond of starting all over again so I’ve taught myself how to use what I already had done. After all it wasn’t a disaster, just needed correcting.

Continuing with the development of the Bass Harbor Light I realized that I was pulling the attention to the left of the painting with all the detailed clouds in that area. I began by neutralizing the left sky by slip slapping in dark values, bringing the darks across the sky toward the right, and lowering the blues toward the horizon. In this way I directed attention toward the sky near the light house.

I had already added the water, lighter toward the horizon and darker toward the bottom of the design.

I based the light house with white for placement and continued to develop the sky, adding light clouds near the light house. I also added darker cloud details in the sunset and adjusted the intensity of the oranges and yellows. Then darkened the lower water area.

Now the more detailed clouds and sunset helped pull attention to my center of interest.

The sky was really key to developing my center of attention and creating the drama of this design.

Bass Harbor Light: Step 3

Bass Harbor Light: Step 3

I’ll be back to show you about the buildings and greenery. Watch out rocks! Here we come.

My local classes are in the midst of painting this design but I have scheduled a Saturday class for those who can’t come during the week on April 7, 9a-5p. Register now to join us.


It Happens Only Once a Year

That’s right. But some how it seems to happen every year just about this same time.

My birthday is coming up!

So help me celebrate. I  have a special at Creative Workshops on my video classes.

Why 29%? The first person to tell me why it’s 29% gets a video class at 50% off.  Email me at telling me why you think it’s 29%. First person to get it right gets a class at 50% off.



Painting the Light

Bass Harbor Light

Painting light after all is what we are doing in our artwork. Light creates volume, sets the mood, creates interest, and gives your painting life. In our classes we’ve been concentrating on different lighting situations recently in our landscapes and our upcoming seascape. I thought I would share my thoughts and preparation for painting the Bass Harbor Light.

Bass Harbor Light

Bass Harbor Light

I was asked by one of my students to paint the Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Maine so I began to research the structure and different lighting options. I decided that I wanted to make the light house stand out through my use of light and detail. I wanted the lighthouse to have the most detail and gradually use less and less detail as I moved away from the center of interest. Of course, that’s the way to create a center of interest.

Sunset , one of my photo inspirations

Sunset , one of my photo inspirations

Being a sky enthusiast, I love watching clouds and the colors in the sky at different times of day, I’ve taken lots and lots of sky and cloud photos. This was a good opportunity to go back through my photos as inspiration for the sky in this painting. I found the color ideas and cloud formations to create drama and decided where in my painting I needed to have the most vivid colors and active clouds to call attention to the center of interest.

Sunset clouds inspiration

Sunset clouds inspiration

Next I decided on the size canvas I would use, actually I went to my stock of canvases and discovered the 12 x 24″ which I though would add even more drama to the painting.

I created my drawing of the lighthouse, sized it, and positioned it roughly on my canvas since I would be covering it up when I added the sky. I used DecoArt Traditions paints because I like the vividness of the colors and quality of the paints, just right for a dramatic sky.

Half of the work of creating a painting goes in the research and preparation before I ever pick up a paint brush. I sketched a thumb nail of my design and when I was satisfied with placement and possible colors I was ready to choose my paints and begin the sky.

I had decided on an evening sky with strong sunset colors just before the sun goes beyond the horizon so I chose oranges, yellows peaking through a dark blue sky. Then I applied my first layers of paint for the sky and water.

Beginning the sky

Beginning the sky

I’ll continue my process in my blog so check back to see how I progressed and what needed adjusting as I painted. As you see there will be a lot of changes made.

Or even better, you can join one of my classes at Artful Endeavors and paint along with me. Check the schedules for the Raleigh day class and the Cary evening class. I’ve been asked to hold a Saturday class and I’m looking for a day that works. Let me know if you would like to come paint with us any of these times.

Artful Endeavors 2018

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. I am hearing that some of you gifted those people that you really, really like with your art work and I’m sure they were appropriately impressed.
I’m ready to see all of you again and get back to some colorful creativity.

Our Back to Painting Party/Open House is this Sunday. Bring your friends that would like to see our studio. They might even decide to come paint with us.

I’ll be here with the sample and prep for our first project, Winter Light pictured above. Hope you like it.

Sunday, Jan 7, 2018

1:00PM – 04:00 PM

Artful Endeavors

Drop in

Check the web site for class details.
Classes start Jan 9 in Cary and Jan 10 in Raleigh.

Can’t join us on Sunday…. You can register for class on line and I’ll be glad to send you prep instructions.

Winter Light

Winter Light

Hope to see you there,


How Did We Get Here So Fast?


Wow, It’s the end of another year. The time seems to go so fast these days and here I am posting the last classes for 2017. We still have some fun paintings in the works before we take our holiday break so be sure to check the schedule.

Check out the poinsettia and the Santa in Cary and we have a bit of whimsey planned for Raleigh day class.

A JoSonja design

A JoSonja design

Our Raleigh evening class on Wed is starting the Mountain Church this week. Still time to join us.


Our seminar with Kathie George was terrific as usual and we always learn so much.

23473139_10155171928672898_5941224235698674149_nThis year we painted a batik, back by popular demand, one we had admired for awhile. Love the donkeys and the vibrant colors.

23622440_10155171928777898_5150193408564126012_n 23473144_10155171928897898_4233289478762885704_nAnd then we learned about using a Gelli plate, what fun!


23519268_10155174055317898_457947305802409468_nAnd the swamp was luscious. (Still have to finish mine).


And now we’re looking forward to having Kathie back for next year. We even have some projects planned.23518846_10155176778407898_1820965236595304833_nWatch for our exciting plans for 2018!

What’s Happening In Sept At Artful Endeavors

Green Swamp
Golden Acrylic 
Kathie George design

A Short Note to Catch Up


I’ve just returned from a wonderful weekend workshop with Lisa Ann Watkins, watercolor pencil artist which left me inspired and wanting to do more, right now! But I thought you would appreciate being updated on studio class happenings, so here’s what coming:
* Yes, we are painting the Santa Face this Wed. I have the paints, just register and come join us. My surface is a 8″ round but any smallish size will do. Wed, Sept 13, 10a-2p.
* And we are all set to paint my Kitty Angel Ornaments this coming Fri, Sept 15, 10-2p. I have the ornaments. You are welcome to paint any color cat you would like.
* Wed pm at the studio is painting my mixed media Blue Bird starting this week, Sept 13, 27, & Oct 4, 4p-6p.
* If you missed the Road to Know-Where, our Cary painters will begin it on Sept 26, Oct 3, 10 & 24. From my basic design each painter can personalize. Class is 6:15p-8p.
Kitty Angel Ornaments

Kitty Angel Ornaments


Road to Know-Where

Road to Know-Where


Mixed Media Blue Bird

Mixed Media Blue Bird






I’m working on getting the web site updated and will have all the classes posted soon. We’ve been planning classes for the rest of the year and hope you can join us. A little holiday sprinkled with some other favorite designs + lots of imagination.

Here’s the dog that I penciled with Lisa. Carol, Pat and I had a great time and I really enjoyed learning something new to me. It’s not finished but I am pleased with it.

Watercolor Pencil In Progress A Lisa Ann Watkins design

Watercolor Pencil
In Progress
A Lisa Ann Watkins design

Water Lily Gelli Kathie George design

Water Lily Gelli
Kathie George design

Details for our Nov seminar with Kathie George are posted! Hope you can join us. We have an exciting variety of projects planned.
Details and Register.

Donkeys Batik Kathie George design

Donkeys Batik
Kathie George design

Green Swamp Golden Acrylic  Kathie George design

Green Swamp
Golden Acrylic
Kathie George design

Mark Polomchak seminar 2017

Mark Polomchak seminar 2017

We had a great time painting with Mark Polomchak again this year.

Watch for photos on the blog. I have them already on Face Book.
Mark and I are talking about next year. Stay tuned.

Watch the web siteand Face Book for more updates.

©2017 Artful Endeavors | 200 Sawmill Rd, Suite 201, Raleigh NC 27615



Summer Classes and Workshops at Artful Endeavors

close to finish

Join us for one of our 2017 summer workshops with Liz at Artful Endeavors. We’ll explore our creativity with acrylics and watercolors.
Be sure to register at least 2 wks prior to class.
We need at least 4 participants to hold the class.

close to finish

* Some of you have requested a class to paint the Road to Know-where. The class has been rescheduled to Saturday, Aug 12. Register by July 26.
* The classes are updated on the web site so let’s do some summer painting.
* Note that we are starting another paint your own from your photo of a beach sunset starting next week on Wed am. We’ll explode our painting with color.Our Wed evening class has requested to paint their own landscape. Bring that photo inspiration and let’s paint.Watch for an upcoming portrait class a little later! Start looking for the photo to use. Don’t have one of your family you want to paint? We’ll find you a family member. Maybe a self portrait…Fri Aug 18 is our next Paint Your Cat for Purr Partners. I’ll have more information on that soon.

Can’t travel to Artful Endeavors? Join me on Creative Workshops on one of my online classes.

Summer Romance

Summer Romance

* It’s time to sign up for our summer seminars if you haven’t done so already.


Mark your calendar that I’ll be out of town June 19-23. It’s beach time!

I’m on Face Book at Artful Endeavors. You don’t even have to be on Face Book to follow me.

Inspired and Ready to Paint

Maggie, Sharon, and Liz

SDP Conference 2017 was an inspiring treat. Learning, seeing painting friends from all over the country, eating delicious foods, and being greeted by the ocean every morning and evening.


No teaching for me this trip. I was a “regular person” as someone said.

I took 3 colored pencil classes since I don’t usually get to use colored pencils and have a lot to learn about them. 3 different teachers with 3 different focuses. Just what I wanted. Of course I had to do the cats with Mark Menendez and Lorinda Hull but then also the blue heron with my friend Janelle Johnson. Mark is coming to our chapter next year and it was exciting to experience what a great teacher he is. Looking forward to class with him again. Lorinda’s cat was beautiful and she had a different touch with her colored pencils that was good to try. I didn’t know I could create that solid a background with colored pencils. Janelle is always a wealth of information and I always learn so much in one of her classes, this time with colored pencil and pastels for the background. Loved the effect. Great classes.

Mark's Ginger Cat

Mark’s Ginger Cat


Janelle’s Blue Heron design

Lorinda's Mr Kitty in progress

Lorinda’s Mr Kitty
in progress

And then Maggie and I took a class with Sharon Hamilton in color glazing. She had the underpainting completed for us so that we could just start focusing on the glazing. And they were looking wonderful using this technique used by the old masters. Sharon is amazing.

Sharon's glazing in progress

Sharon’s glazing
in progress


Maggie, Sharon, and Liz

Maggie, Sharon, and Liz

I have my samples at the studio if you would like to stop by and see them.

And then there was visiting with painting friends that I know, those I know from Face Book, and new friends I now know. Socializing was rampant. I had opportunities to catch up with current friends and it was fun to meet Face Book friends in person for a change.

Friends from the SC Foothills Chapter

Friends from the SC Foothills Chapter

Liz and Judy Westegarrd-Jenkins

Liz and Judy Westegarrd-Jenkins

All the painters and vendors at the trade show gave me new ideas after viewing their paintings and products. Did I mention that I’m inspired. And what fun to add a face to someone I’ve been doing business with for years. They really do exist in real life!  So now I have new wood products, stamps, and stencils to use for designing, restocked brushes, re-found products, and lots of ideas to explore.

And I know what is currently happening at the society. Come by and I’ll bring you up to date.

SDP General Meeting

SDP General Meeting

And then there was the eating, wonderful meals…  During the days we had small quick meals before or between classes but then at night we enjoyed ourselves. One of my friends from Fla recommended Aunt Catfish’s and it was so wonderfully deliciously good. If you get an opportunity to be close to Daytona Beach be sure to go to Aunt Catfish’s. Sea food including catfish, hot bar, and salad bar with everything delicious. And on the river.


Maggie at Bubba Gump's

Maggie at Bubba Gump’s

So now I’m back, inspired, and ready to create. Come join me soon.


On the Road to Daytona!


Hello, Art Enthusiasts!

What’s New

I’m traveling to the Society of Decorative Painters conference this week! And I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing friends that I haven’t see in too long and learning from the classes I’ll take. I have my colored pencils packed and my acrylic supplies. My classes will be with Mark Menendez, Janelle Johnson, and Lorinda Hull for colored pencil, and Sharon Hamilton for acrylic. It will be fun to do something our of my usual area of expertise.

I’ll try to post photos from the conference so watch our Artful Endeavors Face Book page.

I just got congratulated for making the cover of the summer Decorative Painter Journal. I haven’t see it yet so it will be a surprise to me.


On Creative Workshops!

My Summer Romance is at Creative Workshops now and available for some relaxing summer painting. It’s time to add a little romance to our paintings with this fun feminine design. We’ll exercise our shading techniques to create shiny pearls and a gracefully flowing hat brim. Then we’ll set all of our items down on a surface to give the effect of just waiting to be picked up. Join us in painting this quiet summer moment.

Theory and Techniques included: Light Source, Side Loading, Shading and
Highlighting, Dry brushing, Creating ripples, Border line work
9 videos, 10-15 minutes in length


Pink Hydrangeas Packet Available

You’ve asked for a packet for my Pink Hydrangeas design in acrylic. It will be available when I return from conference. Watch the blog and Face Book for information on ordering. Packets will be sent in email form.



Seminars for 2017

Registration is open!

Ros Stallcup: July 19-22, 2017
Join us for our 20th year of painting with Ros at Artful Endeavors. Once again Ros has designed entirely new projects for us. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from Ros and just enjoy a painting-ful 4 days. Register now.

Flower Basketflowers WED edt Stan’s BeachStan's beach edt Winter Still Life with BunnyBunny still life edt


Pumpkin extravaganzaPumpkins edt

Register now for our 3 day seminar with Mark Polomchak.

Mark is back with more watercolor excitement. Plan to join us Aug 26, 27, & 28.
Single day registration opens in July if seats are available.

Koi Mark Polomchak

Mark Polomchak

Sunday: Koi


Saturday: Ibis

Ibis Mark Polomchak

Mark Polomchak

Monday: Red Truck

Red Truck Mark Polomchal

Red Truck
Mark Polomchal

Our seminar with Kathie George

is scheduled for Nov 13-15, 2017. I’ll post details soon. Kathie has just returned from her Africa painting journey. She’ll have lots of exciting details to share with us.



Waves and missing the gulls in progresswaves and gulls in progress

Weekly Classes and Workshops

We’re adding to our schedules so be sure to check the web site for updates.
The waves and gulls in on the schedule and we’re adding more Paint You Owns since the students are enjoying them and asking for more.
Class Schedules

From our Cary Class painting their own landscapes.20170509_194551 20170509_194901


Have a nice week and I’ll see you back at the studio next week.

My Favorite Painting

Sunning Turtles
designed by Liz Miller CDA
video class can be found at

I am sometimes asked, “What is your favorite painting?” My answer is usually, “The next one.” Actually my favorite part of painting is the process. I do have paintings that I have completed that I especially favor but they are done. It’s pleasing to look at them and share them with others. I like and need praise like all of us and that’s rewarding, but those paintings are completed.

The process is the most exciting part to me, the most absorbing, where time just passes unnoticed.   I love getting started on a new painting, figuring out how to begin and in what direction I’ll wander.


turtles, the beginning of an idea


The turtles would be great in this setting.

The best part is that there is no rule about what I have to do with any one painting. Yes, of course I have studied, know about composition, perspective, color harmony, and all the rest of our artistic theory, absorbed it all and take it into consideration. One of my favorite ideas from Candice Olson, HGTV designer, is knowing the rules and knowing when to break them. We do need a good base of knowledge about our art, how is good art structured, know the rules. As these rules are internalized and become the foundation for our art, they are then liberating. We can explore from there.

I love figuring out how to create something new to me, a new idea, a new texture, technique, subject. This is usually done by experimenting. If I try this does it work? If not try something else. If it does, wow, exciting. And there is no end to learning. That’s my favorite painting.

Sunning Turtles designed by Liz Miller CDA video class can be found at

Sunning Turtles
designed by Liz Miller CDA
video class can be found at