Category Archives: Shopping

Watercolor Painting: Peony, Lily, and Cosmos Arrangement & updates on some oil paintings

Peony Lily Cosmos watercolor by Betsyness Studio
Peony Lily Cosmos watercolor by Betsyness Studio

Here is another floral watercolor painting in my favorite blush pink and brown color combination! I concentrated the pigment on the center of the peony and the base of the upside down lily.

Some oil painting updates

Minty cloud abstract oil painting by Betsyness Studio
Minty cloud abstract oil painting by Betsyness Studio

I don’t think I blogged about this painting before. This is an oil painting on a reworked acrylic painting from years ago. I was playing with Gamblin’s Torrit Grey borrowed from a fellow Portland painter, Bruce Reed. I have been to Dick Blick and they no longer have the sample paint ūüôĀ but apparently Gamblin gives this color out every year. I think I had in my mind to paint this amazing view of the Columbia Gorge from Lyle Washington, but at some point the painting felt done to me. My favorite part is the fleck of bright mint green, hence the name of the painting ‘Minty Cloud Abstract.’

I am also reworking an oil painting that I started last year of a crocosmia blossom against a patterned bath towel. I did not like how the colors were working together so I am making this more monochromatic. We’ll see if this comes together.

Crocosmia oil painting in progress
Crocosmia oil painting in progress

Studio Kitty Photo Break

Kitty with daisy ikebana
Kitty with daisy ikebana

Here’s Matisse the orange kitty with my Christmas present, a ceramic ikebana vase from a local Portland ceramic artist.

Design I Like: Beam & Anchor

I follow Beam & Anchor on Instagram, ¬†they ‘re a cool Portland retailer that has an awesome selection of merchandise.

I want this linen apron.  

Or this linen towel.

Beam and Anchor

Linen is so beautiful. How come art stores don’t carry pre stretched raw linen art panels in these colors?

This simple geometric stand for jewelry is kinda impractical for me since I don’t wear a ton of jewelry. But I love the elegance of its form and it’s not ridiculously expensive.

Beam and Anchor


A fun, Scandinavian towel in lovely shades of mustard yellow. Also not ridiculously priced.

Beam and Anchor

Acrylic Paint, Papers, and Grounds

Floral still life, acrylic painting on board

I’m slooking at piles of artwork from the past year and half or so… and I’m thinking what¬†was I thinking. So much of it is cringe worthy and I want to throw¬†¬†them in the trash/recycling¬†right now. In the spirit of Big Magic, I have to remind myself not to be too hard on myself, that all of that time and effort was part of the process of learning watercolor…which is seductively expressive and hard to control.

Meanwhile, as I have¬†just¬†started to get a grasp on watercolors, of course I’m back to trying to figure out acrylics. I have a huge tub of heavy¬†body¬† acrylics in all sorts of fun colors. How much money I surely have wasted on different brands and types of paints… it never ends. Now though, I want to know more about the fluid types of acrylics that Golden produces, as well as all of the fun mediums that you can add to acrylic. They also produce a new line of “modern” watercolors, called Qor watercolors that of course I need to try. Sigh.¬†As a side note, I have to give a kudos to all of the paint companies, their product specialists surprisingly will respond to emails pretty much the same day with informative advice. Comcast and Frontier, this is customer service!

But, after all of that, I came to this conclusion.  The softer, more absorbent ground is better for acrylic, it kind of counteracts the plasticy shininess that acrylic has when it is dried. So something like printmaking paper, like  Rives BFK, is terrible for watercolors. In fact I even think most of the Arches is too absorbent for watercolors, it feels like painting on a paper towel. But they seem to do well with acrylic.  Scott from Golden recommended I try their specially formulated Absorbent Ground.

The less absorbent the ground, like adding matte medium to your gesso or using papers that I like, are better for watercolors.

Some of the products that I want to try:
Fluid Matte Medium 
Absorbent Ground
Matte Fluid Acrylic (can I get my matte greys!)
GAC 100 (Scott recommended that I use a  medium like this to turn my paint tube paints into the fluid types)

Have any of you had any success with these art supplies?¬†And despite it appearing like it, no, unfortunately I am not sponsored by Golden but would love it if they sent me free samples ūüôā

I have to remember, that I have this stack of rejects that I should use when testing new types of paints and techniques!

Acrylic test
acrylic test on paper


Acrylic test on canvas
Acrylic test on canvas

More from my Seattle trip: Food and Shopping

Seattle’s Pioneer Square is so charming. Look at all the ivy-covered brick buildings.

Like Portland, Seattle has so many cute shops and cafes. We stopped so I could get my coffee fix at this one shop (The London Plane) with an amazing floral selection.

Look at this teeny anemone by the register Рso perfect I almost thought it was fake.

The market at Pike’s Place had rows and rows of tulips, every variety you could imagine. If I hadn’t been concentrating so hard on my artisan greek yogurt (Ellenos), I would have more pictures of them.

West Seattle is like being at a beach town on the coast, except you’re still in the city. On one side you can see Puget Sound and from other¬†view you can see Mount Rainier and the Space Needle.

The ‘downtown’ area of West Seattle near California Ave¬†was super cute. I had the best lunch¬†(Pellegrini Market) of handmade lamb meatballs on a pizza crust sandwich thing and I devoured it. There were also cute little shops with more flowers.


Library of Flowers

I have thought about coming up with a less lame name for this blog, but I haven’t thought of anything good. Which is why I am so jealous of this brand with the best name ever, Library of Flowers. It combines my love of flowers and books and art. So easy. Would have been a great name for this blog, too bad it’s taken.

Anyways here are some of their delightfully vibrant packaging- pretty floral watercolors: WANT!

Library of Flowers
Library of Flowers

They’re selling a bunch of items on One Kings Lane. It’s not cheap but candles and perfume are pretty pricey even at Target.

The things in my Oil Painting Part 1

So I’ll be working on this still life oil painting study¬†and looking at the subject for a long time

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One thing I learned from slowing down and taking my time with film photography ¬†is to also take a lot more care in what is inside the frame- meaning no photoshop is not going to fix it. It’s far, far easier to move the random thing out from¬†the background, then to photoshop it out. Ansel Adams would supposedly wait hours to make his exposures, waiting for things like a cloud to come or the right lighting to emerge. From all of the design blogs I read and follow on Instagram, I have learned the importance of¬†styling. What¬†¬†gets me when I am scrolling through Pinterest and I see these technically outstanding works but they are just terrible compositions- the artist must have spent hours looking at¬†these ugly items in order to paint them and I’m like why.

Here’s the¬†fabulous green vase¬†that I found at a vintage store in Portland:

@okoportland do you still have this vase for sale?

A photo posted by Betsyness (@betsyness) on

The store’s proprietor said it is a 19th century German drinking jug- cool!

I found OKO Gallery when it was based in NW Portland. They’re now on Burnside near some other really awesome shops but it’s pretty inconvenient to find parking around there. If you do happen to be in the area check out Redux (I want to buy everything in that store and it’s a great place for gift shopping) and get some yummy chicken from Nong’s¬†Khao ¬†Man Gai.

OKO hired this amazing sign artist to paint their door РI love gold leaf!

The sun is shining! Come say hello!

A post shared by OKO (@okoportland) on

After I had bought the green jug I took lots of pictures of flowers in it.

And I came across this Cezanne painting on Pinterest. Great minds think alike!