Sunday, December 25, 2011


It's very early on Christmas day and I have quietly made my way to the kitchen to have some quiet time before the craziness of the day begins. A time to give thanks for God's gift to us,His ultimate gift of salvation. In all the busy-ness of the season it is easy to lose sight of why we celebrate this day.

Today my house will be filled with family, gifts and good food. We will laugh a lot as we play games and visit. The noise level will never go below the roar of a low flying aircraft and the kids will be making messes in every corner. When all the festivities are over my house will resemble a battlefield of fun. I am so thankful for these crazy days of Christmas, knowing that each year we are all together should be cherished. I was trying to put together a video of Christmas's past to play throughout the day with our music. As i was going over all the photos it was a reminder as to how quickly everyone grows up! It also reminded me how much things change although they feel so "the same". Our family is forever changing, growing, multiplying, dividing, dying.
This year is hard for us as Randy's parents are not doing well, his mom with dementia and his dad with pneumonia. So many years a part of our Christmas day celebration, we now are running down early to see them before Christmas. My mom,still weak from surgery, unable to travel,so we will go to her after Christmas but they all will be missed so much this year at our table.
With the baking done,Blake's stocking finished, the decorations complete and before my day begins, I wanted taking a few minutes with you to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope and pray that your time together with friends and family is filled with love and laughter and many, many wonderful memories.

- Desiree

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas and drawing

My tree if finally up and got the lights on the porch this morning. Feeling better and have lots to do.  One of my challenges was "teapot".  I was taking out my ornaments and found this lady with a teapot on her hat and decided it would be my drawing for the day.  Also had another small teapot in my collection and did a drawing of it too.  Hopefully things are looking up this week, cold is better and I can get back into the studio a little this week,  family is coming and food to fix. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

HELLO, where is everyone?

Wow,come on you guys, I know it's Christmas and everything but you must have a minute or two to comment or post a entry even without a sketch.

I am working on a rush job this weekend and I am so far behind in my decorating and sewing projects all due by Christmas! Here are my 12 days of Christmas paintings in progress.

I want to hear about what you are doing before the holidays!

- Desiree

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fon's and Porter- For the Love of Quilting

Its been a busy week, full of surprises!. Yesterday I shared with you that my interview was posted and my quilt was auctioned off on ebay. Well today I received the new Love of Quilting magazine where my pincushions are featured. I hope you will check it out. It should be on the shelves soon, it is the January/February 2012 issue. Also Kelly Mueller from Wooden Bear has a huge spread. They are giving you one of her patterns and they did a whole spread on her studio and then taped her for a new show they are doing on QNN called Quilt with the stars. It is a  wonderful opportunity for her and she is such an amazing person! I happen to know her personally and she is so sweet and down to earth. I hope you will check it out and I have posted some of the links here for you! The first part of her interview is here, the rest will hopefully be up by the time the magazine hits the shelves. Enjoy

Monday, December 5, 2011

Featured artist and my quilt is up for auction.

So much is happening today. I woke up to find my interview for the sketchbook challenge blog was posted. They asked me some questions which made me have to really think about what and why I sketch. I hope you will comment on it. I would love to be asked to be a part of this group of artists.

I also got word that my small quilt I did for the Alliance for American Quilts is up for auction,you can see it here.
It was a photo quilt I did for them but dedicated it to Jennifer and here work with the animals.
- Desiree

- Desiree

Monday, November 21, 2011

pjh-Christmas card class results

I first began taking watercolor classes in 1983 at the Community
Arts Center in Goldsboro, N.C.  We were stationed there at nearby Seymour Johnson AFB.  An event  held on base "showcased" all of Goldsboro's community organizations, offering the military family community the opportunity to join the groups and be a part of the local community too!  I signed up to take a "grass roots watercolor class" - a dream to learn how to paint in watercolor was a dream I'd had since college!  One of my dream goals was to be confident enough in my work to paint our own Christmas cards one day! 

I am posting this ahead of the holidays, giving away to friends and family a bit of my "surprise" to show you what a WONDERFUL teacher Desiree Habicht is. When she told us we'd be using the negative painting technique, I promptly responded I'd come to class because it's a technique that is really hard for me, and I needed to "stretch" out of that comfort zone - but I was sure  it wouldn't become our Christmas card for this year!  Desiree smiled her special smile and softly said "That's OK!"  She had some photos and also some leaves and winter berries we were welcome to use for inspiration - those who know me well, know that flowers and Penny Harrison are almost synonomous!  I used a photo of a poinsettia she'd taken for inspiration.  The poinsettias that grow so well here (native to Mexico) have more slender "bracts" (the beautiful colored part of the plant we think of as the flower!) and her photo was of a naturally growing plant!  Unknown to Desiree, the other part of my "goal" was to be able to do a watercolor of something that is uniquely "California" (I'm a native California girl like Desiree is!) 

The second half of the class was working with computer software to edit the image and then use one of the many available companies to order the printed cards.  THANK YOU DESIREE, for your enthusiastic guidance and soooo helpful critiques!  Not only did she guide me to better understand this difficult technique - here's a "preview" of that dream come true - WAHOO!!! - and I can't say it enough - THANK YOU DESIREE!!!

pjh-you'll never see this again!

I bought a small "travel palette" and loaded fresh paints into it today - this is the last time it will be this "pristine" - Right Ladies!!!?

pjh-my Biggest Fan!

I noted in my journal I love to sew, draw, and paint!  Teddy wanted to remind everyone that even more - I love our Beagles!!! (he keeps me company whether sewing, drawing or paint) - my biggest fan!

pjh-Basic journaling techniques

Fun class - and great exercise in doing the basics!  Thank you so very much Desiree!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Great First Class!

Hi Desiree,

Just a note to let you know what a great time I had today! Marilyn told me I would love your class. She was right! Thank you for inviting me to join in on the fun!

Sketching class in November

My latest postcard sent for the International Postcard Exchange

Hi everyone, we sure missed those of you who were unable to make class. I didn't have anything from class to post so I decided to post my latest postcard I did for the exchange group, don't panic, we didn't paint animals.  We did have two new students that did some wonderful sketching. I want to welcome Christa and Laura to the group and hope they enjoyed the class. We worked on some artist journaling basics and talked about why we are journaling and what the benefits are etc. I recommended Cathy Johnsons new book,Artist's Journal Workshop, creating your life in words and pictures. It is available on Amazon and it will motivate and inspire you to do more! Since I am often asked what should I paint and what should I journal I decided to help show how everyday items can become important enough to paint and journal about. We took some sewing items and quickly sketched them, not getting caught up in details. After a few minutes we passed the item to the right and you had to sketch that item. After sketching several items I reminded everyone that we often don't have our perfect sketching tools with us so we need to adapt and learn to draw with anything. We used mechanical pencils, pen, watercolor pencils, inktense pencils and watercolor. Then they had to journal about sewing. We also had to write down 7 simple items around the house, one per piece of paper and dropped then into a bowl. At the end of class we took turns picking 7 items out of the bowl. The homework assignment is to divide up your journal pages into a grid, or boxes. I would suggest not going too small, maybe two per page. Then during the month draw each of the items, one per box and journal about it. Also glue the piece of paper to the bottom of the drawing. We will share these at our class on January 14, 2012! We are not meeting in December in person, but we can visit here! If you want me to send you 7 items let me know, its nice when you don't pick your own, you might be too easy on yourself!

The exercise of daily journaling and drawing is a private, intimate time between you and the subject matter. You will start to see things more clearly, see more colors, more details. You will really start to view things with an artist's eye. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, its not about that, its about training yourself to see and record. I can't seem to stress it enough, it takes practice. Anything you want to be good at takes practice like music, singing, sports etc. Why do we think art should just happen to us! I have often thought or wished the artist fairy could just sprinkle me with her artist pixie dust and then I would be able to pick up a brush or pencil and create something wonderful. It just doesn't happen like that so you have to do the time. You should learn to enjoy the process or it isn't something you will stick with. Its a journey of self discovery as well as rediscovering the beauty in some of life's most simple things.

I hope everyone will post their work during the month and please comment when others post. Its important to get some feedback when you post. Being an artist is a solitary occupation, not a team sport where you get lots of interaction with fellow team mates.We tend to beat ourselves up when things don't go well, so encouragement from others is always appreciated. Learn to leave comments,  even I like to read comments, we all do.

One last note, I added a new page, you can see the tab at the top of the page on the lefthand side of the page. It is called Videos, I have posted the link to the free video I did on negative painting, I previously emailed you. Let me know if there is a problem viewing it. Happy Journaling

Friday, November 18, 2011

UCLA Campus

I was at UCLA the first part of the week, while waiting for Jennifer's discharge from the hospital we decided to walk the campus. I had never really seen the inside of the campus and enjoyed the beautiful mature trees and architecture that dots the campus. I managed to finally stop and sketch the Royce Hall,a place where they have their performing arts and often host celebrity appearances.

- Desiree

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fat little Sparrow

As the weather cools these little sparrows look so plump as they try to capture that warm air next to their skin. This little sketch was done with my sketch and wash pencil,very quickly. What birds can you capture this week,remember sketch class is next Saturday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Singing the song of Fall

Our plein air group was meeting to paint. It was raining so I was waiting in my car for some of the other artists to arrive. The rain refused to stop so I sat in my car and couldn't help but notice how beautiful the surrounding brush was. The whole mountain side took on a burnt sienna glow with pockets of wonderful colors and textures. Here is my painting from the inside of my car, the process went something like this. Windshield wipers,defroster, paint some, windshield wipers, defroster, heater, paint some more, repeat! I did this for some time but with paint not drying and the rain not letting up I decided enough was enough! I heard the sun did end up coming out but I was long gone, curled up on my couch with the fire on and a warm blanket over me!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christmas is almost here

I know Christmas comes so fast and all of a sudden I need to be ready.   Since I have been doing these watercolor classes, I decided to paint our Christmas Card this year.  Well, after countless of tries I was not happy with any of them. So, I cut them up and did a collage with the pieces.  From our last classes,  I played with the saran wrap, salt, stamping leaves, negative painting, and several washes. I think it has turned pretty neat.

I like working with the watercolor, but find controlling the water very difficult. I am seeing some practice paying off with my washes.  Drawing seems to be my most difficult part of it all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas Card Class- November 13, 2011

Hi everyone! I hope that you are rolling into fall and will be able to find some time to do some painting. I dont care what you paint, just paint something. Last week I did a challenge, to take just one object and divide a small piece of paper or canvas up into 4 sections. Now set you clock for 10 minutes and paint your one object, when the timer goes off stop! Then move on to the next one. It is harder with watercolor since we have a problem or challenge with the wet paint running but try it anyway. Its fun and fast. The key is to not get caught up in details but try to capture the darks of shadows, lights of highlights and paint shapes not objects! Remember lesson one!
One other thing, I am going to be teaching a Christmas card class. This class will be on November 13th and it will be an all day class. Whatever we dont finish in class will be finished immediately after since we are trying to get Christmas Cards printed. We will be painting using the negative painting method and doing berries and greenery for our cards. The card I posted is just an example, yours can look completely different. It will be lots of fun and you will have a beautiful painting at the end of the day. We will then scan your painting into the computer and add text if you like. Then we will go online and explore some to the possibilities of having cards printed so there will be a computer lesson too. Plan on all day and feel free to bring snacks and drinks. I will have some things here also. Let me know if you are going to take the class as I am only going to fill quickly. I will only have a few of you (4-6) so I can give a lot of attention to your cards and the computer part of it so that it is personalized and you leave with a finished card. I will be putting the information on my website so check it out. Happy Painting

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another fun day at class!

Well we had a great class, it was just so fun. There were four students that just learned new and different techniques with watercolor. We did salt, plastic wrap, torn paper, spatter, washes, sunset skies, webbing, even some resist and I didn't get to them all. We played and visited and just caught up on things since many were returning from being away for a few months. I wanted to let some of you know that there is an art expo coming at the end of the month to Pasadena. They will be offering some classes. If you are interested let me know and I will send you the link.  I think I might even take a class, they sound like such fun! I would love to see some of your techniques posted in our blog.

If you are interested in doing a Fall card exchange let me know, I would like to get it sent out soon. If I don't have enough interest we might try for Christmas. It can be any size, any thing, any technique. This is a bird/flower design I was playing with for fabric but it could be a cute card too.  The card exchange is  just to have some fun! Let me know. I also will be offering my "Paint your own Christmas card class" in the second week of November. Please let me know if you are interested, you can see all the details on my website under workshops., I will be updating the date shortly. Happy Painting!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sketch Class

Hi everyone!! I know many of you have been really busy and haven't had time to post or paint but I wanted to remind everyone that this Saturday is the sketchclass. We will be working on some fun watercolor techniques. Bring your sketchbooks and paints for some fun, the weather should be perfect for us to be outside again.
I need to crop and clean this up but wanted to post one of the sketches I did at my moms house. These hydrandeas were amazing colors of blue and purple and pink and she doesn't add anything to the soil!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another Rose Arbor

With the cooler nights the roses are blooming again with vengeance. This trellis is cover with Sally Holmes, a climbing rose and one of my families favorite varieties. Whether its at my brothers house or my house or the Kids houses, you can see my mom in just about everything. She has created an amazing legacy of love for her family. She is generous to a fault and thrives on helping transform the drab into the most beautiful!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Altissimo rose

I found this rose variety one year at the Huntington Gardens and fell in love with it, my mom followed when she saw it at my house and has planted a few at both her house and my brothers house. It's a beautiful single rose with dark foliage that is still a show stopper after all these years. Growing on a this light stucco wall with this pineapple finial the rose stands out and makes everyone come closer for a better look.

Friday, September 30, 2011


As I visited my mom I enjoyed waking up to this view every morning. I thought it was so perfect considering this was our lesson last month.This view I'd down the valley toward the ocean. What vistas have you painted this month?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hidden Gardens

My moms property is nestled on some foothills next to the redwood forest in Mendicino county. She has some of her "garden rooms" tucked under stands of redwoods, this is where this Buddah sits. Watching over this area of the garden surrounded by hydrangeas and anemones she sits on her ivy covered redwood stump.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rose Arbor

I am visiting my mom this week and I am enjoying the opportunity to paint in her amazing yard. Her yard always looks beautiful with things blooming off and on all year. Here is a 75' arbor that leads to a gazebo. She hopes to have weddings here on her 5 acre estate in wine country!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September Sketch Class

We had an awesome class this month. It was so great to see how everyone stepped up to the plate and took on this challenge. After a demo on how to create distance in a painting and painting vistas I let everyone choose a photo. I had a bunch of pictures face down on the table, everyone had to pick a photo to paint. As scary as that sounds, everyone did an amazing painting! I would love to see some of the other ones, so come on you guys post those pictures!  We have about 2 weeks till our next class. Your challenge is to paint a vista scene, like we did in class but of what you see from your house or near your house. Try to find a scene that has background, midground and foreground. If you are having trouble try looking through your camera lense, this helps to frame your picture and can help you see what you will be painting more clearly. Good luck.
I will be up north, visiting my mom this next week. I am taking my sketchbook and paints, hopefully I will come back with tons of great sketches. It should be beautiful up there since its getting close to fall. Keep painting, remember I have a holiday card class coming up if your interested let me know.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Grape Orchard

Today we watercolored from a photo.  This is my interpretation of the photon shown below.  First time I have watercolored so loosely and totally enjoyed it all at the same time.  This was most enjoyable.


This is a lesson in layout from Desiree's class. I enjoyed the technique of using circles to frame both journaling and paintings.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Playing with painting

Wildflowers in Oregon
We stopped at a coffee shop for Mocha's and they had planters of many flowers, don't know what this bell flower is.

These are of couple of paintings I have done the last few weeks of traveling.  I always love flowers, so this is where I gravitate to with my sketching/painting. A comfort zone I guess! I do the same with my photography - with the macro on my camera I can get good closeups and snap all the colored flowers. We are hiking a lot, seeing many birds and plants/flowers and riding our bikes. Hubby keeps me hoping and it doesn't give me much time to pursue sketching, he's not into sitting for any length of time.  I do get a few in when possible. Nasturtiums seem to grow everywhere and in Oregon they have hanging baskets of annuals at every corner of every town, so that is my most recent sketch. I like each one I do better than the last, finding out the dark backgrounds work well and make the flowers stand out better.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Postcard Exchange

This is the BEAUTIFUL postcard I received from Deborah in this exchange.  I just love the wonderful brilliant colors in it and thank you so much for it.  This I will frame when I get home. I hope we do an exchange again - it was so fun! Looking forward to seeing everyone from Sketchy 5150 soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My postcard

This is the postcard I sent out to Deborah. I did the circles with a grape theme to practice the technique. See my blog for other practice pieces.  It was a fun technique.  After dry, I added a couple of tendrils and spattered some small droppings onto a wet surface from my watercolor pencils. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chili Peppers

I finished my chili peppers.  I like the gold accent across the page.  It seems to enhance the shadows of the peppers.  Now when I look at things, I look for the shadows.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Me week at Land Meets Sea camp with Jennifer

As you guys all know, I was in Long Beach all week with Jennifer and Randy. She was participating in an outdoor adventure program through the rehab hospital she goes too. It was an amazing week of water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, rock climbing, a Luau, sailing etc. I was so busy I didn't get much sketching done, too tired. Here is my seadoo, done one the pier while waiting for her to return from skiing. I noticed that my paper always felt damp in the marine layer and the sun was not coming out until the afternoon each day. I meant for some dreary paintings.
A little lesson here. If you notice my water you will see it is dark green and a small amount of blue with mostly white showing through. When the sun is shining on water it is very reflective and there will be alot of white reflections. The water also reflects the sky so if its a gray day then the water is going to be gray too. I added blue since it was so yucky in person! The choppier the water, or the more movement the water has the more white areas or reflective spots will appear in a broken pattern, that shows the movement of the water. In the case of a still lake you would get almost mirror reflections and smoother light areas. Remember, this is about learning to see, to really look and see as an artist. Most people never notice these types of things as they pass through life. We are blessed to have a more keen sense of color and details since we record them in our sketches and paintings. Take the time this month to look at water if you get the chance and to practice on shadows.
The sketch class was all about shadows this month, video coming soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Postcard Exchange

The first postcard I received is from Desiree - using the negative painting technique - BEAUTIFUL - I am hand delivering mine to her tomorrow.

pjh-Fresh Rasberries and Blackberries

Had breakfast out on the back deck another morning - more delicious local raspberries and blackberries

Friday, August 12, 2011

pjh-Looking for black bears on Prince William Island

We flew in a small sea plane out to Prince William Island - and found this momma and her cub. Our pilot was doing pylon turns around this peak several times to get a good look and a few pictures. There were also 4 sitka black tail deer on this peak.

pjh-Enjoying summer's bounty of fruit

For breakfast on the first morning of our Alaskan cruise!

pjh-class project (June!)

I chose the Imposter Rose from Desiree's garden to attempt this project!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I took a class, "Watercolor on Yupo Paper", at the Laguna Beach Art-A-Fair yesterday.  Our watercolor painting was a Jellyfish.  The paper is so totally different than watercolor paper and it will take some practice manipulating the watercolors on Yupo.  It was different, but fun.

Friday, August 5, 2011

July's class was on negative painting, I touched on the when and where you might want to use negative painting and then we did this fun technique. It is easy and fun once you get it figured out in you mind. The video is available so you can do the technique as you follow my step by step instructions. See you guys on the 13th of August!! There are also spots still available in my butterfly applique class at Gingers on the 29th of August.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sketches from my walk

This morning I woke up and was out early, just Chloe and I making our way to the coffee shop when I saw this feather. I think it's from a Red Tailed Hawk. One of the things I enjoy the most about walking and running is that I get to enjoy the things I would never see if I was driving.What oddities do you find on your walks?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Painted Rose

This is not watercolor, but Seta Color. I painted it in a class I took at Sisters, Oregon Quilt Show last week. We painted from a photograph.  Thought my friends might want to see it, even though it is not watercolor.  Will eventually put it in a quilt. Sorry I miss class again next week - but I keep practicing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Garden stir fry

Enjoying the summer veggies coming out of the garden, not only fruits but veggies too!

Friday, July 1, 2011


My fruit for this week is Strawberries, my favorite all summer.  Traveling, there are many berry stands to get fresh in season berries.  This afternoon, I sat outside my camper and played with these berries.  I want to practice, but wish I could get simpler drawings - I feel I get too complicated in my shape and too much paint on it. I did like the leaf stamping so much, and the circle idea - I used this on the berries.  Ate them afterward, ummmm good!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011


This one I had already done awhile back, so I thought I'd go ahead and post my fruit.  And yes!  Tomatoes are fruits NOT vegetables like everyone thinks.  Tomorrow I will post for, all of you out there that think tomatoes are vegetables, real fruit.
I had done this at a class I took at CREATE from Cloth Paper Scissors and came home and journaled.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is anyone painting out there??

We have been quiet , haven't we!? Well I am sure most of you have been busy with Fathers Day activities, kids and grandkids out of school, classes etc. I want to encourage you to keep up with your sketching and journaling, do it for yourself. It is such good practice plus it puts you in touch with things happening in your life at this moment. You are capturing something forever! Take a minute and look back over your pages or just a page and I bet you will agree with me when I say, it takes you right back to that day or time. 

I have been so busy working in the yard, preparing for some quilt shows along with a couple of artshows that all seem to fall at the same time of year. It is a fun, busy time and I am enjoying every minute.

My pepper dish designs were not picked up, sadly. I would have loved to have dishes with my artwork on them! I hope in the future that will happen. For now its also been alot of hours in my yard, garden and picking fruit. My apricot tree ripened all at once and my peach tree is following suit. I lost two huge limbs of peaches as they could not hold the weight of the peaches although I did trim and thin, obviously not enough. After eating all we could of the apricots I decided that I would make Apricot Brandy instead of jam this year. I took the rest of my apricots and made the brandy, it is sitting in a dark, cool place for a few days or weeks until I strain and put into decorated jars as gifts at Christmas. Here is my page and recipe for my apricot jam. I may use this sketch as a gift tag for the finished gifts. There are so many wonderful ideas for your sketches!! I am posting the steps I did as a reminder for you as you paint.

I started by painting my jar and apricots loosely. Then I photographed this stage, incase I want to use as a tag or label later.

Now I taped the edge of the papter and loosely painted the background in soft greens and yellows, using the my favorite black velvet brush and did loose leaf shapes.

Next I did our leaf press trick after I blocked out a square to keep light for journaling. I also added some details to the jar and apricots. Not over working, keeping the whole page loose and fun.

The final page, well I might go around the recipe with a bit darker trim. I made it look stitched onto the background. I added some journaling around the outside edges and put the Apricot Brandy recipe in the box.

Ok let me see some fruit!!!

Your assignment until we meet again is to be recording some of the beautiful fruits you are enjoying this summer! It is such a glorious time of year with all the varieties of fruits available to us. Whether you are canning, grilling, putting them on ice cream, drinking them, lets share our love of color and fruit.