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jill polsby

Updated: 2017-10-17T04:20:41.650-07:00


Marmalade Making on January 13, 2017


Sorry to do this to you followers of a painting blog but I needed to have a public posting of the following...There is a community on facebook called "".  I needed a public site where the results of the community challenge could/would be published - so bear with me.I finished up the first marmalade I’ve made in about 30 years. Felt good and brought many memories with it.  The house we purchased 43 years ago, when I was 8 months pregnant with our son came with a “history” of giving jars of tangerine marmalade, made from the already 40-50 year old tree in the backyard, to all of the neighbors.  Having never made jam before, the wonderful 82-year old widow, who was selling the house because she was getting married, gave me a canning lesson so that I “wouldn’t let the neighbors down’.  I still have that marmalade recipe in her handwriting.  It took 3 days to make but boy was it yummy!  Because the tree had not even one tangerine this year……I made a Satsuma orange, Meyer lemon, vanilla bean concoction because that’s what I had on hand.  It’s quite tart with a wonderful complicated taste. Because I had no cheesecloth, I put all the pulp and the seeds in my potato masher and buried that in the kettle with the fruit (the mother of invention). I ran out of time on day one and put the whole kettle in the fridge for 3 days – until this morning when I brought everything to a boil and finished up the jamming process.I now use the non-water-bath method I make jam and since I don’t can anything else (beans, tomatoes, meat), I’ve never worried about a batch going bad.  (Jars, lids are red hot having been in hot water and/or the oven.) I’ve sent out a request via our neighborhood’s email system that I would love some homegrown tangerines in exchange for a jar or two of jam.  Have had several responses.  Am looking forward to making Mrs. Heller’s tangerine marmalade once again.[...]

More about gorgeous, metal palettes


Was reading Brenda Swenson's blog post today about her method and equipment that she uses to sketch on a daily basis.  Her bag is a wonderful bag that we have all bought at one point in time, trying to copy Brenda - because, you know, if you just have the same equipment as Brenda, or Charles Reid, or Ted Nuttall,'ll be just as wonderful a painter?   And when you say that to yourself, tell yourself to "go wish upon a star" at the same time!!  All 3 of these painters use a very fancy palette made in England, out of solid brass, by a man named Craig Young.  The boxes are in the hundreds of dollars but are absolutely gorgeous to the feel!  This little box is what they all have and when you take a class from them and see them handling this little, beautifully made, solid brass box.....It's hard to control the drool.Because of Brenda's comment about the Craig Young box I wondered if anyone else had taken up the method.  Because we now have so many "individual" artists here in the U.S. and England?  Yes, 4 more box makers.  They're all still expensive but it's fun to read about them on this blog.  The blog writer's first name is Ron - never could find his last name - he actually uses a totally different palette for his outdoor trips and it's definitely affordable.  Not brass, alas, but the same configuration in plastic.  Frank Herring is this manufacturer's name and his palette is displayed below.  Ron, then, at the very last minute, mentions another palette box.Okay.I've wasted the whole day.Again.Maybe I'll paint tomorrow using my brand new paints and my brand new palette that cost me 4.99.And then one final click on a palette link and a whole, whole blog about palettes showed up.  Now you, too, can waste a whole day and a whole pocket full of change if you're not careful.[...]

11-11-16 It's been awhile and today I've been wasting time looking at......


Portable watercolor palettes that will hold the 1/2 pans for a friend of mine who lives in Canada.  She wrote me an email today with what supplies she's using to learn how to paint and expressed a wish for a traveling palette that would hold 1/2 pans.   I've now wasted a comfortable hour cruising the internet, fascinated by the ingenious inventions of so many people.  And then this one great idea.  Give it a try??'s Tips & Techniques for Watercolor PaintingWater Control ToolWhen learning to paint in watercolor or improving your watercolor painting skills, controlling the amount of water in your brush is very important.  The ratio of water to paint, paint to water, water to paper, etc. is one of the more difficult things to learn.Years ago, I took a number of Zoltan Szabo watercolor painting workshops.  I learned this little trick in his workshop.  It's in several of his books as well.Create your own blotter.  With this blotter, you will learn how to control the water in your brush faster than you would trying to use a sponge or an old kitchen towel. 1. Take a cheap roll of toilet paper.  Yes, toilet paper.  Squish it flat once or twice to crimp the inner cardboard tube.  Pinch the tube with your fingers.2.  Twist and pull out the cardboard tube.  Completely remove it.  Recycle it.  :)3.  I prefer Bounty paper towels.  You will need 5 sheets in length of regular paper towels or 10 sheets select-a-size (my favorite!).  Take the long length and fold it in half lengthwise.  Then fold in each short side half way to the middle, this will end up about the width of the toilet paper roll.  Wrap and roll the toilet paper with the paper towel. 4.  Stuff it into a square plastic container.  I used an old square Tupperware sandwich container.  Charge or pre-wet the top of the surface with a little clear water.You now have the perfect watercolor paint brush blotter, cleaner and water control tool. As you paint, blot your brush on the top to decrease the amount of water in your brush.  Swipe a paint filled brush across the top if you have too much paint in your brush.  Or swipe a dirty paint brush across the top before cleaning it in your water, this will help your water container to stay cleaner longer. The top gets dirty, swipe a wet wash brush across the top a couple times with clear water and the paint seeps into the middle of the roll.  If it gets really dirty, twist the entire roll until a clean portion of paper towel is a the top.  This little tool lasts quite a long time.As silly as it sounds, it really is a good learning tool and extremely handy!These are some of the palettes I found.  An incredible company makes a palette that will hold 80 or more 1/2 pans!!  How could you ever learn the names of the colors!! p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Didot; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Didot; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 20.0px} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} then when you’ve sold several paintings for hundreds of dollars each, you can treat yourself to the ultimate.   these take about 2 years on a waiting list but they are really special! then there’s the cheapest version possible! i’ve never seen this one before! overwhelming number of paint colors would be confusing i would think[...]

August 29: The man in the hat.....


As I said yesterday, this man caught my eye at a watercolor society meeting several years ago and I asked him if I could take his picture.  I dug him out of my files of interesting faces, drew him up and took him to class.  I like my start.  Let's see if I like my ending on Thursday in the class at the Huntington Library that's being taught by Rob Sharrill.  Class got me back to painting.

And then as I upload these pictures, I see my first big mistake.  The hat is much, much bigger, taller than the head and I didn't catch that at all.  So a redrawing is in order before Thursday's class.

Darn, I liked the drawing and liked the initial washes.

I'll finish him up but boy that hat is now so irritating to look at!

August 28: And the felon gets painted one more time......


Drew the felon again.  Made some comments as to my drawing - face too wide, chin too long.....but it was a class and I needed to paint him.Here's the progression of paintings.....ending up in a vivid display of color - the class went on too long and I just kept adding color and color and color.Started another drawing, another painting.  I'll post that beginning in tomorrow's blog.  It's a painting of a man that's a member of the Verdugo Hills Watercolor Society.  He was at a meeting several years ago with his wife and I asked if I could take his picture.  I like very much the way the drawing came together and the initial washes of color.  Let's see where I can take him to make him way, way too colorful.And so the felon:[...]

August 22: And the first painting is complete.


Tore this photo out of the newspaper.  Couldn't believe this cherubic face was wanted by the police but then Karin Jurick (one of my most favorite portrait/anything painters) paints from mug shot files on the internet.  She never names them or says where they're incarcerated, but she always has faces to paint!

When you photograph the "real" person and then photograph the painted person, the errors are glaring. But......this is the first painting in 4 years so gimme a little break.  I didn't think it was all that bad and as a result, I'll go to class again this week - perhaps with this character redrawn and ready to paint again.

August 20: Karin Jurick, a voice from my past


Many years ago, maybe 6, maybe 5, I followed a blog by a woman named Karin Jurick.  She posted portraits (photos) once a week for all of us followers to paint.  We submitted our paintings to her via email and she posted them for all of us to study. It was a monumental effort on her part, very time consuming, but oh so wonderful for those of us struggling to learn the face.  I was so taken with her generosity that unbeknownst to her, I captured the names and emails of the participants and wrote them on the side asking them to take part in a huge thank you to her.  I sent everyone whose name I could find a copy of Karin's picture asking them to paint her, send me an email photo and I would post them all at once in a huge thank you to Karin.  All went well, until (you can see this coming), someone wrote Karin saying when should she send her the portrait she had painted.  The jig was up which was too bad but the project turned out wonderfully.  I'm wondering if I have any of those portrait posts still available.

What started this letter to all of you today?  Karin Jurick has started posting, blogging, once again and I'm hooked all over again.  She paints small:  4x6, maybe an 8x10 if she's feeling adventurous. She only uses flat brushes and look what she accomplishes.

I took a look at her blog and I'll be darned.  There is one of her final portrait posts.  She had all of us who had painted along with her send her a "selfie".  She then swapped/emailed us someone else's selfie.  We were told to paint the stranger (who was painting us) and return our painting via email.  I was sent a fabulous photo of what I termed the "hairdresser".  Wonderful colorful picture.  Alas, the hairdresser never got her act together by the deadline but Karin, wonderful manager, filled the blank spot by painting me!!  You'll have to guess which one.

Enjoy this sequence of paintings by other people.

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August 18: And then the video I should have started with.


This man is in Spokane.  How lucky people are to have access to him and to his teachings.  The best part of this video, in my opinion, is his involvement in a local junior high school as a volunteer art teacher.  When he speaks about art in our lives, in our childrens' lives, he waxes eloquent and true.

Enjoy this.

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August 17: Painting with values, not color. Fascinating demonstration


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This man demonstrates using color value not necessarily color.  It's really interesting and something that we all should have learned years ago and didn't.  I know I struggled for a long, long time as to what "value" meant - I held up the grey scale, I held up the camera slide, I nodded my head when the teacher mentioned "value"......I think I'm beginning to understand and it's only been a gazillion years.

August 16: And then I start wavering, wondering whether I should really be learning oils........


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This is the same Sheldon School of Painting in Los Angeles.  This man works with high school students who want to study art, who want to prepare a portfolio for an art degree somewhere.....he has videos of painting in every medium and every subject.  His oil technique is much like water in that great expanses of color are never laid down, dabs here, dabs there and the eye emerges.

August 15: Another watercolor portrait demo....I can't watch these enough!


Sheldon's Portfolio Art School in Los Angeles.

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So many of these techniques remind me of Ted Nuttall's method of painting.  Many of us were lucky enough to study with him here in Los Angeles.

Enjoy these videos and hopefully some little tweek of technique will appeal to you.

Hopefully we'll all improve.

August 14: If only I could paint like this! But at least I've picked up a brush again!


A portrait demo by Zimou Tan

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August 12, 2016 - Watercolor's back!!


Having just taken up a paintbrush again for the first time in 4 years....I've spent this Friday morning watching videos of other watercolor portrait painters, trying to get that "feeling" back again and yes, definitely, a lot, lot, lot of technique! Enjoy this first video by Stephie Butler.

Day One of 2015.


It's nearing the last day of 2015 which prompted me to take a look at my blog - that long ignored website that so occupied my thoughts when I was a painter.  Life has sure intervened in the past two years and many, many zany things have happened.  I am now the owner/operator of a hand printed wallpaper company, C.W. Stockwell.  I manufacture and sell the very famous "Martinique" pattern - a pattern that my company designed and copyrighted in the 1940s and which has always been featured at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the coffee shop.  It's a fascinating business and with the lure of the 50s in design and decorating, the wallpaper is very much in demand.


This business is keeping me busy and involved and I love it!

Just thought I'd post and see if anyone's still out there.

Day 50: Danny Gregory's commenters have such an interesting comment....


I follow Danny Gregory's blog: Every Day Matters.  Danny quit his day job several weeks ago and is now thinking out loud about the next step.  His blog followers have had quite a few comments on what Danny has had to say.  Today's comment suggested he take a look at the TED talk by Amanda Palmer.

Such an interesting conversation.

Just makes me think of my friends out there who take the time to read this when it is so sporadically issued.  Every Day Matters.

Day 49: 2013 Danny Gregory gives a drawing lesson


It has been so, so long since I've posted anything but I haven't forgotten about this blog or what my goal was when I started it.  In an email today from Danny Gregory of "Every Day Matters", he gave a mini-drawing lesson.  It got me started thinking about all those sketch books upstairs, with 6 or 7 or 10 days of sketches in them....and how little time he says it actually takes to do some sketching.  He just had a sketching workshop in the Berkshires, in upstate Massachusetts, and it was totally filled with fabulous "sketchers".

Here's today's lesson.

Here's his invitation to his workshop.

And here's his blog entry talking about the workshop.

Danny has a wonderful blog, wonderful newsy email if you subscribe.

Day 48: 2013 Correcting lettering in a journal


When I asked Cathy Johnson for permission to quote the blog.....There's a correction: this wonderful suggestion is from Pam Johnson Brickell and her wonderful work. Sorry Pam that you didn't get the initial credit but I'm hoping this will make up for it? I follow this wonderful blog on keeping a watercolor journal - "Artist's Journal Workshop".  I can always dream of being able to keep a beautiful journal like Cathy Johnson or maybe Brenda Swenson can't I? Cathy is a generous teacher of journaling and workshops and how to's. In today's blog, which I've copied whole - I did ask permission because I think this is a wonderful lesson for all of us -  she talks about making a typo on a "precious" journal page (Those Are My Words) - I would have committed hara kiri if I'd drawn that wonderful page and then made a huge typo.I thought this was a useful lesson for all of us.Classes & WorkshopsBookshelf!Supply Catalog (New!)Meet-ups & Sketch-outs28 ARTISTS & JOURNALISTStheir work and words, interviews, blogs, images, hints, tips, websitesand more...WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2013Correcting Lettering MistakesA lot of times I'll wait until I get home before adding lettering to a journal page. Mainly because of time and comfort. But on this particular day, I felt quite comfy perched on my camp stool and the 8.5 x 11 journal page in my Stillman and Birn Alpha hardbound journal was such a dream to work on.However, on the way home, I began to wonder if this really was Harbour Town's Liberty Oak. There were two very large oaks in the heart of Harbour Town.  The magnificence of this tree, with it's sprawling low lying branches surely struck me as the one to bear this name...... Not!Long ago, a skilled calligrapher taught me how to correct mistakes... Tip: correct your mistake before you lift any unwanted lettering.  Huh? Yes, write over the lettering on the page, then white out or lift off what you don't want.That way the stroke of the corrected lettering will be smooth and you won't have to contend with the often bumpy texture left by white out or white ink.  I used a Signo Uniball broad tip white pen, available from decided to turn Liberty Oak into Live Oak.  The RTY of Liberty would be taken out.  A good size space would be left between the two words.  I decided to put the tree's Latin name between Live and Oak.... a quirky fix, but it worked for me :)Since this is a journal page and not a piece of calligraphic art, I was willing to live with a bumpy surface to write the smaller replacement text on.[...]

Day 46: 2013 Portrait Drawing Session Six


Barbara, Terry Kelly's wife had to step inand play the part of the model when the model failed to show up.One of the hazards of trying to hire live models.They're a flaky bunch.Jill's initial blocking inTerry said to get the darkest of the darks into the drawingFinal drawing.  I was pleased.I thought I'd remember each personwho did these drawings but it's beenseveral weeks and the memory has gone.Another person's drawingAnd a final drawing.[...]

Day 45: Portrait Drawing Session Five


Photo - these are " professional" models.  They charge $10 per person  attending the class to take photos.  I can understand the adversity to photography in a life modeling class, but a portrait class!  This guy is fully clothed down to the black hoodie!

Day 43: 2012 Portrait Drawing Fourth Session


Sebastian, the modelMy attempt to draw Sebastian.Terry Kelly's hands explaining blocking in the shapesTerry Kelly, the teacher, blocking in an eyeTerry Kelly's drawingBarbara, Terry's wife's drawing - wonderful work!!Another student's workSebastian was a wonderful model, easy to draw, well lit, good planes to his face.[...]

Just because Christmas is almost here.......


Saw this video on someone's blog.
Couldn't resist posting it
And if you have time to waste as I obviously did?
Actually I chose to waste time....
Don't tell anyone that I'm not upstairs
Wrapping presents......
Enjoy and go to YouTube
type in "Scary Snowman"
and enjoy the rest of this man's video work.
Most of all?
Happy Holidays!!
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Day 44: 2012 - Letters of Note - Your loving Santa Claus


I subscribe to a blog, Letters of NoteEvery day or two or three, in my inbox, is a wonderful letter from someone of note, in the past, or in the present..........talking about something wonderful.  I would tell everyone to give themselves this gift, this wonderful letter that arrives in your inbox.Today's "gift" - because that's what I think it was at this frenetic moment in time, was a letter from Mark Twain to his daughter Susie, talking about Santa, love and Christmas and how they are all intertwined.  I remember when my son was a little one, and he thought that for sure he'd discovered that Santa wasn't real, and he announced it loud and clear...........I looked at him and said that if Santa wasn't real, then who was he?  And there was no answer.  I said, Santa is everyone who loves you.  Everyone who loves you wants to put a gift in your stocking to prove how much you're loved.  And at age 6? 7? I can't remember the exact year?  That answer was more than enough to let him believe in Santa for another year.An explanation of today's letter:During Christmas in the 1870s, when he wasn't sending horse-led sleighs piled high with food and toys to his less fortunate neighbours, the inimitable Mark Twain could usually be found at the family home with his wife and young children, often pretending to be Santa Claus. On Christmas morning of 1875, Twain's 3-year-old daughter, Susie, awoke to find the following charming letter on her bed.Palace of St. Nicholas.In the Moon.Christmas Morning.My dear Susie Clemens:I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me by the hand of your mother and your nurses; I have also read those which you little people have written me with your own hands—for although you did not use any characters that are in grown peoples' alphabet, you used the characters that all children in all lands on earth and in the twinkling stars use; and as all my subjects in the moon are children and use no character but that, you will easily understand that I can read your and your baby sister's jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all. But I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your mother and the nurses, for I am a foreigner and cannot read English writing well. You will find that I made no mistakes about the things which you and the baby ordered in your own letters—I went down your chimney at midnight when you were asleep and delivered them all myself—and kissed both of you, too, because you are good children, well trained, nice mannered, and about the most obedient little people I ever saw. But in the letter which you dictated there were some words which I could not make out for certain, and one or two small orders which I could not fill because we ran out of stock. Our last lot of kitchen furniture for dolls has just gone to a very poor little child in the North Star away up, in the cold country above the Big Dipper. Your mama can show you that star and you will say: "Little Snow Flake," (for that is the child's name) "I'm glad you got that furniture, for you need it more than I." That is, you must write that, with your own hand, and Snow Flake will write you an answer. If you only spoke it she wouldn't hear you. Make your letter light and thin, for the distance is great and the postage very heavy.There was a word or two in your mama's letter which I couldn't be certain of. I took it to be "trunk full of doll's clothes." Is that it? I wil[...]

Day 42: 2012 - Portrait Drawing Third Session


And back to Terry's garage for the third, actually it was the fourth or fifth session as I didn't start taking photos until now.........Again, measuring, measuring with calipers, pencils, sticks.  I actually took a very thin knitting needle to class with me thinking that that would be easier.  I'm having a horrible time with all the different versions of charcoal.  We draw with HB pencils, add a little 2H perhaps, put in the darkest darks with vine charcoal, use a paint brush to rub some of the charcoal out and about to smooth its surface, go back in with Conte to make very dark darks, then go back in with the kneaded eraser to erase out the lights.........I get so confused with the materials and which to use when... My start....angles, angles, angles!   My start, Terry stepping in and helping saying if I would get the darks in, the drawing would come together automatically.  Easy for him to say.   ;-)) mine  more lines added   mine with darkest darks started  barbara's i think eric's i think  michael's[...]

Day 41: 2012 - Portrait Drawing Second Session


And back to Terry's class I went the following Tuesday night.  Oh the measuring! How hard it is!!  We are to block in the face, drawing angles, no round shapes allowed......

 Sitting to the side isn't bad in this class as there are only 4 of us.
But, you can see that I didn't "quite" get the angle.

Terry's lighting the models from the top so that everyone has a "lit" model, no artistic lighting.  We are to see the roundness of the face, the progression of shadow from the forehead down to the chin.
And enter the shadows accordingly.  Darn, this is really hard and here I thought it was just going to be practicing skills I thought I had nailed down years ago!
The models charge us to take photos.  I could understand charging us if they were nude models...... but these guys are sitting there, fully clothed, in Terry's garage....and one of the women wanted $20.00 per photo!  I'm too cheap. I have no photo of that model.  Most of them were $5 or $10, take a couple of photos, that'll be fine.  I like to have a photo of the person I was "trying to draw".

Day 40: 2012 - portrait drawing class first session


Decided to get back to drawing's been a very long time with what all's been happening around this house since last Spring.  Signed up to take a course from Terry Kelly, a Pasadena artist I got to know because of his participation in the Arlington Garden Artist Event.  His oil paintings of the Garden sold quickly - wonderful small works.  He alerted a group of people to the fact that he would like to teach a portrait class, at night, for 10 weeks and I "took a flyer" as we say.  I hate night classes!So, off I trudged to work with charcoal, an unfamiliar medium, and to work with a person who really knew how to draw portraits.  We were told to bring calipers to measure.........whoops!  That's getting serious folks!Here/s the model:Here are my "starts" to drawing and then Terry stepped in and offered up some help, thank goodness Discussions about putting in the darkest darks...... Started head too high on the page, oh well........ Trying to teach me how to do the shadow under the nose.....And here's my final version after Terry helped me.[...]