Queen Anne's Lace in variouse stages of development

I have always liked Queen Anne’s Lace and felt it would be fun capture it in a painting.  It is August in Wisconsin and they are abundant in the fields so it was no problem getting a close up shot with my trusty little camera.  As I processed the various photographs looking for just the right image to use as a reference photo, I decided on a close up that looks like an every expanding network.

Close up of Queen Anne's Lace and First Wash Watercolor Painting
Queen Anne’s Lace Close up and First Wash Painting

In the middle of the flower I found a dark spot that I thought was a bug or piece of debris so I did not include this spot in the transfer of the image to the watercolor paper.  I didn’t think much more about it until I started to research Queen Anne’s Lace a little more, looking for other macro images of the flower.  What I found out falls into the Extraordinary category in my opinion.

According to the information I reviewed that little dark spot in the center of the flower is a single sterile purple flower.  Botanist’s have not determined the reason for this anomaly.  Is it there to attract pollinators or ward off bad bugs?  Who knows, it is a mystery.  I have been looking at Queen Anne’s Lace for over 60 years and this is news to me.

I am inserting a link if you are interested in learning more about this little mystery:  Queen Anne’s Lace Close Up

As I  continue on my painting, I will add pictures of the progress.  Hopefully you will have had a chance to make you own close up examination and find that little purple flower.  Send in a comment when you find the flower and let’s see how many Extraordinarians we can get into action.

The Red Center Flower has been added to the Queen Anne's Lace painting in progress.
Queen Anne’s Lace 21 Aug 2018 with red center flower

I have been away from my painting for a couple of weeks getting ready for my first art show (more on that in future blog).  I added the purple center flower and started to detail the stem colors in the upper right side.  This is going to take a long time to put in all the details so I may not add a section to this blog very frequently, but I will keep you in informed.

Funny thing though, as I work on this picture I can’t seem to get the story of the Danish Queen pricking herself while making lace and leaving a drop of blood in the center of the flower.  Instead of the Danish Queen, I think of Jesus and that a single drop of His blood was all that was needed to blanket my sins so they became white as snow.  The power of the blood, that’s what the song says because just one drop give eternal life.

Watercolor close up of Queen Anne's Lace Progess 05 Sep 2018
Queen Anne’s Lace Progress 05 Sep 2018

I have been away from this painting for a little while as I worked on another painting for a special customer, but I am back at it and wondering why I chose to do something with so much detail.  Each tiny flower needs to have shading added and trying to follow the direction of the stems gets pretty confusing.  I like where this is going, but I can only focus on it for about an hour or so at a time.  I can’t say how long it will take, probably at least another week if I work steady each day, but I think the end result will be pretty intriguing.  Thanks for following along.

Oh, I have also created an Instagram account if anyone is interested you can find me at @nanakatesartcards

Close up of Queen Anne's Lace Squared off from original
Queen Anne’s Lace Closeup

After several more hours of work I have completed the painting and created the card.  Please check out the card in the link below.  I also made a canvas reproduction in a 12 x 18 in size which really looks great on the wall.  Send me a note if you might be interested in one for yourself.

Queen Anne’s Lace Close Up Card


First Day of Week Three, 23 Jul 2018

Matthew 19:14
Matthew 19:14


But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I think this is my best attempt yet and I even spelled the work correctly.  I like the soft color and the font.  I used a printed font, created an impression on the paper by pressing hard with a fine pen, lightly traced the lines with a pencil and added a thin wash of color around the letters.

I have to admit that I spend more time creating the book mark than thinking about the scripture and for that I am sorry.  I will try to meditate on the words more this week.  I have 11 grandchildren so this one may speak pretty strongly to me because I want them all to experience the kingdom of heaven.

Second Day of Week Three, 24 Jul 2018

Psalm 112:5
Psalm 112:5

It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He will maintain his cause in judgement.

I went with a less is more approach today by wetting the surface around the letters than taking a very tiny brush and added the watercolor paint just around the edge of the letters and allowed the pigment to flow.  I think the word gracious needed a soft touch and that is why I picked the pink color. 

I guess I need to look up the word lend in this verse, because I thought the Bible or Proverbs says to stay away from lending.  But maybe this just means give stuff away without the expectation of a return like, interest.  Let me know if you have any insights on this, Thank you.

Third Day Week Three, 25 Jul 2018

Psalm 119:60
Psalm 119:60

I hastened and did not delay to keep Your commandments.

Hasten is an interesting term, I don’t know that it is used much but it shows action and I liked it for this scripture.  The word in the scripture was hastened, past tense, but using hasten is present tense and I think it is a good reminder that now is the time to follow the commandments.

Fourth Day Week Three, 26 Jul 2018

Hebrews 11:1
Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

This was an interesting font, quite tight together and fine, I outlined it with wet onto dry paper, dried it and then wet the paper and added the orange.  I like the end result.

Fifth and Final Day Week Three, 27 Jul 2018

Hebrews 12:1
Hebrews 12:1


Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

This little project has been quite interesting.  It allowed me to concentrate on a very small element of watercolor and play with different fonts.  It reaffirms that watercolor has a mind of its own and it is fun to watch it flow.

Here are all the words key words, that is an interesting list also:

Confident, Complete, Kingdom

Power, Gospel, Gracious

Word, Uprightness, Hasten

Confess, Uphold, Faith

Light, Endurance

Thank you for following my progress.  Maybe I will do something like this again in the future.


First Day of Week Two, 16 Jul 2018

Scripture book mark from Colossians 2: 9-10, Complete Key Word
Colossians 2: 9-10

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.

I think I am getting better, I used the printed letters, pressed through to leave and indent on the watercolor paper and then added a little pencil on the line to be more visible.  I wet the paper and added just a little paint and let it spread.  Looks pretty good, a little spill over into the letter which is part of the nature of watercolor.


Day Two of Week Two, 17 Jul 2018

Scripture Book Mark with Key Word Gospel from Romans 1:16
Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believs, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

I tried something new  today, I used masking fluid to block out the letters.  This was going pretty well until I moved it and spread the fluid before it was dry.  I was able to fix it pretty well.  With masking fluid you can wet the entire paper without trying to keep the lines straight, but this takes a lot longer.  I also did a second experiment using rubbing alcohol drops to make dots.  That was fun, but probably isn’t a look that I would repeat on the book marks.

Day Three of Week Two, 18 Jul 2018

Watercolor Book Mark from Psalm 119:7 with Key Word Uprightness
Psalm 119:7

I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments.

Today I decided to paint the background and then paint the word using a rigor brush.  This is a lot easier and the effect isn’t too bad.  I see that my uprightness is slowly slanting down, not what I would have desired for this word. This is positive painting where leaving the other was negative painting.  I think the negative painting is a bit more interesting?

Day Four of Week Two, 19 Jul 2018

Book Mark Isaiah 41:10
Isaiah 41:10

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I am beginning to understand how much a commitment it takes to do an artist series.  I made the bookmark on 19 Jul 2018, but failed to post it so I could take my mom to a movie.  I went free hand again with this one and tried to add shadows for a 3 D effect.  It is a bold for my taste, but this is an important word and I thought it needed to stand out more.

Day Five of Week Two, 20 Jul 2018

Book Mark 1 John 1:7
1 John 1:7

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

I used my own hand writing again and put a light green wash on, then painted with purple.  I am not sure why I can’t get a nice even flow of color to spread away from the writing.  i will work on that next week.  I think my preference is free hand writing, with negative painting (leaving the letters white) and surrounding with a light wash.  I will work on that next week.

Wow, I didn’t notice until I posted this blog that I spelled Light wrong.  I am not going to fix it because this is just part of the challenge, but it might have something to do with a lazy, rainy morning.

Week Three will start on 23 Jul 2018 and that will be the last week of my challenge.  I am learning a lot and I hope you enjoy the scripture.


For I am Confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

I belong to a group called The Abundant Artist Association and each month they put out a new challenge for their members.  The July Challenge is to create an art series for a period of time and share the series with collectors.  I have accepted this challenge and I will be posting my daily progress on this blog until the end of July and maybe beyond.

I have decided to combine morning Bible study with watercolor by finding the key word in a daily scripture supplied to me from Biblegateway.com.  I will write the scripture on the back and paint around the key word on the front.

Here was my sample from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  My key word was confident.

My First official day of the Book Mark Series

Wednesday, 11 July 2018 from Jeremiah 32:17.

Power Book Mark
Power Book Mark
Book Mark Jeremiah 32:16
Book Mark with Jeremiah 32:16i

I am not all that happy with the outcome of the Power Book Mark.  I guess that is why you do a series, some are going to be great and some not so great.  I tried to fix a poor color and I made it worse by muddying the color.  I also think the letters should have all been caps because the word POWER should be bold.  I intend to put the scripture reference on the front, because it would be a lot easier to remember.    I can also tell that what may have been a real simple project may turn out to be a skill builder.

If you would like to receive one of these markers, let me know, I will send them free of charge, but first come first served.

12 July 2018 Mathew 4:4

Scripture Book Mark WORD
Mathew 4:4 Key Word is WORD

I need to continue to work on my lettering.  I may have to resort to printing letters and transferring them to the bookmark.   Rather than laminate,  I put the painting in a bookmark case, looks nice that way too.  I am not so sure I like the lime sherbet colors, but it is summer so that may be the influence here.

13 July 2018 Philippians 2:9-11

Watercolor Book Mark with Key Word Confess from Philippians 2:9-11
Philippians 2:9-11

I tried something new today, I printed out the word and then used a fine pointed pen to trace the word.  The tracing left an indent in the watercolor paper so I didn’t have to use a pencil mark.  I didn’t realize it was a 300 lb paper until I started to paint, this paper soaks up the pigment rather than letting it flow so it is a more solid paint, something else to fix.

I am going to end this weeks book mark and start another one for next week.  I thought this was going to be a quick and easy project, but no, I still have a lot to learn.

Nana Kate handing out cards in a graphic image
Talking by S.M.W.

In January of 2017 after a challenge from my art instructor, David Becker (http://davidrbecker.com)

I thought I would try to sell prints online by signing up with a Print on Demand company.   It sounded so easy and would be a great way to make a little money on my paintings because after a while one just doesn’t have enough friends and family who want your stuff. 

I started to do a little research and found the book “How to sell your Art Online” https://theabundantartist.com/ .  Perfect, that was  all I needed and I would be on my way to greatness.  It would be so much easier to work from home, not to worry about weather with outdoor art fairs.  I would not have to talk to people and be sociable and smile a lot.  I could sit home, paint and put money in the bank.

That kind of naive thinking is the same as finding a pill to make you lose weight.  Oh yes, I am still looking for that pill, but with very low expectations.  But with the sale of art online, I was really thinking this might work, after all, Amazon sells everything online, why couldn’t I do that too.

I read the book, created my web page (it took 6 months for my slow technological learning curve to come up with the most rudimentary website) and then I started to take the Abundant Artist classes.  Well, guess what, the selling online only works if you talk to people.

Selling art anywhere is just like any other business, you actually have to talk to people.  You have to create relationships with people so they get to know you and want to help you grow your business.  Some people like to buy from you just because they like you, Who knew?  Some people actually like your art and your message, but mostly they need to feel comfortable with the person before they will invest in your work.

How disappointing to realize that word of mouth continues to be the best form of sales even in this age of social media that is suppose to increase how we are all connected.  I suppose I should not have been so surprised, Jesus, a pretty good role model, knew that you need to start with a few good men, specifically, eleven, and teach them everything about yourself.  Then when they meet other people they can pass the message along and eventually after a couple thousand years everybody will know your name.  The system works.  I guess I have to start by getting a few good men (or women).


Bee Balm in Prairie

The inspiration for my watercolor paintings has generally come from things I see or ideas that have come into my head.  Once and a while I have been asked to come up with a card for a special occasion such as a birthday or wedding and I have struggled with that because the person requesting has an expectation on the outcome that I may not be able to satisfy.  So, when several people approached me about creating a card that could be used as a Sympathy card, I wasn’t very eager to take on that challenge.

I truly admire those greeting card writers that can come up with just the right words that can sooth and comfort, that is truly a gift.  I struggle with knowing what to say to people that have suffered the loss of someone they love. 

I have been told my family lacks the “tact gene”, so whenever I go to visitations, I fear I will say something terrible that will ban me from entry to all funeral homes.  More likely than not, the family comforts me more than I do them.  There is song that talks about that very thing called “Faith Like That” by Gordon Mote.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnNLsf1UcWE

Watercolor painting of a fallen tree and stump with light streaming into woods.
Fallen Tree 5 March 2018

In spite of my “tact” deficiencies, I decided to try and discover an image that would honor the person who has passed and comfort the family.  I thought about a fallen tree and how the tree’s legacy continues on long after it has fallen by enriching the soil, providing protection for animals and opening light into the forest floor for new growth.  You can see part of the painting in this image.  But it just wasn’t working for me.  So, I am on a new path and hopefully it will be better.

Bee Balm or Monarda initial watercolor washes
Bee Balm initial washes 13 Mar 20

I do my best work with flowers and looked for flowers associated with sympathy.  I came up with Balm of which the Bee Balm is included.  Bee Balm or Monarda or Bergamot can be a wild flower and found in prairies.  Well it just so happened that my son’s family planted a prairie on their farmette and I had taken some pictures of the Bee Balm.  So I have proceeded with this safer approach and hopefully the “Prairie Story” I hope to write will meet the needs of my fellow Extraordinarians.

I think I am very close to completing the painting, but the message will need some work.  If anyone has any words of wisdom for me, please feel free to leave a comment or send me a direct email, I am very open for advice.

Bee Balm or Monarda watercolor Painting in process
Bee Balm or Monarda Prairie Flower in Process
Bee Balm or Monarda watercolor Painting
Bee Balm final painting

This is a picture of the finished painting.  It took a little longer than i thought, I took a little time off for myself and get away for awhile.  The painting is easier than the writing and I am praying that I will have inspiration that will help me find the right words.  I hope you will pray along with me as well. 


Ten years ago my husband and I downsized to a duplex unit adjacent to my parents so we could assist them during my father’s struggle with cancer.  My parents owned the duplex and gave us free reign to redecorate to our liking.  That being said, it is still a rental and we didn’t want to change more than was necessary.  On a wall in the main living area the prior renters had placed a drywall screw to hang a picture, in a reasonable area and reasonable height and rather than remove it I said let’s just use it, so we left that drywall screw right where we found it, about five feet up and two feet from the edge of the wall.

I suppose that doesn’t seem like such a big deal and it wasn’t for awhile.  I just adapted my decorating to the screw location.  I became very inventive over time.  Each year at Christmas I came up with a new idea for a flat Christmas tree.  One year it was a bunch of walnut twigs from our back yard with electric votive candles.  The next year I made a flat tree and covered it with Christmas paper and added Christmas cards.  And so it went for ten years. 

Then one morning I was lying in bed and thinking about that screw and how I had let it dictate my life for ten years.  I had limited my choices not only for decorating but for how I would arrange my life because of a stupid screw.  I woke up and told Dave (husband), “I want you to take that screw out of the wall”.  He didn’t over react to such an abrupt idea because he is well aware of my spontaneous projects and got out the screw driver and instantly removed the screw.  Well it didn’t even leave a mark that needed to be filled.  It was a new freedom, I could move the TV, hang pictures, create a whole new living space just by removing a screw and it didn’t take me long to get started.

Within a few weeks I had completely rearranged the wall into a gallery.  Now I have a chalk board for listing all the things I think are extraordinary, I mounted a small Alaskan ivory muskox in a diorama with a painting I had given my dad, and displayed some of my own art prints along with a few select art pieces I had collected.  Now we have a focal point in our room that includes more than just a TV screen.   The question still remains, why did I wait so long?

Gallery Wall displaying current art work and Extraordinary list
Gallery Wall

Dave and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary on the 31st of December.  It seemed like a milestone for two people on their second marriage, so we had a bit of a celebration.  My bridal bouquet was made up of Star

Gazer Lilies, so I ordered my centerpiece to include these lilies and supporting flowers.  It was beautiful and I thought it would be a great subject for my next painting.

It is difficult to find lighting that would be dramatic enough to capture all the colors, but one late afternoon, the sun was coming in from the west window and streamed over my work table giving a brief moment of light that was so dramatic it looked perfect.  So I started what I think I will be calling “Celebration Bouquet”. 


I cropped the picture so I could make a painting the would be vertical on the card.  It also reduced the number of flowers I had to paint, because this is looking pretty complicated.  I used a masking fluid to keep some of the areas white for later, so they look kind of blue like in this picture.

I am trying a new method of adding color, slowly building with light washes so progress is a bit slower, but I hope to have a more intense color when I am done, it just takes a little more patience.

Today, Jan 24, 2018, I included some darker background on the bottom so I could get a better idea of where my edges were going to be and worked on the dark purple carnation.  I am having difficultly getting definition of the petals in the carnation, but they are kind of in the background so they will probably not be the center of attention. 


I will continue to add to this blog until I finish the piece.  I hope to have this in a card format by February, maybe late Feb.   I think it will be great card for any kind of happy occasion.

Jan 31, 2018 update.  As you can see, even with a weeks worth of painting, I usually work on the pictures at least four days a week for about two hours.  You have to let the paper dry in between additions of color, but you can work in different sections as it dries.  That is why some areas look finished and some are just starting. I made the picture a bit larger so you can see it better.


Star Gazer 06 Feb 2018

06 Feb 2018 update

I have been working on the carnation in the upper right side, I have never painted a carnation.  I wasn’t sure how to approach it at first and did a little research.  It needs more work but I think I have the foundation in place.  It is tough at this point because I have invested a lot of time, so there is a fear of messing it up with some weird accidental stroke of the brush.  There are ways to repair watercolor, but they are never as good as fresh paint, so maybe you would pray that I can keep going without too many mistakes.  Thanks for staying tuned in.

14 Feb 2018 update

This is the last update I will be posting.  I am almost done, but I don’t want to give away the finished picture until it is in card form.  Thank you for watching the progress, It has taken a lot longer than I thought, but I think it is pretty dramatic.  Now all I have to do is  come up with a message, but that requires a few prayers and some outside help.

Celebration Bouquet


They say that people read blogs because bloggers have some sort of expertise on their subject matter.  If that

Nana Kate doing web research
Nana Kate Searching by SMW

is the case, then I should know something about starting an art business.  Well I do know something about starting an art business, but I don’t know much about whether the art business will be successful.  The reality is, I just started in July (officially when I registered with the state for sales taxes).  I don’t know what will happen, I am still learning.   I am going through the process with you so we can learn together.   After all, like my husband says, “Everyone is good for something even if it is just to provide a bad example.

This isn’t my first business, before this I sold Mary Kay, Magic Mill wheat mills, ran my own health food store, made and sold living wreaths and worked for six years as a regulatory affairs consultant.  The only connection with all of these was a desire to run my own business.  So here I am again, starting another business, this time with art.

I did pretty well with the regulatory consulting business and a lot of the success was getting a good mentor.  I was approached by another consultant to help her with a heavy work load.  She provided me with some initial work, helped find the right networking groups, and introduced me to new opportunities.  I also spent a lot of time researching and obtaining training in my field so that I could present myself as a qualified expert.

So, with that in mind, I started doing my research.  It is a lot easier now to do research, you just have to turn on the computer and Google.  I spent a lot of time looking for help and I found Cory Huff and The Abundant Artist, https://theabundantartist.com.  He has a book called “How to Sell Art Online” and I felt I had found the Holy Grail.  This is what I needed to get my business going.  Not only did he have a book, he had classes to provide further training on just the type of sales I wanted to do, online. 

I am very happy with the knowledge I have gained from Cory Huff, I haven’t completed all the course work yet, but my website was a direct result of the suggestions he has laid out in his programs.   And now, he has set up a new art group that allows us to share our experiences, so I have access to even more counselors.

August Work in Progress

In June I attended a birthday party for my grandchildren at a farm outside of town that had a menagerie of animals that the

Peony and Thistle Source Photo

children could play with.  It was an older farm that wasn’t being actively managed and some the garden areas had been neglected.  Near one of the outbuildings was a grouping of peonies that were competing with the bull thistles.  My step-daughter and I immediately  knew this was a special opportunity to show the “beauty and beast” of life.

I started to paint this picture in July, but I am not very skilled at painting white flowers.  Trying to get the soft shading on the petals and still have the flower appear white was hard and I ruined the first attempt.  I guess that will be called the practice painting.  So I regrouped and I made the picture a little more defined, trying to show the thistle pricks more clearly and came up with a better layout.

Pricks and Petals First Washes

The first wash of the new painting started out pretty well and I was liking the detail.

I have added more intensity to the thistle at the this time, but now I have to move to the peony and frankly I have been a little hesitant.  I have a certain fear factor of messing up a good thing.  I haven’t touched the painting in couple of weeks and told myself I had other stuff that is more pressing, but that is just fear.

Watercolor of a peonia
Pricks and Petals Aug 2017

But that is what Pricks and Petals is about, fear is a form of pain that stops you from moving forward and enjoying the beauty of life.  What I need to do now is let go of control, give this project to God with open hands and trust on the Lord because He is the one that has given me the gift of creativity and He is the one that opened my eyes to this wonderful message, so He is the one that will help me accomplish my goal if it is His will.  In fact, I think today will be the day I will start again, praying continuously that it will turn out to be a blessing to me and to you.

Stay tuned, I hope to have this card available in the card shop by the end of September, I think it will be well worth waiting for.

Pricks and Petals Card