Monday, December 31, 2007

Color Tips

Mixing your own colors gives you a greater range of values and a unique variety of personal preference in your work. It is a good idea to play around with your colors and learn how to make new ones. This will give you a sensitivity to color sense. I like to use canvas paper and make charts. I will put three colors near each other and mix them into each other, then add white to the outer edges to see the tints. I label the colors before I go on to new combinations.

If you use three good true primary colors like Cadmium Yellow Light, Napthal crimson, and Thalo Blue you can mix many wonderful colors. But your blue and red to make purple will not be vibrant because Thalo Blue leans a little to the green side on the color wheel. (When red and green are mixed they neutralize each other because they have opposite characteristics. That is why they are called contrasting or complimentary colors.) So you will end up with a dark dull purplish color instead of a vibrant purple. This can be a good thing if it is what you desire.

With the above palette you can get orange, but not as brilliant as if you use Cadmium Red Medium (or Cad Red Light) mixed into your yellow. But even then Cadmium Yellow Light leans to the green side a little. So you can see the need for Cadmium Yellow Medium. This leans more to the red side and makes a stronger more vibrant orange.

It is hard to find perfect primary colors. they always lean to one side or the other on the color wheel. To solve this problem I use a split primary palette.

For my blues I like Ultramarine Blue (a true blue that leans to the red side of the color wheel a little) and Thalo Blue (which leans to the green side).

Reds: Napthal Crimson (leans slightly toward purple) and Cadmium Red Medium (leans toward orange),

Yellows: Cadmium Yellow Light (leans to the green side), and Cadmium Yellow Medium (leans to the orange side).

Buy a color wheel and put it in a plastic sleeve and place your colors on it it to see where they fall. When you are finished you can wipe the sleeve off or throw it away and use a new one next time.

If I want to make a bright green I will use Thalo Blue mixed with yellow. Thalo is powerful and makes amazing greens. On the other side, when Thalo Blue is mixed with Napthal Crimson it makes almost a black color. If I want a violet that is not muddy I will use the Ultramarine Blue and the Napthal Crimson. If I want a mauve I will mix the Ultramarine with the Cadmium Red instead. Of course using whites for tints gives you all kinds of values to choose from.

I don't really need Burnt Umber because I can mix up an orange and add a little Ultramarine Blue and have a nice range of browns. But I love this warm brown and often use it for dulling my greens or mixing with blue and white for a nice gray.

I have also begun to use Dioxazine Purple. It is dark and when White is added to it it is very vibrant. Even more so than I can make with primaries leaning toward purple. Dioxazine Purple is also great for dark shadows, add a little of it to green for deep dark shadows, or add a little orange for warm shadows.

Here is an example of these colors and how they can be used to make new colors:

Ultramarine Blue with burnt umber and white are at the top left. Thalo Blue top middle. Cad yellow light is next to Thalo blue. Ultramarine Blue is just below the Cad Yellow Light.

Napthol Crimson and Thalo Blue make the dark area just above the red on the left bottom. Cad Red Medium and Cad Yellow Medium make the orange on the right. Some of the complements are mixed in the middle with white all around.

(Cadmiums come in hues, which are even more brilliant than the regular cadmiums. I also use them because they are less expensive and less of a risk to the artist and the environment.)

Here are some more ideas for mixing your own colors: Try Alizerine Crimson as one of your reds: Prussian blue is a nice dark blue to try out; Hansa Yellow is a good yellow also; If you don't like mixing your own greens, add permanent green deep to your palette, just be careful not to paint with it straight from the tube too often as it can take over! Mix other colors into it for variations. Black can be beautiful in your paintings, especially if you use it with other colors. use it sparingly until you are confident with it.

Feel free to email me if this is not making sense! smile. I will try to help if I can.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

slow down

Learned a lot about my self yesterday. Went to a plein air workshop in Gainsville, and discovered that I am in need of far more instruction than I thought! The one thing that stands out in my mind the most is that I rush through things to much.

For the last ten years of my life I have gotten used to saying "I don't have enough time." This is because I had teenagers when I went back to college. The homework and the long commute were unbelievable. Then after I got my degree in fine art, I started teaching at the public schools -- while I was taking extra courses to get my state certification. It is exhausting to just think about!

The job at the high school became all consuming, with grading and planning and teacher meetings . . . My husband was sick too, in and out of the hospital.
So I quit my job and started painting and marketing my work full time.

Deep breath here.

So now I am in high gear all the time, and that has become normal for me.

Another deep breath.

Wow. I don't have to paint a hundred miles a minute, and I need to slow down and think things through. I have been planning things out when I work in the studio, but when I am on location I feel like I have to just paint what I see and do it very fast! No wonder I would go home and think, "boy that one sure needs something!" LOL.

Have to rush off, time to cook breakfast! smile.

Monday, November 5, 2007


I have been getting up earlier, hoping to have a couple hours uninterupted . . . seems like everything needs to be done all at once. Life just gets too busy!

I Have a photo shoot today, I will be featured in a magazine with one of my paintings! Saturday I have an art show out of town, so I need to get ready for that, and then the following Saturday I have a charity event, and a workshop!

I do love it though, my art is selling and winning a few awards, and this is just the first year I have started back full time at it. God is good all the time, even when I can't see the fruits and rewards. It just encourages me so much when I can!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Acrylic Painting Tips

Here are some good Acrylic Painting Tips:

1. Don't use retarders at all, as they change the chemical binding of the paint and sometimes never dry properly.

2. If working En Plein Air, on location, set up in the shade or use an umbrella, and keep a very small (cosmetic size) mister bottle of water handy. You want a fine mist. Mist your palette regularly so the paints don't dry out. I have used the same palette for two consecutive paintings with out any problem of the paint drying out.  I use a mister in the studio as well.

3. Put out a nickel size blob or more, and mix colors on the painting as you go. Premixing can dry out the paint. If you need to premix, add a little water to the mix, and scrape the mixed color into a pile, don't leave it spread out. I use Liquitex heavy body paints as they seem to hold their consistency longer and have true vibrant colors.

4. Rinse your brush often or add a little water to the brush, dabbing it on a rag so as not to flood the paint. Use as large of a brush as possible for the entire painting. My small brushes come out at the very end.

5. While on location, I keep a plastic jar of water half full to rest my brushes in after I have used them, so the paint won't dry on them. Water does not have to be kept clean, the paint settles to the bottom of the jar, so it doesn't hurt to keep using the same water. (I like to bring an extra jar to pour dirty water in at the end, don't pour it out at the site.) I do start a new painting with clean water, however, for pure clean skies. When in the studio, I keep a shallow water container next to a larger one. After cleaning my brushes out in the larger container, I rest my small brushes in the shallow container with a little water in it, so the bristles do not get bent standing on their heads.

6. Work quickly. Don't fuss with detail, save them for last. I lay everything in very thin and wet to get started. Then I can make adjustments easily. I like to work one section at a time. Example: get the whole sky in, then get the middle distance, etc . . . I work small when on location, so it goes very quickly.

7. Try different palettes. I like the styrofoam meat trays, they have a lower edge than the fruit trays and can be easily painted white. Let the white paint dry before using, and you have a nice light weight palette! Use an extra one as a cover. I also like an inverted Rubbermaid oblong container. The lid can be used as a palette, and the container can be used to seal up the paint. ( At home I use a very large Rubbermade oblong container and set my meat tray palette inside of it , mist with water and seal it up until tomorrow!)

8.  To make major corrections, use white to block out a section and let it dry before adding the correct color.  This is especially true if changing a dark color.  Each layer effects the next, so if you want a brighter or lighter color it is best to paint it white first and then add the color you want.  (I often paint from light to dark because it is easier to cover a light color with the dark colors.)

The best part about using acrylics is that if it is not going well you can work on a different section of the painting and let the previous one dry. Then come back and change what you don't like. You can paint over mistakes as many times as you need to with acrylics. But if you are doing it En Plein Air, try not to change it too much, or you will loose the effect of capturing the moment.

The next best part is  that my paintings are dry before I load them in the car, and they do not get smudged or smeared during transport.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Last Feb. Okeechobee held it's first Fine Art's Festival. It went over very well, with lots of categories and lots of cash awards as well as purchase awards. Here is the contact information if you might be interested in joining us:

Bridgette Waldau
Studio of Graphic Design
111 NE 2nd Street
Okeechobee, FL 34972

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Plein air painting

Yesterday was one of those days that I could not make up my mind. It had rained off and on all night, and the weather report called for more rain -40% chance! I had planned on going out to work en plein air (on location) over in Fort Pierce. We meet once a week. They had more rain over there than we had inland. Do I drive 50 minutes over there and try to work on a painting knowing I will probably get wet?

"No", I decided, "Gas, time, and my health are at stake." So I got out the things I needed to cook breakfast for my husband. I wasn't hungry, and I should have already been on the road, and he was planning on going out for his breakfast . . . "I don't have to cook," I thought. So I put it all away again.

"Yes," I thought, "I need to go even if I get wet! It will get me out of the house, I'll get to see my friends, and I may end up with a nice painting, or not. But I want to try."

So off I went, a little later than usual, but the sky cleared up some, and the flooded park was an amazing sight. It did not take me long to see something I wanted to paint. I felt so good, had so much fun and stayed until past noon! I did two paintings, one very nice, and one I have to touch up.

I did get wet a little as it sprinkled twice, which left run marks on the painting, but that will be easily fixed. I am proud of myself, just getting out there and not letting my excuses stop me.

We have sure needed this rain.

I think the drought is finally over! Smile.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My dove

People often ask me why I put the symbol of a bird before my name on my paintings. It is actually a dove, which is symbolic for God's Holy Spirit. I believe that when we follow Christ Jesus the Holy Spirit comes into our lives to empower us to live in this harsh world.

My paintings are a testament to the Father's love and goodness, which far out weigh the hardships. It is by His hand that I am am able to accomplish anything at all. I tend to make bad choices, and head in the wrong direction over and over again. But He is gracious. (I just learned that that means he is prone do doing favors for us. He likes to help us and do good things for us.) Psalms 145.

The dove is my way of giving God credit for all he does in me and through me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Before I go into my selfish thoughts I must say that this is such a sad day. Say lots of prayers for the families. My heart goes out to them.

It is my birthday. It is always too sad to celebrate it today. So we will try to go out this weekend I suppose.

I used to look for some wonderful thing to happen on my birthday. An oddly placed flower in full bloom, or a rainbow in a sunny sky . . . Always something would happen that seemed to be from heaven. I always thanked God for the special thought that he had sent my way.

After the trade centers went down I stopped looking. I stopped celebrating, I stopped feeling very special at all. I know I still am special to my heavenly Father, but I just don't feel it on my birthday any more. I know He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and he loves us far more than we could think or imagine. But, knowing and feeling are not the same. So today I must trust Him and believe Him, even though I can't feel Him.

He knew that though, and yesterday something wonderful and special happened out of the blue -- and I did thank God for the special thought for my birthday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Higher Purpose

We are created for a higher purpose, not for the chasing after of physical desires. The heavens war over us, for our soul. It is our choice, and ours alone, who will win each battle we face. The powers of this world seek our destruction. As we bite the apple, and believe its lies, we sink farther into the wants and desires of our bodies. With self control and denial, we find freedom from its bondage.
This is not out of reach as many say. Our creator waits for the slightest prayer, hears our hearts desire for truth and helps us to find it. He provides all we need to live out His higher purpose.

Author unknown.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

One of those days

Sometimes you just have to laugh so you don't scream! For two days I could not get anything done that I started, and yesterday it really got to me. So I took a break from it all, took a shower and watched TV for a change!

Today was a little better, didn't stress, just took it as it came. I didn't let things steal my peace.

I had to remind myself that I cannot try to be like someone else, and if someone isn't happy with me or my work, then that is their problem. If I am doing the best I can then that is all I can do! I have to let the rest go. So today I forgave myself, relaxed, enjoyed friends and family and tomorrow, well, I will try to be true to myself and to the Lord.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Free painting lesson

"Out Fishing" Step 1

(click on images for larger view)

Step 2

1. The first 2 steps are very fast and fun! They are laid in with thin paint. It is thick enough for good coverage, and worked one section at a time. Starting at the top, use lots of white, some ultramarine blue, and a touch of phthalocyanine blue. Add some water to make the paint workable. The top of the sky is darker. Leave the land unpainted for now. The water is the same as the sky, just less white.

2.Make your horizon line above or below half way for a stronger composition.Use dark blues, greens, reds,and/or purple instead of black, for the dark section. I used dioxizine purple and green deep permanent. then use some bright greens by adding cadmium yellow medium or a touch of orange. The trees are laid in with burnt umber and white with a touch of Orange. some ultramarine blue and white are added for grayish reflected light on the off side of the light source. Always choose one side or the other for a strong light source, as this will make your job easier!

Step 3. I went back and added clouds with thick paint. This is optional. I changed the bent palms reflection, and added clouds in the water. Some foliage is also added to the trees and reflections. Remember that water is like a mirror, it is not the same as shadows. everything in the water pulls straight down, shadows can lay to the side. I could have left the painting like this. Just touch up a few spots and call it done. I like the strong contrast here.

Step 4. I decided to push the land back into the distance, so I added highlights and lost some of the strong shadows, which I may put back in later. Everything gets highlights and thick paint. Again I work one section at a time to get that wet in wet look.

Once again I could be finished here, but I want to show you that you can keep it simple or add more to it. I really lay in the water thick: I love lots of brush strokes and movement.
The great blue heron is added after I sketch a few from reference pictures. These birds can appear a grayish blue, or brownish or even very white with gray markings. be sure to find something with the colors that go with your painting, and keep the light source coming from the correct side. it should be consistent on everything in your painting!

Step 5. I added some vines to the bent palm tree, and the foliage in front of the heron last. Don't forget to sign your name small and with a color that goes with your painting. You do not want to have it take away from the art work. Put all information that is important to you on the back! (Your full name, the date, the title, etc . . .)

Click here to see my daily paintings for a better photo.

PS: I use Liquitex professional paints, they are thick, and they have strong colors and good coverage. You can use any brand that you like.

Remember you can move trees around, change colors or add more birds in your painting.
If you try one like this, I would love to see it! or if you have a question feel free to ask . . .

Happy Painting!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

my pony

Just thinking about when I was a teenager and I had a pony that I rode all over the place. He did not have a nice name (Rawhide), he was not very handsome, nor could he do anything special. But, he loved me. He did not let others ride him much, and even bit them at times. He was not easy to ride or to control. He listened to my leading, however, and I could get him to do almost anything I asked. He even crossed hard to get through places for me. We had a great time together.

I broke him at the beach, thinking it wouldn't hurt to land in the water . . . He didn't buck or fuss at all. So I took him to the shore and when I got back on he took a few steps. All of a sudden he took off bucking! Once I was on the ground he just stood there staring at me. He didn't run away as I thought, he just came up to me and nudged me with his head. So I got back on, and that was the end of it! I rode him a while and then lead him home.

He became my best friend. In contrast to people, he didn't lie, didn't betray me, always forgave me if I did something wrong to him, and he trusted me. I told him all of my heartaches and spent many hours just sitting on him and laying my head on his neck. I found healing in his friendship.

In the spring of my senior year in high school, we were in a car accident that took his life and almost took mine. For many years I could not forgive myself. Now I am thankful for the memories, and wish I could tell him 'thank you'.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I went to the Home Depot to get a large board to cut down and prime for painting on. Thought I would save some money. My quality canvas boards cost about 35 bucks for ten, if they are already primed and ready to paint on.

The man that was working said he could cut them down for me and it wouldn't cost too much. So I said sure. I needed 8 x 10 or 9 x 12 inches. As he was cutting, every board came out to a different size. not even close to either of the sizes I stated. I was getting frustrated thinking I would have to pay for it and not have one the correct size. When he was finished I informed him that I could not use those, they had to be 8 x 10, or 9 x 12 inches, or at least very close.

He informed me that he did not have a saw that could cut precisely and said " you should have told me they had to be a certain size, you said it could just be close." I informed him politely that I had told him the size I needed and he didn't even get close to either size!

He began to try again on a new board. Now I am calculating the 14 dollars for each large board twice! and they still had to be sanded and primed. So much for saving money!
He got two rows correct and one long piece that was too short to even make the 8 inches. I told him that was fine, could he just get as many 8 by 10 boards out of the first two rows . . . He did.

Then he told me that you have to take into account that the blade takes away part of the board, so out of a 24 inch side you can not get three equal rows of 8 inches.

I was a little ticked by now, and I said, "You work here, not me, you should have known that. I have never cut things with a saw!"

I ended up with 9 - 8 x 10 inch boards or close enough to be able to frame them. I was very upset at this point and asked him how much I owed him as he wrote up a ticket.

All it said was $2.01, so I thought it would be $2 for each board, and I was OK with that. The lady at the register charged me $2.o1 for all of the boards. I asked her if it wasn't for each board, and she said no, it is for all of them. Then I told her that could not be correct. She said that if I didn't get the board whole and it didn't turn out right, then I wouldn't be charged for it.

I felt like a heel.

Now I am priming and sanding my boards and more than happy to pay the $35.00 for ten ready to paint on canvas boards!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Say a prayer

Just need to take a minute to slow down. A friend of mine has an 18 year old son who was in a car accident. He and his 17 year old friend are in the trauma unit in Delray Beach. They are not doing well at all. I have gone down there a couple of times, and will probably go some more. Looks like weeks before they will get to go home. One has a fractured neck, and the other has crushed legs. Both boys have been undergoing serious surgeries.

I have never felt so useless and helpless. You think you will go and be supportive and pray with them and somehow make a difference. But really, I am nothing. I have no words to give that can do anything. I realized Sunday that even though I am powerless, God is not. Nothing I do or say will make any difference, but just being there, just asking God for his touch, well, it may. It is only by His mercy these boys are even alive. The car was completely totalled. My heart breaks for the mothers.

The older boy was driving, his friend has the broken neck. Yes, they had been drinking. Sadly, they will pay for it for the rest of their lives. I just hope they will use this tragedy for eternal good. I pray God will do miracles for them.

Monday, July 2, 2007


I have been trying to post some new art work, but the blogger isn't working right today, so I will wait until later.
I am excited about some art contests that are coming up. I rarely win anything, but that's OK, because every time I enter something if it doesn't place I still sell it! once I sold a piece for $800.00 after it was rejected! The $800.00 was more than I would have won, so I was very happy. You can see the painting of "OH Brother" at EBSQ Art.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

New History

It has occurred to me that I am painting history. The drought of 2007, the worst in recorded history for this area, is being included in my plien air paintings. I am doing a series of Nubbin's Slough right now, and it really shows how low Lake Okeechobee is! Just a tittle, like "Nubbin's Shore" is odd, because Nubbin's Slough never had a shore before! It was just a pile of rocks and then the water came up on the rocks. Now people walk out for a quarter of a mile to get to the edge of the water.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mowing the lake

(Click on the image to enlarge)

This is so odd. the second largest fresh-water lake in the US, Lake Okeechobee, has grass and weeds growing for so long now that they are actually mowing it where the water used to be!

In the distance you can see bulldosers dump trucks and front-end loaders dredging up the sludge and the muck that has been coming down from the Kissimmee River for hundreds of years. They hope the lake will be cleaner and healthier when the water levels rise.

Here is a link to a painting I did in January, just before the drought, you can see the water came up close to the cypress tree.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Not to Worry

I have been told they are not going to start building anything on Eagle Bay. They are just cleaning out the muck and settlement so the water will be clean when it fills back up.

All of the dirt here was a marsh, plus it went off to the right.

Wiped out

I went down to Eagle Bay today. This is a marsh of shallow water and all kinds of wildlife. The last time I went it was dry with grass growing everywhere, no water at all. Today I cried a few tears as I looked at what man has done. They have bull dosed the whole place! We are talking achres of wetlands completely wiped out! Machines, and piles of dirt are everywhere you look.

Click here to see Eagle Bay before the drought.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A New Challenge

2,000 Paintings in 30 Days – the Daily Painting Challenge at Online art gallery members to produce 2,000 original paintings in 30 days, from June 15 – July 15

Erie, CO May 23, 2007 -- The artists of the Daily Painters Gallery have been busy. Since September 2006, they've posted over 10,000 original paintings to their online gallery at From June 15 to July 15, 2007, they will be attempting a new group record: 2,000 paintings in 30 days. The members of represent a growing movement in the art world, known as 'daily painting' or 'painting-a-day'. These artists strive to produce one small painting every day, or nearly so, and post them for sale on their online gallery. Even with all of their other commitments -- art fairs, gallery commitments, commission paintings, full-time jobs, and other demands of everyday life, these artists love their daily painting routine. It's a great way to stay fresh and stay focused, and it's fun, even if it is a lot of hard work. And, art collectors can't get enough of it.

The Daily Painters Gallery is a great place for art collectors, decorators, and homeowners to find affordable original art and discover new painters. Visitors can browse the latest paintings, browse by artist, search by category, and visit the artists' blogs. And, visitors can subscribe to daily email updates to get the latest art in their inbox every morning. Because the paintings are sold directly by the artists, prices are more affordable than your local gallery, with many paintings starting under $100. With over 10,000 paintings in one easy to use website, finding that one-of-a-kind piece for your home has never been so fun. was founded in 2006 by artist Micah Condon and has since grown to include over 120 artists. artists have been featured in The New York Times, USA Weekend Magazine, The Boston Globe, Art Business News, Domino Magazine, The Washington Express, Wired Magazine, and more.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Summer art

I had my first kids summer art class today. It has been a few years since I have had a studio to teach in. It was great. I remembered what teaching is really about, and the excitement of working with minds that want to explore new ideas! We had fun, and I felt inspired again.

After teaching at the high school I was beginning to wonder why I ever liked teaching before. It is very hard to teach art to those who don't want to be there! I had some good students too, but I spent so much time with behavior problems and grading issues. Teenagers are not the most agreeable people in the world.

Now I am letting my students choose their own projects and work at their own speed. What a wonderful way to help someone create something! Smile.

Here are some pictures of my studio. I can sit four at the table comfortably, and I have three more stations around the room.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Been up for over an hour. Usually I can get right back to sleep, but I am excited about so many different things. Starting kids summer classes (small groups at my studio), working on some murals, and of course my Daily Paintings. I keep finding new ideas to try and learning new approaches.

Trying to finish a small painting everyday is a sure way to get some much needed practice! One attempt raises new questions and then I will have three more ideas to work through. Right now I have started a fourth palette knife painting. This one is turning out excellent, at least for me. I learned more from the struggles of the last one than I have in months!

Hope you have a worshipful Sunday!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


For the first time in my life I have no pets, and no kids at home. I have quit teaching at the public school, and I plan to do nothing! Nothing except paint pictures and sell my art. But that isn't at all how it is going. I am cleaning out things, re-arranging things, cooking more for my husband, running all kinds of errands, and finding constant interruptions to my creativity.

I am excited about the many new opportunities that await me. I want to do nothing -- except what I believe God is leading me to do. I am so tired of trying so hard to do everything my way and then asking him to bless it. I am learning that if I just slow down and ask first, then things work out in unbelievable ways!

I feel like I am suppose to write a book. I am not skilled in this area, but I am going to try. I have so many remarkable things in my life to write about: I moved almost every year; I was held hostage when I was just four years old, and I was a foster child as a teenager. The most remarkable thing is that I am OK. Sometimes that is questionable, but for the most part I am happily married and live a well rounded life. I give Thanks to God for the people he has put in my life that have helped me to heal emotionally. I am sure there is more healing to come too!

So I guess this will be a place for me to just talk about what is on my mind or what I am struggling through. Maybe I'll post some of my poems too.

Have a great Day!