Linda Halcomb's Blog

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February 27, 2012 February 28, 2012

Filed under: Abstract,Daily Post,Sumi-e,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 7:20 am
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Well, my friends, I am still struggling with my sumi-e and have messed up several paintings. I have found that newsprint works really well as practice paper and have decided that I need to work smaller right now. So I took a detour while I regrouped.

Last Friday, I did a Painting and Poetry tour for a middle school class. It was an incredible tour. They were studying poetry so all of them had read poetry, over half of the kids write poetry and when I asked for volunteers to read poetry I had more volunteers than poems to read. Unheard of! One of the poems inspired me to pull out a sheet of watercolor board and to start painting again. The poem is Sunflakes by Frank Asch and here are the first few lines:

If sunlight fell like snowflakes

gleaming yellow and so bright,

We could build a sunman

We could have a sunball fight

As I painted I began to think about sunlight flowing like water and, because I was starting with my “Krasner colors” of magenta and sap green, about Hawaii and the beautiful waterfalls we saw while in Hawaii. This led to light falling like a waterfall. Anyway – enough – here is Sunfall.

Sunfall - Watercolor on Full Sheet of Arches Watercolor Board



February 16, 2012 February 16, 2012

Filed under: Daily Post,Sumi-e — lindahalcombfineart @ 8:32 am
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Well I am still fighting frustration and my low skill level as I struggle to produce a decent bamboo painting. So I decided to critique my most recent attempt. I always learn from my mistakes so I hope you will also find this helpful. To start here is the painting:

Bamboo 2

Idea: I wanted to paint a simple composition with a large, old stalk of bamboo and young shots growing up around it. I like the way the new leaves point upwards.

Issue 1 – When I paint I am working on a double size practice paper but I practice on a single size practice paper so I may use larger brushes when I start to paint. I had not practiced with the larger brush that I used for the largest stalk of bamboo. The larger brush holds more fluid so it diluted my ink and I didn’t get the deep color to the side of the stalk. So no depth or modeling.

Issue 2: The composition was too simple for such a large sheet of paper so I let the painting dry over night and added two more small stalks of bamboo – they are not well painted because I had trouble seeing as I did overpainting.

Issue 3: Still having real trouble with ink color and brush loading. Never get it dark enough so go back and overpaint – real no-no.

Issue 4: I forget that if ink has not dried it will bleed into the lower layer producing blurry, smudgy looking areas. I always think its dry but its not.

Issue 5: Haven’t found the right brush or technique yet to paint the tiny twigs – get thick and thin spots and blurring.

Chop - Name

Chop Set

Someone asked about the chop I used on the last painting. For Christmas 2010 I asked for a chop as my gift. My husband found that you can get custom, personalized chops through the National Geographic catalog. They work with a Chinese expert to match your name as closely as possible. The chop itself is beautiful, made from jade and is about 1″ square and 3″ long. I love it and have thought about also using it as part of my signature on my watercolors!




February 12, 2012 February 13, 2012

Filed under: Daily Post,Sumi-e — lindahalcombfineart @ 7:25 am
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I have been struggling a bit with motivation lately. A fellow docent gave me a small book, Painting Chinese, and it came to me at the right time. It was written by a college professor living in San Francisco who had just lost funding for his program. He was 70, saw death approaching, and needed to find a way forward. He frequently walked through China Town and on a whim enrolled in a painting class at a Chinese art school. He started as the only adult in a class of beginners (5-8 year olds!). The book talks about how the practice and mediative nature of Chinese painting provided the solace, comfort and mental release necessary to help him find a new life and face death (he was not sick, just slowly decaying like all of us!) This book and a small volume I found at the library titled Art & Fear have been nudging me forward.

Last week I began practicing my Sumi-e brush strokes and working on mixing the different colors of ink. I seem to have forgotten everything I ever knew and have struggled, struggled, struggled. I worked on strokes for four days before I even tried a painting and then my paintings were over crowded and full of smudges. I also couldn’t seem to get the ink colors right in order to show depth.  I am still struggling but did finish one piece – not perfect but an improvement. I have to remember that less is more when it comes to composition!

Bamboo 1 (2012)



January 1, 2011 January 2, 2011

I have finished my Three Red Tulips watercolor…for now. I am putting it under a mat so I can see if it needs additional work. I am pretty happy with it at the moment. I am going to paint this a second time making two changes. First I want to work with a pastel palette and intend to make the tulips pink or yellow…probably yellow since I will learn a lot by painting shadows on yellow tulips. Second, Wric recommended that I paint the tulips (the main objects) before the background so I don’t struggle to make the objects look “up to” a dramatic background. I am going to follow that recommendation which I thought was very smart (gave me a duh moment!). So it will be paint tulips, mask tulips, paint background, remove mask and work entire painting. Thank you Wric for the recommendation!

Just a comment…the image I’ve included is scanned. When you see the actual painting the color transitions in the leaves and stem are smooth, not delinated like they look here.

Three Red Tulips - Final

Thoughts for 2011…I want to spend time focusing on landscapes this year – both realistic and abstract, both watercolor and acrylic. I want to continue my attempt to learn Sumi-e but with more dedication this year. I want to improve my skills as I learn from and am inspired by my fellow artists. I will continue to experiment with techniques, subjects and materials they explain so generously.


2010 in Review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2010. That’s about 26 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 155 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 344 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 488mb. That’s about 7 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 21st with 201 views. The most popular post that day was Reminder – End of Summer Art Challenge.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were WordPress Dashboard,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for abstract paintings, sumi-e, dance sketches, abstract, and linda halcomb blog.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Reminder – End of Summer Art Challenge September 2010
19 comments and 1 Like on,


March 11, 2010 March 2010


Artist’s Statement and Short History January 2010


The Family January 2010
1 comment


Family Redux February 2010