Monday, November 15, 2010

Two Original California ACEOs in watercolor

Two original watercolor ACEOS by Cathy Johnson.

Choose one or both--
they'd make a wonderful set, displayed together.
All are of San Francisco's Ocean Beach one perfect autumn day.

I was asked to speak at the Sierra Club's first international gathering in 2005; it was exciting and wonderful, and afterward, breathing a huge sigh of relief, we went to the ocean and played like children in the surf.


ACEOs are a fairly new phenomenon, but I've been fascinated by these tiny paintings for several years. Because of their small size and affordability, I've been able to own original paintings from several artists whose work I admire a great deal.

ATCs are artist trading cards, and that's how the movement started out--but many people who were not artists wanted to collect these little jewels, too. So ACEOs were born--still the size of a playing card, but "artist cards, editions and originals"
were created to meet this need.

Some ACEOs are prints and some are tiny original works of art, as are these.

(To appreciate the detail, click on the images to see them even larger-than-life--on your screen they will look larger than they do in reality.)


I had to laugh at this one--all along the beach are signs saying "dogs must be kept on a leash." Here's yet another dog who can't read!

"Beach Walk"
ORIGINAL watercolor
on archival paper
3.5 x 2.5 inches

The boy and his dog were so free...I loved watching them.

"Beach Walk"

Can't you just hear the gulls calling? The headlands are soft with a fog off the ocean; the sound of waves pounds the short. It's primal...

"Pacific Dreaming"


People are collecting and displaying these tiny paintings in ingenious ways--framed and grouped together, piled in baskets, in scrapbooks--however they want!

I hope the idea allows you to own an original work of art--get your feet wet...

They will come to you in sturdy, protective sleeves for mailing, and of course I will be happy to combine shipping for more than one purchase!

San Juan Capistrano Arches

"San Juan Capistrano Arches"
9" x 12"
ink and watercolor on paper

My husband and I went to this wonderful place in Sourthern California for a day trip honeymoon...and I never wanted to leave! I could have stayed there and painted for weeks...the history, the beauty, the ambiance of the really spoke to me!

It was the perfect day.

This painting is now available on Etsy...please click the purchase information below for more information.


Ballpoint pens have a silvery, graphite-like quality that lends itself beautifully to capturing textures. Most of the newer ones are archival, though some of my 35-year-old ballpoint pen drawings have turned to a lovely, atmospheric sepia.

Here, you can see the texture possible with repeated lines and a lighter or heavier application...really, very much like a pencil drawing, but a bit stronger and easier to paint over with watercolor washes.

I've used glazes to suggest the textures and shadows, mostly with burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.

A bit of spatter suggests aged stonework and adobe, as does the drybrush work, below...I loaded my brush with ultramarine grayed with a little sienna and just allowed it to touch the texture of the paper, using the side of the brush rather than the tip.

I was very pleased with the resulting vignette...


This painting will come to you unmatted and unframed for ease of shipping; I wrap with care and send via Priority Mail for most dependable shipping.



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