Archives For watercolor


Mary Liz Ingram —  October 17, 2014 — 2 Comments

With a ramekin of Raisinets and a game of dominoes carefully laid, we sit in a quiet house changed by time. Same waxy table and wooden chairs, same salt shaker, same floors, same smells, different people.

I used to be the small child playing on my grandparents’ floor in this den. My grandmother would be cooking in the flagstone kitchen, the smell of southern specialties like no other filling our noses and making our stomachs growl. My grandfather would be sitting in his navy recliner, telling us about the fish mounted on the wall or his latest wood-working project. Chipmunks and birds scurried and hopped on the flowered mountainside out the tall windows.

Dominoes, detail, watercolor

Dominoes, detail, watercolor

But today a different crew sits with elbows on the table. My grandfather runs this house now and acts as eager host. My grandmother rests not far away, getting the care she needs in a different place. My two oldest children make their own memories with their great grandfather in this same room, with a tournament of dominoes and hors d’oeuvres of sardines on crackers with tabasco. My daughter turns up her nose, as expected, but my son forms a bond of sardines with Paw Paw, the only two to enjoy such a treat.

Seven games later and snacks devoured, memories are made, added to, reflected upon. A special time for my kids; a bittersweet time for me. Time moves and carries on, we age and change, get busy and get lonely. Too long we wait to visit, too little we think of others as we go about our days.

Domino games and mismatched snacks don’t come often enough, and it is so hard to change. My emotions ebb and flow as I create this picture. Thinking of the old and the young, my life and my past, the simple things that can mean so very much if we just pay attention.

Dominoes, 12x12 watercolor

Dominoes, 12×12 watercolor

Spring Prelude

Mary Liz Ingram —  March 19, 2014 — 2 Comments

Morning 1

In the Mist, watercolor & ink

In the Mist, watercolor & ink

It is a gray spring morning, damp and cold, when new buds are barely making a show.

Branches like gnarled claws, grasping into the mist that shrouds my morning drive.

The air is still and heavy, a floating moisture clings to my hair and coats the ground, muffling and capturing the sounds of waking birds.

A calm beginning, a waiting quiet, resting before the bright burst of spring.


Morning 2

Cherry Blossoms, ink doodle

Cherry Blossoms, ink doodle

A sleepy morning takes its turn, as warm rays burst through the heavy clouds.

Yesterday’s fog is lifted and I close my eyes to the renewing glow.

Cherry blossoms turn their face to the sun, opening bit by bit as winter fades.

Hope arrives as dreary days pass away and nature drinks in the light.


Mary Liz Ingram —  February 16, 2014 — 2 Comments

“Love was made for me and you…”

I can hear Nat King Cole and see flowers and hearts and mushy, huggy love all around me.

Valentine’s Day has come around again.

The aftermath of children’s Valentine’s parties clutters my counters with tiny cards and candy wrappers, my toddler’s art work adorns the mantle draped with kid-painted heart garlands, flowers from my Valentine smile from the den table.

I really like Valentine’s Day. Many curse it, blaming Hallmark for sucking us into consumeristic spending traps. Many find it a lonely day that highlights something missing. But it is about love, and we all have that, in some form or other.

It’s a good day to show it, to whomever you love. Love is a big deal. You know when you love someone. You can’t help it.

This year, I have a Valentine and three tiny Valentines. I also made sure to tell my family and my friends “Happy Valentine’s” because I love them too. Love is bigger than a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a husband or wife. Love is for all of us.

Love looks different to different people, too. It’s not our job to say whose love is right and whose is wrong. We’re all human; we all know love. So let’s show a little more of it. A little more understanding for unknown struggles, a little more patience with those we don’t know, a lot less pointing fingers and telling others what to do, and a little more minding our own business and loving our people. It won’t hurt much, I promise.

Valentines from our daughter, colored pencil

Valentines from our daughter, colored pencil

From the mouths of babes…

The first conversation we ever had with our kids about homosexuality was about our neighbors. Two women who live together in faithful partnership. We simply told the kids that our neighbors love each other, but some people don’t think that’s okay. That was that.

But our eldest said, “Well that’s dumb! No one can tell you who to love!”

Smart kid. I agree.


Homemade Valentine cards, a family tradition:

My Hero, watercolor & ink

My Hero, watercolor & ink


For my 3 tiny Valentines

For my 3 tiny Valentines

If You Weren’t Afraid…


Kids are Fun

Mary Liz Ingram —  February 13, 2014 — 2 Comments

I love my life.

I just have to say it.

Sure, most nights I collapse on the couch in exhaustion. Yep, some days are pretty rotten and I want to pull my hair out. My kids fuss at a me at least a few times everyday, sometimes it seems to be most of the day. I have to change a lot of gross diapers, do A LOT of laundry (the bane of my existence), constantly take out trash and wash dishes…you know, all that rotating, never-ending domestic stuff. I have to squeeze in showers on busy mornings, and rush off to work with frazzled hair. I get cranky and fussy and bossy and pitiful when my poor husband comes home, and he assuages me with cookies to bring me back down to homeostasis. I get dates mixed up when I have too many meetings and tasks at hand, and I get behind on returning calls and art association blog posts. I take a lot of Advil and I have a dirty car.

But I. LOVE. MY. LIFE.Messy Fun

And nothing reminds me more than a tea party with my 1 year old.

The simple joys of being a kid. Nibbling plastic cupcakes and sipping pretend tea. Playing. Laughing. Drawing. Painting.

It makes all the rush and dirt and stink of the have-to’s just a small part of the program and not the real show.

…That’s the way it should be, I think.

"Nora's Tea Party," 6x6 watercolor doodle

“Nora’s Tea Party,” 6×6 watercolor doodle


Southern Snow Day

Mary Liz Ingram —  February 12, 2014 — 2 Comments

Today is a snow day…but so far it’s a rainy cold day.

We are all waiting and watching the weather, snow supposedly approaching.

Here in the South, snow causes paralysis. You can’t go anywhere, as my previous post of being snow-stranded attests. And if that’s not enough, take a read through last year’s hairy adventure driving home in the snow.

So… it’s a big deal if we might have 4 inches of snow this afternoon.  We’re all home from work and school, some hoping and waiting for snow and some crossing their fingers we miss it (can’t blame them, after our last episode).

I personally love a snow day and adore the falling snowflakes, despite the chaos it can cause. It is a magical thing here in the South; a gift that is never guaranteed. Some winters we have no snow; some only a few flurries; and rarely do we have a big, dangerous event. Remember the ’93 blizzard, anyone? Sleeping by the fire in our den, eating smokey-tasting soup cooked in our fireplace day after day, carving paths through the snow for a lost duck and a cold neighbor… for a week without power…. Fun times.

Feeling the impending winter doom hanging over us in the gray, clouded sky, wondering if we will actually see a snow flake or not, this morning I read an article by Rick Bragg, aptly entitled “Dixie Snow.” Speaking of the wonderment we Southerners feel when it snows, he writes:

I still feel it, some, when I see children rush into a snowfall that could not cover pea gravel. I see them using spatulas and spoons to scrape up enough snow to make the saddest snowmen you have ever seen, more red mud than anything else. They last a day, or a morning, and then become forlorn lumps. I have seen children make snow angels in what, mostly, seemed to be slick gravel. But I love to see them try.

-“Dixie Snow” by Rick Bragg, in Southern Living January 2014

It’s true. Countless images of my kids (okay, okay, and me…) come to mind: rushing outside at the first sign of snow, trying to catch some on your tongue before the flurries stop, making snow angels in a half-inch layer of snow while getting mud on your back, making tiny snowmen just to show you can. It’s a special gift, the magic of snow, when you don’t get to see it everyday.

But as the saying goes, “make sure you have plenty of milk and bread”…

"Snow Angel," 6x6 watercolor doodle

“Snow Angel,” 6×6 watercolor doodle

A Few Doodles…

Mary Liz Ingram —  January 11, 2014 — Leave a comment

After a few weeks of intense commission completion, making sure the fur moved correctly and the eyes sparkled appropriately, I was ready for a few doodles.

The first doodle to share with you is a 5×7 watercolor of Jerusalem, a gift from my family to some friends who travelled with my husband to Israel last Spring:

Jerusalem, 5x7 watercolor commission

Jerusalem, 5×7 watercolor commission

My sister was the Christmas recipient of several watercolor and ink doodles to adorn her new built-in bookshelves. When I say “doodle,” I mean I didn’t take time to sketch first, or stick strictly to detail. I give myself more freedom and relaxation as I doodle away with a brush or pen!

Oh, but there is one more special treasure coming…stay tuned for the grand finale of doodles…

Thrift Shopping

Mary Liz Ingram —  July 9, 2013 — 2 Comments

Me: “We’re going to a thrift shop.”
My 5-year-old son, very serious as he rubs his nose: “Where it’s $50 for a t-shirt?”

So… while he can quote it, my tiny boy seems to have missed the message in Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.” We were about to change that.

The one rule for our outing: You must find something awesome.

Let the adventure begin.

First stop: Goodwill

First treasure goes to mom: awesome yellow sunglasses. 39 cents.

Yellow Sunglasses, Ink & Colored Pencil Doodle

Yellow Sunglasses, Ink & Colored Pencil Doodle

We tour the facility, finding golf clubs, E.T., piles upon piles of unwanted, outdated, almost unusable items such as cassette tapes, VHS tapes, gigantic TVs, broken vacuums, horrible coffee cups. Our tiniest thrift shopper was ecstatic over the baby toys which littered the warehouse. It was a junk wonderland ready for our perusal…perfect for a rainy day.

Bright plastic shades, blue hats, orange carts…pops of color found amongst the faded, cracking grays and browns of dust-covered discards.


Trip Journal

Mary Liz Ingram —  July 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

We recently returned from a wonderful vacation to Savannah, Georgia. We stayed with my sweet sister, brother-in-law and my tiny niece and nephew. Here are some quick thoughts, paintings and photographs from a beautiful trip:

The Marsh, 4x4 watercolor pencil

The Marsh, 4×4 watercolor pencil

Thursday afternoon, June 27
Off on our trip, driving down I-20 packed in the jeep. Kids in a tight row behind me. Ready to throw off worries, enjoy life together, feel the free air of the coast. Listening to Cake and smiling at my husband. Enjoying the forward motion of escape.

Friday, June 28
Slow morning with kids and coffee, then off to the beach. An hour of sand pelting, hair flying, blowing wind & waves; guarding baby with a skim board, found relief in a tidal pool. Ended day around the table, warm meal with family & laughs.

Continue Reading…

Summer Blooms

Mary Liz Ingram —  June 17, 2013 — Leave a comment

Hydrangea, original photographyDown my sidewalk, between the rows of tall Monkey Grass, you meet my front steps. The beige paint is weather-worn, showing patches of brick red and copper underneath. We sit on these steps often; we welcome friends and family to our home; we watch the rain and wind during summer storms.

My baby learned to walk by going up and down the path, with the flowers on the big hydrangea bush as her goal. The hydrangea stands to the left of the porch, under the window, drooping under heavy clusters of rich blue flowers. A backdrop for the softest, greenest part of our yard, the hydrangea sees a lot of summer play. The kids play in the sprinkler before the blooms, making sure they get enough water in this Southern heat. The kids wrestle in the grass, picnic in the shade, and play with neighborhood cats. Our baby loves to smell the flowers and gather as many as she can hold in her tiny arms.

The flowers, so dense and colorful, overflow vases all around our home, and are always a sweet treat from my little boy to his mama. They bring life to indoor spaces, and beauty to our home.

Bouquet, 6x7 watercolor on board

Bouquet, 6×7 watercolor on board

The Siege

Mary Liz Ingram —  May 19, 2013 — Leave a comment

Once upon a time, down the hill and around the curve, there lived a small woman in a castle of painted brick and siding. As the flowers bloomed brightly and the vines curled gently up the wall, the woman prepared for her day of honor: a day when the small folk in her care brought tokens of love, thanks and devotion for her days of tireless service.

The woman, who thought herself queen over her realm, received gifts of breakfast, priceless art, blossoms and praise as she reclined on her pillowed throne. The sun lit her day, as the small ones brought smiles into her presence.

Later in this day of tribute, the tides began to turn. There was a shift in the small folk’s demeanor.

Thus began the siege.

It began with a small rebellion by a 5-year-old boy, who called strike upon his labors. No laundry would he fold, no dishes would he put away, no rooms would he clean! He attacked the firm walls of authority with persistent whining, crying and the stomping of feet.

The woman, adept at handling unruly charges, placed him calmly in the corner of reflection until he relinquished his fight. As she took on his labors and folded the clothes of the residents, the boy continued his barrage of shrill protest, chipping rhythmically against the walls of her patience.

Fighting back against the siege, the woman hummed calming melodies as she attempted to retain her stalwart composure. But the battery did not cease.

Hours later, the dinner bell announced the time to serve the feast. The woman, offering treasures of coin to the oldest small one, farmed out the undone chores to the responsible peasant. Meanwhile, a tiny villager ransacked the palace kitchens, scattering plates and bowls all over the dirty floor. The boy continued his attack with tears and the gnashing of teeth, wearing down the resolve of the barely-standing battlements. Continue Reading…