Friday, December 16, 2011

"Three Flowers" 8" x 8" oil on gessoboard

I needed a little help to set up this arrangement, so Piper did all the work. I stepped up to the easel with no previous judgements or expectations of what was to happen. And, you know, I really did enjoy working this out. I think that when I begin in my studio in the morning and begin the task of setting up, I just get a bit too worked up and frustrated. So, I've decided to set up the afternoon or evening before. I'm working now in a 12" x 12" format and sticking with the gessoboard, which is a surface I love for applying paint. My flowers all seem to look alike so I want to work with an orchid or rose to really throw a challenge in front of me. Stay tuned. To purchase this painting you can go here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"On the Bright Side" 12" x 12" Oil on Panel

First let me say how thrilled I am to have so many of you tuning in to my blog. I love sharing my work and also enjoy reading and BIG TIME smiling at all your comments. Thank you!
We are not officially into winter yet, especially it seems with the springtime weather we've been having in SW Connecticut, but I'm really for the lock-in. I no longer have my nanny job with Piper, but still see her on a regular basis. She's really awesome for 13! So, that is supposed to leave me with a lot more time to paint. Right? Well, I'm creating delays in charging out of the starter's gate. But I think I'm settled with getting those long overdue chores out of the way, like the leaf clean-up. I have been painting all along through these months but very sporatically. Painting more out of guilt than desire. I'm writing more now about my working process again as I paint and sitting back to just study what is in front of me. I have a little show coming up in March and want to have consistently good pieces to offer. I've never considered myself a painter of flowers, but I'm finding that the floral still life are the ones that sell in my ETSY shop. I'm constantly searching for my voice in my work and I know that evolves through process and time....lots of it, too. I want to work larger, as I mentioned before and the 12" x 12" today is a comfortable size for me to tackle in a day or two. Nothing ever seems finished, but I know that at some point I have to release myself from the point of control to letting the piece go as it is. I know I need to practice every day and I really want to paint everyday. I just want to make sure that I'm excited about what is before me and not just settling for random objects on a table that offer up no inspiration. It's a really awesome experience to actually see the brush strokes before me without even picking up a brush. I want to surprise myself all the time with little random quirks from my brush, however my focusing ability is too random for consistent and sustainable awe...... So here's to a Wonderful and productive ( in your own way) Holiday for you all to enjoy with all the people and pets you love and way too many calories for extra credit. I hope to be entertaining all of you with some pretty awesome attempts with painting the still life over the next few weeks.

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Compliments" 12" x 12" oil on panel

I have been working in a larger size, 12" x 12", but I still love a bit larger. The tangerine in the jar had a really bright reflected light going across it. I find it a challenge to paint a group of fruit when they each have a varying lighting condition.......reflected light, direct light, light in shadow, reflected fruit. Value is the key as well as the color intensity. I was taught that color was a product of light, however, I find the most brilliant colors in the half tones. Guess I didn't follow the rule here or the front orange would be glowing with orange. Did I break the rule or is this a mistake? If I had made the front orange more intense, then your eyes might not be able to take the jump into the picture to view the rest.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Working with Apples These days

Well, I have worked a little bit with the painting, but too much has been happening in my non-studio life.
I thought this apple would turn brown before I could finish a sketch, much less a painting, but in looking back, I'm not singing praises for my work. It was important that, at least, I put in the time and try. I love this bottle that I found at IKEA. They sold in a 3-pack in different shades of aqua. What a find! I need to work on more interesting set ups..... that seems to be my big struggle-du-jour. In this second painting, non of the items appear to be anchored down. Well, all of them have that problem. Perhaps I'm worrying about the wrong things here. I have a few other things to post, but not all at once. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Bottoms Up"

I have many things to post for I have been painting a bit lately. The difficult task of setting up a still life is still haunting me most every day. I don't want to copy what someone else has done, but still be fresh in my approach to my subjects. I've tried to think of my palette first, then pull from my surroundings items that help me to realize my colors. I want to tackle folds in fabric more....a lot more, but some days I'm reluctant. Lazy? You betcha! Folds are very difficult for me, but that only means practice, practice.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seeing the light better with "Yellow" 8" x 8" oil on panel

What a dreary day outside. Cold, rain, wind. So I was drawn to the color yellow this morning. This little pitcher was, in the 60's, a promotional giveaway at Phillips 66 gas stations with a fill-up. I love painting pool balls, especially my Number 1. Since I've been away from painting for some time, I've, over the weeks, tried to figure out how I might see the color better in my set ups. What was I missing? Well, I bought some clip on lights to illuminate my palette that was looking more and more like mud as my painting progressed. Today I noticed, despite the dark weather, that I could see my colors as I mixed with a bit more clarity. But the truth of this solution will reveal itself throughout my next few paintings.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Snuggled" 8" x 8" oil on Ampersand panel

Long time no paint!
With all the apples available this time of the year, I couldn't resist my urges to work with my "to the applesauce" stash. I would like to focus more on painting folds in fabric, which is really like foreign territory to me. Another artist once told me there were 7 kinds of folds... possible angles and light variations to look for when painting. One would guess if one understands the anatomy of the folds, the language of interpreted light would be easier to understand. I guess this is when I need to "paint what I see and not what I know, but know what I see when I begin to paint". Huh? Makes sense to me. But exhausting when actually practiced. But practice is what painting is all about for me. I just need to get back to the everyday ritual. When working, a lot of times I get lost in thought. But maybe that's because it's unfamiliar territory.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Reflecting Orange"

I know it has been awhile since I've posted...and painted. I went to Germany to visit my daughter, son-in-law and babu, Max. Also, we all went to Octoberfest in Munich. What a scene! I like a beer occasionally during the hot weather, but wouldn't consider myself a fan of the brew. But the beer was great. A little sweet and light to taste. My little grandson was the main attraction, though, and I just couldn't get enough of him. I took a sketchbook thinking I might do a few gestural drawings, but that didn't happen. I was too busy playing. 
So, I'm back to the daily routine of this and that and finally got a few hours to paint today. I've painted this little orange pitcher only once before and find it a little challenging. The setup is resting on a sheet of foil for some interesting reflections, but then I excluded most of the foreground. Duh! I'm going to work with this again with just switching the pitcher for a pink plastic cup. We'll see how it goes.
By the way, I have a ton of new things to paint if I can just get past the difficult task of doing a setup. Definitely the most difficult task of painting is doing a creative setup, for me. Anyone else feel that way?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Nectarines and honeysuckle! And it is summer! We've had some hot, hot weather, but not as bad as others. If I position the fans just right, I can maintain a cool breeze running through the house, except when the sunlight hits the skylight in my studio. Then the heat rises. I have been painting, but I haven't been as pleased with the results. So I don't have much to post.  I'm at a standstill with the quilt for my sewing machine is not behaving right and it is just too hot to hand quilt. Happy news, though, for I sold a painting today!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The "HEART" of My Garden by Susan Jenkins

This is the Heart in my garden and made by Susan Jenkins. She is an artist of many talents, but has recently been making these ceramic hearts with china bits and pieces which she specifically cuts for placement. My heart even has a special ladybug she made and fired from a section of scalloped plate. I have this nailed to the post by my back door for all to see and I treasure it so much. Thank you Susan! If you would like to see her other work go here to here etsy shop. To see her blog and paintings go here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Current Quilt Frenzy!

I really needed to take a break from painting for several reasons. First, I really needed to clean my house. I really needed to weed the garden. I needed to work on my etsy vintage. I really need now to finish this quilt. I'm going to Germany to see my daughter, son-in-law and baby Max in two months. This quilt was to be a present to all for Max's first birthday, which has now come and gone. So I would really like to get it finished before and take it with me. Yesterday I rigged up a high table with plywood and saw horses to lay out the quilt to baste all the layers together. I had a small umbrella to keep a little cool, but the day was still hot.  The basting is all done, so now I begin the quilting. I still need to cut the grass. I still need some food in the house, but, being the chore I loath the shopping...I will put it off until I'm really low on cat food and coffee. But I'm wanting to paint real bad now with a few days away from my easel.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Christmas in July" 8" x 8" oil on panel

Guess I'm continuing with the Christmas balls. They so went with the flower with a nice contrast of the green cup in the middle. At first after painting and squinting to see it, the colors and shapes, to me, looked a bit like barkcloth. I did use a new surface, which is the Ampersand with the gessoed surface. But now I'm excited about trying the Ampersand with the clay finish....even smoother than the previous. I love when the paint just slips and slides around on the surface in the beginning stages of a painting.

This one is called, "Bud, I think Junior Fell Out" oil on a canvas panel. This is the first time I have painted this blue pot. It's really large, so it held (sorta) the big sunflower blossoms. So I had to use big brushes with the large scale of things and didn't want to get hung up in the little details. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

"The Great Escape" 10"x10" oil on canvas panel

What a surprise to throw in some shiny Christmas balls during one of our hottest days. I like the way that each ball acts as a mirror to everything around it. Fun to try and I plan to do this again, but with varying sizes. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Sunflower with Dots" 10"x10" oil on canvas panel

I bought a bunch of sunflowers at the market the other day. I love the shape of the flower. I was searching through my flat file for a piece of colored paper to use as the background of the painting and came across a pastel drawing I did of dots, mainly to test this new paper. I had fun doing the dots and getting reacquainted with my pastels. Why not use this as the background? So, that's where the dots are coming from. I think the sunflower looks a bit weird with just the one leaf, but I wasn't thinking about it too much at the time and just painted what I saw. Looks a bit weird to me.  I do have another sunflower to post and painted the flowers again today.
 I've got myself backed into a corner with re-examining what my priorities are when I approach a painting.  I think that I'm not putting enough thought into the planning stage, because I'm just so excited to begin that I just stumble right in. I believe that design should be my first issue that I tackle, then my color palette... But then sometimes I look at my shelves with my still life things arranged and just want to dive in and paint "THIS"!...then try to make it work somehow. I remember in painting classes being disciplined to paint something I don't really want to, learning to go beyond my desire and tackle the academics of painting head on....not to get wrapped up in the sentimentality of the things. But at home, I'm the boss, and I want to do what I want to do and, not necessarily, what would be best for my skills training. Sometimes I find it beneficial to set up problems for myself to tackle in the beginning. But then I find on most days everything is a problem in the beginning. I'm daily struggling to "find myself" and my "voice" through my painting. Isn't that enough? I know the best thing for me to do is practice and to practice everyday. On good days I SEE everything in brushstrokes. What a way to travel through life. Huh?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Oatmeal Cookies" oil on masonite

I've been working since the winter on this painting. There's always a first when painting.....raisins out of the box. I had fun with the arrangement of the objects, but had a little trouble getting the whole setup to "glow". The blue in the background helped present a stage against which the objects were on exhibit. Jars of honey are always a plus in a painting for me. Honey cannot help but glow.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Surrounded" 10" x 10" oil on panel

Yesterday I was really in the mood to work with red. Actually, I just opened my refrigerator and pulled out the red apples. Then later in the afternoon I returned to the kitchen and found cherries ready for the grab. I've never painted cherries before. 

"Hail to the Chief" 10" x 10" oil on panel
Today I moved over a notch on the color wheel and found myself painting orange. That one I don't feel is in a presentable state. Some days things just don't work out as planned.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Number 12" 10" x 10" oil on linen

I seem to be on to these pool balls for a while now. I especially love the yellow one, which is number 1. I'm currently looking to purchase a number 3, which is a solid redish-orange color. I love drawing spheres, although the yellow ball, now that I'm really looking at it, looks a little off anatomically. Light bulbs, also, are an excellent object to practice your drawing. I wanting this little painting to be viewed mostly in shadow with accents from the light source. 

Friday, June 17, 2011


This is the other embroidery I purchased along with "The Peaceable Kingdom". Don't want to sell this one either, so I pulled it out of the etsy shop. Now to get down to some serious painting!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Peaceable Kingdom" farewell!

I had a sale in my etsy shop this week that actually saddened me. This is a picture of an embroidery I purchased at a tag sale on my street a few years ago. In the basement of this house, I came across a young girls entire school art portfolio. I remember when I did one of these pieces in high school. Well, I found two that were absolutely adorable so I purchased them both and this is one of them. Done in 1970, the artist's name is Debbie Easton and is depicting "The Lion and the Lamb" embroidered with yarn on a piece of burlap. It reminds me of a sampler like the ones done by young girls years ago. The couch stitch is mostly used throughout. This is the image I have on my computer desktop at the moment. I really did not think it would sell, so I felt somewhat safe in having it listed to "round-out" my shop. What a surprise when I checked the sales in my shop and found that someone in Arizona had purchased it. I wrote an email telling the purchaser how I felt about it leaving my house and I was reassured it was going to a loving home. Farewell to a beautiful piece of Debbie's art class project.....

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Azalea in Blue" 6" x 6" oil on panel

Well, I have received advise from several people to paint smaller. People, on etsy, are looking to spend less on a painting, perhaps their first, to begin their collection. I've painted 6" x 6" only a few times, fearing I would not be able to cram all my ideas into such a small space. I had to use different size brushes from what I usually use. I love big brushes, relatively speaking. A larger brush holds more paint, therefore allowing me to drag that sentence out a bit longer. I can see what is going on with the canvas when painted not so small. So, on this painting, I kept with medium size brushes busy with the establishing of my major shapes. I love to see the tracts of the brush as it releases the paints. Brush strokes show their organic capability, I think, with the larger brush. "Keep it simple," I keep telling myself. In painting classes I was taught to "Start with a broom and end with a bristle". I could just as well forget the bristle stage completely. Larger statements and a loud voice need ample tools.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Are My Colors Right/Correct?

It seems that I have a real issue with photographing my art. I'm getting colors that vary widely with the same camera and the same monitor, but photographed in different places. What a HUGE difference! This painting that I did last year I experimented with today. These are pools balls that I painted resting on a piece of tin reflect the image. Neither photo is exactly correct, but the first picture is closer to the actual painting. It's 22" x 24", which is large and has a black frame on it. I used to photograph art for collectors eons ago, before the digital camera was out. I used special film and lights and would bracket my exposures. It was a lot of work, but I always got accurate results. Is this a Photoshop issue? Does anyone know how I can get accurate results without the use of an Adobe program? Darcy, could you ask your husband, please?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Rebecca at the Well"

Boy, was today a great day! I painted not so good today, but received something in the mail that is so beautiful! I have met some wonderful people and great artists since I've had my computer, but most recently since beginning this blog a little over a year ago. Yes, this is about you, Dulcy. Dulcy does the most beautiful rug hooking and is a pattern designer, as well. you can see her at: Dulcy's Doorstep. She was recently featured in HAUTE HANDBAGS Magazine with one of her beautiful creations. Well, I just had to own a piece of her "wonderful"! Her handbag arrived today and the colors are so rich and deep. Pinks and greens! I love it! I'm taking it to bed with me tonight. I love the way she leads your eye around the picture, or pattern, by the direction of her her hooking. It all has so much flowers blowing in the breeze. Thank you, Dulcy. I will treasure it forever. 
I had some trouble painting today and wiped out 3 or 4 times, so I'm showing an older painting I did from one of my favorite spots on earth to paint. Block Island, Rhode Island. This is just the beginning of a painting of "Rebecca at the Well", which is the name of a statue at the only rotary on an island that is only 3 miles wide by 7 miles long. Beautiful place to go for a weekend. I think of it as "little Ireland". Perhaps my painting tomorrow will be a little more successful. What I wiped out today was really bad. No pictures of this one.

Monday, May 2, 2011

just the seeds the Strawberries

I have not gotten to paint for the last few days, but I just could not look at these strawberries any longer without seeds. So on the first attempt I added lots, way too many. So I wiped out, since the painting was dry, and tried again. I just wanted to suggest seeds without defining the whole lot. Much improved, I think. Also, the painting a few posts back with my brushes and apples....well, I switched the painting. Usually I don't like to go back in and rework after I've declared "done". I have ruined more paintings that way without the ability to edit it back to the way it was. I only have a memory through a photo image. I also have photos of a few "could have beens" if I just had not been so hasty in wiping out.

This painting, I think in looking back, had a really good start...and I wiped it out. The setup was placed on a piece of white acrylic, so I could get some interesting reflections to paint. I had never done that kind of setup before. Here the dark background really made that vase glow! What was I thinking! Guess I was just afraid of the challenge. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

"Magnolia" 20" x 20" oil on linen

I've always wanted to paint a watercolor or oil palette. This is my little Cotman I sometimes use when I travel. I seem to have lost the little water reserve that goes with it. The magnolia blossom I picked earlier yesterday. Then in the afternoon the skies opened up and the rains came. When the storms were over all the blossoms were on the ground. When I returned to my easel this morning the blossom I had picked was pale and limp, so I had to paint this flower from my memory, which is rather scattered and sparse. I really should go back to watercolors for awhile and take a break from oils. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"My Brushes and Apples" 11" x 14" oil on linen

Today was surprisingly busy just in my back yard. Just tree stuff, but enough interruptions to distract and redirect. I love painting these green apples with this turquoise pitcher. Needs a spot more of red, though. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Pedestrians" 10" x 10" oil on linen

 I've felt rather disconnected lately. There is just so much going on with not enough time to get it all completed. And now it is about grass cutting season. Yes, I cut my own grass, but only with music in my ears. Well, spring is definitely here, as there is a green haze in the trees....almost leaves. My little grandson, Max, is turning one in a few weeks, so I bought these Waldorf cars for him in a rainbow of colors. So, before I ship them off to him in Germany, I thought I would use two of them in a painting. I should have worked on drawing them for a few hours first! I didn't capture their shape easily. I thought of the orange slices as pedestrians in the middle of this traffic jam, scurrying across the road. I put my "Pink and Green" painting in a show today. Thought I would spend the day outdoors but that did not happen. Driving in the car does not count as being outdoors. I wish I could paint abstract. A painting friend of mine is now painting abstract and her colors and shapes are just beautiful! You can see her work at:
I think this painting is too tight. I usually begin very loose, but somehow lost it in translation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Drawing in your Painting

I'm trying to pay more attention to my drawing in my painting, if that makes sense. I remember when I was in art school majoring in drawing, and the day in class I found that it was not the contour line of the figure or the shading, but some space in between that represented "relationship"  that I saw. Like lost-and-found edges. And this I had the power to control, which was where your eye moved through the drawing. I have always looked at my picture as a way to tell a story by means of a journey with your eyes down a road, up a path or over a bridge......don't quote me on this, but my picture is a map. So, in your composition you are setting up, through shapes, color, value and line a journey. I prefer a pleasant journey and I do this through color harmony, subject matter and value contrasts to name a few. A little tension is good, too. I'm working on the rage thing!

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Scattered" 10" x 10" oil on linen

I feel like I've exhausted my options on things to paint. The last two attempts have been wipeouts after two full days of painting. I tried to do a self portrait with my reflexion bouncing off the light of an old brownie camera flash bowl. Big. Silver. Round. Dull. The next one was a jar of colored pencils with a variety of other things scattered around. No good. Mistakes and failed starts are supposed to be good, I know. That's usually where I do my learning. So I cleaned the inside of my car, which I knew was a guaranteed success. I didn't learn much, but it caused me great pleasure to get into a clean car, start the engine, and move it 20 feet. Ever onward!
This painting, "Scattered", is for sale in my etsy shop at a lower price. Just trying to get that first sale.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Five Plus One" 10" x 10" Oil on Linen

I'm still on the green apple thing I have going, but strawberries....I don't know. I'm so tempted to eat them. I had, I thought, a real challenge in front of me. I wanted to try to paint really red strawberries, but I just couldn't come up with a pleasing composition. So I actually pulled in the green apple to keep me in my comfort zone, being that I've been painting them a lot lately. I tried to indicate the seeds in the berries, but that was a disaster, so I just kept them "sterile". 

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Just A Spoonful" 10" x 10" oil on linen

Well, today has been rather interesting. I finally went back to my old palette, which is just a piece of thick glass with white paper underneath. What a difference it makes to work with a clean palette! I also did my "thinking hard" session of painting and think that it finally paid off. But I need to be able to pull this off 10 times in a row, with success. There's nothing like being hard on yourself. But if I don't crack the whip, who will? My house is a wreck, it's time to do spring clean-up in the yard and I have recently ignored my vintage etsy shop. Laundry is piling up and no food in the house but milk. But I just want to stay off to myself and paint. A gallery contacted me today...they are interested in showing my work. This scares me! I don't do business, but I guess it is time to learn. Can you tell in this painting that the bottle on the left is opaque ...different than the others? That was my problem today; to paint transparent and opaque and be able to tell the difference between the two. I always have to solve a problem when I paint. It takes my mind away from the hard academics of painting.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Apple Seltzer" 20" x 20" Oil on Linen

I don't post twice in a day, but I have a little backlog here. This is my third painting of the four with the pink flower.....I really ought to move on now. I love this shape of the seltzer bottle and hope to be using it more in my set ups. I haven't painted successfully green apples before, but these gave me fewer problems......or maybe I'm just finally getting it! The overall value of the apples might work a little lighter, but I'm pleased with the value relationship in each one. When I painted the apple in the back on the left, I remember thinking that I should leave it alone and not mess it up by working on it further, just because it was there, though I was taught that when working on a painting, to work everywhere all the time and not to "finish" up one area. If one area is finished to your liking early, you tend to hold that finished area sacred and will sacrifice other areas of the canvas visually you want the remaining areas to rise up and meet your little sacred piece. I thought of that the entire time I was painting; not to make that back apple sacred. It's very hard to do that; to possibly mess up a well-painted area for the good of the whole.

"A Pair" 8" x 8" Linen on Panel

I bought this new panel yesterday and I like it. This was painted on a panel stretched with a very fine linen on a MFD wood panel and treated with an acid-free primer. Centurion makes the panel in several sizes, but I went straight for the 8" x 8", which is a new size for me. I prefer a square format, always have, but occasionally will use a slight rectangle. I seem to be hung up on this aqua/cool red palette in the last few weeks. This little plastic pitcher is new to my stock. It was made in the 50's or 60's as a promotional giveaway with gasoline. Phillips 66 is printed on the bottom. It's another great find from etsy. I love to mix greens from the blues and yellows on my palette. I use no greens from the tube. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

" Pink and Green" 10" x 10" oil on linen

While I have this booty of fresh flowers, I will use them in numerous still life set ups. I just need to keep their water fresh and the ideas flowing. I built a light box in my studio and drape it with a blackout cloth. That way I can control the light on my set up for hours, even as the sun comes through my skylight. I usually do these smaller paintings in one session. Not because it takes a short amount of time, for often it doesn't. I just have to go with the flow and I, fortunately, do not have to break to fix dinners for someone else, especially if I'm not hungry. I'm enjoying working with the cool red on my palette, a welcome change. This red is Permanent Rose( quinacridone) , and makes wonderful purples and violets mixed with cobalt or ultramarine blue.

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Charming" 14" x 11" oil on linen

My day didn't start so well. I had an unpleasant dream that started me down that road of negative thoughts. So the best thing to do is get out of the house. I had 4 purchases from etsy which took a bit of time boxing everything up. Found out at the post office that, once again, I had miscalculated my shipping NOT to my advantage. I need to stop guessing and use the scale I purchased and look everything up on the computer. Then on to Trader Joe's and home. I was determined to paint SOMETHING today, and spending time working on a set-up put me in such a foul mood. I don't enjoy inventing still life set ups at all. Sometimes my execution of the paint is going well, then 3 hours into it, I realize the picture is all wrong. It just isn't balanced or interesting. Today I was thinking of what colors I wanted to palette, dirty as it was, still had some mixing space left...and being too lazy to clean and begin again...SO there is a BIG problem right there. Start with a clean palette, no matter what. Sometimes I get so involved in the color mixing that I forget where I was going to put the color. My brush is loaded and ready to make my mark ...and I haven't the foggiest where that color I spent so much time mixing, was supposed to go. Anyway, the painting went a little better once I got started. It's so difficult for me. I have to focus so hard every second. It's so exhausting! I have to have an out loud dialogue with myself on all the decisions I'm making. Whew!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Jump" 20" x 20" oil on linen

I was not going to post this painting because there are so many things wrong with it, but I guess this blog is supposed to help me get over that  "only show the best' syndrome. Sometimes I get so excited about getting that brush in my hand and making my first marks, I breeze over the set up phase. I talked about this in a recent post. I love the jar of eggs and the napkin, but there is an area that has nothing going on and your eyes just get stuck in that big blue area. A painting should have a lot of passages and bridges to move your eyes around and this one just does not have it. I wiped out the dial on the scale several times....just could not get the cylindrical shape correct. I thought of adding a canister of some sort on the right behind the jar, but I think, your eyes get stuck on the other side of the scale, as well. It's just a bad set up and that's what I really need to work on. Perhaps to spent hours rearranging with executing some value sketches would be beneficial. One instructor jokingly told me, "if all else fails, crop.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Boots" 14" x 11" oil on linen

I cannot believe it snowed this morning... only an inch. Actually it was really pretty. So I was prepared for major bad when I went to do errands. The snow turned to rain and made being outdoors an uncomfortable mess. I need to get out of my "oh, it's almost dark outside, so time to wrap-it-up" mode. It begins around 3 PM, which I then struggle to make productive the rest of the day. Yesterday I started this painting around 4:30 and managed to work out the drawing part in 2 hours, but once again today I found myself  finishing up about 3:30 with nothing else to work on. At that point, it's kinda late to start something else, when I have to struggle for ideas anyway. Starting, I find, is the most difficult stage of a painting for me. Not the painting part, but coming up with ideas. If anyone has any tricks to help them along, I would love some ideas. Of course, I'm probably looking at the obvious in front of me instead of digging around in my cupboards for fresh, new stuff. When the light floods into my bathroom at the end of a sunny day, I see lots of potential. But when daylight wraps it up, I feel lost. I feel "sundowners syndrome" at the end of the day. I'm still on a high from, hopefully, a good day of painting. Why can I not sustain it for another 2 or 3 hours?

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Oil and Lemon" 10" x 10" oil on linen

I did not just paint this, but I wanted to make sure everyone knew about my etsy shop that has my paintings for sale. This one is for sale, but I wanted to show it in the frame I usually use. Now let me see if I can type up the link correctly. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Medium" 10" x 8" oil on linen

I forgot that I had this little painting. Glass just attracts do shadows. I want to try and paint this one again soon. I want to experiment more with different lightbulbs, warm vs cool and work more with reflected light. Right now I want to just focus on the light and shapes...cannot forget those shapes.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Apple and Salt" 10" x 10" oil on linen

Well, I really struggle with apples, especially the variety that has a lot of yellow, orange and green. That's why I chose and Red Delicious this time. A bit of purple in this one, but it was the bottle that gave me problems. The salt shaker is a recent acquisition from etsy. I feel like I will rust up if I don't paint every day, but I believe pauses in a routine can be quite enlightening. Perhaps I need a good dose of chocolate!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I got First Place folks!

I haven't checked to see if I've posted this painting before, but anyway, I FINALLY won a First Place in Oils! I don't even remember what I named this one....something about a teaspoon. When I dropped it off at The Rowayton Art Center, I remember standing there with another artist discussing how we hated to name our paintings and were waiting till the last possible minute to do so. Uh, I just don't know if I should name it "Spoon", for that's what I was focused on....for awhile. "Honey Glow" was another option, for I was, for awhile......., focused on making the honey glow. But then what about, "That Flower in the Background". No, that would bring it too forward, which I did not want to do. It really doesn't matter too much to me, because I won First Place! Does that mean that I get an extra helping of cookies after dinner? This one is for sale at $225, and it is in a nice, chunky black and gold frame. Maybe I'll sell something! 10" x 10" with 2 1/4" frame = a little over 14"square.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Uncle Bob" gouache on coated paper

I don't think that I have posted this painting before, but this one I call Uncle Bob. Actually I did this from a photo taken from when I was at the Highland Games in the Loone Mountains in New Hampshire one fall. This is another example of working on gesso-coated paper. This is done in gouache, which is an opaque watercolor and  pronounced "gwash". Most watercolors are painted on watercolor paper, which can be quite absorbent. I find the medium to be very non-forgiving in the first place, meaning you make your mark on the paper....then you have to live with it. The colors can stain the paper and if you are having second thoughts and want to lift off your paint, well, too bad. With gesso-coated paper the paint sits on the surface just waiting to be pushed around. Some staining can occur, especially with thalos. Gouaches give you much more vibrant colors and do not muddy up so much when white is added. I also used a rapidiograph pen for the black. These pens are expensive little suckers that give you a consistent width to your line. No thick then thin line, like with nib pens or even a pencil. And the ink is waterproof so washes can be applied over your line and there will be no running. The problem is that the india ink used has shellac in it, so unless you are obsessed with cleaning your pen every day, and cleaning that little hole where the ink flows out REALLY WELL, you are in for a clogged pen. It's then almost impossible to unclog, especially the really fine ones that make such a thin, fine line.There are less expensive, fine-tipped felt pens that work almost as well and are great for on-the-go drawing, but I still find they run a little if a wash is used over the ink. Bottom line is that with a bit of experimentation with papers and the use of gouache, you can achieve illustration-like results that are not so washed out, which is what I was going for with Uncle Bob. This painting below was also done with gouache, but on a brown paper bag-like paper.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Taking a Break" gouache,oil and colored pencil on coated paper

I love working on gesso-coated paper. The paper I use is Strathmore Bristol 2-ply plate finish. I tack a huge sheet to a piece of plywood, coat with not-too-thick water-based gesso with the brush strokes all going in one direction. I let this dry, then do another coat with the brush strokes going perpendicular to the first coat. I let this dry again, then turn the sheet over, re-tack and do the paint process again on the reverse side. I find that the 2 coats cover quite well and also leaves a wonderful surface, with the gessoed strokes showing through, especially with washes. Gouache can be used under oils. This coated paper is also great to use for straight-up oil painting. The paint stays on the surface and sets up real well....similar to working on masonite.  It sounds like a lot of work to prep for working on paper, but paper needs a preservative if oils are used. The coating is not necessary if you are using water-based paints, but the surface looks interesting, I think.