Friday, July 25, 2014

ripping it up in the studio

Lily, colored pencil, 11.5x8 inches
I'm cleaning out old artwork and can hardly believe it but I just ripped up three old colored pencil drawings. The frames are on their way to the Goodwill. I saved the mats for possible future art.  When I came to "Lilies and Dahlias" I fell in love (again) with the lower left corner. I will cut it away from the rest of the painting. If anyone is interested in owning the bottom left corner (renamed "Lily"), let me know.

Monday, July 14, 2014

the way things happen short story

I'm scheduled to be the featured artist for October at The State of The Arts Gallery, Olympia, WA. In addition to a dozen small still-life oils, they have also asked for a couple larger paintings. I thought I'd get around to that over the summer. It would be a new experience I wanted to think about it awhile.

Then, last week, online artist/friend Mike emailed me asking to purchase "A Glad Heart," one of the paintings set aside for the gallery. I said yes IF I could paint another similar piece to replace it.

So, this morning I put "A Glad Heart" on the side of the easel and for some reason, I put a 16 x 20 canvas in position to paint. I can't really say what happened next but it was so much fun! In about 20 minutes I had another, much larger "Glad Heart" roughed in.

If I had not taken Qiang Huang's workshop in April, I wouldn't be painting still life again. If State of the Arts Gallery had not asked for a large still life, I wouldn't have painted one. If Mike had not asked to purchase "A Glad Heart," I would not have painted it larger.

It seems my art evolves in steps.

1. The desire to try a new subject or medium.
2. The challenge of making it look the way I want.
3. The comfort zone of producing paintings in that genre (usually until I'm bored and the cycle starts over again).

Staying in one's "comfort zone" too long for optimum physical or mental health has been a family topic of late so it is interesting that I was sort of ejected from my comfort zone today into such a fun place! Now, I don't want to go back to 6 x 6 inches, they seem tedious in comparison.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

favorite things

I've mentioned searching garage sales for reference objects for my paintings but some of my favorite props are items I use every day. Here is an example: my empty Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer jar. I love this stuff, use it every day, and when the moisturizer is gone I remove the pump-insert jar from inside and save the blue/green translucent outer jar.  The image below shows how I used the empty jar in a painting.

Favorite Things, oil, 6x6 inches

Friday, July 11, 2014

too hot

The coming week will be spent with family instead of painting and blogging. Time for a break; it is too hot in Washington State! I'm ending the week with the posting of a new print, "Gift Box," on my Studio Sales page. Purchase

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

a bright tomorrow

A Bright Tomorrow, oil, 6 x 6 inches
Last month all the small still-life oil paintings I had were sold online. New 6 x 6 inch paintings will be framed for galleries but I am offering the images as same-size Fine Art Prints through my Studio Sales. If you missed the opportunity to purchase one of the originals last month, consider a print. They look amazing - if I do say so myself. :) A Bright Tomorrow is my first print offering. Purchase

Friday, July 4, 2014

a glad heart

A Glad Heart, oil, 6x6 inches   Sold
See the steps below.
A Glad Heart Step 1
Step 1: The Ampersand Gessbord panel is toned, marked for the center and paint is removed from the marble with a cloth and Gamsol.

A Glad Heart Step 2
Step 2: Transparent Oxide Red + Ultramarine Blue applied with a palette knife to layout the composition.

A Glad Heart Step 3

Step3: Still working with TOR + UB in various values from light to dark. From this step on, local color is added for the finished painting shown above.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

wisdom and folly

Wisdom and Folly Step 1
Wisdom and Folly Step 2
Wisdom and Folly Step 3
Wisdom and Folly Step 4
Wisdom and Folly, oil, 6x6 inches

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

signs and wonders

Signs and Wonders, step 1
Signs and Wonders, step 2 artist meltdown and wipe-off

Signs and Wonders, oil, 6x6 inches
Signs and wonders. It's a sign to walk away and take a break when you have muddy-mess of flowers. It's a wonder what a good wipe-off with a cloth, right down to the Ampersand surface, will do for a good night's sleep. Objects: dried Statice, my gift-box, a gift-cherry and Saturday's garage sale find of a shiny salt shaker (which was really fun to paint)!  The Yellow Ochre + Cad Lemon palette was a nice change.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

waiting again

Last week I posted the top photo, the value stage of three little paintings. I thought you might like to see how they look finished. Now they will wait for their frames and gallery delivery.

Monday, June 30, 2014

happy to be included

Last September I had the good fortune to be published in a feature article in Pratique des Arts, a well respected french art magazine. About a month ago they repeatedly tried to contact me to be a part of this Grand Masters of Pastel issue but all the emails must have gotten stuck in a filter long before they got to my server. Finally, with the deadline just days away, the journalist sent me an email from her personal account, I got it, was delighted to be included and quickly sent 8 images to choose from and a little text.

Voila! I saw the issue cover on Facebook but wondered which paintings they had chosen. A french fb friend kindly scanned the article - thank you Claudia!

I am pleased that "Sunset" (above, left) was chosen. It was sold through Daily Paintworks to a fellow artist. Top right image, "Shades of Summer" is the homepage image on my website and was sold to a collector through Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes, WA. "Tidal Marsh" is from my abstracted landscape series of a couple years ago.

gearing up

I'm gearing up for a summer of 6x6 still life paintings. To the fabric store for a yard each of seven new colors for the background.  Garage sales supply still life objects. Best find from this group is the set of four Aynsley Fine Bone China, hand modelled, hand painted English napkin rings at twenty-five cents each.

Friday, June 27, 2014

eight weeks and beginnings

Eight weeks ago, I began painting 5x7 inch oil still lifes then moved on to 6x6 inches. Four weeks ago, I started posting them on Daily Paintworks and on my Studio Sale blog. They received a warm welcome.  Today I have only one painting left and I have a problem:  Two of my galleries want to show my work of this type, framed of course. One gallery needs a dozen paintings for a Featured Artist event in the fall. So, it is bittersweet that next week I will post my last painting of this series on DPW and turn my attention to filling my gallery commitments.

Beginnings, oil, 5x7 inches
Currently, "Beginnings" is available for purchase on my Studio Sales blog but I plan to post it on DPW Monday, June 30th for a 7 day auction. My sincere thanks to all who have purchased these little scenes. You have each played a part in encouraging me to explore a new direction.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

everything old is new again

Here is the reference photo and step by step shots of today's painting. The reference photo is for composition only (step 2) - useful if I have to dismantle the scene and set it up again. I paint using the actual still life set up as reference.

When I worked in colored pencil, I had the best titles for my work! Heartfelt, September Song, One Fine Day, Long Ago and Far Away, Comfort and Joy. I've decided to start reusing titles. Today's piece is called Comfort and Joy. And, just to amuse myself, I will post the original Comfort and Joy below today's version.

Comfort and Joy, oil, 6x6 inches   Sold

Comfort and Joy 1997, colored pencil, 20 x 18 inches  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


"Stop...Go," oil, 6x6 inches   Sold
Remember my red-danger-stop post? You know, the one about the cottage cheese? Well, I learned my lesson about red long ago and didn't touch that red knob again until the finishing touches. Can't say the same for the rest of the painting but I'm pleased with it now.

My little oil still-life experiment has grown into two of my galleries wanting to show this work. It means I won't have as many (or any) to sell on Daily Paintworks.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

paintings in waiting

Paintings and still life objects waiting the next step
I continue to focus on small still life paintings. I'm comfortable now with my oil technique but this week I changed my process a little. I'm completing the value stage and then moving on to another painting. When I get a couple more of these I'll go back to the first one and begin to add color. My reason is two-fold.

1. To let the value dry before adding color. Although this will limit my ability to remove paint back to the white surface, it will also limit my ability to remove paint when I should have left it where it was.

2. To distance myself emotionally from the composition and value stage, hopefully to approach the color work with fresh enthusiasm.

I'm always looking for ways to make better paintings. Now, the obstacle is not materials or technique but instead, my inner dialogue. Find ways to free yourself to create your best work.

Food for thought

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


When I took Home Economics in school, I was given 3 pieces of cut cherry tomatoes, a leaf of lettuce and a blob of cottage cheese to arrange into an attractive presentation. Other students completed the task in minutes and so did I but then...I decided the tomatoes would look better like, like this...NO, how about this? By the time the teacher arrived to grade me, I had pink cottage cheese. When working with red, walk away!

 If you look closely at my still life set-up, you'll see the red knob on the glass box. Now, I'm walking away to attend my Critique Group meeting.

red knob in progress

Friday, June 13, 2014

gift box in steps

Gift Box Step 1

Gift Box Step 2
Gift Box, oil, 6x6 inches sold

salt added...and a little color

A Good Morning, oil, 6x6 inches sold
Added SALT and a little color. This painting was difficult to photograph - this image looks a little too warm but I can spend another hour on adjusting the color or I can get to the easel and have a good morning. Wishing you the same.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

a little SALT needed

A Good Morning in progress. I think it needs SALT. This stage of painting is exciting to me and I want to hold that feeling. A few more thoughts on that here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

loose and happy

"Ginger Pot," oil, 6x6 inches sold brushwork is getting looser and I'm happy. Note to self: if you can't paint a marble in six strokes, walk away, take a break. You are hungry, tired, over-marbled!

Yesterday's painting shows my "steely" marble. Do they still make those?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Faithful - lost and found

"Faithful," oil, 6x6 inches  sold
I'm still working on lost and found edges and am happy with today's painting, 6x6 inch "Faithful." The color and feeling of the actual painting seems more lively and delicate than this image but this is as close as I can get today. Many times, the business of art takes more time than the actual painting.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

lost it - Yay!

So happy to have successfully lost the edge on my green marble! It took about six tries, even wiping all paint off and down to the clean white Ampersand panel but I finally got it the way I want it to look.

This is the final 5x7 inch painting of my self-imposed discipline about handling oil paint and I have learned a lot. Each of the the twelve paintings has lessons learned and special meaning to me. As I send them on to new homes through Studio Sales and Daily Paintworks, I find I am missing them. But now, on to a different size and my quest for lost edges and being lost and focusing. A few more thoughts and a link to interesting reading here.

"Green Marble," oil, 5x7 inches  sold

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#12 breakthrough

Last night as I was painting on Little Oil #12, the final painting of my "Figure out how to handle oil paint!" series, I had a major breakthrough. The value study was a combination of Naples Yellow Light, Sap Green and Ultramarine Blue. When I applied the local color, Burnt Sienna, to the little copper pot it practically painted itself. Now, that's the way it is supposed to be! Fresh, and lively the first time, with no second (or third or fourth) effort to get a fresh look. Whew! Just in time. I want to go on to a larger painting.

All twelve of the little oils will be posted for sale. "Blessed" is first up and is now on the DPW auction with very good traffic stats, followers and bidding with 5 days to go. I know not everyone likes the auction process so I will post these paintings June 4th on my Studio Sales blog for purchase directly from me using Pay Pal. If they don't sell on Studio Sales, I'll offer them at auction on Daily Paintworks.


The composition and value for "Deliverance"

The background color
"Deliverance," oil, 5x7 inches   sold

Monday, June 2, 2014


Arcana, oil, 5x7  sold
I'm observing how the creative process varies for me depending upon the medium.

With colored pencil, it was careful step by step tedious rendering. Mistakes were made so slowly that I usually caught them in time to correct them.

With pastel, I painted with abandon and if things weren't going well, I just washed or brushed the painting off and began again to keep a fresh look.

OIL: a whole new ballgame. Toning the board is carefree. The value step is easy. Local color comes next and I have to force myself to spend time to get the exact local color that will be compatible with shadows and highlights when I get to the modeling of the form. In the reconciliation step, I always like to add a surprise of color but it must work with the local color of all objects. As always, the painting is about light and the way it affects color, texture and shape. It would be a good idea for me to be working on several oil paintings at the same time, each in different stages of completion. Today's painting, #10, "Arcana" was fun to paint, but difficult to photograph.

"Blessed" is the painting currently on auction at Daily Paintworks.