Sunday, September 18, 2016


Mo and Farina   conte crayon and pastel   27.5 x2 0
Mo is my friend and a fellow artist.  Farina is her dog.  Both have been attending our Monday night class for some time.

Farina was dropped off at Mo's house a few years back, possibly the victim of some kind of abuse, as she is highly distrustful of men in general.  Mo swears that she is truly the "best dog ever", as she is kind, obeys, doesn't fact, the two of them travel practically everywhere together.  Farina has gradually gotten used to the men in our class, and more than a few artists have been seen giving her a biscuit now and then.  As she is a herding dog, she only rises from her resting position when fellow artists visit the restroom or nab a cup of coffee.  When all have returned to their seats, she is happy again.

What a pair!  They both add richness to our class, and to our lives, especially those of us without pets. As we begin another Monday evening fall session, we all look forward to these very special classmates!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Melon Man

Melon Man   charcoal and conte on Rives BFK   27.5 x 21
Each Wednesday I trudge on up to our township center to the farmers' market.  I use the term loosely, as there are usually only 3 booths...a gal who bakes scrumptious cookies, a guy who sharpens knives......and the melon man whose booth offers up luscious late-summer produce...a vast array of peaches, squash, sweet onions and much much more.  He was less than thrilled when I asked him to pose with one of his melons.  But, despite my trepidation in asking him, I knew that I would be able to invest myself in this project, as we have a shared experience....him as a seller, and me as a hiker with a backpack heavy with produce.

I began by taping off the right hand side of paper, knowing that I want to create a split visual.  I worked on his figure first of all, which, for the most part, is composed of large and simple shapes.  My next step was to turn the support 90 degrees to the right.  In the taped off area, I created a melon patch.  This part happened quite easily, as I was charmed by the rhythms of the leaves...and the counterspaces that occurred as a result.  In the final stage of the work, I removed the tape and began to integrate the two parts into a "oneness" that satisfied  my sense of aesthetic.  I am quite pleased, as this project offered up a satisfying mix of challenge and fun.  I began by using vine charcoal, then threw conte crayon in the mix, as well as some broad swipes of green pastel...just enough for a color suggestion.

This project renewed my love of drawing (as most of my time is spent painting), as well as renewing my love of conte crayon.

Come October, I will miss my Wednesday treks to the township park.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Learning to Ski in Summer

Deb's Gray Wool Coat   mixed media on paper   28 x 21
refers to a dormant learning period in which new ideas and new lessons have an opportunity to gradually "plant" themselves into your being....a way to process new information before putting it to use.  My ideas seems to follow this path.  My friend and fellow artist Debrah Butler has a most amazing embroidered wool winter coat.  From the first moment I saw her in it, I knew that I had to work this idea.  By the time I asked her, Spring was on its way, and the notion of wearing the coat in a pose, felt way too creepy hot.  The following winter, I shot a few very unplanned photos of her at the end of a way-too-long meeting.  We were both anxious to get moving along in the day.  Oh well.  The ideas took hold, and I simply couldn't wait to work with them.  And is Deb in her wool coat...a picture completed just as the thermometer approaches 90 degrees.

The work started out in vine charcoal.  The biggest challenge I faced was the huge gray form of the coat.  My personal approach was that I needed to break up this form, in order to incorporate the background into a "oneness".  The background sold, as well as the patterns were printed onto the paper with relief ink.  I am satisfied. 

I guess we will be learning to swim this winter.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Mile High Book Club

Mile High Book Club   oil   24 x 12 x 1.5
is the result of study in my summer drawing class, but, in actuality, has been in my brain for a long while.  My husband and I love to read...and, sometimes, more than one at a time.  As a result, books tend to, there, everywhere.  Our shelves can no longer accommodate the overflow.  Our books rest in stacks surrounding our seating area where we coffee-and-read each morning.  One of the first things we do when we are expecting guests is to re-position, hide and file our stacks. 

In addition, precarious stacks of things reoccur in my work...perhaps an indication and constant reminder of the chaos that needs to be sorted (both material and emotional) in order to facilitate the calm and simplicity that we both desire.

My reference photos were shot on my patio....this smaller work represents approximately 1/3 of my arranged pile.  Passes were made top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top with a particular goal each time.  Relationships became super-important as I tried to establish a bit of back-and-forth rhythm that maintained at least a posture of stability. 

While I am happy and satisfied that one of my long-held ideas was realized, I found that a composition including so many objects severely restrained my need for creativity...just too many masters that needed to be obeyed.

There.  Done. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Linear Perspective Redux

Books and Gourd Drawing   2 point perspective with many vanishing points
Amazon Box drawing   1 point perspective

Amazon Box drawing   2 point perspective

Stack of Books Drawing   multi vanishing points

Cups Drawing   the ellipse

In our summer drawing class, we have been revisiting some of the challenges of drawing to create an illusional three-dimensional reality on a two-dimensional surface.  Redux, again and again. We can all use a refresher!  Fore-shortening creates havoc in the brain.  Sight-sizing produces lots of surprises while our six-year-old child brains still store what we see as a face-on viewpoint.  We "know" the box to be oblong.  Drawing it otherwise, as it obeys the laws of linear perspective is our goal.  Many of the problems I see in painting are actually underlying drawing errors. This week we are tacking transparency.  More to come.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Controversial Basket

Controversial Basket   oil on canvas   24 x 18 x 2.5
Like lots of folks, I am attracted to handmade items...those with a bit of quirkiness and imperfections that reveal the hand of the maker.  Being a maker myself, I think about the process of the weaving, the colors, the patterns and the satisfaction of the artist.  And, I like to least look at the myriad of beautiful things that perk up our lives.  At a wonderful look-only upscale boutique next door to one of my galleries, I spotted an amazing basket which could be a potential gift for friend or family.  I approached cautiously, hoping that it might be within my birthday gift range.  The oh-so-lucky sale price was in the high seventies...dollars that is.  Whoa.  Move on.  My trip home involved a stop at a discount store for a few grocery items and a quick spin through the closeout section.  This basket, similar to the boutique beauty, was $9.99.  Yeah!

Two baskets.  Both beautiful.  Very similar.  And yet, I have a sneaking suspicion that the craftsperson's wage was the same in each case.  Probably below the minimum wage standard in our country.  Probably work with no benefits.  Woe is me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Don't Forget to Climb-ish

Don't Forget to Climb   oil on canvas   48 x 36
I try to use the "ish" method of self-critique all along the evolution of a painting.  Too neutral-ish.  Too bright-ish.  Too broken-ish.  Too wimp-ish.  Too vague-ish.  Etc. Etc. Etc.  This method helps me to evaluate the overall feel of the work without pinpointing numerous meaningless detail or the over-reliance on reality.  My first version of this work can be seen below...the blog entrance for April 30.  After living with this "finished" work for a while, I realized that it was too soft-ish.  While I love soft...soft edges and a soft mesmerizing feel, the environment of this work has to do with climbing - rocks, boulders and all things hard. was difficult to go back in and re-feel my intentions.  The overall feel needed to preside over my personal inclinations.  I was at odds....this feeling needs to be acknowledged.

One of my resolutions involves the longer consideration of try to fight the desire to be finished...

This is my final answer....I think.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Rusty Bucket

Rusty Bucket (at Carolina Beach)   watercolor   6.75 x 5
For me, painting is a solitary endeavor.  Many, many decisions to be made...even in the simplest of subject matter.  Making art, even sketching, while vacationing is an "iffy" activity.  It attracts attention from companions, and, in a way, separates you from them, which is not really a good thing.  Many folks assume that "painting at the beach" is something to aspire to.  Au contraire, pour moi.  The light is way too assuming, the subjects a bit trite.  And, truly, for me, the marrow is painting what you know, what you feel, in your everyday life...not in the idolatry of an exotic, while beautiful, location.  And yet the artistic soul revels in creation, and yearns for the moments to doodle both the pencil and the brush.  This small rusty bucket was perched on the picnic table at our Carolina condo.  An hour full of complete joy!  And...all the while...a storm brewing, the waves thrashing.  All of that became the memory encompassed in this rusty bucket.  A supremely sensual experience!

The painter must be solitary...For if you are alone you are completely yourself, but if you are accompanied by a single companion you are half yourself.
                                                                                                  Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, June 24, 2016

Bucket List #3 - Don't Forget to Scoot

Don't Forget to Scoot   oil on canvas   48 x 24 x 1.5
Our grandkids are city-dwellers.  And, as such, they spend lots of time on the urban playground.  These kids are amazing!  Their playground skills know no bounds.

I have always wondered why I don't have a yearning for travel.  Quite perplexing, given my degree in French and my love for all things global.  You see, completely at odds!  While other folks my age are planning trips, and snapping multitudinous shots of foreign landmarks, I am quite content to be at my easel, which, for me, is the ultimate getaway!

And, so my bucket list series continues....and it is comprised of activities and movement.  Those are the things that give me thrills and chills.  Those are the things I don't want to miss.

Mystery solved.  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Grass Being Greener

The Grass Being Greener   Watercolor on Khadi   18 x 24.5
Yes...the grass is always greener on the other side...of the experience, of the life circumstance, and of the painting.  The sketch is complete.  The subject fairly well understood.  The paint, the brushes and the paper at the ready.

Each painting offers up a unique experience and, as part of the preparation, I try to visualize the finished work as well as to plan a step-by-step plan in order to achieve the desired results.  Khadi paper offers up it own qualities.  This is my third work using this wonderful paper and I am still maneuvering through its capabilities, as well as my own.  I liken it to driving a vehicle through an unfamiliar terrain, or in various weather conditions.  My first pass was a dropping-in of pigment wet-into-wet for the spots on this dappled bovine.  Dropping-in is something that Khadi does very well.  My next pass was to be a graded background wash.  Not easily undertaken.  A failure, in fact, as the ultra-absorbing paper does not allow for much pushing and pulling.  And so, my thrill came from the adjustments that had to be made in order to achieve the painting in my mind.  Difficult, but doable.

Indeed...the grass is always very appropriate! Oh, the glory of the process!

(Painting)..."It is a form of conversation, and just like a conversation it can turn out exciting, boring, ugly, beautiful, enlightening.  Like a conversation.  it can have unexpected turns, sudden discoveries and hidden subtext and periods of silence.  All this is what makes painting endlessly fascinating."
                                              Alex Kanevsky

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Come Spring

Come Spring   Watercolor   17.5 x 24
is an expression that implies jobs and tasks that will be undertaken once the winter weather clears...that which is yet to be.  Earlier in my artistic career, I swore that I would never paint a barn.  For me, those barns painted during the 70's and 80's reached a kitsch level...way too sweet, way too charming.  Never say never.  As I drove along shooting references for a landscape painting, the subjects that most appealed to me were both buildings and animals.  The bare landscape just doesn't do it for me.  Maybe just too much green, as was spoken earlier on by Georgia O'Keefe.  I wanted my own barn to be more current, at least as current as an old barn can possibly be.  It is somehow comforting, a symbol of the everlasting, of the work that sustains us. 

This is my offering to the subject of "spring landscape".

Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge. (Winston Churchill)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New Recipe::Old Recipe

Old Recipe
New Recipe   watercolor/mixed on paper   27.5 x 18

Beginning a new painting is often like trying out a new recipe.  Which pan?  (oops...too small) Which order would best accomplish the goal?  Which spices...more of?  less of?  And, oh, the mountain of pots and pans at the finish!  For me, it takes more than one "go" at a new recipe to feel comfortable in the making.  With a painting, those options are limited...especially with watercolor.  I had a vision, in this case, of how I thought the painting would look.  My sketch proved to be erroneous, in that I saw the cookware as a lighter value...the background a darker.  As I painted, and continued to paint, the reflections and all of the colors therein, the cookware took a turn to the dark.  My dark background continued to confuse.  It seemed fine up close.  But distance turned it all into a muddle.  I prefer a stronger value differentiation in order for the work to be read at a distance, as well as to simplify the shapes.  Woe is me.  This painting hung in my dining room for over a month.  During that time, my patient husband hung and removed the work for further study and further work several times.  I was not happy.  My final answer involved printing relief ink over top.  I had reversed the values from my initial sketch.  Topsy turvy!  And so, I guess that lesson for me is to remain flexible, to veer from the initial notion in order to achieve the look that first sparked my brain.

A painting is never finished.  It simply stops in interesting places.
Phil Gardner

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Onion Afterthought

Onion Afterthought   Watercolor on Khadi   10 x 14
For me, a still life painting is a way to get back to basics without an overload of emotional attachment.  We can learn about value patterns and their linkage.  And there is no one to offend.  And, for me, the still life work is a bit of an offshoot of my other life in the kitchen.  The onion, for example.  Its amazing flavor is the basis for many great meals.  The variety abounds.  And, given the abundance of options at the market today, we can experience the marvels of leeks and shallots.  Visually, they are expansive in color, shape and texture.  This kept my interest in this work which was painted on Khadi paper.  Khadi provides an interesting texture to the paint which should probably be considered in selected appropriate subject matters.  I am happy with this work and am thrilled with both the color and the shapes of the leek leaves.  And, I guess that the rich dark backgrounds seem appropriate for the richness and strength of the subject matter.

Grilled, fried, sliced, diced and epicurean delight.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bucket List #2 - Don't Forget to Climb

Don't Forget to Climb   oil/canvas   48 x 36 x 1.5
My husband and I were blessed with three extremely active sons.  And now, two grandchildren who simply cannot sit still.  As I sit back (yeah!) and watch their antics, I am renewed by their adventuresome spirits and their delight in moving... pushing their efforts beyond what is doable, to what is possible.  Here, here!  We all have our bucket lists.  My own involves pushing myself by daily risk-taking.  I believe that we aren't really learning unless we are trying something new.  Note to self: allow my brush to skip, jump, skate and climb.  Explore the road less traveled.

At the end of the day, there is always the easy chair.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Drawing, Doing Dishes and Pulling Weeds

Drawing is the seed...the start of it all...the place where your love for a subject begins to express itself.  Amidst the daily chores of doing dishes and pulling weeds, I often find the search for large chunks of time for painting to be relentless and nagging.  After all, it takes me at least an hour to get into the zone, to shed the obsessions of life in hopes of arriving at the mindless freedom that painting least for me.  Drawing takes less time.  Drawing requires fewer materials.  Drawing requires less commitment. Drawing can be more mindless, as imperfections and misplaced lines reside comfortably next to passages that are more truthful.  I enjoy their unfinished, unpolished, wabi-sabi qualities.  Drawing is where my soul finds peace.

Drawing is where I find the excitement and commitment to pursue the subject in paint.  Or not.

 One's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes.
                                                                                                                        Andrew Wyeth
One's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes.
Read more at:
One's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes.
Read more at:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday Night Painting Class

Patty   watercolor   14.5 x 7
It seems that most of the artists in my classes like to try their hand at painting the human figure, which is fine by me, as it is my favorite subject!  I have read somewhere that an artist, my nature, is either a line-person or a mass-person.  While I am not sure if that is true, it can then follow that a line person probably prefers a fine tool and drawing, while a mass-person is well suited for the use of larger, more inaccurate tools, such as a large brush which is good for painterly paintings.  My goal for the class was for the painters to be able to "see" only the masses of lights and darks and midtones, avoiding then, the description of the eyes-nose-mouth-legs-arms-fingers syndrome which can lead to disappointment and more child-like rendering.  The week before the session, I set up a strong light situation in a darkened part of the room to photograph the artists as they entered.  That week, I cropped and altered the photos to promote my goal.  They were then printed on the grayscale setting.  I also offered the suggestion of painting upside down.  While there were a couple of takers, most preferred their reference rightside-up.  I believe that in this way, we can see that a likeness is more dependent on shape, than on detail.

My subject is Patty, a retired art teacher, and a strong painter.  I like the result. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bucket List

Don't Forget to Swing   oil/canvas   48 x 36
I am not a good tourist.  Wandering through crowds and snapping photos is painful.  Painting to me is the ultimate pleasurable activity.  And so, my personal bucket list has PAINTING on the top.  After that...many activities that reflect my desire for simple activities that flood my senses with excitement.

"Don't forget to Swing" is the first of a planned series of bucket list adventures.  My goals in this painting were many....the frozen stop moment of a swinging tire....the laxness of the chains, the wind created by the back and forth movement.  The most difficult passages involved the lessening of power of that big black tire which could easily overpower my small subject.  Every shape creates a counter-shape and these are difficult to manage.

I might be done.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Flatware Family

Flatware Family   watercolor on Khadi   9.75 x 19
I am not a repeat person.  What keeps my interest in painting is the polar opposite thing.  After having completed "Tin Among Cans", a large work done with LARGE brushes and bold heavy strokes, I wanted to work on a quieter, more delicate subject.  Since we were working on reflective surfaces, I chose some pieces of flatware and arranged them on one of my favorite bar towels.  This work was approached wet into wet mostly, layer upon layer, with a softer touch and medium size brushes.  It was worked from left to right, mostly, in order to take advantage of varying degrees of dryness in the paper.  A few folds were noted and edges wet down so as to soften any edges that might form as the paint dried.  Several years ago, I was stimulated by a very minimalist painting of silverware and wanted to try my hand at this subject.  Not too much working of the the paper simply won't tolerate it...kind of reminds me of pie dough where the less you work it, the better. A few details were added to imply the hemming of the cloth and the resultant puckering. 

I am pleased.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Easter!

Easter Basket   watercolor   12 x 9.5

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Tin Among Cans

Basement #2 (A Tin Among Cans)   watercolor on Khadi   18.75 x 28
Another composition from my very very very old basement!  While in high school, I used to freak out every weekend trying to decide upon a subject worthy of my attention to paint for the required Monday art project...something so meaningful or so beautiful that it would initiate "pause".  That all seems so funny now, as my work is based on my own perception of the reality, rather than the subject itself.

This work was broadly painted with watercolor on Khadi first experiment with this luxurious handmade paper from India.  It is an intimate relationship, and one entered into with some trepidation, getting to know and appreciate the qualities of an unfamiliar support.  I like this work (a lot), although I feel that from here on, I will use Khadi for more delicate subject matters.  I hesitated a bit as to whether or not to include typography from the paint cans and decided against...typography (left brain) always steals the show and takes the visual power away from the inherent rhythms.  A visitor to our local gallery expressed this same opinion a few months ago....she paused in front of a very conceptual work that included stenciled lettering.  She offered her opinion that the "readable symbols" caused her appreciation of the work to come to a complete halt.  Ah....something to consider.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Norma   watercolor and thread   16 x 6
is another steadfast watercolorist from our Monday evening class.  She has the distinct advantage of seeing simple shapes without cumbersome detail.  She also creates lovely travel journals with small watercolor sketches in whatever surroundings she finds herself on travels with her partner David. 

In this exercise, photos were shot (by me) of each artist the week before.  Photocopies of all were laid face-down on the table.  We all drew one as we entered.  So....our paintings were done on-the-spur, as it were.  The goal:  to try to be able to see only valued shapes and masses without our left-brain, naming-brain getting in the way with messages such as "This is a hand... 4 fingers and a thumb....better paint small....better get it right".  We painted monochromatically using a brown pigment of choice.

My only issue was the paper being too short for the perfect frame that I had on hand.  The solution:  I painted a strip with cad red and stitched it on by hand using gold thread.

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, the other gold.

Here's to Norma!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Good To Go

Good to Go   Watercolor   10.5 x 10.5 
Everyone likes monkeys.  And everyone likes bananas. (well, almost everyone) I don't normally paint such "sweet" subjects, but I thought that working on a stuffed animal would provide a bit of practice in drawing and painting round forms in preparation for the human figure.  AND...there has been a renewal of interest in "Curious George"....both of our grandchildren love him!  I think that one of E's first words was "George".  George is a bit like artists (and children) in that he doesn't really speak, he communicates beautifully non-verbally, and he gets himself into lots of predicaments.

Got a banana?  Then you're good to go!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Basement #1 (Drying out the Crawl Space)

Basement #1 (Drying out the Crawl Space)   watercolor   26.5 x 19
We had a bit of a mess in our old farmhouse this past December.  Due to an unfortunate "imperfect storm" of events, our crawl space was filled with water.  The clean-up entailed lots of work...removing many large trash bags filled with water-logged insulation.  We made every attempt, and still do, to dry out this nearly inaccessible space.  It was during this stressful time that I happened upon the notion of "beauty in the basement"...using the camera to compose scenes that one would not ordinarily consider to be beautiful.  Actually, I found several spots ripe for the painting.

This fan is perched atop a step ladder, providing an airing out of the affected space.  As I am not a fan of using masking fluid, I knew that the fan would be a challenge, and knew that, given my process, all of the plastic slats need not be rendered to perfection...just a few.  I used a flat brush and a light mix of cerulean blue to help me see the negative areas....I knew that they would be covered up in subsequent layers.  All in all, I am happy with the work.  It certainly was quite a challenge!

So are old houses.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Winter Pantry

Winter Pantry   oil/canvas   8 x 24 x .5
This holiday season we were the lucky recipients of luscious canned goods from neighbors and friends...pickles, salsa, apple butter and jellies.  These gifts from the kitchen really warm my heart.  As they were all lined up on the kitchen counter, I decided to give them a "paint".  By the time my brushes were warmed up, we had already delved into the pickles.  This work is currently on exhibition at Group Ten Gallery in Kent, Ohio.

Thank you Glenn, Julie, Ann, Scott and Bunky for your generosity! very tasty.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hidden Symmetry

Hidden Symmetry   oil/canvas   48 x 24 x 1.5
The quest for balance in our lives, especially in today's fast-paced world, is a tough one, and ever-present.  For me, the self::others dialogue is the most difficult.  Although I enjoy socializing a bit, and having a few laughs with comrades, I am always most at home when I am by myself, my mind fully engaged in attempting to solve the mysteries of painting.  The feeling of being overwhelmed quickly dissolves after a good painting session, or two....or three. 

This painting involves not only the reality of a dilapidated steeple, but the juxtaposition of texture with the simplicity of a smoothly painted background.  It has always been one of my favorites.

"Hidden Symmetry" is part of the "Friends" exhibition at Group Ten Gallery in Kent, Ohio.  Come on along.  Lots of friends will be exhibiting:  Tom Baldwin, David Bamber, Vickie Theiss Callahan, Nancy Richards Davis, Sue Delac, Joseph Filipiak, Brant Gebhart, Terry Klausman, Deborah Vaughn Lindner, Bret Martell, Mike Nevin, Alan Peters, Annie Peters, John Sharp, and the rest of the artistic crew in the gallery.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sense of Snow

Narrow Bridge   oil/canvas   36 x 24
Winter is my favorite allows for quiet contemplation, a good book by the fire (currently Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg) and, most of all, the bliss of solitude.  It seems that my best work arises from this "perfect storm".

When you start working, everybody is in your studio - the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas - are all there.  But as you continue painting, they start leaving one by one.  And then you are left completely alone.  The, if you are lucky, even you leave.                                    John Cage

"Narrow Bridge" is currently on exhibition at Group Ten Gallery in Kent, Ohio.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Tom   watercolor   12 x 8
is a watercolor painter who just doesn't quit...a good model for us all.  While I purport to be the "teacher" in the class, his presence sets the tone for all of us...welcoming, persistent, the quintessential "student", topped off with enough humor to put everyone at ease.  We all benefit from his efforts.

I was pleased to have a chance at painting him shortly before the holidays.  I am pleased with this result and can attribute this success to the following factors:  an unhurried approach; leaving far more "precious white" than what I needed; leaving the whites open into the white of the background; and just plain old luck.  Rendering eyes underneath the brim of a hat is always tricky as we seem to want to fill in more of the "unknown" than is possible.  I solved that issue by painting what I saw.  Details were kept to a minimum; i.e. the mustache which is minimally modeled.  More time in the session might well have resulted in "overpainting", the bane of all watercolorists.

Thanks, Tom, for all that you are....and definitely an inspiration.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

How Victoria Spent her Saturday Afternoon

Victoria   charcoal and pastel on paper   16.5 x 11
I am lucky.  Teaching a few classes a week keeps me in tact.  I am a loner by nature.  That keeps me focused and in my own art world which I do love.  But the artists in my classes offer up so much, so many things to love.  They loan to me their energy and their intelligence.  Victoria is a sharp girl with many many interests.  She agreed to pose for me.  My goal is to plunge beneath the surface in order to reveal her essence....that to me, is secondary to likeness.  The portrait was rendered primarily in vine charcoal, which lends a softness.  The paper - a bit of a scrap which just may be Arches text leftover from calligraphy days.  Charcoal sticks provided a few notes of pure black strength.  An evaluation was made at home and details sharpened with the aid of a photo that was shot sometime in the middle of the original life session.  It seemed accurate, but without punch. Blue pastel was added and sponged into the paper. 

Thank you, Victoria, for an afternoon well spent...well enjoyed.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Cardinal   watercolor holiday card   5 x 7
Wow...oh the stuff!  stuff!  stuff!  stuff!  On a recent trip to Trader Joe's for holiday goodies, I stopped in to the adjacent shops....Sur La Table, Anthropologie, and Barnes and Noble.  As most of my holiday shopping is completed online, this trip to the marketplace was a snap realization of just how materialistic our culture has become.  And, oh, the prices!  While I still enjoy giving a gift or two, especially to the little ones, the greatest gift of all, to me, is "presence", the beauty of being with loved ones and in the presence of nature in all of its winter glory. 

One of our favorite cards we have recently received quotes Calvin Coolidge:
To cherish peace and good will is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

In our watercolor class, we traditionally draw names....the recipient is then sent an original watercolor card.  This is my offering to Deb Z.

Happy holidays to one and all....may each of you experience peace and presence!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Delicious Apples

Delicious Apples in Vintage Pot   Watercolor   16.75 x 13
is a still life watercolor.  My inspiration came from a couple of things.  First, a vintage pot that has been in my possession for a number of years.  Its textured surface is a marvel, the patterning appearing to be random.  But, of course, it cannot be.  The second, my love of the autumn apple.  I decided in this case to "go for the gold", rather than the ubiquitous reds, the ones most often seen in paintings. The challenge was, for me, in this textured suggest it in key areas rather than getting lost within it.  I guess I would have to say that this detailed and engaging pattern had to be sacrificed for the overall movement and visual "reading" of the work.  The white of the paper begins at the bottom and winds up through the work.  Any time that I am able to resist over-painting these whites is thrilling as well as rewarding.

I am satisfied.  (temporarily)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Dapper   Watercolor   34 x 21
is a work done just as it was in the photo reference.  This time of year, from September on, is so chock full of celebrations and holidays that my work time is far from contiguous.  After even weeks, or even days, of inactivity, a tension sets in.  A doubting.  A hesitancy.  How do I know I can paint?  Problem-solving skills are laying dormant.  So...Dapper was painted strictly, with little maneuvering, just so that I could feel the paint beneath the remind myself of who I am.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Green-Eyed Monster

Girl with a Green Balloon   oil   20 x 10
lies dormant in each of us, always ready to threaten our senses of well being.

I was able to procure a balloon....good for me.

But the balloon is green....that other guy had red....hmmmmm.

I think that red is better.

I am not happy and won't be until I have a red one.

Sound familiar?  Questioning ourselves is, I'm afraid, a common human condition.  But I am a true believer in elevating the internal locus of control....I am an active participant in my own life.  So............I try to be aware of the green monster urging me on.  In admiring the work of another, I allow myself to see what is yet undone in me....what is yet to come.  Oh, the possibilities!

Check out the work of artist Katie Wilson!  I am an admirer.

Reference photos for "Girl with a Green Balloon" were shot at a local street fair. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Boy with a Red Balloon

Boy with a Red Balloon   oil/canvas   48 x 24 x 1.5
is a work currently on exhibit at Hudson Fine Art and Framing.  While working on a group of paintings designed around the concept of hanging on and letting go, my husband suggested that we see the delightful short movie The Red Balloon.  On the surface, the movie appears to be total whimsy.  But it packs a profound punch in terms of human behavior.  Seems that the boy has a red balloon.  The school teachers and administrators regard this balloon as a diversion from the serious needs-to-be-done stuff of which our lives are comprised.  The boy is punished for his magic.  Other boys become jealous of this object of wonder and go about the game of capturing and destroying it.  They do.  But the defeat is only temporary.  For me, the balloon is the magic that is within each individual waiting to be realized.  Becoming jealous of another's "red balloon" is self-defeating and a waste of time.

The lesson is clear.  Get thee a red balloon of your own.
Discover your magic.