Thursday, December 18, 2014

What to do?

This is a typical artist dilemma.  This a painting on a whole sheet of paper.  I am happy with the progress, but not sure where to go with the water and the sky. In a perfect world I would have planned  this out be before I wet the brushes

 I shot this with my i Pad and sent it to myself in an email.  Then I took it to Photoshop to work on the sizing.  I am getting better with all the technical stuff, but back to the painting.

I am thinking of taking the water up another third of the way, keeping the green color and the light.  To get the depth of the Gulf the marks have to be closer together pretty darn fast.  The horizon line could be faint almost blending into the sky.  I am thinking of varying it making the line vanish.  Hmmm, vanish on which side of the bird.

Now there is the sky.  Is it a pale steel-gray or is there a subtle sunset with some warm color coming on the water. 

I am going to print this bird and play or practice with the background until I can see it in my head.

If anyone out there has a great idea send me a message.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bird of Paradise

It is experimentation time.  This is painted on a canvas, with watercolor ground as a base.  I am not sure the ground was completely dry.  I will know when I try it paint a canvas tomorrow.  The color and value seemed to run away or fade before my Eyes.  If you are wondering, yes this is watercolor.

I find these flowers intoxicating.  The color and variety of blooms are amazing.  There is a huge plant beside the door at my Florida condo.  The blooms are black.  Someday I will paint them.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I have been impressed by pelicans, ever since I saw my first one in fifth grade.  They are so big and you can get really close to them.

The bird is a mature one.  They have more color than the young brown pelicans, which are just brown.  The feathers standing up on the back of his head is unusual.  At first I thought maybe he was protecting his perch.  He is standing on a really tall post at the entrance to the pass.  Many birds love this perch.  After painting this pelican the ruffling of his feathers indicate that it was a really windy day. 

I just remembered a photo I got of a pelican I took I south Carolina this spring.  Maybe I will paint that bird tomorrow. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spirits Soar with Eyes Closed

I know that I have been missing for a few days.  I took and trip to St. Louis, with my husband, kids and families.  We had a great time.  If you ever get to St. Louis, the City Museum is a must.  It is a visual picnic, with a lot of climbing and crawling.

This is a painting of my grand-daughter.  She is now four.  It was very strange to see her in makeup for her first dance recital.  This painting is based on a photo that was taken after the performance.  The low light caused her moving arms to blur.  I tried to keep this painting very painterly.  Shapes and values were very important.

Ari is almost blond right now.  Her hair looked darker in the photo.  She has also spent the summer in the sun and pool.  I do see myself and my daughter in this face.  She seems to get cuter every day.

Friday, September 19, 2014



I have a good friend who just moved to Hawaii.  She loves animals, but she is not too happy about sharing her coffee.  This a beautiful lizard, and I don't think I did it justice.   Hope she gets a kick out of this painting today.

I will be off spending time with family this weekend.  A little fun never hurts an artist.  Be back on the job in a few days. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The day before we left Florida this Spring we went to a Everglades Garden.  It was really north to be the Everglades, but there were many alligators.  Better yet were the flamingos.  I took several photos, with reflections in the ponds where they stood.  Every bird was standing on one leg.  Not only are their legs long and thin, they seem to prefer to use one. 

I will be paining these birds late this year.  Value makes this study work.  Much is defined with the darkness of the background and of course the lighter color behind the black beak.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Not an Egg

A porcelain chicken and a tomato were the items I grabbed from the kitchen, after walking the dog tonight.  I kept this pretty raw and followed my muses.  The background blue was put in last.  This is an opaque blue, that is pretty bright, but you see its deepest value.  I liked the transparent shadow but had to glaze the blue into the shadow to keep them on the table.  The shadow under the chicken is still taking on a life of its own. Usually I would work something like that over again, but not tonight.

I am having fun with the just doodling.  As an artist I strive for a perfection and a quality of work.  Not having to care so much leaves my efforts open to just pure experimentation and play.  It is a good thing.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Yum.  The smell the color.  These berries cannot be beat.  I have two paintings in the works for a deadline, but this little painting was a nice diversion. 

Last night I had a coughing fit due to allergies.  I waited too long to take Benadryl.  A headache, that felt like strained neck muscles followed.  I just went to bed after my husband left for Kansas City.  I am back with the daily paintings tonight.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


I have done these flowers before as sunflowers.  The centers are made with dropping alcohol into wet paint to make the dots.  The flower petals start out as just wet pain around the centers.  a spatula is used to reates the shapes with the lines being scores made by the spatula. 

The real purpose of this painting is to experiment with, Daniel Smith, Interference Gold.  I have not used it much, but I plan to use it in an painting that is in the works.  It is almost clear, but has gold flecks.  It softens all colors, to create a more pastel effect.  The shininess is subtle which keeps it from looking tacky. 

The results depends on the light, but this pigment gives everything a glowing effect.  I mixed the paint directly with other colors in the background.  Within the flowers I tried glazing, and applying the Interference Gold more heavily.  It can be easily painted over where it is too heavy.  My experimenting was successful and should pay off.

Friday, September 12, 2014


I think that I am hitting my stride with quick paintings.  It seems less of a struggle now.  This took an hour.  Getting Max to pose, the quick sketch, developing shape and form, took one hour.

I purposely kept this loose.  The black was a triad of blue, green and red.  The black had to be elusive or it would  just becomes black.  subtle shading in the black forms makes or breaks black passages.  White is much easier to paint. 

Normally I erase as many of my pencil marks as I can.  With the sketchy technique, I chose to leave all remaining pencil.  My lines were minimal to begin with.

Max is my French Bulldog.  He is roughly 18 months old.  My English Bulldog died, after a season where I lost a preemie grandson.  A good artist friend died.  And then my father passed.  The bulldog was my last loss.  Gosh I needed happy in my life someway, somehow. 

Max came home Two weeks after my Maggie died.  He was named Maxwell Huggins III.  He was my third bulldog, my first male and first French Bulldog.  I was surprised how little this 6 lb. puppy was.  English bulldogs are twice the size.  He had such large paws to fill.

Max, did his job well.  He progressed with puppy training.  He was an angel.  He grew up loyal and smart.  He went from a very eager to please pup to a very independent guy.  After working with behavioral issues one by one we are back to better obedience.  He is happy and lovable, and not in trouble so much.

 I almost kissed him, today, when he put himself in his crate, with the words, "Mommy is going bye-bye."  The game had been 'catch me, if you can.'  He is a fast little fellow.  I never played this game, but it was difficult to figure out how I could get around this.

Earlier this week we conquered the bedtime issue.  Max was like every other kid in the world.  He did not want to go to bed.  No one told Max, that I am truly the boss.  He is very smart and I think he has figured it out.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Birthday Lily

My husband sent me flowers for my 63rd. birthday last week  I pulled a lily from the fading bouquet.
As I painted the wonderful smell of lily entertained me.  The color blue was to make the red pop.
of course what is not painted is very important here.

I started this in the morning and finished at night.  If the lily gets a little confusing, it had changed and was drooping.  I would have done better to stick with it to the end.

Two Turtles

I used two photos for this painting.  The main photo was of the large turtle.  I liked the yellow-green of the water.  The blue reflections to the left attracted me.  I like how the turtle was almost totally visible, but was still under the water.  The moss in the water fuzzed out some of his detail. 

I decided that he needed a bubby.  The little turtles face lines were a struggle.  I think I was fighting the paper.  He was painted second.  If I had attacked him first I would of started over to keep him cleaner.  Note to self: when I am trying to achieve tight detail; do that first. 

The blue was a struggle, and not quite what I wanted.  I am going to have to work on my lights with color. 

Over all I think the painting is successful.  I don't have to meet all my goals to have a painting work.  It is part of my drive to go with what is happening and not with what I want.  Sometimes I want more control, but it may not be good for me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Shell Points

I am in a much better mood after this little painting.  This was fun.  I like it.  This was about values repetition, and then variation.

I am thinking of doing the punched up versions of some of these paintings.  Right now this is about doing something and getting it posted and then moving on to the next painting.  I do think it is important what I do the next day.  There are changes that I would make with this one.  Some of the paintings I will just let go.  That will be something to do later.

I have a really busy schedule the next couple of weeks.  These paintings will have to get simpler or they will have to cease.  Right now I plan to continue. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Round Fish

This is one of my thirty paintings.  I cannot believe the multi tasks that arose while trying to finish this and get it posted.  I was listening to a podcast, and happened to schedule a vacation.

I have no idea what this fish if called.  I photographed him at some aquarium.  I seem to be visiting more aquariums lately. These little paintings all seem rough to me but there is not much time to develop them.  This was fun.  I want to do some more sloppy wet into wet.  A lot of the back ground was smoozed with a scrubber brush.  

The dog now is insisting on a walk and then it is bedtime. 

Elevator Up

Elevator UP
'Elevator Up' is being shown at Waverly House in Springfield, Missouri.
I got the Idea for this painting in New York.  My daughter needed a restroom.  Those who have visited New York City, know this can be a problem.  My husband suggested a nearby hotel.  The elevator had a mirror in the ceiling.  What a great painting that reflection would make.  I did not take a photo.  In the Naples, Florida Art Museum, the elevator had a mirror in the ceiling.  I shot the needed photo in packed elevator.  I was ready to paint.
This painting took forever to paint.  It was quite complicated with several figures.  The number of figures alone would dictate that this be drawn using a grid system.  The unusual vantage point made things extra challenging. 
Every figure needed to relate to the ones beside it in value and color temperature.  The elevator itself had to adhere to correct perspective rules.  The details were very important.  If one thing was not right the painting would not pull together.
After much fussing and changing all goals are accomplished.  The painting seems to be received very well.  It was worth the time and struggle.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Yellow Fish

This painting may drive me underwater for awhile.  "What will happen if," was the theme of today.  This little guy looked much better in the beginning, but I tried moving paint with alcohol but the paint clung to the fish.  It move everywhere else.  In the end the opaqueness of a cadmium yellow saved the day. Wet into wet made most of the background.  On with experimentation tomorrow.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Paddle Boarding

This is something I think I might want to try.  Of coarse balance and strain on the back may be a concern.  It doesn't hurt to try it once.  I can not wait to get back to the gulf.  This was more work than I thought it would be.  The more I do water and it's movements the stronger my vocabulary should become for the wet stuff. 

I think that I will experiment with fish in the water tomorrow. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

I am done for the day.  Did not have much time for this one, but maybe this one is only a first attempt.  I think I may try a sunset soon and use a cold press paper.  It seems more workable, and the paint moves better.  I think the colors are too intense and this is a bit harsh. 

The sky in a sunset is smoother and there is a fine line with the dark and the light.  Actually the color is created from the sun shining just below the horizon.  Sunset is at a time of day when the light is special, but low.  the only real color is in the sky.  The water is usually dark and does not have much color.  It is sometimes hard to wrap your mind around the idea that there is not much light but it is also about the light. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Three Tomatoes

Three Tomatoes
painting 3: Thirty Paintings in thirty days
Today I painted tomatoes.  The tomato crop is good this year.  I often had dead plants before the tomatoes form.  One year the temperatures remained in the 100's for weeks.  All the leaves fell of my plants.  Come August the temperatures dropped and it rained frequently.  My rose bushes and tomato plants grew leaves and looked great.  We had a frost before the second crop of tomatoes appeared
I chose to use a hot press paper.  I am rarely happy with the painting process on this paper.  It holds onto the paint and creates hark edges where I don't want them.  I used a soft green for the background to heighten the red color. 
When I laid these on the art table, on a white piece of mat board I notice great colors in the shadows. There were two light sources.  One was the overhead lights which created the shadows.  The second source was the window.  This is not idea but real life.
Hmmmm. What will I paint tomorrow?  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Shell with Pink

Shell with Pink
I have taken a challenge of a painting a day for thirty days.  The first posting I did not put on this link maybe I will be successful of connecting tonight.  I have a cold and it is my birthday but I am determined.
This was complicated little shell to paint for a simple study.  I tried not to paint every little nub and shadow.  The texture and the movement was what I wanted to capture.  Scraping when the paint was wet helped me achieve some of the texture within the shell. 
I drew curves extending from the arcs of the shell into the background.  Then I under-painted color into each shape.  Carving out the outline with the development of the background just felt good.  At some point in this process I decided to turn the subject on it's side.  The paper turned as well as the shell.
This evening when doing a few touch ups I notice the shadow created by the lamp on my table put red in the under shadow.  I see things I could do to this, but this is probably and exercise in letting go.
I am done for the day.  Tomorrow I am home so I will try to post the painting from day one on the blog as well as my third study.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Great Day in the Studio

I seem to be making good progress in all my endeavors.  After I get through cleaning up all the framed artwork in my studio, I must finish work on a price raise for May.  I have switched to a per inch regime.  This takes away pricing with emotional attachments and is more consistent for customers and galleries. 

This new system means a higher price point for many of my paintings, but some paintings are a little lower.    I am hoping this puts me in the mid range with my competition but I haven't finished my research in that area yet.  I can always adjust again in six months before the season  in Florida begins. 

'Bullfrog Gaze' did sell at the old price.  Yippee!

I am so pleased with progress of this painting.  It is now sitting where I can observe it from across the room.  The bird was pretty simple.  Now I want the water to work just right.  I am cutting the mat for framing, and laying the mat on this will help me hone the composition.

I am probably finished working on this one for today.  The changes on this was much easier than I had imagined.  Using a flat scrubber brush I lifted most of the paint of my husband's face. Trying not to use too much water, would insure I do not have to stretch the paper again.  I painted the area. Maybe you can detect an eye under the paint but you, would have to know to look for it.

Do I want to remove the camera and hand below?  Do I want to carry the glass shelf on across in that area?  Painting on this will resume tomorrow morning when I have had time to think about this.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lighthouse View Makeover 2

I have a body of work in my studio that I am cleaning up and getting ready to distribute to galleries again. This painting has been an obsession and as you can see many hours has been poured into it. 

I took this out of the frame last November to make some adjustments.  Now that it is back in my studio, I see more things I want to do.  When a painting is away and not in my sight for awhile, I see it with fresh eyes.

There is a stark, ragged, white reflective highlight, that now looks like a torn piece of paper that is stuck on the painting.  This is the wrong shape and needs to be softened.

I am serious of about deleting My husband's face.  This could be a case where the artist is saying too much.  With my daughters face remaining a mood of  mystery will still remain.

The goal is to make this work a stronger painting.  I am hoping that I still have the lighthouse lens photos in my file here.  It will be best to look for them before I take the painting out of the frame.  If they are in Missouri I will leave the painting here and my pile of 'what to bring on my return to Florida, will be started.

Note to self:  Create a file for reference material of finished work, but not sold.  This I should carry back and forth between my two studios. Then there should a separate file for finished and sold paintings.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Water Lilies at Night

This is what is on my painting table today.  The Starbucks iced coffee is a new find from Sam's, but that is not what I am here to talk about.  I am trying to finish two paintings by next Thursday.  Then I am off to seek out a few new galleries.  Updating my bio, artist statement and résumé is keeping me busy.  I am also cataloguing stock and working over a price increase.
 This image of water lilies comes from photos taken at night.  The light provided is from lights under the water.  This creates the glow of the lily pads and moodiness of the piece.  Of course I am fusing several photos together to get what I want.  The question is, can I use this unique light situation and not confuse the viewer.

The bottom half of this painting is developed enough for now.  It is time to flip the painting to work on the top half.  I like having what I am working on closer to me.  Rotating work always helps with a new perspective.  I must remember to also get this up on an easel and look at it from afar.  What looks good on my painting table may completely fall apart when it is upright and 12 feet away.  I am never happy until the painting looks great close up and the same from the across the room.
today I finished laying in the fish.  I chose to cover these in Misket to save them as I am doing the background.  The little red Dr. Pepper cap holds the masking fluid needed so I am not painting out of the jar.

The rest of the painting session was spent feeling my way into a new lily pad.  Undersea green is just the right temperature for this leaf.  This color is one of the 7 new colors I ordered from Daniel Smith.  I am very please with this one. 

To be honest I love them all.  I do a lot of color mixing on the paper, but in watercolor it is great to be able to start with just the right base pigment.  Green can be tough.  The trick is to start with one that is the right temperature.  Should it be warmer or cooler, muted, clear or grainy.  I love all these different pigments.  How they suspend in the water and then dry on the different papers, is all the fun.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I am not sure this is done yet.  It is done on a half sheet of watercolor.  (15"x22")  I will cut the mat and mull this over this one for now.  Looking at this photo the yellow of the horizontal fish on the left edge may be too commanding.  To lift, dull or change color, are my options. 

Off to the art desk.  More later.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Jellyfish in the Water

This painting just got put in a frame. It will be submitted to Watercolor USA.  I used a heavier metal black frame with a generous mat.  The painting pops.  It is a shame it can not be submitted with an image of it in its frame.  This is a bigger painting for me.  It's size makes it less busy.  There is a lot of texture and movement.  Keep fingers crossed

Monday, February 24, 2014


A Cat Named Rose:  I entered this painting in the Finley River Mystery Box Competition.  It won best of show and received perfect scores from both judges.  When I was ready to put this in the frame my husband declared that it was a really good painting. 

This photo was done quickly lying in the window before I framed it.  I will have to bring it home this weekend to get a proper photo.

I made the mistake of putting this on an easel an hour before it was due.  I did not like how it looked from a distance.  Paintings always look different when viewed upright from the nearly flat working surface.  I got real busy making corrections.

this is a good start for the new year. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Cat Named Rose.

This is the last day to paint on this one...well maybe a little in the morning, if mat is ready and the camera is set up for photo.  To many times I throw a painting into the frame before the photo is taken.'' Ugh!

After the drawing was done I have really enjoyed painting this.  There is still a lot to do. but I seem to get a lot done when I sit down.  I make  many major changes at this point.  Some of the best stuff happens in a painting's last hours. 

Right after I took this photo I turned the painting over to wet the back and then staple it down on a board.  Painting on 300 lb. paper is great freedom, but eventually it curls and needs and good flattening.  It is asking the mat to do too much in holding such a heavy paper flat.  Later warping will occurs and then I have to take it all apart and fix things. 

I'm thinking that I wish to big the turned paw up a bit and maybe one of the ears.  I used several photos from the Images in yahoo tocome up with my cat'spose.  This creates execution problems, but must never copy form other's photos without permission.  The images must only be a reference.  In other words:  an ear comes from here and a pose from there, head slant, a paw, eyes are all melded into my own creation.  Then the photos have to be ignored for other details.  It is much easier when I take photos myself. 

I promise to post the finished painting soon.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Favorite Pencil has been changed.

I have been struggling with a drawing for the Mystery Box competition.  I used to buy Design HB pencils from National Art. The  pencil's look changed.  No big deal.  Wrong.  The pencil has changed!  It won't sharpen and it is softer.

I thought I found the old pencil online with the old look.  I ordered a box.  Turns out they were not the old pencils.  The numbers are the same but the online photo must not have been updated. 

Thought maybe I could adjust.  Finally after creating an graphite mess I dug up an old stub of my favorite pencil.  I am ready to let Maxwell have his way with the whole box.  He quickly make toothpicks out of pencils.  Finding a new favorite pencil would be a goal for this year. 

As I was putting away a few of my dads things I spied his drafting pencil.  I expected hard lead, but I was surprised by what I think is H2.  The lines are clean.  I will purchase HB lead tomorrow.

I am once again a happy artist.

My father passed away last April.  It has been hard to recover from the after effect.  I do finally feel more sane.  I is very nice to happen in to my father's drafting pencil.  It is like keeping a piece of him close to me.  I am sure he is looking and down on me and glad that I have adopted his pencil as my own.