Monday, December 18, 2006

Conspiring Pears

had this little conversation going on in my head when I was painting this.
Pear No. 1: I heard she was making lime Jello tonight.
Pear No. 2 (shrilly): No!!!
Pear No. 3: You don't think she'll be putting you know what in there, do you?

8 x 10 oil on canvas - a quickie about an hour.
(I did make the Jello)

I am posting a photo of the pears before they became dessert as well. I will talk later about why a painting is usually a more accurate representation of reality than a photo ever can be and this painting is a great example of why this is true.

A.J. Hawk Ohio State Football Player

This is the first in a series of college football players I am painting. They will all be 16 x 20 originals and all done in oil. There will be 8-10 in this series - all with starting bids of $99.99. Prints of this size are $50 so original oils at this price will be quite a bargain. I am not using copyrighted photos. I am placing the player in a composition I create.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Emiliano Zapata portrait

My latest painting is a well-known hero of the Mexican Revolutionary War, Emiliano Zapata. The size is 16 x 12 oil on canvas. Limited edition prints are available in my eBay store here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


The final post for tonight is of a man named Spider, who sat for our portrait group last Saturday. I used big brushes loaded with lots of paint to paint him quickly. This is 14" x 18", and is done in oil on masonite I prepared myself.

Little Crow

Based on another black and white photo by Edward Curtis, this Indian woman is painted life-size on 11" x 14" canvas. I love the feathers and how they contrast with soft even skin tones. This is a detail of the painting.

OSU Painting is finished

I listed this one today at $99. A large painting like this takes a bit more time than I am used to.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My Favorite Part

I forgot to add that my favorite part of this painting is the referee's head and the abstract crowd. Here is a closeup of that. Also the size of this painting is 26" x 30".

Close to the Finish Line (Pun intended)

I need to add a number to the OSU guy- my son says go with 11, Anthony Gonzalez. Also need to finish the blue helmet and add some darks and lighter lights all over after it dries a bit. Otherwise, I am pretty happy with my sports painting, considering I know nothing about football except that they wear helmets and uniforms and the goal is to get that ball over the finish line.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

OSU Football Painting

This is somethng new for me. My husband, the Ohio State fan, suggested a painting featuring his favorite team against their arch rival. What a coincidence that they play this weekend in the classic match-up. Let's hope those OSU students behave themselves and don't make us look like weanies again; win or lose. There is no reason to tip cars over and set them on fire. Maybe those farm boys miss the cows?
I have an hour of painting time in this but two hours of research.

Chief Joseph

Yesterday and today I worked on another Indian portrait. This one is Chief Joseph, a man who if he lived today would more than likely be an environmentalist. He cared for the land, he loved his people and he was a fierce yet gentle leader of the Nez Perce. Chief Joseph was chief of the Nez Perce, a Native American tribe of the Wallowa Valley in Northwest Oregon. In 1877 the Nez Perce were ordered to a reservation, or special land reserved for Native Americans. The Nez Perce refused to go. Instead, Chief Joseph tried to lead 800 of his people to Canada. Fighting the U.S. Army all along their 1100 mile journey, they crossed Idaho and Montana. They were trapped just forty miles from Canada. After a five-day fight, the remaining 431 remaining Nez Perce were beaten. It was then, on October 5, 1877 at Bears Paw, that Chief Joseph made his famous speech of surrender:
Surrender Speech by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce
I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohulhulsote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led the young men is dead.
It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are--perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead.
Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Saturday's model

I joined a new portrait group on Saturday. The great thing about this group is that they have tow models each week and the models sign on for a four week session. You can have the same model for a total of eight hours less breaks. This is Margarita; she emailed me a photo when I got home so that I could finish her dress and fix her eyes.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Indian Girl from Another Curtis B&W Photo

This one has a really cool background. It is a small 8 x 10 piece painted on linen. I haven't come up with a name for her yet. She is very far from looking like the original; I think I am getting better at adapting the photos and placing my own stamp on them.

Latest Portrait is Finished

I finished this one Tuesday - 16 x 20 oil on masonite that I prepped myself. I am happy with the way it turned out and finally heard back from her today and she is likes it too. I included the background in the photo she provided because it had such great composition and possibilities. I hadn't painted any foilage this year and this was my opportunity.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Vaquero No. 3

This painting joins the other two Mexican Revolutionaries I have painted for Mr. J. Arce. At 20" x 16" this one is a bit smaller than the previous paintings. Not needing to model the features of his face as clearly due to the size of his head, I concentrated instead on the painting as a whole and placed him outside in a garden. It is still very evident that he is a soldier as the pistol is clearly shown, but the suggestion of the flowers in the background and the deliberate use of warm colors indicate a more romantic atmosphere. Quite a few people have told me they prefer this soldier to the first two just because of the bold color. I still like the first one best, but I think it's just a matter of taste.
I think they would all look awesome hanging in a Mexican restaurant and I believe I will order some prints and market them to one of the larger chains when I have finished the entire series. I know I will be painting at least one more for Mr. Arce and I could probably paint a few more to sell independently to come up with a total of ten. I would want to add a few senoritas though, just to balance things out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Yellow Wolf 16 x 12 on linen

A looser painting where I stopped before covering up the bold brushwork that made up the original sketch. This is my interpretation of a kinder, gentler Sioux Indian.

The Toast Eater

This is a woman who uploaded her image to the reference library at WC and the lighting was perfect for what I had in mind. Now I just need to get a few more of these done.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A New Series?

I have the coolest idea for a series. It came to me this morning as I was reviewing my work from yesterday. I set up a still-life consisting of toast, coffee and a set of salt and pepper shakers in the studio and proceeded to paint. This was not fun or even very easy to paint because it was a rainy day and the light was gray to begin with. The light changed to blue as darkness approached and I had to pay very close attention to my shadow colors and where they were located. Around 5:00 pm I had to stop and make something for dinner and by the time we ate and I returned to the painting it was almost dark. All my natural light was gone. So I finished the painting knowing I might have to make radical changes the next day. I brought the painting out into the kitchen this morning and wow! It still looks good; in fact it looks great. I paint in a semi-dark room, because it suits my style pretty well. Oh... and because there are no overhead lights in there. Maybe some day I will be able to afford a studio with skylights but that day is not here yet. When I think about that I just recall the old masters who managed to turn out masterpieces by candlelight or lamplight. Painting in low light helps me to keep my lights lighter. I have noticed when I paint in a room with overhead lights that my paintings tend to be too dark when you view them in a room with normal light. But I am digressing. My idea is to paint a series of paintings in a diner with different food. I will use the same red checkered fabric for the tablecloth and change the food and utensils. This one will be called Diner Series No. 1: Low maintenance. Then I will do a painting of the person who would eat this breakfast. They will be a matched set-- although I won't sell them like that. For display purposes this would be great. The woman who eats this breakfast would be someone thin but not worried about her weight. OK.. like me.. but I am not going to paint myself. I want these diners to be almost caricatures of themselves. A huge plate of bacon and eggs would have a hefty diner- maybe a trucker. AND I just had another idea- they could be painted with the same palette of colors as their food. It would be almost like a puzzle for the viewer to try to match them up if they didn't know the titles. So if I do about seven at one a day it would take me 2 or 3 weeks to finish. I can't count on getting one a day done but I'll try. I am excited about this idea! I don't know whether to do all the food first or do the food then the person. Here is a picture of the first one. The size is 9 x 12. This is not a wonderful picture because I took it in the dark last night under poor lighting conditions. I like to take my pictures outside on a sunny day in the shade. But the sun did not shine here in Northwest Ohio yesterday. Doesn't look as if it will shine today either.

I just realized that I would have to cook the food and leave it sit there until the painting is finished. Or I could go to a diner and order it to go. Mmmm. What a temptation that will be for a certain untrained kitten if I leave the room for a moment.

This picture is a bit crooked too. I am the only one up and I'm using my notebook, which does not have any image editiong software on it to straighten my bad photography.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Our Model from Last Night

Mr. Hinajosa was our model at open studio tonight. What an awesome guy. He really knows how to make you laugh. He didn't hold still too well though but that was OK because we all enjoyed his company so much. He let me take a couple photos so I paiunted this from the photographs - another watercolro and they are getting to be fun now. You just need to know when to stop. Here I stopped sooner rather than later because I liked the spontaneity and I caught the twinkle in his eye.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Our new kitten

This is really Katie's cat, a replacement for the guinea pig whose life quickly ended in May when he met a large pit bull puppy at a birthday party. So far she is taking pretty good care of the cat, who she named Cocoa. Today Cocoa dumped a plant in the great room and yes, Katie cleaned it up. This cat is so darned friendly and she doesn't like being alone so she follows me everywhere I go. I have to remember to cover my palette- she already got into it once and luckily I was standing right there when it happened and I grabbed her. I can visualize some paintings of her in the not so distant future.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Circle of Life

A painting as a metaphor. It's been done before... many, many times. But this one is different and it's up to you to figure out what the apples have to do with the pottery and why one apple is cut open. Mmmmm it's a mystery, but fairly obvious once you figure it out. Here I have chosen to use cool shades of violet and teal in the tablecloth to accent the warm fall colors of the apple and the vase. I love the reflections of red and green in the blade of the knife. This lieelt still-life was a challenge but really a lot of fun when I reached the end and started adding highlights.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Here is where I am at with this slice of life painting. I feel as if I will never finish it sometimes. I thought I had a clear vision when I started- and that is really important. You need to have an idea of what you want to achieve and how you want it to look in the end. But there are so many elements in this painting that I lost my way a bit. It is perhaps the most difficult image I have ever attempted to reproduce: a multi-figure composition with two distinct area of light and shadow. The fact that the painting is outside provides an even greater challenge. When I began I realized it might take awhile to complete a project like this and that's precisely why I wanted to paint it. I do a lot of "quick" paintings; it's a given with my method of wet on wet painting. I wanted a long-term project to fiddle with while I painted the smaller bread and butter oils I'm known for. Here are a few pictures of where I'm going with this at the moment.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Red Horizon

This is a recent still-life I call "Red Horizon." The tension is provided by the spider plant. The calm blue pottery sits motionless on the raging red of the tablecloth. The delicate curves of the vase are repeated by the cup and again by the pitcher, creating a subtle balance that is offset by the tension of the plant leaves. I could have just painted the pots and the cloth, but whenever possible I like to place something that lives, or at the very least was alive at one time, in my paintings. The exploring "legs" of the spider plant encourage the eye to wander around inside the painting. When I was finished I stepped back and realized that I had created a window into another world where the ground is red and aliens walk silently among the machines. Well... maybe I shouldn't have read that that Ray Bradbury book last week, but it's why I call this painting "Red Horizon."

Lucky in Love

The roses are going to be gone soon so I picked a couple of my nicer looking blooms and arranged them in a vase. The playing cards were an afterthought because the flowers looked lonely. The queen of hearts is out because it makes a more interesting composition to actually show a card. I arranged this piece into a classic triangle composition and titled it "Lucky in Love". Get it? The roses, the queen of hearts...the relative heart shaped placement of the rose triage. Oh well... I tried. The shadows became an interesting and integral component of this painting because I purposely lit the subject from an acute angle. This painting is 8" x 10" oil on linen.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

John P. O'Neill Portrait

I am in the early stages of this portrait. It is 22" x 28" oil on canvas.

Union Soldier

I may have to do a Confederate to go with him as I really like the way this painting turned out. I worked from an old Civil War era photograph and used a rouge red ground and sap green underpainting. The board was coated with Gamblin oil ground which brushed on in a really awful way. I thought the board would be useless- then when I finally decided to paint on it I was shocked at what a beautifully smooth surface it had made. I'm glad I have a few more of these boards and it was definitely worth the time I spent in the garage sanding and preparing the supports. I wish I had done more than I did now.

Monday, September 18, 2006


It's been a pretty busy month. I was awarded first place in two local shows -- one for a self portrait in pastel and the other for a still-life painting of a Siennese vase and some books. I have also stayed busy working on the large shake stand painting, which is slow going.

Olivia- this one is being donated to the TAC for an art-fund raiser

Every year our artists club has a dinner and art auction. Each member is expected to donate a small work as a door prize and up to three paintings for the auction. We receive 50% of the auction price and the club keeps the othe rhalf for expenses.


About 12" x 16" oil on primered paper. A practice piece that turned out nicely.

A Second Mexican Revolutionary

This is the second painting in the series, and the size is also 20" x 24". These oils were painted from copyright free black and white photographs. The color interpretation is mine. If you woudl like more information on my methods and materials please visit my website at

Mexican Revolutionaries

The image uploader is working again so I have uploaded the first in the series of Mexican War revolutionaries that I am painting for Mr. Arce. This is oil on canvas 20" x 24".

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What is an Art Collector?

Today’s post is prompted by a question that was posed to me by a client, Mr. Jose Arce. The painting I want to post here was commissioned by Jose for his private art collection. Unfortunately, Blogger is having a problem accepting image stonight so I will post it at a later date. Jose asked if there was a difference between a piece listed in a “private collection” and a “sold” piece on my website. I didn’t have a ready answer for him because I hadn’t really given the matter much thought. Sometimes I will quickly slap a SOLD note on a painting just to let potential buyers know it is no longer available. And while it’s true I have used different terminology to note the same information on my website it isn’t always by design. I do like to keep track of where my paintings are though. Each Certificate of Authenticity includes a space for the item to be re-registered if it is changes hands. I issue a new certificate at no charge if the new owner contacts me to register the painting and requests one.

Our discussion then turned to collections and the many different kinds of art available for purchase. In the past year I have worked with many buyers both privately and through auction sites like eBay, Yessy and ArtByUs so I might be qualified enough to at least offer an opinion. I think a true collector is someone who is focused on ‘building’ a collection of work, whether it is original art or prints, in contrast to someone who is just buying art to match their current sofa. The collector may build their collection based on a favorite theme or style, although not always. One woman who won a horse painting auction from me on eBay told me she bought only drawings and paintings of horses. Another lady loved cats so much that she covered her walls with them. Yet another buyer collected only small still life subjects. I think the majority of my sales are to people in this category. The buyers may not even consider themselves art collectors, but they truly are in the sense that they know what they like and they are consciously looking for and acquiring art based on a theme or subject.

Another type of collector is someone I call the “art speculator”, for lack of a better term. She looks for art that is priced cheaply and hopes the work will appreciate in value so she can sell it and make a profit. Art is an investment to this type of collector and she may even find herself buying things she doesn’t really like just because she thinks she may be able to sell then for more money later on. She enjoys some pieces more than others, and will hang some of her art in her home but her primary motivation is to make a profit. Collectors in this category will sometimes purchase a piece by a particular artist just because everyone else is buying from the artist. The gift shop owner who purchases work at a discount on auction sites to resell in their store would also fit into this category.

Some art buyers may be a combination of the two collector types listed above. I see these folks as mature collectors. They are discriminating and have strong opinions about what they like and don’t like, although they may enjoy several different styles of art. This type of collector visits museums and/or art galleries on a regular basis. He makes an effort to learn a bit about art history and different movements. He appreciates beauty for the sake of beauty and has the artist’s “eye.” Although he may be drawn to particular styles and themes, he focuses on acquiring a collection that inspires and pleases himself first, and others second. He has learned how to identify quality and it is important to him. Another important consideration to the mature collector is how his collection appears together as a whole. These are the best collectors an artist can sell to, in my opinion. These collectors are true “patrons” of the arts and a rarity in this day and age.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Study for "Shake Stand"

If I'm not really sure about a color scheme or composition I do a series of small paintings to work things out before I begin the big painting. In this case the painting will be a snapshot of rural teens at the County Fair. I took the reference photos last year and have just now made time to work on the painting. This small 8 x 10 study is a limited palette painting done in ultramarine and cerulean blue, transparent red oxide, yellow ochre, cadmium red and yellow and alizarin crimson. I do like the wau this one turned out but I need to work on the figure locations a bit more.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Visit the Art Show at the Wauseon Homecoming

A few of my oil and pastel paintings will be on display at the Congregational Church during the Wauseon Homecoming July 13-15. I have chosen five pieces to display.