Sunday, April 28, 2013


When you have a painting that doesn't work you have one of two choices:

1) Attempt to fix it
2) Re-use the canvas as an underpainting for a new painting and hope the abstract shapes underneath add a little to the new painting on top.

I've had this lighthouse painting for a couple years. It is a plein air piece done on location and I was working on an unfamiliar (at the time) surface: a hand gessoed birch board. The gesso really sucks up the paint and is not the best surface for working plein air in the filed (I discovered later). You have to use a lot of paint and if the weather is warm it seems to suck the paint up even quicker!

This week I pulled out the painting and decided I would try to fix it. I like the texture of the gesso but I don't necessarily want to experiment outside the studio with it again. Much easier to control the process in the studio.

I like the new version better. I didn't change much except the foreground and the lighthouse windows. I also deepened the color of the sky and the reds in the lighthouse.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chloe was a wonderful companion

My dog, Jake, has been ill for the past week or so and I am concerned about him. His illness reminds me of the losses I have experienced in the past when one of my furry friends have passed. I found a picture of Chloe, our blonde Golden Retriever, a few months ago. Chloe has been gone for almost 8 years but I remember her gentleness and sweetness vividly. It's the nature of the Golden to be loving and to know no strangers. That's probably why I adopted another one from the local Golden Retriever rescue group when she passed. Our new Golden Retriever, who we named Autumn, is a reddish blond, quite unlike Chloe was, but possessing the same 'golden' personality and carefree approach to life. Autumn expresses her blondness by chasing the shadows of leaves across the driveway. Chloe tended to wander away and visit neighbors she did not know, blissfully unaware of the time and when she was supposed to be home.

Although Chloe was definitely NOT a hunter she could pose and point very prettily. When she happened to be lucky enough to catch a bird she was not sure what to do with it. Once she found one and repeatedly tossed it in the air until I caught her. She probably thought the bird was playing!

9" x 12" oil on linen

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Summertime is Play Time

Another painting I'll take to Tipp City in July, this one was done from a photo I took at Lakeside last year. Lakeside, Ohio is a small gated Community near Marblehead, Ohio in the northernmost part of Ohio. Lake Erie is making a comeback, thanks to conservation efforts, and is becoming a cleaner and healthier place to swim and boat.

I used a combination of cadmium orange and thalo red rose as a HOT underpainting just to see what kind of effect I would get.

8" x 8" oil on canvas
Lakeside Summer Day

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Just Beachy

I am having a show at Studio 14 in Tipp City, Ohio from July 12-September 8, 2013. The theme is SOLAR ENERGY, or paintings featuring sunny things or inspired by the sun. Many of the paintings I take to the show are not painted yet so I hope the rain stops soon and I will get outside and get busy. I painted this one last week when it seemed to be raining every day. I used a picture I took of some beach chairs and a photograph of the ocean that I found on line-- together they seemed to make a nice painting.

I call it Just Beachy.... 12" x 16" oil on linen

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sometimes your best is not good enough

I have worked on this piece off and on for over a month now and it may have all been for nothing. The person who commissioned it has not responded to my requests for feedback and he seems to have lost interest in it. This is surprising because he seemed quite enthusiastic in the beginning! I suppose I knew this could happen, as what I have painted is a representation of his favorite bible verse: Isaiah 11:1. The client is local and someone I trust so I did not ask for a deposit. I normally request 50% from internet clients but I didn't think it was necessary in this instance. I will probably not break that rule again.

 My husband thinks he may have decided he just didn't like the emailed image and doesn't want to hurt my feelings by telling me so. I know I am at a place where I can go no further without some feedback. I have already added a ton more stuff than his original "vision" of a tree stump with a sapling growing from it entailed. I'm not sure what to do at this point but I'm leaning toward just selling it to someone else for whatever I can get and calling it done.

This is the first time I've been stiffed in the 11 years I've been doing commissioned pieces so I guess that's not too bad.

Isaiah 11:1

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Three Cheers for Maggie

This is nine year old Maggie, who posed for our weekly portrait group. Maggie is a great model and didn't complain once about having to hold her foot up for four sessions of twenty  minutes each.

11" x 14"
oil on canvas

Friday, April 19, 2013

Gangster in a Fedora Hat?

Derrick posed for the Hyter Group in a green hat and he was posed in front of a green backdrop. I was not there the day they posed him or I might have asked why. Anyway-- too much green so I changed the color of his hat to maroon and I like the effect much better. A green hat will always be associated with Robin Hood in my mind. I think he looks a bit like a gangster in this painting.

9" x 12"
oil on linen

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Simply Fruit

I am in transition at the moment: my entire studio has been packed away in anticipation of some major remodeling and I have my easel set up in a small bedroom. So I am forced to work on smaller pieces. I had a few hours the other night so I set up a collection of fruit and arranged them on a cloth in front of my monitor. I love color and you really couldn't ask for more with the bright green Golden Delicious Apple, a gorgeous Mahana Red and the bright hue of the orange to the right.

I kept it loose and finished in 90 minutes.

When I paint theses little still life scenes I concentrate on observation. I don't always paint it EXACTLY as it appears. I lose some edges, exaggerate some color etc. I conciously think about how I can make it a more interesting painting.

Simply Fruit
8" x 10" oil on canvas

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Margaret Thatcher

This is my version of Margaret Thatcher, the iconic British Prime Minister who passed away April 7. While I wasn't particularly fond of her brand of politics (union-busting and trickle down economics), I did admire her strength as a leader. There was no shortage of good photographs to use as a reference so I chose three and created a composite of her, while knocking a few years off. This is one way to avoid violating a copyright. Mrs. Thatcher was a woman of faith, and that's another quality I admire about her.

9" x 12" oil on linen

Thursday, April 11, 2013

French Bulldog Puppy

This is a small painting of my friend's tiny French Bulldog puppy. She is quite a doll. This type of dog is friendly, athletic, even-tempered and good with children. They also have faces that can seem almost human at times.

8" x 8"
oil on canvas

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Oil Rubbed Bronze and All That

What does one do when confronted with the myriad of choices available at the online hardware stores when you are shopping for bathroom fixtures in a remodel? Oil rubbed bronze, venetian bronze, old world bronze, champagne bronze etc. I just wanted to order some basic plumbing fixtures so that I have them here when the plumber shows up to do his part. It is so much easier to walk into a store and SEE what you want. We chose $4000 worth of tile product in under thirty minutes, yet I have spent most of a Saturday afternoon reading reviews about shower heads and pedestal sinks. Why am I so fascinated by the horror story of a woman's experience with a slowly appearing crack in her sink? What could possibly make me WANT to read disgusting stories of new toilets that do not accept plungers?

I believe I have been led to believe that information is ALL-IMPORTANT. My computer, along with the thousands of snippets of text that bounce in front of my eyes daily, have forced me to become the ultimate consumer. That towel rack is two bucks cheaper at Lowe's, but the faucets are less at Home Depot. I am forced by my pursuit of the good deal to compare and order from both companies. It's all about spreading the wealth I suppose.

Remodeling and all the decisions that need to be made to accomplish it is literally enough to drive one to drink. So that's what I did after I added everything I think I wanted to my shopping cart and hoped it would still be there in the morning for review and a credit card. A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and a paintbrush in hand- now I could relax after my hectic day of shopping online. The painting reflects my slightly intoxicated condition: tired and haphazard, but it has a bit of charm.

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Barista, a Coffee Shop Portrait

I was in a coffee shop in Patagonia, AZ this past January and all the people were freezing. Even though it was January, they weren't used to temperatures in the teens. Normally a low temperature in southern AZ is 40 degrees. So our waitress, who is known as a barista in a coffee shop, was willing to pose for a photo when my friend Charlotte asked her to. A lovely woman, with beautiful skin and gorgeous red hair!

The Barista
12" x 9"
oil on linen