Friday, December 24, 2010

New Painting

               12" X 24"    Making Applesausce
As 2010 comes to a close  and goals are being made for the new year, I am taking the time to inventory this year's progress.  As most of us feel that we could have been more ______ fill in the blank, I do an actual inventory of what I have painted.  This week I drove up to the Gainesville area to pick up the remaining paintings that came back from the summer gallery in Kennebunkport, Maine.  It was like seeing old friends again.  There's something special about seeing your work after a long absence because the good and the bad jump out at you.  So as I close this year, I am somewhat satisfied with my work.  This piece is the last of this year's work, and as always, I go back to subjects of home and memories of North Carolina living.  I love painting Mason jars and translucent or transparent objects.

I sincerely thank all of you that have followed along with me this year on the blog and I promise I will do a better job of posting more regularly (one of my goals for next year).  My second goal is to conduct at least four workshops along with my regular teaching at home.  The last big goal is to put together information and images for at least one national publication.  Best wishes and have a wonderful holiday season.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Words of Wisdom

I just read a thought from a clinical psychologist--Terri Melgar on Scott Burdick's Facebook wall.  It is important enough to share with my teaching friends and others.

"To learn we must be open to the idea of needing information and/or so frustrated with what we are doing/or what is happening to us, that we are willing to let go of the way we are use to doing "it" and risk!!!  Trying something new. (this isn't for the faint of heart).
Children can learn so easily, not a lot of expectations, self corrections and fear to block the intake of new information.
Those get built in from family and other primary care givers which is where that teacher good/bad shows up.
Hopefully in life we are both student and teacher, being open to new ideas and approaches and willing to share our knowledge.  To make ones self available to the possibilities of learning about the things that interest us is a wonder . . . filled experience.  Often times a gift is given from an unexpected source."
This statement reminds me of the old story of the man who was walking down a dirt road and passed by a house.  On the front porch was a dog spread out resting but then let out a howl of pain.  Watching, he noticed the dog howled then stopped, then howled again.  An old man was sitting in a rocking chair next to the dog.  "What's wrong with your dog the stranger asked.  The old man responded.  "He's lying on a nail."  Puzzled by the answer, the stranger asked.  "Why doesn't he just get up?"  Still rocking, the old man said, "It doesn't hurt bad enough." 

Just a thought to think about.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Halifax Art Show

The Halifax Art Show was a total success.  The write-up in the paper brought many people to the show and all were very complimentary.  For me, just meeting old friends and making new ones who share a love of art is worth the price of admission.  The Museum of Arts and Science's guild gave me a purchase award for a landscape of a sunset river scene on the Tomoka River.  This piece will become part of their permanent collection for Art in Public Places.  Another pleasant surprise was an invitation for a show at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens.  I also had a few comments from folks who read my previous blog and watched the video essay on The Banishment of Beauty.  If you haven't seen it, you should.  Scott Burdick did a fantastic job of articulating why we should value art for the sake of its beauty and craftmanship.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Scott Burdick's-The Banishment of Beauty

Scott Burdick's well articulated presentation on The Banishment of Beauty  (one of my favorite figure/narrative painters) was presented  at this year's American Artist's Weekend with the Masters event. Narrating his video essay, he describes so clearly what has happened in the last century since the onslaught of modern art.  Using Thomas Wolf's explanation of understanding modern art, Burdick shows how modern art has become just illustrated literary comments where shock value, vulgarity, and egotistical intellectual messages have become highly prized by museums and galleries.  It is obvious to me that these higher institutions of art want and promote what mirrors our current culture . . . rude comments, vulgarity, bullshit, and incivility to the public.  With these last few months of political name calling and outright inhumanity to man, my platform is beauty, love, and hard work.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halifax Art Show

Life has taken me in many directions these last months--all good.  Gallery sales have improved somewhat but the economic downturn has really taken a toll.  Having said that I am excited about next week.  November 6th and 7th is the Halifax Art Show in downtown Daytona Beach.  Last week the local paper--News Journal--called and asked if I would like to be the featured artist for this year's article in the newspaper.  Don't ask me twice!  Today the article with pictures appeared in the Sunday paper.  They did a great job and their choice of using the portrait of Angel on the cover of the tabloid was very well done.  The article has already brought e-mails asking about the art and prices.  For all of you locals, please come down and say hello.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Beginning Again


One thing that has become very apparent to me this last year is an internal struggle with what do I really want to paint.  Having had a full time job for over thirty years with a paycheck coming in every month, I painted what I liked.  It was fun and I learned something with every piece I created.  Things have changed!  My daily life is about painting and I have come to know that what I paint has to be more than just a pretty picture that sells.  It has to be about my passion.  I'm not about making social or political statements.  I'll leave that for the more . . . you put in the word that comes to mind.  The struggle has now formed into the big question.  What do I care about the most or simply stated;  what do I want to share with others that is important to me?  The artist I have featured here is the one person  that has helped me to understand the direction I must go in.
    Last year, as some of you know, I went to the event called Weekend with the Masters in Colorado.  There I met a painter that I have followed these last few years with great interest.  Of all the people I met there and I have to say, most of the painters I know today, she was truly unique.  Talking with her for that afternoon while I was in her group, something came through that I didn't understand until later.  She cared about people.  Her demeanor was unpretentious, quiet, and caring.  That caring seems to come through in each of her paintings.  There was and is an honesty that resonated with me from the moment I met her.  She was just recently feature on CBS Sunday Morning.  I have attached the video for you to see and hear her. It's about 7 minutes long.  I think you will feel what I have been trying to describe.   She is indeed a truly gifted artist and individual.  Sunday Morning with Mary Whyte.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Missing In Action

Sorry that I haven't been posting these last few weeks.  The world has been heavy and I have been in my cave painting and trying to tune out the ills around me.  This week I received news from some of my painter friends about the gallery in Ormond Beach that closed without warning to their artists who had work hanging in the gallery.  Jessie Cook (in the photo) and Peggy Landeen are hoping to get their work back but so far have not had much success.  Hard times seems to be all around me and I'm trying not to let it get me down.  One of my galleries damaged a painting and returned it to me after keeping it for over a year.  Prior to that, it had been in another gallery and wouldn't you know, someone came in looking for that painting.  Since I wouldn't send the damaged painting to them for consideration, I painted another one very similar to the first.  There is no guarantee that they will buy it, but my fingers are crossed.  David and I will be starting the art show circuit again this fall.  I'm trying to stay positive so that it won't effect my work.  Tomorrow is a new day with  wonderful possibilities!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Uniqueness of One

                                               Majestic  48"x60"
Since my last posting, I have been putting in long hours at the easel.  Here is my next finished shell painting.  Ann Morrow Lindbergh’s words from Gift from the Sea keep me focusing on the one beautiful specimen and looking at all the nuances of color and form.  In her words not mine,  “One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach.  One can only collect a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.   Since the format and design is quite a bit different than my traditional still life paintings, I have had to refocus on creating a strong pattern, eye path, focal point, and above all strong compositional elements that require careful pre-planning.  What has helped me more than anything else is creating a Notan in three different values-white, gray, and black.  I’ve been reading everything I can to understand this planning tool and feel like it has been worth the effort.  More information on this planning strategy on my next entry with examples of what I am talking about.  Sorry for the font change in the middle.  Part of the text was done in Word and the other here on the blog page.  I can't seem to get them both the same size.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ebb and Flow


                                                                        It's been quite a few weeks since my last entry.  I've come to realize that my painting, as well as my life, ebbs and flows like the tide and I must accept what that means for me .  After returning from Maine and having the gala opening, I came back feeling lost and void of energy.  With no work at home, I needed to begin again.  Hence the feeling of emptiness and wanting to get excited again about returning to the easel.  I hate it but I'm starting to recognize that angst and accepting that with time, silence, and just letting go of expectations, that the gestation period before a birth of something new will come forward.  In the meantime, our local art league-- had a show called Figuratively Speaking.  I entered two pieces and a student of mine, Janis Murray, entered three of hers.  As you can see from the newsletter, we both were very happy with the results.  Recognition for my work helped to lift my spirits but I still didn't have a desire to pick up the brush.
     When I'm empty, I read.  Years ago my son gave me a small book entitled Gift from the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh.  I dug it out and began to read it for the second or third time.  She wrote it about 55 years ago when she stayed one month down on Captiva Island just west of Ft. Meyers.  Ann's insightfulness as a woman and the stages of life touched me on many levels.  Road trip!!!! Walking the beach where she walked and collecting the shells that gave her inspiration for the book gave me an idea.  My shell collection is enormous but I have only painted a couple as part of a large still life.  Why not paint shells in an environment.  Just shells.   So for the last two weeks I have worked on this one that is huge for me--36 inx48 in.  Nothing like jumping into it with both feet.  If you don't know about A. Lindbergh and her life,  there is a website about this amazing woman and Captiva Island.  Check it out at

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New eBay Painting

                                    Click to Bid
        Yesterday was open studio and we painted most of the day.  Rainy and muggy outside, it was a good day to stay indoors.  I finished the lemon wedge on Thursday but just now had time to post it.  This lemon comes from my Meyer lemon tree which is prolific this year.
      As an artist, I believe that it's important to always try to push your skills to new levels.  Since the opening, I have been searching for a new direction.  I think maybe visiting the New England area, like Old Lyme, Conneticut, opened my eyes to the beautiful paintings of the American Impressionists like, Charles Hawthorne and Henry Hensche.  I learned recently that Monet started out as a tonalists.  His painting of Rue de la Vavolle, Honfleur, was an early attempt to paint on location.  As you can see, the shadows are brown with little variation.  Once he opened his eyes to color, detail became must less important.  I'm drawn to the beautiful colors of light outdoors but it is difficult to leave my comfort zone of indoor painting.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two for Two

After returning home from Maine, I went on the patio to water my half-dead flowers.  Suddenly a small wren flew out of one of my wall sconces that is a cut in half piece of Mexican pottery.  Was I surprised when I looked down inside.  Four delicate eggs were tucked deep inside a nest that was fashioned to fit the sconce.  I can't wait for our new arrivals.  Does anyone know how long wren eggs need to incubate and hatch?

         4X6 in. oil on linen canvas panel
                      Click to bid

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Listing on eBay


"Used Up" oil on canvas birchwood panel

Click to Bid

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Opening A Success

                                       The opening was a great success in Kennebunkport, Maine.  Irene, one of my students lives in the area half the year and drove over for the event.  The flowers were sent by her and the "Saturday Ladies" that come every week to the studio in Florida.  Jill and Harry, our gracious hosts, made the gallery opening very special.  David, my husband, and I were treated like royalty and saw the local sights like a native.  We met wonderful people and sales were great.  Below are some area photos of this beautiful area and places we visited.  Oh by the way, I researched info on the soap Dark Shadows and learned that images of Kennebunkport cliffs were used in the opening title credits but the house was one from Rhode Island.  The stone Episcopal church and its surrounding grounds brought me to tears.  There was an organist in the loft practicing for a Sunday service.  We stayed at a Franciscan monastery and roamed the grounds that led out to a point on the water.  Both David and I were totally mesmerized by this storybook setting.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Arriving in New England

Yesterday we arrived in the New England area.  Our first stop was in Mystic, Conn.  For all of you old enough to remember the movie, Mystic Pizza, with Julia Roberts, I had my picture made in front of the famous restaurant.  After a quick bite, we continued on to our destination--Kennebunkport, Maine.  It was rainy and cold but we checked out the area and take a look at the Bush Compound.  This is a pix of the main house but there are about four other smaller homes to the left with a guard house at the entry gate.  I was told the house that was the soap opera's main house on Dark Shadows (a soap from the 60's about vampires) is also on this road.  I think I know which one it is but I'm going to google it since my memory is a little faded on exactly what it looks like.  Tomorrow is my opening at the North Light Gallery so i will take lots of photos.  More photos tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Journey to the North

Minnesota weather has been a real surprise for this Florida girl.  The temperature started in the high 50's and made it to a scorching 70 degrees today.  The Elmquist family piled into the car and headed for the Twin Cities.  Along the way we stopped in Chisago City to check on the arrangements for the family reunion this weekend.  David relived events from his childhood as we drove around looking at his old house, the family burial ground, and the large amount of land that was given (free of charge) to the Camp Fire Girls of America by three of his uncles.  After a trip to the airport to pick up the patriarch of the family--92 years old--we headed for Bloomington for lunch.  Across the street was the Mall of America.  If you haven't been there, it is mind blowing.  I took my two grandchildren for a walk and they rode a few of the rides plus a visit to the American Girl store and Build a Bear.  These pictures are just a glimpse of the vast amusement park inside the mall.  I could not relax because of my inability to fathom where I was and how to navigate through a place that puts you on sensory overload at every turn.  Next week I will share the Northlight Gallery experience unless something unusual happens between now and then.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June Events

This week has been more about the business end of art than putting paint to canvas.  David and I will be driving to Kennebunkport, Maine with paintings in tow.  I’m taking a little bit of everything I do.  I don’t paint a lot of flower paintings but this one is a favorite of mine and I have not shown it outside of the Daytona Beach area.  I am looking forward to hearing the comments good or bad.  If it is well received, I might add florals to my repertoires.

Even though the opening isn’t until June 19th at the North Light Gallery (moved from the 20th as earlier stated), we will spend the week before in a small community outside of Minneapolis for a huge family reunion for my husband’s relatives. This community, Chisago, where the union will take place, was featured in the movie The Emigrants, with Liv Ullman, about a Swedish family who came to Ki-chi-saga-igun (Ojibwe language meaning Big Lake with-an-outlet) and settled in the 1850’s. I sound like a history teacher but these last few months have been about this reunion and all the history of the Elmquist family.  One can’t help but learn something in the process.  With the help of his son, Jeff, David has taken a casual suggestion made last year at a family member's funeral and turned it into a larger than life epic event.  This reunion has been researched through the local church and county records and the patriarch of the family who is 92 years old will be the guest of honor.  I haven’t seen the top of our ten-foot dining room table in months.  Photo are scattered from one end to the other with some of them more than 75 years old and written in Swedish on the back.  David has been scouring the family photo albums and googling names trying to find all that are related. 
I will be taking my laptop with me and will document all the art related information that we encounter along the way.  David just told me that this trip will be approximately 5,000 miles of driving. OMG!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Revisiting Old Work

Faithfull Hound

12" x 24" oil on linen

This painting has been around the block a few times.  In its journey, a few marks and scratches have shown up.  North Light Gallery had it last year and asked if I would fix the marks.  Not having seen this piece for some time, I viewed it with fresh eyes and made a discovery. . . it was too dark overall.  So not only did I fix the marks, I lightened the background and made small alterations here and there.  The painting is now a show-stopper (in my opinion).  Note to self:  put a painting away for a few weeks to a couple of months without looking at it.  Then bring it out, look at it fresh, BEFORE, sending it out into the world.  Writers do this with their manuscripts; the same is true for paintings.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Finally Finished

Country Kitchen  18" x 30" oil on linen
After three months, this piece is finished.  Not only did the cheese go bad but the milk became cheese, or something to that effect.  The plums shriveled and I don't know what condition the raw egg was in when it went in the trash.  Working from life presents its own set of problems.  I think there is a parallel to life if I think about it for a while.  This piece plus three other ones will be sent to North Light Gallery for my One Person show in June.  There will be a reception Sunday, June 20th and I can't wait!  I have never been to Maine.
I have spent about three weeks on a figure in an environment.  Boy did composition issues become a major challenge in the process.  Painting a figure is not easy but putting it in a space with other objects made me take out my books on composition to help create a more dynamic piece.  Note to self:  work out all these problems ahead of time with sketches, value and color studies.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Identifying with a Camp.

This is an 8" X 10" on oil primed linen that I sent to the North Light Gallery in Kennebunkport, Maine.  As I look at all my pieces that I sent, I was drawn to this one more than any of the others.  Why?  It's the combination of both realism of the fruit and yet a soft, almost (but not quite) impressionistic brush work in some places.  Up until today, I didn't really know what to call this marriage of two camps.  I've always been aware of the different styles and movements in the history of art but didn't know what to call the striving for academic accuracy combined with soft brushwork.  Yesterday I was clicking through Gurney Journey's blog on painting techniques and came across some information that told me I had found my "camp."  It's call The Juste Milieu artist.  The words translate as "the right mean," or the "happy medium."  These artists aimed for a middle ground between the Impressionist and Academic camps.   It is both a philosophy of painting and a movement of painters.   Carolus-Duran was a member (Sargent's instructor).  In the late 1880's, the group separated from the Academy, forming under the name Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts.  According to Gurney's research, Joaquin Sorolla traveled to Paris, not to see Monet but Bastien-Lepage, a juste milieu painter.  Their palette seems earthier in color, closer to a Zorn palette.  Sir George Clausen was another member.  I guess we still can learn something new each day!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Taking Inventory

These last few days have been more about business and less about painting.  I will be shipping a couple of pieces to my gallery in Atlanta.  My other gallery is in Kennebunkport, Maine but I am lucky that the owner spends half the year here in Florida.  He'll be coming by this week to pick up a dozen or so small pieces.  Framing is not one of my favorite activities but a necessity.  What I do like is to put all the paintings out and look at them as a unit.  I can immediately tell which ones are my strongest and which ones shouldn't be let out of the house.  Every piece has to be photographed by my husband and printed out on a consignment sheet.  Fortunately, he's good at that.  When I get the images, I will share them on the blog.  I'm hoping for a good summer but with the economy in the condition it's in and now the volcano in Iceland, I'm not taking any bets.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hazards of a Still Life Painter

Painting can present all kinds of hazards for the painter.  Plein-air painters have to endure the outdoor elements.  All oil painters have to be aware of the metals contained in their paints.  But the still-life painter has it's own set of problems.  For example, flowers wilt before the painting is finished.  Fruit becomes moldy and shrivels looking nothing like it did in its original, fresh form.  Well I am adding one more to the list.  Before I left for the M Gallery workshop with Sadie Valeri, I began a large still life containing objects and foods from yesteryear.  I should have waited till I got back but I couldn't wait.  I decided the jug of milk could be put in the refrigerator and the jar of preserves would last with no problem.  The item that became the "hazard" was the mozzarella cheese.  After wrapping it up in white cheese cloth with interesting folds and positioning it just right, I got right down to business.  Upon leaving Sunday, I decided it would be okay to leave it out because it was still package in a clear plastic wrapper.  I didn't want to disturb the folds that I had arranged so carefully and the weather was still a little chilly in the studio.  After arriving back, I began working again.  I noticed the cheese had a small swell on the side but everything was in its proper place.  Today when I entered the studio, the most gosh awful smell greeted me like a thousand rotten eggs.  The wrapper had broken from the pressure of the rotting cheese and my beautiful still life set-up looked like a white paint-ball had exploded all over it.  Everything needed to be removed and cleaned.  I opened the windows immediately.  I'm only hoping I can arrange everything back to its original position after buying a new package of cheese.  The picture shows how far I got before the explosion.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Info on Sadie Valeri's Workshop

I was extremely pleased to read and see Sadie's blog after she arrived back in San Fransisco.  There is more information showing her step by step process.  Take a look and you will see where we painted and images of her painting.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Final Wrap-up for Sadie Valeri's WS

I'm back home and have had time for all the information to simmer and let the lessons rise like steam.  Processing so much information in such a short amount of time often makes me want to curl up in a fetal position.  Now that I have had some quiet time to reflect and to look at my pictures, I will try to share briefly some of the highlights.

First of all I have to applaud Maggie Kruger and M Gallery for their outstanding way they treated each and every participant.  Food was always available so that we didn't have to leave for lunch and breakfast was waiting for us when we arrived.  This photo shows the picnic table we all gathered around at lunchtime to get acquainted with each other.  The setting was "old Florida" at it's best.

Sadie broke up each stage of the multi-level process each day with a demonstration, as well, as discussing any questions we had about procedures or materials.

Between each layer of thin paint, we wet sanded the surface with a 1500 grit sandpaper to remove any dust or ridges.  This prepared the surface for the next layer.  Frustration in the drying process occurred  because of the humidity of our Florida climate that Sadie was not use to in San Fransisco.

Here is Sadie's early stage of painting the wax paper with a small silver  pitcher.  The minute brush strokes were amazing as we watched the metamorphosis transform into a work of art.

I'm never pleased with my results in a workshop environment but I will show you one image.  There was no way anyone could finish this process in five days but at the end, we all had a much better understanding of her unique process.

Check out the workshops on the M Gallery's website.  You will be surprised at the high quality of painters who regularly travel down to Sarasota.  Just this last week, David Kassan and Sue Lyon were here. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 4 of Sadie Valeri's Workshop

Most of my underpainting was dry upon arriving this morning but there was a small area of white that was still tacky.  In a perfect world/workshop, all of the paint should be completely dry before proceeding but one must move on.  The next step was to lay down a "couch."  Translated that means a mixture of two parts linseed oil to one part stand oil.  Remember, we are working lean to fat.  After brushing on a thin layer of this mixture, we used the 1500 grit sandpaper to sand down any bumps and to take off any particles of dust.  The finish was beautiful.

Next we mixed strings of the local color that we would be working with.  Everybody else was painting the wax paper which meant some variation of a warm or cool gray.  Not me!  I jumped right into painting the orange tangerine.  What was I thinking.  But with some trial and error and a little help from my instructor, I was painting with very little difficulty.  After the tangerine, I went on to the warm toned white stone pot.  That's as far as I got today and I'm hoping to finish this layer by tomorrow.

This way of working requires a lot of patience and a steady hand.  Although I don't think I will totally change my style of working to this method, I will most certainly use some of this new found knowledge.  Besides learning this method of working, the sidebar lessons were very informative and ones that I had never learned before.  I'm a happy camper!

Review of Day 3 of Sadie Valeri's workshop

Wednesday was continual painting.  I can't believe that a canvas 5"x 7" would take this long to cover in a closed grasaille.  Why would it you ask?  This method requires a lot of LOOK and a few strokes of PUT.  Couple this with trying as hard as you can to match values in relationship to the values around it and the total environment of the still life.  Sadie's latest work is a series called Wax Paper Series.  Almost all of the participants in the workshop set up their still life using wax paper surrounding an object.  For them, the challenge was greater than mine.  When you see my image you will understand.  I choose something simple because of wanted to focus more on learning the concepts with the simpler forms (tangerine with ceramic pot). It was still a challenge.  At the end of the day the entire surface was covered.  Today we introduce color.

Last night our sponsoring host ,M Gallery of Fine Art  and Maggie Kruger, the owner, opened her lovely home on Long Boat Key.  If you have an opportunity to take a workshop from M Gallery, you are in for a real treat and excellent instruction.  I highly recommend it.  Check out their list of upcoming workshops.
People are coming in so I will close for now.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 2-Sadie Valeri"s Workshop

Tuesday was a full day of learning.  Sadie's classical training comes through in every aspect of her teaching.  I am now a firm believer in beginning my drawings with straight lines instead of the innocuous curved lines.  Judging angles and distances are so much easier and the objects have a solidity that is not there otherwise.  Yesterday was a short lecture on the nature of organic forms--life and energy.  We all use symbolic words to describe organic forms, i.e., arm, finger, hand.  In life the following is true.  All shapes in nature are tapered, not parallel.  Shapes are spiral including arms, tree trunks, bones.  All forms interlock with each other and continue through to the other form.  And last, and probably the most aha for me, all forms are convex not concave.  For example, a waist looks like it goes "in" (concaved) but in reality, a series of curves that push out.   

After the lecture, she demonstrated the second layer (closed grisaille) using raw umber, ultramarine blue, and white.  Previously the white of the canvas was left white which is an open grisaille.  Wednesday we will finish this stage and proceed with color on Thursday.  Picture coming on Saturday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Workshop with Sadie Valeri

My workshop with Sadie Valeri--oil painter from San Fransisco--began today.  After a three plus hour drive, I arrived in a remote area of Bradenton, Fl near I75.  Our host is Sue Foster and her studio is to die for.  I will post pictures Saturday after I arrive back home.  Today we watched a three hour demo and then it was our turn.  Using her method, we drew a simple still life on mylar with straight lines and no attempt to capture value.  Upon completion, we transferred the image onto a gessoed board that was prepared by Sadie using her "cooked" gesso on Art Board.  It is the end of this day and the image has been sealed with a mixture of turpentine and Damar varnish.  Tomorrow it will be dry and I believe we will be attempting to lay in a tonal underpainting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New paints

I am always looking at new materials and trying new paints.  Last fall at the Weekend with the Masters, Gamblin Paints gave the participants a sample of a new product they were soon to be marketing.  In our bag was a tube of Transparent Earth Red alkyd oil paint.  I was excited since earth red (transparent earth oxide red) is a color I frequently use in my underpaintings.  Thinking I could buy their alkyd line of paints now, I found out that they were still in the "testing" stage.  Upon calling, they asked if I would like to be a tester.  Well Monday a box of three colors arrived-transparent earth red, ultramarine blue, and titanium white.  They dry within 18 to 24 hours which means I can begin painting over my underpainting the next day.  Yesterday I laid in my underpainting using these three colors plus transparent yellow ochre and so far I am thrill with the results.  The product is called FASTMATTE and I hope they will be on sale soon.

Also, this Sunday, I will be leaving to attend Sadie Valeri's workshop in Brandenton, Florida.  If you haven't visited her blog, you must.  There is so much information available, you could be on it for days just learning new and interesting information.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Garlic and Vinegar

My strength is almost back to normal so I'm back at the easel.  I thought I would try the Painting A Day ritual to see if I can get back into the groove again.  I have large pieces that I need to begin soon but this is a great way to "warm up" like stretching before exercising.    


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Portrait of Lauren

Stopping at a local sidewalk cafe during the Halifax Art Show, I was served by this very captivating server and knew I just had to have here sit for me.  Her skin was like porcelain and her high cheek bones and blue eyes made me think of the northern European girls of Sweden.  I can't wait to have her come back for more posing. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oil Painters of America

February has been brutal.  Without going into details, I had surgery and after three weeks, am up and painting again.  The great thing about it all is that now I can walk without pain after about five years of suffering.  Now for the really good news.  My painting "Sew Many Memories" was accepted into the 19th National Juried Exhibition by Oil Painters of America.  If you have never been to one of their exhibitions, you are missing a real treat.  Every painting is superb.  This year it will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Legacy Gallery.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Jewels" on the Internet

Today as I was researching a particular artist --thinking I might like to take a workshop from him--I came across a blog/website that was so fantastic, I had to feature it so that you might enjoy it as much as I am.  Check out     The demos are worth every minute of watching.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Year and Resolutions

We all make them whether we want to admit it or not.  We take inventory of 2009 and look to 2010 with fresh eyes and plans to make those changes in our habits that we deem necessary.  Yes I made a few New Year's Resolutions, but at my age, I am more pragmatic and realistic.  This past year brought some health problems that forced me to retire from a long time teaching career.  Painting became my day in and day out occupation.  No excuses now for not getting into the studio every day.  But what has become evident to me, if not my husband, I work better under tight time pressures.  Thirty-five years of schedules and deadlines are difficult to shake off and take my time to think and reflect on what I want to paint.   So after all the family has gone back home and the holidays are over,and a bad cold/flu had subsided, I sit and look at the blank canvas wondering which direction to go in.  For me, the best remedy for this dry spell is to paint small and quickly.  Here are a few "quickies" that I did hoping that something more challenging will come along.

The yellow creamer with grapes was a 8" X 10" that took a little longer than a day but proved to be a challenge because of the bisque surface with no reflective properties.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Finished Work

It's been some time since my last post.  As you can see I made quite a few alterations in the composition itself.  My original had the still life sitting on a wooden box.  It just didn't work compositionally so I turned it into a stone shelf.  I love the chiaroscuro style and hope I didn't go overboard with the strong light and dark.  I am always remembering the rules about basic value patterns and that is--there should be three values, dark, middle and light.  By varying the proportional amount of area occupied by each value, it makes for a much more interesting composition.  In each case, the smallest area naturally becomes the center of interest (the garlic and onions).  The largest value area becomes the dominant value group (bottles, dark cloth, background, and under the shelf).  Middle value is the front face of the shelf, cloth in front, and parts of the balsamic bottle.  My challenge was the cloth.  Veermer is one of my favorite painters and his rugs are masterfully painted.  I was trying for the same results with the scarf drape.  My final step that I try to do with all my paintings is to put it away for two or more weeks without looking at it--then bring it out and have a "cold" look so I can see if there are any glaring mistakes that can be fixed.  I learned this from writers.  By putting the piece away and then reading it cold after a few weeks, this practice will reveal elements of strengths and weaknesses that weren't visible earlier.  If you don't have that much time, have someone else that you trust look at it.
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