Thursday, December 31, 2009

Red Boots and Umbrella

There are times you have to re-do a painting over and over and over. It can be frustrating and you can feel as down as a lone pickle in a barrel but it's truly a great lesson in persistence. The best artists keep hacking away at the problem till it's solved. There are several methods I use when I’m in a pickle. My critique groups are immensely helpful and are quick to see problems that I am simply blind to. Another helper is a document I wrote listing all the problem areas that seem to arise for me…for example #15 on the list reminds me to make sure I have both cool and warm colors and more of one than the other. Number 4 asks me to squint and see if the pattern of lights and darks in my painting create interesting shapes that lead the eye around the picture frame. Lastly, I spend a lot of time repainting my picture in my head to see how else I can get it turn out.

This is the third time I’ve painted Red Boots and Umbrella. I think I got it right this time though I may hear otherwise from my critique groups. The image for this painting came to me and I really haven’t been able to let it go. I first used myself as a model for the first set of photos but was dissatisfied. A friend posed for the second set of photos and that worked much better. I also set up a still life of the elements in my studio so I could refer to their real life presence as I painted. Red Boots and Umbrella is an oil on cradled hardboard, 18 x 36”. It’s title will change when the whole Red Boots show is shown.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bread and Honey
How carefully should an artist finish a painting? This is the sixty-four thousand dollar question every artist ask herself as her painting nears completion. Well placed, blended strokes with a smaller brush can take a painting on to a polished, super realistic glow. Or do you stop when the vigor of each stroke still remains visible to the eye of the viewer? Often the finish is related to the personality of the aritst; patient artists have longer attention spans and are more careful with the drawing and painting process. Impatient people are impatient artists- they want to draw it with ten lines, then get to the paint right away. Get in, paint, get out. Hey, I've only got four hours here. Let's go! All styles are valid, just different. And most artist change form tighter to looser or the other direction as the canvases add up.
This 24x16" oil on board was painted while the bread was still warm. Get in, get out, and keep it fresh!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Party Time

Painting from real life is the best training for an artist. Your brain has to work twice as hard to do an irrational thing; translate a three dimensional scene into a two dimensional drawing and then paint it. So you're using your brain now, that's good. Part two is that you can see a thousand times better in real life than you can when looking at a photo or sketch. Artists work hard to pare down all that over load of information yet having the information also makes for a better painting. You can really see all the different values as light moves across each plane and you get to interpret that into a color and a value and put it down on the canvas. Eventually, after putting hundreds of these dots and dabs down, a three dimensional object begins to appear. It's like a miracle! wow! There's my shoe!

About the subject; these shoes of mine say party time. Add the martini glass and it now says that a good time will be had by all.This is part of a series of small 8x10 paintings I did in November 2009, most of which can be seen at Lakeshore Gallery in Kirkland, Washington.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Girl Talk

Objects we see around us every day become part of the wall paper of our life. We don't really see them anymore. Still life paintings take those common things and present them so we look at them again. See those lovely girl-pinks! Look at the wonderful highlights on those cool shaped containers! I believe that an artist should be able to paint just about anything and make a beautiful or interesting painting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Red Boots and Umbrella

There have been days when I've poured myself into my family's needs; cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, listening, scheduling, etc. And there have been days when at then end of it, I feel invisible. No one has noticed, acknowledged, or really seen me. The author Barbara Pym has written about such excellent women who are taken for granted by the men around them though she does it with much more wit than I'll ever manage. That is the feeling that these red boots are conveying here. This oil painting is on a 24x36" board and is yet unnamed and unpriced.--note; since this blog was posted, this painting has since been painted over. The new Red Boots and Umbrella painting was also posted. You'll notice I defined the figure more in the new piece.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Red Boots and Shoes

Here is Red Boots number three in the series. You might be surprised at how fun it is to draw and paint shoes. It's practially a staple in every art 101 class; draw a shoe. It's got volume, an interesting shape and ins and outs you don't really notice till you get in there and sculpt it out of paint. This scene is one I see daily in our mudroom. I'm still painting my red boot series and hope to have show of all the works in the next year or so.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Red Boots and Vacuum

I can harldy write about the emotional content of this painting so I won't. Tongue firmly in cheeek, I'll let you work out what this painting means on your own. I will say that it's a very pleasant challenge to feel that anything can be made beautiful by the painter's brush, even the lowly vacuum cleaner. 24x36" Oil on Board, still looking for the right title to this one. Suggestions welcome.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Red Cowboy Boots and Flowers

These lovely red cowboy boots are the stars in a series I'm in the middle of painting. I love, love, love my red cowboy boots more than anything. They came to be in my possession as a surprise gift from my husband and now they're growing a life and story of their own. Watch this spot and you'll hear their life story.
Oil on board, 18 x 24"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Come What May

I actually saw this taking place on a summer's day at a park in Minneapolis. A young man with his back up against a tree while a group of women danced around him holding beautiful colored ribbons. It was wild and wonderful to watch as they lept and twirled on the sun dappled grass.
"Come What May", oil on board, 24x36"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Father of Light

If lighthouses had a gender, they would be dads. Paternal, patient and helpful, there they sit, forever lighting the right way to go. This papa sits on a windy bluff in Port Townsend. It's not used anymore to light ships to saftey but it was my muse for "Father of Light", 12x16", $425.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yellow Taxi, Throbbing Waiting - 36x24" Oil on Board - $1500
My paintings are always emotional rather then academic interpretations of the world around me. I need to do my paintings all in one sitting so that the thread of the mood is carried throughout the piece. This rather large painting was done in under ten hours and tries to show the energy and excitement I feel when I'm in the Big Apple. This painting was just juried into a regional show. I'll let you know if it wins any prizes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Adirondack Chairs

Who can resist Adirondack chairs? Their design must trigger some kind of happiness button in our brains. I found these two last week waiting patiently to be painted in front of The Commander's Beach House, a picture-perfect bed & breakfast on the water in Port Townsend, Washington. In fact, in the middle of my painting, the owner stepped out and handed me a cup of coffee with cream in a stay-hot mug...just being hospitable! Now all of Port Townsend triggers that same happiness button for me! 9x11" Oil on Board (go to to see this pretty b&b)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Apple Valley Farm

The weather this summer has been the nicest I remember and it's been espeically wonderful for painting outside. There are so many new paintings I'm excited to share with you. But when my plein air paintings come back insde with me, they inevitably need more work. Many have to hang out with me for weeks before they tell me their shortcomings. I'm learning to wait a long time before applying that final coat of varnish. This was painted on a gray day at Apple Valley Farm near St. Michelle Winery and boy did it look gray and sad when I came home. It sat in the studio, colorless and unappealing, until it finally pronounced that it needed me to change it to sunny and exciting. My critique group helped me figure out the final touches to "Apple Valley Farm", oil on board, 11x14".

Final note; this painting has since been painted over. Sometimes a painting loses it's luster with the artist. You see it through new eyes and it's not as spectacular as you once thought. I only want my best work out in the world.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lily Pads

There is nothing so sweet as spending a summer's day painting outside. Though the wind pushes at your easel like a sail and you inevitably forgot to pack a certain brush, it's still a privledge to spend the day running the view through the sieve of your brain. You have the privledge of describing your emotional reaction to the scene with paints on canvas. I was struck by the dark lake waters against the bright, light-reflecting lily pads and marsh grasses. "Lily Pads", 11x14" Oil on board.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

City Lights

The bright lights, throngs of people and energy of a big city can either make you weak with exhaustion or fill you to the brim with renewed energy. I'm the latter. The heart of a big city at night is a thrill to my heart. If I could dance, I would but I can't so I paint. I've tried to capture those feelings in this rather large (24x36") oil on board.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pasture Blues

Boy does your vision change as you age. I used to go to this park all the time when my boys were young. Back then I saw the barn and woods as ideal places for little boys to explore. We'd spend all morning there till it was time to go home and boys would fall asleep in the car. I went there last week and set up my easel under the shadow of a huge tree on the wide open lawn and all I saw was color, light, form and shadow. My very first painting teacher told the class a true statement; if you become a painter, you'll never see the world the same way again. Pasture Blues is an oil painting on board, 12 x 16", $450

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dining Out

To celebrate special occasions, many of us go out to dinner. Breaking bread with dear friends is one of life's loveliest events. Good wit and wine, sparkling dishes and the luxury of luscious food without lifting a finger. Oh joy! I tried to paint all these feelings into Dining Out, Oil on Board, 24x30".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Foot Tappin' Festival

We stopped going to festivals a while ago but I did go to Folk Life a few months back and surprised myself but how much I liked it. Being outside in the sun surrounded by cheerful festival goers and hearing live music was a joyful experience. In "Foot Tappin' Festival", I tried to capture the movement of the musicians and the visual excitement that I felt. This painting is Oil on 24x36" canvas, my largest oil to date. If you'd like to see me and more of my oils, go to Covington Cellars Winery in Woodinville, WA July 16th, Thursday night from 5-8pm. Free wine tasting for friends of the artist!

Monday, June 29, 2009

June Picnic

I take thousands of reference photos and many are of people who never know they're soon going to be featured in a blooming oil painting! Of course, if they knew, they'd pose and who wants that? This image was taken at a recent festival. I'm really intersted in painting figures now, especially where there are relationships to be deciphered. I want to create good compositions and paintings that illuminate a moment.
Oil on board, 18x24", $660

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kitchen Rythm June 24, 2009

It's less about the subject and more about the patterns. It's about the rythm and motion and swing of a busy kitchen. It's skilled hands composing perfect layouts and colors that make your mouth water. Reds and warm hues relate to food and who doesn't like to eat? "Kitchen Rythm", 12x16", Oil on Board, $425

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Eruopean Street Scene

Good news! Two new galleries have accepted my work. Check out Cole Gallery in Edmonds and Gallery by the Bay in Stanwood, both in Washington.
This pretty little scene has its orgins in a trip we took to Italy last summer. Every Italian town has it's share of crooked streets and each more appealing than the last. Why is it we so want to know what's around that corner? This 12" square oil will be for sale at Kaewyn Gallery in Bothell, Washington in June. The gallery will be selling a whole group of 12" unframed pieces for some ridiculously low price like $148 beginning June 12th for one month.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

More Mother's Day Art

Mother's Day Paintings

From the time I was a child, whenever I wanted to "give love" to someone, my first instinct was to make them a card, post
er, painting or some such arty thing. I made five separate paintings yesterday as gifts to all the mothers who were going to be at a belated Mother's Day family gathering, one of which is shown here. The day before that I made eight little paintings for all my best girlfriends. Remember this; artists need to create. It spouts out of them like a fountain. They might need the money from selling art but truly, money is never the reason for making art. Making art is the core reason for making art.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Restaurant Scene, 16 x 12" Oil on Board was also painted in my Mike Svob Workshop. When out to dinner the other night, I took as many photos as politly possible of the staff preparing our meal. Each plate was gorgeously prepared with much care to it's beauty and layout. I loved the pattern of their white clothes (though I changed the whites here!) and flying hands.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Three to the Sea

My family goes to the Oregon Coast almost every summer. If you haven't been, it should be on your bucket list. Almost any little Oregon coastal town will do. We are all drawn to the sea, young and old, to walk next to it, wet our toes in it, and let the ocean hypnotize us with it's crashing rhythms. I've tried not to sentimentalize these kids but simply place them there as a part of my beach experience. 16 x 12" Oil on Board, $450