Thursday, February 26, 2009

Aspen Grove

Aspen Grove / 4x4 / Oil on Cradled Panel (sold)

I spent yesterday trying to decide what type of flooring to put in my new studio, and consequently did a fair amount of driving back and forth between Home Depot and Lowes. Late in the afternoon I noticed some sure signs of Spring--green grass has started to pop up, the tops of the aspen trees have some serious buds starting to grow, and the tulip and iris leaves on the east side of my house are visible. Yahoo--I love Spring! (Although it's a bit early--global warming, anyone???)

Those aspen buds reminded me of a photo I took last fall in Rocky Mountain National Park. Since I didn't have much time to paint, I decided to do the little 4x4 above.

Many of you have been kind enough to share your flooring thoughts and experiences via email, Facebook, and Twitter. I've narrowed it down to two choices, but I'm still having commitment issues so I'll share my flooring thoughts and decision tomorrow. For now, I'm going to try to get back to my easel and paint. Hope you're having a great, almost Spring day out there!

PS Any thoughts about the font size in a blog? This size seems small to me but allows more posts to be seen on a page. Compared to yesterday's post, which is better: small or large?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grisaille Experiment, Stage Two

This is the original photo I used for yesterday's grisaille. It was a gray day, and I took this shot through the tinted window of a small tourist boat. Consequently, there was no hope for accurate color, but I really liked this composition so I had to try it.

One of the reasons I decided to do a grisaille was so I could play around with the color without the commitment of an alla prima approach. I wanted to warm up the scene a bit, and if the colors I glazed in looked "wrong" I could easily wipe them off and try again. I'd like to eventually do a larger painting of this, and if I can come up with a more colorful version I am happy with I can use that as my model.

Using mostly transparent colors and lots of Liquin, here's where I ended the first stage of glazing:

I can see that there are areas that need to be cleaned up in the sky, and the reflection of the tree trunk in the water is a bit off. This will take opaque paint to fix, but since this is a study for a larger painting I'm not too worried about it. I don't want the colors to get too bright because that's not typical of this place, but I do think I'll try another day of glazing before I add a few final opaque touches.

Any suggestions?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another Experiment--Grisaille

Kinderdijk Windmill / 6x8 / Oil on Cradled Panel / 1st stage

About ten days ago I woke up in the middle of the night with a toothache--a former root canal had decided to go to the dark side. The strongest pain killer in the house was Extra Strength Excedrin, and only after popping a couple did I remember it's full of caffeine. The bad news (there was no good news) was that it didn't cut the pain and now I was seriously awake. What to do? Well, I don't know about you, but when I paint I forget about everything else, so I grabbed a panel and started to go through old photos to find a suitable 2 AM subject--hoping I would forget about the tooth.

I chose a photo from a cruise my husband and I had taken on the Rhine and Mosel Rivers. One of our stops was Kinderdijk in the Netherlands. After doing my usual cropping routine with Photoshop, I came up with a composition that I liked and thought would work.

By this time it was 3 AM. I decided to take the easy way out and do a value study with one color--a grisaille. A grisaille is usually done in grays and in a little higher key than how you want the final painting to look. When the first layer is dry, the artist, using transparent paints and a some type of medium, glazes color onto the painting. These glazes are then built up in successive layers to achieve the desired color. This layering process took the Old Masters quite a while to accomplish due to the drying time involved between layers, and if you've seen paintings done with this technique you know what a beautiful and unique glow they have. We, however, have the magic over-night drying potion known as Liquin. I'll post this again when I get to the glazing process.

By the way, as long as I was painting I forgot about the toothache. Art cures many ills.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Academy Awards Meets "Different Strokes from Different Folks"

Starlets / 6x8 / Oil on Linen Panel

I decided to try the latest challenge from Karin Jurick's blog "Different Strokes from Different Folks." This week's photo is from the window of a wig shop:

There were lots of choices here, but I certainly wasn't about to paint all those heads at once. I decided to put the image into Photoshop and play around with the cropping tool. It was tempting to do the pale head on the lower left because it's such a classic angle, but I kept coming back to the middle two in the top row. Between the hair, the sunglasses and the turned-up nose, they reminded me of starlets with attitude. I added "Oscar" as a nod to their future goal.

By the way, I haven't seen any of the Oscar nominated movies yet, so if you have a favorite let me know.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cherries and Black-eyed Susans

Cherries and Black-eyed Susans / 6x9 / Oil on Linen Panel

Finally got back to the easel today after a mid-week visit to the oral surgeon. Ouch! The only good part of the experience was my discovery of Kozy Shack pudding. If you're ever stuck on a liquid/jello diet, I highly recommend it. (Chocolate, of course...)

My new studio is moving right along. It's getting painted on Monday, and the cabinets and sink should be in by the end of next week. Then it's moving day--or perhaps "days." Between all the art supplies and the still life props, I've got a lot of stuff! I'll post some photos when it's completed.

I've been looking at a lot of artist websites lately, and I promised in the last post I would list some of my favorites. Some of these are old favorites, and some are new ones I just discovered. There are too many wonderful artists out there to name them all, so I'll post more from time to time. Enjoy!

Scott Christiansen
Ignat Ignatov
Scott Tallman Powers
Kathleen Dunphy
Dan Schultz
Aaron Westerberg
Elizabeth Pruitt

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Next Seven

Cobalt Pot with Lemons / 9x9 / Oil on Linen Panel

I am fairly new to blogging, so when R. Garriott tagged me I decided to take some time choosing my "tagees." There are so many wonderful artists out there, but the seven I've chosen excel at their craft. It's possible that they've been tagged so many times they won't want to play, but I guarantee if you spend some time studying their work, you will learn something you can add to your artistic tool kit.

Alphabetically, they are:

1. The Daily Paintings of Don Gray
2. The Art of Wayne Haag (Ankaris)
3. Mona Paints Moving Figures (Mona Jones)
4. Works by J. Kelly (Jared Kelly)
5. Carol Marine's Painting a Day
6. Studio Notes (Terry Miura)
7. The Poetry of Paint (Lani Vlaanderen)

Tomorrow I'll post some favorite artist websites.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I've Been Tagged...

Single Serving / 5x7 / Oil on Panel

My thanks go out to R. Garriott for tagging my blog. I'm honored. If you are reading this and you are not R. Garriott, you need to check out her blog "Painting Every Day and Photoshop Tips for Artists." Not only will you see beautiful, colorful artwork, you will learn tons about composition/design quality (she's great at that,) and then there are all those wonderful little mini tutorials on Photoshop.

So here goes.
Seven "Unusual" Things About Me:

1. When I was very young, long before people were worried about saturated fats and red dye, the only thing I would eat for lunch was a mayonnaise sandwich. My mother used to spice things up a bit by adding food coloring to the mayo. One day I would have a red sandwich, the next blue, and so forth. The first time I used oil paints it was like deja vu. I was home again. So I thank--and sometimes blame--my obsession with oil painting on my mom and her colorful mayo sandwiches.

2. I have always loved technology, and I'd have a hard time counting how many computers I've owned. Eight years ago, when I was still teaching, I had the opportunity to create and teach online high school classes. It was tons of work with a huge learning curve, but so very creative! Every web page was like a blank canvas.

3. When I began painting I had two cats--Colors and Shadow. The cats were named independently and long before my artistic endeavors took flight, but as I painted I often thought about the completeness of their names. All paintings are just that--colors and shadow, yin and yang. It's really all you need. That, and getting them in the correct place, which is often like herding cats...

4. I don't color coordinate the clothes in my closet like R. Garriott, but I do insist they are all facing the same direction.

5. I'm spending the next two days insulating the walls of my new studio. I still can't believe this is happening, and I'll post some photos when there's more to see.

6. I'm very good at tiling floors, bathrooms, kitchen backsplashes, etc. Now that you know this, I'll be a little suspect the next time you invite me to dinner.

7. And finally, Yoko Ono is following me on Twitter. It's my claim to fame.

OK, enough self-indulgence. It's Valentine's Day on Saturday. Don't forget to buy your sweetheart some chocolates. I'll post my seven "tagees" tomorrow.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Learn What You Really Want

Red Teapot and Lemons / 6x6 / Oil on Cradled Panel (sold)

Do you ever have difficulty deciding what you really want? There's a wonderful little online tool to help you figure it all out at (Thanks to Catherine Jo Morgan for sharing this.)

You simply type in a list of all your possibilities and the site generates a series of choices between two of the items on your list. It asks, "Which do you prefer?" or, "Which would you rather have?" You make the choice and the tool generates another pair. After working through all the possible combinations, it gives you a prioritized list.

Since you get to make up the list, this can be as general as deciding upon yearly goals--or it can be as specific as a prioritized to-do list for Monday. Give it a try sometime when you need clarity on an issue.

Today what I really wanted was another attempt at painting looser. I got together with a couple of artist friends at Mary Beacon's studio (Tumbleweed Studio) and we gave this little red teapot a go. I'm not 100% thrilled with this, but decided to post it anyway since one of my goals for this blog is experimentation.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Media Coverage Opportunities

Chocolate Covered Strawberries / 5x5 / Oil on Linen Panel (sold)

Are you looking for media coverage? Then visit and sign up for Peter Shankman's thrice daily email detailing all sorts of stories in need of a person to make them come alive. You might be just the person they're looking for, and "they" include everything from major TV networks to national magazines, newspapers, websites and radio shows.

My most recent email listed 33 stories posted by reporters (including their contact information) just waiting for YOU. Granted, these are not all art-related stories (I'm offering you opportunity, not nirvana) but several had possiblities. A few days ago they wanted someone who was successfully using YouTube, etc. to promote their business. This could have applied to any number of artists.

It's free and easy, and you never know when the shoe might fit.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tax Tips for Artists

Lake Weeds / 6x6 / Oil on Cradled Panel (sold)

I'm still processing everything I learned from the smARTist telesummit and trying to synthesize all that information into a more cohesive marketing plan. I will be sharing more of what I learned here on this blog, but since tax season is upon us I thought that you might be able to put this tidbit to immediate use.

Peter Riley is a CPA who specializes in working with artists. There's a wealth of applicable tax info on his website In fact, I picked up a couple of tax tips that will more than cover my cost of the telesummit. You can also check out the "special articles" on his main website. I found the one on home offices (studios) very helpful.

There are only 69 days left till April 15th...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Purple Vase and Oranges

Purple Vase and Oranges / 6x6 / Oil on Cradled Panel (sold)

Another attempt at painting looser, but I allowed myself too much time and of course I saw every little value change in that vase. The light was from above and behind, and the white cloth caused a million reflections in the vase--some quite intense. Next time I'll raise the set-up so that the light is behind (but not above.)