About Me

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I have been creating things since I was old enough to hold a pencil, a crayon or a needle. You may be surprised what you find here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thank you Annie Griffith Belt

Olive Trees in Galilee

A while back my dentist lent me a book by Annie Griffith Belt, a well known National Geographic photographer.  I was enchanted by her photos from all over the world.  Olive Trees in Galilee was a two page spread that just called out to be painted.  So I looked her up on the web and sent off a note asking permission to paint the photo for my own personal use.  Not only did she reply within just a few hours, she said yes!

I hope Annie is as pleased as I am with the result.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A day at the Lake

Yesterday was a great day.  Our whole department was invited to spend the day at our bosses island retreat as part of a team building day.  I took the opportunity to take my easel and paints.

This painting was created in about an hour over the course of the day.  It was challenging on many levels. One, I never paint buildings (all those angles defeat me). Two, I had an audience';  Granted they were generous and kind. And three, I was trying water soluble oils for the first time ever, not that this was a challenge in itself, but I was working with just six colors, three primaries, white, black and sap green.  The most limited pallet I have ever worked with.

At the end of the day, I declared it done and gave it to our host as a thank you for his generosity.  Not too bad for my fourth time out doing plein air.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

54 Donald Street-work continues

Continueing to work on this painting.  Refining areas, adding and changing as I go, trying to find a look that pleases me.  And of course, lots of help from the cats and helpful comments from hubby.

Dessie, my youngest cat, decided to investigate what I was doing and managed to walk through the ultramarine blue paint.  This started a catch the cat chase, which was made more difficult by the fact that having stuff in her back paw was spooking her and she didn't want to be caught, she just wanted to get away from it all.

We finally caught her, and hubby held her while I a) cleaned the paint off the floors so that they other cats wouldn't walk in it, b) covered my pallet with paper towels to avoid the same fate with the other cats while cleaning Dessies paw and finally c) cleaned Dessies paw using brush cleaning soap, paper towels and warm water.  I have to hand it to her, for a cat that is often teeth and claws when she isn't getting her own way, she was very calm and let me really scrub between her toes for nearly five minutes.  Although her white paws have a light blue tint, I think we got enough off she won't get sick.

As you can see, I have added the day lilies, highlighted the bush on one side, and the ivy on the other.  I also completely redid the roses and are, at the moment, the feature I am happiest with.  Out shopping the other day, I found some miniature brushes on sale for half price at the Hobby Lobby.  They saved my roses, I was really getting frustrated with them before.  I have even done more work on them since this shot was taken.

I am changing the color of the chair from teal to yellow, it will need more work, but I am happier with this color.  I really like yellow and don't mind having a lot of it in this painting. The wood area in the background has been enhanced, adding groove lines, texture and brightened with a glaze made of burnt sienna and cadmium yellow light. 

What I plan to do before I finish, at least at the moment, is to complete the chair, work more on the geraniums and day lilies in the front. Maybe work more on the gazing ball, not sure about that yet.  Haven't decided if I need to add more of something above the chair in the empty area or not.  It's a busy painting but perhaps a garden sign or something would be a nice touch.  Any thoughts?

To compare both versions go to WIP.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

54 Donald Street - work in progress

Way too much glare on this photo due to wet paint, but I promise a better one when it's done.

Early this spring, I had occasion to walk down a street where I usually just drive. This gave me the opportunity to admire the gardens and plantings along the way. This particular garden struck me because of the chair holding the bucket of geraniums, and the sun on the back wall. The chair was the same color as the wall, and I so wanted to remove it from the garden and paint it color that would show it off. But since it was not my garden, and I am sometimes a sensible human being, I just kept walking.

About a month later I went back with may camera and spent some time photographing the garden from the street. It had lots of wonderful elements in it like the boots and the planter off to the side, but as a painting it was going to need more.

Over the past few months, I have been observing gardens along the way and have grabbed quick camera phone snapshots of various elements that I think will work in making this garden still life. And as I paint, I have added items straight from my imagination, like the shrub on the right and the ivy on the left which I felt was needed to balance the painting. More flowers to come, more detail everywhere and a lot more time to be spent on developing shadows, reflections and highlights. But I though you might like to see that I am still painting. It's taking me longer as I am working on larger pieces and only get a couple of hours a few days a week.

My painting today was cut short by one female cat who jumped up and walked through the ultramarine blue paint. I thought I grabbed her in time, but when I put her down, I discovered that she was tracking dark blue paint with one paw. And of course, now she had to be caught, and the goop in between her toes was scaring her so she didn't want to be caught.

Thanks to help from hubby, he managed to capture her and hold her while I cleaned up the paint on the floors. Then it was off to the kitchen to try to get the paint off the cat. I knew I couldn't use turp, so I grabbed my container of Master's Brush Cleaner which is water based. After lots of soaping, scrubbing and rinsing we finally got to a point where no more paint was coming off on the towel, although her white fur is light blue on that foot. I was absolutely amazed how still she held during the entire process. Cats hate it when you touch their feet, and she doesn't like to be held for more than 30 seconds at a time. We gave her lots of praise when it was over, and she doesn't seem to be any worse for the wear. She also isn't trying to lick the foot, so I am comfortable that she won't be ingesting stuff that's bad for her from this adventure. And that's life here on the hill, one adventure after another.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day Lily - Finally done!

I finally finished this painting, although I may need to photograph it one more time as the original is a bit lighter in color (the day lily is more yellow than orange). I am quite pleased with how it turned out. Link
If you have been following my blog, you will remember that I originally posted this on April 17th as a work in progress. You can see the original post here. To get the colors right, I put on many layers of glazing. There were times when I didn't think it would ever come together. Have I mentioned that patience is not my forte? That may be why I might be more suited to direct painting than this particular style. But the end result is amazing...the transparency in the colors and the glow that seems to come from the flower was worth the effort. Still, I'm not sure if I will do this on a regular basis, probably only when I am seeking a certain effect.

I have another painting on the easel now and this one is a real challenge. It's a garden still life inspired by a garden I saw when walking last spring. Of course, being who I am, my painted garden will have elements from the one I was inspired by, and things added as well. I have been busy taking reference photographs this week. Hopefully I'll have something to share relatively soon.

Thank you for dropping by, I hope you'll share your thoughts with a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Last January on a business trip to St. Louis, I had the misfortune of getting very ill on the morning I was to fly home. An angel by the name of Kerry, whom I had met less than 72 hours earlier, became my salvation.

At first, she just offered to wait with me for the shuttle to the airport. When it became obvious that I was in no condition to fly, she got me checked back into a room, made sure I had emergency contacts and changed my airline reservations (on her credit card).

When I was once again able to think like a normal human being, I made sure she was reimbursed and heartily thanked for her kindness. But under the circumstances, I wanted to do more. So I asked her if I could paint something for her. She gave me two options, a landscape and this mountain lion, both involve precious memories for her.

Kerry, if you feel that this accurately represents "Squeaker", once it dries, I will pack it up and send it your way. Bless you for being the kind of person who steps up to help someone in need.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Fast" Eddie Watkins

First a disclaimer: I did not paint this painting.

This weekend my husband, thinking that I had no cash on me, invited me to join him on a trip to the transfer station. Our transfer station has a 'second chance store' where locals donate stuff they no longer want but think someone else might. I'm not sure who actually gets the money from the transactions that occur here (not the folks that drop stuff off, that much I know). I like to browse this 'store' because you never know what you might find. These days I am looking for frames that I can use on my paintings. I have bought several frames from him in the past and saved a bundle on framing.

This was a particularly nice frame for an 18"x24" canvas. The fellow wanted $20, I had $18 - we made a deal and the whole thing went into the back of the car.

As per my usual practice, I look at who signed the art and look them up on -line. The artists of the paintings I have bought from here in the past have had no presence on line that I could find, so I had no compunctions about getting rid of the artwork in one form or another. I have been known to save the stretcher bars or gesso over and re-use the canvas for practice.

This time, I discovered I had purchased a piece of art with a great story. "Fast" Eddie Watkins was a notorious bank robber who was on the FBI's most wanted list for a period of time. He took up painting in prison. You can read his story here.

So now I have a painting with a wonderful story, and it looks like it will remain in it's frame and hang someplace in my home as a conversation piece. Don't you just love a good find?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New work coming soon.

I know I haven't posted in a while, there's been a lot going on and I haven't been near the easel for what feels like months. But summer is here and I'll start to have more time to paint so please don't give up on me. These days it seems like the summer is really the only time I have to paint, and I plan to make the most of it this year.

In fact, last weekend I started a new painting commissioned by a friend. Once it's done, I'll post it.

I am also planning a new still life, and thinking about an attempt at a landscape from a photo I took last weekend at a local pond. I might even pack up my easel and paints and spend the day there soon.

I have decided to take on a few commissions over the summer, I have had a few inquiries about painting pets and I'd like to do that. If this is something that interests you, please drop me a note.

Also, if you see a painting that you would like to own (one of mine, of course) please contact me for a price.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

WIP Day Lily

Day Lily


Oil on canvas

I have been working on this off and on for about two months. I wanted to try painting like the old masters. First I drew the rough painting in pencil than outlined it with burnt umber thinned with turpenoid. Next I added shadows using the same method. Lots of undercoats and building of layers happened after that.

At the moment I am calling this a work in process. I am not at all sure if it is done. The photo actually looks better than the painting (even with the glare because it's still quite wet). I'm going to have to live with it a bit before I decide.

I'd be interested in what you have to say, please do share your comments. Painting in a vacuum without feedback is not always fun. You can either blissfully love everything you create or be your worst critic. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

So, am I done?

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Girl

As promised in the previous post- 'The Girl'. The painting I thought was all wrong, and her parents thought was just right. Go figure.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Wow! It's been a while since I posted, life is very busy at my day job through the first of June, but I will try to post more often.

A while back I decided to paint portraits of two of my grandchildren and give them to their parents for Christmas. I was very pleased with the painting of 'the boy', and couldn't wait to start on 'the girl'. I really felt I nailed it here and couldn't wait to hear what his parents thought.

The other portrait, which I will post a bit later was much more of a struggle. I just couldn't seem to get there, but time ran out and they had to be finished, framed, wrapped and shipped if I wanted to make the holiday.

On Christmas morning I called to get a reaction. Both Mom and Dad thought that I had captured 'the girl' perfectly, but they thought I didn't quite get 'the boy'. Which only shows how difficult portraits really are. People don't see people they love with their eyes alone, they see them with their heart. And so to capture someone's essence in paint, you need to be able to see them through someone else's eyes.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


This is our youngest grand-daughter, Jenny. We don't see her very often as she lives quite far away. This painting was done using one of her school photos. I love how happy she looks.

I painted a series of portraits of all the grand kids a couple of years ago. I will be posting them here in the next few weeks, while I am working on a new painting.

Generally, I am a direct painter, I don't do under painting, and frequently mix and blend the colors right on the canvas. The painting I am working on right now will be done in stages similar to those of the old masters.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bald Eagle

I finally got back into the studio this weekend and spent some time working on a painting of a bald eagle.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I rented a cottage on a pond in Maine. This eagle and his(?) mate lived on that pond. We were fortunate enough to see it fly over and also to be able to photograph it sitting in the tree. It was huge!

The shot I would like to have gotten, was when the eagle flew over my husband when he was fishing, about ten feet over his head. The wingspan was incredible. Where is that camera when you really need it. Hubby wasn't even aware of the fly-over.

I don't know if this painting is done. I need to live with it for a while. But it sure felt good to have a paintbrush back in my hands.

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's all in the Cards

My apologies for being so long between posts. Since being an artist is my passion, but not my employment, sometimes my day job takes more time than others. So for the next few weeks, when we are at our busiest, I will probably be posting less frequently.

This particular piece is called "The King of Hearts Steps out with the Queen of Diamonds" and it was created for a doll challenge called "It's All in the Cards" held at the Jeykll Island Doll Seminar between 10-12 years ago.

The idea of the piece was create a three dimensional card deck with the characters literally coming out of the cards. The king and queen both have one arm and one leg still in the deck, and on the back of the piece the jester is more in the deck than out, although he is three dimensional on his own card. The king and queen are coming out of the top of the deck.

The king has 52 heart shapes in his clothing and crown representing the 52 cards in a deck (sans jokers).

Although I have made a lot of dolls, and most of them are more traditionally representational, I have a lot more fun making things like this that are out of the box. I hope you enjoy this piece and a small view into my weird mind.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Once they were small

None of the grand kids are babies anymore, they are all in high school or older, but we all like to remember the days when they were younger.

This painting was created from a composite of four formal portraits done of the kids when they were younger. All were taken in the same year, so the age relationship is correct, the youngest was under two, the two older girls were seven and the young man was around three. Our grandson will graduate from high school this year. My how time flies.

Portrait painting is not my strength, but I do love trying to capture someones essence and image in paint. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you don't. Some time ago, I painted two of the grandchildren in separate portraits for their parents as a gift. I thought the one of my grandson captured him very well, but I felt that I missed the mark on my granddaughter. When the parents opened the gifts, they saw it entirely differently.

It's all in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

And the winner is....

Congratulations to Nelson LeMay, whose name was pulled in the drawing to win a painting.

Happy New Year everyone!