Thursday, September 12, 2013

8 & 9 of 30

Gaillardias, 5x7", watercolor 
8 of 30

Beach Flowers, 5x7", watercolor 
9 of 30
So today is September 12 and I am posting paintings 8 & 9 when I SHOULD be posting painting 12. Oh well.  I forgive myself for being human. I am allowing myself to do this process imperfectly...

Today was our last full day at the beach & it was wonderful.  I was able to take a retail break in the afternoon, leaving daughter & husband back at the condo.  It was really fun to talk with a local artist about her work and share some images of my own work.  I had a great deal of fun painting this morning as well.  I am happy as to how loose these small paintings are.

My painting set up on the front deck...
Unfortunately my right knee has gone a bit wonky so I skipped the beach walk.  We had dinner at our favorite restaurant, Sundae Cafe. (  It looks totally unimpressive on the outside but offers wonderful selections at both lunch & dinner. A perfect way to end our brief stay on Tybee Island.  Can't wait to return next year.

Tomorrow we pack up the car early and head into Savannah to load the daughter back into her SCAD apartment for the year.  Then we head homewards towards Cincinnati.  We like to stop in Cartersville, GA for the night.  It gets us past Atlanta, making the next days drive easier.  Going all the way to Knoxville is just too hard at our age.  One year we drove all the way back in one L O N G day.  Never again!

And then the lovely empty nest begins again...

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Monday, September 09, 2013

6 & 7 of 30

Breezy Morning, 5x7", Watercolor (6 of 30)

Container Ship, 5x7", Watercolor (7 of 30)
We are on Tybee Island, near Savannah, GA.  This is one of my favorite places on earth.  Our daughter moves back into student housing on Friday to continue her studies at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD).  Last year we began this tradition - taking a few days on the beach as a family before moving her into her apartment and heading back to Cincinnati.  Savannah is a very busy port so container ships pass by the beach where we are quite often.  I am having fun experimenting with painting loosely with watercolors...

Since we have been on the road since Saturday I am a bit behind in the "official" 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge.  I intend to keep plugging away. Since the car was filled with our daughter's back to school stuff I only brought watercolors on this trip. I plan to get back to oils next week and will hopefully get my numbers up.

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Friday, September 06, 2013

5 of 30!

Windy Day, 7x5, acrylic on paper

Onwards toward 30 in 30. I will have to play catch up over the weekend and post several on Monday.  The important thing is to just keep painting (like Dori in Finding Nemo says.  Oh wait, that was swimming...)

Yesterday I was finally able to see "Eternal Summer" at the Cincinnati Art Museum ( featuring the art of
Edward Henry Potthast(1857-1927)  This native Cincinnati artist was to beach scenes as Monet is to water lilies. Amazing use of high key colors to indicate bright sunlight.  They had even digitized his sketchbooks so you could scroll through them via a computer screen.  I found this very inspirational.  I am very hard on myself for NOT sketching often and it was great to see all the incomplete sketches in his books.  As a point of interest the museum displayed bathing costumes of the time period.  Can you imagine going into the ocean in a wool bathing suit?  I was so inspired by this show I bought the exhibition catalog for future reference.  I plan additional beach scenes for this 30 in 30 challenge!

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

4 of 30

Flowers a la Carte, 7x5 acrylic on paper

I am juggling packing the daughter off to college with creating & posting paintings this month. This painting was inspired by a workshop I took last month at the Vermont Art Event with Robert Burridge (

I encourage you to visit his site and seach for videos of him working. He's a real hoot and very talented.  The wonderful part of taking workshops with him at the Vermont Art Event was that this event is sponsored by Holbein paints. All supplies were included in the entrance fee for each workshop.  I was very impressed with the quality of Holbein acrylics.  What I learned from Robert had to do with playing with paint.  I know it will help me continue to become more loose.  Have fun, what a concept!

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

3 of 30!

Playing catch up today. According to Leslie we have 48 hrs to post our paintings to her blog so I can go to her "Day 3" and add this image:

Sunny Daze, 5x7", oil on panel
I am fascinated by sunflowers and working to get their impression into a painting. This year I had several "volunteers" show up in my front garden since I had a sunflower feeder up all winter.  Very small compared to the giant varieties I see at the farmers market...

Once again I started with a transparent underpainting:

This shot shows my Ipad set up next to my easel.

I used a combination of brush and palette knife for this painting. I like using both thin and thick paint, then scratching into it.  I declare that 2013 is the year I loosen up in my painting style. I have spent too many years wedded to reality while I see other artists having a heck of a lot more fun!  I vow to USE my art supplies and stop hoarding them.  These 30 in 30 challenges are really good for that goal!

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Monday, September 02, 2013

Painting 2 of 30...

Mz Nora "B", 5x5", oil on panel, private commission
Today I actually sat down in my studio and completed a commission as part of this challenge.  In January I started doing 5x5 or 8x8 pet portraits and have continued this. It's fun to get close up & personal with someone's pet.  This kitty is a very special resident of my friend Polly's house and I am happy to "represent her". She has the most amazing green-gold eyes!

Here's a glimpse of my process:

Step one: use a grid to establish the likeness on the panel.  I use an app that allows me to grid my images and it really helps get me going.  Creating with a grid helps get me going quickly.  Once the paint goes down the image disappears...

Step 1: the grid
As you can see my drawing is very basic.  No need to freak out about the likeness yet...

Step two: establish the transparent underpainting...

I use a panel holder to secure the small 5x5 gessoboard. Since Nora is a grey cat I was able to play around with several years worth of Gamblin Torrit Greys as I worked opaque colors over the transparent under painting.

More opaque colors going down.  Just for fun, I will share my source photo now...

Nora of the glowing eyes...
I went over to meet Nora to get a better understanding of her eye color before painting the image. I also took alternate photo reference shots.

In the final image I made the background dark and rich to offset the cool grey of her coat.  I think I captured her "cattitude"

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

September is another 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge Month!

September 1, 2013

Here I go again joining Leslie Saeta's ( painting challenge!  This month should be really interesting because we are traveling, taking our daughter back to college. I will take some basic art supplies on the road and do my best to produce something each day.  Last January this challenge really got my juices flowing and helped me cope with my January blues.  Perhaps this months challenge will help me ease back into my "empty nest"...

Vermont Sky, 8x10 pastel on paper
My first painting is based on an image I captured with my ipad as we were crawling through road construction in Vermont in early August. It was fun to capture the clouds, even through the windshield of our car.  You never know what will show up when you do this.  The camera in an ipad is surprisingly good.  I enjoy using mine to paint as well.  I invested in a simple case that hooks onto my tripod.  It's far more effective than printing an image out to use for reference.

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Breaking through procrastination to paint...

Slash!, 8x8 Oil on Panel, private commission
Yesterday I finally got into my studio and painted. This may not seem like a big deal to you but I have been wrestling with procrastination for months now.  There is always something else to do, or something that needs organizing in the studio that keeps me from wetting my brush. I was honored to receive this commission mid April and have had it sketched out for over a month.  I do not know what keeps me from painting because once I get going I feel energized and excited. 

It takes courage to work through the "uglies" and the necessary steps of painting development though.  I work "wet into wet" I start with a dark transparent underpainting then layer the opaque colors over it. There are many moments when a painting seems to have gone horribly wrong somehow and I have to persevere. I enjoy working from photo reference and doing close up portraits of animals in a square format.

"Slash" source photo
My studio set up, working from iPad reference.
Note the surrounding creative chaos in the studio...

transparent under painting, building the darks
Beginning the lights and opaque colors
The eyes start to bring the painting alive!

The pup's personality emerges...
I feel truly blessed to have the creative space in which to paint, plus the time to do so. I feel honored by the commission. As I drove home, energized by the experience I could only shake my head and wonder why it took me so darn long to just sit down & paint. The human creative spirit is a wondrous thing.

Then I went to and created this banner:

Ipiccy is a free photo editing site that allows you to create collages and stickers and other fun stuff.  You can then save the image to your computer and avoid the "collage" fee at if you use it for a promotional item.  The internet is such a vast source of inspiration if you only know where to look.  Recently I found a video by artist James Gurney on YouTube that was fascinating:

Watch a video of this little gouache painting being made at the Plein Air Convention in Monterey last Sunday.

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Sunday, April 28, 2013

First Brush of Spring!

Spring Beauties, 8x10, oil on panel
See for purchase information

Last weekend my husband Rob (aka "el Patron") and I drove to New Harmony, IN, to attend "The First Brush of Spring" - a plein air painting competition sponsored by the Hoosier Salon and the Indiana Plein Air Painters Assoc. (IPAPA).  It was a really fun event, even though the weather did not cooperate.  It was cold!  We rented a golf cart for one day and froze as we explored New Harmony.  The artists who braved the weather to paint looked far colder though.

 I only painted one day and kept very close to our B&B.  In fact I set up on the porch and painted the pansies.  Coco, one of the resident cats posed very briefly, so I utilized photo reference to add her to the painting.  She just wouldn't hold still!

First pass on ms Coco the cat

Transparent underpainting

 New Harmony is a very picturesque town on the Wabash River in the southwest corner of Indiana. Originally started as an "intentional community" it continues in spite of economic ups & downs as a destination for artists, musicians and writers.  It has attracted many baby boomers as a retirement community as well. The town really welcomed the invasion of artists for the weekend.  Since the weather was iffy people were painting in restaurants,  book  stores & wine bars.  The local ice cream parlor featured wonderful handmade flavors.  (

We stayed at Cooks on Brewery ( and had a fabulous time.  Cooks has three rooms to offer and we lucked into the first floor accessible room. This was great since my knee had gone “wonky.”  It also featured a huge closet perfect for my stash of painting supplies.  The bed was comfy, the linens smooth and the shared living areas cozy. Each morning the breakfast was amazing and provided a terrific start to each day. Jonathan and David were excellent hosts.  We enjoyed the company of the resident cats as well but no cat hair. Wonder how they manage that?  Sure doesn't work that way at my house…
Cooks on Brewery B and B
It was fun to hang out with so many talented artists for the weekend. There was a fabulous art sale Saturday morning.  So many great little paintings for sale by many of the artists who attended the event! I did not enter the competition, but maybe next year. I was too busy exploring New Harmony and soaking in the art energy...

We plan to return next April.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

R.I.P. Louisa McEwain

I was stunned to learn that artist Louisa McElwain died suddenly last month.  I have admired her work for years as it was promoted in Southwest Art Magazine.

Sage of Worlds - Oil
Sage Of Worlds, Oil
Louisa McElwain
(clipped from
Please watch this YouTube video to appreciate her bold brushwork and HUGE plein air paintings. I paint outside, using 8"x10" canvas panels.  She uses 3 ft by 5 ft canvases bungee corded to the back of her camper!  Totally different experience.
Here's the link:

Pondering Mortality is a strange place to be.  Louisa's obituary states she lived from 1953-2013.  I was also born in 1953, as were many other Baby Boomers.

I intend to stop living as if I have all the time in the world to paint what I am here to paint.  I have let myself get distracted once again by the endless rehab project in my home instead of taking the time to actually paint.  After completing the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge it seems harder than ever to carve out time to keep painting.

At least I am taking the time this month to learn more about creating better blogs and websites through fascinating online course: with Leslie Saeta.  Feel fee to use the new subscription box to get this blog delivered directly to your email IN box   Also please explore the other blogs I am following... (I just learned how to put those gadgets on this page!)  

You may also want to check out - my "under construction" website.  There are several functioning "Buy Now" features there that would make it easy for you to add my work to your collection.

I am also looking forward to spending two days with Leslie next week in Carmel, IN, learning more about painting with a palette knife.  Stay tuned!

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Sunday, March 03, 2013


I am so happy February is over! March came in like a lion with cold blowing snow flurries but so far no accumulation.  Annoying but not life threatening.  March 1 & 2 was the Early Spring Essex Studios Art Walk and Creative Catalyst Studio was open for business!  We had a lovely weekend meeting both old friends and new.  I was really pleased to sell my latest painting to a collector.  This work was still WET because I created it on February 28th!

Poppies!, 12x12 oil on panel
(Private collection)

I was blessed to spend an additional three days with Dreama Tolle Perry last week, learning more about making juicy, colorful paintings. ( I traveled to Carmel, Indiana (not to be confused with Carmel, CA) for this workshop and had a blast. Carmel is a really interesting suburb of Indianapolis with great galleries and shops.  We spent Tuesday - Thursday painting and learning more about marketing our art.  I could easily become a Dreama groupie because her teaching style is so gracious and caring.

Day 1 - Tulips!

Day 2 - Sunny Courtyard

I'm really happy to be slinging paint around again. It seemed like I would never get back to it after completing the "30 Paintings in 30 Days" challenge.

Starting this week I am going to learn more about adding a "BUY NOW" button in the blog to make it easier for YOU to collect my art!  Stay tuned!

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Copying the Masters @ CAM

Yesterday I participated in a "Paint IN" at the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) with the Indiana Plein Air Painters Association (IPAPA).  The Ohio Plein Air Society (OPAS) was supposed to be there as well but I didn't see anyone.  It was a blast to schlep my painting stuff into the museum (good thing I knew where the handicap entrance ramp was!)

Of course I headed to the gallery where the impressionist paintings are.  The painting I had wanted to copy was missing. It is a HUGE pastel night scene of sheep on a hillside that only gets to come out every now & then since the museum is interested in preserving the paper as long as possible.  They are afraid that extended exposure to light might damage it.  I looked around the gallery and decided NOT to attempt Monet or Renoir.  In fact I cannot remember the artist who painted this piece:

There is a very poorly painted bench and a sketched in figure in the foreground that I decided to ignore.  Looks like the artist never finished this piece.  (Thus illustrating the danger of leaving incomplete work in your studio where your rotten heirs can find it after your death!)  I was attracted to the light patter and the spring azaleas.  Although this is in France it reminds me of Savannah, GA, this time of year.  I am really sick of winter at the moment.

Rather than try to copy the work, I used it as inspiration.  The rules at the CAM are that you need to use a different size from the original when you copy it.  I used a square format:

"The Terrace", 8x8, oil on gessoboard

It felt great to be shmooshing around with my paints again.  This image is a little bit faded with a bit of glare. I will try to repost a better image.

I have been busy prepping for the Essex Studios Early Spring Art Walk next weekend. Since completing the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge in January I have been framing the work produced.  It is amazing how much time it takes to cover the backs with paper and create the hanging wires.

Monday I leave for Carmel, Indiana to spend another three days with Dreama Tolle Perry.  Her workshop last November really energized my painting efforts.  Can't wait to see where I go after this!

By the way, the "Watercolor for the Truly Terrified & Paint Avoidant" workshop was great fun!  Two brave souls showed up to play around with paint for an afternoon.  As promised, Mary & Donna left with actual ART created by their very own hands!  It is amazing how matting & wrapping turns a watercolor into ART!

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Monday, February 11, 2013

Red Dot!

I am thrilled to report that my painting, "Florida Dreaming" sold this weekend at the Cincinnati Art Club Signature Members Winter Show.  Congratulations to new collector, John T of Cincinnati.

Note the "Red Dot"!

It is such a thrill to sell my work.  I appreciate the opportunity as a Signature Member of the CAC to show several times a year.  Yesterday I "sat" the show with another member and we had a blast.  She sold a piece as well while we were there. You never know who is going to come look at the show so we had a chance to answer questions about membership and share the wonderful work with others.

I have also heard that my work "Pomegranate Pleasures" has been accepted into a show in Covington, KY, later this month called 50/50.  Fifty artists will offer fifty pieced of work for $50 each.  All proceeds go back to the artists.

Pomegranate Pleasures, 7x5 watercolor

Since this was my first 30 in 30 effort, I am happy to see it go to a new home! The entire 30 in 30 experience has stretched me artistically and has resulted in 10 sales, 1 commission and more "followers" here on my blog.  Since January 31 I have been involved in framing and delivering work.  I miss smooshing around with paint each day.  Hopefully today will be the day!

Don't forget, Watercolor for the Truly Terrified & Paint Avoidant is happening this Saturday from 1-4 pm at Creative Catalyst Studio.  ($30, supplies included.) We still have room for a few more people to come play with paint! 

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Watercolor for the Truly Terrified & Paint Avoidant!

I am excited to announce a "returning" playshop  at Creative Catalyst Studio:

Watercolor for the Truly Terrified
& paint avoidant!
"Dreaming" watercolor collage for Secret Artworks

 Saturday, February 16, 1-4 pm
$30, supplies included
Remember how much fun art was in kindergarten?

Come splash around and play with watercolors!  Supplies are included.   Basic techniques will be covered and then we will play with color! 

 Lack of experience expected. No one will be asked to “draw a straight line” or “stick person”. 

Remember, it’s only paint & paper!
Space is limited!
Email to reserve your spot!

Friday, February 01, 2013

A wondrous grid of paintings!

February 1

Brrrr.  10 degrees.  Snow.  Wind chill advisory. (thinking thoughts of Belize right now.  Pina Colladas...snorkeling...sand...sun...sigh)  Sipping my morning breakfast smoothie instead.

I figured out how to make this grid, thanks to Leslie Saeta posting the ling to, a really fun photo editing site.  Here is a grid of my 30 paintings, in fairly random order...

If you click on the image you can see a larger version.

I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed!  Amazing what happens when you don't listen to your inner critic, wet blanket or whiner.  Now I'm off to the studio to get some framing done!  And repair the chaos that this challenge also created...

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Thursday, January 31, 2013

TA DA! 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge complete!

January 31

I am so amazed that I managed to keep up this commitment. I tend to start things with great enthusiasm but lose focus easily.  Since we were posting our images daily on it gave me a goal that was short term enough to work.  My intention for this challenge was to loosen up my painting style and step away from "total slavery to reality."  Don't worry if you don't get the concept.  I really admire the Impressionists and expressive artists that sling paint around with abandon.  In the past I tended to dab-dab-dab with my brush and use tiny piles of paint.  I enjoyed this foray into smaller works as well.  The largest image I painted was 11x4.  Most were 4x6 or 5x5.  Too small to be scary, right?

Today's image is a dog that lives with the dog I painted in "Gotta Love Me".  It's a household of fluffy caramel colored dogs.  The reference for this painting had "debil eyes" - when the flash catches dogs pupils and changes them to scary green. So I had to fudge it a bit.

1/31/13 "Liam", 5x5, oil on Gessoboard

I come away from this challenge with 30 pieces of new art. I have a strange appreciation for the oddness of dog noses & tongues.  I feel much more at ease with my art supplies and much more aware of the mind chatter that holds me back.

Years ago my painting motto was "People, places & pets".  Now I think it is "Pets, places & people".  Most of all it is "Paintings that touch your heart."  Thanks for being on the journey with me.

Many of my paintings are for sale.  Please email me with questions.

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Got It!

January 30th

I am redoing this post because I discovered that the Ipad App for Blogger does not upload images that fit into my blog format.  This image ran over into the right column.  So I decided to redo it.  Sorry for the duplication to those of you who get updates via email.  There will be another post forthcoming...

Today's painting is of my friend Diann's insane black lab (rescue). Diann brings her to the studio when she comes to paint and she gums up Bubba's toys. Of course he steals whatever treats might be around when he can. You should see an 8lb. poodle trying to chew on a lab sized rawhide bone...

1/30/13 "GOT It!", 5x5, oil on Gessoboard

Painting a black dog is really challenging.  You can't just squirt out a tube of black because black is a pretty "dead" color.  I struggled with finding interesting colors to put underneath and also to combine to create the illusion of black.

here is the transparent underpainting 

working in some of the darks

adding the eyes always helps...

I wanted to throw in the towel in several spots but kept on painting.  Amazingly I ended up with a piece I was happy with.

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ohio River Dawn

January 28

Another 4x6 today but NOT a dog face or sunset-by-the-sea.  Rather it is a painting of dawn over the Ohio River near Cincinnati, OH.  My friend Kay Hurley ( posted this view taken near her home in Hyde Park, a suburb of Cincinnati.  I am grateful for her inspiration.  Winter trees are always a challenge because their branches are so fine against the sky.

1/28/13 "Ohio River Dawn", 4x6, oil on canvas panel

Inspirational photo by Kay Hurley

Artists interpret what we see, rather than duplicate it. I had a teacher once who said, "God already got it right, all you can do is put your spin on what you see."

How very true.

I am grateful for the many blessings of my life as it is today. 

Start where you are
Love what you have
Do what you can