Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Girls Just Wanna Paint - "Treasured Object"

"Good Fortune"
Photo shopped image 

I've been wearing this gold charm, for many, many years. It's the Chinese symbol for "good fortune" and was a gift from my husband Don, who knows my obsession with all things Oriental. 
This month's topic for the Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge is 'treasured object' and this is one of my most cherished ones. 

I tried painting it, I really did, but it just didn't have the pizzazz it needed. In desperation I played with it in PhotoShop where it couldn't help but gain some dramatic effects. Placing it upon a patterned fabric swatch creates a great design and I like the way the four images meet. 

Meanwhile, I'm still going out to the 'jungle' to paint twice a week and have a plethora of studies of lily pads, palm trees and green stuff !
Gators are not pets ;)
the Great Egret

Monday, March 23, 2015

MSW "Bush" Painter

Lily Pads 6x6 
oil on panel
It's fun simplifying these lily pads into abstract paintings. The more I paint this scene the more familiar and comfortable I am with it. I could see going really large with these.

I bought this rolling tote at Michaels for half price and I really like it. It has four wheels. Spins as well as caddies, has pockets on three sides and a spacious compartment with a couple of removable zipper pouches which can be secured with plastic snap hooks. 
I stuffed some palmetto fronds into it to create some shade while I sat on the bank and painted. I felt like I was on a Safari.
My legs are covered with fire ant bites because I forgot the "stick" that goes with my Coulter easel and had to sit. Should have put the towel under my legs instead of just under my butt. WHATEVER! The show must go on.
I am really enjoying painting the chaotic scene in the lily pond and have been lazy about posting my progress, but I will share in a more timely fashion. Maybe.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Painting en Plein Aire

Studies @ Freedom Park

I have been going out to paint at a little oasis called Freedom Park. Water, palm trees, beautiful birds, gators, turtles, lily pads (my new obsession) and dragonflies, which represent the spirit of my mama, who, much to my delight, is always with me. 
It find it easier to divide my canvas into quarters and do studies instead of overwhelming myself with trying to get a finished painting of this very complicated scene. 
My favorite of this series is the closeup of the lily pads. I see so many possibilities with this subject

The Oasis
Painting "en Plein aire", sounds so chic but, it requires organizing and downsizing equipment for the lightest and least burdensome trip to the site. This has never been my strong suit but I'm working on it.
a visitor, oh wait, I'm the visitor :D
Great Egret 

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Painting Shiny

Vermeil Cup
Class Demo

I'd like to say that I'm setting the world on fire here in Naples, but the fact is, I'm on island time. Sitting, reading, eating out and touring South Florida with Don and generally lazing about.
However, I have my students to keep me on the straight and narrow!
Tuesday, I painted this shiny silver cup. It's not metal but a soft vermeil kind of finish and it was extremely difficult to paint. Linda watched me sweat through my demo and then took on the task. The big issue with this finish was that it doesn't reflect mirror like images of the surrounding area as metal would, only color and shadow. We are going to go after it again next week which is the best way to understand it.
Meanwhile, I read a bunch of books including, The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank by Ellen Feldman, The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian, The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom, The Selected Short Stories of William Faulkner, Local Girls by Alica Hoffman and Some Girls Some Hats and Hitler; a true love story by Trudi Kanter. They were all good in an "okay" kind of way, but I'm still looking for that really great read.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Painting Glass

Glass Demo
6x6 oil 

I've been teaching every other Friday at the Von Liebig and have the most wonderful students. Fearless and full of enthusiasm, they tackle anything I throw at them. 
Yesterday's lesson was painting glass which is difficult but not as difficult as one would think. The point is to paint the masses and the shapes. 
The lessons are quite advanced but it's a good learning experience, much like my early classes with John Kilroy. He threw us into the deep end of the pool and really made us "see". Those classes, as I like to say, "broke me out" from a rut, where I was painting subjects that were beyond my abilities at the time, and ending up having a lot of unfinished paintings hanging around the studio. From that experience I feel that it's better to teach the same fundamentals to all levels of painters and give them the tools they need to advance.

Linda's Painting.
I think she's got it!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Orchid Dance

Orchid Dance 
12x16 Oil on canvas board

I feel for my homies in New England who can't even get out of their houses for the mountains of snow that are piling up there. There's a limit to one's patience in the face of needing to get to work or even just out and about. Most streets are now only wide enough for one car, including in my little beach neighborhood. Snow is so high you can't see around corners and driving is dangerous. Stay safe and warm is all I can offer.

Meanwhile, my classes at Von Liebig have been well attended and my 'girls' are coming to my home studio once a week to paint! 

I wanted to step out of the box and do a larger painting with a more complicated subject and so I set up my orchids. This is on a 12x16 canvas panel and I did a drawing first, trying for accuracy and taking my time. It took quite a while and I'm not completely satisfied with the result but I don't hate it either. There are areas where I need to do more on the flowers and I lost some freshness in the greens (put it down and leave it). I'll go at it again after it dries some and then do another with maybe just one orchid. It's all about practice. I really enjoyed it, which is the point.

initially I had more leaves (another plant) 
behind the left hand flower, but they didn't work so I eliminated them in the end. I also may rethink that permanent rose background. It may have been working against me.
my setup

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Love and a Blizzard Story

4x4 oil on panel

Feeling fortunate to be in Florida as winter storm Juno wreaked havoc and destruction on coastal Massachusetts. 
I have first hand memories of the Blizzard of '78 which caused the same kind of devastation. 
My sister and I were living in Humarock, a peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the South River and I say with no exaggeration, escaped with our lives.

Blizzard of 1978 ~ Humarock, Massachusetts

This photo, which ran in the Boston Globe shows my sister's Ford truck, which we abandoned when it began to float, resting on about 10 feet of sand. There was no road to drive out on but we tried anyway. The whole thing was surreal.

On a lighter note. The quintessential flower of love is the rose. Check out Girls Just Wanna Paint for other interpretations of "love".

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Back to White

White Dove
6x6 watercolor 

Here are two value studies I did of this little dove. The difference between them is that for the watercolor painting, the dove was lit only with ambient light from a table lamp and the oil study was lit with a spotlight.
For me, white objects are fun to paint and a great way to study value and temperature.
There are a few spots left in my class at Von Liebig on Friday. 
Sign up here.

White Dove
6x6 oil on panel 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Von Liebig Classes

6x6 oil on panel

Eight brave souls took on the the world of values, shape and color in my first class of the season at the Von Liebig Center for the arts, last Friday, and we all had fun. I discovered that many of them are going to be repeat students so I'm going to have to stay on my toes!
This is my demo and yes, the edges of the shadows should be a tad lighter ;)
My next class is scheduled for January 30th and you can book it here.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cat Challenge ~ Atticus

8x10 graphite on paper

plan to do a painting of Atticus the "Catticus" but, decided to do a graphite drawing of him last night while watching Shark Tank.  He lives in Missouri and loves to sit on the bathroom sink, as do my girls. It's a cat thing.
If you'd like to see your favorite feline here, please send me a good photo and I will do my best.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

DPW Judge's Pick and a Ramble

Jackson and Reagan
12x12 oil on panel
commission ~ SOLD

Out of 107 entries, I am one of the Judge's Picks in the December 2014,  DPW Monthly painting contest! Such an honor. This painting of Jackson and Reagan was a commission for a dog lover friend of mine. Check out the winners here.

Also, my class at Von Liebig will be on FRIDAY, not THURSDAY as I have previously posted. Check it out here.

Don and the girls and I arrived in Naples, Florida late yesterday afternoon. The good news is that everyone lived, but we were all very tired ;) 

Stay tuned for my cat challenge paintings.

 my Auntie's cat, Cleo


Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy 2015!

6x6 oil on raymar panel NFS

The last post of the year is for our GJWP painting challenge blog, the topic of which is 'memory'.
From many cherished memories, I chose this painting of my dearest, much missed boy, Wendell. 
I am a total cat girl and am about to embark on a cat painting challenge. If anyone has any cat photos they'd like me to try my hand at, please send them to me at 
In the meantime, every day is a new day to start over. To be better. To reach a goal. To change what you can and accept what you can't. Happy New Year to all of my family, friends and supporters. I wish you the best in 2015. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winter Sky

"Winter Sky, Brant Rock"
6x6 oil on panel
This time of year brings dramatic dark skies and glowing early sunsets. It's this particular combination that makes an old fashioned and quite ordinary cottage look amazing! I love how the shadows carve out the abstract shapes in the picture. I've been very busy doing some commissions which I am unable to post lest the 'surprise' factor be jeopardized. 
Wishing everyone love and blessings and a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 01, 2014


Truro Full Moon
6x8 oil on panel

This month's Girls Just Wanna Paint topic is 'magical' and what is more magical than a full moon over a  Cape Cod winter marsh?  
Please be sure to check out my show at Bella's restaurant which is up through January 4th.  Small 6x6 framed paintings are priced at $200. Think Christmas gifts :D

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Open Studios Weekend

Party Lights 

Open Studios is Christmas-like in terms of anticipation and preparation and then the guests arrive!  I promise to reward all who chug up 4 flights of stairs with refreshments, and wonderful art!
Coinciding with this weekend,  I have a show of 26 paintings in ''The Little Bar" at Bella's Restaurant, 933 Hingham Street (Route 228). They aren't open for lunch but you may ask to see the show at any time and I recommend staying for dinner because the food is great.
My studio is at 83 East Water Street in Rockland, MA 02370 for you GPS users and we are open from 12-5 on Saturday and Sunday. See you there!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bella's Opening this Sunday 5-7

My Bella's Show is finally up. It was beautifully hung by my artist friend and bartender extraordinaire, Viv Harlow, who manages the art shows there. Come visit with me and other artist friends in the Little Bar on Sunday from 5-7.
Also, Open Studios is the following weekend! 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Stonington Cove

Stonington Cove
12x16 oil on cradled hardboard

I painted this on Sunday while the wind howled and rain and snow poured from the sky. Painting against a deadline doesn't usually produce good work but there are exceptions. I'm pretty happy with this one, which is an example of the kind of brushwork and color use that I'm trying to achieve. This painting will be in my Bella's show.
On a different note, my hubby had a small natural gas "wood" stove installed in our living room last week as a backup in the case of power outages. Wouldn't you know we were out for an hour Saturday night and I was unusually calm, cool and collected. We weren't out long enough for the house to get too cold but it was nice to know that if it did we could be fairly comfortable for a while.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Taking one for the Team

Happy Halloween
this painting will be sent to bed without any supper and thrown in the trash asap

Our GJWP topic this month is 'Neighbor'. This house is across the street from my studio and always had an elaborate Halloween display but it's been scaled down to just the gravestones.
Sometimes I see a painting and I think to myself, "that should never have made it out of the studio." and this one is a good example. It's pretty bad but sometimes you have to take one for the team.
I spent the day down at Green Harbor painting boats on a cold and cloudy day. It was a struggle to get my drawing correct even though I was using a viewfinder but I ended up with a passable study. The fisherman were abuzz pulling boats and traps out of the water for the winter pressed by a Nor'easter in the forecast for this weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Winter Storage
Apologies for the glare-y photo, I think it's done. 
The opening for my Bella's show will be on Sunday, November 16th from 5-7 PM.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Work in Progress

Work in Progress
I don't like to post WIPs but I will take a chance here and give you a sneak peek of my large paintings.
I've mentioned that I will be showing my work at Bella's Italian Restaurant beginning in November and through the first of the year. Because the space needs larger paintings, I committed to working much larger than I'm used to and let me just say that from 6"x6" to 24"x24" is a jump.

Here are a sequence of photos of my process in enlarging a small painting. My process is to grid a printout of the original painting and draw it onto newsprint. I then chalk the back, along the lines of the drawing and transfer it to the toned board. I'm using Ampersand unprimed hardboard which has a 2" cradle to eliminate the need for framing, although the buyer can always add a frame. I give it three coats of gesso, sanding lightly between coats and tone it with an underpainting that will enhance the color harmony of the final painting. There is a lot of blue in this painting so I chose an orange ground. 
For those of you who've emailed me about taking my Painting from Photos workshop, I will be scheduling it for after Open Studios which is November 22 & 23 from noon to 5 PM,the weekend before Thanksgiving. 

Also, this weekend is The Hingham Arts Walk featuring my GJWP homies. Please stop by and visit Kelley MacDonald, Paula Villanova and of course Page at the studio of Page Pearson Railsback, at 35 North Street from 12-4 on Sunday, October 19th.


traced onto board

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Classic Oldie

"Classic Car"
8x8 oil on Pintura panel
There's a little garage near my studio, where some 'car guys'  restore classic cars. I've been driving by it for years and have always wanted to paint this beautiful peridot green car. Now that I'm posting, I realize that I should know what kind of car it is. But, I'll have to tell you next time.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Pink Cottage

Pink Cottage
8x10 oil on canvas panel

I love color and pushing this pink into a glowing 'presence' was really fun! I can see cropping this differently and painting a few different versions of it. 
I've been invited to show my work at Bella's Restaurant, which is a local favorite serving Italian cuisine. They've been supporting area artists in the 'Little Bar' gallery for at least a decade and I am psyched to have this opportunity. I need to do some LARGE paintings for this show and I'm ready. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014


9x12 watercolor abstract 

The topic for our GJWP Challenge this month is "Expression". There are so many ways to interpret that word but for me, it's all about my art. This is a watercolor/abstract painting of my Wendell.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Jersey Shore

Sunflower and Garret
6x10 watercolor
We are leaving Atlantic City today after a fabulous week in our 31st floor digs on the Jersey Shore. I think I might be a Jersey girl at heart. Who knew?
I did this little study toward a future painting of my garret which is the last window at the top right.
our awesome aerie

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Monhegan- View from the Garret

"View from The Garret"
6x10 watercolor
I began this sketch the day I checked into my garret. It was an overcast day so there isn't much contrast. 
This week I'm in Atlantic City on the 31st floor of the Flagship Hotel. Love the sound of the ocean and the wind. Don and I have been keeping the sliding doors ajar all night so we can enjoy it.