Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Detail from mixed media WIP
watercolor, acrylic, ink on sketchbook 

Wow, where has this month gone?

We arrived home from Naples on May 10th and have been busy settling in and sprucing up our yard. 
It's great to be back in New England. The crisp ocean air and cool lilac scented breezes lift my spirits.

The Bird House

Speak of transitioning, I'm not particularly good at it.

I've long been itching to break out of my 'box' and do something very different. I love fiber and found objects and mixed media and pen and ink. So much stimulation, so little time.
I see wonderful art that speaks to me but when I think about doing something similar my inner critic nags at me about 'looking' like someone else, or copying other's ideas. It continues to hold me back and I know I have to wrestle it to the mat and just carry on.
I tell my students to be fearless and not to judge themselves. This is a case where I need to listen to my own advice without being concerned about the outcome of the piece. 

Here's a detail from something I'm working on involving herons and egrets using watercolor, ink pens and iridescent acrylic paint.  I love birds and am bursting to do abstract or mixed media with the bird theme. 
I'm not really sure where this piece is going so I'm trying to listen to the painting and let it tell me.

I'd love to hear how you all push past the blocks that derail your creative muse. Talk to me.

our beach 

Friday, May 01, 2015

GJWP Challenge "Bride"

"First Dance"
6x6 oil on panel

This month's Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge is Bride. Several of the 'Girls" have recent newlyweds in their families and one has an imminent wedding and another has a recent engagement. SO. We're celebrating Brides and Grooms and weddings and engagements.
Love is all around!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Naples Pier Sunset

Naples Pier Sunset 
6x12 oil on panel

When the sun sets on the West Coast of Florida it is spectacular. Every time.
Our time here is almost up and we will be heading North in a few weeks. I always feel a little sad about the end of the season but excited about seeing everyone at home. 
And of course, the drive is an adventure ;)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"That's Classic" Yellow Volkswagen

Classic VW 
8x8 Oil on Panel
Since posting my original VW painting I've met so many people who have had a love affair with the classic "bug". This particular model was an inexpensive but cool car for those of us who got our driver's licenses in the late '60's. Mine was a 1963, baby blue VW with a "sunroof" which was a folding vinyl thingy and opened the entire roof. 
My niece and 'soul sister' remembers us taking her to the Avon Drive In in it when she was about two years old, with the roof open and her little self happily camped in the back. Yes, the back seats could be folded down into a space the size of a playpen.
It was classic and remains my best selling painting and commission. 
One fan wanted it in yellow as a gift for his wife who had one. "back in the day". 
Meanwhile, here in Naples I am painting a bedroom. Washing with tsp, priming, spackling, sanding and of course the ceiling :(  
Very time consuming but the end result will be worth it.

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