Monday, December 14, 2009

Artist Portrait Challenge

12x12 Acrylic on canvas

The end of the year challenge on the Different Strokes from Different Folks blog is for the participating artists to paint each other anonymously. Here's the photo Karin Jurick sent me, and this lovely lady is painting me!. It's been a lot of fun, and I hope she likes the resemblence. As I was studying her she made me think of Mona Lisa, that glance to her left, and the little hidden knowledge in her look. Am I crazy? Well, that pensive look is what I tried to capture in the painting.
Now on to Christmas shopping, decorating and preparing the house for the holiday guests.
Happy Holidays to everyone!.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Karin Jurick comes up with some great challenges on her Different Strokes From Different Folks blog! This one was particularly fun for me, as I love painting figures, especially with foreshortening, and love the abstraction of the floor. I rotated the image first, so the travelers are walking to the right, instead of towards the right-bottom. They also appeared to be walking towards a black abyss, so I added another skylight spot light so their way is illuminated....and it also balanced the overall composition. I'm really happy with the way this turned out and look forward to the portrait exchange challenge. I just didn't have enough time to jump in last year and regretted it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Sentimental Journey

My sister and I have a great relationship and when we were dividing up things at my Mom's house this painting was one of the few things that we both remembered from our childhood. It was painted in 1940 by C.E. Jones, on black velvet. It's about 4 feet wide. Both of us wanted to keep it in the family, but neither of us particulary had a place to hang it in our homes - but it's now hanging in my family room, at least for the time being. As the story goes, she went to my grandparents church and my grandfather saw some of her work and asked her to paint this for him....and now 69 years later it still is hanging!. Wonder if they will say that about my work.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Anniversary Karin

This is Karin Jurick's latest challenge in honor of Different Strokes from Different Folks blogspot hitting it's one year anniversary!. This was a real challenge - at least compositionally!!. By the time I got to view the challenge, several responses had already been posted, and that always makes it harder to come up with something original and not be influenced by the work of the others. Hope this holds up to comparison!
Life has gotten in the way the last few months, my mother got ill and passed away and I've had to take time off to take care of her as well as settling her estate, but hopefully I can press on full steam ahead now with painting, singing, and just getting back to my normal routine.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Zealand Train Station

I had such fun with the relaxing man, that I pulled out some photos from my big trip down under. We had about a 45 minute wait at the train station in Greymouth so I snapped a bunch of candid pictures. I don't know this girl but I love the huge stack of luggage she was guarding and her casual stance reading her book. Don't know if this is done yet - think it needs a little reworking after letting it rest a few days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Land of the Long White Cloud

I have finally had a little time to sort through all the photos we took on our big trip down under and did this loose watercolor landscape. The cloud formations in New Zealand are awesome. Everyday we would just be overcome by the beauty and say "WOW!!" This painting may not do it justice, but I think it conveys the feeling of enormity! I bounce back and forth with subject matters, so in between painting the small figure series mentioned in my last post, I'm also going to continue doing some landscapes based on our trip.

Revised Long Day

I was away this weekend but came back this morning and knew I had to fix this painting this morning. The seated man just needed to tell more of a story so I added his yard - just enough to put him on the front porch, cooling off in the shade. Now I'm happy with this and am inspired to do a series of figures on small canvases (8x10).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's Been a Long Day

Here's my latest work for Karin Jurick's Different strokes from different folks challenge. It's been a very hectic summer so far and I haven't had time to paint as much as I'd like. I had been wanting to get back to doing some figurative work, so I'm happy Karin choose this photo to paint from. I like the way the figure has come out but may rework the background before I send it on to Karin.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer veggies

Karin Jurick's subject for the current Different strokes from different folks challenge are summer vegatables. Here's my attempt. It always amazes me at how many different paintings result from one photo. I have had a very chaotic spring and haven't gotten to paint as much as I had wanted to, but hopefully I'll get back on track this summer. The summer program involves exercising more, dieting more, reading more and painting if I just didn't have to go to work I might have time to do all that!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This is my submission for Karin Jurick's Different Strokes from Different Folks blog. I painted it in guache, which is actually one of my favorite mediums. I like the textures that the windows creates, and I've simplified traffic....oh, if 34th street always looked this empty.
Unfortunately, before I could get it photographed and uploaded my elderly mother fell and I had to fly off to be with her in the hospital so this never made it to Karin's blog. I enjoyed painting it.

Also, I'm posting a picture of Bessie, our friends yellow lab. I usually use Yupo paper for my pup paintings, but with her slick coat, I went with transparent watercolor and and colored pencil. Bessie is getting framed this week and was a 25th wedding anniverary present to them.
And, life is settling down a little now and I'm ready to attach my travel photos to Australia and New Zealand. I haven't had time in the last month, as my husband and I co-chaired a fund raising event for the Red Cross. It was a fun wine tasting/pairing dinner that raised over $8000 - pretty successful I'd say for a first time event! Now back to a little painting time.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bay Watch

Here's my painting for Karin Jurick's current challenge on My first attempt was more literal to the reference photo. It was ok, but not too interesting. So I decided to start again with a little different perspective on the scene and zoomed in on the female figure and put her on alert at the beach. Whether she's a life guard or just a mom watching out for the kids, I don't know. Technically, I still need to do some work. Ithink it could use more contrast and depth of colors, so I might come back and make her bathing suit a deeper color and also make her head a little bigger. After putting it down for a day or two, I can see where it can be improved, but over all I really like the composition and it gives the painting a little more of a story.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Blast from the Past - more collages

After the Sushi challenge, I thought I'd show you a couple of the challenges we had in our class. The red one is composed of torn paper, candy wrappers, packing cloth and pen. The green one is wrapping paper, a watercolor scrap, wall paper and magnolia leaves. When you just have a little time and want to play see what you can come up with.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Here's my take on Karin Jurick's challange of sushi rolls on her blog, Instead of paint, I chose collage, incorporating a soy label, origami paper and my watercolor paintings of the sushi and soy puddle. I couldn't see a good composition in the original photo, so by using collage I could add a lot of other elements and play with their placement until I was happy with it. It passes the "twirly test" as an old art teacher used to say. It really works well no matter which end is at the top.I had a lot of fun doing this. Also as a side note, there is a really cool book called "A Year in Japan" by Kate T. Williamson which is beautifully illustrated that also inspired the feel of my piece. Check it out on Amazon, and preview a few pages.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

OH, Yeah....and abstracts, too

Look for future paintings based on these ariels. I love the shape and line. And after seeing Karin Jurick's choice of wigs in windows for her last challenge, we saw these manniquins in a window!! It was a store selling retail display racks, hangers and manniquins... Looks like a pretty good price for a new body! Too funny!


After a 4 week vacation to New Zealand and Australia I'm back with 4000 pictures as reference material! It was an awesome trip and puts me back in the mood to paint some landscapes and incredible skies. Here's a few New Zealand shots. I was also inspired to do some abstracts after viewing and learning about Aboriginal art. (I see dots in my future). It's incredible how the work has proliferated since the introduction of canvas and acrylic paints since the 1970's. There are some very traditional works which relate tribe stories, and then lots of abstracts that have departed from the story telling. They were pretty amazing. We also visited the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney and well as the art museum of Christchurch which was pretty cool too. I went knowing nothing about artists of the area, but there is a lot of European influence there, obviously, since it is part of the Commonwealth. So as soon as I'm over jetlag and get settled back in (and laundry done) it's paint to paper!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Southern Cross

I admit it - I'm addicted to blogging! Here I am in NewZealand on vacation and I'm posting. Amazingly I can get free internet access at the hotels we've been staying at (so far!). So maybe I can stay connected. We are off on a great adventure and boy what landscapes and skies I've photographed so far! The countryside looks a lot like my paintings from Scotland, and some of it looks like the hills in northern California. I have my card reader in hand, but there's no usb port, only monitor and keyboard. Maybe next hotel. But I decided to bring my watercolor pencils and a paintbrush. I painted our green lipped mussels we had for dinner, and a landscape so far, but I need to go to an art shop and buy paper, I brought a tiny journal, but it doesn't like water ;-(.

I'll get back on when I can. Karol....Keep on getting that blog set up!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Painting Partner

I belong to a little artist group that meets once a week. This grew out of a few people who took painting lessons together and then our teacher moved away. We decided to continue meeting sans the instruction and have been doing so for 5 additional years. My friend, Linda, here creates the most amazing photos and collages. So last night I just painted her while she was focused on her work. Not bad for a quick little watercolor.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

OK, I need feedback

Here's a painting that I'm stuck on. I got this far and don't know where to go. I have a love/hate affair with the red. The photo reference was really when we were on a boatride, and the shoreline is all (ho, hum) green and blue. I think the red is striking, but is it too much like hitting over the head red? Once I cover it up, I'll never be able to reestablish it again because of its transparence quality. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I've been tagged by R Garriott this past week. The photoshop tips are so useful and generous and I appreciate the notice my humble blog. So here goes, 7 unusual things about me:

1. I'm left handed and only use a Wacom tablet for a mouse. I don't see how anyone ever gets around with a mouse shaped like a shoebox. Definitely check it out, it is so much easier and intuitive.

2. I folded 400 origami birds for an art installation at my church (see above) - the trick was in the hanging!

3. I love to cook and have a cookbook fetish - I have over 400 cookbooks!

4. I learned to drive a stick shift in a 1953 MGTC - It made it all worth it!

5. I've zoomed down the Olympic bobsled run in Utah in a 4man bobsled - an adrenaline rush for 58 seconds.

6. I earned my private pilot's license on my 16th birthday - I could fly a plane alone before I could drive alone.

7. I'm taking all of my vacation and sick time at once for the year and packing my bags for New Zealand and Australia!!!! (So if I'm not posting for awhile, it's because I'm down under;-)

And now for my seven artists picks to tag. I've not been blogging long enough to know if you've been tagged before, if you have I apologize. So I've picked some of you who have honored me with comments on my blog, and those of you whose work I admire. Hope you will join the game and play too.
Lesley Spanos, Carmel Indiana
Annie Salness, California
Jessica Cook, Atlanta, Georgia
Theresa Miller, Geneva, Switzerland,
Jill Donahue, Baltimore, Maryland
Maria Kovalenko Leysens, Mars, Pennsylvania

Thanks in advance for playing!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Getting ready for the big one

I'm getting ready to go on vacation again with camera in hand, so I thought I'd post a few landscapes from previous travels. I know when I get back, I'll be so inspired I won't be able to sit still. These are inspired from our trip to Scotland!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I painted this dyptic of the hills last summer, but I have it hanging in my office and it's like having a window to the outdoors. It is transparent acrylic on 12 x 12 panels.

Victorian Abstract

I am really enjoying this challenge from Different Strokes from Different Folks. The victorian house was posted by Karin Jurick on her blog for us to use as a reference photo. I first mentally cropped the photo and painted the house, then decided that it was a much more interesting composition to zoom in on the eave line and balance the position the contrasting windows in a square format. Then I intensified the colors. I think I'm going to take this design one step farther and do a more abstract picture using these division lines, but drop out the indication of the architecture. I think I will do it in collage and use textured papers and paint. Stay tuned......

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's a Beau - tiful Dog

A friend of mine asked me to paint a picture of his son's dog, Beau. He's a very regal Chesapeake Bay Retriver. Here's the finished watercolor that he gave to his son for Christmas.

Most of my dog portraits have been on Yupo paper which lets me get a lot of serendipitous texture in the coat, but with Beau I needed to achieve a softer finish so I use transparent watercolor on illustration board.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I haven't had much time to paint this week, but I did pull up some of the previous references photos from Karin Jurick's blog and did some quick, loose studies. They are not near as finished as the pieces submitted to her site, but I just wanted to use these as some warm up practise. I haven't really done many watercolors lately so if I do try a more finished piece, I'll start again and lay down a better drawing first. I was mostly trying to work with tone values and composition, rather than details. There's a new challenge this week, so I'll work on that, as well as on some acrylic abstracts this week.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Second Chance

I started on the Different Strokes from Different Folks challenge again. This time I used acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12. I added the people to improve the composition and I'm pretty happy with it. This was a tough subject to approach, but the point is to push us out of our comfort zone and use our imagination as well as our paint brushes.

Thanks, Karin Jurick for creating such a great network for us.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Here's my first 3 stabs at the jefferson memorial at night. Part of the DSFDF challenge. I like the zoomed in version the best, but it needs to be more precise, but it is giving me a direction.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I have just been facinated with all the portraits appearing daily of DSFDF..they are all great, but I am also enjoying the links to the other artist's websites and blogs. You guys are really articulate about your struggles, goals and philosophies. You are inspiring me to become a daily painter, or at least setting a goal to accomplish 2 or 3 a week, anyway. I am also going to add a few of my figuratives here. These are all older works for me, but I hope to publish new works from this point forward.