Wednesday, April 16, 2014

red tree 2 warmer palette

pastel, 14x15
 I decided to play with the red tree and see what would happen when I make my palette warmer. In the meantime I am preparing a wood panel in order to paint much larger in oil: 36x36 vs the 15x14 you see here. The oranges are more a part of the grasses and trees. They replace the abundance of violets. I may like the first cooler one better. What do you think?

Monday, April 14, 2014

pastel demonstration: red and violet threads

red and violet threads, pastel 11.5x12
Saturday afternoon was my pastel demonstration at the Waverly Street Gallery. It was great to see so many people there! I decided to work on two different paintings. First, I showed how I begin a pastel and worked for about 45 minutes.For the second painting I demonstrated how I finish a painting, the thinking that goes into it. Most paintings need a "resting time" before finishing, therefore I worked with two different paintings. Above is the painting I finished at the demo.
For me, the unusual thing about this one was, I began with a used piece of watercolor paper that had black pastel all over it. I had begun a negative space eraser drawing and decided I didn't like its direction. Later, I wiped most of the black off, but it still left a very dark piece of paper. (I normally begin with white.) On a whim, I chose it to create a new color pastel.  I covered the black with large shapes of dark purple(tree and grass) and a lighter blue (sky areas.) After the shapes were massed in, there was a whole different feeling. The color rose out of the darker space. I rather liked working this way and will try it again this week.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

pastel demonstration and opening

Last night's opening reception at the Waverly Street Gallery was wonderful. I hope to post some photos when I get them. Today I will be giving a pastel demonstration at the Waverly Street Gallery. Please come if you are able...if not, you can look forward to my new video that I will post this week. My friend Coba made a  wonderful movie of my painting session on Tuesday. More about that later.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


pastel, 10x9
This morning Coba came out on location with me for some plein air filming. The lake was beautiful with a thin mist and slight bud burst of pinks and reds. You can see the wetness of the paper. I tried to use that wetness to help the development of the painting.This is one that can easily feed a large oil- in the studio.
I will post Coba's video of me working within the week.
In the meantime- check out my facebook page- Hopefully this link will lead you to my artist page, instead of my time line.
Hope to see you at my opening-Friday, April 11.

Friday, April 4, 2014

thinking about sharp vs soft and my show

I apologize for my absence. I have been so busy getting ready for my upcoming show at the Waverly Street Gallery.  It gets installed tomorrow evening and opens to the public on Tuesday. The reception is Friday the 11th- 6-9PM. Please come if you can.
I thought I would  take this opportunity to post this painting- River Evening. It seems to be one of my favorites from this show. Why I wonder?
I think it is the use of a soft less focused space and the rawness of this pastel combines to create a deeper feeling. You see the drips, spills and fact I think they make the painting stronger. More to the concept.
What do you think?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kensington Gloaming

oil on board, 16x16
I am very busy finishing paintings still for my upcoming show. There are a few paintings that have their frames waiting but the painting is still on the easel. This, thankfully, is a finished one.
The show, Vibration, Mystery and the Landscape, begins April 8 and runs through May 3. The opening reception is April 11, 6-9. I will also give a demo on Saturday the 12th. So please come if you can. It's at the Waverly Street Gallery, one block from the red line Bethesda metro stop.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Aphrodite and me

11.5x12.25 pastel

Finally I am back to pastel. I missed it! So much finishing of paintings for the show..not enough fun.
This one came to me when I was swimming laps this lunch time.  Even the name...Aphrodite's Dream. Crazy, huh? Often I labor for months this took 45 minutes tops. It was already made in my head.
It was inspired by my favorite place Chincoteague Island. On the wall in my studio is this large study created in Chincoteague with black pastel only. It didn't sell at the plein air event...maybe that's better, so far it has inspired three paintings.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

challenge in key

oil on wood 30x40
Someone made the comment that my work was all high key. I struggled with that comment for awhile and realized that while I use neutrals with more saturated colors they are close to the same key. That brought on a new challenge...could I paint a lower key piece?

Friday, March 14, 2014

nightfall and Rothko

bottom of painting

oil, 16x5.75
Mark Rothko once said,"Often, towards nightfall, there's a feeling in the air of mystery, threat, frustration-all of these at once. I would like my paintings to have the qualities of such moments."
After reading that quote I felt strongly about the colors changes I needed for this one. (Sorry about the glare on the bottom one. it is still too wet. I will replace the photo when it is drier.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Inspiration and the Orchid

oil, 24x36
Recently I read one of Picasso's great quotes, "The artist is a receptacle of emotion that comes from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider web."
Inspiration comes from everywhere. The idea for this painting began during a  Thanksgiving trip to Cape May, but it was viewing a new orchid bloom that inspired the color.
Color in nature is perfect. It's better than anything I could imagine. I am not sure if this painting is done yet. It and I need to be still.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sapphire Twilight in Chincoteague

Thanks to my many friends for your input. It did need the pizazz of the smaller one. Consider it done!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

scaling up a painting

oil, 40x20
Scaling up a painting from a very small (6"x6") to a large (40"x20") is a challenge. Simply transferring the image and making it larger rarely results in an interesting piece. Therefore, since my interest was really in the sky I decided to change the format to the dynamic vertical. Still the land mass needed some interest, yet simplicity. That's where the real battle was. I am still not sure, but it is almost time to frame. As they say, a painting has many stopping points. Any suggestions folks?
pastel 6x6

Sunday, March 2, 2014

feedburner collapse

18x36 oil

My feedburner collapsed and thanks to my good friend Domi we are back in business. You probably wondered why you hadn't received a post from me in over a month, right? I was still writing once or twice a week. Well after receiving an email from Pat H about my disappearance, I  was alerted about the problem. (Thanks PAT!) Solving it was another thing and that was Domi's department. Apparently my code, that works with my feedburner, had grown like a fertilized kudzu plant and was over 500 tags. (I may not be explaining this correctly.) Domi fixed that and hopefully all of my subscribers are receiving this email. (THANK YOU DOMI!)
Meanwhile I have been busy in the studio. I am finishing and framing.  I finally finished the painting in this post.
And last, here is  photo of some of the chaos in the studio. I can barely walk through due to all the paintings staring at me. All are crying out to be finished. Yipes. More about framing in another post. The show opens April 8, with the reception on April 11th.

Monday, February 24, 2014

opalescence of morning fog

24x36 oil on wood
Fog can have opalescence that is spellbinding. I worked with the wax medium to help me get that feel.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

summer storm, finished

36x36 oil on linen
Finally finished. This is cloudburst's sister painting. Both paintings were inspired by my days in Chincoteague VA. I love that place...especially when the weather is stormy. The atmosphere and tremendous space ignited by the power of a storm... the way it emerges from the canvas is fascinating.

Monday, February 17, 2014

the completion cycle continues

oil on linen 18x36
I spent the last week finishing this one. Maybe it is complete....maybe not.

Friday, February 14, 2014

sister clouds

After I finished Cloudburst (painting on right) I looked high up on the studio wall and saw her abandoned sister. While they were not made as a diptych, once the one on the left gets finished they will hang well together. I had painted the second version (left) when I was frustrated with the one on the right (now finished).
The one on the left has taken so much abuse that the linen has begun to sag on the right side. I will need to re-stretch it soon.
We received 14 inches of snow Wednesday night- a rarity for DC. The city has shut down, even bus service and above ground metro were halted.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

cloudburst finished

The best part about finishing a painting that was started a year ago is that I am totally free of the initial idea's grip on me. Now it becomes easier to just have a conversation with the painting. Waiting is always best.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


40x30 oil
It's that time. The time when I have to stop the excitement of starting new paintings and instead finish the many I have. With a solo show coming up in April, I need these finished.
The hardest part of painting is knowing how to finish. There are many, many stopping points, but when does it say what I want it to say?
This painting is inspired from my many studies of Lake Needwood and the river. The bottom third of the painting is the strongest. The struggle is getting the top to support it and not take over. More on this one later.
PS The show opens April 11 at the Waverly Street Gallery. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

entering the courage zone

My newest large painting is teaching me how dark can I go and still make a soothing vibration. This one will still take a number of layers to bring out more warm and cool variations within the land. It was built on the plein air and memory studies below.
This painting's concept really takes me out of my comfort zone. I have a tendency to paint light and with my preferred colors. This was intentionally planned to take me out of my comfort zone and into my courage zone. More as it develops. In the meantime feel free to read my post about the courage zone.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Let go

plein air, pastel, this past summer

“Without trying to describe elements, I try to ex- pand possibilities, and the feeling of freedom. I have general knowledge - I’ve trained - but when it comes to a particular painting or pastel, I trust in freedom, and let go.”    Wolf Kahn

He says it all, doesn't he?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

a painter's best friend

small detail of large oil 33.5x48, still in process
Who is the painter's best friend? What do you think?
 For me, it is my trusty razor. Each day I am at the easel I wipe away about half of what I do. Maybe it's too sharp, too thick, too descriptive, too purple, too dark, any of the many toos we can have. Say more with less.
For pastel it's easy, before I leave the easel I wipe with my palm or a tissue. With oil I often go into a scraping frenzy with my trusted razor or give it a rubbing with a paper towel or tissue.
here she is, the well used worker

Monday, January 27, 2014

marketing and the painter

small pastel 9x15, concept for next oil

This week I was fortunate to attend a marketing workshop by Ann Bevans. As a group I would say most painters dislike the idea of marketing. We just want to paint. Selling should just happen. (Right?)
I am not saying I will be changing my ways, but this workshop did pose excellent questions.
Here are a few of Ann's questions to the group.
Define your idea/ concept. What is it? 
Why are you passionate about it? 
What is the potential  and likely impact of your idea? 
What is the value of the impact?  
Next we had to define our audience. Who chooses your work? 
Good things to think about and I will leave you to think. Feel free to share your thoughts via comment. I will post more about this later in the week.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

contrast and a small trick

oil, 12x12

Contrast draws the viewer's eye. That said, there are many different ways to achieve that contrast. You can use value, hue or temperature, or a combination of all three. Value contrast is the strongest worker of the lot, that is why I will check my paintings in photoshop. I simply change the mode to gray scale and I have a tonal check-up. If it looks good there, then I analyze the color.
This painting has gone through so many metamorphoses, finally making it to this. I know the contrast is not super high, but I hope I made it enough to attract the eye of the viewer. I think that there is the reduction of shape, vibration and sense of wanting to know more.
Maybe its next metamorphosis will be growing big. I can see this one 60x60.
It's snowing like crazy outside (yay!)...time to do some snow study.

Monday, January 20, 2014

vibration and the landscape

Having the name for my next show has helped me understand how narrow my focus  really is. Oftentimes I am guilty of just painting without seeing the patterns. Do you know what I mean? The act of writing a title made me realize exactly what I have been thinking about, in a more succinct way. The title, Vibration, Mystery and the Landscape is the point of what I do right now.
This is a large pastel, 36x36 on gator board coated with marble dust and gesso . I began this one about 7 years ago and was never truly completed. One day, about a month ago, it called to me. Although it's not finished. it is finally on the right path.