Tuesday, December 23, 2008


10x8 oil on paper

This is another gift. My niece. I hope her parents like it. Its a quick study and about all I've had time to do or think about. I have not finished Christmas shopping and baking yet. We have company now too and so all my thoughts are for celebrating and enjoying my parents and family. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and all have the warmth and comfort of friends and family surrounding you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Beagle Love

6x8 oil on panel

Another gift for a friend whose family friend will not be sharing Christmas this year. Maybe this little painting will bring a smile.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Helen and Mary Kate

6x8 oil on panel

Two paintings for a friend. Years ago I had painted a small beach scene with my friend's daughter, then her only one! And for the last few years, her younger daughters have wanted to be immortalized too. My work has improved, is all I can say. And here are her two youngest (finally) just in time for Christmas. If she reads this blog, I am undone!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bull Creek Study

8x8 oil on panel

This is a painting I did last week at Bull Creek when I did the one below. This was a very quick study as I decided I'd try to just block in the big shapes and worry about details later. Something Kevin Macpherson demonstrates in his first book.
The sky was a truly beautiful solid cerulean blue which is pretty typical of Texas. Big, blue, cloudless skies that stretch from horizon to horizon practically. We have "scrub" here and I've gotten so used to it that I feel rather claustrophobic in heavily wooded areas with big trees.

I was supposed to paint out today with Plein Air Austin again, but the weather (32 NOW!) and my daughter(sick again) kept me home.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

December Morning

8x10 oil on panel - sold

Another plein air piece. It was COLD this morning too! I wiped off several starts and then finally decided on trying to stay in the same color family and block in large shapes and not muck about with color changes between bare trees, cedars and fall colors. I've sort of forgotten all my plein air painting techniques. I used to paint landscapes on site a lot, but its been many years and its not like riding a bike. I have to start from square one again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dancer - 30 Minute Study

12x6 oil on paper - sold

This is a study I did before painting the triptych shown on Friday's post. As you can see, I actually reversed her for the larger painting.
I love these little quick studies done in oils. And in the coming days, it might be all I can do with the holidays ramping up! Yesterday, I went and bought some good sketching materials to do some more pencil sketches and washes.
I love the simplicity of such work. I am an admirer of "brevity." The artwork that I admire the most leaves a lot to the imagination. A bold gesture, no details, and broken line - the "less is more" approach.

Monday, December 08, 2008


8x10 oil on panel - sold

This was done on site. And boy did I struggle. I have not painted outdoors, or landscapes, in a very long time. I moved several times and wiped off a couple of starts and was eventually inspired to do the cedars by Qiang Huang who was also out with the Plein Air Austin group on Saturday morning. These trees are quintessential Hill Country. And soon will be producing the pollen that cause most of Austin to have Cedar Fever.

Its rather an abstract little painting, but not as bad as I expected it to be when I got home. If you are interested in purchasing, send me an email.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Rehearsal - Triptych

16 x 28 oil on three panels

I am so excited about this painting. I've wanted to do a multi panel painting for a long time, but didn't know what subject. The dancers just seemed so right. The only trouble I see now is that the woman's hand on the left panel lines up with the window frame in the center panel. That might be acceptable once its framed and less noticeable. It might even be good. The framing is the tricky part.

I am talking with Deborah Paris at Mountains Edge Frames about framing it. They have some beautiful mouldings and hopefully they can build me something.

As a note to those in Fort Wayne, Indiana area, Castle Gallery is hosting its Holiday Show with a reception featuring several of the galleries artists. I regret I could not be there, because they have really nice parties and its such a lovely gallery. Go and check it out tonight from 5-10 pm.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Harmony In Green

12x12 oil on panel

After a couple of warm up paint sketches, I did this pair of dancers, the Snow King and Queen at rehearsal. I'm really pleased with the color harmony, but the photo does not do justice to the brushwork, especially the gesture of her hands. (I'll try to get a better shot later.)

As you know, I have been setting my timer and doing many 30 min
ute studies. I can't tell you how invaluable this practice is. I am able to turn off my left brain entirely and just let the paint flow. I don't stop and check details or all will be lost. The first thing I do is make some marks with my brush indicating the forms, measure quickly and then I am off. I mass things in, start varying color for light/shadow changes and let the brush do its own thing. There is harmony on the palette too painting this way because I frequently just pick up and blend what is there so I am not fussing with color. I refer to my source material but don't focus on contour or outlines, just shapes of color. There is always time to fix the mistakes later, once I have the foundation down.

Frequently I stop when my digital kitchen timer goes off. Today, I started my painting this way, and when the timer went off, I stepped back and was able to return to finish with those details and background I skipped. There wasn't much to do because I had painted so passionately from the start and I wanted to retain that spontaneity. I lost track of time then, but it was delicious work.

This is the painting at the 30 minute break.

This panel has a coat of gray acrylic house paint on it ala Ken Auster and Miro Sinovic. Both like this surface a lot and I see why. The paint lays on it nicely. Its very smooth and doesn't absorb the paint at all, like gesso tends to. I believe I will use it some more.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dancer Waiting - Sketch

pencil and paper

Ok - another of these. I can't tell you how tired I am today. I have been dragging. Could be the interrupted nights with my daughter coughing so much. My cold is lingering too and to be honest, my foot is hurting more now than post surgery. The dr. says it will be another month before I am 100%, with the pain actually increasing these next two weeks. And so - I didn't accomplish anything today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better and I will feel better. I can't face the holiday season in this frame!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dancer Sketch

pencil on paper

My daughter's cold was worse today - her asthma is always irritated by colds - so she stayed home with me. I got some business things done, but no painting. All I have to show you is another
dancer sketch. BUT....

I will also promote the first ever Daily Painter's Gallery book Colour, Obsession, Joy and Torment. It looks like such a nice volume, featuring 146 artists whose work is found on the Daily Painter's Gallery. This group began sometime around the time I started blogging and has grown so successfully. I owe most of my blog's success to that site. There are some wonderful artists who exhibit their work online and are included in the group gallery. The book also has several well-written essays on the inspiration for the title (a quote from Monet) and on the subject of the technological art age which we're now embracing. I think I now believe that this is an official art movement. Artists are so much more accessible than in the past and in a time when reproductions and cheap pictures can be found at any store, I applaud any effort that artists make to educate people about original art and to make it more available to patrons. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. Stay tuned for ordering information.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Snow Queen - 30 Minute Study

12x9 oil on paper
$50 + s/h - sold

Getting back into the groove of things today. The dancer here is one of the two snow queens the Austin ballet has performing in their Nutcracker. This was a great way to warm up after a break from painting. Setting a timer makes me see the big picture and not get caught in details. I literally paint for 30 minutes and then its brushes down. I wish I could describe why this exercise works so well for me. I am suffering a little disconnect though between doing and talking about. I will try again tomorrow!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ballet Dancer

colored pencil on paper

As we gear up for the holidays, the Nutcracker is such a nice Christmas story to set the mood for celebrating. We go to Houston in two weeks to see it there. Also going to the Galleria to ice skate of all things!

Saturday was the opening of the Small Works North America show at the Greenwich Workshop Gallery in Connecticut. Exhibit winners are chosen by votes from patrons. You can actually register online and vote for your favorite small works. The show is really quite impressive. I am thrilled to have two works in the exhibit which are hanging alongside many of the top painters in the country. This was a milestone for me. I have a couple more to yet check off my list, but they will come in time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ballet Dancer

pencil on paper

Last Thursday my friend Tess Walls and I went to Ballet Austin for a behind-the-scenes look at a Nutcracker rehearsal. The dancers were below us. We watched from a landing above the studio, the wall behind them is all glass and they were often silhouettes in front of it, making the figures all the more dynamic. The girls wore their practice tutus and I saw Degas in my head. I wish I could capture more of that dynamic line he did. (and like my friend Tess's sketches... beautiful!)
I was tempted to add some color, but I sent my pastels to a friend who is convalescing in Houston area...
I am convalescing as well. The surgery went fine and I am laying about for the most part. I am sketching though from my photos and things in the room (dog, husband, child, toys).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Late Dining

11x14 oil on panel - sold

Today I have foot surgery so this is probably it for the week. I also have a cold starting, so have not made any use of the time I did have while waiting for this surgery - starving and dying of thirst - until late afternoon.
If I don't get back to this later in the week, I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Macy Again

pencil on paper, nfs

If I dared post a picture of my studio at the moment, you would laugh. Its so packed with frames, boxes, paintings, etc. that I can barely get in. Poor Macy can't follow me in, there isn't even room for her to sit. Besides the mess in the studio, the rest of my life is rather brimming too. I've been volunteering a lot at school this week and not had the time I have wanted to paint. But here is another sketch at least. Macy has very bad posture. I've never seen a dog sit like her before. She rolls over on her hind end so that her back legs are lined up with her front ones.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Daily Grind - My Etsy Sale

20x20 oil on linen - sold

I have some larger paintings here in my studio that need homes! They have come back from galleries and are just in the way here, so I am offering them at 50% off retail. Please take a look at my Etsy shop and consider how you will be helping me clear a path through my studio.
These are really good prices for good paintings and I hesitated doing this. I could donate them, but would rather I know the buyer and get a little income from them.
Or they can remain here stacked against the wall. Your help is very much appreciated!

As a reminder, should you ever be unhappy with a purchase, I will gladly take the painting back and give a full refund.

Wyeth Country

8x10 oil on panel

This is a commission I did for a collector in NY (Hi D.S.!) The painting is a gift for her mother's birthday. They are from Wyeth country and this painting is a favorite of hers. Mine too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Favorable Review

16x8 oil on panel
Purchase info to come soon (I promise).

Another favorite painter, Cezanne, who has painted his father presumably reading reviews of exhibitions by contemporaries like Manet. Apparently Cezanne's father didn't care much for his career choice and so depicting him reading this newspaper was sort of a coup for Cezanne. The young woman is reading over one of the museum cards which tells the story of the artwork - The Artist's Father, Reading "L'Evenement"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Macy Sketch and Fall Shoes

Pencil on paper, nfs

I took the day off today. I went shopping with a friend. Very unusual for me. So here I have some more sketches of Macy. And yes, to answer my mom's question on the previous sketch, she is this fat unfortunately.
Ya'll have a wonderful weekend. I'm hoping we get some cold weather. 81 is too hot for mid-Nov. and I want to wear my new stacked-heel "oxford" patent leather shoes. This is really off topic, but I love shoes. My husband calls me Imelda. He buys racing tires - I buy a different kind of tread - and we're both happy.
Hmmm, maybe I should paint these - they are really pretty.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Artist Within

20x24 oil on linen
on hold

I am so pleased with this painting. I was so excited when I saw this woman painting in the National Gallery of Art. I watched her for awhile. I watched the other patrons watching her. She is copying the painting "The Mother and Sister of the Artist" by Berthe Morisot.
The gallery was awesome in so many ways and seeing two of my most admired artists hanging side by side was awe inspiring. The other painting is Mary Cassatt's "Little Girl in a Blue Armchair".
This painting is to be entered in a contest. It will be available for sale later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Deer sketch

This morning on my walk with Macy, I saw several deer resting under the oaks. Since Macy can't see now, she doesn't get all excited and disturb them. We live in the 'burbs, but we have a lot of wildlife all around. There is still a lot of undeveloped land, canyon land and hills, so there is a habitat for the deer. They are pretty used to people too so they didn't mind at all when I lingered with my pencil and scrap paper. It was a fun exercise to then try to paint what I remembered.

My teacher here in Austin, Elizabeth Locke, once told me of her professor who set up a still life on one floor of the art building and made the students set up their easels on another floor. They had to go up and down stairs to see their subject in order to paint. That made them work very hard to commit what they saw to memory and be very sure about every stroke. I can think of a whole lot of reasons that would be exhausting.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Macy - Doing What She Does Best

pencil on paper, nfs

I had the need to sketch this weekend. And what better subject than my dog snoozing in various positions? She is adapting to her blindness really well now. She loves her walks and does very well on them. She's learned new words which help her on the stairs and when I say "careful" she slows or stops quickly to avoid crashing headlong into whatever might be in her way. She really relies on her hearing and sniffer. As long as I continue to speak to her and let her know where I am, she is confident. She is pretty lazy in the house, though she always was. All in all - she is quite normal and many people don't realize she can't see them.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Looking Up To Lincoln

6x6 oil on panel
$100 + 12 s/h
Purchase this painting

These are my friend's daughters, looking up to the mammoth statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington D.C. This has to be my favorite monument. He was such an amazing president, facing immediate succession and civil war upon his election. Reading his speeches again gave me goose bumps. I hope that we can all come together and be positive about the changes ahead. I am rather excited.

Monday, November 03, 2008

East Sculpture Hall

14x11 oil on panel - sold

From the National Gallery of Art. The architecture of this building alone is worth a look. But the art contained within, is what drew me through this passage to the French masters galleries.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


7x5 oil on panel
$100 + $12 s/h
Purchase this painting

We just got back from D.C. a few days ago and I began to go through my photos today. This one of a young lady looking at the Hope diamond in the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum really struck me. I love the drama of the lighting and the way her head is almost against the glass as she gazes at this gorgeous piece of jewelry.

The title too has meaning beyond wishes for fine jewels. I voted yesterday in early voting. You should too. Unless you are for the other guy. ;-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Caring For Your Original Artwork

I thought I would share some basic tips for caring for original art - specifically oil paintings.

First thing to consider, especially owing to the frequent sales of freshly completed paintings from artists participating in the "daily painting" movement, is that oil paint will dry to the touch within a week or two, but may take up to a year or more to fully cure. During that time, the paint will be softer and susceptible to dents and scratches. Paintings with obvious brushmarks and lots of texture can be smudged or flattened.

Cleaning: Use a dry, "micro-fiber" cloth to wipe the surface. Do not use too much pressure, and check the surface for flaking or damaged areas. If there is a heavy buildup of dirt, take the painting to be professionally cleaned. Dust buildup and pollutants can allow molds to grow.

Lighting: Very high light levels can cause the darkening or fading of an oil painting. Conversely, storing a painting in the dark will cause the oil painting to become darker over time.

To avoid damage caused by light, don't expose paintings to direct sunlight. Lighting shouldn't be positioned too close; avoid using lights that are mounted to the frame. Try to use diffused lights that are positioned at least ten feet from the painting to avoid damage from heat.

Temperature: Extreme heat, cold or humidity can cause the stretchers and canvas to expand and contract, leading to cracking of the paint surface or causing the canvas to sag.

Hanging: Don't hang the painting in high traffic areas where it is likely to be bumped or scraped. If you are moving the painting, be careful not to lean the canvas against anything, as it can stretch or be punctured. Carry it by the sides, and protect the surfaces with stiff board and heavy fabric.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Salmagundi Stairwell

7x5 oil on panel
$100 + $12 s/h - sold

The beautiful stairwell in the historic brownstone. Above is an ornate skylight letting light filter down three or four floors.

We are off for a visit to DC this weekend. I can't wait to take my little girl through the Smithsonian museums and see the mint and the Monument. The weather will be a fun change for us too I suspect. Though none of us particularly like the cold! We're getting together with some of my college girlfriends too, so I am really looking forward to this visit.

Don't forget to check the auctions at the Texas Louvre for some rock bottom prices on terrific original art. Its a good cause too - helping some college seniors put their business skills to the test in the real world.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Salmagundi Parlor - 30 Minute Study

10x8 oil on paper
$50 + s/h
Purchase this study

This is the front parlor of the historic Salmagundi Art Club in NYC. I wanted to capture that cool light coming in from the front windows which would be on the right. The building is really wonderful both in architecture and art. The walls are hung with the art of early club members. We were very lucky to have had the space available for our workshop.

For some reason I am in the mood for those rainy days we had in the city. I think I will go paint another scene from the club.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cafe du Monde - 30 Minute Study

10x8 Oil on paper
$50 + s/h - sold

This is another sketch of the famous New Orleans bakery. The waiter is at his ease for the time being.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Texas Louvre

Chalk Artist
10x8 oil on panel - sold

Here is your chance to purchase some wonderful art, at a really good price, and help some Mary Hardin-Baylor students - The Texas Louvre.

V Vaughan is a very good friend and an amazingly talented artist and when she asked if I'd like to help her son with his class project I was very willing. Years ago, I painted Tanner on the beach.. now he's a college senior! Anyway...Here is a bit from V's email.
My oldest son, Tanner, in his last semester at Mary Hardin-Baylor, with a degree in Marketing, has a class project where the prof gave each group $20 and the objective is to earn as much as possible in 3 weeks with this seed money. His group has put up a web site of daily paintings, called "Texas Louvre"! With his "connections" he found three of the best daily painters who have a few unclaimed gems, and he created a web site to auction these 15 or so paintings...at AMAZING PRICES!!!

THANKS TO ROBIN CHEERS and TOM BROWN! What a couple of gamers, agreeing to put in a few GREAT paintings to help out! YOU JUST GOTTA SEE their wonderful small works, which they are sharing with "Texas Louvre".

Be sure to check out the gallery part to preview upcoming auctions which you can "buy now" (before others see the auction.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Now I've learned that my blog can send an email to my google group when I post so I am testing that. Thank you to Takeyce for the help. This community is so wonderful.

News from Austin: Weather is great. Kid is sick. Dog is bumping around the house. Aquarium is cloudy. I'm exhausted but looking forward to a visit to DC later in the week.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tending the Bar

6x6 oil on panel
$100 + $12 s/h - sold

A lot of my New York trip seems to center around food. Hmmm... so does my life really. Its one of my pleasures. I am not that great a cook, however. I'm good at down home, comfort foods, but have a gourmet taste too that can only be satisfied by chef-prepared meals. This is a little neighborhood bar we stopped in for dessert and an apertif. It was late and the restaurant was nearly empty. The bartender spent most of his time chatting with a customer at the end of the bar unknowingly giving me lots of inspiration.

Steelwood Wedding Reception

I forgot to mention that last weekend, I had a live painting event in Alabama. Flew in Saturday under mostly cloudy skies to paint outdoors at this lovely venue. As you can see, this is not final. I painted until dark and was not in a position to set up a light so did not complete my foreground. I will add a few more people and the grass and plants and be done.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tea For One

6x6 oil on panel
$100 + $12 s/h - sold

My friend and I had French high tea at Payard Patisserie the afternoon of our arrival. What a lovely respite from our long walks and power shopping. I didn't have a lot of time to shop, so I had to do as much as I could in one afternoon. The gentleman above looked so comfortable as he sipped his tea nearby.

The tea and pastries were so satisfying that we managed the long trek back to 51st (shopping more along the way, mind you) and finished our day with dinner at a French place next to our hotel.
C'était délicieux.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Minding His Business

6x6 oil on panel
$100 + $12 s/h - sold

A busy Thursday evening in Manhattan.

Macy Update: My little doggie was diagnosed with "SARD" - sudden acute retinal degeneration. Meaning her retina has degraded and no longer functions. I am actually relieved - relieved to know what happened to her and to know that its not some brain tumor or stroke or such that could be life threatening. She is getting around the house fine - I just can't ever rearrange the furniture. Thanks for all your kind thoughts!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ticket Please

10x12 oil on panel

Truth be told, I am not sure I like this. I think I lost energy. My husband liked it a lot and that is usually a good gauge for me. But sometimes, I know I can do better and its just a matter of my hand catching up with my brain. Given my daily drama, its no wonder I tired easily.

This is from Grand Central Station.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Good Conversation

I've really enjoyed the comments and suggested reading material, etc. on this topic. I thought more about Ken's work and I think I always assumed his "red" side of the street in his paintings was the sunny side, not the shadow side. I painted a city scene on Friday following his examples, but it looks like cheap knock off. And I do not want to copy his style at all. But I really admire it. I also tried to get a lot of paint on the panel... I wanted to try that luscious brushwork. But what a mess I made! I think I am still on the side of "light changes given time, place, source".
This is a good example of why I don't teach, for those who have asked. I still have too many questions myself and paint best when I don't do too much questioning. And I can't really verbalize what I am doing.

No art yet again today because spiritually I am in the dumps. I am still dealing with dog health issues. Macy has had two surgeries in the last month and this weekend appeared to be going blind. We saw the vet this morning and he sees nothing physically wrong. So I'm waiting to hear on test results and then see if we need to see a neurologist. She is bumping into things and clearly can't see me.

This is a painting I did of her earlier in the year as she kept me company in my studio.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Color of Light

As an addendum of sorts to my question in the post below on the color of light... is it constant? is it cool/blue? is it warm/yellow? does it vary from morning to afternoon? Is it dependent on the subject being lit?... I looked out my window and saw this white blanket I had out drying in the sun. I thought I'd isolate the colors in Photoshop to see where they fell on the spectrum.

The far right is pure white. The lightest light from my blanket is the second on the right. So its falling in a blue/gray or blue lavender I'd say. Now we can argue that the camera messed up or something like that.
But I'd say the brightest light on the blanket is fairly cool even with the direct, extremely hot Texas sun still shining on it.
(Its still summer here and I'm tired of it, can you tell?)

New York Trip

Today I am sharing my work from the damp streets of NYC. I tried Ken's approach, which is an interesting one. If you look at his website, you can see a video demo of his work in progress (under workshops). You can see he starts with a black paint sketch and then builds up his color blocks. Now what really sort of threw me and the rest of the class was that he see light (sun) as "cool". Granted, when you lighten with white paint, it will cool it because white tends towards blue. And when you have cool light, you get warm shadows. That makes sense to me, but the idea that its always that... when I looked at the buildings before me and saw warm grays and ochres, etc. was very strange. He had convincing arguments, and its not my place here or anywhere to speak for him or represent him. But I am curious what other's thoughts are on "light". Does it change temperature? Is it always towards the blue or cool because of the sky? And if you see this way and paint it as such... do all your paintings look alike? Mine did! See below:

On Sunday, I decided to paint what he painted. Literally, I copied his painting. He thought it a good exercise.

This is our scene:

This is Ken's marvelous painting:

Here is my copy:

Here is a close up of his:

We used a limited palette and he used a LOT of paint. Definitely click on the image above to see it in detail. I want to try this myself. If only I could find the time to "play" this week. So far, everything at home is falling apart. Again, Ken is a fabulous teacher. I highly recommend him if you are interested in loosening up, painting lush cityscapes and creating art and not just copying a scene. And if you think it looks easy or unfinished, let me tell you, he worked very hard to create it.
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