Friday, December 30, 2011

Viva Los Colores-sold

oil on canvas panel 8x6 inches
click here to bid

At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art I observed this contemplative couple and their attire in stark contrast to Frida Kahlo's colorful painting. What would Frida say? Maybe "Viva los colores!"
This may be my last post for 2011, as I'm running Camp Gramma this weekend. Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Warhol Watches-sold

oil on canvas panel 8x6 inches
click here to bid

I hadn't painted in over a week when I took this on. Museum goers are a popular subject with us daily painters, and so I thought I'd have a go at it. I wiped the floor :-) three times. Finally decided enough is enough, and on to the next painting. There are aspects of this that I'm happy with, so it was spared from the wipe-out. This is a busy time of year with family and good times, but not much time for painting. Hope to get some time later next week.

Friday, December 23, 2011

King Cracker SOLD

oil on canvas panel 8x6 inches
private collection Chattanooga, TN

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, Everyone! Thank you for your interest in my work, for your comments and encouragement. Love and joy to all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Red Bridge SOLD

watercolor and gouache on Arches 7.5 X 10.5 inches
private collection Granite Bay, California

On Sunday I attended a great watercolor demonstration by Keiko Tanabe. I got inspired by her approach and materials largely because they were so different than what I normally do in watercolor. So on Monday I had fun here with rough paper, squirrel mops, dark washes and gouache.
Keiko's work is amazing. I was not surprised to find out that as a young girl she studied calligraphy for several years. She seems to "draw" with paint, the brush an extension of her arm. On one wall of Watercolor West's exhibit I read, "Watercolor is like golf. Every stroke counts." Keiko's marks are sure.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cold Perch

oil on Gessobord 10x8 inches FRAMED

In November our bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge ended in Sausalito where this huge seagull posed for me. The ferry passed by and "ooh, ooh--the yellow and the yellow!" I thought all the grays and blues with yellow accents might make a good painting. My first piece in a long time painted on a black ground and a smoother surface than usual, I had a lot of fun. It's so energizing to try something different.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two Little Islands SOLD

oil on canvas panel 8x8 inches
private collection Chattanooga, TN

From Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco you can see this tiny island, "Forbes Island", and the notorious Alcatraz in the distance. I don't know if Forbes is a real island, or if the little lighthouse is a real lighthouse, as both are so small. Anyway, the reflections on the very glassy bay water caught my eye. I painted this piece on a black gesso ground. As I experiement with this I really enjoy the texture that can be achieved and the bits of black peeking through as well. I submitted this to the current DPW challenge; reflections on water. To see the other entries click here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Did You Say "Walk?"

oil on canvas panel 8x6 inches
not for sale

The current Daily Paintworks Challenge is to paint man's best friend and his/her favorite thing. This is my own little studio dog, Sandy. She's a lovable bundle of love, fur and dog kisses. She waits patiently while I paint and knows exactly the moment I'm finished. Here she is on my studio rug at just that moment hoping for her favorite thing: a walk. When I talk to her about anything she cocks her head like this. Yep, she's adorable. Oh, but back to the painting!

She's white, which I knew would be a challenge, and that maltese (silky) and poodle (curly) hair was a challenge too. Luckily for me, my studio lights both cool and warm showed up in her fur. The color seemed to tie in with the rug, so I used consistent paint application throughout to further unify the painting. A limited palette helped too: burnt umber, yellow ochre, alizarin, ultramarine, cad yellow medium and T white. I really enjoyed painting my own little sweetheart.
To see the other entries to this challenge, click here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bike The Bridge SOLD

oil on canvas panel 8x6 inches
private collection Brighton, Colorado

The day we biked the bridge I got a great photo reference for this painting by hanging over the railing a bit. The photo had a great design to it, so all I had to do was edit out a few cars and more bikes leaning on the rail. This might be my favorite of the San Francisco pieces so far.
I just realized Christmas is a little more than two weeks away. Yowza! Got to get ready, so I'll post when I can.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bridge View SOLD

oil on canvas panel 6x8 inches
private collection Alexandria, Virginia

One day in San Francisco we rode bicycles across the bridge. This is one view I caught with my camera as we approached the bridge. Middle and foreground were in cloud shadow, the bridge, buildings and Sausalito were hit with morning sun.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Evening Ride -sold

oil on canvas panel 8x6 inches
San Francisco's famous cable cars run on miles of underground cables and are the only ones in the world still running on a daily schedule. Stepping aboard is a trip back in time. The glow of lights on the cable car, the streets and in the trees added charm to a wet, cold night. This is my first nocturne--a lot of fun to paint.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Frisco Streets -sold

oil on canvas panel 8x6 inches

The sun was trying to burn through the clouds, but it was still dark enough for the glow of tail lights and street lights. I tried to capture this in-between state of light. I love those San Francisco streets that scoop upward in the distance. The buses and cars move the eye from side to side, so I tried to use line to direct the eye into the distance and up the hill.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tie Dye Toaster-sold

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

Here's my "paint your toaster" entry to the DPW challenge. I have never owned a pop-up toaster. This toaster oven has toasted for us since 1974. As for the color reflections....uh....I was wearing my tie dye T-shirt. It seemed fitting on the '74 toaster so I went with it and just had fun.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mona's Pear-sold

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

We visited San Diego over the weekend so I've missed a few days of painting and posting. Got a chance to see some great art in museums, though. This painting was done about a month ago and inspired by Duane Keiser. He had combined a Vermeer with a pear. I used a page from an old desk calendar. While painting I discovered that Mona Lisa has no eyebrows! Weird. Then recently I started reading The Secret Lives of Great Artists by Elizabeth Lunday and found out historians don't know if Da Vinci didn't paint them, multiple restorations lost them, or if the poor girl over-plucked!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Favorite Shoes

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

Daily Paintworks gave us a "paint your shoes" challenge recently. These are my favorite shoes for style and comfort. I live in flip flops, so I don't wear these very often, but still they're my favorite shoes. I thought about leaving out all the gold stitching to simplify the painting, but the stitching is part of the style, so I decided to paint it in a simplified way. The color palette was enjoyably limited: burnt umber, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, cad yellow medium and Twhite.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Stretch your imagination a bit, and my shoes could be 21st century pilgrim shoes: black leather with buckles.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Truck 'N Cluck

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

For this painting I used a photo taken at Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona. There were chickens walking around and I was lucky enough to get a few in shots with the vehicles. I liked the living, moving element in with the "graveyard" of old vehicles.

Funny, I'm posting from San Francisco a painting I did at home in Chino from a scene in Arizona. Today we rented bikes and rode across Golden Gate Bridge, visited Sausalito and took a ferry back. We've had some sun and quite a bit of rain, but rain means great cloudy skies in my pictures. Yay!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One Persimmon SOLD & San Francisco

oil on canvas panel 4x4 inches

Here's my last persimmon painting for the season, I think. It's from a few days ago when I was trying out neutral surfaces. I'm missing painting, but having lots of fun.
Today was our first full day in San Francisco. This morning we took a tour boat around in the bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. The sun was out, and the water and city just sparkled. We ate a SF lunch of clam chowder and sourdough bread then visited the Aquarium and toured the Boudin bread factory. Picked up chocolate at Girardelli, rode a cable car to the concert hall to hear the San Francisco Symphony perform Brahms' "A German Requiem." Then back to our room by 10:15 for dinner: chocolate! Whew!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thumbnails & Value Studies

I'm posting this one with some hesitations (since it's not a painting), but hopefully it will be of interest or value. Yesterday I busied myself planning the next watercolor for my Monday night class. I almost always do thumbnail sketches and value studies for my watercolors and occasionally for my oils.

Here's the process: I find my painting within the photo by moving little mat corners or strips of paper around on the photo to "frame" a design. Using a Papermate Flair pen, I make little sketches-maybe 3x4" or smaller, moving shapes around to fine tune the design. I pay attention to line, pattern, shapes, and how the picture space is divided into larger shapes. (The design chosen here is from the center of the photo reference.)

Next I make the thumbnail I like into a value study planning out where my darks, lights and mid-values will be. I may do several of these. I try for unequal amounts of dark, light and mid-values. I like to think of the design as the skeleton (support) and the value pattern as the soul the painting. When I paint, I'll follow what I've planned here more than what the photo tells me.
I learned this from several very good instructors along the way. There are probably many of you out there that do something like this. For me, if my design and value pattern are not strong, I might as well not waste my time painting it!

Next I'll come up with a limited palette of colors for a harmonious painting. That will be another post WAY down the road.
Speaking of road, we're headed off to San Francisco tomorrow just for fun. I'm taking my camera but not my paint...ouch! It's time to celebrate our 37th anniversary! I'll post if I can.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall In A Jar -sold

oil on canvas panel 8x6 inches

Just as I was finishing this on Friday night, the accountant left his easy chair and entered my paint cave (because there was nothing on TV, he said.) He pronounced this painting "confusing" and said I can't confuse my viewers by painting stuff that they don't know what it is. Well, "Yes I can if I want," I said. So here's a guide left to right and top to bottom: acorn, pussy willows, acorn top, crab apples, chestnuts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cup 'n Cutie SOLD

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

Recently I discovered the work of David Lloyd. I love the clarity of his color, his luscious neutrals and masterful edges. He was kind enough to share with me a list of colors he uses for mixing neutrals. With this painting I tried out raw umber for the first time. Design-wise, I usually try to avoid diagonals going off into a corner, but since the spoon kinda points to the tangerine, I thought I might get away with it. Hopefully the eye loves that reflection enough to stay in the painting instead of sliding up the spoon handle into oblivion! I welcome your opinion.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Car Around The Corner -sold

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

Finally got around to painting this car that sits in a driveway just six or eight houses away. I walked my dog past there in the morning and the light was just right: dappled through the tree and the reddish fence throwing color onto the shadow side of the car. Painted in my studio from a photo on my laptop, I took my time and really enjoyed this subject.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall Trio -sold

oil on canvas panel 4x4 inches

I guess I'm painting a series. I never say to myself, "Now I will paint a series." It just happens that I get excited about certain colors and objects and keep painting them 'till it starts to feel old and worn out. These little canvases are so handy for when I only have short blocks of time to paint. Painters, if you haven't tried them yet, get yourself some 4x4 and 4x6's to have on hand. When finished they look nice on a table in a little mini easel or one of those gold wire easels.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Acorn & Crab Apples-sold

oil on canvas panel 4x6 inches

More Fall stuff. Thought I'd put some red on that green. I love painting acorns. They remind me of Chicken Little. And squirrels. Most impressive is that a massive oak tree starts as one of these. Amazing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Offerings

oil on canvas panel 6x8 inches

On a walk in Oak Glen I picked up some fallen acorns and stuck them in my pocket. Love all these warm fall colors. Someone asked about the "tail" on the chestnuts. They have these white things on their tips. Don't know what it is, but I like how it picks up the light.
This painting is available at Vander Molen Fine Art, Arcadia, CA

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Persimmon With Chestnuts -sold

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

With this one I tried a bit simpler arrangement and a more subtle green. I'm having trouble getting good photos lately. The placement and time of day that has worked for months is now giving me glare in every direction. Must have something to do with the season? If anyone has suggestions I'd appreciate them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Persimmons & Chestnuts -sold

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

On Sunday we visited Oak Glen and came home with apples, cider and these chestnuts. Being unfamiliar with chestnuts, I asked the sales girl at Los Rios Rancho how you roast them. She quickly blurted: "Ya roast 'em over an open fire". I know the song, yeah. But how? So she said to look it up on the internet. Mainly I wanted to paint the shiny reddish brown beauties. My new favorite color, transparent red oxide worked well. Does anybody know if they keep, or should I get that open fire going soon?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rainbow Grapes -sold

oil on canvas panel, 6x6 inches

Here's the same cluster of grapes I used in Still Life With Wine Bottles. My thinking with this one is to showcase the varied color in one bunch of grapes.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ten Minute Pears

oil on canvas panel 8x8 inches

Last week's Daily Paintworks Challenge was to paint a simple object several times with exactly 10 minutes for each "pose". Since I'm a born fusser with an eye for detail (blessing and a curse), this is just the kind of exercise I need. Except for maybe some abdominal work! :-) I toned my canvas with a mix of alizarin & cad red medium. I stuck to the rules and quit when my timer went off. 40 minutes of fun!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Still Life With Wine Bottles -SOLD

oil on canvas panel 10x10 inches

Okay, I confess. I like cheap wine 'cause the labels have cool designs. This set up was a playground of color for me. Maybe it's a little over the top? The accountant's comment was "Wow, that really catches your eye." (Hmmm.....? ) The red grapes are a virtual rainbow of colors and the photo just doesn't do them justice. The hunk of bread is leftover from Crab Cooker (So Cal people, you know what I'm talkin' about! Yum!) I found out you can keep painting stale bread and it looks just like fresh bread. Handy to know.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuxedo Cake SOLD

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches
private collection La Quinta, California

The grocery store had this pretty little dessert yesterday. This square plate with the rounded corners can be tricky to draw so this time I considered that when I placed it. Part way through my painting session, the power went out for almost two hours. I resisted painting for about 45 minutes, then I couldn't stand it anymore. I painted the fork and gray-blue with not much natural window light. I knew it was risky, but when the power came back on it looked pretty good. I added highlights, and was done. I'm especially happy with the fork. The power outage forced me to paint it without fussing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pacific Street Afternoon

oil on canvas panel 9x12 inches (image size)
gallery quality wood frame, warm brown/black with antique gold lip

On Saturday I made some adjustments to this painting while in my sales booth. Now signed and framed, it is for sale here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Old Town Storefront -sold

The Tustin Art Walk on Saturday was fabulous! I entered the painting above in the Plein Air Contest. Old Town Flooring occupies this, one of the oldest buildings in Tustin. Though my painting didn't win any awards, I can't complain... it was purchased by Margaret from the flooring company. Thanks, Margaret!

You can see from the photo of the building the most interesting part (the front) was completely in shadow. I lightened things up a bit so I could play with the little bits of color in the windows and flag. On Friday I positioned myself behind a parked car where I could see my subject across Main Street. When the lunch hour traffic backed up in front of me, those Tustin people were so nice most of them left space so as not to block my view!

I met the nicest folks and had my highest sales ever. Thanks to Tustin Parks and Rec for all their hard work, and especially thank you to all who stopped by my booth to say hi!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pacific St. Afternoon

oil on canvas panel 9x12 inches

The colors of this house on Pacific St. in Tustin caught my eye. I'm not usually a fan of peach and green, but the late afternoon sun gave the house a glow that I really liked. The dappled shadows were a challenge as always. I ended my painting session abruptly because I was cold (haven't been cold in a long time!) I hope to make a few minor changes while at my sales booth tomorrow. This one will be for sale there at the Tustin Art Walk.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brussels Sprout Basket SOLD

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

At Trader Joe's the other day I saw something I'd never seen before; fresh Brussels sprouts on the stalk. The thing was about 24 inches long! Still life material! We cut them off and steamed them for company, but I still had quite a few left for painting. The basket lit from the side adds contrast of light and shadow. I used a lot of transparent red oxide because even in shadow it had a reddish glow. I love that color and use it a lot.

This afternoon I painted in Tustin. Hope to post that tomorrow if I have time and can get a good shot of it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Morsels & Milk -sold

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

Sometimes looking for subject matter I roam around the house a while looking in closets, cupboards, wherever, to find something interesting. I think of myself like a chicken pecking the ground trying to find edible bits. While pecking last night after dinner, my husband noticed and thought I was funny. He was in the kitchen making chocolate chip cookies.

Tomorrow and Friday I'll paint on the streets of Old Town Tustin. I hope I get a good one for the competition on Saturday. I learned today that on Saturday 60 artists will show and sell their work. Wow! Twice the number of last year! If you're in the area I hope to see you there. For more info click here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Five Crab Apples SOLD

oil on canvas panel 6x8 inches

Not much to say about yet another painting of crab apples, except that I think I'm done painting crab apples for now.

Monday, October 17, 2011

One Crab Apple

oil on canvas panel 4x4 inches

Those crab apples are still paint worthy after my busy weekend. We had a great time, but I'm glad to be back painting today. This was my warm-up. I'm painting to the tune of my washer and dryer. When my dryer buzzes, I move a load of laundry. Turns out this is good for painting! It forces me to take breaks and gives me a fresh look at my painting when go back to it. I felt rusty today, but it didn't bother me too much. Finally I've learned to expect it after even a short break.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Red Grapes Go Green SOLD- Old Town Tustin Art Walk

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

Today my Aunt and Uncle from Fayetteville, Ark. are coming to visit for the weekend. Yay! We have lots of family fun planned, but alas, no time to paint or post until maybe next Tuesday. Today I offer this grape painting guess it was August. What happened to September? Grapes are among my favorite subject for their subtle color shifts and translucency.

A heads up for those of you in Southern California: Next week I'll participate in the Tustin Plein Air Contest. I'll paint in Old Town Tustin Thurs. and Fri. and then be at the Art Walk on Sat. the 22nd with all my daily paintings. Hope you can come out and say hi! More information here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crab Apples SOLD

oil on canvas panel 4x6 inches

I spent the weekend working on some overdue chores here at home. No time left to paint, so I felt a bit crabby. :-( Thought these crab apples were appropriate. They have interesting and subtle color differences than regular apples. Yesterday I had a little painting time for a little painting of little apples. I feel a little better. :-)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nursery Lane At Amy's Farm

oil on canvas panel 6x8 inches

This morning I got out early to Amy's Farm, just down the road from our house. I took pictures for about an hour, then settled on this scene. Nursery Lane is where they line up calves for schoolkids on field trips to bottle feed. Today there were just a couple of horses (rear ends) visible on the right side. I liked the tree and tiny bits of white from a herd of Holsteins in the far distance, the two horses and especially that puddle in the foreground. Amy and her crew welcome artists anytime. So if you're in Southern California, come on out and paint.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Makin' Apple Pie

oil on canvas panel 8x8 inches

Still having fun with this color scheme. The steel bowl reflections were a blast!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

Gracie is a little apricot toy poodle owned by my friend, Gwen. Gracie is sweet and happy, but not very smart. I guess not all dogs are created equal. Transparent red oxide, cad yellow medium and white worked well for the apricot color. I left quite a bit of the pink ground peeking through her fur so she'd relate to the background and not look like she was cut out and pasted on. To see Gwen's other dog portrait commissions, go to "labels" below this post and click on "dog portraits." Sadly, Abigail passed away a few weeks after I finished her portrait. Gwen has a new little dog for me to paint, but she has to grow up a bit first.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apple Pie Season SOLD

oil on canvas panel 8x8 inches

Daily Paintworks challenged us recently to paint signs of Fall in our area. In Southern California, the signs are subtle. My plumeria and Hawaiian ginger blooming? No, that's not it. We have lots of crows around, but they wouldn't hold still. So here it is...Fall at our house means Dutch Apple Pies. I use my corer-peeler-slicer. That red handle was perfect with the yellow green, but the painting would need more than one spot of red, so I hunted down an old cloth napkin with red apples on it. Bingo. I had my painting. Thalo blue and cad yellow light makes that Granny Smith green.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bed, Bath & Beyond

oil on canvas panel 9x12 inches

This mountain cabin is in Big Bear. It appeared just as I've painted it, with all the "facilities" out in the front yard. Well, the bed is on the side, but still. I could have straightened the stump, but the pot threatening to slide off kinda fit with all the rest. For me, the appeal of this subject was lots to look at, plus the dappled light. I slowed way down, purposed to leave my brushstrokes alone, and painted it in two sessions.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Road Trip

This coming week my watercolor classes start, so today I've been doing some prep for that. I may not get to my easel until late tonight. Thinking about watercolor and my recent trip to the Denver area, it's a good day to post these shots. This beautiful canyon is in Utah somewhere between Grand Junction, CO and Richfield, Utah. The other photo is my watercolor "Alaska" over my bother's mantle. Last fall he purchased many of my paintings and being an accomplished woodworker, built the frames himself with all kinds of woods and some inlays. He also builds beautiful custom furniture in the Arts & Crafts Style. What a treat it was to see my work framed with such creativity and care.
To see "Alaska" see labels at bottom of this post and click on Alaska.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Prado Pond Field Study

oil on canvas panel 6x8 inches

As I mentioned a few days ago, Susan Denison from Arizona paid me a visit just before my trip to Denver. One morning we headed over to Flo's Airport Cafe for breakfast, then Prado Regional Park to paint. The weather was terrific as was the company. Wish I'd had someone take a picture of us...too wrapped up in the painting and fun. So here's a shot of her painting in Colorado. She travels all over in her camper-van going to workshops and painting here and there. Man...she left me with a case of camper-van envy!