Wednesday, May 04, 2016

A Rock Journey

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This is another one from Nevada, Valley of Fire. I started it outside, but ended up reworking pretty much the entire thing last week. It is rich with something I never encounter with still life - atmosphere. It's a great challenge for me. (Speaking of that trip, I just finished editing a 20 minute video of it, in case you're interested.)

I also wanted to show you one last painting from Taos. It was my favorite from the trip, and I traded it for one by Lori Putnam. Lucky me!

Monday, May 02, 2016


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Here is the last of this particular tomato series. I used both lights again (flood and florescent). I am loving the colors they create in the shadows.

Today my husband and I are off for a little R&R at the coast. We'll be gone a few days.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tomatoes Three

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For this one I used two lights - my regular flood and a softer florescent. You can see it does kind of funny/neat things to the shadows, which I liked. Also I could point the flood at just one tomato, creating some drama.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tomato Reunion

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Another thing I've learned about tomatoes, is that a hard light (my usual flood bulb) can overwhelm these poor little guys. I pulled out my florescent for a softer light on these last two. I find I can see (and paint) much more of the volume of the tomatoes this way.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pile o' Matoes

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I did 2 tomato paintings before this that were super rusty and...basically not post-worthy. The thing I was having trouble with was getting the dark reds dark enough. So I fussed and fussed and killed the poor things. My solution, finally, was to pick an average red from the tomatoes (a middle value that I saw, which turned out to be a red mixed with some blue and yellow), paint the whole tomato area with that, and then put the lighter and darker reds on top of that first color. I have seen, over and over, in myself and my students, trouble getting reds and yellows and oranges dark enough. In general. This is especially prevalent when the value changes are subtle, as in tomatoes and egg yolks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


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I've got two still life workshops coming up in May, so I'm trying to re-hone my skills. These apples helped me by participating in this little drama. I thought they were quite convincing.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Apples with Appetites

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These guys are looking at an empty plate. They haven't eaten in days. I wonder if they'll resort to cannibalism.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


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Here's another little apple scene. One of the reasons I end up painting so many apples is because they stay paintable for so long! It's hard for me to go out and buy more still life subjects when I have bowls of perfectly good apples at home.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Our Glass House

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This is actually the first painting I did after returning from the plein air convention. I was particularly inspired after seeing a Jove Wang demo on the second day. The way he painted was like poetry. Even his movements after putting down each brush stroke were beautiful. His whole body was a part of the process. It was a real treat to see.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Walking the Dog

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I am back from the plein air convention and inspired to paint! I saw a number of fantastic demos and talks, hung with some old friends, and met some new ones. I also bought a few new products to try out (more on that later).

One of the talks was by a great artist named Brian Mark Taylor, about learning. He said "performing is not practicing," which really hit a nerve with me. Brian spends two hours a day mindfully practicing one thing or another, spending about a month or two on each thing. So I compiled a list of things I'D like to practice, and promised myself I would spend time each day working on that. So far so good.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Approaching Apples

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I've been working on paintings for my May show, and decided to include a few still lifes. Once I started down that road I found new inspiration, which was great! I'm so glad I took a break from it for a while. My show will now include still life, cityscape, figurative, & floral. All larger than my norm. This will be my first show in 7 years! More details on the gallery/reception later. Meanwhile this is a little guy just for you.

This afternoon I fly to Tucson to attend the plein air convention. If you're going, please find me and say hi!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Old Taos

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When I first arrived in Taos (omg, was this trip weeks ago already?!) I was a bit daunted by the bare trees. I hadn't painted many of them before, so I was unclear how to go about it. And were they even pretty, I asked myself? But then I started to groove on their branches and subtle gray lights and darks. I loved using them as close-up compositional elements, like a frame for this old Taos abode.

BTW, my spell-check says compositional is not a word. Am I crazy??

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Valley of Fire

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I'm going backwards here, returning to a painting a did when I was in Nevada last month. Or was it the month before? At any rate, this was from Valley of Fire, the only place I was able to paint during the entire month out (camping with my family). I re-worked it quite a bit once home. I was especially unhappy with the foreground. I'm finding that my flat brushes don't work well for foliage. So I got a long filbert and went to town with these little bushes.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Taos Grays and Blues

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This is from Taos, where I recently painted for 5 days with some fabulous artist friends (L to R: Lori Putnam, myself, Mark Fehlman, Larry Moore, Paul & Tia Kratter). It was early spring, cold, and gray was the dominant color. I actually changed this one a lot when I got home, and I'm much happier with it now. It will need to be varnished when it's completely dry.

In addition to the Taos trip, I've also been in Texas for about 10 days, visiting family and friends. Now I'm home & painting furiously for my May show before I head off to Tucson next week.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Red Rock in Shadow

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This is from Valley of Fire, in Nevada, which is the only place I got to paint on our big family trip I posted about last time. It was here we had THE BEST CAMPSITE EVER! And it was great because it was right in the middle of these very cool rocks. So all I had to do was roll out of the camper in the morning, walk about 50 yards, set up, and paint. This was about halfway through our trip, so the boys were ready for some downtime (no hiking).

Sunday, March 13, 2016

I Choose Yellow

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This may be the longest I've gone without posting in the last 9 years - almost a whole month. But we had a GREAT time on our trip! I did a few paintings, though far less than I expected. I took lots of photos and video and have posted a few images and a short synopsis of our trip on this blog.

I have a few days at home and then I'm off on another trip. Yep. And then another after that. So much for daily painting, for now!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Half-lit Rose

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Our big trip (to parts south and east) was postponed just a tad. Our son got sick and is finally better today. The new plan is to leave tomorrow morning (Tuesday).

Meanwhile, here's a glow-y rose. I've said this before, but I really have the best luck putting in those glow-y colors (if they're there) first (the reds and oranges in this case) and then putting everything else on top of and around them.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Dog Eared Rose

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I did a couple of paintings in a row that were complete disasters (wiped), so I decided to return to a familiar subject. Often that is the only thing I can do to get my confidence back so I feel like I can tackle other things again. Otherwise I just wallow in the horrible feeling of "I've lost it." Ugh. Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good about this one. I love the pokey-outy petal on the right.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


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This is a scene from downtown Seattle. I lived there for a year when I was about 16, and spent many weekends downtown, exploring. It was lovely returning for a photo shoot last summer.

In other news, I've got to let you know about an upcoming trip, because it means I won't be able to ship paintings for a while. We are projected to leave this Sunday, heading south. We will be visiting a number of state and national parks, making a big circle of CA, AZ, UT, NV, and back to OR. This is primarily a family (worldschool) trip, but I am (again) hoping to fit some painting in. I am also hoping to blog about our trip on this other blog, as we go. We will be gone 2 - 4 weeks, depending on the weather and how much fun we're having. I apologize for any inconvenience!

After Sunday, the latest I will start shipping again is Monday, March 7th.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Cozy Parking

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I've been experimenting with different methods lately, and this painting is kind of a mish-mash of different things. I started with a block-in (which isn't my normal way), but then fell back on my island/ocean approach for the windows and bright red of the house. My goal is to find a happy balance of the two, since I like them both for different reasons. And though I like this painting, I still don't have the answer. My fear is that there IS no perfect balance. That every painting calls for a different, unique approach. And that I will be constantly seeking. Is that good or bad? I don't know.