Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Black Gouache

gouache and colored pencil
8" x 14"

I like the dramatic look that a black background can give a drawing or painting. One of the drawbacks to colored pencil, though, is the time and effort that goes into creating a really dark background. This is my first effort at using gouache and colored pencil together. I first drew my composition in lightly with graphite. Then I painted the background with black gouache. Finally, I used colored pencil to "paint" in the orchids. This was done on illustration board. I really liked the richness that the gouache gave to the black background and the time-saving. (It went much, much faster than colored pencil would have.) The only thing that I didn't like was trying to draw with colored pencil on the illustration board. It just didn't handle as well as the Stonehenge paper that I'm accustomed to drawing on. Next time, I might just get brave enough to do the entire painting in gouache...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More Pansies

"Pansy Bud 3"
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

"Pansy 4"
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

Friday, October 7, 2011

Consequences of Success

"Pansy Bud"
oil on gallery-wrapped canvas
5" x 7"

"Pansy Bud II"
oil on gallery-wrapped canvas
6" x 6"

I painted the first painting shown here earlier this week. The second one was painted yesterday. When I got finished with it, I was saying to myself "Wow! Did I just do that?" Apparently, the stars lined up right - I chose the right background color and got the colors and contrast right, capturing the sense of brilliant light on the flower bud. In case you can't tell, I'm very pleased with this last one! Yes, my reference photo was good, but trust me, the painting ended up being better than the photo.

I suspect that I'm not alone in my initial reaction to success. Whether it's producing a better-than-my-average piece of art or winning an award, my first thought is "Yay!", but the second thought usually is "Will I be able to repeat this, or better yet, top it?" As artists, we want to believe that our best work has yet to be created. It's a paradox - we strive to produce our very best painting and always hope that the particular piece we just completed wasn't it.

Success can sometimes make you feel that you are at a good stopping point. I must admit, I haven't picked up my paint brushes today, choosing instead to putter around some and do some housework that was easy enough to ignore earlier this week. But, I know that I'll be back at it - I must, it's what I do. And I think for the moment sadly on the death of Steve Jobs this week. Now there was a man who never let past success keep him from pursuing future successes! Thank you, Steve, for your example to us all.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Return to the Dark

oil on linen panel
7" x 5"

I came across this quince fruit at my local Wal-Mart supercenter. I really liked the bright yellow-green color of it and thought "This will look great on a pink background." I was so wrong... It didn't look good with any of the pastel colored backgrounds that I've been using lately for my small fruit paintings. So I returned to the use of a dark backdrop and that worked to make the color of the fruit really stand out. I had fun with the box as well - see the nail head on top? That was my favorite part of the whole painting to do!

Friday, September 30, 2011

More Fruit, Including Pluots!

"Flavor Grenade"
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

"Pluots on the Block"
oil on linen panel
5" x 7"

"Gala Half"
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

I've fallen behind in my posting - here's some work from this past week. The fruit in the first two paintings are two varieties of pluots. "What is a pluot?", you may be asking. According to Wikapedia, pluot is the tradename for complex hybrid crosses of plums and apricots. (They are more like plums than apricots - the crosses which result in fruit more similar to apricots are naturally referred to apriums.) And yes, the variety name for the first one is "Flavor Grenade". I didn't think that I could improve on that one, so I used it as the title. You can now rest easy today - you've probably learned something new even if it is rather useless info!

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Fruit

"Granny Smith Half"
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

Here's my newest fruit painting...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coffee Break

"Coffee Break"
oil on canvas
10" x 10"

My newest painting - I had a lot of fun painting this one. I've painted donuts before, but the spoon was a new experience for me as well as the overhead view of the coffee cup. I was particularly proud of the subtle cast shadow on the surface of the coffee. Can you see it?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

More Fruit, More Color

"Plum Half"
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

"Peach Half"
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

Here's my two newest fruit paintings. I am really enjoying playing around with the different colored backgrounds. I'm not sure what else to say... so, I'm off to paint some more...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

One and a Half Pears

oil on canvas
6" x 6"

"Pear Half"
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

Two new small alla prima paintings from this week. I'm really enjoying playing around with the color in the background on these. I bought a package of pastel colored card stock at my local Wal-Mart. I'm simply using the sheets of card stock behind and underneath my subjects. I particularly loved how the cut pear looks with the blue background. I think that I'm just getting started with these!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Painting What I Know

"Sunny Side Up"
oil on canvas
5" x 7"

Now that I've finished up my cat paintings, I'm returning to still life. I want to spend some time, though, exploring other subjects besides the pottery and fruit that I use so much. The art books always encourage us to paint what we know and I decided that one thing I know quite well is food, breakfast in particular. (I could eat breakfast three times a day and be quite content.) A couple of years ago, I stumbled across Oriana Kacicek's blog. She is a very talented daily painter who often uses food as her subject matter. One of the things that I really like about her paintings is her color choice for her backgrounds. Visit her blog and you'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Last of the Cats

"The Lawn King"
oil on canvas
8" x 10"

oil on canvas
7" x 14"

Here's my last two cat paintings for the animal rescue event at Artifacts Gallery. These paintings as well as other animal (and non-animal) art will be offered for sale at this Eureka Springs gallery during the month of September, with 15% of the sales going to an animal rescue organization. Please visit their website for more information.

The kitten in the grass was a particular challenge. My reference photo of the kitten was taken at our local humane society. The little tyke was posing on carpet. I wanted to place him in a backyard setting, so when I got home, I borrowed one of my daughter's stuffed animals and took photos of it "posed" in my backyard. I was a bit intimidated when I started tackling the grass in the painting. I tried not to get too obsessive-compulsive on the grass details since the kitten needed to be the focus. All-in-all, I'm pleased with how it came out.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cats, Kittens, and More Cats!

"I'm Listening"
oil on canvas
8" x 10"

I'm taking a break this month from drawing and from still lifes by painting cat and kitten portraits. Artifacts gallery in Eureka Springs, AR, is hosting "Artifacts for Animals" during the month of September. I'm joining with some other artists to contribute 15% of the sale price on our work to selected animal shelter and animal rescue groups. I decided to focus in on kitty cats and took several reference photos from our local animal shelter (The Humane Society of Independence County). Our local shelter has an overabundance of grey striped tabbies, so I've turned to friends and family and the public domain to get a more varied supply of reference photos.

The way that the contributions will work is that there will be a list of organizations and the person purchasing the work will be able to select which group they want to benefit from their purchase. The plan is for all of these animal paintings to be on Artifacts' website so internet sales will be possible for individuals who would like to make a purchase, but can't make it to Eureka Springs.

Below is another painting that I've completed for the show. I'm having writer's block on the title other than the obvious "Butterfly and Kitten". I welcome title suggestions! This little guy, by the way is at our local shelter waiting for a home...

"Butterfly and Kitten"
oil on canvas
14" x 7"

Saturday, July 23, 2011


"Still Life with Pebble"
colored pencil
12" x 12"

Here's a new colored pencil work, just completed earlier this week. My dictionary defines serendipity as "the making of pleasant discoveries by accident". When I was setting up this still life, one of the little flower buds got knocked off and landed about where I've placed the small pebble. Although I had a very formal composition in mind when I was placing my objects, I noticed the flower bud and liked what it brought to the composition. I switched it out with a small, red pebble which now has star billing in the title.

Since my last posting, I've learned that my colored pencil work "Red Pears at Play" has been accepted into the 6th Annual Juried Exhibition of the International Guild of Realism. This year's show will be held at the Sage Creek Gallery in Santa Fe, NM beginning September 30th.

Also, I have a colored pencil drawing ("Pears and Squares") in the 2nd Annual Spectacular Colored Pencil Exhibition at the Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. This show is sponsored by the Oklahoma District Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America. I learned recently that I won third place in this show.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Back at Work

"Creamer and Shells"
graphite and colored pencil
5" x 9 1/4"

I'm back at home and back at work now after vacationing in Charleston last week. We had a great time visiting our son. I was able to drag my husband down to the historic district one day and visit several art galleries. The highlight of the day was visiting Robert Lange Studios. I've admired his paintings for quite some time and it was wonderful to see them in person. There are several other great artists in that gallery including Ali Cavanaugh and Kerry Brooks.

Above is my latest little colored pencil. It's another experiment of using graphite and colored pencil together. I tried seven ways from Sunday to get a good photo of it. This was the best I could do, but it really doesn't show off the subtle colors in the shells and pottery very well.

"XOX Stack"
oil on linen panel
7" x 5"


If you've been following my blog, then you know that I've started doing some of the Daily Paintworks Challenges. I've missed out on several of the latest challenges, but this is one that I did for the Balance Challenge.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Work, New Gallery

"Mangoes and Pitcher"
colored pencil
14" x 14"

Here's my latest colored pencil drawing, just finished up this morning. I've had this pitcher for a couple of years and this was my first time to use it. I really enjoyed drawing it - makes me look forward to getting to those other pieces of pottery that I have which are also waiting for their debut in a still life setup. I've been taking a bit of a break from art lately. I've been enjoying some time with my youngest daughter before she heads to Thailand for the rest of the summer. I won't be back to work full time until July - other relatives are dropping in and we've got a visit planned with my oldest son.

I am pleased to announce that I am now represented by Artifacts, a new gallery in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The gallery has been open for a couple of weeks, but the ribbon cutting and opening reception will be Friday, June 10th from 6-9. I'll be in attendance along with most of the other artists. If you are in the area, drop in and say hi! If you are in Eureka Springs the next day, stop by 83 Spring Street Gallery where my daughter Allison will be having a show of her small works.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Hairy" Painting

"Steady Gaze"
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

Here's my newest little painting. This was done for the Daily Paintworks Weekly Challenge. It's been fun to do these challenges each week. As a still life artist, it's good to get out of my comfort zone and try something different. I have drawn cats before, but never painted one. It was a little "hairy" at first, trying to decide how to start. I finally decided to start with the eyes after getting a loose sketch down. It was fun to "brush" on that fur! Ok.. .enough puns for now...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Paint Your Veggies!

oil on canvas
6" x 6"


This is a little oil that I did yesterday for the Daily Paintworks Challenge. This week's challenge is to paint a vegetable from life. I really enjoyed doing this one. This was my first painting after taking Jonathan Aller's online lesson mentioned in my last post. It was a bit more challenging since I was working from life instead of a photo, but the principles of paint application were the same.

I received good news this past weekend. My colored pencil piece, Cherries, Grapes, and Plums (pictured above), is in the 122nd Annual Member's Exhibition of the National Association of Women Artist currently on exhibit at the Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Gallery in New York. I received a letter Saturday informing me that it had been awarded the first place award in the works on paper category.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Continuing Education

oil on canvas
7" x 5"

A few weeks ago, I ran across the blog of artist Jonathan Aller. I really liked his alla prima paintings, so when I saw that he was offering an online painting course, I sent an email to find out more. To make a short story even shorter, I just did his first lesson this week. It consisted of painting the above pear in six steps. Jonathan provided written directions outlining the steps as well as videos showing him painting the same subject every step of the way. As I completed each step of the painting myself, I sent him a photo of my progress and he gave me feedback on how I was doing. What I really liked is that he uses a painting method that is very much like drawing. Now, how cool is that?

Tea and Hydrangeas
colored pencil
18" x 18"

I'm very happy to announce that my colored pencil drawing, Tea and Hydrangeas, has been accepted into the Colored Pencil Society of America's 19th Annual International Juried Exhibition. This will make my third CPSA International show to participate in which means that I'll be awarded signature status. The show and convention will be held in Dallas in July.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mango and More

oil on linen panel
4" x 6"

"Monday Morning, 7:40"
colored pencil and graphite
10" x 16"

At the top is a little oil which I did today. I painted it from life, with just natural light from the window falling on it. (Yay for no thunderstorms today!) I was pleased with how it turned out.

Also pictured is my latest drawing. This one is colored pencil and graphite. I set this one up on a Sunday evening with a strong light on the left side of the still life. I was intending to do it just in graphite. Early the next morning, I happened to walk into my studio and literally caught my breath - there was a soft light from the window falling on the cups and linen. That's when I decided to try this in graphite and colored pencil and try to capture the soft subtle lighting and color that had so taken me by surprise.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


"Keeping in Touch"
oil on linen panel
7" x 5"


I mentioned in my last post that I am wanting to do more daily paintings, partly due to being inspired by the Daily Paintworks site. On the DPW site, they are now posting weekly challenges for artists to encourage us to try something new. This week's challenge was to paint the above lady. Artists who do the challenge can post their work to the site. It's fun and educational to see so many different interpretations of the same reference photo. This was my first attempt at figure painting - I've done some figures in pencil, but never paint. It was fun (until I got to her hands!) Click here to see all the different paintings of the "NYC Lady Challenge".

I also mentioned in an earlier post about my framing mishap with some recent miniature work. (I picked out frames which ended up being too big for the requirements of the show that I was going to enter.) I've decided to offer some of these pieces on ebay. Click here to see my ebay auctions.

And if you are wondering when I'll post a new drawing - it will be tomorrow. I just finished up one today but still need to get photos of it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Little Flower, Big News

Lenten Rose II
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

This is a small painting of one of my favorite little garden flowers - the Lenten Rose. I've been inspired by the Daily Paintworks site and am determined to paint on a regular basis. I do enjoy taking a break from my larger drawings to do these little paintings. I'll be offering them on ebay as I get them done.

I received some big news a few weeks back that I hadn't posted in my blog yet. As I shared last fall, I was a finalist in The Artist's Magazine's 2010 competition. A small handful of finalists are selected to be featured in the magazine's Competition Spotlight throughout the year. My colored pencil drawing Red Pears at Play was chosen to be in the June 2011 issue of the magazine. Click here to see it in The Artist's Magazine's blog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Waterlilies

Balboa Park Lily 2
oil on canvas
24" x 18"

I've had a severe posting lapse. My apologies. Above is another, larger waterlily painting which I painted last month (or maybe in February? - time flies). This one will be in the May Realism show at M. A. Doran gallery in Tulsa.

While I've not been posting, I have still been making art. I painted/drew four miniature works last month. I was doing them for a particular miniature show in Washington state which takes place later this month. Unfortunately, I didn't pay close enough attention to the show requirements. After I got them back from the framer's I realized that all of the frames were a tad bigger than what the rules allowed. Shucks!

Monday, February 7, 2011


Pomegranate and Pitchers
colored pencil'
18" x 34"

If you heard a shout about 10:00 on Monday morning, it was me yelling "Done!" I started this large drawing back before Christmas. I had to set it aside over the holidays and just started back on it about two weeks ago.

It's now on to the other two works in progress that were put away before Christmas as well. Neither one is as large as this one, so hopefully I'll be posting again in the near future with another completed drawing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pears, Singled and Paired

No Fun Being a Single Pear
8" x 12"

This is a new graphite drawing that I just finished up. It bears a striking resemblance to a previous drawing of mine (The Crush) because this setup came from the same "photo shoot". I don't think that I will ever get tired of drawing pears. There's just something about their shape that really appeals to me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Back to Work

Balboa Park Lily
oil on canvas
8" x 16"

Well the holidays are over and I'm back to work now. We had a great Christmas with a house full of kids. Four young people pretty much fill up our three bedroom home, especially since one of those bedrooms doubles as my studio. I got some painting done, in between the cooking and eating. Above is my latest painting. It is from a reference photo that I took way back last May when my husband and I traveled to San Diego. While he was stuck in meetings, I did some sightseeing which included a trip to Balboa park. Unfortunately, the Botanical Building was closed while I was there, but the lily pond in front of the building was in full bloom. I hope to do some more paintings of the waterlilies from there - I took lots of photos (love those 4GB SDHC cards!)

I just heard from the National Association of Women Artists that my graphite drawing The Crush was selected for their National Small Works Exhibit which will be in New York City next month. One of my goals for this new year is to create more graphite works, so this is a welcome "green light" to my plans.