Monday, December 21, 2015

Bucket of Sunshine and Tip #7

Back to oil painting after commissions, and large watercolors. This is an experiment in color. The background is transparent darks, chosen to read as distance in the painting. The foreground flowers, leaves and pot have all been painted over a transparent color. All have been overpainted with mixtures that have some opaque paint in them.

My tip today is another great book. I have loved reading "The Oil Painting Course You've Always Wanted" by Kathleen Lochen Staiger.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Eye on the Elf and another tip

Eye on the Elf/ watercolor/5.5 x 8/ $75
Purchase here
Sorry again for the lighting. This is on a white background (except the upper right corner).

Another tip for you is Carolyn Anderson's blog. If you subscribe, you won't miss her thoughtful, well written but not frequent posts.Start with this one (link). This one is titled "Four Ridiculously Simple Ways to Improve your Painting". I think for painters, this one is worth printing out and posting in your studio. Only six more shopping days.... (and days to complete the tip list..)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tip Five of 2015 Twelve Days

Santa 2015/ oil on board/ 8 x 10/
Think this is SOLD
Here is the final painting. I like the loose brushwork on this one.

I also like the colors which reminds me of today's tip.

One of best books to improve and reinforce how to paint color is:  "How to See Color and Paint It" by Arthur Stern. This book outlines a series of painting exercises. If you complete these exercises, I am certain that you will see an improvement in your own painting.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Tip Four of 2015 Twelve Days

                                                                                  This is my present small painting. Can you tell what this will be from the block in?
If you look carefully,  you can see a faint outline sketch in light blue.
Tip four of my twelve days is the  Ultramarine Middle Blue Strabilo CarbOthello 1400/430  Pastel Pencil. Here is a link. This pastel pencil's marks melt in the overlaid oil paint (unlike many other marks which continue to show beneath thin paint).

Friday, December 4, 2015

Tip Three of 2015 Twelve Days

Hummer Sketch #2/ watercolor/ 5 x 7/ $75
Purchase here
Another little hummingbird sketch while I complete seasonal commission and large paintings for upcoming show deadlines.

As promised, my third tip is to read this wonderful essay about neutral color by Lori Putnam (link). This blog post is part of a collection of fantastic blog posts which are full of information (and may fill out my tip collection) that Lori curated in October. If you like this post, scroll through October and read them all.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tip 2 of 2015 Twelve Days

I am a messy painter. Often I find interesting colors on my face, in my hair, definitely on the backs of my hands at the end of the day. I took care of my clothes. I adopted what has been attributed to Joe Miller  (Cheap Joe). I (like Joe) have two sets of clothes: one set has paint on it and the other set is going to have paint on it. For the clothes that I prefer undecorated (yet),  this is the best product to make that possible.
 It is available here:

It is truly amazing. It has removed fresh and dried oil paint from many types of clothing (my students and their families have used almost an entire jar). Please don't order this if you are a painting friend: it may ruin your Christmas gift!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tip One of 2015 Twelve Days

This is an image of a "View Catcher" from Dick Blick at  This year, I learned to use the holes that, on mine, are both on the slide and in the corner of the frame.  Looking at an isolated area of a lit setup through these holes, framed by the midvalue grey, allows for an accurate assessment of the color of an area of the still life object. For example, instead of "thinking" of the "red" of the apple, you are able to accurately see the "blue red" in the shadow, the "orange-red" in the light etc. You can also mix your paint and look through the hole  and directly compare a knife loaded with your mixture to the piece of the object you are painting. Asking yourself then if your mixture is the correct value or intensity, you can correct your paint mixture, re compare and place the correct color onto your painting in the correct location. This means that you paint what you "see" not what you "think you see". Try it and see how much your paintings improve. You can make a "color isolator" by painting a midvalue grey onto a square piece of mat board and punching a central hole. The advantage of the View catcher, is that the slide also allows you to "frame" a scene. This will allow you to plan a composition or to create a more accurate block in or placement sketch.

This little painting of a "Plover from Sylvan Heights" was juried into the 2015 Women Painters of the Southeast National Exhibition. The show opens this spring and I will post details later.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Day Six Favorite Subjects

Duck Study/ watercolor/6 x 11/

This little watercolor again is not in the best light: same size issues as the previous post..

Since I missed posting yesterday and it remains overcast today, I thought that it would be better t post with apologies for the lighting.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Favorite Subjects Day Five

Budgie Study #2/ watercolor/ 10.5 x 6/ $75
Purchase here
This is not a well lit photograph of this little painting. This painting is a little too large for my phototube and it was too cloudy to improve the lighting by photographing outside.

Never-the-less, this is a bright little blue budgie from Sylvan Heights' Landing Zone. As this series continues, you can see that birds are some of my favorite subjects.

My painting "Lean In" is presently hanging at the Kansas 2015 International Watercolor Exhibition.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Day Four: Favorite Subjects

This is one of my recent commissions. Most of the other commissions are Christmas surprises so I can't share them. My first drawings as a child were of horses so painting them now is a great pleasure

Today is Thanksgiving. I hope it is as beautiful where you are as it is here,

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day 3 Favorite Subjects

Hummer Study #1/ watercolor/ 5 x 7/ $75
Purchase here
This little ruby throated hummingbird arrives at my feeder first every year. Although he is smaller than other hummers that come later, he stakes out his special feeder, reminds me when it is empty or moldy and stares through my kitchen window.

Hope you are ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Day Two Favorite Subjects

Rabbit Study/ watercolor/ 8.5 x7/ $75
Purchase here

This is a small rabbit that lives out back. It has beautiful thick fur, likely the effect of the nutritious flowers that it enjoys seasonally.
The softness of its fur is a challenge to paint. This softness is only approximately by the merging of edges which is accomplished with wet into wet washes.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Day 1 of Favorite Subjects

Budgie Study #1/ unmatted watercolor10.5 x 6.75/ $75
Purchase here
I have been busy working on commissions and submissions for the end of 2015. Finally, I am ready to add twelve of my favorite subjects and then my annual 12 in 12 tips or favorite finds.
Day One is a small watercolor of a budgie from Sylvan Heights Landing Zone. I painted this same image with a contrasting slightly greyed purple background. I expected the this unsuccessful background (the complimentary color to yellow and a greyed hue) to make the yellow "glow". Unfortunately, this wasn't the effect.  Therefore, I repainted this little bird with all jewel tones to give the effect of bright sunshine. The full value range (from white to the darkest dark) also creates the effect of illumination. In addition, the blurred edges soften the image and made it less "stuck-on" and believable.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Little Apple Study

Little Apple Study/ oil on board/ 4 x4 / $75
Purchase here
A small apple to add to my study of "glow".
Hopefully, tomorrow (certainly by next week) I will have a series of favorite subjects (hummingbirds, chicken, rabbits, cows and fish) are on my list.

Hope you might see something you like. Then you might gift it to yourself!! Off to paint!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Painting Food: Suggestions for a Class

This is the latest fruit in my study of "glow". This one was overpainted with a knife to add textural interest.

I have been asked to give a workshop in February at Blount Bridgers in Tarboro. This will be in association with an exhibition of Hobson Pttman's paintings of food. Therefore, I have been asked to teach about painting food. Food is often my still life subject of choice (it stays still, doesn't complain about the hot light it has to sit under and comes in great colors).

I have started to think about what might be the most interesting class.
I have been allowed great latitude.

To think about this, I goggled some of the images of Hobson Pittman's still life paintings of food. The two lower images remind me of Charles Demuth's food still life watercolors which like Pittman's have beautiful design and rich areas of color.
While I decide on this class, if you might be interested in attending and have requests, please let me know. I have to have a class description and supply list soon so that the workshop might be "gifted" for Christmas.

Hobson Pittman oil painting of pears

Image result for images Hobson Pittman
Hobson Pittman Nasturtiums and Onions

Image result for images Hobson Pittman
Hobson Pitttman Orange Slices No II

Friday, November 6, 2015

Continuing Exploration of Glow

I have been busy working on commission paintings for Christmas (which I cannot, therefore, share)
When I get a chance, I am still exploring "glow". This is a pomelo which is the size of a grapefruit but lime green on the outside and pink inside. My reading suggests that the best neutral to use as a background color is a greyed violet... more to come.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Glow: First Studies in Oil

I recently discovered the beautiful work of Karen O'Neil. My favorites are her paintings that glow. This little study was inspired by her citrus slices. I learned (under the last layer seen) that the best background colors must not distract from the clean "lit" high intensity areas to achieve the best effect.

I then set up backlit orange and lemon pieces and worked on a different background choice.

Backlighting causes a bright area of reflected color on the tablecloth. Again, many layers of colors were scraped on and off the background here. I can feel a series coming to work this out!

I added the Pay Pal Button for 2016 calendars. If you would rather a different way to reserve/pay for yours, let me know. I am happy to report that they are already finding new homes. THANK YOU!

Monday, October 26, 2015

2016 Calendar is in the works

2016 calendar is printing now. It will be $29.95.
NC state tax added will make it: $31.31 for NC residents. Shipping/Handling to US by Priority Mail: $7.15: total $37.10 if out of state
or $38.46 if shipped to an NC resident

I will work on a Pay Pal Button to add to this post.
I can send a customized Pay Pal button by e mail if you send your e mail address to discount for shipping to single addresses, or you can reserve a calendar and bring a check when you pick yours up.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Last Zinnias

Last Zinnias/ oil on board/ 8 x 8/

These are the last zinnias (and cosmos) from my garden this year and I just had to try and paint them between commissions.

I am also working on creating a calendar for 2016...details soon

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Horse Study

Horse Study/ oil on gesso board/ 8 x 6/ Low Country

September has been a busy month!
I enjoyed a workshop of fabulous new students that are all now enrolled in weekly ongoing classes. Plus, I have been involved in the organizational details of a local art sale with several brand new artists that will occur this week. I expect once the sale is done that I will resume more regular on line updates. I have been obsessed (again) with understanding color. I am wondering whether to post some of that information here. Alternatively,  I have been asked about a possible class at Nash Arts. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

This little painting is of a horse that I saw on a day collecting images with Sharon Thorp earlier this summer. The format of the painting was inspired by a painting I saw on line of a commissioned hose portrait. I loved the unfinished look.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sunflower Study #

Sunflowers Study #2/ oil on gesso board/ 8 x 8/ SOLD

I have not had a chance to paint and post lately. That is not to say that I have not painted. In fact, I have painted things that I love. However they are large watercolors that I shall offer at the upcoming sale or submit  to upcoming juried exhibitions. I have also painted studies. Some of these are working on seeing and painting color and others are requirements for my on line class assignments.
Today, though, I completed another sunflowers study. The filler flowers are butterfly bushes. I loved the interplay of colors in this one.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Little Gull Sketch

Gull Sketch/ oil on board/ 4 x 4/ Low Country

A sketch of a gull at the beach. I had small pails in the composition but they were distracting. I would have known this if I would have done a thumbnail value sketch....
I will offer this, though I plan on re doing it with more finish.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Sunshine!/ oil on board/ 7 x 5/ SOLD

I was working on "glow" to give the feeling of this glorious summer day in this small painting. I hope many of you are packing for a long beach weekend and have great weather,  just like the day this little one enjoyed!

This is my post for Day 3 of Leslie Saeta's Challenge (link) and I have to go paint to get ready for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sunflower Study #1

Sunflower Study #1/ oil on gesso board/ 8 x 8/ SOLD

I am finally painting again. However, my calendar has not caught up. I planned on participating in Leslie Saeta's September 30 Paintings in Thirty Day Challenge (link) and I totally missed Day 1. Here is my first painting.This is a study of sunflowers in a loose squared-stroke style.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Back From the Beach and New Colors

Beach Study #2 reworked/ oil on canvas on board/ 6 x 13/ Low Country

You may remember this painting. I reworked it adding some better greens in the dunes and a cleaner, bluer sky color. These changes were inspired by a recent visit (and great images... painted soon?..) to Folly Beach. In addition, I have been reading and learning about painting color (again). My mom will have surgery in a couple of days so I will be away for a little while.

My sister found this. I love it
There is a powerful exercise, quite simple , which I began to use many, many years ago.
Who would I have met on the way , be it a person or an insect , the first thought that I assume with respect to this point: "I wish you happiness ! " But most importantly, that this idea was indeed the very first , "I wish you happiness ."
It completely changes on what is going on between you and that person.
I say this from personal experience .
Sometimes it's very difficult when you meet the enemy when you find yourself face to face with an unexpected tough situation ...
And at this point you get an opportunity to create more space around you ... You see how it pops up this negative emotion , and before it will take "up" over you , you have time to convert it ... You see everything as it is: that's evident ignorance ; anger - not that other, as ignorance from my side, from their side..
Convert him, let go , turn into love.
Try it and see how much everything will change in your life . "
~ Richard Gere

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sunshine at the Beach

Sunshine at the Beach/ oil on board/ 7 x 5/ Low Country

So, here is the story about this painting and HOW it was painted. I received a beautiful image of a little person at the beach SIMILAR to this one.
I thought, since I love painting children in the sunshine, and have done many (from behind) at the beach, that this would be a commission that I could accept and accomplish. I agreed to a 7 x 5 size. I prepped the board with a beautiful bright pink acrylic underpainting. I then began the painting. Although there are only small face elements, my brush facility and tiny plane changes needs work. Soon, the little person had a new identity. Furthermore, her beach attire didn't work compositionally with my painting. I allowed the painting to decide on new bright colors and a new little person. The tiny squares of color also evolved with the painting. Sometimes this happens: the painting takes over. I think this little painting is full of happiness and I am grateful for more lessons learned.

P.S. I painted the commission piece (with a reasonable likeness) in watercolor with her original beach wear.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Small Flower Sketch

I heard an apt description of becoming an artist last week. I have to search out the source to give due credit. Unfortunately, my memory especially for names, is rusting lately. This person said that learning to paint was like a spiral: create a beautiful piece and then slide right back to the beginning with wipes and poor results: restart the climb forward to another success and then slip right back down the loop. I like this. It suggests that progress is steadily forward despite the necessary backsliding as you learn and grow.
This is a little warm  up for a larger painting using bright colors and loose brush strokes.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Instagram Camping

I painted this from an instagram photo from my nephew.  For those of you who know me, you know I believe what Cheap Joe (Joe Miller) told a friend of mine. He said that he had two sets of clothes: one set that HAD paint on them and the other set that was GOING to have paint on them. I get paint everywhere, so I paint in my throw away clothes that are now completely decorated. Which brings me to the instagram photo and the new additions to my phone....
I hope my nephew appreciates my sacrifice...

Monday, July 27, 2015

Eggplant Studies

My garden now has some beautiful eggplants which I love to paint. Here is watercolor study. The water bleeds suggest the highlights. The soft edges and warm/ cool color changes contribute to the illusion of round form.

Here is the same eggplant, turned on its side, painted in oil, The round form is created using soft edges and warm/cool temperature shifts. The bright highlight is the lightest blue color.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Companions and Value Mapping

This is the source photo for a value exercise and then a painting. After converting this image to grey scale, I drew the shapes that could be separated and assigned a value using the Munsell system where white is "9".

If you squint, you will notice that some of the areas merge together. For example, the side of the shoe and some of the dog's legs are the same value as the sidewalk. Therefore, these shapes merge. I think this drawing of the defined values is more interesting than the source photo.

I wanted the dog walk to be at the beach, so the colors had to change. Plus I wanted a more investing diagonal separating the sand and the water. So far, the values pattern in the painting does not match the plan. The dog legs and the shoe edge that I was so happy with are a different value than the sand so I will work on these areas and see if the dog becomes less "cut out"

Companions/ oil on canvas board/ 6 x 13/ Low Country

Most of the value changes in this version were darkening the beach. As always, it is so interesting to see how changing one color affects others around it. For example, the blue is the same and yet it looks darker to me in this new version. The dog seems to be moving more here as well. Ready for the next exercise

Friday, July 24, 2015

Out Wandering

Out Wandering/ oil on canvas on board/ 7 x 13/ SOLD

I started a new class. We began with values. My assignments this lesson included converting master paintings to grey scale, creating both a 5 and 9 value grey scale  and then taking photographs, simplifying them and assigning vales to the simplified images. With value on my mind, I worked on some of the problems I had been having with this little study and was delighted to find solutions,

Here are my value scales. Next post I'll show my source photo, value pattern and the study I did.

These were painted on old mat board on which I had applied quick layer of gesso. Not beautiful but cheap and it works.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Out of the Garden

out of the Garden/ oil on canvas board/ 6 x 16/

The garden is starting to have regular veggies now. Some are "shared" with the backyard critters, if I get out late.
This painting had several backgrounds that worked less well than this grey and grey blue. Interesting to me was how nicely the blue made the reds "pop". I have new glass jars arriving soon.....

Monday, July 20, 2015

Small Studies

"Moo are you?"/ oil on canvas board/ 6 x 8/ SOLD
Purchase here
I am working on small studies. After debuting on line, some will look for forever homes via galleries in South Carolina or by way of a sale here in September. Some will be gifted and some will likely be overpainted or adjusted.
I wish I had photographed these as I struggled to correct what I thought would work (and clearly didn't) but improved by altering color(s).

Donuts for breakfast/ oil on board/ 5 x 5

Peach Study/ oil on canvas board/ 5.25 x 5.25

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Beach Study #2

I am just home from visiting Portland where my sister Kate Church (link) was teaching at NAIDA and my daughter Martha Grant (link) is a free lance artist. We made a day trip to Seattle to see my painting at the NWWS International Exhibition and stopped by the wonderful Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibition.
Now, almost back on East coast time and rested from sleep deprivation on the trip, I am painting again.

Beach Study #2/ oil on canvas board/ reworked

Here is the second of a series of beach paintings I am working on.
I love the grass on North Carolina beaches and all the colors in the sand.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Zinnia Study #3

Zinnia Study #3/ oil on board/ 8 x 8/ Low Country

Fishing Creek Flowers are always beautiful, healthy and inspirational for painting. I am continuing to work on bright color and the flowers belonging or merging into background. This is the third one I have done.