Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ocean Motion

                                "Ocean Motion" 2013 20x60" 
                               oil on gallery wrapped canvas

I had barely started this painting when the title, "Ocean Motion", came to mind. I was dancing my palette knife across the 20x60" canvas in great swoops and swooshes of colors reminiscent of the sea, so it's quite a fitting title.

My dilemma, when doing an abstract, is to keep it simple. Keep the idea flowing but not get caught up in representation. The title could have sunk the whole painting if I hadn't stopped when I ran out of ideas and left the painting to wait for 4 more days while I thought about it and thought about it. There were, I'll admit, lots of hand wringing, hair rending moments when I thought I might just have to call in reinforcements for guidance. But, in the end, I tricked myself into getting back to it by saying, "I'll just work on this one spot of green that's bugging me".

I know, if you're wondering what my process is, just writing that last little bit isn't going to help you understand how I was able to come to a finish. It actually was a matter of painting too much of something that didn't jibe with the rest of the painting, because the strokes were short and choppy, then coming back in with my palette knife and mixing them all together. Finally, to include elements of sea foam, I brought in the mixes of white at the bottom and declared it done. Still need to sign it.

                                             The start

                                                                  Next day

                                                              The Finish

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Invest in Art

Rather than make this post about any particular bit of art making I've been up to, I thought it was time to discuss buying art.

7 years ago, I fell in love with a painting on Pablo Taboada's website and then actually met the artist several months later. I asked him if he still had the painting and he pulled it out of storage for me to look at. It was as gorgeous as it looked on his website, so I immediately asked him if he'd do a payment plan. I'd only recently read that some artists and galleries will do that, so I took a chance and he agreed!
Then, he did something special...he discounted the painting $500 because he said that I hadn't asked the price. A high muckeymuck's wife had also liked that painting but tried to talk him down in price, which is an insult to the artist. My approach definitely won me favors and the most delicious painting ever!

It took a year of payments, but it was totally worth it because I look at it every day and am inspired in my own art making and life.

What I hope you'll get from this story is: if you love a work of art, find a way to buy it. Many artists are amenable to payment plans. Many also take credit cards or PayPal, so you can make your payments to the cc company.

Asking for discounts doesn't always work in your favor, as we saw with the high muckeymuck's wife, but if the artist offers it...go for it!

You won't regret buying a work of art that speaks to you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


This is a commission that I was lucky enough to paint for my friend, Debbie, and her husband. We talked ahead of time about doing a painting from one of their vacation photos, so they were very aware that every photo they took was a potential painting.
We looked them all over, one afternoon, and I was impressed with their compositions and choices. Made the job of picking just one very hard, so I have some future painting commissions planned, too!
While they were at Yellowstone, there were fires burning that created a more smoky backdrop than they would have liked, so I used some artistic license to intensify the values and color saturation of the sky and mountains. I still kept some of the atmosphere so that it had the feeling of moisture, otherwise the grasses in the front would start feeling like straw, in my opinion.
I also, eventually, decided to make the background trees darker on the right, so that there was a feeling of cohesion along that plane. The grasses went back and forth, but I finally got the feeling I was going for, soft and flowy- yet a dog's fur.
I know that everyone's eye goes first to the reflections, so I felt like I could have some license to play and stay loose with the foreground. If I had to pick a favorite part, for me it would be the grasses. Nearly everyone else has said the reflections got them.
I think my mother would like to just jump into this painting and stay there for a while. She's a Western gal and finds this quite evocative. I think she misses her mountains. I understand that feeling. I didn't grow up with mountains but fell hard for them when visiting my daughter, Sami, in Richmond, Va. Love them now!      

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Again, I have let time slide by without an update. I'm debating on whether or not to catch you up on the process for each painting I've done or not. Most of us don't want to read a whole, long missive, so maybe I'll just let the photos tell the story. Here ya go: Orchids, Austin Skyline, Lotus Blossom, Stained and Beach Southside (in progress)...go!


The finished product: "Beach" 24x30 oil on gallery wrapped canvas.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Don't Fight Your Style

                                                                  1st session
                                                                2nd session
                                                                3rd session became the reason that I took a palette knife to the first hour's work, in the 4th session, and scraped it top to bottom before coming back in with the energy and color that made me happiest. Still a work in progress.

                                           4th session 

It seems that the one lesson I have to learn, over and over, is that your style will win out in the end. And, probably, that is why this painting had some schizoid moments of old style and newer style fighting it out.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


 "Poppies" 18x24" impasto oil on linen

In March, the corner neighbor's front yard was a riot of color, with these red poppies being the dominant flower. They had the traditional type and a more ruffly type that I found fascinating.
Around the same time, I kept seeing the colors and stripes of my favorite yoga blanket, whenever I'd close my eyes, so it made sense to me to incorporate them into a painting. Violets and lavenders and various shades of greens made it into this painting, which play well with the vibrant reds.
This will soon be varnished and packed carefully to be shipped north to my mom for Mother's Day. Yay!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Fence Reflections

                                                Fence Reflections 24x36
                                oil on gallery wrapped canvas

I've been watching the shadows the bare trees have made on my fence at night, all Winter long. The shadows of the limbs were so graceful and the trunks seemed to flow across the boards into the ground. I knew I would paint them and I knew it would have to be an abstract.

As I started the work, in many layers, I reflected upon the dance that my palette knife and oil colors create as they hop and flow across the canvas. Some days, it was all about yellow. Other days, I found that I needed greens and peaches. And then take that palette knife and cut through it all to the red and blue ground. The white, like a breeze moving the branches in unison, is the unifying effect in the end.