Thursday, June 18, 2020

Let's Hear It for the Girls!

Women artists deserve a shout out!  We're caretakers, sometimes wives or mothers and often faced with the challenge of balancing home and career.  Not an easy task.  Often unrepresented in museums and galleries, the truth is there are some amazing female artists out there!!!

Here's a few whose work I greatly admire.
(click on the name to go directly to their website)

Monhegan Island artist.  beautiful landscapes and portraits. 
casein and oil painting artist, beautiful still lifes, landscapes and portraits.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Purple Passion Steps in Process

There's so many ways to start a painting.  Some artists like to "tone" their canvas with a neutral color in a midtone value.  Some artists tone their canvas with the complimentary color of their scene or painting.  I tried something different and worked just on the white surface.  It's worth trying again.

I Looked for the Shadow Patterns in my composition.  I Painted them  instead of the shapes of the flowers and leaves.  This way I could see where my eye would travel in the painting and whether or not I liked the composition.

(reference photo)

 Step One:  Shadow Patterns

Next, I added in the midtones trying to pay attention to temperature as well as value.

 Step two:  Shadows and Temperature

Step three:  Filling in positive shapes, paying attention to brush edges

Finally, I added in the rest of the painting being sure to soften edges where there wasn't a big value change and crisp up edges catching light.

I tried to simplify the little carnation type flowers in the bottom right.  not sure if that's been resolved yet.  But, there you have it, a painting may never be finished, right?

Don't stay stuck too long in any painting.  Move on for awhile if you've hit a wall, then come back to it with new fresh eyes and ask for help and feedback from other people.

Happy Painting!

Friday, March 27, 2020


Painting Roses is a challenge!  Here's some images to help inspire you.
by contemporary artist: Renuk A Sridhar

by Vincent Van Gogh

search the masters and find a style that interests you. Here are two beauties:

by Henri Fantin-LaTour

it always help to do a value study first and then really look and decide where are the cool colors and where are the warm colors in both the light and the shadow.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Spring, you can't come soon enough!

 Fresh off the easel this week..
 "orange blush", 8x10 oil on wood. $235
(includes shipping)
Yellow Rose
8x10 oil on wood. $235
(includes shipping)

8x10, oil on wood, $235
(includes shipping)

8x10, oil on wood, $235
(includes shipping)

Pay pal, VISA, personal check all accepted.  
visit my website for more works available.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Drawing Elipses

Drawing Elipses

if you're starting to paint flowers, getting the shapes of the pots can be challenging.  Here's a few visuals I found online that should help.

 take a coffee cup or soup bowl and look at its top when you hold it at eye level. then lower it a bit and look again.  You'll notice it's shape gets wider as it drops below the horizon line.  Keep lowering it and drawing the top shape you see.

the top of the elipse should fit inside a rectangle or parallelogram.  It should be symmetrical. 

 (sketch by James Gurney)

Now set up simple cup or bowl in your studio with a strong light on it.  sketch its shape and color in the value pattern using grey scale markers or a soft pencil (6B)

Hope these tips help!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Gouache Supplies for Plein Aire Painting


 Gouache: the perfect paint for quick studies!

 12x12 study on matt board

Gouache is a water based  medium similar to watercolors but much more opaque.  It's possible to layer colors. Even when the paint dries, the edges can be softened by adding bit more water.  Great medium for smaller paintings and plein aire studies.

I love it especially because it's convenient to take when traveling.  I like to paint on watercolor paper.(140 lb. or heavier) or Guerilla Board (thin masonite).  It's fun to paint a layer of casein down first to tone the paper.

I found this little box really convenient for storing the wet paint and sealing it tight from air.  I spritz it with water before closing and the paint stays fresh for next time.  (got the idea from artist Lena Rivo) 
Transom air tight paint box.

No need to carry all the tubes of paint...just white paint!


Guerilla Box Plein Air Painter set up 9x12  This is a very sturdy ( with storage in lid for wet panels or a pad of watercolor paper.  It has a sliding tray on which I've rested a palette and my set of gouache paints.  The deep compartments are perfect to store a plastic container of water and another with paper towels to dab off the wet brushes.

It has a universal tripod mount on the underside.

 The white plastic palette shown in the photo is super nice too and fits beautifully in my Guerilla Box 9x12.  It comes with a lid and could be used for storing more paint or watercolors.
Martin Universal Watercolor Box.

I try to have everything packed and ready to go.  With a set-up this simple I can get out and paint plein aire more often, even right from my car!   Hope this helps.  Happy painting!


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Susan Collins' Irish Soda Bread
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 T. sugar
¾ cup milk
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup shortening (1 stick margarine)
3 T. vinegar
½ cup raisins

Directions: (pre-heat oven to 400)
1. Sift dry ingredients together in bowl. Add shortening and rub together using a fork until mixture feels
like bread crumbs.
2. Add vinegar to mix which will sour it. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in milk. Again
mix well and turn onto a floured board.
3. Shape into a round and put onto a greased and floured pan.
4. Make a large cross on top ¼” deep. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min., then lower to 375 and bake for
15-20 min. more.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

How to Clean Your Brushes

How to Clean Your Oil Painting Brushes

this video by Karen O'Neil is really helpful.  I couldn't believe the difference it made in how nice and clean my brushes come out now.

You just need 3 glass jars with lids!  super efficient!


Friday, February 7, 2020

Flower Painting

I think the trick with painting flowers is to know how to simplify and to vary the brush edges.  Squinting helps.  Not every flower or petal needs to be exact.  Here's a beauty by Walt Bartman.

I've found that starting with just a few flowers helps or cropping and zooming in makes the job more managable.

These are a few flower paintings I did last year.  I noticed that the greens could be cool or warm and  the colors of the petals had temperature changes.

Work from life as much as possible.  Use your cropping viewfinder and edit out anything extra. Make a thumbnail study of the values. Pre-mix piles of the colors you'll need using a palette knife. Do lots of small studies. 

Here's a beautiful arrangement of flowers bought at Trader Joe's. 

Practice drawing parts of it.  Another tip is to use your cell phone to photograph and crop your composition.

See what it looks like in black and white.
There's an awesome phone app called: Notanizer.  Costs $2.99 and will put your photos into a notan, 4 levels of black and white and allows you to see the simple shadow shapes of your composition.
Have fun!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Setting Up A Still Life

Beat the winter blues!  Add some color to your life.  The trick with still lifes is to use complimentary colors.  (ex: orange with purple, blue with yellow)  Keep the arrangement simple 3-5 items tops. Use strong light source.  (cool light on warm objects, warm light on cool objects).

Use your viewfinder to crop the scene.
Paint it!

This is a small 6x6" study.

Work from life, daily if you can, and before long you'll start to notice more, edit more and your paintings will improve.

one of my favorite still life painters is Sarah Sedwick. Google her videos!

Have fun!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Snow Painting...some beauties!

   by Aldro Hibbard, artist from Rockport, MA.  Look at the incredible play of colors..the green tree against the red side of the building.  I also love how he simplified the distant trees using many vertical strokes.

 Another gem from Aldro Hibbard...Luscious colors, nice chunky brushwork!
I'm guessing he used some viridian or phalocyanine green in the distant water?

Doesn't get much better than this, right?  Beautiful diagonal composition, interesting subject matter with person in the landscape.  I love the lost edges on the birch trees.  Subtle value changes in the snow...incredible painting!

This beauty is by contemporary artist, Michael Severin.  Amazing depth, gorgeous colors and great composition.  Shadow pattern adds so much to this painting.  The dark rocks in lower right corner ground and redirect you into the painting.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Paint a Series!


9x12 study started on location

               9x12 study painted in the studio from reference photo.  (location in Vermont)
 8x10 study in studio after cropping down the 9x12 and painting it more like a nocturne.

It's fun and helpful to stick with a subject matter for awhile and see what happens.  I've been exploring snow and working from some reference photos I took while hiking in Vermont last year. The top two paintings are actually based on a site in Milford that didn't have snow.  

Here's the site.  It's on West River St., just before the Dog Park at Eisenhower.  I'll have to revisit this spot in the Spring or maybe in a few weeks when and if it finally snows !

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Nuts and Bolts of Painting?

What are some things to keep in mind when you paint?
Here's a few:


1. can the eye travel through your painting

2. creating a center of interest

3. thinking abstractly

4. composing with mass instead of detail

5. designing with patterns


1. setting up simple values in your painting

2. keying the values of your painting

3. separating the values of the large planes in a landscape

4. reflective light

5. shadow values


1. mixing color with a limited palette

2. using color to create variation

3. broken color and detail

4. color of shadows

5. value and temperature contrast


1. creating hard and soft edges

2. painting sky holes in trees

3. how to handle detail

4. how to paint loser

5. adding texture with palette knife

Friday, January 3, 2020

Setting Art Goals

I like Goals.  I keep a journal listing goals, dreams and random thoughts.  There's categories in my journal page:  Art, Art Business, Health, Family, Home,  etc.

 I usually spend part of each Sunday night planning out the coming week, scheduling in my Painting Time and other activities related to improving as an artist. I pre-post things on FB, and do some non-painting chores.   Writing down my goals or tasks seem to get them set in motion, and clears my head.

Having an "Action Plan" helps fight off the continual feeling of  "I should be painting!" The categories help me stay balanced and feel less guilty, more realistic, more focused!

Here's a link to a website that had some really good info!

How to Take Charge of Your Creative Goals