Monday, December 31, 2012

Plums...Now and Then

"The Three Plums"
5 x 7 oil on Raymar Canvas Panel
I have painted this image before back in June of 2011.  I wanted to see how differently I would paint it today and this comparing is something I like to do at the end of the year.  Here is the version painted back in 2011.  As always an interesting exercise.

"Red Plums"
5 x 7 oil on Gessobord
From the archives and sold

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cat Nap

"Cat Nap"
8 x 10 Oil on Gessobord

JunieB and I set our goals for 2013 over coffee yesterday. 

One of mine that I already mentioned was to paint bigger.  (One 8 x 10 or larger a week.)

One of my other goals is to branch out and do urban landscapes which interest me greatly.  (One urban landscape a month.)

Today, though, was to break through an old albatross that has been hanging around my neck....this cat painting.   It had been in the following state for almost 2 years.  And I couldn't figure out how to tackle it.  Well, today was the day...and I'm glad I waited.  I'm now ready to move forward.

Look out 2013, I'm getting some grit in my bones!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Green Door

One of my goals for 2013 is to paint bigger!  And I'd like to paint some urban landscapes. Why wait till then? 

"Green Door"
8 x 10 Oil on Gessobord

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Very Good Week

"Casey's Barn"
5 x 7 oil on Raymar Panel
"Year of the Lime"
5 x 7 Oil on Canvas Panel
 Hi folks,  Just checking in to share Sunday, Monday and today's paintings.  And to update my little saga with back pain.

It's been a week since my first visit to the chiropractor and I'm feeling so much better.  He (and his office manager wife) suggested I read "Wheat Belly" by William Davis, M.D.  I was not really in the mood for a lecture about my weight, but I was in so much pain and feeling so lousy that I thought "What the hell?"  So I ordered it on my kindle and just finished it Tuesday night.

From the beginning of the book I could tell that this was going to be an important read for me.  So I started cutting out wheat/gluten from my diet on Friday. I haven't followed the spirt of this new way of eating very well this week as I didn't quite understand how I was supposed to eat, but I have lost 6 pounds and feel much more alert and energetic....not to mention diminishing pain.

Dr. Davis, the author, is a cardiologist and also has a blog.  If you want the Quick and Dirty version of what he proposes, click here.

I will be sticking with it....gluten-free and daily painting!  What a combo...

Ach...I'm having trouble with blogger
 and can't seem to "caption" more than two paintings, or make them larger. 
"Am I Blue?"
5 x 7 oil on Canvas Panel

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In the Pink...At Least Someone Is...

"In the Pink"
5 x 7 Oil on Canvas Panel
Click Here to Purchase Painting

I received some free samples of Gamblin's FastMatte Alkyd Oil Colors in my goodie bag at the Colored Pencil Society of American convention this summer.  I stuck them in a drawer and just recently came across them, and thought I would try them out. 

This one was painted with a red, not sure which one...didn't write it down.  But it's a pink red and pretty intense.  I painted it as an undercolor on a canvas panel and let it dry for a couple of days.

I think it adds some harmony to the painting and I love the peeks of pinkish red popping out against the greens, yellows, and neutrals.

I'm hoping to be "in the pink" myself soon.  I have a chiropractor's visit tomorrow afternoon to see if I can get some help and relief from my back and right hip problems.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Flirt...Among Other Things

"The Flirt"
4 x 4" oil on Gessobord over the old painting

Original work painted almost one year ago that became "The Flirt". This one
got attacked by the sanding block, scratched with the embossing stylus
and rubbed with walnut oil.

And just for fun here is the cherry resource as I painted it almost 2 years ago.  This version sold, but I think it's quite interesting to see how my style, colors and brushwork have changed. Not to mention I see things quite differently, and get excited as an artist about different things. 


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ok, I'm Really Done....

"Combo Redux"
5 x 7 oil on Gessobord

On my November 25th post, Progression of a Scratcher and Some Lessons, I started this painting.  In the post I noted that "less is more" and I had gotten too carried away with everything...color, scratching, brushstrokes, etc.

You know how in some portrait paintings, the eyes seem to follow you when you are in the room?  Well, that's how the original "Combo" felt to me, it was looking at me...taunting me. ;-)

So yesterday, with ice packs on my back and hips (damned arthritis), I tackled it again with the sanding block...getting rid of all the rough edges of paint.  Mixing a more neutral color for the background and foreground, tightening up my loosey-goosey brushstrokes, and minimizing the scraping/scratching.

I'm happy with it now and like the painterly quality it has to the edges.  It can now stop following me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Plethora of Pears This Week!

"Traditionally Yours"
4 x 4 Oil on Gessobord

"Pears - Probably Number 50"
5 x 5 Oil on Gessobord
Dealing with lots of back issues this week, so I've taken all my frustrations out on these pears and scratching the heck out of them! 

On the second painting I actually used a serrated plastic knife (from Wendy's ) to scratch hash marks into the wet paint.  It was painted over an underpainting of Gamblin FastMatte.  I'm finding I really like the FastMatte paints because they dry fast (in case it wasn't obvious) and are perfect for underpaintings.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mandarin Before and After

5 x 5 Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas
Click Here to Purchase Painting

A "before" and "after for you today.  The bottom painting is what I started with.  It was a painting I started 2 years ago in my quest to teach myself to do oils.  I thought what I wanted to do was a glazing approach, layer after layer of transparent oil glazes, but that proved too tedious for me.  So this little gallery wrapped canvas (sides are 1.5") sat in my studio for 2 years.  Today was the day to finish it by just painting over the top of the underpainting.  It turned out a lot brighter and a little more painterly.

Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Another Scratcher Progression...

Original painting sanded, scraped and scratched

New painting "Red on Monday"
5 x 7" oil on Gessobord
On this reworking I took one of my early scratcher paintings that was pretty colorless.  I liked the texture, but I wanted to experiment more with the color and brushstrokes. Learning from Sunday's post about less is more I kept alot of the scratching in the apples.  Decided also to lighten the background instead of going dark.  Although I've added lots of cool colors to the background, the warmth of the old painting shows through (in real life).

I've learned a ton from reworking paintings.  I highly recommend it...don't just fiddle with it, scrape it, scratch it, sand it and do something unexpected.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Progression of a Scratcher and Some Lessons

Step One
I painted a 5 x 7 board a couple of days ago.  On Saturday I scratched it
with an embossing stylus and sanded the surface with a sanding block.
Then I sketched my apples with burnt umber.
My next experiment will be to stop here with the background
and just paint the main subjects.  I think this would be a more
successful painting if I had stopped here.

Step 2
I began to add some colors to the background.  The addition of the colors
(especially the pink) makes it now difficult to photograph and it comes out blue!
 I am just dry brushing on some color.  Again this would have made
a more successful painting I think if I had remembered less is more. I also
think painting green apples would have been better.

5 x 7 Oil on Gessobord "Combo"
Painting progression shown below..this is the finished painting
No, it's not the finished painting, see blog post on 12/8/12

I thought those of you who have wondered how these "scratching" paintings start might be interested to see how "Combo" started.  I'm still experimenting and they all don't start this way.  Sometimes I take an old painting that is tired and not one of my best, sand it with a sanding block and then paint and scratch into the wet paint.  Sometimes I paint directly on to a white Gessobord and then scratch into the wet paint.

 It's not an entirely successful painting and I will be trying it again with some of the lessons I learned along the way. Each step has some qualities about it that I like, but again...less is more. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Abend Holiday Miniatures Show

So happy to announce nine of my oil paintings will be part of the Abend Holiday Miniatures Show. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Crazy Peach

"Crazy Peach"
5 x 5 oil on Gessobord

Crazy Peach started out as JunieB's painting (my studio mate).  She didn't like it and thought it would be fun to see what I could do with it.  The original had a pretty powerful blue green background, so lots of neutrals were added to tone it down, repainted the peach and then added some select scratching to the wet paint.  It was a fun project!  Thanks, JunieB!

Thankfully, I brought my oil painting supplies home on Wednesday.  I thought I might paint on Thanksgiving which I didn't.  But we are currently "homebound" as our garage door spring broke on Wednesday night and we haven't been able to get the cars out of the garage.  The repair is covered under our home warranty program but their service provider can't come until tomorrow afternoon.  We will have cabin fever by then!  At least I was able to paint.

I had never heard of a broken spring on a garage door until yesterday.  I woke up yesterday morning to a huge noise which I thought for sure was the furnace exploding, then I thought it was an earthquake....but it was all the built up torque and tension of the spring breaking.  If you have ever tried to dead-lift a garage door with a broken spring you will understand why we can't get out until tomorrow....hopefully.

Monday, November 19, 2012


5 x 5 Oil on Gessobord
Click Here to Purchase Painting
Spent today reworking another painting, to scratch the surface, experiment with smaller brushstrokes and neutral colors.  Here is the original painting which just called out tome to experiment.  Fun day!

Original Painting

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Apple (that would not die)

"The Apple (that would not die)"
5 x 5 Oil on Gessobord
There's always the question of "what am I going to paint today?" 

My paintings are lined up along the wall in the studio, and this painting was calling to me.  It was one of my early scratching projects and while I learned alot about the technique I have been exploring, the painting was just not finished.  So.....approaching it for a third application of paint and texture..this is the result.  And I can say I'm finally finished...

Sometimes a painting looks done until about three weeks later....and then suddenly it's not done.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tomato on Glass Plate

"Tomato on Glass Plate"
5 x 5" Oil on Gessobord
Scratching the Surface Series
On Exhibiton at Abend Gallery
I had so much to do at home, but decided I really wanted to paint.  Took me forever to decide on "what" to paint, but I think this turned out well.

JunieB and I hadn't been to lunch in forever, so we went to the little empanada restaurant a few blocks away and had a great lunch.

I had tried to get an appointment for a pedicure at Aveda first thing this morning, but they were booked until next week???  I noticed a new nails place right next door to the restaurant with a "Walk-ins Welcome" sign.  Great pedicure for much less than Aveda charges.  Serendipity!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fancy Pear

"Fancy Pear"
6 x 6" Oil on Gessobord
From Scratching the Surface Series
Click Here to Purchase Painting

A lovelyl day in the studio, that is after I got settled in.  All thumbs and frustrated when I got there...too many things going on. 

But that's usually how it goes, once I actually put my brush on the board I start to releax and the old blood pressure drops.  Such great therapy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Strawberries and Cream

"Strawberries and Cream"
6 x 6 Oil on Gessobord
Scratching the Surface Series

Well, I've reworked all the older paintings I can, so this is a brand new painting.  I bought the creamer last spring on a trip to the antique mall.  It just had such possibilities - but I had been a little leery of painting it until my scratching series started.  It was the perfect companion to the strawberries and lent itself easily to the scratching.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pear and Crock

6 x 6" Oil on Gessobord
"Pear and Crock" part of Scratching the Surface series

This one was fun for me to paint.  It's again, a reworking of an old of my first.  Attacked the original with a craft knife and sanding block, then painted over it and used an embossing styllus to scratch through the wet paint, blend colors, and soften edges.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Two New Pear Scratchings

5 x 5" Oil on Gessobord
Another in the Scratching the Surface Series
"Pear and Purple Ribbon"
6 x 6" Oil on Gessobord
On Exhibit at Abend Gallery
Yippee...the election is over and hopefully we can get back to the things we do without horrible ads, constant phone calls and strangers ringing our doorbells during dinner.  I choose to use ALL this extra time and peaceful atmosphere to paint...and paint....and paint.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Proceeds to be Donated

"Fuzzy Wasn't Fuzzy?"
4 x 4 Oil on Gessobord
All Proceeds Donated to the American Red Cross
for the Sandy Hurricane Relief
I am a member of Daily Paintworks, a wonderful site for artists and collectors.  David and Carol Marine own the site and have started a relief fund that is a wonderful idea to help those ravaged by Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy.

If you were thinking of donating money, how about you buy this painting (or any other painting you see on the challenge page or on the new widget on the upper right corner of my blog).  All participating artists have agreed to donate 100% of the proceeds of the sale to a charity to help residents of the East coast disaster.  I will be donating to the American Red Cross and will send you a copy of the receipt once the donation has been completed.

Often times we don't know what to do, but this is a great way you can help.  And all the artists are honored to participate.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pucker Up

"Pucker Up"
4 x 4 Oil on Gessobord
Number 14 in the Scratching the Surface Series
Needed to do a small painting today as I'm preparing for a workshop this weekend in Rising Sun, Indiana.  Sounds like a great group of 16 folks.  Hopefully, I can post some pictures.

I'm a last minute preparer so I'm working on class resources and printing them.  I fly out on Friday and will probably be packing Friday morning ;-)  Drives my husband nuts.  He brought up my suitcase yesterday morning.  Why I don't know....nothing will happen for a few more days.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Apple Saucy

"Apple Saucy"
5 x 5 Oil on Gessobord
Number 13 in the Scratching the Surface series
Reworked on 11/16/12
Was feeling a little jazzed yesterday listening to Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, along with a lot of other great jazz tunes.  Love the jazz channel on cable, and I also contribute financially to our local jazz radio station, KUVO (89.3 FM)  It's such feel good music!

This series of scratching/sgrafitto paintings has been fun and such an experience of discovery, and I'm so encouraged by all the feedback I've received on Facebook from artists whose work I really admire.  It's my attempt to go beyond pretty to adding energy and life, to leave something of myself with each painting.

"Apple Saucy" is a redo of an older painting, but I'm not going to post the was really bad and looked nothing like this version.  Just a bunch of colors thrown at the board.  Besides I'm starting to look at some of my older paintings as just "not finished".

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Redeux

"Pumpkin Redeux"
6 x 6 Oil on Gessobord
Number 12 in "Scratching the Surface" Series
Click Here to Purchase Painting
I used an embossing stylus to scratch into the wet paint in the "redeux" painting.
This technique softens the edges, gives texture and line and adds a bit of energy.
How the original painting looked and after I attacked it with a sanding block
and other scratching tools (embossing stylus, craft knife)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Son of Red Grapes

"Grapes Number 2"
6 x 6 Oil on Gessobord
Number 11 in "Scratching the Surface" Series

Original Painting
Titled "Red Grapes"

This is another reworked painting.  Reworked meaning it was sanded lightly with a sandpaper block and scratched with a craft knife.  Then repainted with a palette knife (with a few brush strokes). While the paint was still wet I used an embossing stylus to scratch over the surface of the painting,losing edging and mixing colors.

While there are aspects of the old painting that I was pleased with, I'm much happier with Son of Red Grapes (the reworked painting.)  The lighting has also been pumped up to make it more dramatic.

Tomorrow going to do some more knife painting and scratching on Raymar panel, instead of Gessobord.  Will be painting at home as we are expecting a couple of inches of snow.

Met with a couple of artist friends for lunch to share experiences and critique a little art.  Such fun...I love being an artist.  Am I lucky or what?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This Time a Sanding Block

Original Painting

Reworked Painting with Sanding Block
Number 11 in the "Scratching the Surface" Series
"Not Eggs-actly" 6 x 6 Oil on Gessobord
On Exhibit at Randy Higbee Gallery

I really admire the works of William Wray, Bill Creevy, and Dan McCaw.  I am not trying to emulate them so much as be inspired by them.  Trying to dig down and find what excites me in a painting.  There is a certain "something" to their work that speaks to me...maybe it is their personal search for "beauty".

I commented somewhere on this painting on Facebook that I was going through my "grunge period".
My mother and sister were here in September and I took them over to my studio.  The drive over takes us past the waste water treatment plant and the Coors brewery.  I told them I think that is one of the most moving visuals I have seen (right after the cornfields in NE.)  My mother thought I was nuts.  But I love the grittiness/grunge of the scene, the mood, the shapes, the lighting on a somewhat foggy morning with those two complexes wedged in between a couple of foothills.

And so it goes, I'm working to find what that grittiness/grunge, mood, shape and lighting is in my own work that excites me...that I find "beautiful."  As I told a friend via email recently, it may be a short trip or a long journey.  Depends on what sights I see.  Come along for the ride.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Another Painting Scratched Off the List

Original Painting

Reworked Painting
5 x 7 Oil on Raymar Canvas Panel
Number 9 in the "Scratching the Surface" Series
The original painting was an old one that I never really liked.  It was too stiff and dull.  So I picked it out of the "archives" today for a reworking.  Since this was on a canvas panel it behaved much differently than my Gessobord paintings.  I liked the effect, and once I understood what the paint would and would not do on the canvas, I was able to relax and enjoy the process.

Tomorrow I will post some interim pics so those that are interested can see the process.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reworking a Painting

Original Painting from September

Reworked Painting
"Chasin' the Blues"
6 x 6 Oil on Gessobord
Number 8 in the Scratching the Surface Series
On Exhibit at Abend Gallery
You know how some paintings just never get past the "meh" stage?  It's OK but not quite?  That's the way I felt about the original painting from September shown here. 

When I thought about what I was going to paint today, hubby is watching Hunger Games from iTunes, I decided to take an old painting and try the scratching technique on it.  This meant scratching through dry paint with a craft knife, and then deciding what to do from there.

So I scratched and scratched with my trusty little craft knife which showed the white of the Gessobord underneath.  Didn't find that aesthetically pleasing so I made a glaze of burnt umber and walnut oil and wiped the painting down.  That helped but also took off some of the old paint as I was wiping it down.  So I repainted with my palette knife - the blueberries.  Then I started adding color and depth into the apple using my palette knife and a paper towel.

The result is the reworked painting "Chasin' the Blues".  Much happier....and now I'm off to find some old paintings I don't like anymore!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Autumn Red

"Autumn Red"
5 x 7 Oil on Gessobord
Click Here to Purchase this Painting

Last painting for the week...

I started this one by toning a Gessobord panel with cadmium orange pigment, letting it dry for a couple of days and then painting my subject matter over the orange.  It's a subtle different from the plain white Gessobord underneath on my other paintings.  Gives it kind of a glow.

Number 7 in my "Scratching the Surface" series started last week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Peter, Peter, PumpkinEater

"For Peter"
Number 6 in "Scratching the Surface" Series
Click Here to Purchase this Painting

The nursery rhyme "Peter, Peter, Pumpkineater" kept going through my head as I was nearing the end of this painting.  Thus the name "For Peter".  I could just see him peeking out from the back...yes, I have a wild and creative imagination.

I found myself being a little more conservative today with the scratching .  Not sure why, so might have to just go crazy tomorrow.  Each piece is a learning experience, and I'm still learning how to photograph these. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Scratching the Surface Series

"No 5" in "Scratching the Surface" Series
4 x 4 Oil on Gessobord
On Exhibit at Abend Gallery
Going to explore the sgrafitto/scratching technique for a while longer, so it now becomes a series "Scratching the Surface".  I've had such good feedback from these paintings, that I want to see what else I can do with it.

They are a bear to photograph, but I'll be back in the studio tomorrow (with JunieB...yeah!) and I'll see if they photograph any better there.  They really are warm and subtle in person.