Friday, April 30, 2010

Personal Challenge

I am setting a personal challenge to paint 10 new head and sholder portraits from life during the next 30 days. Crazy you say? Maybe so, but I need to do more work from life.
Why10? Well, I figure that there are 31 days in May and 12 of those days I am tied up with life and other responsibilities. This leaves me 19 days at my studio in Little Washington. So, if I can round up 10 people willing to sit twice for 2 to three hours, I just may pull this off. Finding the models is the hard part. Everyone thinks it is great fun to be a model until they actually have to do it.

Am I afraid of failure? No. There is no shame in failure, just disgrace in not trying.
Stay tuned for photos and progress reports.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Commission

I have just received a commission to do a painting of an antique quilt lying on a wicker settee with camellias in the background. I extensive photos of the set up and have begun the process of putting together several composition choices for the client. When I receive an approval on a composition, I will begin the painting and allow you to follow along online.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I"m Back!

Wow, what a weekend! The Portrait Society of America conference was more exciting than last years. Every year it gets better and better. This year, being a new volunteer on the newsletter committee, I was seated with other members at a reserved table. Being the country bumpkin that I am, this was like dinning at the grandest New York or Parisian restaurant for me. Such a treat and then to make it even better, I was seated next to three of my favorite rising star artists. On my left was Kay Polk, a Dallas based artist and Luana Luconi Winner from North Carolina and on my right was Alexandra Tyng from Pennsylvania. All three ladies are fantastic portrait artists on an international level and all three were so warm and friendly, making my banquet experience the best ever.

I had my portfolio critiqued twice and received invaluable information on becoming a better artist. One critique was harder to swallow than the other, but you know me, ever the optimist......nothing keeps me down. I have resolved to have that portfolio critique again in a year and this time get glowing accolades.

My old nemisi "Lupus" reared its ugly head on Sunday morning. I was so exhausted even with staying at the hotel on Saturday night, that I could hardly get out of bed on Sunday morning. So after sitting through most of the morning sessions and not getting better I had to give away my bus ticket to the National Portrait Gallery and head home for rest. I learned the hard way a few years ago, that if you don't pay attention to the warning signs, you can really end up worse off.
I let myself get too exhausted, depleted my immune system and ended up with Shingles. I don't intend to let that happen again.

I want to thank my dear friend Alice Shelman for watching the gallery for me while I was away. She really is a Saint!

Now to tackle all the paperwork that has piled up while I was gone and sort through and organize my notes from the conference.......this usually takes me six months.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Portrait Society of America

This afternoon is the beginning of the 2010 Portrait Society of America National Conference in Reston Virginia. Of course I will be attending and I will be off line for a bit. I always look forward to attending and seeing the top artists in the world demonstrate and give seminars. There will be book signings and portfolio critiques. There is an exhibit hall for the manufacturers of your favorite art supplys. I try to buy my entire years worth of brushes at the exhibit hall. The top entries in the PSA Competition will be on view in an exhibit hall and the awards presentation to the winners will be during the Gala Banquet on Saturday night, which I will attend. Then on Sunday, there is a bus trip to the National Portrait Gallery in DC. This will be such an exciting event and I know I will come home exhausted. I am just hoping my old nemesis "Lupus" will not interfere with my enjoyment of the conference. I have booked a room at the hotel for Saturday night in an effort to not overdo it and actually get some rest.

So, until next week, Paint, Paint, Paint.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dinotopia Exhibit

Yesterday, Brett and I took an awesome trip up to the Delaware Art Museum to see the artwork of James Gurney, the author and artist of the Dinotopia books. If you are unfamiliar with his art (like anyone would be) check out his website and blog, and As if 55 of his artworks were not enough of a treat for me, the museum also had a fabulous exhibition of Pre-Raphealite artists works. As a bonus for a miniatures lover, there were 6 miniatures on display in the exhibit. All were watercolor on ivory and absolutely exquisite portraits done by these artists. And can you also believe this, they had an extensive collection of art by the great illustrators of the golden age of illustration, ie, Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth and my personal favorite, Maxfield Parrish. After wearing out my eyes trying to take it all in, we drove back to Marshall but stopped and had a fantastic meal at Carraba's Italian Restaurant. Of course, Brett had to drive home from there. I do love vino! All in all, the best birthday trip ever.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


GEEEEZZZZ, I just realized that when I do a draft and then try to publish it later, the darn thing puts the draft in according to actual calendar date. So now I have put in my snowscene blog that I forgot to publish and it was sandwiched between yesterday and the days before. This blog stuff is definitely not a creative person's favorite thing to do.

I used to say that I hated painting in the backgrounds of my large paintings and one day when I am rich and famous, I would hire someone to do all my backgrounds for me so I could do the fun stuff instead, like details which I love to do. WEEEELLLL, now I am gonna pay someone to do this computer stuff for me, so I can paint.

I bet you are all laughing at the old lady artist who can't operate her computer. BE KIND!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bluebirds - first step

Here are the little bluebirds that I started, but are unfortunately not 1/6th scale. It is actually the same bluebird that I photographed in two different positions on the day of the February Blizzard. Poor little bird was really confused by the weather.
Anyway, this was day one. I did the drawing using some yellow ochre thinned to a watercolor consistency and then I laid in the basic colors. The background is a greyish pink that I put on then pounced with a dry watercolor brush to a soft smooth background color. I then lifted out the individual snowflakes. Painted in the basic colors of the birds and indicated the eyes and beaks. My next step will be to continue the birds til finished and then I will go back in and paint the snow and snowflakes.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blizzard Inspiration

The back to back blizzards in February provided me with some great photos and inspiration. When the sun finally came out again, the view from our front porch provided me with the inspiration for this little painting. It is 10 x 10 on a panel. The sun had just come up over the mountain behind us and the the sun was striking the tops of the trees in front of our house.

Gaea Wins Honorable Mention

My painting "The Artist's Mother as Gaea" has won an honorable mention at the Reflecting Women's Wellness show in Richmond Virginia. Everyone loves my mother!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vanitas #4 almost finished

Can you believe that I started this painting a year ago, got busy with life in general and other artworks, set it aside and now I am just finishing it up. Can you spot the last remaining item to be painted? I'll give you a is blocked into position and it is yellow.

Send me your correct guess and I will e-mail you a free art lesson over the computer. Send your answer to

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bluebirds miniature

I started a miniature of bluebirds sitting on a branch in a snowstorm. Remember the photo of the poor little bluebird, I took during our February Blizzard? Well, I was so pleased with my first painting session and set it aside to show my husband. Guess what? He noticed that my bluebirds were not 1/6 scale, but more like 1/3 scale. Oh well, I will use them in a small works show since they are technically not a miniature.

Fawn Miniature Finished

Here is the final version of the Fawn miniature. I have added some distant trees and deepened the colors of the foreground pine on the left. I also added a bit more color to the fawn. I am now pleased with the results.