Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shutting Down blog for A Few Months

Here is one final photo of my nextdoor neighbor.  I have come to the realization that all the social media I participate in, is a huge distraction from what I should be doing......painting.  Along with the pressures of family and bad health from time to time, I am just falling further behind in creating my art as well as the business and marketing of that art.  Our recent relocation over the past year, actually cost me about 5 months of career building.  Therefore, I have decided to shut down my blog for a period of time in order to regroup and refocus my art career.  When I return, I hope to have a different approach to this blog.....less personal junk and more art educational focus.  Until then, Ciao

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tree Trimming During Snow Storm on Sunday

Since the snow had us pretty much prisoners, we did start putting up our tree.  We hope to finish decorating this weekend.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snow Cat

Since I am in the studio today working on the Christmas Card, I will just post these cute pics of my snowcat, Spare Kitty.   He got his name because every car has four tires and a spare.  At the time he wandered in, we only had four cats.  Anyway, this cat was feral and has an honest fondness for snow.  We had a large white boxer, named Molly at the time and the two became best friends immediately.  Spare would actually chase Molly around the yard in the snow and Molly would reciprocate by rolling Spare in the snow.  He still has a fondness for the snow and this is him jumping around in our first snow up here in Gore. 
  PS. Guess who is not getting her Christmas Cards printed in time for Christmas 2013?

Friday, December 13, 2013

White Walkers

For all my IMC friends and lovers of The Game of Thrones........these are my White Walkers.  They stand just beyond our deer fence and drool over the delicious plants in our yard....even in the winter. 
Be warned IMC friends, Winter is Coming!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Delayed Christmas Card

According to the movie, The Agony and The Ecstasy, Michelangelo was supposed to have said, "When the wine is bad, throw it out" in reference to the bad start he got on his Sistine Chapel murals.  That passage has resonated with me since I was a teen.  I am about to throw out some bad wine, aka Christmas Card 2014.  My idea is a good one, I just don't have a winning composition and I also realize I missed the mark with my birds choice.  So, you are all getting store bought cards this year.  But, I will start the card again and it can be next years card. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

First Snow in New Home


Our first snow in our new home.  You see here that we are feeding the birds....also a lot of deer.  About midday we had at least six inches on the grill and it was still falling.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Card Design for 2013

Here is the beginning of my card for 2013.   Colors look dull and not much detail at this point.  More to come!  Hope I get it finished before 2014!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Cards

As always, I am running behind.  I decided to create my own cards this year......just did not get around to it til now.  I am in the semi warm studio today, doing up the art work and hope to finish it by late this evening.  I think my print company can get them done rather quickly and then I can get them mailed before Christmas Day.......I hope!!!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Demo at the SPCA Fundraiser

Here is yours truly, doing a pastel demo of our cat Remington at the SPCA fundraiser.  I met lots of incredible people, all dedicated to helping animals.  Not only did I meet lots of terrific people, but I also met some pretty darned adorable animals.  I fell in love with a little black and tan pup named Murphy.  When we left, some nice folks were considering adopting Murphy.  I will check back on Monday and see if Murphy went home with that family. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Demo Tomorrow

I  have spent the entire morning getting together the equipment I will need for my demo tomorrow at the Winchester SPCA.  I am going to do a portrait of my big orange and white long haired cat, Frederick Remington...... we just call him Remmy or Remington.  We think he is a Norwegian Forest Cat since he is bigger than any Maine Coon Cat I have ever seen and his fur is just like the description the breeders use for this breed.  He has what looks like a lions mane and weighs nearly 20 lbs.  He is the biggest cat I have ever seen.  I will post photos this weekend.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Class Schedule Coming Soon

I am currently working on my class schedule for 2014 at Studio Frame in Warrenton.  I will put it up on my Website as well as this blog, very soon.  I HOPE!

Demo at the SPCA This Weekend

I will be demonstrating my Charcoal and Pastel Portrait technique this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 & 8th at the Winchester SPCA.  They are having a fund raising event from 11 am on Sat. and 12 noon on Sunday.
I will be doing a dog portrait one day and a cat portrait the next day and taking orders for pet portraits.  $20.00 of each portrait order will be donated to the Shelter.  If you are in the area, come on by and get a Christmas Present for a loved one and help out the shelter at the same time. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving Day

I am thankful for the staff at Loving Arms Rest Home. The girls are very gentle and caring.   Mom was doing pretty good on Thanksgiving Day, very lucid and aware that her only visitors are my husband and I. She repeatedly asked me if anyone was coming to see her. She does this during most of our visits.  It is a shame that we have become a society who has forgotten the folks who raised us and gave us everything they possibly could so that our lives would be better than their own.  Dinner was restaurant style that day, very nice and we were served at our table by the staff. The food is prepared by a real full time chef and is as good as Cracker Barrel.  It was very un-crowded, and very few of the residents had guests to eat with them.  One nice lady, Pauline, asked if she could join us and Hang Out, because she was lonely.  Another resident, Justine, is French and I try to speak a bit of French I have learned....she really likes when I speak to her in French.  All in all, Thanksgiving was nice and I know mom appreciated being with us on her second favorite holiday.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Quick Sketch

This is mom.  Some days all she can manage is to sit up in her chair.  She drifts off and slumps down in the wheelchair, so I have started bringing my sketchbook along for those days when our visits consist of me watching her go away to the Alzheimers place. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

First Fire in New Home

It has really turned cold up here, had some snow flurries two days ago, so I built our first fire in our new home.  Very cozy!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Favorite Drawing

I did this little drawing some time back and it hangs in my living room.  It's my dog Petey who died in 2000.  I did not get the Pink mixing charts done yet, so I thought I would share my favorite little drawing with you. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Color Notes - Not Today

I had intended to do some color mixing examples of Pinks to post for you today, but never got to it.  My computer mouse broke halfway through designing a new postcard online.  If that was not enough to make me pull my hair out, three times through the tedious ordeal of online designing the card, I was either knocked off line or lost the site before getting the design saved.  I am now drinking some Pinot Grigio and trying to regain my sanity.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Great North Mountain - My Bad

I have been informed that big North Mountain is actually Great North Mountain.  

Making Pink

Sooner or later, you will want to paint flowers.  And sooner or later, you will need to make pink.  I could say just add white to red and you get pink, but that would be just too easy.  First, do you need a warm pink or cool pink?  Will it be in shadow or full sunlight.  Always consider color temperature when mixing.  For cool pinks, I love Alizarin Crimson with some Titanium White.  For a warm pink, I lean towards Cadmium Red and White.  For a truly peachy pink, I throw in some Cadmium Scarlet.
More on Pink later this week. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Spectacular View

My whole marriage, I have been nagging my husband about wanting to live on a mountainside and have spectacular views.  We almost did not buy this place, because all I could see were oak trees totally hiding us from the world.  Now the leaves are gone and you can actually see Big North Mountain in the distance.  Well, maybe you can't tell from this photo, but I can!   So I win!  I have my seclusion and my view!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Stink Bug Scuttle

So we decided to light our first fire in our new home's woodstove.   Way Cool, Right? soon as we touched the match to the newspaper and smoke and flame began to rise up the stove pipe, all these horrible stink bugs came running out and up the stove pipe.  You could actually hear them scuttling up the pipe, their scratchy little fingernails, desperately seeking an escape route.  So we slammed the glass door shut on the stove and vacuumed up the few who did manage to escape.  Fortunately the heat and smoke carried their stink up the pipe and out of the house.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

Good intentions are always there, but life gets in the way.  I am super busy, but promise to resume color notes shortly.  Ciao

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Color Notes - More Cadmium Orange

Cadmium Orange is evident in the skyline just at daybreak....I call this time of day, first light.  Mix just a tiny bit into your morning sky and you will get that first glow of the sun as it breaks the horizon.  Just remember that all the values in the scene at that time of morning are going to be very dark values, including your blue sky.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Color Notes - Cadmium Orange

Cadmium Orange is one of the most useful colors around.  I have been using it lately, to liven up my's everywhere right now, in the fall foliage up here in Gore.  If you want to punch up a landscape painting, just add some Cadmium Orange.  Add a little white to it and you get a wonderful peach color....add more white still and you have a good base for making some nice flesh colors.  Try mixing some into a green and you will end up with some very natural greens, not those flashy man made greens you see straight from the tube.  And of course, use it for painting your pumpkin still life!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


I just got this nice card from dear friend Lorraine....I have had the pumpkin for years.  Notice anything?  Its the same pumpkin in the photo on the card.  What are the odds on this happening?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Doberman Art is Finished

So the Doberman illustration I have been working on is finished and drying.  As soon as it is good and dry, I will be putting a matt varnish on it, since a few areas are just too shinny to photograph well.  I am holding back the pictures of it until after a competition is juried, that I am hoping to get it into. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Color Notes - Tree Trunks

Brown tree trunks are not really brown in most cases.  They are actually very grey on the oaks in front of me.  I would use some Burnt Umber and add some white to get a grey color of brown with maybe a spec of black.  And then to deepen them in spots where the bark is cracked, I would mix some Burnt Umber and my good friend Cadmium Orange.  I noticed also that in front of me the trunks are lighter and get darker in the trees that are furthest from me.  This is not to say they are more vivid in color, just getting darker due to the leaf cover.  A lot of light is striking the trunks closest to me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Color Notes

 A good exercise to do if you really want to master mixing Cadmium Orange and Cerulean Blue is to try and create an entire landscape painting, using only those two colors and a bit of white and black.  Its a real eye opener! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Studio Distraction

I  built this dollhouse from a kit, years ago when I had less time, but more energy.  I would work on it an hour each evening just before bedtime.  We moved it into the studio and are going to surprise my granddaughter next time she comes to visit.  Something fun that she and grannie can do together.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Too Busy Right Now!

No pictures today.....I am too busy with the Doberman illustration.  Deadline is looming!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Color Notes is Back

OK, it's been awhile, hasn't it?
I am sitting on the back porch with my cup of Joe and marveling at all the beauty in my new neighborhood.  It's peak leaf season here, red, yellow, orange, and still some greens in the trees that still have leaves.  I recall a woman from Maine who visited my gallery in Little Washington, telling me that our mountains are called the Caramel Colored Mountains up north.  I see what she means.  Most of my oaks are a brownish orange.  This led me to thinking of how I would mix the colors to paint them.
So here is my little nugget for today.  If you mix two complementary colors together, they will grey one another.  And depending on how much you add of one to the other, you get various greyed color.  For my caramel oaks I would take some Cadmium Orange and add tiny amounts of Cerulean Blue to grey the orange.  If I add equal parts of the two colors together, I will get a warm grey. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Doberman Illustration

I have begun a new Sci Fi illustration using the Dobermans.  I just love these two dogs.   I am trying to finish it for the Art Order Challenge.  Off to the studio now!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New Studio Lights

We hung this studio light this past weekend.  It is daylight balanced and its almost like being outdoors.  Wow, what a difference.  I may never leave the studio again.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Intrepid Women of Miniature Portraiture is Published

My article, Intrepid Women of Miniature Portraiture has now been published in the quarterly journal of the Portrait Society of America.  It is in Volume XIV, issue no 60 on page 4 & 5.   It is a brief history of the role women have played in miniature portraiture and includes a few tiny images and short bios of four of todays top miniature portrait artists working in America. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

More Reference Photos

That is my finger(for scale) beside a walking stick.  He/she is such an interesting insect.  He/she is actually very delicate and so I did not pick him up for fear of hurting him/her.  This will be a great reference photo for something I have in mind down the road.  Off now to paint!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Resource Photos

Over and over at the IMC, we were instructed to use great resources for our work.  The instructors repeatedly told us to thoroughly research  our subjects.  We were shown how to take good resource photos in one session.  So, how is this for a good resource photo?  I took this on Sunday.  Can you guess what they are doing?   Can you guess what comes next?  HINT: She is not going to smoke a cigarette...he is going to wish he had remained celibate

Monday, October 7, 2013

More Predators in Neighborhood

So, I was taking veggie scraps out to the compost tumbler beside the garage/studio, and just a few feet away on the sunny hillside was this beautiful visitor.  He did not seem too worried about me at first.  It had been a very cool night and I am sure he was warming his bones up.  I often see my cats hunting mice on that grassy slope.  I am sure that is what he was intending to do also. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bees on Coneflowers

I took this a while back and forgot to post it.  I see a painting here.  It seems to really help me to look through a camera lens when I am searching for a good painting composition.  This is a good example of what I think will make a decent painting composition.  My sarcastic inner Linda voice say's "Stop congratulating yourself,  if you take enough pictures, you are bound to hit on something good."

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Barns Resumed"

I am back to work on one of the three little barns I started way way back before we moved.  I am blocking it in today. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Green Tractor Complete

I think I have taken this one as far as I need to go.  Its time to stop nit picking it.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Trace & Transfer

I apologize for this poor photo.  I have taken a sheet of tracing paper and traced the original drawing for the dragon illustration.  Another good habit I picked up at the IMC.   I would rather mess up and still have the original drawing to start again from, rather than mess up and have to begin at the very beginning again with a new drawing.  I have it taped to the canvas board and will use some transfer paper to trace it onto the canvas board.  I prefer Saral paper to making my own with a stick of soft charcoal......I guess I am just lazy, but it is also a lot less messy and you know me, I am a neat freak!!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ender's Game the Movie

Well it's about time!  Hollywood has finally made my all time favorite book into a movie.  GEEEZZ, I read this book in the 80's!  I don't read often, I am cursed with being a slow reader, but when I do read, I don't put the book down until my pets have all starved to death and my husband has taken in a maid so he can have clean underware.  No Kidding, just ask him and my son.  So, I saw the trailers on tv the other night and now I am going to somehow, get invited to the premiere.  I actually attended a premiere in DC (also in the 80's) for a little known movie called "Black Robe".   There is a good reason this is a little known movie.  I had heard rumors and saw bookcover art, but like everything else going on out there, I was last to hear this.  I am so excited!!!!!!!  This is as big as Star Wars, for me!!!!

Pastels Workshop on Sept. 28th

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Trois Crayon Example

This is a not quite finished drawing in the Trois Crayon style that I will teach in my upcoming workshop in October.  This coming Saturday, I will be teaching a pastels workshop at Studio Frame Shop in Warrenton.  Although the class is full, please feel free to stop in and check out the action.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Coffee with a Salamander

If I have posted this before, I apologize.  It's a good thing I love nature in all its various forms.  Look who wanted to check out my coffee.  I see a painting here in the near future.  Hmmm, possibly a story for children also.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Another Old Cat

This is Camo, our oldest kitty.  She is about a year older than our kitty Salem was.  She is in amazing good health and is a real Diva. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Salem 1994 - 2013

After being a part of my family for a very very long time, our kitty Salem had to be put down yesterday.  I had her assessed by my vet a few weeks before our move and at that time, although she looked like crap and had numerous health issues, the vet assured me that she was in no pain and still very strong.  But, yesteday morning, I  noticed she was turning in circles instead of walking straight to the food dish....a very good indication that a pet is or has gone blind.  Sure enough, the new vet I have found in Winchester suggested that her quality of life was such that it was time to let her go.   This photo is on one of her good days two years ago. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Old Master's Trois Crayon Drawing Technique Workshop

I will be offering a  workshop on the Old Master's Trois Crayon Drawing Technique on Saturday, October 19th.  The workshop is limited in size so that students get lots of one on one instruction.  The workshop is to be held at The Studio Frame Shop in Warrenton VA and runs from 10 am until 2:00 PM  that day.  The cost is only $50 (such a deal!!!) and you can register at The supplies needed are minimal and a supply list will be given upon registration. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Changes to Dragon Illustration

I decided my initial concept was a good one, but lacked enough movement and action.  So I have moved the left leg further down so the legs are splayed more, letting you know that this little boy is really flying through the air.  The scribbles through the dragon are an afterthought, which I have tossed out the door.  WON'T WORK!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

From Thumbnail to Drawing Board

Here is the first drawing from the thumbnails I did for my next dragon illustration

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thumbnails for Dragon Story

Nothing fancy here, just good old honest tiny quick thumbnails.  About 2 x 3 in size.  Thoughts flowing, compositions changing and then something really sticks. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Upcoming Workshop in Warrenton

Next Saturday, Sept.28th, I  will be teaching a workshop in pastels at the Studio Frame Shop in Warrenton Virginia.  This class will be creating a Dutch Master's Still Life in pastel.  Its a large undertaking, we are working on an 18 x 24 sheet of Canson paper.  I will have on hand, my copy from the National Gallery of Art, of  the painting Still Life with Mince Pie, by Willem Claezs Heda, which we will refer to throughout the day.  The class is full at this point and I try to keep the classes small so that each student gets more than their money's worth of one on one instruction.  My philosophy on workshops is......only take from an artist whose work you admire and only take a class where you know you will get some one on one instruction.  I have been in classes where you get an easel and a still life and then two days of painting without ever getting to really pick the brains of your instructor.  I am unfortunately one of those folks who needs to see first hand and then do it myself in order to grasp what is being taught.  I just can't read instructions and go forth or listen to a lecture and fully absorb.  And I really need to be able to ask questions while I work.   So, if you did not get into the workshop, take heart, I am teaching another workshop in October.  If you would like to be placed on the wait list in case of a cancellation, contact me at

Monday, September 16, 2013

More of New Studio

This is a view of the studio from inside the house at top of steps.  I have already hung my important framed credentials. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Future Framing Area

Along the left side of the garage/studio, is lots of free space currently occupied by vacums, compressors and husband junk.  Shortly, this will be removed to the basement and all of our framing equipment and table will be installed along this wall.  Oh, did you notice I have two easels set up with two different taborets?  This is so I can work on two pieces at one time.  I have always had two or three things going at once, now I won't have to be constantly moving them around and possibly dropping them.....yes I have done that.  And they always land face down. YIKES!!!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Great Art - Take a Look

A few posts back, I mentioned Rebecca Guay.  What I forgot to mention is how great her art is.  If you want to see some of the most beautiful and romantic art today, check out her site  Rebecca also is the mastermind, founder and powerhouse behind the Illustration Master Class.  Oh, did I mention what a NICE person she is?  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Model Stand

This view shows the model stand next to the steps.  Perfect spot to place a model at eye level or to set up a still life.  I currently have supplies and frames stacked here until I figure out where they will end up.  How about that antique fainting sofa?  Great for a reclining nude, don't you think? 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Importance of Thumbnails

Since attending the Illustration Master Class in Amherst Mass, a year ago (I am really ,sorry I missed it this year)I have been doing thumbnail sketches for new pieces.  I must admit that I often get lazy or maybe I get in a hurry and don't do the thumbnails.  All the instructors at the IMC, repeatedly drove home the point of doing those thumbnails before starting your piece.  They stressed the importance of working out problems before the drawing is started and finding that perfect, dynamic composition.

PERFECT EXAMPLE #1:  I am ready to begin another dragon painting, but I am procrastinating like crazy.  I have been thinking about this one for two weeks now.  I am even doing the dishes just to avoid starting the next illustration.  I have an idea for it in my head, but I know its a weak idea. I just can't come up with some idea I love.  Sooooooooo, this morning I went out onto the front porch with my usual cup of coffee.  I took my sketch book along and sat doing thumbnails for this next piece.  After doing about 10 little sketches, I NAILED it.  I came up with a combo of two that I liked and by blending them, I got (what I think is) a pretty decent composition.  I will work on the actual drawing phase today.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Moving Into Studio

Well, I have spackled some holes in the walls and given the garage a coat of paint.  I am now placing my studio equipment into the garage space.
We will build a low wall across the front, add a nice double french door which opens outward and then windows across the remaining area above the low wall.  We are leaving the garage door intact, with its automatic door opener, which will be actually inside the room when finished.  This will enable me to control the amount of light that comes in.  Since it faces west, this will be very necessary in the afternoons.   It will be wonderful!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Little Green Tractor is Nearly Finished

The shed now contains lots of farm junk rusting away.  I still want to darken all of the shed area including the junk.  I will glaze a bit more in this area when I am sure everything is bone dry.  Failing to let an area dry completely before glazing results in disaster every time.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fall Has Arrived

I noticed this morning, my little bush in the hillside garden has turned red over this weekend.  In just two days, it went from green to yellow and red to a bright red today.  Also, a small maple is now turning yellow and peachy red.  I wonder if botanists describe plants using foods for colors?  HMMMMM do I maybe think of food too much?  MENTAL NOTE TO LINDA: Try using artists colors to describe things, such as, the bush is now cadmium yellow with a touch of cadmium scarlet.  Yes, that is much more artsy!
Anyway, Fall has arrived here in Gore.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Illustration Finished

Another Invisible Dragon illustration is completed.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Love the Ducks

I added these little ducks/geese to the Invisible Dragon illustration today.  Almost completed now!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Invisible Dragon Progress

I have begun the background after transfering the drawing to the canvas board. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Illustration begins - Invisible Dragon

After doing numerous thumbnails, this is the composition I have decided on for my next illustration for my childrens story, "The Trouble with Invisible Dragons"  copyright 2012, Linda Lawler

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Anniversary

Today is my wedding anniversary!  29 wonderful years with my soulmate!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


There is always inspiration on my front lawn........I see a new miniature here.  There is nothing better than drawing from life.