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. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Painting Glass

I apologize for this inferior is not one of my better skills.  But, working with this photo, you can see a glass object with some pattern to it.  My best description of painting glass objects is......Don't paint the glass, paint the air inside and around the glass.  In other words, the background is green so paint the glass green with white to increase its opacity and darker shades of the green to show its form and shadow.  Avoid pure white highlights.  Tint your whites a bit.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Painting Drapery

The most challenging subject for me to paint is drapery.  If I had studied in a classical atelier, I would have had months of study and practice of painting cloth.  Alas, being self taught, its the one thing I ignored, thinking it a boreing subject.  Not So!!!!   Again, if it seems too complex, I make myself focus on just the form and getting the folds and creases into position.  Then I go back and take a small part at a time, and really get into refining it  until I have convincing fabric. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Painting Gold

This object is not as hard as it looks.  Whenever you have an object with a lot of intricate patterns or designs, paint the form first, paying attention to the light and shadow.  Keep it simple!!!!   Then go back and paint in the details but don't paint them verbatim.  It's ok to leave some parts out.  Again, make the pattern or design simple, let the viewer's eyes and mind fill in what you have left out.   Colors here are Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Scarlet, Zinc Yellow and Titanium White.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tell Your Friends

If you are enjoying these blog posts, please drop me a note.  It is always encouraging to know someone is getting something out of the time I take away from painting, to share tips with others. 
Also, if you think these posts are educational, tell a friend and ask them to sign up as a follower.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Painting the Lemon

This lemon is the same lemon I use over and over in my still lifes.  But, each time, I try to change the position of it or the curl of the lemon peel.  Colors used for the lemon are, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre,Cadmium Yellow,  Zinc Yellow, and Titanium White.   I used a bit of Ultramarine Blue to cool the white pith of the peel.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Painting Olives

My favorite part of this painting is the wet olives.  I felt like I really pulled this one off.  Colors used here were Ivory Black, Zinc Yellow, Raw Sienna and of course Titanium White.  It amazes me that Black & Yellow make this lovely olive green

Monday, August 19, 2013

Painting Pewter

Painting pewter is much easier than glass.  I did not have to worry over transparency like I did with the overturned goblet.  Colors used here were, Ivory Black, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna and Titanium White.  Oh and a bit of Zinc Yellow,  I mixed into the white to warm the highlights.  The Dutch were fond of painting symbolism into their still life works.  Can you find the hidden skull in this painting?  It represents death or the brevity of life.  This painting is called a Vanitas painting and is all about getting right with God, because even though this world is wonderful and full of pleasures, before you know it, it's over.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Still Life with Mince Pie, by Willem Claezs Heda

This is the last copy I did at the National Gallery of Art in DC.  It is a painting by Willem Claezs Heda, titled Still Life with Mince Pie.  Now that I live three hours drive from DC, it will be a long time before I get back down there to copy from the originals.   This is one of the best ways I have found to educate myself and improve my skills.  In the coming week, I will take a different part of the painting and give you some insights into what I learned during this process.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Still Life in Pastels Workshop

I will be teaching a workshop in pastels on September 28th at the Studio Frame Shop in Warrenton VA.  The class will teach students, step by step, a still life which will be complete and ready to frame at the end of the workshop.   I will demonstrate various pastels techniques and colour theory and mixing.  I decided to do a Dutch Masters style for this class.  Contact me at to register.  Cost is $50 for the workshop.

Amazing Morning

It was an amazing morning here.  I go out onto the porch with my coffee very early.  I like to watch the sunrise or early glow of light on the trees.  It is so peaceful and quiet and I can sketch or plan my day.  This morning as usual, once I was settled, out from the trees came three does onto the small lawn to eat.  We also have what old timers would call "a seep", a small area where a spring bubbles up and creates a muddy area.  The deer love our little seep.

Ok, so there were three big deal.  But then, out came three more does and two bucks.  Still, no big deal.  Then came three more bucks and another doe.  Wow, thats a total of 7 does and 5 bucks.  Just when I thought it could not get any better, out came two more button bucks and another doe.  So, I am scrambling and feverishly trying to quick sketch all these deer, unable to make up my mind which pose to sketch.  I sat with my two ferel cats nearby, enjoying nature's TV.  All of a sudden, all the deer snapped to attention and ran off into the woods......a coyote came around from the right side of my house, saw me and ran off into the woods in the opposite direction of the deer.  Bummer, now I have to worry about a Coyote hurting one of my cats.  My husband is never going to believe me!!!! It was pretty chilly this morning and the bucks were still sporting fuzzy horns, but they also were stomping the earth and making movements like they were practicing for a confrontation. 

I also saw my first Scarlet Tanager.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to Work

I am finally, truely getting back to work.  Setting up an office space in the studio and I have found the children's stories I wrote and am getting back to work illustrating them.  I will soon search for a literary agent and there is one I intend to self publish.  I hope to update my website shortly.....its about time!!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

More Zone Music

The Theme song from the movie, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, by Hugo Montenegro, is also Zone music.  When this piece plays, I am once again 17 and riding around in the back of Nick Lonagro's old Vista Cruiser station wagon on a hot August night.  I still love that music!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Music That Makes Us Emotional

I was talking about the Zone and Music yesterday....I once had the piece, Grazioso from Concerto in D Major, by George Philipp Telemann, bring tears to my eyes while painting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.   I was a registered copyist there for a number of years and I was working on my copy of a beautiful dutch still life when this piece played.  I was so transported into the painting, the music was so beautiful, that tears came to my eyes.  It was one of those rare moments in life when you know why you were put onto this planet.  I have always wanted to be a musician, alas, one gift is all I received.  My fingers were meant to paint, not play an instrument. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Good Feeling - Flo-rida

When a painting comes together for me and I become completely lost in the act of painting, I often reach a state of being that I fondly call "My Zone".   More often than not, I reach this state as a direct result of having my music playing loudly and drowning out the world around me.   Yesterday, I actually got to my zone while cleaning house of all things.  With my I-Pod turned on to drown out the vacum cleaner, the song, Good Feeling, by Flo-rida came on.  This piece of music really gets me going and lifts my spirits.  You know its good music when you don't mind cleaning house.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Spending today, cleaning house top to bottom.   My best friend from high school is coming up for a visit.  We have not seen each other, these past three years....something always gets in the way, but we do talk on the phone at least once a month.  We will drink Margaritas and wine the whole weekend and regale ourselves with memories of our wild teen years during the hippie generation.  I still can't believe that she and I survived those years and grew up to become respectable adults.  My good friend JoAnn once told me to write a book, cause no one would ever believe it could be true. 
Yesterday, my boy toy turned 58,  I won't tell you how much younger than me, he is.  We went exploring our new location and then out for his birthday dinner. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Our new kitchen with a breakfast bar.  I am standing in the bay window breakfast nook to get this photo.  I love sitting at this counter, working on the laptop.....very convenient.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Racoon Disaster

We were invaded last night.  Five very hungry racoons showed up and destroyed the bird feeders.  The cats ran off and hid until the hordes had retreated to the forest again.  We have decided to take down the feeders for a while and hopefully they will think thats all there is and stop coming around.  The cats are now going to get their meals inside the garage.  No Food - No Racoons.....I hope!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Guest Bedroom

Yes, I Know!!!!  Every room in this house is dark.  The previous owners liked dark colors on the walls.  And since there are porches on front and back, the windows let in very little light.  I hope to repaint a few rooms down the road, but for now, I just want to be unpacked, order instead of chaos and back at work in a well lit studio. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013


OK, so this room was Ketchup red when we moved in.  I already had green curtains from the last house, so I bought some Celery green paint and now its a soothing room.  Have you noticed how I use food to describe colors?  Is it any wonder I am overweight? 
There is no good angle to take a photo of the dinningroom.  But you can just make out my little Rob Liberace drawing on the back wall.  One of my favorite things.