Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Second Finished Piece for Class

This is the second finished piece for Donato's class.  This is also a piece intended for a competition.  This piece is a homage to the art of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell.  Both artists are leaders in the Fantasy art world.  The painting is called The Bond of Steel, 24 x 18, oil on illustration board.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

First Finished Piece

This is the first finished piece I did in Donato Giancola's class.  It is meant to look retro and a homage to the illustrators of the golden age.  The assignment was to create a piece that represents a domestic event of the future.   I decided to illustrate a perfect "alien" homemaker taking her four legged turkey out of the oven.  Much like the ads in lady's magazines of the Forties Era.

Monday, December 14, 2015

My Catchup Post

Its been a long time since I posted on this blog.  This will be my catchup post.  Its been a very busy few months.  Took two on line classes at the SmArt School.  My last class is Weds night.  Painted and nearly completed four new Fantasy pieces.  I will post them shortly, two are entered into some competitions.  Entered several miniature competitions and received an honorable mention for one miniature portrait at the Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society of DC.  Got a new part time job at the Museum of The Shenandoah Valley.  They also have taken some of my note cards and a few of my miniatures on consignment.  I am currently caring for my husband who underwent a total hip replacement surgery 6 days ago.  As soon as he is recovered I will resume my blog and also revamp my website and website store.  It will probably be after the holidays before I can leave him alone and get back into my art groove.  Until then, Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Illuxcon or Bust

I am headed out early tomorrow morning for Allentown PA to attend Illuxcon at the Allentown Art Museum.  It is all about art this weekend and I will be seeing the very best illustrators of Sci Fi and Fantasy Art.  Hope to connect with some old friends and make some new ones as well as seeing some of my past and current instructors and mentors.  I will most certainly party hard and come home very tired, but energized to create new art. My husband is staying home this time and promised to feed my cats while I am away. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Website Store

My website store is now up and running.   I currently have boxed notecards, featuring the painting "Family Tree".    This is the painting of Pileated Woodpeckers I won the Elaine & James Hewitt Award for Oils & Acrylic, at the Salmagundi Club in New York this past year.  Also on the store page are three original drawings/sketches for oil paintings I have painted.  The paintings are not currently for sale, but prints will be offered in the store in the near future.  Check out my store at

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Must Do A Dragon

It had to happen.  All fantasy artists have to do a dragon sooner or later.  So here is Dragon Battle, graphite and white prismacolor pencil on toned grey paper.  It measures 18 x 24 and is soon to be a beautiful full color oil on board painting. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

A New Piece

Here is a new drawing for another illustration.  I call this Shawnee War Party.  It will be for sale as soon as the oil painting is completed. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cold Steel Karma

Cold Steel Karma is now finished.  Will be putting this into prints shortly.  I have gotten pretty busy lately, so not posting as often as before.  Will hopefully find more time shortly. 
The drawing for this painting is now for sale, $125.oo  We hope to add a store to my website shortly.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Beyond Reach

Forgot to post this recent painting.  I call it Beyond Reach and it was for a book cover contest entry.
Did not make it to the final rounds, competition was stiff, but I enjoyed stretching my creative muscles with this one. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Preparing FAll Class with Donato Giancola

Just spent the last three days preparing illustration boards for my upcoming fall class with Donato Giancola.  I have been putting a layer of gesso onto illustration board, then when dried, I sand them lightly before applying the next coat.  Each side of the board gets three coats of gesso.  I now have six boards ready for class. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

New Art Started - Karma is Cold Steel

Well, better late than never.  I had this idea back when I was in Dan Dos Santos class.  Got the initial sketch from my head down on paper without any references.  Put it aside and got real busy with portrait work and various other projects.  So, after three days of working and reworking, I have a pretty good final drawing to work from.  I will get into town soon and have it copied onto paper that I can mount on board and then do my oil painting over the copy.   The original drawing will be for sale, once I have the oil painting finished. 
While I was working on it, I came up with this for a title....."Karma is Cold Steel". My friends from IMC and SmArt School will get it!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Portrait Unveiling

Here are two shots of the reception following the unveiling.  Its unfortunate that all the photos taken inside the auditorium were really awful, it was so dark and the lights on the stage caused the painting to be washed out and unrecognizable.  But, it was beautiful in the old auditorium which is post Civil War construction.  Was a very tiring but lovely day, with lots of my good friends and some new friends. Alas, I will have to part with this portrait shortly. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Portrait Unveiling - June 20, 2015

I am excited to announce that the Friends of Handley Regional Library have graciously offered to sponsor a portrait unveiling for the Rafael Eledge portrait.  The date is set for June 20th, 2:00 until 4:00 pm.  The unveiling will take place in the Historic Handley Library Auditorium with a short reception in the meeting room next to the auditorium in the lower level of the building.  Needless to say, I am working on invitation lists and details today.  Oh and spending some time painting my house inside as well as an entry for the next Art Order Challenge.  Do I have enough to do these days?  Is this what retirement looks like?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Home Before Sunset is Finished

I finished up this little painting today.......well at least I think it is finished.  If it sits around the studio for a while, I am sure to find something to change.  But that's just me!
I am taking a few days off from the blog....teaching on Saturday and I want to finally finish up the angel painting I started way back.  Also, I have two ideas for some fantasy art and I need to get them down on paper before the inspiration is lost. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Home Before Sunset continues

I made great progress on this painting late last night.  Got the legs well established and lengthened the shadow that runs from the young girl to the gazelle skull.  Hope to get the skull finished up tomorrow.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Red Clothing

In this closeup, you can see I have opted for a red color on the clothing of this African girl.  In my research I saw lots of bright colors in the clothing of Africa and red was a good way to really make this young girl stand out.  I immediately saw that her nose is too light for the amount of sunlight that would have reached that side of her face.  Tomorrow I will correct the value on the nose.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Something New

Here is a new illustration I am working on.  Everything is blocked in and a color scheme selected.  I have taken the head, arms and jug to a near finished state already.  I am happy with the background and may punch up the light in the sky a bit more.  Depends on how I feel once I have the clothing and her legs nearer a finished state.  I am aiming for a late day atmosphere with long shadows and lots of orange glow, just like you see just before sunset. I am thinking a good title might be, "Home before Sunset".   

Friday, April 24, 2015

Finger, Before and After

OK, got it fixed today.  Before, with the finger too short and after, the finger is the proper length and thickness. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

More To Do

Took a peek at the portrait late last night as I was putting away items to be stored in the studio.  It jumps right out at you when you least expect it, that big mistake you have made and not seen all along.
 RUT ROW!!!  The last finger on the hand hanging down is too short and small.  I realized this when I looked down at my own hand, measured mentally the length of my own little finger in relationship to the knuckles and thumb.  So I pulled out the reference photo of his hand and of course there it was, but I had missed this.  Guess what I am fixing today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Finished......I Think?

Well it looks like this portrait may be finished.  Spent the afternoon today touching up a few spots and really studying it.  I am at a point where I can't find another thing to change.  But, that does not mean it can't be improved.  All paintings can be improved, but you have to know when to stop before you overwork a painting.  If it still needs improvement, it just may be time to start another painting.  No sense beating a dead horse. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Here is a shot of the studio and painting with some of the photo references I have taken.  I have also been studying some reference photos of Rafael in past years.  This helps me with mannerisms that are particular to him.  There were a couple of poses that I liked a lot, but just weren't as warm and friendly as this one.  Still, I would like to do some sketches of the other poses in the future, for my own education and practice.  
I need to stop now and fix dinner, but before I do, I am going to repaint those buttons.  They may be a tad too large........see what I mean about fussing.  I just can't leave this alone.

Monday, April 20, 2015

In the Homestretch

I think I am finally in the homestretch now.  I like the likeness and pose.  I see a few areas for more refinement.  It is my intent to have the flesh look very real.....needs more fussing around to get there Linda.  So, today I worked on the front leg.  It looked a little large to me at a distance, something that cameras definitely do......the object that is closer to you will always appear larger than the same object at a position a bit further away.  Cameras don't understand about foreshortening rules.  This minor change required me to repaint the seam down that pants leg.  I also fiddled with the left shoulder of the jacket and lightened that side of the jacket a bit more.  I am Happy with all this today.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Back To Work Today

Well, I have finally gotten back into the studio today.  Because it has been a bit and my mind has lost the momentum it had before, I spent this morning getting back into the groove and did some work on the sofa, background and the blue jeans as a means of loosening up before touching any part of the face.  Also, sat in a chair across the room from the portrait and made some notes on what comes next and areas I feel need work.  Its odd, but, all morning I kept catching myself, thinking I needed to run errands and visit mom.  Just can't shake that feeling. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Teaching Workshop Today

I am teaching a workshop today in Warrenton VA at the Studio Frame Shop.  The class is a charcoal portrait class and we are going to do people and pets.  I will post a photo this evening I hope!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Must See Movie

After dinner last night, we watched a movie, "Tim's Vermeer".  This is a must see movie for all artists no matter what style or genre you work in or whatever your medium is.  I am always fascinated with art How To videos or History  movies and this one has both.  A real eye opener for all of us traditional painters who love Vermeer.  You will be surprised to see who produced this movie.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Portrait to Resume Shortly

I will be settling up the affairs of my mother over the next few days.....but hope to resume the portrait of Rafael shortly.  I am teaching a charcoal portrait class in Warrenton this coming Saturday and then plan to resume work on Sunday afternoon.  I am already observing the portrait and making mental notes of where to begin and what to begin with.  Thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Myrtle Louise Brown

Myrtle Louise Brown passed away on April 6.  Funeral will be held at Moser Funeral Home in Warrenton Va.  on Saturday April 11 at 10:00 am.  There will be a viewing on Friday April 10 from 6 until 8:00 pm

Friday, April 3, 2015

Portrait Delay

My mother's condition has worsened and I am unable to work on the portrait at this time.  I hope to resume work on it shortly.
Thank You for following my blog.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More Fussing Over The Details

Spent today working on more details.  Softening edges and adjusting colors.  Worked on the eyes, little changes that make a huge difference to the overall painting.  Sat for a half hour with a pencil and tablet writing down what needs changing for the next session.  I still want to do something to the right side of the sofa, tone down the brightness of that yellow so that it does not scream for attention.  It was a very good day in the studio overall, so I am headed to the kitchen for a glass of wine to celebrate the fact that I did not screw it up today.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Deepening Some Shadows

OK, forgot to point out that the right side of the face, which is in shadow, was way too light in some spots.  In the corner of the eye and beneath the nose and where the neck meets the shirt collar, I darkened some shadows today.  Now that I see this image on the computer, I am thinking the entire shadow side of the face may need to go down another value on the value scale.  I will check this out tomorrow, but for now, I am liking this overall.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

More Fussing Around

Fussing around today with the moustache, needed to lower the left side a bit so that the hairs are visible in front of the lip.  Added lots of detail (tiny bits of color) to the beard as well as the skin that is just below the beard.  I actually put skin color on and then drag it back into the edge of the beard.
Next, I somehow lost the top of the left ear a while back.  So I repainted it and added more light to the lobe and edges.  Decided the edges were too harsh, so took a small brush and blended them into the background.....creating a soft edge.

Friday, March 27, 2015

In The Final Stretch

I am now at the phase of my technique which I fondly call, Screwing it Up.  This is the stage at which I fuss and fuss with tiny details and bits of color.  This is the stage where it will be hard for you to see the changes I make.   This is the stage that can often lead me to ruin.  I am also very bad about knowing when to quit.  Just looking at this image now, I see how hard most of my edges are.  I will go back to work tomorrow and soften some more of the edges.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Coat Lapel Changes

On the left you see the coat lapel as originally painted.   Walked into the studio today and said NO WAY.  So I fixed it.  I think the entire coat is way too busy and may just rework more of it and take away the fussy folds.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Studio Fatigue Matts

Here are my new fatigue matts in the studio.  They worked well for me yesterday.  Worked for 6 hours and had very little back and leg pain last night. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Background Revision

Well, after looking at the two versions of the background on the computer again, I just had to return it to the darkened state that I originally painted.  The lighter version just made the arm on the couch seem like it was cut out.  I also dropped that shoulder a bit and now the arm looks relaxed and firmly planted onto the couch arm. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Importance of Standing

Worked on the portrait most of yesterday.  I sit most of the time these days, spinal stenosis and concrete floors do not a happy artist, make.  So when I was finished for the day, I walked over to turn off the music and when I turned around, I could not believe my eyes and what I had done today.  Nothing looked correct from across the room.  So, I walked back over to the canvas and promptly removed what I had done today. 
The important lesson here is, If you are sitting right on top of your work, you can not possibly get a good overall view of the work.  Your perspective will be skewed and shapes will become incorrect.  Throughout most of the day, if you are sitting, you must get up and step back from the art, getting a new perspective.  This will make a big difference in the work you are doing. 
I am going to head into town today, over to the Hardware store, and pick up some of those rubber fatigue matt squares and cover a large portion of my concrete studio floor with them so that I can stand at the easel and back up from the easel, without making my lower back and legs ache.  Finally, Shame on Me, I should know better.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Background Adjustments

Well, I thought since I had an hour after dinner last night, I would lighten the background a bit on the left side.  I was feeling that the coat and arm were getting lost in the background and I had also just been reading my Portrait Society Journal and admiring a portrait by @Ellen Cooper.  I was liking the treatment she used for a black coat and decided to make the adjustments.  Now that I see mine on the computer monitor, I am not so sure I like this for my painting.  I will think on it for a day or so.  Stay tuned to see if I change it back. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Still Working on Hands

These two shots show you the before and after of my short session yesterday.  Mom has improved dramatically, but I am still visiting daily, so I am working in short sessions. 

I hope you can see from my poor photos, that I have worked on the shadow areas of the fingers on the bottom hand.  I have strengthened the shadows under the fingers on the chair arm, which makes the hand move forward in space and pushes back the chair arm.  I have worked on the coat sleeve and increased the depth in the area of his coat, leg and chair arm, where the three meet.  You may also be able to see that I adjusted the shape of his upper hand by simply creating a shadow beneath it that does not go all the way up to the edge of the hand.  I added a tiny drop of pink next to the pale blue highlight on the crystal in the ring. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Relaxing That Smile

At one point the smile was looking unnatural to me, so here I have relaxed it a bit.  I am satisfied with my colors but hope to re-work the mustache again since working on the lip messed it up a bit.  These teeth are an excellent example of my previous post about cool colors placed against warm colors.  The highlight on the teeth is a mixture of Titanium White and Phthalo Green.   I use this green in my shadows a lot.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I painted in the buttons recently and am finally getting around to posting.  These buttons were simply suggested.  They are not what the painting is about, nor are they the center of attention and so there is no real detail in them.  Some areas of the painting are treated this way and stay as originally painted and yet other areas handled this way will be repainted as I near the end of the painting.  I will go back and add more detail and adjustments, hopefully I will not overwork these areas. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Camera Color Wonky

Looking back at the posting for the day I painted the ring, I see my camera made everything look toooooooooooooooo yellow and I had the camera so close, the details looked very loose and sloppy.  The color here looks much more natural and the detail is better. 
So....I want to point out the importance of using cool and warm colors in flesh.  Looking at the very light flesh here, you can see a very pale pink, made up of Titanium White and Permanent Rose. Then right next to that color I have placed a mix of Titanium White and a bit of Indian Yellow.  Placing a cool highlight next to a warm highlight makes each pop.  Look at the pale cool pink on his really pops.  You see it again on the tip of his nose. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Shadow Colors

Because of my current family crisis, I spent today pre posting some stuff for the blog for the times I will not be able to paint.  I will release these postings from time to time until I can get back on schedule and back in the studio.
This close-up is to illustrate how shadows can be either cool or warm in tone.  Most of the time the following will hold true....Warm light source, cool shadows or Cool light source, warm shadows.  Every rule can be broken if handled correctly.  Around this eye you see cool shadows because my light source was a warm incandescent light.  But, my reference photo revealed to me a very warm color shadow in the crease of the eye starting in the shadow and moving into the light.  There is a very warm shadow in the nostrils also.  Same for the ear canal. Remember, Trust Your Eyes, paint what you see.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snow Day Work

We are snowed in once again.  Painting is a wonderful escape from the sadness currently going on at Western View Studio.  Here are two progress shots from yesterday. I focused on the ring and surrounding areas.   I may get out again today, but if not, I will resume work on the painting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Brief Absence

I am sad to report that my mother is now under the care of Hospice and I am going to be absent from this blog for a bit.  I will resume the portrait demonstration as soon as I am able.  Thank You for following along. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

More Hand Work

Really got going on the bottom hand today.  Painted mostly on the areas that are in light.  My time was short today, but I did manage to fix that maniacal smile.  I just forgot to photograph it.  I will do that next time.  I still have the three fingers and thumb to block in and then I will move into finessing and details of this hand.  I am looking forward to the challenge of the ring. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Back To Work on The Hands

I spent the entire afternoon working on this hand and watch.  I think it has started to take shape and the color may need a bit more adjusting.  I placed my dark areas first and then worked on midtones.  If you think that I make this look easy....believe me, it's a real struggle some days.  I go back and forth on some areas such as hands.  First they look good, then they look wrong.  I get up to answer the phone and when I come back, I hate what I have painted.  It is a rare day when I don't struggle with my art. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Watch and Hand Continues

Just as I expected, I saw some things to tweek just a bit last night after dinner.  Was putting my brushes back after cleaning them and I spotted from across the room a minor adjustment for the watch.  So I worked on that first thing today and then put on his wedding band and worked on the upper hand.  I hope to continue the hands tomorrow. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Watch Continues

Resumed work on the watch today.  Not too bad. I will probably see something to tweek after my brushes are cleaned up today.  But, that's what tomorrow is for.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Began Watch and Hand Today

Today I have started to work on the hands again.  But have really gone to work on the watch.  At this point it is well placed and blocked in.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sofa Revised

I got around to fixing the sofa today.  I realized that the sofa arm peeking out from the side of his arm was too distracting.   Now that I have removed the sofa arm on the left side of the painting, I am much happier with the composition.  My eye is no longer drawn to that side like before and the arm seems to lay upon the sofa arm better. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

An Off Day

Every artist has an off day from time to was my turn.  I did nothing but paint and wipe off and repaint and wipe off.  The studio was warm enough, so I can't lay the blame there.  Anyway, no photos today, since I did nothing to be proud of and photograph.   My next few days are going to be spent doing some prescheduled things and so I won't have a post for you for a bit.  Hopefully when I get back to the easel, I will be recharged. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Background Second Pass

We are having unusual low temperatures here and today, my little heaters and woodstove were unable to get the studio temperature above 52 degrees.  Well, need I say more.  My fingers were too cold to do real fine work, so I gave the background a second pass glaze.  I like the outcome.  I am still bothered by the sofa shape and color.  Will work on that if the studio is cold again tomorrow.  Also, today my mother turned 90.  My father used to tease her that she was born a day before George Washington and she is still alive.  She did not appreciate that, but us kids thought it was a hoot

Friday, February 20, 2015

Teeth and Beard

Worked forever on the teeth and beard today.  Teeth are not that hard to paint, but it is hard to pull it off so that the person does not look maniacal.  I think I have it right, almost.  I am almost happy with the beard, but still need to adjust the smile a bit.  Lets hope I don't overwork it. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Haircolor Adjustment

Well I finally got around to fixing the haircolor.  I should mention at this time that with regard to color, every color effects the color sitting next to it.  My flesh tones were very light and warm, while the background is very dark and cool.  The light warm flesh was making the golden hair color look pale and colorless when in fact the yellows were much too strong.  Because I was looking at the painting from a very close perspective, my eyes became blinded to the yellows.  Kind of like when you are in a snowy landscape on a sunny day, your eyes become snow blind.  When I finally uploaded my photo to the computer monitor, I saw the reality of what I had painted.  I also, became aware of my mistake after I had finished for the day and was viewing the painting from across the room.  Lesson Learned......always take frequent breaks and get back from the painting for a fresh perspective.   I have repainted the hair using a cool tan and brown mix with hints of Pthalo Green and Yellow Ochre highlights.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Neck and Beard

I got up really early today, had a very early appointment in town.  I went out the door and waiting for me was Bambi and her fawn.  I have been feeding the two deer and she has become pretty tame.  I was not prepared and had no food for her, and as I headed to my car, she followed me to the driveway.  I guess she is getting a bit too tame.  So this afternoon I looked out the studio windows and there was Bambi with about 15 of her best friends.  Guess she was getting even with me for not feeding her this morning. 
 I hope to get some real close ups for you to view, shortly.  Started off today's session working on the neck and shadow created by the shirt collar, laid in the lips a bit and started fleshing out the neck and beard.  Took another pass at the ears also, adjusting the shapes and colors in them.  As I work on any one area, I may spot an area elsewhere that also uses the color I am working with.  This is when I will take a dab of the color I just used and place it in the area where I see that same color.  This adds to the continuity of the painting.