Thursday, December 31, 2009

My New New Year's Resolution

Auld Lang Syne
6x6, oil on panel
One year ago today I made a resolution to oil painting, starting with a painting a day for 30 days - see below for #1 through #4. I took my first oil class when I was 13 and hated it. Since then I've played (not really fair to call it "work") with just about every other media in the art universe and taken classes and workshops in drawing and watercolor. About every 5 years I'd dust off the long brushes, buy fresh oils, paint something terrible, and push it all to the back of the cupboard.

Many factors piloted me back to oil painting: time, the encouragement of friends, the support of Mr. Right, a painting teacher I adore (thank you, Laurel!), and discovering the people who comprise the art-blogosphere. How lucky am I?? This year's New Year's Resolution? Ditto.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This Thank You Note Just Had to be Painted

Happy Christmas
8x10, oil on panel
A dear friend brought us these beautiful lemons from the tree in her garden and honestly, they were one of the loveliest gifts I have ever received. The citrus fragrance has been heavenly and the fruit was so fresh and tasty - we enjoyed them all during the holiday season - both for eating and for painting! Thank you, friend.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Different Strokes for Different Folks Portrait Challenge

Lovely to Meet You, Ruth
6x6 oil on panel

This is my entry for the portrait-exchange challenge that artist Karin Jurick hosts each December on her blog Different Strokes for Different Folks. Karin collects headshot photos from participants, pairs them up, and sends them back out to be painted. You don’t know who you are painting (or who’s painting you) until one or the other appears on the DSFDF blog. Be sure to visit that site – click here – to see all the amazing portraits.

And so, it turns out to have been New Hampshire watercolor artist Ruth Bodycott’s charming face that has graced my easel this holiday season (original photo at left). You can’t imagine how many times over the past few weeks I’ve walked in from cooking or cleaning or wrapping or cleaning or decorating or cleaning… shaking my head… and looked over at Ruth who was looking back at me with that priceless “aren’t the holidays grand?” expression. I wouldn’t pretend to have captured her whimsical gesture in this portrait but I surely do appreciate it. Visit Ruth’s blog here – she paints delightful watercolors.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Trimming Every House in Who-ville

The Cheermeister Portrait
8x8, oil on masonite
I love to paint the faces of imaginary people. When painting the face of someone I know I can never meet my own expectations. It's just never quite right. But, painting the face of a person no one has ever seen is different. Low stress, lots of fun. Speaking of fun, I'm spending more time decorating our chimbley with bizzle binks and jeantinglers and hanging holly-Who wreaths than I am painting these days. And watching The Grinch, obviously. Hope yours is merry and bright.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just How Many Shades of White Are There?

12x12 oil on panel
email for info
No kidding - there were snowflakes bouncing off the camera as I was taking this photo. I was trying for the high key value scheme of 2/3 light, 1/3 mid-value, and a smidge of dark with this painting. And continuing to explore stripes. And glass. I was worried it would be cold so I choose a pink ground and really tried to push the whites toward warmer tones. Which great artist was it who said, "white in shadow is darker than black in light?" Slips my mind right now. Hmmm... perhaps a cup of cocoa will jog my memory.
In honor of today's snow here in Central Texas (4 actual flakes at my house thus far), grab a cup of cocoa and try this. You might want to warn someone that you could need saving after a while.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hope You're Enjoying the Leftovers

Pumpkin Pie
12x24, oil on canvas
We had a glorious Thanksgiving. In the truest sense of the holiday, all 20 'feasters' contributed food or spirits and we ended with a bountiful spread. Lavagirl picked up the torch her Grandmother always carried and continued a well-loved tradition of chocolate cake. Our now-sixteen-year-old Sharkboy has been making the pumpkin pies in our family since he was a kindergartener. He long since stopped needing my help with that project so this year I painted the pie. And doesn't it all -- the stuffing and the cranberries and the mashed potatoes -- taste even better two days later with a paint brush in your hand?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Searching for the Gravy Boats

Preparing the Feast
18x18 oil on canvas
Painting stripes again - this is a remnant from a quilt top my mother-in-law made that I found among her things recently. Luckily we're having a crowd for Thanksgiving - the perfect excuse to use a few of her fall decorations. It was challenging to get the fabric to "sit down" rather than float above the table and I didn't even attempt the fabric patterns fearing I would get much too tight and fussy. Now, put away those brushes and go rattle the pots and pans. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How Do You Spell R-U-S-T-Y?

Earning My Stripes
8x8, oil on canvas
email for info
After 2 weeks of not painting I can quickly see that practice, practice, practice is the order of the day. The experts say painting stripes is a great exercise in finding and relating values. It feels great to have a brush in my hand.
I want to say thanks to all of you for the care and friendship you've shown during these past weeks. Each email, card, visit, hug has been such a genuine comfort and we are blessed to be living amongst you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Passing of One of My Favorite Artists

The Homemaker
18x18 oil on canvas

A remarkable thing happened Tuesday – we lost two beloved family members. Mr. Right’s treasured great-uncle passed away about lunchtime and, by the following morning, we lost Mr. Right’s mother. These two were always very close. She was the daughter her uncle never had. When talking to other people, they referred to each other as Jean and John but when they were together it was Unk and Little Girl. She was only 67. He was 103.

From the time she and I met twentysomething years ago, we clicked. We had a lot in common, over and above loving her son. She was an exceptional combination of mother and friend – a twisted sister of the highest sort. There was never more than a pinch of the stereotypical mother-in-law-ness. She and I always had a pile of something – books, magazine articles, projects – we were saving for the other one. I loved it when she visited for a weekend – even better when she stayed a week.

She was an artist with a rare, natural sense of color and design that cannot be taught or learned. She sewed – everything from quilts to Christmas dresses to diaper bags to altar cloths. She could make lace. She was a talented mosaic artist and she painted anything and everything that didn’t paint her first.

What fun she and I had painting a set of bar stools together – they’re good-looking: Oriental rug colors with leopard skin seats and corded tassels draped on the backs. And the week we decoupaged the bookcases onto the door of Mr. Right’s “secret room.” And the days we spent setting up nurseries.

She was an artist in her home as well. A 1964 home economics graduate, she was the definitive resource on recipes, holiday décor, laundry, etiquette, the proper pairing of shoes and bags, and what one should and should not wear before Labor Day. She advised countless nervous brides for her church. She made Unk a batch of his favorite ginger Christmas cookies and packaged them in the same treasured box every year since…well… forever. I can’t dream how many of our phone calls began with me saying, “Now, how do I make….?” A visit to her home was always warm, comforting, and inspirational.

She was the family historian. She tracked the genealogy of every piece of furniture, war relic, cup and saucer. She was the type who could put her hands on the fabric scraps left over from Mr. Right’s 3-year-old Tigger costume. Give her 24 hours and she’d have them sewn into a quilt. She framed family photos and wrote the names and dates on the back. And so, it was no challenge this week to find the photo of her with baby Mr. Right shown in the painting. Nor the photo (left) of her, at 1 year old, with her beloved uncle – circa 1943. Via con Dios, sweet friends.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Living and Learning

Oregano with Pool Towel: A Tenderfoot's Attempt
8x8, oil on panel
$85 - email for info

Have a personal humor about things. You will never know your calibre until you have tried yourself. Avoid idle industry. Be venturesome. Try new things that appeal to you.
Examine others. Have a pioneer spirit. ~Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

(OK, here's where I sound like Sharkboy and Lavagirl, my teenagers) "Everybody's starting a plein air painting class this week but me," she whined. Laurel Daniel is teaching a plein air class and many of my still life classmates have moved outdoors. It's not the perfect time in my life to peel off a new project but, truth be told, I am envious. I think I miss the people as much as the process.

Anyway, taking the advise of a superhero - Robert Henri - I dusted off my pioneer spirit and ceremoniously traipsed the painting supplies outside. Loaded like a sherpa, I got all the way out the studio door and about 10 feet onto the terrace where I painted a safe and familiar backyard scene. After two-ish hours, I proudly marched inside with my painting only to find it 4 shades darker than intended. Hmmmm. Low-key, indeed. Have I read somewhere that, when painting en plein air, one really shouldn't stand in direct sun?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just Time for a Sketch: Woman's Best Friend

oil on panel, 11x14
Surprise - a bonus! Our models in yesterday's open studio were a beautiful woman and her guide dog - both consumate professionals and such a pleasure to work with. The time just flew by. Then it was off to a birthday celebration for a beloved group of my twisted sisters (sans one - we missed you!). The evening temperature was so perfect as was sitting under the stars together with a beautiful view of the city, great conversation... how lucky am I?

Friday, October 16, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

Playing With Knives
8x8, oil on canvas
email for info
Confession: I occasionally paint with palette knives rather than brushes but I've never posted the results. I love how loose it feels to paint with a knife and the rich impasto texture. Knife painting is a great exercise in values and colors, reminding me to be deliberate with each and every stroke. There are two contemporary artists I especially admire who paint exclusively with knives and I just had a very enjoyable cup of coffee this morning while perusing their blogs. Check out Ann Gorbett and Leslie Saeta. As a result, I am emboldened to post this redhead I painted a few weeks ago. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates

Forgotten Earrings
6x6 oil on panel
email for info
I meant to give her an earring - a small hoop or perhaps a diamond "stub," as Lavagirl calls them. But I forgot until this minute. Ah well, I got a title out of it which I sorely needed. In the Forrest Gump School of Painting, I sketch these women first, taking a favorite face from here, an outfit from there, hairstyle and color from yonder, smooshing it all together and looking for the light that informs the whole. This results in surprise models showing up on my easel. So fun. Once this woman appeared I immediately knew: darker lipstick and more navy in the blouse - she would never wear a garish turquoise. The working title for this painting was Joan Crawford's Cranky Cousin.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

DSFDF: Now I Can't Get This Song Out Of My Head

Up On The Roof
8x16 oil on canvas
$165 - email for info

This is my submission for Karin Jurick's latest DSFDF challenge. Click here to follow along as she posts the works of other artists and here to read about her project and my previous entries. I never thought I'd paint rooftops (thank you, Karin!) and struggled with color choices. Karin had advised to treat the shapes abstractly. Then I remembered receiving Pantone's Spring 2010 Fashion Color Report -- click here to read more about that. These colors have such great names: Fusion Coral, Eucalyptus, Pink Champagne, Dried Herb, Tuscany, Aurora. I chickened out before adding Tomato Puree and Lilac to the painting... and now I wish I had. I have a twisted sister who always says, "in hesitation all is lost." I might go back and add them. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Little Women

Goth Chic
6x6 oil on panel
White blouses with frothy organza collars. So named by Lava Girl who is a faithful America's Next Top Model watcher and believes Goth Chic could be a legitimate fashion trend.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Art Imitating Life – No Surprise There

The New Girl
6x6 oil on panel
email for info
John Singer Sargent said, “Every time I paint a portrait I lose a friend.” Several in the Little Women series (so named for their diminutive size – usually 6x6 ) are leaving home. She is already gone. And these two – click here and here – are going together this week. All to wonderful collectors and – if I may say so myself – framed in wide, silver frames they just look smashing. But, it feels like saying goodbye to friends – these women I know so well, who watch me paint every day and listen in on my phone calls. So I feel the need to paint some new pals. It’s the circle of life.

The circle of life. Well, truth be told, our little family is living very close to that circle right now. Two of Mr. Right’s beloved family members – including his mom – are gravely ill. Our lives are in that strange, slow-motion limbo - filled with Hospice and vital signs and burning up the highways - times two. We are sad in a way words cannot describe, missing them already. At the same time, we have welcomed 3 (three!) new babies to our extended family in the last month. Can you imagine? Two girls and a boy - all healthy and strong and keeping three sets of bleary-eyed young parents up at night singing lullabies. Note to self: in the ‘blessings’ category, count babies twice.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Lesson in Foreshortening

Cute Glasses
Reclining Nude in Mirror
11x14 oil sketch on canvas
Foreshortening is a technique used in drawing to make three dimensional objects appear to be realistically receding in space on a two dimensional surface. Thus, in the pose above, the model's left foot is actually a bit larger than her head.... or at least that's the theory. In practice, it's a whole 'nother story. Yesterday, I overheard a fellow warrior say that a teacher had once told him to forget learning to draw with correct perspective and just draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Perspective will come in its own time. Luckily, I love to draw but, gee whiz. Not to put too fine a point on it but, could anyone get back to me with exactly when "its own time" is?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Step One: Tone Canvas the Color of Teacher’s New Sneakers

Wipe Out
12x12, oil on [pink!] canvas

A cosmic question directed to creatives: what “tricks” do you use to clear artistic hurdles? Thank the dear Lord for girl friends, teachers, and new shoes - that's all I'm saying.

Art class this week was a “wipe out” for me. Meaning, I just couldn’t get the composition onto the canvas; I would draw, then wipe out, draw - wipe out. Over and over. The still life set-up was lovely – an eggplant with a fetching stem, a few curly squash, a pretty blue plate. Yet even with my trusty viewfinder, moving the tableau up, down, left, right - there was no success. Naturally, the more I tried, the more daunted I became. As luck would have it, I had planned an early lunch right after class with two of my twisted sisters. And, proving what a small town Austin really is, two more appeared at the table next to us. Serendipity. And so, surrounded by BFFs, my bruised self-esteem was soothed and my resolve strengthened. (i.e. dog/bone)

I will tame this blasted composition, I determined. My favorite part of art class this week? Laurel’s new lipstick-pink Converse All-Star sneakers, definitely. Ahhhh, a virtual panacea. Inspiration: check.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly or What Happened To Your Shoulder, Dude?

Nude Study (unfinished)
oil on canvas
I miss blogging. As I reported last post, this fall has turned out to be more about learning than doing. Laurel told us during our first class that, though the title listed in the course catalog is Color, Value & Temperature in Still Life, the class really should be subtitled, "We're NOT Here to Make Pretty Paintings." Ditto for the open studio figure painting I'm enrolled in: it's all about process over product. I love this approach and I love learning. It is exactly what I want to be doing. But my attempts are not all attractive and I've hesitated to post them. I miss blogging. And if a blog (remember? web + log) is intended to chronicle a journey, then it's okay to have missteps. So... this is how the sausage is made.
Local Value Study
oil on panel

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring

watercolor in Moleskin
as always, click on image for larger view
The blessed rain keeps me from hauling anything new I've painted outdoors to photograph so it's back to the archives for something I can just pop down on the scanner. I sketched this during a family driving vacation to visit relatives. St. Louis is a terrific town, for kids and for tourists. Highly recommended! Fourth of July fireworks over the Mississippi River while sitting under the Gateway Arch is thrilling and not to be missed!

Bear with me if my posts for the next weeks are farther apart. I'm loving the two painting classes I'm taking this fall (!) but they take a chunk of time and neither are geared towards finished paintings. That coupled with ailing grands and greats, 2 schools, 2 sports... well, you get the idea. Please stay with me, gentle followers. You really can't imagine how much I value your support.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Really Great Thing About Painting

Paris, 1985
12x12 oil on canvas
Painting will send you back into the archives of your life. Not long ago I found this photo from a fabulous trip to France. I knew, the moment I saw it, I had to paint the gentleman in the trench coat and the beret buying flowers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

That's the School Bell I Hear Ringing

Reclining Nude
(Mirror, Mirror On the Wall)
11x14 oil on canvas
The model in this sketch was lovely and I had a great vantage point for capturing both her image and her reflection in the mirror. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow as we begin again with Laurel Daniel's still life class. I have so enjoyed these before and, though I never feel I do my best work in a class, the lessons presented continue to reveal themselves long after school gets out. It's funny though... I'm kinda' nervous. Lavagirl reminds me to just be myself, be nice to my teacher and the other kids, and she bets I'll make a new friend very quickly. I love my kids.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

OK, Now I'm Just Bragging: Listen to This

The Waitress at the Mount Fuji Cafe
12x12 oil on canvas
I am bursting with pride: my (incredibly talented) 15-year-old Goddaughter Haley recorded a demo CD this summer with five incredible songs and Grammy-winning musicians backing her up! Click the play button below to hear her sing Don’t Want It To Be You a song she wrote last spring for a school assignment.

Her mother and I were college roommates and, born only 3 months apart, she and Sharkboy were cribmates. When they were toddlers, we often had tea parties or lunch in her play kitchen which was named the Mount Fuji Café. Her musical gifts have always been a joy – I’ve lost track of how many instruments she plays (including the piano on this song!) – and she never complains about practicing. Much. She is a stellar up-and-coming twisted sister, to be sure.

We knew she was getting the opportunity, via her voice coach, to make the demo but never expected it to be this amazing. Her parents hosted a CD release party and we all got a copy; yep, already on my iPod! Remember – you heard her here first.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

DSFDF: Do Calories Count If You Just Paint Them?

Mindy's Wonders
8x8 oil on panel
This is Karin Jurick's latest Different Strokes from Different Folks challenge. Click here for the last one I did and here to see all the remarkable cupcake entries. I know an amazing woman who makes amazing cupcakes. She does chocolate, she does sprinkles - but my favorite is called Wedding Cake. White on white, no bling, they are gossamer clouds of sugary goodness - each bite to be savored. I understand she's left baking behind to follow her next calling. What a pity. It was Mindy's Wonders I dreamed about while I painted yesterday.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Could This Be My Closet?

Could This Be My Closet?
11x14 oil on canvas
I wish. I think my stuff looks right at home here. There are my yellow purses, my perfume, and Lavagirl's new cardigan sweater. Yes, I hang art in my closet and that's my slipper chair -- it's pretty darling right now in leopard print with black ball-tasseled fringe but for this painting I reupholstered it in pink velvet. I included the burnt orange cowboy boots I secretly covet but know I'd probably never wear. In real life, the longest wall in my closet is painted lipstick red and I like it alot. The black and white harlequin floor used to be in my kitchen and I absolutely loved it though it was hard to keep. The high heels, the hat, and the Burberry bag? Not mine.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm Just Not Sure About the Hat

Topsy Turvy
6x6 oil on panel

So named because I painted her - start to finish - upside down. It's a common trick to teach you to draw or paint what you see rather than what you *think* you see. I'm posting her upside down because frankly, she could never survive our criticism right-side-up. A bit too full of face, Topsy is, and her eyes are just plain scary. But it was fun and I think I learned alot about the dialog that goes on in your head, "this shape is longer than that shape, the next one is lighter than the last one, this is a square, a triangle." The version in the Letterman sketchbook (not painted upside down) has great eyes but I didn't have much luck rendering the black dotted tulle in her hat with pencils and chalk.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just (Barely) Time for a Sketch and a Promise

conte crayons on paper
I apologize, faithful readers, for my absence. We all hit those times in life and I look so forward to next week when I believe the dust will settle somewhat. In the meantime, a sketch aux trois crayon from my trusty Letterman sketchbook and a promise that I'm working my way back as quickly as possible.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Living in my Right Brain or Lost in Her Curls

Blue Dress
6x6 oil on panel
I continue on my quest to draw or paint (at least) one face every day. I got lost in her curls the way I can get lost painting flower petals or books. Talk about your right brain. Artist Robert Genn writes a great newsletter twice a week -- The Painter's Key -- and the most recent was about the dreamy state artists go into while painting. Read it here. This happens to me frequently. Though it is a very happy place, at times it is unnerving to realize I've been elsewhere. Remember this?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bosc Pears

Preaching to the Choir
12x12 oil on canvas
In just a few short weeks I will have the good fortune to start classes with Laurel Daniel again. It will be a still life class focusing on value and temperature (thank heavens!) - none too soon - and I'm worried that I haven't painted from a still life set-up in a while. Standing in the produce section yesterday morning, these pears called to me from across the peaches, "pick 4 or 5 of us and call us preaching to the choir." What could I say? With both kids in school, I think I'm a bit giddy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aren't Scarves All the Rage This Year?

Tax Free Weekend
6x6 oil on panel
email for info
Truth be told, I'm more of a looker than a shopper. And so it suits me fine to tag along while others search and try on and compare and narrow down. I'm amazed by the sheer volume of products available for sale and facinated to watch people as they contemplate the goods. School shopping: check. Inspiration: check.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Shape of Things to Come

Papa Smurf
8x8 oil on canvas
Lavagirl and her BFFs went through a Smurf phase some years back. I learned today that toys are about as fun to paint as fruit or faces. I think I'll try it again.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Playing Catch Up, As My Mother Would Say

Wigging Out
12x12 oil on canvas
email for info
Did you ever arrive late to what you are sure is the party of the century? And you just kick yourself for dawdling and hesitating, missing out on even one minute?
That's the Different Strokes From Different Folks story. The artists who have participated from the beginning have forged true friendships and I admire (read envy... as green as the girl with the red hair above) that greatly. I hope I'm not too late - oh my gosh, it looks like fun!

This is another ancient DSFDF challenge - click here to see the original photo and submissions. Composition was a challenge - I ended up with 8 mannequins and I know even numbers are a no-no. Hmmm...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Letterman Sketch, Aux Trois Crayon

Conte crayons on paper
Reruns. Is it possible that I find even the Letterman reruns to be entertaining? Perhaps it's because I'm always drawing while watching. Yes, that's it. It actually takes me two times through the show to get it all. Makes perfect sense. I've been adding colors to my painting palette lately which I think has it's good and bad points. However, getting back to just the three used aux trois crayon is a "valuable" exercise, no pun intended. Click here for more on this traditional drawing method and my beloved Letterman sketch book.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Just Time for a Sketch: Painting in Fits and Starts

Walking the Dog
8x8 oil on canvas
Okay, granted, the week of/before school starts is probably not the best time for a mom to paint. Carpools and tryouts and shopping and such make opportunities spotty at best. Thus, I would have liked some of these edges to be a bit softer - the kind you get when working really-wet-into-really-wet. But it was basically a figure study - my goal was to work with the light and shadows. Check.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Another Woman

Pearl & Sterling Drops
6x6 oil on panel
Here are the links I promised in the last post. Wow, that's alot of talent packed into one line. Grab a glass of iced tea and enjoy!
Milt Kobayashi, Malcolm Liepke, Linda K. Smith, Kim Roberti, Michael Carson

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Little Women

Red Kimona
6x6 oil on panel

Time to Paint but Not to Post

6x6 oil on panel

I'm facinated by the number of uber-talented artists who paint, for lack of a better description, red-nosed women. And I'm totally bewitched by their subjects. There is Milt Kobayashi, Malcolm Liepke, Linda K. Smith, Kim Roberti, Michael Carson... sorry I don't have time right now to link their names to their websites but check back... I will. Or just 'google' them. All totally fabulous. What inspiration! So this week I'm trying my hand at a new (tiny but popular) canvas size - 6x6 - and red-nosed women.

I've gotten to paint every day... it's the photography and blog posting that hasn't bubbled up to the top of the list. We're all celebrating last night's glorious rain and Lavagirl's 13th birthday today. Her BFFs are coming for a slumber party and we've got an art project planned... hopefully I'll report success. She's such a blessing to my life. Mmwah, my darling daughter.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pulling Your Own Weight

Venus v. Mars
2 8x8 oil on canvas
$165 - email here for info
This is another composition I've been playing with for some time - sketching, shading, generally trying to get each figure to pull his or her own weight. All part of the Must. Learn. To. Draw. effort. Each of these figures is handling the stress in a different way, throwing their weight onto one leg or the other, or transferring it to their ummm... posteriors (see #3 and #6). I understand this intellectually but describing it convincingly in paint is a great challenge for me. I don't know when I've ever had so much fun!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

You Did Mean a Portrait of the Cookies, Right?

8x8 oil on canvas
I found out recently that one of my outlying twisted sisters (she’s married to a man who’s the brother of a man who is married to a twisted sister) is blogging. She lives in Houston, we don’t see each other as often as I’d like – I think the last time was by chance in the Denver airport – and I’ve always known she could cook. No, I mean really cook.

So we were trading emails and blog addresses this week - I said, wow those homemade chocolate-covered marshmallow cookies sure look good and she said, wow how about a simple portrait? And somehow, this morning early over coffee, those two worlds collided. Her blog is lovely – lots of great photos and recipes. She says she makes “an occasional foray to the utterly decadent.” Yep. Click here for a mouth-watering visit to Prijatno!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Better Late Than Never: Another DSFDF

Merrily X 4
12x12 oil on canvas
This was a DSFDF challenge in June. I was intrigued by the photo and meant to do the painting but life got in the way. How lovely it was to work on yesterday - Sharkboy, Lavagirl & Mr. Right all had prior engagements, the house was quiet, and I got to enjoy a treat I'd been saving. Just what the doctor ordered! Life is but a dream...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Different Strokes from Different Folks

I Left My Heart
16x8, oil on canvas
$165 - email here for info
This month's DSFDF challenge and my first cityscape. I eliminated 90% of the original photo and would simplify even further the next time. But it was fun and did exactly what the DSFDF is intended to do: challenge. The link to the DSFDF blog is in the blogroll over to your left - go there to see the photo and watch other artists submissions as they are posted!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Face Painting

watercolor in Moleskin
Truth be told, I haven't painted anything in the last three days I'd want to share with anybody. It happens. Thinking about Laura Frankstone last week reminded me of a beautiful project she did a few years ago where she painted 100 faces. I draw or paint at least one face everyday - even if it's just the quickest scribble. I confess, sometimes when I'm talking to someone, I am so distracted by the shapes and lines in their face that it's hard to keep track of our conversation.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two Gifts: Laurel and Laura

Bowled Over
8x8 oil on panel
$85 - email here for info
A return to produce painting and one perfectly titled. OK, today has just been the happiest of days. Grab a cup of coffee and stick with me here - we've got alot to talk about.

First, Lavagirl and I spent the morning volunteering at the West Bank Community Library. We were reminded what a great place it is - the people, the atmosphere, and natch, the books! Their second beautiful location has just opened - here's the website. I'm dreaming of a whole afternoon spent there reading and another sketching.

I return home to find not one but two artists I admire so very much have visited and left comments on this blog. First, Austinite Laurel Daniel - a talented plein air landscape artist and teacher. Laurel has a gift for distilling the most important aspect of any scene - be it landscape or still life - and then capturing it on canvas using lights and colors that are truly stunning. She recently won second place in an International Artists Magazine contest and was published in their April/May 09 issue. I was lucky to take a class from Laurel last year and will start again next month. Visit Laurel's blog

Next, the incredible Laura Frankstone. I've followed Laura for 3 years, give or take. More than any other artist, Laura's work and process and attitude inspire me. She works primarily in watercolor but the medium - for me - is really secondary to her eye, her understanding of color, her line. A resident of Chapel Hill, Laura travels constantly and even sometimes visits Austin; when she does, I'll think, if she were my friend I'd take her to sketch at the Littlefield fountain or Hey Cupcake - those places are just so Laura. And then, whadda you know, the next week she'll post drawings of those very places. Laura's one of the best
Urban Sketchers and she's getting alot of well-deserved recognition - look for a grand article on her in the upcoming issue of Artful Blogging. Visit Laura's blog here.

I've always heard that, through blogs, artists have created an enriching community of friends-cum-supporters together. As a newbie, I guess I didn't really understand that until today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Where Did the Day Go?

My Space
11x14 oil on canvas
Or at least a space that could look a bit like mine with a spot of paint. I love the brown/turq combo – it would definitely be my next favorite home interior choice – but the painted white furniture and chintzy upholstery will have to wait until Mr. Right and I are empty nesting. Our house runneth over with books – I may have mentioned that – and it was almost as fun to paint them as it is to live with them. However, she says brushing her hands together, the level of detail here was… well… let’s just say enough is enough. For now anyway.

And, to any family members reading, I'm not about to paint Uncle John's table.