Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Painting Challenge

The topic for our Girls Just Wanna Paint Challenge this month is "glass". 
I'm not sure why, but quite a few of us struggled with this one. 
I guess that's why we call it a challenge! 
 I found this handblown light green vase at a funky antique store ......

"Hand Blown"
8 x 8 oil 

I wasn't crazy about this. Kind of a "so what?" problem. 
So I thought I'd try my hand with some sea glass. 

"Sea Glass" 
6 x 6 oil

What was I thinking? It's so small! 
(BTW. That's an upside down coke bottle top)  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Speaking of Snow Paintings

I was going through my painting archives and found all of these "snow paintings"! 
Thought I'd post them in honor of the wondrous snow that abounds in our neck of the woods right now. Looks like the prefect White Christmas in New England! 
Happy Holidays One and All!  
Winter White

Cross Country

Stand Behind the Yellow Line!

A Duxbury Lane

Red Barn

Winter Fence

Next Door Neighbors
I guess snow paintings do sell after all. 
I don't have any of these in the studio! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow Paintings

I've been thinking about "snow paintings" lately. 
Last night we got our first "dusting" so I caught this scene on my way home from doing errands this morning.

First Snow
10 x 10

There is a general theory out there that snow paintings don't sell. 
That may be true, but they are fun to paint. 
This was a challenge because there was NO light source (except the sky) 
and everything was very dulled down to almost the same purple grey.  

BTW:  While I was warm and cozy in the studio painting this, we got about 4 inches! 
Here we go!  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Field Trips

I went on another "art related field trip" on Friday. 
My wonderful artist friend, Kelley MacDonald lives near Providence Rhode Island and this year she became a member of the Providence Art Club
Housed in a series of wonderful old buildings in the Historic section of Providence, this club offers it's members classes, art shows, and private dining. 

Add caption
We had a lovely lunch in one of the beamed ceilinged dining rooms with a wood burning fireplace, followed by a tour of the large and sunny galleries. 
What a wonderful and special treat! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The New Wing at the MFA

I finally got a chance to visit the new American Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts yesterday! 
I am thrilled that we now have this incredible educational resource in our own backyard. 
I'll be going back often, as there is no way you can see it all in one day. 

Can I come?
7 x 7
$225 framed 
As usual, a visit to a museum or gallery always inspires me to get to work. 
I squeezed this in today between holiday preparations.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sheep Paintings

A Pear or an Apple?
6 x 6
$225 framed 

6 x 6
$225  framed
$400 for both 
There is something so fun about painting sheep. 
I think it's their funny body shapes and complacent expressions.  
 My friend and gallery owner, Franny told me to get back to painting sheep because they sell!
I generally avoid "painting to sell" because it can become tedious, but I actually enjoyed doing these! 
These three ladies will be available at my Holiday Open Studio this Friday!
 (2 - 8 pm!)
Come on by if you are in the area!
Have some cheer, check out these AND the Bargain Box!  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Open Studio on Friday!

Bring a friend and stop by 
Salty Dog Studio
Friday (Dec 10) 
2 - 8 pm 
for some holiday cheer 
great bargains on paintings! 
e-mail me for directions

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

The Mitts Are Out
11 x 14

The leaves are gone, firewood is stacked, and the winter gear is coming out!
Welcome winter.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gathering of Painters

Last night, I hosted our monthly Challenge gathering in my studio. The 10 of us bring our paintings for a discussion followed by a pot luck dinner. Since we were in my studio, I did a quick demo for the group. It's my version of Peggi Kroll Robert's Limited Stroke Lesson that I teach my students. It's a fun exercise that teaches you to plan your strokes ahead of time and once they are down, you have to leave them alone.

It takes about 15 minutes and is a challenge, trust me. 

This is how it goes:
Do a simple drawing of subject matter 
Carefully count how many strokes you will need to cover the canvas 
Pre-mix enough color to cover entire area 
Load your brush and go for it! 
The bigger the area, the bigger the brush 
Do not pick up the brush until you have covered the planned area 
Keep count your strokes
Give yourself one "Mulligan".  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ocean in Motion

In January, The South Shore Art Center is hosting a Juried show entitled "Motion"
While thinking about things that are in constant motion,  I came up with, of course, the ocean! 
These are two quick studies I did to explore that as my subject.  

6 x 6 

6 x 6

Friday, November 26, 2010

Marching Bands

To me, there is nothing more emotionally moving and spiritual than a marching band. 
I get so worked up, sometimes I even cry! 

"School Spirit"
10 x 10 

 The reference photo for this was taken as the U Mass Marching Band marched by us at a football game.
I was enthralled. 
Our "Girls Just Wanna Paint" challenge topic this month is "Spirit" (Holiday or otherwise) 
This will be my entry.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since I have been doing a lot of polishing, cleaning, baking, and cooking these last couple of days and not a lot of painting, I thought I'd post my all time favorite Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting.

May you all be surrounded by family, friends and lots of good food! 
(And be as happy this bunch!)  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holidays are Here!

This Saturday, December 4 from 9 - 3 the James Library is hosting a Holiday Trunk Show. 
 Every year they ask local artists to paint or decorate something to sell. 
This year it's shiny balls! 
My pal Sally and I primed ours with Kilz and painted them with acrylics. 
Then,  I got a quick lesson on making a cool tag for it on Photoshop!

I guess I couldn't stop there. 
I had to paint the shiny ball, after I painted it. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Going Out With A Bang

Fall in New England is certainly going out with a bang this year! 

Late afternoon light on Union Street

My take on the scene
10 x 12

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Painting Interiors

It's that time of year when I start thinking about painting interiors. 
(I guess that happens when you're forced inside.) 

"Off Season"
10 x 10  
I did this from an image I took inside a seaside cottage that was closed up for the winter. 
I was after that sense of emptiness; a "time standing still" moment. 

Interiors present some interesting challenges.  
The "So What?" factor: Interiors are generally very personal spaces, so in order for the painting to be interesting, you have to offer the viewer something interesting; great paint handling, a strong sense of light and shadow, extraordinarily good values etc. 
Then there is the "Perspective Is Important" factor: Because correct perspective is key in such a static subject, it's really hard to go in with big, loose brushstrokes without drawing the key lines first, and doing that tends to stiffen up the painting right from the get go. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Magic of Plein Air Painting

At the last minute yesterday,  I was able to take an amazing plein air workshop with two very accomplished and talented artists; Page Railsback and Lisa Daria Kennedy
It was held on a privately owned piece of land that sits on a rocky bluff surrounded on three sides by water.  There are all kinds of very weathered, rather higgly piggly cottages, barns and boat houses out there, and the brilliant early winter light by the sea and warm temps made it all pretty magical.

Page's  demo
Acrylic on large paper stapled to a board.
I would never have thought to make the sky orange!

Lisa 's demo
Acrylic on a 4 x 4 panel
She puts a stroke down and leaves it alone.
Fun to watch!

Both artists use acrylics. 
Although their approaches are very different, they do not draw anything on the canvas before painting. They just start right in with paint! 
The results are some pretty amazing loose and abstract paintings. 

My attempt at putting strokes down and leaving it alone.
6 x 6


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Final Exam

For the last class of this session, we quickly reviewed all the lessons we covered in the 8 weeks.
I then set up a rather difficult set up so they could practice everything they have learned. 

My Demo
8 x 10

The results were amazing!
They each took new ideas, concepts, and techniques and adapted them to their own sensibility!
They are all still painting "like themselves", but they've got some new tools to work with.
And I'd say they definitely see better!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Holiday Sales

Tonight I am dropping off 20 unframed paintings for the Annual North River Arts Holiday Sale taking place this weekend.(Sat and Sun 10 - 4) Artists can put in up to 20 pieces, framed or unframed "priced to sell" (most selling in the under $200 price range)
This event poses many questions. Is it a good idea to "let your work go" at discounted prices?  Does it de-value your "good" work out there if you sell your "not-so-good" work cheaply? Do you really want your "not-so-good" work out there with your name on it?

Here are some samples of what I'm submitting

Distant 4th Cliff
6 x 12 unframed

9 x 12 unframed
Humarock Hills
12 x 12 unframed
 While I really like all the paintings I am putting in, most of them were done a while ago and it's time for me to move on and make room for new work! 
Besides, I'd rather have them out there making someone happy than hanging around my studio.

Better get there early!  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Practice What Your Preach

Last week I had a chance to give a three hour workshop to a group of "mature and low key" gals (their term, not mine) who paint together and wanted "to loosen up!" It was a great opportunity for me to
"practice what I preach!"
My 20 minute demo
8 x 10
Strong light, big brush, lots of paint: 
I call it the "drive by shooting" version of painting. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Lost Edges" and "Keyed" Paintings: Simplified

 The lesson behind lost edges is that if two shapes the same value meet, paint it as one shape; the edge will disappear, and the viewer can fill in the blanks. Who knew?
The lesson behind "keying" a painting is to discipline yourself to using ONLY the three highest, or the three lowest, values on the value scale in a single painting. (Like playing a piano.)

The "High Key" set up

The "Low Key" set up 
Not the best images.
 (Both were lit with a full spectrum 75 w bulb, and annoying ambient light)

My 20 minute Demo 
 sample of class work! 

What a Challenge!
Try it.
You'll like it! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Planting Bulbs

 I planted all kinds of daffodil bulbs the other day. Planting bulbs is much like finding a great christmas present for someone in July. You put it away and forget about it and then 6 months later! Surprise!

Bag of  Gifts
6 x 6
It's amazing how these dried up, rather homely things turn in to such a welcome blast of spring right when we need it most. 
Planting them is a gift to the world. 
(Well, at least to your neighborhood)  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fashion Statement

Our Girls Just Wanna Paint Challenge  topic this month is "Fashion" 
so I just had to paint my new favorite fall shoes. 

Black Wing Tips
10 x 10  
"Sensible" AND fun! 
You can't beat that.

Be sure to check out our blog at the end of the month to see what my fellow fashionistas come up with ! 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Busy Bodies

I resurfaced the image for this painting last week while digging around in my "subjects to paint" file. 
Something about the shape of these girls attracts me. 
They are such "busy bodies!" 

"Busy Bodies"
8 x 10

Looking for something fun to do Sunday? 

The Duxbury Gallery at Halls Corner (next to Duxbury Pizza) is hosting a meet and greet for artist 
on Sunday from 12 - 3 pm.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Painting from Photos

My lesson this week was about painting from photos and understanding that a light object (a white shirt) in the shadow, is darker than a dark object (maroon beret) in the light. (Hard to grasp, I know)
I did this as a practice demo the night before.

I'm glad I did because the one I did in class was a wiper!
I  am still not totally comfortable painting in front of a class.
It's hard! 

We divided our palettes in half and mixed all the shadow values on one side and all the light values on the other. 
It's a "disciplinary action" that works! 


Monday, October 18, 2010

Art Walk on Sunday was perfect!

One of my paintings at Winston Flowers yesterday 

This is just one of the photos posted in Boston Globe article on today about the Hingham Arts Walk!  
The day was just spectacular, all the way around. 
Kudos to all the organizers, merchants, and artists. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Blog of the Week!

Hey! Check it out. "Simply Painting" is the "Blog of the Week" on the South Shore Forum
Oh and I am also mentioned on

All in preparation for the Hingham Arts Walk tomorrow from 12 - 4 pm

Come by Winston Flowers and say hello! 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hingham Arts Walk This Sunday!

If you looking for something fun to do this Sunday, come by Hingham Square from 12 - 5. All the shops and restaurants are open and artists of various mediums will be there with their work. 

I will be 
 showing many of my new works at 
Winston's Flower Shop
location # 21  
so stop by! 

Go to for a preview!   

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Exercise Results

Folks were asking, so I thought I'd share how the 
"Simplified Shadow Mass" exercise went today. 
(See yesterdays post) 

My demo.
I knew I would be in trouble with that orange background (see below) so last minute,
I decided to change it to a grey green.

Mary St. Sauveur massing in everything in the shadow in one color.
You can already feel the drama! 

Mary's second painting using the technique learned in the exercise!

We all had such fun!  This exercise is a wonderful tool for learning how to design a dramatic composition, compare and exaggerate the lights and darks, and in general, just have fun with paint! 
Everyone in the class did an incredible job and I wish I could post all of them. 
Unfortunately, I didn't get photos of all of them!