Monday, January 30, 2012

Salsa Dancing

I recently stayed at a hotel in Puerto Rico,
where on Saturday nights they host  
a live band and salsa dancing in the lobby.  
Everyone is dressed up and the music and moves are amazing. 
It is so fun to watch and makes me want to take lessons!    
Salsa Dancing 
5 x 7 
The whole time I was there,
 I tried to image how I could paint the scene. 
I just started snapping away (without the flash) 
and got these great blurry images! 

Then I just had to simplify everything and try to include
only the elements needed to capture all that rhythm and movement!

I love painting from photos after a vacation.
It prolongs the magic moments!  


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Risky Composition

I took a risk with this one, 
by putting almost the entire subject
into one quarter of the composition. 

"Facing the Sun"
20 x 20 

But, I wanted to portray 
that feeling of "vastness" you get at the beach,
so I made the sky the biggest shape 
(and broke it up with the wires
to make it more interesting) 

I'd love to hear if you think it worked or not!  

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Thursday, January 26, 2012


The GJWP  Challenge this month is 
Of course, I chose a restaurant, 
because that is my favorite kind of "store"!  

The Mile Post
6 x 6 

The Mile Post is a quintessential New England tavern in Duxbury, MA.  
They have a great menu, fabulous food and staff 
that has been working there for years. 
It's one of our favorite spots!   

Monday, January 23, 2012

More Trees

This was inspired by a recent post of Laura Daniels,
her stunning painting of a path in the woods. 
I'd had the image for this in my 
"pictures to paint" file since last fall. 
I wanted to simplify it as much as I could
and still get the sense of light,
so I made everything around the yellow leaves
darker and cooler.  

"Peeks of Light"
6 x 8  

Friday, January 20, 2012

"Rows of Trees"

Rows of trees have always been a favorite subject of mine.
I think it's the contrast of the horizon with all the verticals.  
A few weeks ago I saw this scene and pulled over to get an image of it. 
Today, I did this quick simplified version, making
it all about that afternoon winter light on those gorgeous tress.  

"Standing Tall"
6 x 8 

While organizing my studio recently,
I came across this photo of the  
 very first oil painting I ever sold! 
"Four Trees" 6 x 8 oil 
Sold for $75! 
I've become a better painter since then,  
but clearly I'm still attracted to the same subject matter!  

Side Note: This is a terrible image of a glossy photo 
as this was before we had digital cameras!
The real thing was much better.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"The Original Attraction"

This was going in all the wrong directions for a while. 
Nothing was working together and I got lost. 
Then I remembered two things I learned from Jared Clackner 
at a workshop years ago. 
Number one, "When you don't know what you are doing, stop."
So I put it away for a few days.

"We're Out Back"
12 x 16

His other one was; 
"Make the thing that attracted you to the scene in the first place, 
what the painting is all about."  
In this case, it was that warm lit area behind the house drawing me in.   
So, when I went back at it, I adjusted all the values to make that stand out 
and I think it worked. 
I rarely go in and try to save bad paintings, 
but I'm glad I stuck with this one.  


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Prepping for Classes

Yesterday I starting preparing for the 6 week painting class
I will be teaching at the South Shore Art Center next month.
I'm working on some new exercises to try out and thought I would try Carol Marine's 

I set up real simple still life. 
Then did a value study in burnt umber.
 Then painted "made up" colors, but kept them in the same value.
This is a great lesson! 
It reinforces my favorite quote: 
"Value does all the work, 
Color gets all the credit." 

Someone wrote to me and suggested that that applies to "life" as well. 
Well, yes. It does. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Another one for the "Series"

I did another quick 5 x 7
for my
"Where I Live"
 series today 

The winter sunlight on our white clapboard house 
always thrills me. 
I love working on this smooth black surface with synthetic brushes 
Surprises happen. 
Like those trees! 

Other news: Be sure to check out my other blog
to see the demo Sally Dean did yesterday for the Alzheimer folks! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This time of year

Early nights. Eating right. 
It's all good, but what I appreciate the most about this time of year 
is getting to spend long hours in the studio.
I've been channelling a favorite artist, Tim Horn lately 
so when I found this image today, 
I decided to make getting the values of
warm light in cool shadows 
the challenge of the day.  
Come For Lunch! 
16 x 20 

What better way to spend a winter afternoon?

  I was having caprese salad, chicken paillard, and a crisp California chard
under that umbrella.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Inspiration Close to Home

I've had six small 5 x 7 panels toned with flat black 
"ready to go" for a while now. 
My idea was to paint them as a series, 
abstractly and loosely based on one subject,
as an exercise of sorts.
I spotted this stand of trees with the late afternoon on it  
outside my studio today, 
and got inspired to just start!   
Top of the Hill
5 x 7 

Toward the Neighbors'
5 x 7 

Great fun and a great exercise! 
Right here in my own back yard! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day of Epiphany

I was always told that all holiday decorations 
should come down by January 6, the day of Epiphany.
The only thing I will miss are the candles in the windows. 
They give the house such a warm glow and I love the light. 
To ward off that feeling of sudden darkness,
I did this painting today.  

"Winter Afternoon" 
8 x 16 

This was all about the late afternoon winter light.
 And that brilliant marsh grass.
Looks like "light" is alive and well. 
Even after January 6th. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Overworking" Protection Plan

Whenever I find myself overworking my paintings,
I force myself to do this exercise.

I mixed up piles of the correct values going from dark to light.
Then I use a #12 (inch and half wide) brush 
to do the whole painting,
never allowing myself to paint over a stroke. 
It forces me to be more decisive and to plan each stroke. 
Brush handling and paint application come in to play. 
NO noodling, dibby dabbying, titching, 
fussing, going back over and over.
What ever you call it, 
it doesn't make for good paintings. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Back to Work Warm Up

I am so excited to be back at work! 
I got some great reference material this weekend 
 for a series of beach paintings I'm planning.  
To get warmed up I did this quick study.
Welcome 2012! 
10 x 10 

Then I realized I had done this exact scene,
 facing the opposite direction
a few weeks ago!  

Where the Road Turns 
10 x 10 

I think the poles and wires are great 
composition elements.