Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The "Girls Just Wanna Paint" challenge for February is LOVE
and the paintings will posted tonight.
This was a no brainer for me. 

"Puppy Love" 
5 x 5 

I took Cello to Home Depot to "socialize" her yesterday. 
She just sat in the cart among the flood lights,
extension cords and batteries looking adorable.
 I didn't get an image of it, but really 
 can you think of anything cuter?
Her first snow!  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Painting Upside Down

I've been thinking about ways to get my students
to "just see the big shapes." 
I thought I'd try doing a painting upside down,
from a simple photo.

I felt totally lost until I forced myself to just focus
on the large, flat abstract shapes. 

What a surprise this was when I turned it over!
I highly recommend trying this exercise
and plan on doing many more!
It's a great lesson toward "letting go".  

Note: While painting this, the figure in the red pants reminded me 
of a dear artist friend Ros Farbush 
who recently passed away at 83 years old. 
She was actively plein air painting right up to the end, 
thanks to the many dedicated artist friends who happily 
helped her schlepp her gear all over the place. 
(Cape Cod, Holland, Mexico etc) 
She was an extraordinary woman  
and will be missed by many! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Surprise

When I arrived at the opening of the Winter Members Show 
at The Copley Society last night, 
Suzan Redgate, the director, pointed to my name on "the wall".
My painting had received one of four awards!  
They don't notify the award winners ahead of time, 
so this was a happy surprise!

22 x 30 oil 

I'm thrilled, of course, but mainly because 
it's a really large painting (for me) and 
I took a risk putting that telephone pole right in the middle of it!
I guess it's really good to let go and stretch yourself
once in awhile! 

ps. No picture of me to post.
I had on a weird outfit and my hair was flat. 
Again. This was a surprise! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Designing with Shapes of Color

My fun friend Sally came over the other day to paint.
We decided to try doing an abstract figure based on a 
very washed out sepia toned photo a friend had given me. 
There were no clear passages of light or dark,
so the challenge was to "design" the painting with shapes of color.  

"Red Hat" 
8 x 10 

I used a gesso board, synthetic brushes, and lots of paint 
to keep myself from any detail. 
This was an interesting exercise! 
With a little stretch of the imagination, 
it almost feels like one of 
Richard Diebenkorn's figures!?   

PS. Sally and I both work with Alzheimer patients 
and she gave my group a wonderful tour of an art show yesterday. 
You can read about it on my other blog here.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Salsa Series

I played salsa music and tried a few moves 
(in the privacy of my studio)
 while finishing up this series.  
What a fun way to paint!

Red Dress
5 x 7 
Salsa Dancing 

High Heels, Short Skirt
5 x 7 

It was impossible to photograph these very well, 
because of the thick black background, 
but I wanted to share them. 

They will be on view at the Copley Society 
Small Works Show: "In the City" 
Opening Feb 23 through March 29

Friday, February 17, 2012

Painter Interupted

"I'm Just Mad About Cello.
Cello's just Mad about me!" 

Between potty training, trips to Petco, taking pictures, 
and all the lovin' goin' on here......
my painting time has been a bit limited.
I was able to do this quick sketch yesterday,
while she was sleeping under my chair.

Cello at 12 weeks!
I just can't get enough of all that extra
 roly poly soft yellow fur!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tulips in February

One of the best things about having a birthday in February 
is that TULIPS are available.
And they are one of my favorite flowers to paint!  
"Happy Birthday!"
12 x 12 

These were from my sweet and generous friend Kelley MacDonald.
I did this before they even opened! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

North River Arts Society

The North River Arts Society 
opening reception is this Friday from 7 -10 
That is always a fun party! 
South River Line Up 
6 x 18 

My entry is actually three 6 x 6's that I painted all at once,
framed together with spaces between.
The show will be up until Feb 26 
and can be viewed M-F 9 - 12 
or Sat, Sun 1 - 4  

Cello update: I've only lost two computer power cords so far.
And check out Sam Art Dog blog today! 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Puppy!

 I 'd like to introduce you to
my new studio pal!  

11 week old female yellow lab

While she was asleep in my studio today, I tried to do a quick portrait of her.
It was a wiper- she kept looking like a stuffed animal! 

I am over the moon in love with her, 
so I'm sure there will be plenty of "portraits" to come. 

PS. I just had to bid on Jim Coulter's painting "Limoncello" 
that he posted today!  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Black, White, Shades of Light

Value Study 
8 x 8 

All that reading about the Macchiaolli Painters 
and then doing the Three Value Exercise 
with my class yesterday got me thinking about doing this.
I used black for everything in shadow,
added a little white to it for everything half in and half out, 
and tinted the white a "local" color for everything in the light. 
This is such a fun way to paint. 
It really makes you think! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Three Value Exercise

Limiting yourself to only THREE values in a painting, 
really drives home the importance of getting your values right! 
It forces you to simplify the shapes 
and make design decisions ahead of time. 

My Demo 

Today, on white watercolor paper, we used only three values; 
black, white and a middle value grey (50% black 50% white).
Note: The tendency is to mix the middle value too dark 
so be sure to compare it something! 
NO Blending. Just flat shapes!  

It is surprising how much drama you can create with
 just three values and good design! 
Here is just a sampling of the results!  

I recommend this exercise to both 
beginners and experienced painters. 
It's eye opening and a lot of fun! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Macchiaioli

I just read a fascinating article in the 
Winter 2011 edition of Plein Air Magazine 
about a group of 19th Century Italian painters 
called the Macchiaioli. 
(Macchia refers to the overall effect
or the value structure of the composition.) 
Their goal was to translate the harsh contrasts of the 
Tuscan sunlight and shadow 
by using a simple patchwork of lights and darks.  
 They would do small plein air sketches on location 
to use as reference for larger works done in the studio.

Roofs in Sunlight by Raffaelo Sernesi ca. 1860 -61
oil on cardboard 5 x 7 inches. 

Unlike the Impressionists, these "sketches" were never exhibited.  
The first time they were seen was in Florence in 1905 
where they caused an immediate sensation. 
(Google Images for more examples)
Reading about them inspired to try this. 

"Roofs in Sunlight"
10 x 12 oil 

"The Macchiaioli sought to summarize their experiences
 abstractly through patterns of interactive color-shapes"

That, to me, is the eternal challenge!  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Welcome February!

February is my favorite month.
It's all about LOVE and everything RED, my favorite color.
I'm not sure who sent me this, or where I found it 
but I've saved it on my desk top for a long time.
The First Day of February seems like a great day to post it.
Happy February Everyone!  

Note; Check out this months new paintings from the
Girls Who Just Wanna Paint!