Monday, December 30, 2013


I like the idea of setting an intention for things.
Whether it's a yoga practice, making breakfast, or starting a painting. 
To define your intention ahead of time
keeps you focussed. 

Black, Red, Yellow 6 x 6 

Currently, my intention in painting is to 
focus more on shapes and design, 
and to play around with color harmonies.  

This is a real challenge for me because 
"little miss fussy pants" shows up 
and wants to put in every detail!   
I have to stay focussed on my intention,
just to keep her at bay.   

The GJWP challenge for the month of December is 
They will all be here posted on January 1 ! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday Break

I love the week between Christmas and New Years.
Nothing is normal or routine
and there is a bit of magic in the air.
 Plenty of time for reflection and renewal,
relaxing and re-grouping....
Yesterday I even managed a few hours on the couch
"The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri. 

Talk about inspiration!
His wisdom and technical advice about painting is 
as appropriate and valuable today as it was 1916.
If not more! 

Looking forward to wherever my painting 
takes me in 2014! 
Happy New Year everyone! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays to All!

Sending you all peaceful winter greetings.
I thank you for sharing my painting journey throughout the year,  
and celebrate with gratitude my good fortune to have crossed paths with you! 

Cello Waiting for Santa

Looking forward to see what new ideas, discoveries and paintings 
the New Year will bring
and hope you will continue to join me! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Internet Inspiration

I'm finding a lot of inspiration on the internet lately. 
Mostly following artists' blogs whose work 
leans toward the more 
expressionist / contemporary / colorful.
Ann Winthrop Cordin's work inspired me today.  

"Fake Tulips"
12 x 12 

This was inspired by Anne's painting below. 
It's been hanging in my studio for weeks
with a note (from me) that says,
"set up a simple still life using glass". 

The simplicity of the angles and the strong value pattern 
 is very appealing to me. 

This was a fun exercise.
Although, I only had those fake red tulips 
and they were well,

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Blurb Book

I've been working on my annual Blurb Book.
Every year since 2009, I have made one of 
my 20 best paintings from that year. 

Meanwhile, I've been having fun fooling around with some paintings 
that didn't "make the cut" for one reason or another.

Old Salt House 
8 x 6 oil (new) 

I radically changed the color of the sky in this one,
which then prompted other color changes. 
So liberating! 

Old Salt House 
8 x 6 (previous) 

Meanwhile, sweet Cello
looks like she's waiting for
Our first winter storm?
Cello in Salty Dog Studio! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Painting with Purpose" Exercise

I bought some 9 x 12  Arches Oil Paper recently 
to use for exercises and experiments. 

Twirling #1
(oil on paper)

For this one, I took the (slightly fussed over )
"Twirling" painting from my last post 
and looked at just the big shapes.

I used one stroke, one value per shape. 
Twirling #2

A totally different result! 
I did a careful drawing on the paper,
(marking the shadow shapes) 
turned it upside down,
and put the image away.  

This exercise teaches us to paint with more purpose, 
making each brushstroke more meaningful! 

I may call this the 
"Paint with Purpose" exercise! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Beat those Mid- Winter Blues!

Want to beat those winter blues? 
Spend a fun winter weekend honing your painting skills 
or learning new ones!
I'll be teaching a  
two day "One Hour Painting" workshop
January 25 / 26.
8 x 10 
oil on paper

"We will explore the practice of creating a painting from start to finish in one hour, teaching you how to simplify the process, and be able to “say a lot with a little”. Through demos, exercises, and “timed” one hour group painting sessions, you will learn how to use generous, quick, well placed strokes that will give you fresher, simpler, more effective paintings. We will work from simple still lives and photos. Demos are in oil, although the lessons may be applied to acrylics as well. The method I use produces results for both beginners and experienced painters, so there is no fear! "

Trust me. 
This is a lot of fun!   

Sunday, December 1, 2013


The end of the month again! 
The Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge this month was 

6 x 6

I couldn't resist. 
See the rest of the gang's post here!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cello's Birthday Portrait

In honor of Cello's second birthday tomorrow 
I thought it was time I do a portrait of her. 
8 x 10 

She is the sweetest and most mellow lab pup 
and our family is so blessed to have her. 
 She takes her job of guarding us very seriously!  

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl! 
And Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah everyone! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lesson Learned. Again.

This was a quick and fun painting I did last week
 from an image I've had for awhile. 
Spring on Newbury Street
9 x 12 oil 

I rarely go in and make big changes after the fact. 
Usually just a few tweaks and fixes, that's it. 
Whenever I do, I end up loosing the freshness and spontaneity.
For some reason I thought the railing needed to be straightened and,
well you can see.....
 the painting became over worked and fussy. 

Lesson learned.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Last class of the year!

We finished up the fall session 
of the One Hour Painting class yesterday
by doing figures from photos.
(Our model cancelled last minute) 

by Gretchen

The OHP approach is based on the practice of
building good paintings by building strong foundations. 
The tools we learn help simplify the process
 and take the fear out of painting anything.
Even figures!

The camaraderie and creative interchange
that happens in these classes is invaluable.
Thank you everyone.
See you in the New Year!

Meanwhile, I can't wait until Austin Kleon's
new book comes out!
Wonderful pearls of wisdom.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Who Am I?

 This summer I sorted through hundreds of my old paintings
to clean up the studio.  
I kept a few random pieces and for some reason 
I kept this one.
It was done three years ago,
using the push pull thing!
I didn't even know it at the time. 

11 x 14 

This painting always felt sort of weak to me.
(not enough paint)  
so I fooled with it today. 
Not sure it's better,
but it sure was fun playing with those colors! 

"Marina 2"
11 x 14 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Push and Pull

 I watched a YouTube video about 
Hans Hoffman the other day. 
He talks about the "push and pull" of 

That inspired me to paint this using a pattern of 
made- up colors, but keeping them in the correct value.  
I tried to "push and pull" the  
 warm and cool, dark and light. 

Late Light
10 x 10 

This was a real stretch for me! 
I'm working on being less literal in my paintings
and this is a great way to push myself. 
A great exercise for a class.   

Here it is on "levels" setting 
(three values) 
on the Value Viewer app. 

If it works in three values,
chances are it will be a good painting. 
"Value does all the work,
color gets all the credit."

Hell yeah! 

(The image) 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Inspiration Gathering

Before the internet got so plentiful,    
I would cut out images 
of paintings that inspired me, 
(from art magazines) 
and put them in a three ring binder. 

I refer to it often when I'm uninspired or stuck.
(like now) 

Urban Figure No.1
9 x 9 by Mark Nelson

I found this in there the other day and
 what do you know? 
It's from a 2007 issue of American Art Collector. 
And here,
 I thought I'd just discovered his work! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fun with Technology

The digital photography class I just finished with 
inspired me to think more about using 
the photo apps and programs available 
as painting tools.  

City Chicks
8 x 10 
I'd submitted the photo for this as homework about composition. 

Talking about it and seeing it on the big screen
 inspired me to paint it.  

 I then took the image of the painting
 and did a quick I Pad painting over it using the Brushes App.
(Download it then watch the ten minute tutorial on YouTube.) 
Showed me instantly how to simplify it 
even more! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Painting Upside Down

Painting upside down really forces you to  
focus on the shapes, not the object.
And it's always a thrill when you turn them 
right side up!
Here is are a few from class last week. 

This exercise helps create wonderfully loose and expressive 
almost abstract paintings  

Like these awesome landscapes from the same class. 
Very Milton Avery don't you think?  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Heads Up!

I just booked more One Hour Painting classes and 
and some two day workshops.
They have not been posted on the websites yet 
so I thought I'd give you (my followers) 
the heads up! 

Quick demo  
8 x 8 

Jan 16 - Feb 27
Thursdays 9:30 - 12:30

weekend workshop 
Jan 25 / 26
9:30 - 3:30  

Weekend Workshop 
July 19 / 20 
9:30 - 3:30 

 They tend to fill quickly so if you are interested,
contact the association asap! 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Make Up Challenge

This month the Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge is 
Make Up.
I have never been very good at wearing make up,
and always looked like a clown whenever I tried.

Clown Face 
6 x 6 
oil on paper 

I found an image on the internet,
printed it on heavy paper, and glued it to a foam board. 
Then I covered it with clear gesso. 
My idea was to paint directly on the photo,
as if I was putting the make up on her! 

I used soft acrylic brushes and did a lot of blending. 
Two things rather foreign to me. 
  Now you can see why I don't wear make up! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Waiting for Inspiration

I have been "blocked"lately,
just waiting for inspiration.  

Old Salt House
6 x 8 oil 
Cohasset Harbor, MA 

Today, I finally buckled down and tackled this idea.
AfterI found this link to the new work of
Michael Daniel Nelson.

Parking Lot BBQ
8 x 10 oil
 by Michael Daniel Nelson

You gotta love those guys who have a 
graphic design background.
He makes it look so simple.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I like to call the lessons we do in class "exercises"
because after all, we are "stretching" ourselves right?
This week, we did my two favorites:
Limited  Stroke (or Golf) Exercise

You have to state how many you need, then try to make that number. 
(I said 16 and had to use my mulligan!)  

The "Simplified Shadow" Exercise

By painting everything in shadow ONE dark value, 
then everything that is in light in actual color, 
you really get to see how important the value pattern is!  
You can get some pretty powerful statements this way.  

I always love a good workout!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Another Surprise

When I found out that 
my friend, fellow teacher, 
and incredibly talented impressionist painter
was taking my 
I was a bit daunted.
And, of course,  thrilled.  

5 minute studies 
by Margaret McWethy

Turns out;
she is the perfect student, 
follows the exercises precisely,
and adds great insight during the discussion. 
Thank you Margaret! 

Just another surprise in 
the life of an artist. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

All Set for HAW this Sunday

I am all set for the Hingham Arts Walk this Sunday.
Really looking forward to seeing old friends 
(and meeting new ones!)
If you are in the area, do stop by North Street Studio.
12 - 4 
6x 6  oil 

"Romper Room"
6 x 6 oil  

I'll have some new, smaller works 
available in my distressed wood frames. 
There will be music, wine, light bites,
and lots of fun! 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Playing Around (with Mitchell again)

I have had this image of a Mitchell Johnson painting 
hanging in my studio for over a year now. 

Truro (Blue and Yellow) 
2012 22 x 28 oil on linen
by Mitchell Johnson

Then yesterday, I found this photo
I took in Truro in 2001.  
 (before digital) 
and thought I'd play around a little.  

I realized my fascination with MJ's paintings is the texture. 
( he uses a dry brush and a linen surface? )
I painted this on my usual canvas board, using lots of paint. 
Then took a palette knife 
to blur the lines and simplified the shapes.
At best.  

Truro (pink) 
10 x 12 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hingham Arts Walk!

I'm putting together some small works for the 
Next Sunday!  
October 20 from 12 - 4 

"Baby Blues"
9 x 9  framed  

I'll be at the 
Page Railsback, Barbara Gifford, Ruth Jensen, 
Kelley MacDonald and Sally Dean

A fun day to poke around beautiful Hingham, MA 
and meet some very cool artists! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Love in the Air

It warms my heart to see an older couple holding hands. 
Lucky them!
No matter how long they may have been together, 
it's testimony that love exists in many forms, 
and at all stages.

"Happy Couple"
8 x 8 

Our son recently got engaged! 
And I am thrilled that he has found someone so lovely and so special.
May they hold each other's hand for a very long time!
Congratulations you two!     

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

You Never Know

"Ice Cream Man" 
11 x 14 

I did this rather unusual painting two years ago
and it's never left the studio. 
(I think it's because it's on a stretched canvas) 
However, there has always been something I really liked about it,
so I submitted it to the International Juried Show 
at the South Shore Art Center
opening November 8. 

And it got in! 
I guess you just never know.   

Friday, October 4, 2013

Photography Class

I'm taking a digital photography class
at the SSAC this term.  
We're talking a lot about composition
and that is making me see things differently.
Especially when thinking about potential painting subjects.

" Lawn "
9 x 12 

I liked how the image below 
blocked everything into big shapes of color. 
The painting became more about that 
than the light and shadow pattern. 

Here are a few more images I've taken 
as part of my homework! 

This photo class
and the incredible light we are having this fall,
is getting me incredibly inspired!