Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Having great fun with this new subject; 
People Celebrating! 

8 x 8 oil 

The best thing about painting like this is,
my studio feels like a party!  

Happy New Year everyone!
Be safe and happy. 
And dance a little.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

New Year's Eve

I used to love getting dressed up
 and dancing all night on New Years Eve.
Nothing like a Swing Orchestra to get you on your feet!

Big Band Sound 
12 x 12 

Now I'm happy to stay home, have an early dinner,
and a fire in the fireplace.

Whatever you are planning,
I hope you have a safe and happy New Year's Eve. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Magical Match Up

Years ago our Garden Club went on a tour of 
led by the owner, Stephen Tooker. 

Garden Tour 
5 x 7 oil 

Yesterday I got an email from the owner's wife,
asking me if I still had this painting 
(she had seen on my website) 
because she thought it "captured Stephen exactly"! 

I did and she is giving it to him for Christmas. 
I love it when that happens! 
A "magical match up"!  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dancing Queens

It's party season! 

"Dancing Queens"
24 x 24 oil 

Happy Holidays 
to all my friends, followers, and fellow artists! 
Get on those dancing shoes and have some fun!   

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dance Floor Frenzy!

The holidays can certainly cut into studio time, 
so today I purposefully carved out a few hours. 
I thought about doing this all weekend 
so it was a relief to finally try it out!  

"Dance Floor Frenzy"
12 x 12 

I felt like I was at a party the whole time!  
Nothing like a good dancing frenzy! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bride's Circle

To push myself further, 
I chose a busy and complicated subject,
gave myself one hour to cover the canvas, and
outlined the shapes in black acrylic.
Then thought about color. 

Bride's Circle
12 x 12 

The absence of value, or light and shadow,
 is so foreign to me! 
However, I find this way of interpreting a scene 
very freeing.  

Here's some of the images I've been exploring! 

Mid 20th C oil 
signed "Ruilla" available at 

Wedding Dance in the Open Air 
Pieter Bruegel the Elder 

Who doesn't love a wedding?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Bear with me as I keep experimenting!
I did this Pattern Painting in order to make myself
focus more on design and composition.

This exercise helps me simplify by
breaking everything down into shapes.

I also find that doing blind contour sketches 
helps loosen things up..... 

In January the Copley Society is hosting a
Juried exhibition entitled
They are looking for
"works of art that push your artistic boundaries and
express your individual voice to the fullest".

 I'm trying to shake things up,
dig down and do something different.
Never easy, but certainly exhilarating! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

New Subject Matter

First Dance
12 x 12 

I'm experimenting with some new subject matter: 
I became somewhat of a  
wedding-photographer-blog junkie 
while planning our kids' weddings this year.
Great visuals of people having fun! 

I've been doing some sketches from 
black and white images! 

I found that when painting from my own images, 
I couldn't let go of intimate details and 
focus on the design and shapes. 

This was a great start that got overworked
and uptight very quickly. 
It was a wiper.

Not knowing the "players" makes it more about 
design and composition. 
And much more fun. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Animal Planet

 This month the North River Arts Society 
is hosting a holiday show called
"Animal Planet"
Dec. 8- Jan 2.
What a fun subject! 
There will be something for everyone
 to be sure! 

My entries: 
"Because I'm Happy" 
6 x 8 

"Sleep Tight" 
8 x 10 

"Welcome Mat"
8 x 10 

In order to encourage holiday sales, 
buyers will be able to take purchased art with them.
I've got some back-ups just in case! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lab Love

I'm channelling Cello these days 
because she is going in for the second ACL surgery this week. 
Yeah, I know. Unbelievable. 
Apparently once a large breed dog tears an ACL on the back knee, 
there is a 75% chance of it happening to the other leg. 
It's "genetics".

"Lab Love" 
12 x 12 

Fortunately, the knee she had repaired in October is fully repaired.
And she only has two back legs. 
So we'll be done! 

Friday, November 28, 2014


I had fun doing this for a friend
who saw a painting I recently gave his Mom.  
He sent me an image of his Dad 
and two sons 
taken many years ago. 

Chuck with Grandsons
8 x 10 

I had a nice chat with him about when it was taken, 
and the circumstances.  
That really helped me focus on telling the story,
not just copying the image. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Special Moment

A bridesmaid sent me an image of our daughter 
putting on her dress on her wedding day.

Getting Dressed
20 x 16 

It was such a magical and special moment, 
I wanted to see if I could capture it.  

Since this is larger, I am approaching it in stages. 
I did this map a few days ago,

Today I wanted to just do a block-in
 then started to carried away, so I stopped. 
Now I want want to tone down the colors
and make it more mono-chromatic. 
Stay tuned. 
This is way out of my comfort zone. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Studio Re- entry

After being away from the studio for a few weeks,
I was afraid I wouldn't be able to paint anymore.
Today, I forced myself to just put out some paint and get to it.
Thought I'd paint something I love as a warm up.

"Our Welcome Mat" 
8 x 10 

This is a bit awkward and tight, of course, 
because Little Miss Fancy Pants showed up,
like she does whenever I loose my confidence!
I have a few holiday commissions to work on
so it's time to get my groove back!    

Planning our daughter's wedding was one 
 of the most memorable and joyous experience of our lives!

She was one happy bride and it was worth every minute! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Copley Society Holiday Show

I'm excited about this "Boston" series of paintings
that will be included in the
Copley Society Annual Holiday Sale. 

"Sunday Paper"
12 x 12 

"Early Spring on Newbury"
11 x 14

"Sunday Brunch" 
8 x 8 

These two landscapes as well. 

"Spring Singing"
8 x 8 

"Fall Fireworks" 
8 x 8 

There is an Opening Reception Thursday
November 13 from 5:30 - 7:30
and the show will be up until December 24! 

Let the holidays begin! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Win, Win, Win Situation

Painters have all kinds of wonderful work in their studios that,
for one reason or another, 
haven't found a home.  
The NRAS has come up with an idea to solve that. 
is this Saturday (Nov 15) and it's a great opportunity to find 
some gems at very reasonable prices!
Here are a few that I have submitted,
all under $100!!!!   

Cabin in the Woods
10 x 10

Reserved Seating 
11 x 14

Summer Camp 
11 x 14 

Three in a Row 
10 x 10 

"Takin' a Break" 
8 x 10 

For a fee of $10,  you can enter at 9:00 AM 
for the "early bird" sale!
YOU win, the ARTISTS win, and the NRAS wins! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Break from Teaching

My teaching schedule (and painting!) is a bit "on hold" right now.  
Our daughter is getting married a week from Saturday 
and I'm planning on enjoying every minute
of the festivities and fun! 

Takin' A Break 
8 x 10 

I'll keep you posted as I add new classes,
however I am doing a two day 
"Expressive Paintings from Photos"
workshop at the South Shore Art Center 
Thursday and Friday 
January 29, 30 
10 - 3 pm

A great way to get the kick those January blues,
and nice gift to ask for!
Contact them directly if interested.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Prepping for class

Yesterday I realized the images I'd last posted
 were the "experiment" I did in my studio
 to prepare for the
"Grey Day Landscape" exercise.  
When presenting an exercise
 I've never down before,
I like to do a "test run" ahead of time. 

This is the actual 20 minute demo 
I did in front of the class. 

 From this image 

I used to be terrified of doing demos. 
Now I embrace them 
because something interesting always happens. 
And I love the whole "thinking on your feet" 
aspect of it. 
You never know what is going to happen! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Grey Day Landscapes

For our last class of the session last week 
we talked about "grey day landscapes" 
and how to make them more exciting. 

"Path to the Sea"
8 x 8 

I took this fairly boring image
with no light and shadow pattern, 

did a quick black and white thumbnail 
to determine the composition, 
then mapped it in with orange. 

I made up the colors to give it a little jolt,
and to have more fun! 

To paraphrase Charles Hawthorne;
"Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have the vision- 
it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so." 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Glorious Fall

We have had the most glorious Fall this year.
Day after day of bright sunshine,
cerulean blue skies, and brilliant color.
A difficult subject to paint,
because it's almost too unbelievable.
But so compelling.
This was outside my studio
screaming at me.

Glorious Fall
8 x 8 

A few previous attempts at same subject: 

Ironically, last week a student brought in this amazing book,
filled with over 400 brilliantly reproduced paintings by the 

The best $25 you could spend on this fascinating topic.
They do fall landscapes better than anyone and the  
reproductions are gorgeous.

Another incredible book on that topic is 
It's the amazing story of the life of Emily Carr,
a Canadian writer and painter,
and the only woman invited to join the group. 
Happy Reading! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pattern Painting Exercise - revisited

I rarely introduce the Pattern Painting exercise
because it's the complete opposite of
the One Hour Approach
and can get confusing.  
However, after seeing the Upside Down Paintings 
the class did last week,
I knew they were more than ready for it.
I was not disappointed! 

Such strong design 

So simple yet so expressive. 
It tells a story.

This just works on so many levels. 
Shapes, color, design.

Lousy image, sorry! 
Very strong painting, "exaggerating the values"

Marsha's first version

then she did this in the last ten minutes of class.
From an Instagram out of a book. 

Just another hard day at the office! 
Are you kidding?