Wednesday, November 3, 2021

When all else fails.....copy an artist you admire.

  8x10 oil on canvas

   8x10 oil on canvas panel

I discovered a new to me artist named Jan Mankes, a Dutch painter who died of tuberculosis at only 30 years of age.  I'm always saddened when I discover someone I admire who died young.  How many artists are this accomplished at thirty?  His appealing soft edged style would have been wonderful to watch as it matured.

Friday, August 20, 2021


 11x14 Acrylic on Canvas Panel

I planted a riot of petunias in my front window flower box this year and they eventually worked their magic to make me do my first flower painting.  I find flowers intimidating what with all that petal action, but this was fun!

I also learned a lesson in paint colors for this one.  I couldn't get the pink I was after and looked at the pigment content of my Liquitex Alizarin Crimson. It's 2 pigments, one of which is a brownish red which turns the pink muddy when mixed with blue or another purple. I have an older tube with a different formulation, but the newer Alizarins have 2 colors so a cool bright pink is virtually impossible. I ended up buying a tube of Quin Magenta so I can have a cool bright pink.  I'm used to Alizarin in oils which makes an exquisite cool light pink.  I've come around to believing a limited palette is the best way to learn color mixing, and learned to check each color is a single pigment before I buy.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

A dawg named Larry

8x10 oil on linen panel

If you like animals, paint, and see one this cute...that's all she wrote.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Morning on Timberlake Dr

9x12 oil on hardboard

A study for a larger painting.  I knew it would be tough with all that contrast.......and it was.  Landscape and portraiture are the most difficult subjects. I'm not going near a portrait!

This is what I see when I'm headed home after I make myself go for a walk in the morning.  If the sun is out.  And if I've been successful at nagging myself to do what's good for me.   

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Local color

8x10 oil on linen panel

I've noticed this tree on my semi-daily walks and finally decided to immortalize it before it falls over, because they do on a regular basis once the wind starts up.  It's not anything special...just another hemlock, but if you like trees you know they all have their own personality.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Warm or cool color as the day moves through its cycle

Something I've been struggling with is how to use color temperature to convey the mood I want.  This was helpful.

Time of day color bias:

Monet's Haystacks:

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Copy other artists to learn how to paint the tricky bits....

8x10 oil on panel

Doing copies is invaluable, but frustrating because I don't want to use my 'good' panels or canvases because these studies are destined for the garbage.  So I use gessoed cardboard, and scraps of chipboard and masonite panels I've picked up here and there.   Funky - but it works.

Above, I did a copy of a portion of a landscape by Mark Boedges, a fine landscape painter who has better control of value than any contemporary artist aside from Jeremy Lipking.  I've spent a substantial amount of time looking at his work trying to figure out the basics: warm or cool, color mixes, etc, and gone over his supply list to get any clues because we all think a particular brush or brand of paint will make a huge difference in our work.  They don't.  The only thing that leads to improvement is practice and studying other, better artists.

I'm not posting the original I painted from because of copyright issues. But if you're curious you can go here to see his work: Mark Boedges

The photo below is a study of another piece by the same artist, to practice mixing realistic greens.  His mixes are more subdued than I thought from first impression.  Gray paint pre-mixed, and a good understanding of using complementary colors to mute colors are necessities.

8 x 12.75 oil on masonite panel

Landscape and portraiture are both difficult subject matter.  I have little interest in painting people, but I'm incredibly fascinated by landscape work.  Water isn't as difficult to paint as I thought, but trees and foliage are a bearcat.  

Monday, December 14, 2020

Figuring out clouds


More chipboard scraps used to do cloud studies.  The bottom piece was the first study, but the colors were outside my ability to capture. There was a lot of repainting and at some point you have to quit or you won't be able to look back at a study and remember the lesson. I've done studies of various cloud formations in watercolor because it seems like it would be easier, but it's not. 

The third, top study was a bit easier, but I had a hideous time getting the right gold at the base of the golden sky areas.  It looked to have both orange and green in the mix, which seemed impossible, but I did end up mixing it that way, and got closer.  No banana, but closer to the correct color.  Clouds, trees and rocks in the landscape are all very, very tricky.

  These are all done from photos I've taken around my house.  The sky is always remarkable and always different.  No shortage of inspiration on the Oregon coast!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Daily Paintworks Monthly Challenge

10x10 acrylic on wood panel

This month's challenge was 'Under the Sea',  Daily Paintworks Challenge  and I've had a hankering to paint a fish, so I went looking for just the right fish.  Instead I found this adorable looking stingray.  Who knew!  I think his/her eyes are on the other side and these are just markings to warn off predators, but the look works for me.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Miss Marley

11x14 Oil on stretched canvas - NFS

An adorable (and tiny!) Yorkie some friends adopted from a shelter a couple of years ago when she was 12. She is the center of their household, so I wanted to do something a bit regal.  Princesses deserve that!

It never ceases to amaze me that someone would give up a dog when they get old, abandon them, or turn them into a shelter, but I've worked rescue long enough to know it happens all the time.  

Up the road a ways...

8x10 oil on panel

sits this house at the rear of the beautiful lot where the tree below lives. It was built about 3 years ago, and I couldn't figure out why it looked out of perspective until I realized the house doesn't sit square on the lot. but I know why they placed the house the way they did - to take advantage of the view of their lot.  Because it's just a plein air sketch, I won't try to correct it.  It's the light and shadows that made me want to stand there and puzzle it out.  Tip: Put out more paint than you think you'll need.  At least 3 times as much!


Idea: Go outside. Paint a tree. So I did.

9 x 12 Oil on panel 
After months of ignoring everything but the news and training myself for our new 'normal', I packed up my homemade pochade box and walked around the corner from my house.  This tree has captured my fancy at other times of the day, but I noticed the shadow pattern and decided to have a go.  Even on a gravel road, people stop to see what you're doing, so I'll have to find a sneaky way to paint outdoors in the future.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

No Cashews for Yous

Sold-8 x 10 acrylic on linen panel

My personal birdie modeled for me!  I have a thin post attached to the top screw down on my easel for leaning a mahl stick and she's adopted it as her personal place to oversee what's going on down below.  So I get a feather in the paint now and what.  It's good to have adult supervision.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Waiting for the Train

8 x 10 acrylic on wood panel

This is from a photo I got a couple of years ago of two crow friends sitting on the track in the fog.  Very tricky to paint and I had to move the birds.  I'm enjoying acrylics in a way I never thought I would.  It's far more forgiving if you need to 'make repairs' and once dry I doubt anyone but an expert could tell the difference between oil and acrylic.

I see I left a shadow of one of the prior birds.  That's what you get for varnishing in the evening!  I'm curious to see if that can be 'repaired' with a coat of varnish on. 

Or should I leave it as a spooky reminder that we're all only here for a brief time?

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sulfur Crested Cockatoo

Oil on linen panel 8 x 10

This is one of the parrot species that has wise old eyes.  Maybe because they're distantly related to dinosaurs and you can't get much older than that! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Summer Door

8x10 acrylic on stretched canvas

This was a perfect example of why painting from life is different, and better than from a photo if you have the luxury.  I snapped a photo to see how the camera saw what I was painting.  I was startled at the photo because the window in the door was so much lighter, and that's not what I was seeing as I painted.    Here's the photo:

Monday, July 29, 2019

Cedar Creek

8 x 10 oil on linen panel

A gurgling creek runs through the area where I walk and live and it's captivated me for some time, so I decided to tackle it.  Not happy with what I got, but it's always worth doing because you figure out some baffling little detail or other.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What to do With All Those Art Supplies!

I'm a self-confessed Pinterest junkie and I've seen many, many storage ideas. Some are more trouble than they're worth, but some are gems.  Here's lots of ideas with several keepers:  45-organization-hacks-to-transform-your-craft-room

Thanks to Belinda Del Pesco's wonderful blog for this and tons of other generous helpful tips.  She's a wonderfully accomplished printmaker and watercolorist with her own warm, distinct style. If you're not already familiar with her work, you can find her here: Belinda Del Pesco

Saturday, June 15, 2019

A depressing little piece......

12x16 Oil on wood panel

Something I did for a group show a while ago, whose theme was 'Yellow'.  What you see is about all of that color I can handle.  No yellow flowers in my yard, no yellow clothing in my closet, and a "Sheesh" each spring when the forsythia is blooming. 

Needless to say - it did not sell.  People want art to be uplifting.  Not everything in life is though, and sometimes that's the subject matter that speaks to oneself.

Out Back

9x12 Acrylic on chipboard NFS

This view is what I look at each morning once risen to get my morning fix (of coffee).  I love looking out there and I'm protected from anyone building behind me because there's a gully that stays soggy for nine months of the year.  Can you say 'mosquitoes'?  Anyhoo, I got out my acrylics and slapped together a little study to remind me of what I had when they ship me off to the home (or if I move to another location - whichever comes sooner).

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Another African Grey

8 x 10" acrylic on Raymar panel - SOLD

Done for a show called "Purple Haze" at the Hoffman Art Center Gallery in Manzanita.  The pattern in the rug looks more like scattered flowers than woven in but I decided to let it be one of the happy surprises that happens when you tackle something new.  

My bird Sophie spends a lot of time under the couch when she has out of cage time.  Not sure what the appeal is, but who am I to question her preferences?  She's her own woman.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Painting Blocks

Whaaaaa say?

I became fascinated with the techniques of the Virtual Art Academy, as laid out by a terrific German artist named Thomas Ruckstuhl who managed to move from science to art with the instruction of the above mentioned art program.

He suggests doing 150 of these studies.  I've done 9.  What I learned is that I can mix better colors with acrylics than oils. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Meeting Julie Ford Oliver

On July 13th, I had an opportunity to meet Julie, whose blog I've followed for years.  She's always impressed me as warm and kind, and extremely generous with her knowledge of painting.  So when I left a comment in June on her blog: Art Talk and she responded that she was coming to Cannon Beach, OR - a mere 30 miles from where I live - and asked if I'd like to meet.

Yes, yes! Oh my yes!   Sometimes you just know in your gut you would enjoy making the acquaintance of someone you've met online.  You. Just. Know.

Julie is as down to earth, warm and friendly as she seems on her blog, but she also has a wonderfully droll sense of humor.  She was in the company of her friend Jan, who had kindly driven her to Cannon Beach from Portland.  I sat down at their table in a cozy little place we met for breakfast, and we all three fell into easy conversation immediately!

Julie had cataract surgery 5 days before flying to Oregon and I'd had some minor hand surgery so we compared notes on what a non-event some procedures have become.  We talked about favorite pets, Julie's studio in Albuquerque, discussed a bit of personal history, and took a tour of a local art gallery.

Julie suggested we wander the gallery separately, pick a favorite piece of
artwork (we couldn't limit ourselves to just one) and tell each other why we were drawn to it when we joined back up.  That was fun and provided additional insight into these two women I'd just had the pleasure of meeting!  Do it the next time you go through a gallery with a friend.

Julie posted a photo Jan took of the two of us on her blog, but I didn't have the sense to get a picture of all three of us. (What are passersby for anyway?)

There you go....vicarious thrill for the day.  If you ever have the opportunity to meet someone you enjoy online - go for it!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Local Shows for Artists

12 x 16 oil on wood panel

10x10 oil on masonite panel

The theme for a show in Nehalem at the Recreation Center was 'Seeing Red' and that's not terribly limiting, so I sat down and painted a couple pieces with red stuff in it. I consider red almost a neutral because it looks good with everything.  
The shows at the Rec Center are well attended because they foster local artists and events.  Plus they only charge a 10% commission  

We love it/them!