Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ball of String

This fall has been busy with travel and painting commissions. Ok, those are my excuses for not posting on my blog for two months. Between commissions, I've done a few small paintings to record ideas. I've looked at this ball of string for a long time. The solid machine-wrapped ball contrasting with the loose willy-nilly string is interesting. In my minds eye, I saw a high key painting with back lighting. It seemed like a simple idea, but I wiped and restarted three times before got what I wanted. 

"Ball of String", 6"x 6", oil on canvas, Sold

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cans #2

At last, my second can painting. After painting "Cans #1", I decided to do a series. It has taken me almost a year to get back to it. In the mean time, I've assembled a great can collection! Unlike "Cans #1", I set up a strong value contrast in the background and added a big rectangular turpentine can to the round cans in this painting. Reflections still were the dominant theme. I continue to be excited about this subject. It would be fun to experiment with color in the background and how it reflects throughout the set up. I'll keep you posted.

"Cans #2", 16"x 16", oil on board

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Plein Air Painting

For the first time in many years, I joined some friends to plein air paint this summer. We scheduled the sessions for Monday mornings and took turns choosing the sites. It was a great experience. I enjoyed the camaraderie of my fellow artists and learned a lot from painting with them. 

We decided to paint the lupines that were abundant in our area this spring. One of the biggest challenges for me in plein air painting is dealing with the natural light. Unlike the steady bright light I shine on still life subjects in my studio, natural light is always changing and often overcast. That morning the sky was gray with very few cast shadows. Instead of painting, I decided to take some reference photos and do black and white value studies on location. I went back to the studio and using the photo and sketch above, created "Morning Lupines".

"Morning Lupines", 20"x 12", oil on board, SOLD

The following two paintings were done almost entirely on location. The garden wagon was done during our last session in artist Diana Randolph's garden. Notice how these "landscape" paintings are looking more like still life paintings. I'm not sure I'll ever be a vista painter. After we finished painting in Diana's garden, she treated us to a delicious lunch. She is a wonderful cook as well as a great artist.

"Milk House", 8"x 6", oil on canvas, SOLD

"Garden Wagon", 8"x 6", oil on canvas, SOLD

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blue Moon Art Tour

On Labor Day weekend, we held our 5th annual Blue Moon Art Tour. Approximately 350 folks visited my studio over the two day event. It was fun to chat with old friends and meet new ones. My friend Melisa Morales photographed my demonstration. I showed how I begin painting a floral still life of nasturtiums, my favorite flower. The block-in is on my easel. I'm holding a completed painting of a similar set up. You can view more photos of the tour at

Thanks to Melisa for the photos, my husband Bruce for manning the refreshment table, friends Jody and Kathi for helping me greet visitors.

Mark your calendar for next year's Blue Moon Art Tour — 
September 1 & 2, 2012

"Glass of Nasturtiums", 6"x 8", oil on linen, SOLD

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Junior Naturalist"

I painted a small study of this subject and posted it earlier this summer. It was so much fun to paint that I decided to try a larger painting. I liked the loose brushwork of the small painting and it was a challenge to retain that in the large version. I entered this piece in the Cable Hayward Area Arts Council annual juried show "From a Bird's Eye View" which had an environmental theme. CHARAC collaborated with the Cable Natural History Museum for this exhibit. This boy reminded me of all the children that participate in the Cable Natural History Museum's Junior Naturalist program each summer. Now I'm going to toot my own horn... this painting was awarded first place. The exhibit is displayed at the Cable Natural History Museum until September 20, 2011.

"Junior Naturalist", 20"x 16", oil on board, Sold  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Cup of Wildflowers"

We have had plenty of rain this spring and summer which has been good for the wildflowers. I noticed lots of these yellow beauties along the road in June. I couldn't find them in my wildflower book and was unable to identify them. The next day I received my Nature Watch email written by local naturalist Sue Thurn. There they were... a photo of Barren Strawberries with interesting information about the plant. I like the combination of the delicate flowers in this dainty yellow teacup. 

"Cup of Wildflowers", 9"x12", oil on linen, SOLD

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Nasturtiums in Teapot"

The summer has been going fast. I have been painting, but have not spent much time posting new work on my blog. Earlier this summer I took a break from oil painting and got out my pastels. I painted this arrangement of nasturtiums in oil last summer. I thought it would be fun to do the same subject in pastel. The oil version is below for comparison.

"Nasturtiums in Teapot", 16"x12", pastel on board, Sold

This oil version of "Nasturtiums in Teapot" has been sold.

"White Roses"

I've been painting roses recently. I decided to try these in a black and white composition. I wanted to capture the warm centers of the roses and the cool reflected light on the petals in the shadow areas.

"White Roses", 16"x12", pastel on board

"Teakettle and Mug"

I like the orange, turquoise and aqua palette in this piece. If you are in the Cable, WI area, you can view these three pastels as well as others at Firefly Trading Company.

"Teakettle and Mug", 10.5"x10.5", pastel on board, SOLD

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Baby Bella Mushrooms"

My original idea was to compose a painting of mushrooms using a color palette of browns and creams. At the grocery, I found these Italian mushrooms in a bright cobalt container and my concept changed from muted colors to bright. I added the yellow can of plum tomatoes and the painting became a composition of primary colors with an Italian theme. Sometimes I just have to follow where the objects take me.

"Baby Bella Mushrooms", 12"x 9", oil on linen   SOLD

Sunday, May 15, 2011


This girl was totally absorbed in her search for shells and pebbles. I liked the way the wind blew her hair. The yellow bucket added a great shot of color.

"Beachcomber", 6"x8", oil on linen, Sold

"Boy in Life Jacket"

Besides the cute boy squinting in the sun, what attracted me to this image were the orange reflections on his face. I'm happy with the way his hair turned out — looks wet and spiky.

"Boy in Life Jacket", 8"x6", oil on linen, SOLD

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Jane in Mink"

Over a year ago, our niece Jane drove up for a visit. We spent a day hanging out in the studio talking about art and sketching. Jane agreed to pose for me. She proved to be a very patient as well as pretty model. Fun to paint, too! That afternoon I made an oil sketch and took lots of photos, but went no further. I finally pulled out the photos a few days ago and painted this. It has renewed my interest in painting figures. We'll see where it goes.

"Jane in Mink", 6"x8", oil on linen, NFS

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Sunny Breakfast"

I can tell it's spring because I'm in the mood for yellow. I decided to include the coffee pot in this bright composition, but didn't want it to overpower everything else. The dark areas of the coffee cup and silverware help offset the coffee pot. I also tried to keep the values of the background objects darker so the lighter brighter foreground objects have more importance. The spoon handle leads the eye into the painting and to the melon slice, the focal point.

"Sunny Breakfast", 16"x 20", oil on board, SOLD

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Farm Eggs and Tea Cup"

My friend Stacey raises chickens that lay the most beautiful colored eggs. The gray carton was a perfect neutral background for showing off the variety of muted greens, blues, and rosy browns of the eggs. The pale yellow of my favorite tea mug complimented these soft colors. The eggs were delicious, too!

"Farm Eggs and Tea Cup", 12"x 9", oil on linen, SOLD

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Green Apples in Blue Bowl"

"Green Apples in Blue Bowl", 6"x 8", oil on linen, SOLD

"Bottles & Green Apples"

"Green Apples & Bottles", 8"x 6", oil on canvas, SOLD

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Box of Tissue"

Here's another composition with a dark background. The translucent quality of the tissue paper is interesting and challenging to paint. Light goes through the paper as well as bouncing off it. To capture the crinkles and planes in the tissue, I used all the painter's tools such as: lost and found edges, value shifts, changes in hue. The one I found particularly important was color temperature. Often I saw an edge without a hue shift and not much of a value shift. To create that edge or plane, I used a warmer or cooler version of the color. For example, one plane would be a yellow-orange while the plane next to it would be more lavender. Light going through the paper is usually warm; light reflected off it is usually cooler. This painting was a good exercise in observation.

"Box of Tissue", 12"x12", oil on board   SOLD

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Clementine & Jar"

I decided it was time to compose a painting with a dark background. My idea was to achieve a sense of atmosphere and space. I wanted the jar to emerge from the darkness by painting just a few of the highlights and reflections. Then I added a blast of color with the clementine. I've been painting a lot of oranges. It's a welcome color in February when everything outside my window is white.

"Clementine & Jar", 8"x6", oil on linen, SOLD

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Oranges on Marimekko"

I'm a fan of Marimekko designs. The fabric's color palette of warm and cool reds with purple was the starting point for this painting. I also like the way the orange wedges repeat the leaf pattern.

"Oranges on Marimekko", 6"x8", oil on linen, SOLD

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Cute Couple"

Before packing them away after Christmas, I decided to paint these cute Danish Nisse dolls.  I wanted to capture their characters and ended up painting "mini portraits". Remind you of anyone?

"Cute Couple", 6"x6", oil on canvas, SOLD

Friday, January 28, 2011

"Electric Blue"

Inspiration comes from surprising places. I was trying to compose a still life of blue objects for the "Very Cool Blue Show" at Art Beat, but nothing seemed to be working. The bulb in my stand light burned out. I went to the cupboard for a new bulb and there it was — a blue extension cord. Inspiration struck. The show runs from February 12th through March 5th at Art Beat in Hayward.

"Electric Blue", 16"x20", oil on linen, Sold 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Birch and Juncos"

This pastel painting is a little different for me. Instead of working from life, I painted from memory and my imagination. I often see this white, gray and black composition when I look out my window in the winter. This piece is part of the exhibit "All Things Birch and Beautiful" at Firefly Trading Company in Cable, WI.

"Birch and Juncos", 16" x 20", pastel on board, SOLD