Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Paintings from Life" — Exhibit Opening

As some of you know, I have spent the last year creating over 25 new paintings for my exhibit at Lizzards Art Gallery in Duluth, Minnesota. I have posted images of these works on this blog during the past year. Exhibiting with me are Richard Gruchalla and Carrin Rosetti who create amazing and beautiful raku pottery. Jeff the gallery owner did a wonderful job of hanging the paintings and arranging them with the pottery. We had a fun opening reception on Thursday, July 18th. The exhibit hangs through August, 28th. To learn more about Lizzards, go to

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


After spending weeks exploring the idea of space and atmosphere in still life paintings, I decided to think more about shapes. When I composed these three paintings, the way the colors and shapes of the objects work together was my primary concern. I think they have a more contemporary feeling. There still is a sense of three dimensional form, but the compositions 
seem flatter.

"Eggs & Books", 8" x 8", oil on linen
"Rainbow Jars", 8" x 8", oil on linen, Sold

"Flammable", 8" x 8", oil on linen, Sold

Favorite Themes

In recent months, I've enjoyed painting these small works. The square format is a nice change, too. In these four paintings, I returned to some favorite themes and objects — water glasses, donuts, straws and my favorite 
blue mug.

"Lemon & Glasses", 8" x 8", oil on linen, Sold

"Coffee & Donuts", 8" x 8", oil on linen, Sold

"Straws #4 ", 8" x 8", oil on linen, Sold

"Mimi's Teapot", 8" x 8", oil on linen, Sold

Vanity with Sunglasses

In this larger painting, I incorporated some of the same objects I used in the earlier small paintings. I wanted the vanity to be cluttered, but I tried to compose the objects in a way that leads the eye into the painting. There are two mirrors in this one and I added a clock. Seems time is always running a little short when I'm getting ready.

"Vanity with Sunglasses", 16" x 20", oil on linen, Sold

Sunday, July 7, 2013


We usually think of atmosphere and space as elements in landscape paintings. In recent months I've been studying paintings by 18th century still life painter Jean-Simeon Chardin as well as work by 20th century painter Walter Murch. Both artists created still life paintings with a strong sense of atmosphere and space around the objects in the composition. It gives their work a certain mood. I've been working with that idea in some of my recent painting. It seems that keeping the dark backgrounds transparent helps achieve the feeling of space.

I decided to start with a traditional still life subject — apples. I've painted a lot of apples over the years, but I learn something new each time.

"Still Life with Apples", 14"x 20", oil on linen, Sold

This composition is about contrasts. The bright yellow lemon opposes the ancient black pot and the airy transparency of the water glass contrasts its heaviness.

"Chinese Pot, Lemon & Glass", 11" x 14", oil on linen, Sold

The Japanese saki bottle has a very graphic quality with its black calligraphy. The mandarin oranges created orange reflections on the pottery and made the whole arrangement glow.

"Saki Bottle with Mandarins", 12" x 16", oil on linen, Sold

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tissue Paper

I've returned to the tissue paper theme. I'm fascinated by the the play of light on these translucent, colorful papers. Like "Purple Tissue" painted earlier this year, I decided to construct the composition by taping the pieces to my studio wall. The paintings have a trompe l'oeil effect, but with a painterly quality. I don't want viewers to forget they are looking at paintings.

The bright spot of red contrasts with the subdued colors in the paper bag and grey wall. Cast shadows are an important part of the composition. They add dimension and interest. The red shadow created from the light passing through the tissue is what makes the paper "read" as translucent rather than opaque.

"Red Tissue, Bag & String", 24"x 18", oil on board

I like this super bright color combination. The tissues light up the wall with their intense colors. They almost seem to float. I wanted to capture that light airy feeling. The origami crane echoes the idea. Again, shadows are important. The crane's cast shadow is a dominant design element.

"Taking Flight", 18"x 24", oil on board, Sold

Monday, April 22, 2013

Memories of Italy

The espresso cup is a souvenir from last October's trip to Italy. The focal point is the espresso and biscotti. Their warm hues contrast with the cool, monochromatic blues in the rest of the painting.

"Memories of Italy", 12"x 9", oil on linen, Sold

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Vanity Paintings

This series is inspired by a couple of things. The first is this little round mirror that sits next to the clutter of cosmetics on my vanity. The second is the word "vanity" and its various definitions. 

I'm always a little embarrassed by the number of products I buy to enhance my appearance. Considering the size of the cosmetics industry, I guess I'm not alone in my search for the perfect color. The circular mirror is almost like a target framing the focal point in the composition. I like to paint reflections, but I think this is the first time I've incorporated a mirror in a still life. The painting with the faded rose is a nod to the "vanitas" theme of 17th-century Dutch paintings.
"Vanity — Nail Polish", 8"x 8", oil on linen, Sold

"Vanity — Lipstick", 8"x 8", oil on linen, Sold

"Vanity — Faded Rose", 8"x 8", oil on linen, Sold

Friday, March 29, 2013

Smoked Ciscoes

It has been a few years since I've painted smoked fish. I'm fascinated by their iridescent bronze finish. The white butcher paper reflects the warm tones of the fish. 

"Smoked Ciscoes", 11"x 14", oil on linen, Sold

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bag of Donuts

This painting is an exploration of the colors of white. The range of values in the bag were limited which meant paying close attention to all the warm and cool color changes in the folds. I used warm colors to create the illusion of light passing through the bag. The cake of the donuts made some nice warm spots, too. I only ate one donut during the painting process. It was delicious.

"Bag of Donuts" 10" x 20", oil on board, Sold

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pitcher with Glasses and Lemons

I've had this pitcher for many years. I like the way its facets break up and multiply the object behind it. The pitcher anchors the composition, but the focal point is the glowing lemon wedge and glass in the foreground. I think the seeds are an important part of the painting even though they are a small element. I'm not sure why that is.

"Pitcher with Glasses and Lemons", 16"x 20", oil on linen , Sold

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Purple Tissue

This is the painting I just completed for the "Purple Passion" exhibit at Art Beat in Hayward. Each year, Deanna and crew organize a show based on a color theme. Everyone is welcomed to exhibit a piece and the gallery's commission goes to our local arts organization, CHARAC. Very cool. I got an early start and worked and worked on a piece that ended up not working. At the last minute, I got this idea. It dried just in time! The exhibit is on display until March 7th.

"Purple Tissue", 18"x7", oil on board

Thursday, February 7, 2013


While enjoying my favorite snack, I decided to try painting popcorn. I thought I knew all about popcorn, but discovered there are certain varieties that pop into more pronounced "mushroom" formations. The challenge was simplifying the masses of corn in the bowls while making them read as popcorn. These are my first paintings. I plan to work on a larger painting. Maybe include my popper?

"Popcorn in Silver Bowl", 8"x8", oil on linen

"Popcorn in Green Bowl", 8"x8", oil on linen, SOLD

Monday, January 14, 2013


After a busy autumn that included an inspiring trip to Italy, I'm back to posting on my blog. I bought these heirloom tomatoes last summer at the Namakagon Grocer in Cable. The store owners grew a bumper crop. They were as delicious as they were beautiful. I enjoyed capturing the variety of colors from purple to red, yellow, orange and green. I thought the aqua carton was a good compliment to the warm colors of the tomatoes.

"Heirlooms", 11"x14", oil on linen, Sold