Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Things that Memories are Made of

I took on a challenge this past week.  I wanted to try my hand at a very large stilllife.  The largest and most complicated one I have done so far.  I had a few days off work and my significant other was out of town.  No interruptions, no responsibilities except what I put upon myself.  Not a good way to live your life, but a great way to spend a mini-vacation!
I took some daily progression shots that I thought I would share here.  It was difficult to get a good photo because of the dark colors and struggling with the glare.  Because the painting was so large I couldn't manuever it to a good lighting situation so much either.  I did the best I could, so please try to overlook the misrepresentation within the photo examples!
I hope you will enjoy seeing the progression.
I lost myself in "the zone" for 6 days and feel like the time was a dream....a little weird.
Because I usually work alla prima (wet-in-wet) I had to alter my technique to adjust for drying paint layers.  
The Things that Memories are Made of     31x37   o/c

To begin with...I think it is very important to mention the "prepainting" hours and days I spent preparing to start the layout.  Much time went into thinking and planning the composition.  The color combinations, the textures, the shapes and how they would work together for my design.  I thought a lot about what I wanted to convey in this painting..the mood or the feeling.  I laid it out, changed it, laid it out again...and again.  I found the old Teddy at a Goodwill store, the other objects I had, most of them for years.  When I had the lay out where I thought I wanted it, I sat down and studied it. I spent a long time just "walking" my eyes through the composition, making minor adjustments to create just the right flow of the design. 
Once I was satisfied with this, I started preparing my materials...stretching my canvas, making sure I had enough paint, etc............Now the fun can really begin.

The first day of painting appears to progress more quickly than it really does.  Because this stage is just a block in of shapes, concentrating on getting my drawing accurate, and capturing the values with a wash of Transparent Brown goes very quickly.  I find that I still have time to start developing my area of focus with more color and thicker paint.'s been a long day!  But I like the start!

Day two of painting..slows
things down dramatically        

Now I have started to narrow in on the
 areas I most want to develop.  My area of interest.  
More detailing and adjusting on Teddy, 
and expanding out to the pot,
 and starting on the greenery and dried weeds. 
 Believe it or not I spent almost as much time
 today painting
as yesterday but it hardly shows!

On the third day I got lost in the greenery! 
Just couldn't get myself passed it.  It was pretty complicated, there was a lot 
happening there but
 I didn't want it to become 
more important than Teddy.  
I detailed, then wiped out the detail...did it again.  And so the day went.

Finally..more progress again!
I'm amazed that it has been four days!  I'm going to bring some of the objects to a higher level of completion.  The old antique Teakettle is so much fun to work on! Not happy with the design in some of the objects now, they will change before it is done.  I've added the color to the table top and can't decide if I like it.............The box has taken some time and I've had to rearrange some of the dried weeds on the tabletop....they just were distracting to me.  And so goes the journey!

Day 5     

I hope you've enjoyed the process with me and I hope you like the choices and decisions I've made throughout.  I guess that's what painting is...a series of decisions and choices, until you can't think of anything else to do!
I hope all my friends and family have had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of doing "just what they wanted to do!"

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Evolution of a painting

Lilacs and Peonies

The Evolution of a Painting
I did a painting back in June that I thought was done.  It came off the easel and got prepared to frame.  In August I took another look at it and thought.."ugh, this painting has some real issues!".  So it went back on the easel and acquired a new life.  Once again I felt satisfied and off it came from the easel and back in the stack of "waiting to be framed" pieces.   Today I realized it still felt awkward to me and back on the easel it went!  Now some of you may like the first version best, some may like the second version and still others of you may think , "what a hideous painting, why does she bother!" none the less, for me it is a learning process and sometimes it's just necessary to make the journey! 
I thought you might find the steps interesting so I decided to post all three along with a bit of an explanation as to what I saw as I progressed through the changes.  I think I will start from the beginning.....
In June I painted "Peonies, Iris and Lilacs".  I liked the delicate feel of the flowers and wanted to keep the background light to follow through with that sense of delicate lightness.  I tried something different with the little plant stand in the composition.  It's a pretty little plant stand and the flowers seemed to sit just right on it.
Peonies, Iris and Lilacs   17x21

Now in August I realized that the background was too light and had no real interest in it.  The table while an interesting shape felt awkward and distracting to me now, as did the heavily saturated color in the, along came part two.......I could no longer call it Peonies, Iris and Lilacs, because well, it no longer had an Iris in it, so it got a new name with it's new life.  Spring Bouquet.

Spring Bouquet    17x21

Well, with time that vase wore on me.  It just wasn't comfortable.  It felt stiff and contrived, so I thought, "just a little tweaking...."  Once I got involved it felt that some other problems existed as well so here it number three.

Lilacs and Peonies   17x21

Is it done?  I think so. But hey, one never knows for sure about these things!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bucket of Sunflowers

Bucket of Sunflowers
oc   11x14
Bucket of Sunflowers was done on location this summer.  It was a beautiful sunny morning and the sun falling on the sunflowers made them glow.  It was like multiple little "suns" shining.  I kept the painting loose as I wanted to catch the sense of the light rather than an exact rendering of the flowers. A customer came and took a handful of the flowers to buy while I was painting but fortunately it didn't upset the arrangement much. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Plentiful Harvest

Plentiful Harvest
oil on canvas         16x20

There is something so beautiful about fruit.  The shapes, the colors...of course.  But it goes deeper than that.  I think it reminds us of something so fundamental about survival.  Fruit is the symbol for good health, prosperity and fertility.  Not to just tastes so good!
I hope you remember and enjoy in your life all the things that fruit symbolizes!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Home for Red Amaryllis II

A Home for Red Amaryllis II
Red Amaryllis II  oc  20x40
Last night I dropped this painting off at it's new home.  The fit was incredible...the colors were perfect, the size was perfect, even the frame was perfect!  It fit in the clients home as if it was designed for them!  When I commented on it the new owner pulled up his sleeve and showed me the red amaryllis tatoo on his forearm!
  Now that is a very satisfying sale!
The ArtisTTable Online Juried Event
Art Des Femmes
I'm very pleased that 3 of my stilllife paintings have been accepted to this online competition!
Thank you ArtisTTable!
If you would like to place a vote for your favorite in this competition you can follow the link to the paintings and place your People's Choice Vote there!
The Steam Iron

Red Havens

Astromelias and Phlox
Thank you Everyone!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Renaissance Peonies

Renaissance Peonies
Renaissance Peonies  oil   18x28
I wanted to try something different with this painting.  I wanted to give it the feeling of the rich, dark, warm tones of the florals painted during the Renaissance period.  I used  transparent "red oxide" combined with glazes to create a luminous warmth to the darks. That also gave the painting more depth.  While I still love the effects of the alla prima (wet-on-wet) style, it does offer a different feel by incorporating the glazes over top the dried layers.
Thank you for viewing my art!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spring Bouquet

Spring Bouquet
A little out of season here, but I had this painting from earlier in the Spring that still needed some work, so this is what I worked on today.  The flowers may bloom in the Spring but their beauty is timeless.

Spring Bouquet    oc   17x21

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October Charm

Wet paint Event in Rockford Michigan
Rogue River Artists
Yesterday's plein air event thankfully ended up being dry.  There had been weather reports of rain for the day all week long, but it didn't happen.  Still it was a cloudy day and the paintings all showed the grey tones of a cloudy fall day.
Several paintings sold as the public wandered in about 3 pm.  There was a nice reception with wine tasting from Red's and food tasting and live music.  Good friends and some great conversation about art and you have a formula for a very pleasant day!
 It was a grey day, but the color in the turning leaves still brought some lovely glow to the scene.
October Charm  oc 8x10  en plein air   SOLD!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cheery Tomatoes

Cheery Tomatoes

Cheery Tomatoes  oc 6x6
I am gradually getting caught up and back on a routine.  The summer was extremely busy.  I had a great summer....a combination of fun, family, friends, and art....but, I need some structure back in my life for a while!
These happy little fellows are like red and orange dancing balls..I had so much fun painting them!
I hope to be more regular with my blog posts now that the activities are winding down a bit...I look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Expressions in Paint/ Six Women Artists

Expressions in Paint
The reception at Frames Unlimited Gallery was a wonderful time!
The show was hung beautifully, the food was great and the music by the Paschke Trio was sublime!
Everyone had a great time and the turn out was very good! 
Thanks to everyone that helped organize, those that participated, and all the friends and family that took the time to support us!
The Show will be hanging at the Gallery through October 6th....hope you get a chance to check it out!
Frames Unlimited - Kentwood
Southridge Center - 2964 28th St. SE
Kentwood, MI  49512 (South side of 28th street just west of Woodland Mall); Ph: 616-942-0091; Hours: Mon - Fri: 10 am to 9 pm, Sat 10 am to 6 pm, Sundays: 12 am to 5 pm

Saturday, August 31, 2013

NOAPS Best of America

NOAPS Best of America
So pleased to announce that my painting has been accepted to the
 National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society "Best of America" exhibit!

The Marble Jar   19x25  oil on canvas

2013 National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society Annual Juried Art Exhibition
Best of America
Since 1991, the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society (NOAPS) has been showcasing the remarkable talents of thousands of oil and acrylic painters.  NOAPS along with the Dunnegan Gallery of Fine Art and The Vine Gallery invite oil and acrylic painters to submit original work for the Best of America 2013 Exhibition.

October 13-27, 2013--- Dunnegan Gallery of Fine Art, Bolivar, MO
November 2-20,2013---------------- The Vine Wine Bar and Gallery,
Osage Beach/Lake of the Ozarks, Mo

thank you NOAPS!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Artists Reception

This is going to be a really great show and the reception is promising to be a fun affair!  I hope anyone that is in the area will stop by to say hello!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Red Havens

Red Havens
Red Havens 18x18 oc
Tried a low key palette for a change.  I wanted to create a more earthy feeling with this.  The peaches are the first harvest of the year from my backyard tree and they seemed to shout to be painted!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bee Balm and Sugarbowl

Bee Balm and Sugarbowl

Bee Balm and Sugarbowl......oc  10x18

This is a reworked painting from a while back.  There were things about the original painting that I didn't like last week I pulled it back out, cropped it and strengthened the focal point.  I loved the little sugarbowl right from the start and felt it was worth saving.  I am pleased with the changes and glad I took the time to rework it.
Thank you for viewing my art!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Astromelia and Phlox

Astromelia and Phlox

oil on canvas  24x20

The Astromelia is commonly called a Peruvian Lily.  It is found in florist bouquets a lot.  I suspect because it is so lovely and lasts a long time as a picked flower.  This painting was designed primarily as a commissioned piece, based loosely on another painting I did a while back.  My client liked the colors and "feel" of the first painting but needed something larger and horizontal rather than vertical.  Because I rarely paint from photos...some of the variety of flowers that are in the first painting were not available for this painting so I selected some similar varieties and opted to focus on color palette and mood of the painting to recreate a similar piece for her.  I hope she likes it....if not it's ok, I enjoyed painting it!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Steam Iron

The Steam Iron
The Steam Iron  o/c  17x18

This was a struggle and I almost gave up on it, but I'm not one that can "quit" very easily so I kept pushing the paint around...wiping out, building up,wiping out again!! Finally I felt something coming together.  In the end I am very pleased with this piece.  It is the second stilllife with an eye level composition that I have worked on. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Orange Daylillies

Orange Daylillies

16x20  oil on canvas

It felt good to have a day devoted to painting!  It has been a couple of months and I have missed it!  The garden is full of painting possibilities...hard to decide but I wanted to try something a bit different.  The color palette is all blues and oranges, and the composition...well it's rather daring for me!  It was fun, and now I'm tired........thank you for viewing my art.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Northeastern Sunset

Northeastern Sunset
oil 24x36
This is quite different for me.....played with an old painting just working from my imagination.  I've been so busy I've not painted much in the last couple of weeks...I feel out-of-practice!  I'm hoping I will have a little more time over the next month to paint.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Peonies in a Vase

So fragile and delicate the peony is one of the most beautiful flowers....sadly they last such a very short time and with a hard rain...they are gone.
I wanted to capture these beauties before they were gone for another year.  I had a garage sale going on all day so I set my easel up and painted in my garage!  It was a little hard to stay focused but I got enough information about color and form to be able to complete the painting the next day even though the flowers were now wilted.
Peonies in a Vase   18x28  oil

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Single Peony

I had errands and appointments today so I only had a few hours in the afternoon to paint.  I decided to keep the subject simple to see what I'd be able to accomplish in one sitting.  It's hard for me to go back to a still life if the flowers are wilted, even if I've done the necessary work on the flowers.  It's hard to enjoy painting a still life with drooping flowers!  Some varieties will last for days when picked, but I knew this peony wasn't going to.  It was wilted by the time I was done today.
A Single Peony
oil    11x19

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Peonies, Iris and Lilacs

Finally Flowers!
It's been a funny Spring...cold, then hot, then cold again...the flowers are late but the excessive rains are turning things into a jungle!
As things are looking right now it will probably be an extremely prolific year in the gardens.  I love the is so satisfying to see them blooming again.

Peonies, Iris and Lilacs    oil   17x23

I tried a complimentary palette as suggested in the book "Yin and Yang of painting".  It was interesting.  I had a lot of fun.  This one is all created with tones of yellows and purples.  It's rather surprising what colors you can mix using those two basic color tones plus white and black.  I did push the purple a bit in using Quinacridone Rose, and I put just a little dab of ultramarine blue for the Irises "beard"....but otherwise it's just the limited palette.  I'm going to try this some more.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Promise

Then and Now/ The Gordon Collection
and West Michigan Painters
I have been invited to show 6 of my paintings in an Exhibit highlighting Grand Rapids artists.  The show will include many wonderful pieces from a collection donated by the Gordon's and contrasting newer works by several contemporary artists.  I think it will be a very interesting show.  What fun to have my paintings hanging with some of West Michigan's best artists!  
"The Promise" is one of the paintings selected by the Director of Exhibitions.

This painting was done from a combination of photo reference and memory.  I was blessed to be walking one afternoon just as a storm had gone through.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I turned the corner and saw this incredible sight.  The moment was so breathtaking it brought tears to my eyes.  I wanted to paint it so badly but knew I could never fairly capture the beauty in that special moment.  None the less, this painting is dear to me for what memory it holds.
"The Promise"
oil on canvas     48"x36"

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning!

I've had so many "irons in the fire" lately..I've had very little time to paint!! I miss the painting but need to get some of the Spring projects done so the studio just has to wait for the moment. sigh........

I am very proud to announce that I have been blessed with acceptance into two recent juried competitions.  Both events are major regional and/or Statewide shows.  I feel honored to be a part of them both!
Three pieces have been accepted to Festival 2013 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
The event this year is being hosted by the UICA Gallery 

Berries Galore

Berries Galore  received a Festival award! Thank you to juror Larry Blovits for selecting my piece!

Also honored to be a part of the show:

Red Amaryllis II

Autumn's Glow

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Daffodils at Tea

Daffodils at Tea
17x17 oc
I've been waiting for a month now to have some flowers in my gardens to paint!  It has been such a cold Spring.  Finally the Daffodils have shown their cheerful faces!  Welcome Spring!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Autumn's Glow

I feel that I am becoming a bit more comfortable with working the landscape from photo reference.  I am still anxiously awaiting Spring flowers however, so I have some garden flowers to paint!
Autumn's Glow
20x16   o/c

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Buck Creek (revisited)

Thank you my artist friends!
Last week I posted this landscape asking for comments and suggestions from you all.  Thanks to my wonderful (and VERY talented) friends I made some adjustments to this painting that I think made it a stronger painting....your suggestions were much appreciated and enjoyed!  What a terrific opportunity to learn from you all.  I hope you enjoy the changes I made. :)
Buck Creek  20x16 oc

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Another attempt at a landscape using a photo reference.  This one is sort of "playful" I think.  The tangle of cattails is the main focal point, but they seemed to feel best when I kept them to a loose abstraction of shapes. 
It is much more of a struggle for me painting from photos than it is from life.  I feel that I want to become more accomplished at it though.  Sometimes it is so much more practical than trying to paint from life.  It is good to be able to do both I think.  So I will continue to practice. 
 I'm waiting for some Spring flowers and then I will do another still life....will Spring EVER get here??
Cattails     16x20  oc

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Buck Creek

I did two things today that I have not done in a long time.  I painted a landscape.  And I painted a landscape from a photo reference.  It felt pretty foreign to me when I took me three starts before I felt I was on to something worth continuing with!
Let me know what you think...I could use the feedback.
Thanks for viewing my art.
Buck Creek   20x16  oc

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

West Michigan Regional Art Competition

My painting The Marble Jar has been accepted to the West Michigan Regional Competition!
The show is now open to the public....follow the link for open times as well as a full listing of the artists in the show.  Hope you have an opportunity to see the show!

The Marble Jar   24x19  oc  $1000

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Satsuma Pitcher

I loved the wispy, graceful tufts of grasses that flowed through this set up.  Combined with the elegant detail and graceful shape of the pitcher it was my goal to to lend a sense of sophistication to this painting. 
 I've been practicing at creating a painting with a dark and dramatic arrangement that still has life and interest in the darks.  I know I have a tendency to go "too" dark.  What's your thoughts?

Satsuma Pitcher
25x18 o/c

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Roses and White Teacup

Today I played...... pushing the extremes of the shapes and colors.  It's a bit different than my usual style but I had fun with it.  It started as a painting I had painted about 3 months ago. I felt there were some things that I didn't like so I decided to rework it.  Before long I had gotten involved in a much more radical change than I had planned, but I'm not unhappy with the results.
Thank you for viewing my art....I appreciate all the support and wonderful comments you have given over the past year.  I am enjoying blogging and hope you are enjoying my posts.

Roses and White Teacup  20x16  o/c

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Boldbrush Painting Competition

This painting...Red Amaryllis II...has been entered in the online competition BOLDBRUSH.  It has a People's Choice Award based on the number of "likes" received on the link.  If you like my painting..I'd be very appreciative for you to "like" it on the link!!! Thank you for viewing my blog.

Boldbrush Painting competition for March

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Coffee Grinder

This old coffee grinder was a gift from my sister....I think she got it from my Mom.  It's very old, but I found coffee grounds in it! Don't think I'll be drinking it though...:)
I loved painting it.  The accents of red were just perfect.

The Coffee Grinder  17x17 oc

Some close up photos I thought you might enjoy