Tuesday, May 31, 2016

More Pershing Square

Just an update on this one--- I think I'll concentrate on what's going on in the center of the image for a while. You can see a larger version of the painting by clicking on the image below.
Pershing Square, © 2016, work in progress

Monday, May 30, 2016

Hot Summer Evening

Rita's; carefully brushed the Mars Black over the rest of the dense night sky. There are no more visible lap marks, and I'm hoping I did a good job of feathering the wet paint into the area that had dried, so there won't be any demarcation. You can see where the wet black paint is on the photo.

Once the black sky area is completely dry, I'll wash over it with some Payne's Gray to give it some depth.
Rita's, © 2016, work in progress

Oh, and I  worked on the figures, too.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Painter

Thursday I brought the five Northern Skies pastels out to the gallery in Annapolis.

Friday was devoted to housecleaning, as we had friends coming over in the evening, and we'd let things slide. That's the problem women artists have: we can ignore our domestic duties and paint, but then we live in squalor and the world judges us harshly. Anyway, the place looks great now, and a good time was had by all.

Saturday I had some errands to run, and then needed to retrieve my painting from the show it was in in Arlington.

Today I managed to get some work in!

Whole Foods, © 2016, work in progress

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

And Now For Something Different

I've been going to the gym in an effort to make up for the four weeks of weather-related couch potato days, and was too exhausted to work on more than two paintings early this afternoon. So I sat down with this colored pencil portrait that I started many years ago. I think it's finished now.
Twenty-One, © 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"The world is so full of a number of things..."

...that I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." A quote from Robert Louis Stevenson.

I love the diversity of people in Whole Foods: it's so emblematic of the USA as melting pot. Click on the image to see it enlarged.
Whole Foods, © 2016, work in progress. Much more to do on this one, but it's shaping up.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pour Me a Drink, Please

I think I need to avoid the news cycle for a couple of days (at least)--- it's making me too depressed.
Meanwhile, I picked up on an oldie, this one is of a bartender up in New Hampshire. I was going to paint it in a loose, brushy style but got stuck and couldn't figure out how to proceed. After the pep talk from my gallery owner, I've decided to go full speed ahead with my usual style. Mostly worked the upper left yesterday, and did some redrawing on the hand.
Tending Bar, Mt. Washington, © 2016, work in progress

Friday, May 20, 2016

...And More Rita's

Aha! You thought the soccer players were guys, right?
Rita's, © 2016, work in progress

Thursday, May 19, 2016


In an effort to keep from smearing wet paint all over the place, I've been trying to work from left to right. (I'm right handed.) So the window panels on Whole Foods are slowly sharpening up in a left-to-right fashion, as you can see below:
Whole Foods, © 2016, work in progress

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Soccer Players

Three soccer players at Rita's, starting to get sketched in.
Rita's, © 2016, work in progress


Added some darker shadows on the wall behind the figures. I think the greater contrast is a good idea. They of course need to be better integrated into the surrounding wall color, but I just wanted to see if the darker color would make more of an impact.
Counterpoint, © 2016, work in progress

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rita's, Further Work

If you click on the image below, you'll get a larger view of the painting. There you can see the difference between the Mars Black layer at the top and the thinner Payne's Gray wash below it on the left. I like the idea of depth in the night sky, but don't want to lose entirely the muggy feeling of a warm summer evening. Will have to figure it out.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to sketch in the figures.
Rita's, © 2016, work in progress

Monday, May 16, 2016


It's a summer night. What words do we use when we try to characterize the sky on a summer night? Dense? Humid? Deep? How do I describe the blackness with paint pigment? Do I use Mars Black, which has an innate warmth, or do I go for a cooler, inkier black that suggests depth? Neutral Gamblin Chromatic Black? The icy coolness of Payne's Gray? Or do I go with a Mars base, and then wash a cooler transparent layer over it? Should I use a mixed black instead; a combination of blues and Alizarin and Thalo Green? The old advice is to keep your darks thin when painting in oil, and your lights thick, but I've seen artists break that rule.

Here is the very raw start of Rita's, an ice cream shop in a suburban town. As a viewer, you are standing in the parking lot, adjacent to a busy thoroughfare. Figures will appear on the lower left, eventually.

Rita's, © 2016, work in progress

Pershing Square

I need to look up Pershing Square and find out something about the history of the place. The reference photo for this one was taken under an overpass that leads around the Grand Central Terminal building in New York City. There are people standing around as if in a tableau, waiting for the traffic light to change so they can cross the street.
Pershing Square, © 2016,work in progress

Sunday, May 15, 2016


One of the things that I really love about the Whole Foods painting is the bikes parked outside the building. They make a nice statement about the kind of buyer, and also they're great design elements. Here's the latest version:
Whole Foods, © 2016, work in progress

Friday, May 13, 2016

Baby Steps

Just in case I haven't mentioned it before, it takes me a long, long time to finish a painting. Mostly it's because oil paint has to dry before I can paint over it (much of what I do is about building up layers of color and tone) but other times it's because I see something that needs to be changed, and I...just...don't...want...to...DO...it.

There were black lines on some of the art pieces on the back wall of Counterpoints, and for months now I've been feeling like they're too assertive, but I just didn't want to do the tedious work of fixing them. But today I mixed up a greyish color and carefully painted over the lines with a fine brush. It does look better. But you'll barely see much difference between today's work and the last posting of the painting.
Counterpoints, © 2016, work in progress

Same thing with this one: I worked for a long time on the prominent hand, but it's still not right.
A Lady in a Red Hat, © 2016, work in progress

On the plus side, saw my gallery owner today and she made me feel good about my work. She likes the genre pieces, encourages me to continue in this direction, and says this will be my "footprint." Since the recent sale of Chef, and the potential sale of J.P. Licks, I am out of my depressive funk and excited about moving on.

But I've got to figure out how to fix that hand.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Full Speed Ahead

Started two new paintings last night. I know I posted a pencil draft of Pershing Square, but since then I've been able to get some paint onto the panel.
Pershing Square, © 2016, work in progress.  I might also do this one in a larger size.

Next, the very raw beginning of what I hope will be a killer painting, a real slice-of-life, summer evening portrayal. It'll shape up soon, I promise.
Rita's, © 2016, work in progress

I've also been putting in some time on these two:
Reception From 5 - 9, © 2016, work in progress

Atlantic Ocean Series #10, Dawn Phase, © 2016, work in progress

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Nothing Motivates Like Success

I know the adage is, "Nothing succeeds like success," (and I worry about this in the context of current politics) but I've sold a painting and suddenly feel like everything I do is not a waste of time, is not totally unappreciated.

Yesterday I had some business to attend to at the gallery, but since then have been filled with enthusiasm for what I may yet accomplish. I went through the reference archives and pulled a bunch of images that I can't wait to work on; today I went into the studio and picked up on a rather complicated painting that I've been avoiding for a while, and worked on a couple of others as well.

So here is Counterpoints, and a few others.
Counterpoints, © 2016, work in progress

Whole Foods, © 2016, work in progress
A Woman in a Red Hat, © 2016, work in progress  (the hand is giving me trouble)

and--- it's always exciting at the beginning---
Pershing Square, © 2016, work in progress

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cows! Finished!

As always, I may come back to this one in a few days when I see some very small adjustment that needs to be made; sharpening up the head on one of the cows, for example, but otherwise this one is done!

Distant Hills, © 2016, oil on panel

Friday, May 6, 2016

Rain. Rain. Rain.

The weather's been so oppressive for the last two weeks with heavy, overcast skies and occasional drizzle. Today we've had a steadier rainfall, and the cat, who had to spend the entire last weekend in the emergency vet clinic as the result of ingesting a lily leaf, has pretty much given up on the idea of going outside anymore.

On the plus side, the bad weather prevents me from working in the garden (where I'll have to rip out every one of the 45 lily plants once I get the chance) and allows me to spend my time painting without guilt. I've been getting a lot done.

Today I tackled the background of Waiting For The Birds To Return. We always know when something just isn't right, and both the texture and the direction of the clouds have been bothering me for a while, so it was time to scrub them with a fine sandpaper. Looks a mess, doesn't it? But it'll pay off in the end.
Waiting For The Birds To Return, © 2016, work in progress

Waiting is a small painting; a mere 6" x 6". What you see behind it in the photo is the very unique easel that was given to me by Marilou Meibers, a friend from many years ago. I love it because Marilou, who was one of those people who was beloved by everyone, gave it to me, and because of the back story as well. Her mother had made it for her! It's a hefty piece of furniture, complete with scribblings from Marilou's kids, but the fact that her mother made it blows me away.

At the bottom of the painting you can see the built-up crust of hundreds of layers of paint that have accumulated over the years.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Continuing the Work on Whole Foods

Whole Foods is coming along fairly well. The activity in the store isn't easy to paint because it takes place in such a small amount of space; also, the store lighting has a tendency to blow out the detail in the higher key spots. But all in all, it's fine. I enjoy working on this one very much.

Whole Foods, © 2016, work in progress

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Atlantic Ocean Series, #10

Eight of the paintings in this series are currently on display at a gallery in Annapolis. This one is the second in the Dawn Phase. The color is not true in the photo because we're having yet another day of gloom on the East Coast, and I took the pic in the studio, AKA The Dungeon. But I'll get a better photo of it soon.

Anyway, painting has gone well the last two days, and I finished Deep Sunset yesterday. Will place both images below.
Atlantic Ocean Series #10, Dawn Phase, © 2016, work in progress

Deep Sunset, © 2016

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Nearly Done

This one should be finished the next time I work on it. I don't want to press my luck by trying to push through today; the wire fence in the foreground is wet and can be easily smeared.

What's left to do? Details on the cows, maybe pull out a little more detail in the foreground grass, and add some shadows to the trees in the distance.

Distant Hills, © 2016, work in progress

This Looks a Little More The Way I Want It To

I constantly struggle with skin tones. My latest effort to get this little painting to work involved using Venetian Red and Alizarin Crimson with Van Dyke Brown, Ultramarine Blue, and Yellow Ochre Pale. But I'm pleased; it looks much, much better, not so washed out.

Waiting For the Birds To Return, © 2016, work in progress