Sunday, June 22, 2014


Once again I am committing to writing my blog on a regular basis and I am committing to working in my sketchbook every day.  As I was sketching today, I realized that I had forgotten how much pleasure I got from just sitting down and drawing from life.  It truly is a habit that every artist needs to develop.  What better way to make those connections from life to art.  It is also a way of noticing the things around us and relating those things about ourselves and the things that we surround ourselves with to our art.
Below is my sketch for the from my garden to my dining room table to my sketchbook.  Those are my thoughts in this moment.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Extravagance of Color

Extravagance of Color was the exhibit theme at my local art co-op for the month of February.   For most of us, our first experience with creating art with color is with crayons.  Crayola crayons that is!  The colors are so rich and waxy and in the artist's hands, they can be layered in thick impasto, softly blended for shading, or melted for beautiful encaustic work.  Also, when I think of crayons, I think of the love children have for the medium.  How many thousands of children's imaginations have been stimulated by crayons.  Crayola crayons have been rolling off the assembly line since 1903.  But, Prehistoric artists were actually the first to use chalks and clay sticks to draw on cave walls and the use of wax with pigments dates back to the Greeks. 
So, back to my painting of crayons, which I considered to be the most appropriate subject matter for the theme, Extravagance of Color.  It was created from a photograph taken of crayons that were left by my grandson after a fun time of art activities.  That's him below. 
Inspiration for art can be found in the most ordinary of places and circumstances, so have your camera ready and keep your eyes open!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Doesn't it feel good when someone says something nice about your art or about you? 
Recently, I was talking with a friend on the phone and she was telling me about this great book that she had read entitled Wilderness by Lance Weller.  She was so captivated by the book that she decided to do something she had never done before and that was to wrote the author and let him know how she felt.  Now, Lynn, my friend, is a voracious reader and has enjoyed many great books, but this one had a profound effect on her and on her life.  Never expecting to hear from Mr. Weller, she walked into her house after an unusually sad day and there was a letter from the author expressing his sincere gratitude.  It really doesn't matter how famous you are or what your accomplishes have been, we all need a little "pat on the back" now and then.  So, don't be shy about passing out those complements or just thanking someone for a job well done. 
If you have an artist friend or a fellow blogger, write a nice comment on their blog or share their Facebook page on your profile or say something nice about an image they post.
Wouldn't it be a great goal to say something encouraging to at least one person each day? 
I know that could make my day and I am sure it will theirs. 
With this post, I have included a painting of yellow roses and white flowers.  It is an oil painting of an especially beautiful bouquet that I photographed while attending a wedding in California.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Recently my book club chose to read The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.  It is a philosophical read about the meaning of life and the nurturing effect of beauty and art on human existence.  Sounds very heavy, but it is a joy to read and a must for art lovers.  There were so many wonderful passages in the book that I was constantly folding over pages, underlining, and highlighting whole paragraphs. 
One particular passage that spoke to me was about still life painting, partly because, at the time I was reading the book, I was also working on a still life painting for  the October show at the gallery where I am a member.  A short excerpt  goes like this:
          "we gaze at a still life, when - even though we do not pursue it - we delight
            in its beauty, a beauty borne away by the magnified and immobile figuration
            of things.......this still life incarnates the quintessence of art, the certainty of
I have included in this post my painting entitled Hot! Hot! Hot! that was created for the still life show.  It transports me to a particular time and place in the early Fall in Southwest Virginia and a stop by a roadside stand laden with fall fruits and vegetables.  The bounteous array beckoned me to grab my camera and start clicking away.  One of those photographs became the subject of my painting.  And even though you, the viewer, did not actually experience this image, hopefully you can gain pleasure from this arrangement and maybe recall a time and place when you had a similar experience. 
And if you love to read and love art, you will love this book.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Expressing thoughts and dreams......"

While visiting the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, CT, I came across this quote:
"Painting is an endless effort of putting paint on a canvas with a miserable little brush....and endeavoring to make it express thoughts and dreams that will perhaps reach out and say something to someone...something that will make wandering souls stop and look.....perhaps awaken something in them that makes them think of beautiful things."  Willard Leroy Metcalf
I like what Metcalf has to say about painting and his painting entitled Mountain Laurel, pictured here and dated 1905, was beautiful and did make me think of "beautiful things".  I humbly hope that my paintings will somehow provide that simple pleasure. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nimrod Art Experience/Dispelling the Negative

In June I attended a week-long painting workshop at Nimrod Art Center in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.  It was an absolutely beautiful and inspiring location and a wonderful painting retreat.  I had never done plein air painting and was apprehensive about the process and technique and of course, the idea of painting outside with the bugs and the heat.  I like the comforts of my studio and my very controlled and detailed way of painting is best done from photographs.  But, I also believe that every artist needs the experience of painting outside from life.
This week I received Alyson Stanfield's email entitled "Stop Defining Yourself in the Negative".   She writes that you define yourself by what you say.  If you say, "I am not.......", "I am not good at.......", I can't........", etc., you are defining yourself in the negative.  You then become the person you are defining.  Of course, the power of positive thinking is not a new idea, but one to reconsider as an artist. 
I think that because I had many anxious thoughts and doubts about plein air painting, I was not as successful as I would like to have been. 
So, next time you have those negative feelings, fears, doubts......remember that you are defined by your thoughts and comments.  What you say and feel become ingrained in your very being. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


In April, I visited the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, CT.  Really not expecting much in a small town museum, I was pleasantly surprised by their wonderful collection of American art.  Originally, I was interested in an Edward Hopper painting that I knew they had because of an online visit to the museum.  Unfortunately, the Hopper was on loan to another museum, but not to worry, the museum was still a treat.  If you are anywhere close to New Britain, CT, I recommend this "not so little" museum of American art.  What a collection they have!
I did purchase a book about Hopper entitled, Edward Hopper, Light and Dark.  The book is filled with beautiful colorplates and is well-written by Gerry Souter, an artist and professional author with over twenty books to his credit.  Not knowing much about Hopper's background, the book is both interesting and informative.  Hopper was a tall man at six feet and five inches.  Josephine, his wife of 43 years and model for almost all of his paintings of women, was only five feet, one inch tall.  She too was an artist, but like so many others in her position, was overshadowed by her famous husband. 
Hopper's mother was the one who encouraged his early interest in the arts and provided him with copious amounts of supplies.  His career began as a commercial illustrator, but he soon turned to fine art and was accepted at the New York School of Art, studying with William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri.  Henri had studied with William Adolphe Bouguereau in Paris.  This connection brought Henri from a tight trompe l'oeil style to loose, broad brushstrokes.  This reflected in Hopper's work as well and these early paintings began to show hints of his minimalist approach and his use of highly contrasting areas of light and deep shadow to block up masses and form. 
I have always admired Hopper's simplicity, his loose brushwork, and his ability to create depth and form with high contrast of light and dark.
In the last blog, I wrote about the white rose painting and the importance of light and shadow and the use of high contrast.  The painting that I have included this time is another  in a series of white roses.  It is an oil painting, 16" x 20", painted from a personal photograph, now on view at The Artist Gallery in Virginia Beach.