Friday, April 11, 2014

These might end up in a painting someday

A while back I was traveling north on 441 on my way to Gainesville. In McIntosh, on the right hand side, is a great little antique shop that has this out front. Any store that has something like this sitting out front is just screaming at me to stop and see what's on the inside!

What did I find inside? The coolest collection of bottles I've seen anywhere. There's just something about old bottles- the frosty softness of the glass, the way the light filters through and gives them a glow from within, the smooth curve of the glass where so many hands have touched.

Colors bounce back and forth. Blue, gold, lavender, green - all points of the spectrum shine and entice, begging to be shot and captured. Of course the shop owner was smart in the way he displayed the bottles - on shelves in front of mirrors with strings of lights in the just the right places.

What was contained within these shapes? What fragrance, what poison, what remedy? Who belonged to the hands that held the bottle and wished for healing or relief or maybe just a buzz?

Was there a reason for the shape of the bottle? Why do some bottles have ridges and bumps on the outside? I asked the owner of the shop these questions. He told me that some bottles were manufactured with a particular design specifically to protect the consumer from accidentally using the contents in a way that would harm them. Bottles meant to contain poison such as insecticide would have bumps in a pattern or embossing on the outside of the bottle that actually said 'poison'. If you were up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache, it's dark and you're going by feel to find your medicine, you won't make the mistake of drinking something that's not meant to be ingested. Good thinking! If you're interested in more info about the history of bottles, check out this site.

Anyway, learning these little tidbits about the bottles makes them even more interesting. It's not a subject I'm painting right now but I'm hanging on to these pictures because one of these days.... you might see a new series begin. When that happens you'll know where it started.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Popping colors and crumpling paper.

The last week of March and first week of April were some crazy, busy weeks! I had the Friday Painting Party going on and my 2-day acrylic workshop down in the Villages on April 3rd and 4th. They have a great space down there at the Lifelong Learning College classroom at Spanish Springs - lots of tables, good demo area and good munchies. I had a couple of familiar faces from the first workshop I taught there back in the fall, and met some great new people.

We were doing landscapes with texture and complimentary colors. One of the techniques I showed them was how to do the tissue paper texture that I demonstrated in this video. It's one of my faves for doing landscapes. It just lends itself so well to the subject. And of course, adore working with complimentary colors to make the scene pop!

Some of the folks had to leave early and missed the critique time but these lovely ladies stayed and shared their projects. I love this part of doing workshops - when we line up the work and see what everyone accomplished. They did such a great job! Everyone was open and willing to jump out of their comfort zone and do something completely different. Some were really cranking out the work too - one painting after another, amazing.

I'm looking forward to working with the college and doing some more classes and workshops. :D

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Through the process of working on a grant application and writing about my work I became more interested in the surrealists. When I first started my Silent Voices series I didn't think about what 'ism' that work would fit into. It wasn't a case of intentionally setting out to create surrealist work, it was a case of putting a very personal and emotional part of my life on canvas. In fact I don't generally care about any 'isms' when I'm working. It's not something I think about.

Frida Kahlo
What the Water Gave Me

Frida Kahlo was a painter who didn't separate her life from her art. I always admired her courage and the openness with which she shared herself. I wanted to create like that - with the freedom to say something with the work and be comfortable doing it.

Rene Magritte
Son of Man

It's been a very long time since art history class in college so I went to the book store and picked up a book on the surrealists to refresh my memory of some of the other painters. One of them jumped out at me.... Rene Magritte. Of course we're familiar with the one above - Son of Man but it was interesting to see other of Magritte's pieces.

Rene Magritte

I could really relate to his imagery and style, especially in his piece Georgette. Can you tell why? I had never seen that particular painting of his before last week.The way he blocked off the elements in the picture, the candle, the envelope, the 2 faces, the egg (a theme in some of my pieces) - interesting. It's also interesting to me that he uses the bird nest in some of his other work. Makes me wonder if I really had seen much more of his work way back when and it was just buried in my subconscious, waiting to bubble up and appear as an influence. Something to think about....

Friday, March 7, 2014

Yes, I still do colored pencil

I know I've posted a lot of stuff about acrylic painting but I do still paint with colored pencil on occasion. I do portraits in colored pencil using the tonal layering technique that gives such a smooth finish to children's skin. This is one I did some years ago but it's new to the portrait page here. I just added it recently. This is my niece Kayla (she's now 22 yrs old!) and it was one of my favorites to do along with the one of her playing with bubbles - click the portrait tab above and scroll down to see that one.

I also added the portrait of Kayla's brother Grant....

The background on this one is a lot looser. I like the scribbly pencil stroke look sometimes plus it's faster to do and is a nice contrast to the smooth layers on the figure.

Then there is the super fast way to work with colored pencil and that's what I'm doing now on an abstract piece. I use mineral spirits with the pencils to turn the dry pigment into paint. I LOVE working this way. Yesterday I turned the camera on to show you a few minutes of how I paint with a pencil.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Goings on

What the heck happened to February? It was a busy month and looks like March is going to be even busier! Lots of projects to work on. Getting started on the project for this month's Friday Painting Party.....

We're going abstract this time. Some of the ladies want to loosen up and try something different so I'm having them play with tissue paper to texture their canvas and then we'll play with color and design.

This past weekend I went back to Macon to pick up the work from my show. While there I met with the gallery director at the Macon Arts Alliance Gallery, Heatherly Wakefield. She checked out the show before we took it down and made a selection of pieces for me to take to her gallery so she'll be carrying my work there. How cool - I now have a gallery rep in Georgia! Since I brought some work back to the studio I had to rearrange, of course. I did a new arrangement on the studio wall...

So what else is happening this month? Working on my entry for the CPSA International Exhibition which is coming up this summer right here in FL. The convention activities will be in Daytona Beach and the exhibition itself will be in Ormond Beach at the Ormond Art Museum. I'm so excited! This is the first time the CPSA show and convention will be in Florida. The deadline for entries is March 31st so if you're one of my colored pencil followers, get coloring.

And...... I'm teaching a 2 day workshop down in the Villages the first week of April so I need to get busy prepping for that. It's all about painting landscapes in acrylic. It'll be a fun time. There are some very enthusiastic painters down there. :)

So, that's what's going on in my studio.... what's happening in yours?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Art, Lamps, and Beer

Last Friday was the opening reception for my show at the 567 Center for Renewal in Macon GA. Beth did a wonderful job of hanging the show and I met so many great people!! I'm also very, VERY grateful that the opening of my show happen to be in between the 2 snow storms that hit Georgia! Talk about good timing.

Anyway, we arrived the day before to deliver the work and hang it, although Beth had most of it done by the time we were available to help - she's amazing! She also fed us that night. We had a lovely time hanging out with her and her hubby. Friday we spent the day exploring Macon. We found more artsy stuff, antique shops, lamps, great pizza, an eclectic paper store, lamps, neat architecture, more lamps, a really cool toy shop where we found a chunky puzzle for our grandson, banana bread beer.......

really, banana bread beer, and it was good.

Not kidding about the lamps. There's something about Macon. We pulled into one parking lot because we saw a sign that said "art". It looked like it would be an art gallery but in the windows all you could see were lamps. We walked inside and it was full of paintings and reproductions and lamps - table lamps all over the place. Every style and size you can imagine. Later when we went to the pizza place, where we had the banana beer, what did we see hanging from the ceiling? Lamps. The whole ceiling was covered with lamps and chandeliers. Strange.

Anyway, back to art. Here I am with Beth Smith, curator at the 567.  

After spending the evening with the friendly folks who came by the reception, we walked around the block to the Contemporary Arts Exchange. What a hoot! This place is an old building where part of it is left un-renovated and the city leases rooms to artists to use as studios. During the First Friday Art Walk they open the building and it's party time. Kids are running around the halls, artists are hanging out, a band is playing downstairs, there are buckets with ice and beer, and tables with wine. If I lived in the area I would definitely have a studio there.

Earlier in the day we visited the Macon Arts Alliance gallery. It's a beautiful space and I'm happy to say that when my show at the 567 is over at the end of February, my work will then be included at the Arts Alliance gallery so this little Macon/Ocala art connection will continue. Yay!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Creating texture with tissue paper

I shared this painting just a couple of posts ago. One of the questions I get asked a lot about my work is how I create the texture in my paintings so I went into the studio, grabbed my little camera and shot a short video to explain one of the techniques I use to prepare the canvas for painting. Hope this answers some questions. If you want to know more just comment and I'll be happy to help.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

It's Free

Sometimes I branch out from the canvas and get crafty. Years ago I dyed my own reed and wove baskets, I did needle work, crocheted - still do some crocheting (all these grandbabies need blankets!), sewed pillows and other things for the home (that trend didn't last long- me and the sewing machine didn't exactly get along, it was a love/hate thing). Anyway..... the latest thing is pendants.

Yesterday I added a new item to my Etsy shop. It's an 8 page tutorial called Making Pendants. This is a fun and easy way to make your own SUPER lightweight accessories and if you're a painter, most of the materials are already in your studio. From Etsy it's an instant download and it's only 2.99.

Do you see the little box to the left that says Follow by Email? If you type your email in there and click submit I'll send you the tutorial for nothing. Free, nada, zip.

So if you're interested in learning how to make something fun and different you can see how with a bunch of full color photos to guide you.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I'm heading for the studio.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Still Hot!

January is sliding away FAST!!! So much going on.... prepping for the studio workshop aka Friday Painting Party and working on paintings for my upcoming show in Macon GA at The 567 Center for Renewal February 7-28.

Right now I'm working on some 8x10s. These might be small in size but they are BIG in texture. I prepped the canvas with a layer of crumpled tissue before painting. I love the way the texture breaks up the brush strokes and the color.

Bogan Park Afternoon
8x10, acrylic and gold leaf on canvas

Did you notice I couldn't resist adding gold leaf? Of course not. The show is called the Golden Landscape. Not every single piece in the show has gold leaf but a lot of them do. The palette used on the others includes a lot of golden color. Apparently I'm still in my red/gold phase. I don't seem to get tired of these hot colors.

In case you missed it.....

This is the project we're doing next week, Jan. 24th, in the Friday Painting Party. We have 2 sessions to choose from. The afternoon runs from 1-4 and the evening is 7-10. We'll be doing the birdhouse in both, we added the afternoon session for the folks who don't want to drive at night or would just rather be in their pj's after supper. (I can relate, that's how you'll find me most nights)

You don't have to have any painting experience to take this class and we provide absolutely everything you need to start and finish the painting during that time. Just bring yourself and your favorite beverage. We'll take care of everything else. Class size is limited so let us know as soon as you can if you plan to attend. Cost is $50 and payment in advance guarantees your seat.

Hope you're doing something creative and holler at me if you want more info about the Painting Party or weekly classes. Oh... and stop by the Facebook page to see what else is going on. 


Saturday, January 4, 2014

What's Next

First week of the new year and starting to wind down. Today we celebrated my grandson's first birthday. Great party but a little windy and chilly. We were outside at a park - one of the perks of living in Florida - you can do that in January but if you plan something for outside, you don't know if it's going to be 35 degrees or 85 degrees. You just have to wait and see what happens.

Anyway.... that was the last get together for these 2 holiday weeks and it's time to get back to painting. Tomorrow I head back to the studio to continue working on the Macon show. This is a Georgia landscape in progress. I still have some layering to do and might be adding some more gold leaf. It has lots of texture so I want to play that up a bit more.

And... look what came in the mail yesterday thanks to an Amazon gift card I got for my birthday. SQUEEE...I'm SO EXCITED! Here's someone else who loves to play with gold leaf like I do. Can't wait to go through it an find some new techniques to try. I'll let you know what I find.

Hope you had a fun New Year's celebration and here's to 2014 - may it be filled with family, fun, good health, prosperity and oodles of painting time :)