Friday, December 31, 2021

Setting My Intention

How I'd like the new year to be -  Glorious. In Harmony. That's how I'm setting my intention. By being in my studio this week; painting, feeling connected to nature, to creativity, to feeling, to joy. 


In Harmony

Letting myself paint this week without the feeling of urgency, the need to sell, the pressure of work. I just wanted to feel the joy of painting intuitively and not care about anything else. Below are a few close ups of the next one on the easel. Bold color everywhere! I love the compositions of these little snippets. They might be the inspiration for some smaller canvases in the future. I'll share the finished painting in the next post. 

So with joyful color, I wish you a very Happy New Year!! I wish for all of us to have love, creativity, and prosperity in 2022.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Don't stir the wasp nest!

What happened to this month?! Was it really Dec 1st last time I posted? So, what I did this month..... rememeber the wasps I was battling? They won another battle but I won the war. 

I managed to snap a pic of these nasties before things got really ugly.

After pouring the powder and moving the birdbath over the hole, I thought they would be trapped but it didn't work. I wanted to do something that wouldn't harm the camellias that are right next to the nest so I was looking online and saw that a glass bowl placed over the opening would trap them. You have to do things like that early in the morning while the temp is cool and they're down inside the nest.

I put my heavy robe on and headed out. With the glass bowl in my left hand, I grabbed the bird bath with my right and pulled it out of the way. Well, they were waiting for me. Before I could put the bowl over the opening, a huge clump of them came zooming out. I dropped the bowl, it broke against the bird bath, I ran while they chased and stung me. Luckily only 3 of them got me - one on the earlobe and 2 on the leg. I saw them crawling all over the robe so I threw it off, left it in the yard and ran inside where I smacked several more off my pj's, stomped on them and had to get the bug spray to kill the one buzzing in the kitchen. 

Before all this happened, I wanted to do things organically, no poison. My husband suggested gasoline. Of course I said no. I can tell you that after the pain of being stung multiple times in that very traumatic incident, I told him he could throw a molotov cocktail down there for all I cared. If I lose a few trees, so be it. It didn't get that dramatic but I did call the pest control guys. It took them 4 trips to the house but the nasties are finally gone. Lesson learned. Do not bother the yellow jackets. Call a professional.

And yes, art happened too....
Remember the painting of my granddaughter from the previous post? Here's her sister with her mask. Fun! 

My husband Mark is also an artist and he did a special outdoor sculpture project in collaboration with IHMC - Institute for Human and Machine Cognition and OEU - Ocala Electric Utility.  Look above everyone's heads and you can see a bit of it - the human hand and the robot hand. It's a steam punky kinetic sculpture so the robot hand moves up to meet the human hand. Here's hubby cutting the ribbon at the unveiling. The last weekend of working on this project in our yard was also the same weekend of the wasps. After I stirred them up I was terrified they would go after him and the others working on the sculpture. Thankfully they didn't bother the guys but they stayed mad all day, swirling in a huge cloud over the opening of their nest. Nerve wracking!!

Second Spring
I painted a couple of new pieces too. This one is part of the group from this post, lots of hot color.

And then I had to play with texture and drips. I was still feeling the warm colors but went with more red and pink. Doing these non-representational, textured pieces are a break for me. They help me loosen up and keep things fun and exciting. I can't seem to paint the same thing over and over again. I need change.

The highlight of the month was going to the Appleton Museum to see the Mucha exhibition. I went with my friend Kelli who studied printmaking in college. She was able to explain in detail about the process that Mucha used for his posters. I had no idea they were so large and the process so tedious! The exhibit will be at the museum until January 9th. If you can make it, it's a must see. 

The bonus at the Appleton was the Christmas display. My youngest daughter was a ballerina in her dance school days so I had to get a photo of this display because of the legs and feet on the table. The display is so whimsical and fun, a perfect way to say Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday however you celebrate. Spend time with your loved ones, eat good food, play and be happy. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

What's inspiring to you?

So yesterday I was out in my yard battling an underground wasp nest. It's really a matter of pouring some powder into the hole and running the other direction. Then I realized that I forgot the second step which was placing something heavy over the hole in the ground. This morning I repeated the process and remembered the second step. While standing there enjoying my yard without dodging flying stingers, I spotted the first camellias of the season. I have to take pictures. I may not paint them for years but I can't let this year go by without at least taking a few shots. They're just so ruffly!! 

These are the early bloomers. Some other varieties will bloom later in the winter like the one I painted below. I don't remember the names of the different varieties but I enjoy the different shapes, petal structures and colors. For this painting I used gold leaf in the background and glazed a bit of green over the gold. This flower isn't quite as ruffly as the earlier ones but I love the way the stamen surround the center petals.


And then there's another kind of inspiration.... 
These girls inspire me all the time. My granddaughters were out in the yard (no, not anywhere near the wasp nest) doing a little role playing so they decided to come in and make masks for their characters. I loved the image so much I had to do something...
This was a lot of fun to paint! It's small, only 8x8, so it was fairly quick to do. I know I'll be painting at least one more of these and who knows, there may be more. We'll see. 👀


Sunday, November 21, 2021

I've gone dotty

I shared a few close up pics of a new painting on my FB/IG stories yesterday. I wanted to share again here too because when you look at the entire painting it can be hard to make out some details. I mentioned a couple of posts back that I'm playing with a paint shaper tool to add a bit of pointellism. I just dip it in the paint and .........

What I'm doing isn't the true definition of pointellism - "a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image" (think Seurat) - but using dots to enhance and add texture to a painting.

Below is the finished painting. If you enlarge it on your screen you can see where I painted the dots. Like the gold leaf I sometimes use and the textured gesso I put on the canvas before painting, sometimes seeing a painting in person is best. A painting can be experiential and doesn't translate as well in a photo. 

still deciding on a title


The 2 paintings above are the newest so I don't know what to call them yet. If you have any ideas I'd love for you to share them in the comments! I got on a warm color kick too. Looking back on past work, I seem to have gone through a "blue" period. It seems like everything I paint is mostly blue or cool colors. I don't usually pay much attention to trends, even my own apparently but when I noticed, I decided to play with some hot color for a change. We'll see where things go from here. 

acrylic and colored pencil

Shimmer was finished before I started the other 2 pieces so it's been added to my website along with the one below that finally has a title. It reminded me and many others of fire so Rekindled became it's name. It makes sense too because I seem to have rekindled a love for hot color!


And this one below..... I just remembered that I added it to the site but forgot to title it. I've been so focused on painting that I forgot all about it. It's more abstract than the others. Hmmmmm, something will come to me this week while I'm doing other things. I've been super productive in the studio the last couple of weeks so maybe I'm just getting ready to take a few days off with Thanksgiving coming up. My youngest daughter and her family are flying in and I'll have my local grandbabies here with me since they're out of school. It's time to focus on getting some work done around the house and wait for new canvases and gesso to come in the mail.


I hope you have a wonderful week. Enjoy being with your loved ones, eat good food, relax, and laugh a lot! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Well, I goofed.

Well, I goofed. I should've let you know about this show last week because the opening was Friday! But.... the show continues until the 26th of this month so, if you're in the area, you can check out the Small Works show at Macon Arts Alliance. Sadly I couldn't be at the opening so maybe that's why the date zipped past me. I am excited that the gallery used my painting on the show announcement. Cool!

Scroll down to see a few of the pics from their site. The first one lists the other artists in the show. All the pieces in the show are available for purchase online so if you can't make it to Macon, you can click the link above and still see what's there, maybe grab a small art piece for yourself or find a gift for someone you love. 💝

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

From black and white to The Secret Lives of Color


Giving Way

Above is the result of hopefully, saving, the painting from the previous post. It went through several ugly phases and now I can look at it without thinking "ugly"! I especially had fun adding the little dots with a paint shaper tool. It's hard to see in the photos but the dots are slightly raised, giving a little extra dimention to the painting.

Remember one of the tips from this September post? I mention printing reference photos in black and white in order to free yourself from slavishly copying color from a color photo. Well, it can also free you up to play with more than color. I think I went to town on this one. Is it even recognizable as the subject for the painting below? I had so much fun with it! If you have any title ideas, leave them in the comments. 😀 And to see the above painting along with lots more... head to my site.

I'm still deciding on a title

One more thing I wanted to share.... have you seen this book? The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair is entertaining, educational and if you love color, it's luscious to look at too. I bought this for my kindle instead of the actual book but forgot that my kindle is only black and white. If you buy this, be sure to look at it on a device that has color. I'm reading it with a Kindle app on my tablet. Scroll down to see a few sample pages. I saved a couple of screenshots to share. Each page goes into the history of the color name along with how the color was developed - very interesting. 

So, check out the book and enjoy the colors. If you're up north, you get to see these colors on the trees, in person. I can only dream and remember the golden yellows and oranges of autumn in New Jersey. Here in Florida, we only get a little color teaser in the fall so I'll be enjoying them in this fun book.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Can this painting be saved?

An update post..... since I was here last I've shipped 10 paintings to the Signature Art Gallery in Tallahassee and I have 8 more boxed up and ready to ship to Macon Arts Alliance in GA. You have no idea what a relief it is to move some paintings around! Since leaving Gallery B brought many pieces back home, I needed to make room for new stuff. Thankfully, Macon Arts is having a special small works show in November so it's perfect timing. And the wonderful people at Signature wanted some new work for the holiday season. Yay all the way around and doing a happy dance. 💃

Shedding Light

The painting above is one of the new ones. I love playing with paint like this. It brings my two favorite things together - landscapes and abstracts. After painting that one I decided to try doing something a little different by toning the canvas yellow instead of red orange like the previous one.

so far so good.....


now I really hate it....

maybe it's salvageable.

This is as far as I've gotten today so you'll have to stay tuned to see what happens to it. So far the only stage I like is the very first one. In the latest stage it's just starting to come together but boy, it's hard to get past the ugly stage sometimes. When you hit that point you have 3 choices - 1. trash it (gesso over it and try again)  2. grit your teeth and push on through. or 3. take a break, work on something else for a while and come back to it later.

I think I'll take door #3.

See you next time. Hopefully by then this will be resolved and I can share. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Keep the channel open.


What's on my mind.... the mind, for many reasons including some very personal ones. I shared some of that personal stuff in an interview with my friend Thea on The Charmed Studio blog. Her blog post was about creating from your shadow side. Click the link to read the article and see the "5 light filled reasons" to create. And if you haven't visited her blog before, take a look around. You'll love it!

Anyway, these things have been on my mind lately. Trauma and depression can be a dark subject but it's one that needs to be talked about more often. I think that's happening lately and I'm glad. The pandemic has something to do with that I'm sure as more and more people are seeking help. 

(And a side note - why is it that the mind, along with eyes, ears and teeth, are not included in standard coverage for health care?? They're all part of the body so why do they have to have their own insurance? $$$$ perhaps?)

Back to the point. Mental health and the effects of trauma on us and our bodies is a real thing. Having struggles with addiction, depression and/or anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrased about but for some reason a lot of us can't talk about it. Listening to other people's stories and learning about mental health can make us feel less alone. The other thing I wanted to share with you is the new movie The Wisdom of Trauma with Gabor Mate'. He is a physician specializing in childhood development and trauma and it's effects on the body both physically and mentally. You can also find lots of videos and TED talks with him on YouTube. Excellent information! If you have the interest, poke around, search for some of these videos and learn more about the mind/body connection. 

If you're not able to or not ready to talk to someone, paint it. I've talked about my therapy canvas before. If things are hard, emotions are coming up and I need to do something in the moment, I get out the canvas and start flinging paint. Sometimes it's just about the physicality of doing the flinging that brings relief. Sometimes it's about a particular subject and that painting actually becomes something with a recognizable theme. 

I found this quote in the introduction to George Carlin's book Brain Droppings...

"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open...

"No artist is pleased...[There is no] satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

 - Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille, Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham

Keep the channel open. Paint. Open yourself to flinging. Don't block what needs to be released. Let art help you. No one has to see it. It can be just for yourself. Keep a sketchbook just for ranting. Have a canvas handy just for your own healing and expression. Pile on the layers of paint while you peel back the layers of emotion. It could forever be for your eyes only or some day you may be comfortable sharing. Either way you're helping at least one person. If you can share it with other people, you're bringing something valuable to the world. You're adding a very unique piece to the conversation that maybe someone can learn from or just not feel so alone themselves. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The travels of River Cruise

River Cruise

I had something interesting happen this week. Actually 2 somethings. The first one was about the above painting - River Cruise. I sold this painting last spring through my gallery rep in Tallahassee, Signature Art Gallery. When you sell a piece through a gallery you don't always know where that art ends up. You just assume it's hanging in a collector's home somewhere. 

Then you get an email from a previous collector who said they won it in an auction in Miami. Miami is a bit of a trip from Tallahassee. But, there it was, pictured in the email. This collector is local so River Cruise has done it's own traveling from here in the middle of the state, to the top of the state, then to the bottom of the state, and now back home in the middle again. That's cruising!

This collector wanted to know if I had some more work she could look at so of course I emailed images and she did buy more work. So this week I got to see how far my painting traveled, and I also got to send some more paintings out into the world and a new place to call home.

It was a good week. I hope yours was excellent too!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The only constant is change

This is my rotating art wall outside my studio at home. This is where paintings rest while waiting to go to their galleries or waiting to be shipped to collectors. When a spot opens up I fill it with another new piece. The arrangements don't always look great but the wall is constantly changing and the paintings rotating. 

The wall is pretty full right now. These are a few of the pieces I had hanging downtown at Gallery B. I brought all my work home because this wall isn't the only thing changing. I've decided it's time to leave Gallery B. Sometimes, the vision you have for something takes a different turn and becomes a different space than what you anticipated. And that's OK. We know that the only constant is change so it's just time to try something new. That's how it works on canvas too right? 

It was a fabulous 2+ years there and I made some wonderful friends. To my friends at Gallery B, I wish the very best. I hope they have tons of fun and success. And since I live literally a half mile from the gallery, I'll certainly be popping in to say hi on occasion.

There's a new thing in the future for me and I'm ready! I can't share it yet and it's probably going to take some time to get going but there is something new on the horizon. Meanwhile, I'm here, working at home in my studio, adding to my Etsy shop, and painting of course. So, if you want to know what this new thing is gonna be, and what I'll be up to in the meantime, sign up for the newsletter when the little window pops up.

 Till next time...


Thursday, September 16, 2021

5 tips to make studio painting a little easier.


1. Colored pencil friends... Do you have a bucket full of shorties? What do you do with all the little nubs of colored pencils when they're too short to put in the electric sharpener and too short to hold comfortably.  Pencil extenders are great, I use them all the time but even those don't let us use up the entire pencil. These little sticks of color are too expensive to just throw away. I learned a little tip from Ann Kullberg years ago when I took one of her portrait workshops (fabulous workshop btw). Take your little nub of a pencil and glue it end to end with a longer one of the same color - or a different color - it's up to you. Just put a dot of super glue on one of the ends and hold it for a few seconds until it holds. Leave the pencil sitting flat for a few minutes until it gets good and stuck. Now you can sharpen the nub all the way down until it's gone. Bonus: you have too sharpened ends on one pencil to color with.

2. Do you use photos for painting? If I'm not painting from life, I'm using my own photos. One way to break out of a color rut is to print your photos in black and white. When I use a color photo I tend to stick to the general color palette of the scene. When I print it in black and white I feel freer to experiment and play with different colors. 

3. Painters, here's an easy way to handle painting the edges of your small canvases without getting paint all over your table or your hands. You'll need a lazy susan. This paint covered one is a Wilton that's sold for cake decorating. Also get some oversized push pins.

Push one pin into each corner of the canvas on the back side. Flip it over, set it on the lazy susan and you can spin the base and paint the edges without having to hold the canvas up with your hands.

4. Take photos of your painting in progress and view them on your phone for a different perspective. Seeing it this way can give you fresh eyes and you may spot something you want to change. You can also change the photo to gray scale in your phone. This will help you see the value range you have in the piece and tell you if you need to darken or lighten certain areas.

5. Instead of starting your painting on a white canvas, tone the canvas with different colors. Try using complimentary colors for your base. For a landscape with lots of green, tone the canvas red. For a painting of a yellow flower, try a violet base. Bits of complimentary color peeking through can make your painting sing.

If you've learned some great little hacks for the studio, I'd love to hear about them. We could all use some help making tasks a bit easier. Share in the comments below.

Happy painting!