Friday, April 28, 2017

Trumpet Daffodil


Another take on my trumpet daffodil. Fun with shapes and color in all the ways that make me happy to be always looking and learning with paint. I'm feeling inspired by the beauty in nature at this time of year.

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Nothing brings more hope that Spring will actually come again than the appearance of daffodils. I picked a bunch of them at my sisters house on Easter morning, enjoying the great variety of blooms. There are plants that our grandmother planted eons ago showing the hardiness and longevity of these bulbs. 
This is a single Trumpet; I love the soft white petals and the vibrant yellow cup.
Painted from direct observation, then follow up from a photo as I am working in a slower way, making layers of paint for depth and considering composition of the background as important as my subject.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Scottsdale Workshop Day 3- Mark Daniel Nelson

Uncharted waters and off the deep end. Pushed myself on Day 2, and felt sicker as day 3 began. Respiratory issues and all the meds are taking a toll on me.
My venture into complete abstraction with no reference was very uncomfortable. I kept scraping the paint off. All day. This is what I came up with. Now I have to begin the process of absorbing all that Mark talked about and demonstrated with his genuine and real approach to making paintings.

Big hugs to all at the end of our three day exploration of Image to Abstract with the amazing Mark Daniel Nelson! Thank you! Loved the Scottsdale Artists School- a wonderful facility for us.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Workshop Day 2- Mark Daniel Nelson

Day 2 begins with my decision to work in oils and paint a first generation painting from my reference photo. I had not printed these references out, so I had only my iphone and just brief viewings of the picture. That probably helped to keep things abstract and just looking for the big flat shapes. Mark does his critique using the ipad-  first he puts my image up on the screen in duplicate, then he makes modifications to one of the images and you can immediately see what would happen if...(fill in the blank). It's a pretty effective way of looking at images and making those virtual changes which the artist can then use- or not!

This is a detail from the painting which could then be used as a reference for a second generation painting. The idea is that each step will take you to more abstraction.

This painting was done using the first painting as reference and a jumping off point. I used oils and Arches paper for oil painting. It's a great surface for its' portability and versatility as I cut the paper down for this study.

Here's a cool shot of another abstract that came from the first painting. Upside down and rightsize up- and a great app (no longer available) that shows the colors that are used in the painting. All very harmonious so that made me happy!

What a day! We all- especially Mark- worked so hard!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Workshop in Scottsdale with Mark Daniel Nelson

Not feeling well at all as this workshop approached, the pollen count in Az is off the charts and I've got acute bronchitis. Medicated and hoping I can get through the day, our workshop began with using mutiple reference photos and doing an exercise that Mark refers to as "mapping". Get the big shapes and flatten the space which is how I've been working for awhile anyway. Not too far out of my comfort zone for the first day. Very grateful for that and really just to be here with such a group of talented and eager artists. Mark is a wonderful teacher who uses the ipad to stress all of his ideas in a fast and effective way. I don't have an ipad so I didn't go there!
My first reference image is from downtown Las Cruces and I used gouache for this small 4x4 study.
Mark is inspiring- check out his website here!

This image came from a photo of reflections along the river in Las Cruces- again I used gouache for the first day to make things easier for me.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

One & The Same Saguaro

Painted this on a 5x7 toned grey panel which appears very blue with the oranges/reds of my under painting. The next day I established a truer color picture- can't help but love the red saguaro!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tulips and the Mountains

Another one from our stay at Catalina State Park. We are north of Tucson, in Oro Valley, and have enjoyed visiting the Tucson Botanical Gardens where the Frido Kahlo exhibit puts you right into her world of inspiration. If you're anywhere near Tucson, don't miss it.  We went to the Sonoran Desert Museum,  and I thoroughly enjoyed a private tour by a docent at the Tucson Museum of Art. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Respect to the mountain painters!

New admiration for all those plein air painters who paint the mountains! My experience is so little, yet it is basically the same thing- look and look and look. I picked a very small segment of the Catalina Mt foothills and just tried to find the shapes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Secret Path

We found a path at the edge of the lake where we (me and Cooper) could walk along and explore and sniff (that would be Cooper) to our hearts delight. It started at the point where I had painted a few days earlier and I wanted this painting to reflect the path leading us in rather than on the water of the lake. The afternoon light cast long shadows from the trees across the path which interested me. Tried again to abstract "everything"! 
Painted on 8x10 linen on panel

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Yellow House

Since we are so close to Mexico we decided to visit Nogales for a look around. We walked across the border after parking in downtown Nogales. Cooper is a wonderful ambassador and with his company we built some bridges, no walls for us! The wall is actually in great evidence around this border town.
Of course we ate some fabulous street food, bought some blankets and a gorgeous serape, and took a ton of photos with my i-phone. The line to get back to the States was quite long, but they let us through when they saw our dog Cooper and "didn't want him to have an accident in the building". We laughed and went to the next Customs Officer, knowing that Cooper would never go in a building!
Here's my ode to Mexico painting, 8x10, oil on linen panel, from one of my reference photos with a couple of changes to suit my composition. The sky is mostly King's Blue, an Old Holland paint that's new to me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Patagonia Lake Reflections

We've traveled south and are now at Patagonia Lake State Park, which is only 15 miles from Nogales, Mexico. This park is remote and known as a birding destination, where hundreds of species have been sighted. The birding trail winds along the shore and I had to take advantage of a guided bird walk led by a Park Ranger this morning. My binoculars are sub par but I got some good sightings and  tips on how to use them with help from Ranger John and learned something new. Isn't that what it's all about anyway- being in the culture wherever you are and being willing to participate in learning?
These folks are birding fanatics! I loved it and loved even more sitting and painting these reflections in the lake 100 yards from my campsite!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mesquite Tree

I had to fiddle with this a bit as the mountains first had too much chroma, then the value wasn't right. I wish I could have painted this as a true plein air, but my eye wasn't buying it! I did a little research and found out that this is a mesquite tree; they are everywhere in this part of southern Arizona.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Zero In

I always seem to be drawn back to a closer focus, to cropping my compositions to make the space feel more intimate. I need to find out what kind of trees these are; they are abundant in this area and have the most fascinating branches and shapes. They are leafless this time of year; that only adds to their appeal to me!
It was an easier painting than the previous post- goes to show it really does help to become very familiar with your subject. Find something that can hold your interest while you learn more each painting session.
This one is 6x6 on linen.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Arizona or Bust

Last winter we traveled as far west as Big Bend National Park, in southwest Texas before heading back to Rhode Island in February. Now you know coming home in February was not part of the plan; we were headed to Arizona when we decided to come home after talking with Ted's Dad. He was 96, feeling lonely and that's all we really had to hear. He'd had another fall, another trip to the ER and he just wanted us to come home. There wasn't even a conversation; we stayed a couple of days longer then began the long haul home in our motorhome.
Murray died a few weeks after his 97th birthday in July, and we never regretted for a moment coming home. The last few months we spent a lot of time together and knew we'd done the right thing.
So now this winter we breathed a sigh of relief when we made it to Arizona! First stop, about 50 miles south of Tuscon,  Kartchner Caverns State Park. I love the state parks as there is always an abundance of natural beauty and space. 
Happy to set up to paint, although the weather has not gotten even to 50 degrees. And when the sun goes behind the mountains, it gets cold so fast.
My best effort, 6x12 on linen, a challenge to get the colors!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Las Cruces, NM

We are visiting Las Cruces, NM and I was so happy to meet with fellow blogger, inspired artist and perfectly lovely Julie Ford Oliver! As we are traveling this winter in our RV, and headed to Arizona, I wanted to reach out to Julie and see if we could meet. 

She was completely welcoming with a wonderful studio tour, visit to one of her galleries M Phillip's Fine Art Gallery and we met up again for lunch at one of her favorite spots in Las Cruces to talk about art, goal setting and so much we have in common.  Julie has a love for all things avian and since this bird was nesting in the tree right outside my window, I know I had to paint her.
In gratitude for your generosity and the time we spent discussing ART, thank you Julie! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Intentions and Goals with a burst of color

As the new year begins, I once again set my goals and my intentions. I actually set intentions on a daily basis, as a tool to live in the present. The difference between  an intention and a goal? An intention seems to me to be more spiritually centered, where I can detach from the outcome, surrender the process to the universe, and focus on the present moment. My truest intentions will always come from my heart. Intentions are about our inner selves.
A goal will outline the steps I will take to reach a desired outcome. Goal setting is based on reasoning, analyzing and planning. For an artist, it's left brain activity and some of us need help to plan those specific steps that will result in an external achievement at some future point.

And now- on to the painting!

There  is usually one things that attracts me first, the thing or feeling that makes me want to paint. In this case it was the intense burst of color from that tree against the backdrop of the bluest sky. 
I also like how the structural shadow shape from the building counterbalances the organic shape of the tree.

It was a magic moment for me; the goal of completing the painting using design principles, paint application and brushwork. I also set an intention to have the painting give the same feeling to the viewer as I had when I came upon the scene.