Thursday, December 21, 2017

No Hurry, No Worry

Today is the first day of winter, and the feelings as we get closer to December 25 can become ones of being completely overwhelmed or just maybe something else. I did some early shopping before the mad rush takes over and that definitely helps.  I took Cooper for a walk and being out in nature is so good, especially as there was no wind and lots of sun this morning.  My daughter went to her Yin yoga class before work to find her center and I find inspiration in that. When I'm not rushing around, it's easier to be inspired.
I'm gallery sitting today at Spring Bull Gallery here in Newport, RI, and I'm very grateful to be in one place til 5pm. No hurry today.
Everything will get done.
Everything is as it should be. 
I wish you peace in your hearts this holiday season and thank you for all your comments and support of my art and musings this past year.
This gouache is the next step from my previous post of the cat from Castine. Thought she was the purrfect example of cool and collected!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Get Focused!

I've wanted to do something with a photo I took of Lily, the sweet house kitty I met this summer while I was at the Castine Plein Air Festival. In my studio the other day, between projects and feeling very unfocused, I got out the photo, my brushes and gouache. I wanted to have a big pop of color so I amped up the yellow of the chair. This photo hasn't been cropped so you can also see where I placed the white painters tape. 

Here is the painting cropped. I think I will pull the tape, then use a white mat with a tiny bit of white paper showing, framed in a white frame for a contemporary look. 
I love how even a short time in the studio can get me focused, even if I have no idea what will happen. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

White Rose

I painted this rose from direct observation as a demo during our last Gallery Night here in Newport, RI at Spring Bull Gallery. I wanted to talk about and show how "white is not always white". I had toned my panel with acrylic Payne's Grey which is more dark blue than grey. You can see where bits of it come through. Many subtle shifts of color, from warm to cool, along with value shifts are needed to make this rose come alive. Keeping the shapes is always a priority and is part of my painting style! Would it be fun to paint this BIG? I think it would.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Balloon Frenzy

We pulled into a tiny, quiet campground around 9 miles east of Akron, Ohio and were surprised when an hour later two trucks arrived with all the gear to launch two magnificent hot air balloons. We literally had a front row seat and I dashed to get my paints and capture as much of the excitement as I could.

 Quite a crowd gathered, and one friend of a ballooner took this picture of me as I moved into power painter mode. I did snap a few pics of my own and finished the painting as the balloons drifted out of sight. I was so excited that I posted on my FB page the first painting that evening.
But, here's the problem. I never took the time to really look at what I was painting. Second, I impulsively hit that Post button. 
So here's the "corrected" painting, which is, in fact, truer to the mood and scene that my first stab had been. 
Biggest lesson learned: it's never too late to fix something if you can. And, pause before posting!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


I walked around the campground, looking to see what caught my eye to paint. By the entrance, the American flag stood out against the stormy clouds. Bits of bright blue sky showed through the clouds and it appealed to me on many levels. I rushed back to capture the flag. As a painter, I am attracted to those marvelous folds of stripes, their movement and pattern interest me. Look for where I lost edges...this is exciting for me!

Monday, October 16, 2017


I loved how many reflections I saw on this classic Airstream in the campground near Zion. I tried to capture them, at the same time thinking of simplifying them. As for all my paintings on this trip, this was also painted plein air and alla prima. Alla prima refers to wet paint into wet paint, all done in one painting session. It helps if the first layers of paint are quite thin, then you can build up subsequent layers quite easily. Did I just say easily? Ha! Sometimes there is success, sometimes I scrape it all off with a knife and start over. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Virgin River

Hot, sunny and peaceful. Standing beside the Virgin River which ran behind our campsite at the Zion River Resort, I stole away for a couple of hours to paint. I'm painting small and putting them on my DailyPaintworks gallery. This little river scene is 6x6, oil on panel.

Friday, October 6, 2017


I felt especially challenged as the wind picked up and the temperature continued to drop into the high 30's. I hadn't bargained for this but as I was determined to paint,  I took to my car.
Easel balanced on my knees, medium in the cup holder, an old apron draped over the dash, I tried to get this one done quickly. Heavy mist blotting out full view of the mountains, I still wanted their presence to dominate in the painting. A lone horse grazing gave it a quintessential Wyoming feeling.
I really enjoyed two visits to Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which is really 5 museums in one. The Whitney Western Art Museum has a staggering collection of big names and I especially enjoyed the reconstructed Frederic Remington Studio.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Late Summer Flowers

Another plein air study of flowers in their late summer glory.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Gilbert Stuart Museum Show

I felt quite happy to be invited with the "Monday's Palette" Plein Air group to show at the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum. The show is titled Pathways- Inland & Coastal Views of Southern Rhode Island.
The show runs through October 9th if you're in the area. Gilbert Stuart Museum in Saunderstown, RI.

My painting  Reflections from the Fleet is 10x10,  fishing boats painted plein air. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Grace is a DPW FB pick of the day

My 5x7 painting achieves several of the things I hope will happen when I spy a potential painting.
First, the light was lovely, even though the sun was hot; I positioned my panel so that it would be in the shade. This makes it easier for me to see the value shifts.
Second, it had the great complementary combination of blue and orange, with the orange playing a bit part. It's more about the fabulous color of the purple cone flower for me. 
Third, I had opportunities to simplify with both the vase and the tablecloth. Even though I can appreciate the detail in both, it's more me to "keep it simple". 
Simple, strong shapes and color are what worked to make it a Daily Paintworks FB pick of the day. 

This was painted plein air in the garden, but here's a reference photo so you can see what has been left out.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Boy on a Rope

Inspired after the fact. Has it happened to you- that you started working on a painting and something about it brought back a memory? I think it was the hat and the profile of the boy facing to the right in this painting by Georges Seurat that came to my mind.
Seurat was a French post- Impressionist best known for developing pointillism, breaking from the Impressionists in 1886, with this unique style of applying pure color in small dots.

Here's my layout of the composition. I'm painting over a 24"x24" oil that was a copy of a Richard Diebenkorn, who is one of my all time and go to favorites and a big influence on me. I used Cadmium Orange and a round brush, thinned down so it wouldn't build up on the surface.

Here's my finished painting. It's in a group show at Spring Bull Gallery for the month of September. All Hands on Deck features some outstanding artists, so I'm very excited to be part of this show!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

All Wet

The biggest summer fundraiser at the Newport Art Museum is a 2 day event called Wet Paint. Although over the years all art has come to be accepted, I like to stay true to the concept and paint plein air, turning in very and literally "wet paint". I had my eye on this classic boat at my beach, so I wanted to pick a unique composition and perspective.

Here's the painting, which I painted while standing and looking down into the boat and beyond to the beach. I fell in love with that red/turquoise combination.

Here we are all set up and ready to go, before the beach actually opened for the day! I had to wait until 9am to get the umbrella set up for me. Having an idea of what I want in a painting helped in this case; I staged the umbrella and then the little green bucket for that special accent. I needed that Cowboy hat for a little shade!

There are literally hundreds of entries that are all part of a silent auction to raise money for the museums programs. This happens Saturday night at a special reception,  then the silent bidding continues on Sunday. I was lucky enough to be chosen to go to the live auction on Sunday afternoon- which is the highlight of the weekend. Only 28 were chosen, so I felt very grateful and humbled.
See you same time next year!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On My Bucket List

Are you anything like me, wondering where the time has gone, as we approach the end of August? I've had an art-filled month but need to backtrack to July -and the amazing Plein Air Festival in Castine, Maine that took place July 19-22nd. 
I met my host family, had a welcoming party at the Castine Inn, painted Thursday and Friday, finished up with framing and set up at the Maine Maritime Academy where our show and sale took place on Saturday afternoon. 
I was thrilled to sell two of my 6 paintings, meet some marvelous artists, and felt incredibly welcomed by the town of Castine. Don Tenney, who chairs this event, was remarkable in putting on a first class event. So happy to be juried in and have the chance to participate. To be part of a Plein Air Festival was on my bucket list, and I hope to participate again next year!

Painting on Court Street late afternoon of first day. This one sold!

Painting at Eaton's Boatyard. See my post on their FB page!

Started this 12x16 before 6am, so grey and misty. Wanted to keep that so I painted with my umbrella blocking the sun as it rose higher, then went back in the late afternoon for the flowers in those marvelous window boxes. Sold too!

A photo of the window boxes at my host familys' home- Thank you Bill and Sylvia Carter! Their Mediterranean style home was so unique and comfortable, so grateful for their warm hospitality.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Amazing Lacecap

The hydrangeas are amazing this year. I live in a coastal community and the conditions must have been perfect as everyone's garden have masses of heavy laden hydrangeas. This one is the Lacecap variety, a delicate flower- so sweet and pretty.
I painted it from direct observation in front of a window and yes that yellow line was on the street. I felt like it just worked in my composition.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Art of The Ocean State

Very pleased to tell you that my painting Quiet Morning can be seen at the Wickford Art Association exhibit- Art of the Ocean StateWickford Art Association is a wonderful gallery with a full range of classes and exhibits. 

I painted this plein air from a little park on Washington Street in Newport. It's a shady park til lunchtime at this time of year, which was particularly nice as the day was very hot.
I'm in NH this weekend and will miss the opening but send a big thank you to WAA and my fellow artists who are also exhibiting.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Purple Haze

The last in my little iris series, until next spring. Each one is 5x7.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rosemary's Iris

Plein air painting has many challenges- wind, bugs, sun on the support, to name a few. When the sun hits the surface you're working on, it becomes quite a challenge to judge the value of a color. It works best for me to have my panel or canvas in the shade. But as we know, time stands still for no one, and that sun will move!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Yellow Iris

Another from the iris series, a favorite flower of mine. My grandmother had masses of them, appearing each spring after the daffodils. They told me summer was just around the corner.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Margaret's Iris

While they were still blooming, I painted a few iris in my neighbors garden. They welcomed me to sit and become totally absorbed in my work. The big challenge is to distinguish flower bloom from background, so I played around with finding the right value contrast between the edges of the flower and the background. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Finish

The weather took a turn for the worse, so I brought the flowers into my studio to finish the painting.
I enjoyed the pattern of this tablecloth as well as finding balance and harmony within the composition. This painting is 16x20;  my primary goals were to link the dark shapes and create a circular path for the eye to follow. The first to droop and wither was the big white hydrangea on the left of the arrangement and I was glad to have the rose done early as the bright studio lights made it open quickly. I kept the upper shape I saw when I started the painting outside, a touch of discord/ambiguity to an otherwise pretty painting.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Sunday Start

Friends who came to dinner last night brought me an amazing bunch of flowers. My first thought was to get them in water, my second thought- when can I paint?
This morning I set them on a patterned tablecloth on the back deck and stood above them. This flattens the picture plane and lets me focus on composition, shape and color before I start trying to "turn a form".
I want to paint several layers, so I lay the paint down quite thin. There was a bright area of sunlight on the deck, with the rest of the set up in shade, and I wanted that abstract shape in the top right corner. I also drew a few composition lines with my brush to look more carefully at the intersection of those lines. The top edge of the table, where the wall joins the deck and of course, the edge of the deck in the sun.
Can't wait to get back to it- I love painting from direct observation!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Ida Lewis Yacht Club Backstory

Ida Lewis Yacht Club was first Lime Rock Light in the heart of Newport's inner harbor. The first lighthouse keeper was Ida's half brother, then her father took over. When he died Ida ran the lighthouse by herself performing many daring rescues and withstanding rough water, weather, and isolation until her death in 1911. Her unassuming impact on women's rights was the subject of an award nominated documentary by Marion Gagnon titled -  America's Forgotten Heroine: Ida Lewis, Keeper of the Light.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Watching The Tide Come In

My first time to paint outside since we've been back in Rhode Island. We have had a cold and wet spring but I took advantage of a good day to head out with a friend.
This spot is at the end of Ledge Road in Newport, where the parking is sketchy and the ocean is within steps. After my easel took a spill, I regrouped and found my way back into feeling comfortable being outside. Sun, wind, and if you paint plein air, you know that anything can happen. It felt so good to be outside painting again!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Work at Charles Fine Arts

I'm thrilled to tell you that two of my paintings were juried into a show titled Flowers and Elegant Objects at Charles Fine Arts in downtown Gloucester, MA. I'm thrilled to be showing at this lovely gallery on Cape Ann. 
The exhibit runs through June 20th- hope you can stop in!

 Pink Tulip on a Red Table 8x8

Sunflower Summer 8x10

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Whole Bunch

I painted this from a photo reference of the bouquet of daffodils I had picked at my sisters house on Easter morning. I love how the blue vase goes with the embroidered tablecloth that was my mothers. It's not my everyday style, but the curved lines in the tablecloth remind me of Matisse.

I got right over it to take the picture, then kept the shapes very simple and as abstract as I could. The easiest way for me to do this is to keep the photo out of sight, so that I am not slavishly staring at it to get everything precise. I'm not knocking precise, it's just not for me, so this helps to rely on my memory of the daffodils.

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!