Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fresh Start

Good Morning, 8 x 6

I painted this one the other day to go in a frame that I had, since I removed that frame from another small piece, and replaced it with a new one.  You might say that I am kind of a frame nut, and probably spend more than necessary, but I do think that it makes a difference.  Having done many a painting on gallery wrap canvas, I still most often end up with the piece in a floater or restretching and framing traditionally.  My work just looks better (to me) with a border!  My gallery price point does not lend itself to expensive frames, but I am drawn to them.  Yesterday, I received an email from Deborah Paris, a wonderful painter who lives in Texas; her husband makes some really good-looking frames, and the prices are good too.  Check them out at

Meanwhile, I've been noodling a fresh perspective, composition-wise; the little painting above is one result.  I kind of like it; it was inspired by my friend, Nancy Armstrong, who created the "fresh start" below for a recent charity event!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Au Revoir, Poire!

Shine, 12 x 9

Well, the painting above was done about 2 years ago -- it has been in 3 different galleries and did not find a home, so when it came back recently from Denver, I took a look and went, "Oh, yeah!"

I could see that the pear totally didn't belong there -- too big, too bright, too too whatever!  So I thought that I'd delete the pear -- a simple study of white on white would surely be a better thing (if I could match the colors).  With a bit of tinkering, I actually was able to do that;  then I placed the painting in a nice frame, took it to Huff Harrington 2 days later, and it was purchased the same day!  The moral to my story is "simpler is (almost) always better."  The revised effort is pictured below... (background color looks way different, but I didn't change it - must be my new camera) ...

Gift of Love, 12 x 9

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Painting at the Gallery

Ooh, Tiffany Blue, 12 x 12

Last Saturday, my friend, Brenda, played Christmas music on the piano at Huff Harrington Fine Art, while I did a small painting demo.  The Huffingtons served a bit of wine and some fresh cookies and it was a fun afternoon.  The idea was for me to paint a Tiffany box, so Ann and Meg got me a gift from the namesake store here in Atlanta in time for me to have on hand for the event.  I hadn't looked inside yet, because I wanted to paint it first.  Then I couldn't remove/change the ribbon till I finished the painting, which I did here we are... below is the wrapped box, and below that, the contents! 

I was able to approximate the Tiffany blue color pretty well with  my limited palette (ultramarine blue, cadmium lemon, cadmium red medium, and titananium zinc white, in case you were wondering)....I did have some cerulean blue on hand just in case!

Inside was a sparkly crystal votive, complete with candle, which is already now in use...Behind is the painting, in a nice frame by my friend, Munroe d'antignac, of d'antignac Custom Frames (

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Paper Towel Painting and Other Fun

Radishes and Roses, Demo in progress

Today was a great day... I painted with 4 other Atlanta artists at the beautiful, light and spacious riverfront studio of Dianne Harrison.  We had a wonderful time, sharing ideas and practicing.  I did a small demo, above, in the morning, then we had a delicious lunch to which all contributed (except me)!  After lunch, we painted with paper towels as our "brushes," forcing focus on large shapes.  One of the painters, Juanita Kauffman, actually painted on her iPad -- and got some cool results -- see pics below.

Juanita, creating a virtual painting...

Nice result - very free!

Kate Pendleton and Jan Eubanks using their paper towels 
(and they didn't even complain)...

Dianne Harrison, finishing her second paper towel creation.  
A good time was had by all....Stay warm!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Yikes! It's (almost) Christmas

Tiny Surprise, 6 x 6

Time is speeding by, the calendar is full, painting time is compressed, maybe that's better!  Perhaps one's focus can be enhanced by small windows of studio time...this year, I've decided not to worry about it all, just enjoy and paint when it works out...Cold weather has set in tonight, while last evening, on Thanksgiving, we all sat outside for appetizers and wine, because the air was balmy.  The cold is energizing to me, and I hope to be energized for this busy and fun season!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dark Backgrounds

All Things Considered, 30 x 24

Maybe because it is colder outside, or who knows why, I have been wanting to paint shapes against a dark background.  I have just spent about 2 years exploring light backgrounds, so maybe that is the reason -- it was time for a change.  The painting above is the 3rd attempt on this board ( linen mounted on 3/4" gatorboard );  there are, or were, 2 other paintings in various forms of completion underneath...  I guess that is one way to achieve a lively paint quality, though surely not the easiest!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More Small Works, Lots of Pears

Just You, 8 x 8

Perfect Pair, 12 x 16

Ya Gotta Have Heart,  6 x 12

Well, I used the same table, same light, same pears (comice pears, which I really like), yet different backgrounds, thus creating different takes on a VERY familiar subject.  I have to say I enjoy very much doing the little or two a day, before or after other things; they have an immediacy which I would love to be able to achieve in larger pieces.  I am taking these little ones mostly to Huff Harrington Fine Art, my wonderful gallery here in Atlanta;  these smalls are fun and affordable, and therefore are selling prior to the Little Jewels show (opening Nov. 27th) for which they are/were intended.   That is fine/great with me, and I can get lots of good practice doing a few more...Meanwhile, I just adore the Huffingtons  - see their blog at

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Small Works Time ...

Reflections, 8 x 6

It's a Wrap, 6 x 6

Christmas is coming, and people like to purchase smaller works at affordable prices as gifts for themselves or others.  I truly enjoy the small format -- I can try things without investment, finish them quickly, save or paint over,  and move on.  The daily painters figured this out long ago... do daily 6 x 6 paintings from life -- which are fresh, painterly and which, without a doubt, improve one's skills dramatically.  I try to do a small "warm up" painting before starting a larger piece, and when I actually DO this, the day is a good painting day.... I like framing these small pieces in small floaters, so that the entire painted surface is visible.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Buon Giorno

Buon Giorno, 12 x 9

Well, we are back from our latest sojourn to Alaska to see the kids -- what a great time we had, despite the gloom, clouds and rain that settled over Sitka for 6 of the 7 days we were there.  We were missing the Tuscan sun, for sure, and are glad to be back for some good old Georgia sun at home.  

The painting above and the other studies from the Italy trip were done with Golden Open Acrylics.  The painting group and I decided to use these for travel, to avoid the solvent search and to speed drying time.  For the most part, we liked them.  The paints stayed workable enough for a 2-hour session, although they were a bit runny out of the tube.  I will probably use them next year for the painting trip to Provence  (for details on the great itinerary, check out, since I like the advantages in the field.  Also, I used just my basic four colors --  in the Goldens, they were Ultramarine Blue, Cad Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Primrose, and Titanium White.  I picked up a convenience color that we all enjoyed -- light ultramarine blue, which was a periwinkle-ish hue, and made a great violet purple.

Below is a harbor shot, so typical of Sitka... I took lots of photos of this type when we had any light at all, so I could interpret in paint some of the grey skies and wonderful reflections.  Inspiring me are the subtle, amazing Richard Schmid paintings of southeast Alaska in his book, "Alla Prima."

Monday, October 4, 2010

More Toscana!

Tuscan Morning, 12 x 12

A few more trip notes...the weather was sunny and perfect most days, and we painted in Cortona and also in Chianti, on the grounds of a castle overlooking amazing vistas.  We also had a cooking class at the Villa, and ate the most delicious tiny artichokes, porcini crostini, saffron-laced fresh pasta, roasted veal, and little raisin and vin santo biscotti for dessert.  We ate on the terrace, under umbrellas, and felt pretty lucky that day!  Afterwards, we actually painted, telling ourselves that the wine was freeing our brushstrokes...

As Jean Dortch said, "It is good to wear a hairnet when pouring wine!"

A couple of paintings follow, first two by Nancy Armstrong, and last two by Wendy Jackson (she used Arches Rough paper for a lot of gave a nice, sparkly effect).  All of our work was done with Golden Open Acrylics.

Nancy Armstrong, Views at the Villa di Piazzano

Wendy Jackson, Vistas, Villa di Piazzano

So far, that's all I have received, but am looking forward to getting more paintings.  I enjoyed using a transparent orange toning on most of my work there.  I mistakenly used a board toned that way today at a session with some other painters, when we had a model (a ballerina) -- whoa -- what a mess, and so difficult to judge values and color relationships.  Won't do that again!  It is very nice, however, to be using oils oncemore. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fabulous Trip to Tuscany

Cortona Vista, 12 x 9

This is one of many studies I started during our amazing trip to Tuscany 2 weeks ago.  My fellow painters were a congenial and delightful group - we just had so much fun!  Below is a shot of Kathy Bowman and Georgia McAuley setting up their easels at this spot on our last, rather overcast day.

Here is a shot of the whole group - our first night at the Villa di Piazzano, in the bar, of course, before dinner!

Left to right, back row:  Vickie Stallings, Georgia McAuley, Kathy Bowman, Nancy Armstrong
Then, in front: Me, Wendy Jackson, and Jean Dortch -- all good painters and great traveling friends.

Below are a few shots of the girls painting at the Villa, and some of their work.  I have so far only received images from 2 people, but you'll see a shot of their paintings on the grass from the first day.

Wendy Jackson, a study in Focus!

Georgia McAuley, modeling her black scrubs!

First morning's efforts - is that Tuscany or what?

Nancy Armstrong, love the hat!

Jean Dortch, the style setter, looking so arty with her EasyL Box!

Vicki Stallings, our shopping leader: "Don't Leave Me!"

Kathy Bowman, the Chef and Foodie!

We are off to Alaska to see the kids on Thursday, but I shall post again prior to departure, with some new work and some thoughts, and of course, some Italian paintings by the girls.  Buona notte...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Long Time, No See!

Last Blooms, 10 x 10
This one was painted as a donation for the High Museum fundraiser in November

Well, somehow six weeks have slipped by since my last post!  Meanwhile, I just returned from Italy, where we have been for almost two weeks, painting with a wonderful group for 7 of those days; I will have much to post soon.  We experienced just a great trip, with fabulous sunny weather and shimmering Tuscan vistas.  That was my first painting trip to Europe -- with little hassle -- i.e. paints made it through security (albeit it in checked luggage); we all used Golden Open Acrylics, which worked out pretty well.  
It was nice to have water soluble paint in the fields, but we all missed the richness of oils.  I will be posting some of my field studies, as well as some great ones done by the other painters -  (we also cooked, and drank plenty of vino, laughing all the way : )  Bye for now!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Going Big?

Champagne Breakfast, 12 x 12

Well, the small painting above turned out to be popular at the fun, festive, and very French Bastille Day celebration at Huff Harrington Fine Art, here in Atlanta.  That piece is 12 x 12, and sold quickly.  It was requested that I do a large version of this painting, which I had painted from a photo taken at Les Murets, the lovely Provence home of Ann and Bill Huff.  So, I started to go big - a 36 x 36 version; quickly I realized that I did not have enough information to make the image interesting in that large size -- at least to me.  Deciding to ditch the project after 2 good days of tinkering and lots of paint, I did two other pieces from Les Murets -- sized 24 x 24:

Salut!, 24 x 24

Wine Time? 24 x 24

Then I again began the 36 x 36, for some reason ( well, since a gallery patron requested it )!  I am still noodling it and not sure how it will turn out.  I am tired of painting from all of these photos,  certainly tired of tables, and am realizing the folly of painting to please others.  Not following my own muse, I surely have no way of knowing what it is someone else might like.  Oh well, I am looking forward to other things: painting with art friends on Monday, live model; then I'll set up something here in my studio.  Au revoir, la table!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Painting Group

Sketch of Leah, 12 x 9

My friend Yvonne Mendez has a really nice studio here in Atlanta, and she sometimes hires a model, calls a few painters, and hosts a 3- hour session.  I haven't done this in over a year, and I can tell!  Last Monday, we met at her studio, the model that was hired forgot the appointment, so Kathy Wochele's daughter, Leah, came to the rescue. My sketch is not much of a likeness, but there is a quality to it that I like.  It was my third attempt after a few wipeouts ... Luckily, there are 3 more sessions scheduled for this summer!  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Postcards from Provence

Ooh La Lunch, 12 x 12

Well, I have been painting from photos this past 10 days, mining for scenes from France, and especially Provence, for the Bastille Day show and celebration at Huff Harrington Fine Art, here in Atlanta.  Not that I am central to this show of mostly French artists and work, but I have enjoyed doing some small "postcards" in the past, so I thought I'd do a few this year.  A week of travail -- I didn't have any images that captured my fancy, so I painted some that didn't, to poor results.  I then painted over 2 of them and I have 3 - 4 fairly decent ones now.  They are vastly helped by some lovely frames from my friend and artisan here in Atlanta, Munroe d'antignac.  Below are are couple of photos of other postcards in these new frames (sorry for the out of kilter shots).

Provencal Patterns, 12 x 12

Champagne Brunch, Provence, 12 x 12

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Evie, 20 x 16

Well, I finished and delivered the painting of Evie ( I had posted the initial sketch a month or so ago),  and promised to post the final result, so here she is.  I am so happy that her mother is very pleased with this study, always gratifying when doing a commission.  The mother is a beautiful writer, and expressed so well to me the feeling she wanted in the painting, which really helped!  

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Workshop Demo

Favorite Things, 16 x 12

Well, technically this is not a workshop demo, since I had to pull it together at home, having wiped off lots of the bottom half at the workshop I taught 2 weeks ago on painting children.  I like, however, the sketchy quality of the piece, and decided to quit before I lost that effect.  I see some things I would change -- for instance, the book could be simplified, and I don't think I like the pink border being the same size as the pink dress straps.  This sketch was done from a photo of Sarah - pictured in yesterday's post - when she was nearly two.  I am almost finished with the portrait study of Evie (sketch was posted several weeks ago), and I will share it when complete!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Home Again

Nestled, 6 x 8

Well, we are back from our 2 week visit to Alaska, and we had the BEST time.... above is a little "warm up" painting I did prior to leaving, and I posted it because it is so WARM and that is the understatement for Atlanta right now, especially after our return from Sitka, where it was 52 - 65 degrees the entire time!  I was able to get some wonderful photos of greyish, smoky harbors and nice skies for future paintings.  I did not take my paints, as Michael and I devoted our time to the kids and of course, the grands - Eli and Sarah, ages 1 and 4.  I am posting 2 nice little photos of 2 of my favorite subjects!

Also, check out today for a nice post with a petite mention of a small warm up painting of mine!