Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Ten

Well, it is that time (i.e., the end) of the year, when we are deluged with top 10's on movies, restaurant openings, books, etc.  So, why not add to the fray?  I'm posting my top ten "whoa" moments when I discovered certain paintings.  They follow in no particular order:  some are works by my friends, some by well-known painters, and some that I just swerved across on the internet. Enjoy this varied and interesting assortment!

Tom Balderas

Jacob Collins

Kathy Cousart

Neil Hollingsworth

Isabelle Melchior

Gavin Brooks

Juanita Kauffman

Zhaoming Wu

Bill Davidson

Evert Ploeg

Happy New Year !

Monday, December 19, 2011

Amaryllis Thoughts

Studio Table

Last week at the flower market, I found some beautiful cut amaryllis, which were headed for my dining room table.  The flowers took a petite detour into my studio, where I wanted to do a quick study, aiming to keep it loose and fresh.  Below are some photos I took during the painting session, from about 1 - 5 p.m. 

Start - I did a pretty strong sketch in paint,
 to help me figure out the flower shapes

Adding Color

Moving forward, and then...

Backing up -- i.e. wiping off (!) flowers on the left side, 
which were getting over-complicated and murky

Re-stating, just before I stopped for the day

Touch-ups galore were done the next day... i.e., I changed the background a bit, tried to soften the strong X in the middle formed by the crossing stems, adjusted highlights, etc. and my quick study ended up being less than quick.  Meanwhile, as I look at the finished painting below and the close-up above, I like that cropped image better!  

Oh well, there's always next year, and other paintings to be created : )  Have a very Merry Christmas!  

Fresh Start, 20 x 30

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas is Coming...

Say It in Red, 16 x 16

And I've been goofing off!  YAY... one week of running around, shopping, doing the tree and the house (sort of) and just generally having a great time.  But, I HAVE been tweaking a few paintings for the Huntsville (AL) Museum Gala Event in March.  Since I'm the featured artist this year,  I spent much of November creating 15 pieces for the show.  Unlike many painters, I like to paint without the pressure of shows.  It really is just a preference, I think.  Some artists like/want/need a deadline of an exhibit and rise to the challenge admirably.  I would not be in that group!!  Somehow, the path of painting for me is way more fun and productive when it's a want-to instead of a have-to.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Puff Piece

Photo of me painting "en plein air"

Well, it was flattering to me that Huff Harrington Fine Art, my principal gallery here in Atlanta, organized an article in The Atlantan magazine featuring the Provence painting trips I hosted at Les Murets in September.  I like the article -- to me, it captures the essence of our "not just painting" experience in France!   Totally FUN....  and, 2 spots have opened for September, 2012 - best for 2 art friends, as they would be rooming together.  Check it out at, and click the link for Painting in Provence.  Au revoir!

Link to article: 

Monday, November 28, 2011


   Subtle Surprise, 10 x 10 (2011)

Or, maybe this post should be called "Re-Gifting!"  I have painted light flowing across beribboned boxes for several years now (especially at Christmas); trying different approaches keeps me interested -- and/or frustrated!  

This was the set-up

One of the first takes I did on a box tied with satin ribbon was three years ago, below:

Don't Tell, 10 x 10  (2008)

This one is more Christmas-y, with high value contrast.  I like the freshness here, and feel that I did a better job on the satin ribbon...maybe the first time's the charm!  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Les Petites Oeuvres and Other Fun

Ooh La La, 6 x 6

Well, here is a little MacKenzie - Childs vase that I just HAD to buy, as I loved the jauntiness of it! Since it is "small works" season at Huff Harrington and all around, I get to do what I really enjoy -- painting in the small format. As I often preach, little studies invite immediate response and loose brushwork, which are goals of mine in all of my paintings.  I guess that these little ones reduce my investment in the outcome -- which usually results in a better outcome!

And a few more:

Radish Dance, 6 x 6

BFF's, 6 x 6

Monday, November 14, 2011

Before and After

Solitaire,   30 x 30,  Original Version

Solitaire, 30 x 30,  New Version ( colors are closer to the actual in this photo )

Well, I'm not sure if I improved matters, but I saw the original version at Huff Harrington a few weeks ago, and thought it looked too flat, as though someone had been sitting on the roses.   So I brought the painting home and added the upper rose on the left, intending to play the angles.  Now it looks to me like I glued the new rose onto the painting (maybe I need to warm it?)  Yikes, I hate going back into a painting ... but the desire to "improve things" is always there, tempting me to tinker --  I have a feeling that it's not done yet! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

OK, Here They Are

Well, I am posting some very cool paintings done at last Sunday's "Fall Tune Up" workshop at Huff Harrington.  Wish I had taken some shots of the set-ups, and the people, but at workshops I start running around and forget to take photos.  Luckily, my painting friends sent me some!

Photo of my hand (!) during a speedy demo on warm-up paintings.  
Meanwhile, look at the good radish paintings created by participants that day:

Elizabeth Lines, strong design, soft touch

Ilene Baker, bold and free

Jean Dortch - loose and colorful

Daly Smith - shimmery and warm

Margaret Hutchinson - dynamic and expressive

And look at the paintings of my old French confit pot:

Kathy Cousart, simple and strong

Jean Dortch, done with a paper towel, no less!

Now, on to irises, which I warned people not to do -- too complicated, etc. --  and they made a liar of me:

Daly Smith, soft and sophisticated

Regina Holderness,  dynamic design and complimentary color

That's me again - another swift demo before I set them loose! Whew, these dynamos put me to shame...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Positive Vibes

Rose Meditation, 6 x 6

Yesterday, I taught a one-day workshop at Huff Harrington, with THE nicest group of painters, many of whom are friends from past classes, along with some new and fun additions!  It was a high-energy, fast-paced practice session, using a limited palette, doing 3 - 6 studies from simple set-ups of fruit, crockery, flowers.  One gal did SIX paintings, working in between 3 brief demos and lunch : )

We talked about the importance of shorthand -- i.e. less strokes, more paint, shape rather than detail. We tried to remember to look more, paint less.  We talked about giving up our investment in each painting "turning out." Maybe because of that, so many paintings done yesterday were strong, colorful and free-- I'll post some images next time!  

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Christine, 12 x 12

Yvonne, a painter and friend, sometimes hires a model and invites several others on consecutive Mondays for a few hours.  I went two weeks ago, and didn't get a painting I liked, but I did do this brief sketch that evokes a bit of the elegant pose.  Life studies of all subject matter are SO important, as I quickly realized after about a year away from live models...I am going again next Monday, and look forward to seeing what develops!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Flower Dance, 6 x 6

Lately, I've been doing lots of 6 x 6's -- a good thing, since I have been noodling ideas for larger formats, but not settling on any yet (i.e wiping out).  For me, it's a challenge to develop new approaches while keeping up with commitments.  Figuring out the balance is my current (and ongoing) quest.  YIKES!  So the 6 x 6 studies are comforting, relatively risk-free, and keep the painterly paint paint paint going.  I am seriously aiming to release the HAVE TO vibe, and find the WANT TO, inspired feeling that we all seek (and yet get the paintings out there too : ) 

One space just opened for the workshop this coming Sunday, November 6th, at Huff Harrington Fine Art in 404-257-0511 on Monday if you want to join us from 9 - 4:00 - one day only - with the focus on feeling the subject and eliminating detail!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Green and Blue

Green and Blue Bottles, 6 x 6

SO glad to be back in Atlanta, after our trip to Provence and then out to Alaska to see the kids...we had a truly wonderful time, both places, but I really like being back to the rhythm and comforts of home.  And, oh yes, back to my easel too!  I have been doing lots of 6 x 6 life studies, always trying to loosen up and practice seeing nuance and little bits of truth.  I can see that I was somewhat bolder with the 2nd bottle painting below, which was done 2 days after the one above...

Bottled Up, 6 x 6 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Table at Les Murets

Quick sketch of the table, large shapes

The real deal

Well, long time, no blog...I wanted to post from Provence, but wifi a bit sketchy and time was fleeting.  Meanwhile, the trip was just great!  We were there for  2 weeks, with 2 different groups, lots of gorgeous weather, amazing evenings (wonderful wines too!) overlooking the Luberon, painting mornings and afternoons in different settings.  Of course, we also found time to browse local markets,  enjoy gourmet lunches at quaint restaurants, and laugh together each evening at La Table!

The group painted in different settings, but the focus everywhere was on seeing the large shapes, seeing values, keeping it simple, simple, simple!  I nagged everyone to use bigger brushes (as usual)!  We contended with a mistral, for real, the first week on the very first day, forcing most into a cafe for a sip of wine (save one hardy soul -- not me -- who braved the winds).  Photos follow of the wonderful people, the paintings done and partially done, and a glimpse into the magic of Les Murets, the lovely home that was our base.

The smiling and gracious Ann Huff, creator of this magical place, dans la cuisine

Angels Mary, Kelly, Nancy, Georgia, and Rhonda take on Cassis - watch out!

Crystal Cox, beside Lac du St. Remy


Juanita Kauffman, smiling at the beauty found in Isle Sur La Sorgue

Three Huffingtons (Dawne Raulet, Ann Huff, and me)

Mary Muir, braving the winds

Nancy Armstrong and Georgia McAuley gathering onlookers in Cassis

 Sunlit Salon chez Les Murets, our home in Provence

Dawne Raulet and John Jenkins, first day

Kathy Broyles, early morning light

Kathy's study

Juanita's oeuvre

Sketches, petits et grands

More impressions

Nice painting by Janah Doles (view from the terrace)

Last Morning

Au Revoir!