Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Finally: A Free Day

6" x 9" water-oils on board
Wow. Between suddenly renting out our house, moving in with Ron's parents on the farm, starting a new job in a new career...I haven't had a moment to myself.

Until yesterday.

I went with the water soluble oil paints because I'm trying to use them up rather than throw them out, and they are old and pretty dried out in the tubes--and I had to use hand tools to help me squeeze out the paints. In the past, I've ditched these in favor of regular oil paints, but I was thinking fumes, grandson, etc. However, second choice paint is better than no paint at all! 

Now I just have to plan my week better and make time for art again.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Rusty Trike--Set to Go

 In preparing to leave our Greenwich home base, we've got to let go of some things. I've been hauling this little rusty tricycle around with me for more than 20 years--through a couple of moves, but all in the same town. Now that we're going to have only the one home, I think it's time to memorialize the trike in paint, and find someone else to appreciate its fine, sculptural qualities.


I painted this study before heading down to Bard to see
 an American Ballet Theater performance.
Misty Copeland! I've previously only seen her perform on TV.
8" x 10" oil on masonite

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Beautiful Sight (or two)!

My paint order from Blick was awaiting pickup at the post office today! Is there anything more beautiful and with more potential than a basketful of new paint tubes?

yes, actually...

my grandson, Wyatt

However, I am excited about the paints. The large, juicy acrylic tubes are for some "paint 'n' sip" style party/workshops coming up this fall. I'm facilitating one at lovely Maple Shade Farm in a week, just across the west branch of the Delaware River from our farm, Riverdale.

And the little tubes? Two new shades of oil paint for my own use--English Red and Light Yellow Ochre.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Plein Air

about half actual size oil on wood panel
It's a struggle, when painting as slowly as I do, to capture the light when it's changing all the time. Also a struggle, apparently, to depict what this actually is: foliage against a chain link fence, the back yard next door, and their gray fence on the far side of their yard.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Day What of WHAT!?

I haven't been doing nothing--far from it--but I haven't been making a painting every day. I won't go into the stupid reason for my early disillusion with the 30 Day Painting Challenge, but disillusioned as I was, I still tried to keep up, and I produced a few nice paintings! Life does get in the way though, doesn't it?

Here's a crazy Big-Brush-Devil-May-Care landscape that's realistic and abstract all together.
 For some reason, I'm always attracted to square formats.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Day 16 of 30, Zombie in New York

One more try, head-on-dead-on.
Easier to return to the same pose between dabs of paint,
but quite unsettling.

I am so done looking at me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Most days, painting time makes me happy...

...and then there are days when I attempt a self-portrait.

I must now take a walk down the street to 
drown my sorrows at the local watering hole.
painting size 6" x 8" ish, oil 

Self-portraiture brings more things to the table 
than the painting of any other subject. 


Monday, September 14, 2015


6" x 8"
Let's hope that it's just that I'm lousy at capturing a likeness.

Also, the second school tax bill came today.

Thirteen Going on Thirty

Day 12. Day 12. A wonderful day of art immersion as Chelsea and Silas showed us around Burlington, Vermont. 
A day when I was surrounded by art...that...I didn't do.
Guess I failed the 30 Day Challenge.

Here's a little painting from Day 13, 
done upon our return to Greenwich.
5" x 8", in watercolor sketchbook
Silas sent us home with boatloads of beautiful, fresh vegetables.

Friday, September 11, 2015

September 11th

and Day 11 of the 30 Day Painting Challenge, 
among other things.
6" x 8" oil on masonite

This still life stuff is turning out to be fun.
Tomorrow, I'm going to try to be less fussy with it. BIG brushes. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Plein Air Eight

From the back yard of Cassidy's apartment building in Canton, looking north toward a pasture, toward Ogdensburg, toward Canada...
6" x 9" oil on masonite

I'll resist the urge to pick it apart and focus on what I like about it, namely, the background trees and the three trees on the left. 

Every painting is a learning experience.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Seven is a Sketch

6 1/2" x 10" oil on masonite
This weekend, I visited Cassidy up in Canton, New York, and for the first time ever, set up my pochade box out in the village green, where people might see me painting! It was not as terrifying as all that, in the end, because once I was focused on getting the shapes and angles right, I lost sight of those other distractions and worries.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Day 6 of Thirty

9" x 12" watercolor
The Beast
I have no more to say.

...except, maybe...
1860's hairstyles left much to be desired. 

30 Day Challenge, Day 5, Acrylic Angst

I've stated before that I'm not fond of painting with acrylic paints. They dry on the way to the painting surface, they take on a plastic-y sheen when dry, the colors are garish, ugh. Then yesterday, I had some fun with them. I guess they have their place, and especially, if you use the right  (re: good quality) paints and surfaces.

Their place wasn't today!
4" x 6" acrylic on masonite
Yesterday, I used old tubes of Liquitex Artist series. Today, I set out to experiment with the Golden Open acrylic mini set of six I'd bought earlier this year. I have nothing to show for that. I still do not like the colors or the viscosity or the sheen. Maybe with different colors and a different day?

This blue woman, above, was painted with another experimental  set: The Atelier Interactive duo that Atelier has offered as a free sample. Not as frustrating as the Goldens, but still...meh.

I want to like acrylics! No smell, water cleanup, and the Golden Company is practically a neighbor. (Buy Local!)

Friday, September 4, 2015

30 Day Challenge--please don't laugh!

...or throw tomatoes.
acrylic 11" x 14" "tribute"
In preparation for a "Paint 'n' Sip" style team building event art party with the Veterinary Department at SUNY Delhi, I painted this Van Gogh knock-off. I've never appreciated acrylic paints, but I did have some fun with this.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Many Picture Post!

oil on hardcover book 
Mutiny on the Bounty, with my re-imagined cover painting. 

The Thirty Days of September Painting Challenge! 
Today is the...4th of September?!

My brain's been a day behind. So...

plein air oil on masonite
that would make THIS one be the painting for the 1st;

plein air oil on masonite
and THIS one be the painting for the 2nd;
(I need to cut some of these scraps that Ron found into more standard proportions)

oil paint on textured matboard
with yesterday's color chart extravaganza 
as the painting for the 3rd. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Painting Day One, of...Thirty?

So. I signed up for this painting challenge, in which the idea is to paint a new, original work each day throughout September; upload a photo of it to my blog and the challenger's blog; and see all the 780+ paintings done each day, all together.

Not surprisingly, I cannot figure out how to upload to her site and join my brethren painters. 

I'll be posting my daily paintings here, instead.  First up, yesterdays' plein air from behind our home at the farm in Delhi. I wish I'd remembered to photograph this on the "easel" (pochade box,), but I did remember by the time I was carrying it up the hill, so I photographed it on the driveway. Second photo was taken indoors, under a light bulb. I suppose the outdoor light is "truer," but I like the warmer look of the indoor photo. I'll try to use this knew knowledge in the future. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Mill on the Floss

oil paint on cloth book cover
I have no idea what this book is about.

However, the library was discarding a copy that was in extremely good shape (apparently, not too many other people in town know what it's about, either--or at least, they haven't opened this particular copy,) so I snagged it and looked up photo references to nail down the era and the possible look of a possible character.

I hope it's not a book without a female protagonist!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

In-Progress Project and Ongoing Aaargh!

Mill on the Floss  and sketch
 I've picked up another couple of library-discard-literature-type books to spruce up with new covers. Mill on the Floss is going to have this Mid-Nineteenth Century miss, as soon as I transfer my drawing to the cover and get at it with oil paints. Because I ENJOY painting portraits. A person's head is right there, a solid mass with planes and differences in value and it's expressive and interesting and...

..then there are trees. Landscapes, that is. Which I find impossibly difficult.

plein air madness
Here's my plein air attempted sketch from last weekend, done while Ron was doing a "woods walk" with some other "master foresters." It's actually the first plein air that I'm sort of, kind of, almost liking!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015

WIP Watercolor Portrait

A woman at the weirdly bald stage of the painting. 

I'll try to restrain my fussy fingers from touching much of this already painted skin as I go back to work on 
her hair and eyes and mouth. 
She's not a bad looking baldie. 

Or she wouldn't be, if she had eyes!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Is That a Donut on Your Head?

9" x 12" -ish watercolor from old family photo

I revamped my watercolor palette today. Added a couple of colors--86ed a couple more. Maud, here, was done right before my last flight to the farm, though, so she's with the old palette. 

Incidentally, Maud really did (her photo does) have super tiny ears. I think that runs in my family. And now that I see her on the screen, I see that I need to contrast up the background. With new colors!

Note: Not a donut. Just a jaunty chignon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

...aaaand a little nose job

I made some slight tweaks on this little (6" x 10") study from a black and white vintage photo. Very odd, how the colors look completely different from yesterday's post. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Free Hour!

6" x 10" oil on masonite

After weeks of painting nothing but walls, mouldings and floors, tearing out sheetrock, pulling out nails and everything else associated with either readying one house to sell or readying another to live in, I found an hour to paint from an old photo!

Yipee! It felt great.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Breaking for Change

I have not drawn or painted anything beyond demonstrations for students, for a while. I won't be painting anything beyond demonstrations for students, for a while longer, because I am spending all of my non-school time doing all of those minor  
(and major) home improvements that one has to do 
in order to try to sell a house.

I am going to put this baby up for sale and move down to our farm and live with my husband 7 days a week, instead of just weekends.

What we do for love.

Can't wait to get back to painting, though, 
and I don't mean bathroom walls. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Visual Telephone Game, or Image Connectivity

9" x 12" watercolor
This is a watercolor painting of my sister, Carol, painted fast and sloppy from a phone photo. I'm not too happy with it--should have taken my time, but a glance, to me, anyway, she looks like some actress that I couldn't immediately bring to mind,

...until I watched Episode 4 of "Wolf Hall" and saw her! 
This painting of Carol reminds me of Jessica Raines, 

from google image page
 ...BUT not as she is in "Wolf Hall," or in this "candid" shot,

also from Google image page
...BUT as she is in the first season of "Call the Midwife." Are you getting the idea that I watch too much PBS yet? However, now that I see this "Call the Midwife" shot, I am reminded of

8": x 10" oil painting
...THIS painting that I did from an old photo of 
my mother, circa 1940! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Game of Thrones: So Sad!

9" x 12" watercolor on paper
Hey! You might say. This painting is sooo dated. Arya is much more mature now, in this...5th(?) season?!

The sad, sad truth for me is: I don't have great cable. Frankly, not even good cable, unless you consider being able to watch ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and FOX as good. Oh, yeah. I get the Weather Channel. 

So I read the books and look forward to borrowing the DVDs from the library, and right now, Season 4 is in too much demand to find! Forget about what's going on in the current, HBO (Is it HBO? Maybe it's showtime or something--or that darn STARZ where I have to try to forget that they are showing OUTLANDER which is KILLING ME. KILLING ME.)

But it's Thursday, and so here's a Throw Back Thursday painting of Arya. Available on Etsy for all fans of the early seasons and spunky, sassy Arya.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pen Names and Portraiture

8" x 10" oil painting
Eloisa James is a romance novelist. 
Mary Bly is a Fordham professor.
They are one in the same.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wish I may, Wish I might

...paint portraits that look lifelike. Portraits where the skin looks touchable, and the person looks like he/she might just start talking. Portraits with an emotional edge, like those of Dean Mitchell. In the meantime, here's a watercolor painting of a Salem Washington Academy wrestling fan. 
9" x 12" watercolor
Poor choice of background, for sure.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Glare on that Crazy Hair!

8" x 10" oil on board, on the easel, wet, and bouncing the flash
This started out as a very, very labored-over self portrait. Issues...Oh, I have issues...and then I scraped off as much paint as I could (The painting looked much better as a ghost painting.)
I flipped the board upside down and whipped off this little portrait of Cassidy, allowing myself to be playful, using only the scraps and dabs of paint that were left on the palette. I don't know if that's a particularly good way to make color choices, but it worked for this one.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book Cover Redesign: Knitting Made Easy

acrylic portrait, 3 1/2" x 5"
When you think about it, the covers of a hard cover book are really the same as canvas-wrapped boards. Except not archival, or white. 

I do a lot of volunteer work at the Greenwich Free Library, and one of the constant tasks is sorting through the bazillion "donated" books that people continually drop off for our monthly used book sales. Sadly, we are forced to send many, many perfectly good books (and yes, a lot of messed up, moldy, torn, woefully outdated) books to be recycled. It's impossible to keep up with the volume, otherwise.

"Recycled" usually means "sent out to be shredded into insulation," but I've found a new way to make use of some of them. Painting practice!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Hate the Paint?: License to Play

1. Bought an inexpensive sample pack of Golden Open Acrylics.

2. Tried and failed to paint a simple landscape. And I was trying to COPY someone else's "simple" landscape so it shouldn't have been hard! I am clueless about landscape painting.

3. Had some paint left on the palette: LICENSE TO PLAY

4. Result: Fun little portrait of silent movie star Lillian Gish (with "playful" coloring)

5. Feeling a bit happy about the result of my relaxed, fast-and-dirty Open Acrylic painting, I set out to make a nice, larger, more realistic portrait, based on an old family photo. FAIL. Golden Opens might stay moist longer than traditional acrylics, but I found that they dried and became unworkable pretty darn fast. Too darn fast. My attitude about acrylics remains as it always has.

sooo...I decided that the six little tubes of paint were expendable, and I squirted out more and decided to play, throwing paint at the canvas with abandon, not caring when things looked less than right. Heck--the paint is only going to get chucked to the back of a drawer--might as well use it up!

6. Result: quirky (and slightly unfinished) portrait of that ancestor. The hair on the right got freaky when my dog decided to throw up next to me and I bolted after him.

11" x 14"
..and then the palette was scraped dry, the dog and I ran outside, and I left the painting as is.

Wacky, and possibly up for revision. Lesson learned that I will carry with me when using NICE paints:

Don't be stingy with paint amounts! Don't try to scrape by with "economy sized" dollops of paint. 

and Have Fun!

Golden Open Sampler

4" x 6" 
I have hated acrylic paints for a long time, after many failed attempts at painting with them. I always felt like the paint dried on the brush on the way to the painting surface, and I never liked the colors--particularly the greens. Blech.

BUT the other day, on a whim and with a hit-and-run visit to the art store before a doctor's appointment, I bought the little sample pack of Golden Open acrylics. I came home eager to play, and after I unsuccessfully "played" at a little landscape, I played with this little portrait, unconcerned with the actual colors, because I was just using up whatever was left on the palette from my blech landscape attempt.

It was fun. Maybe there is a place for acrylics--especially slower drying ones.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Close Cropped Kids

watercolor on paper

There's more white space around these kids in the actual painting--but my scanner is only so large.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

In progress, at the moment...
watercolor, image about 9" x 12" 
I'm painting this image of brotherly/sisterly/dog love from a very old photo, on request, and it's a struggle! I really do love painting portraits, and when I do, I tend to start with a pencil sketch, move on to a big brush and some loose washes, and then zoom in with the details when the washes are dry.

That's with faces--maybe faces and a hand or two--on 8" x 10" or 9" x 12" paper. MUCH larger scale.

This painting whole bodies/more than one being/things get tiny AND their faces must be recognizable, not generic, is challenging, to say the least. In truth, this is the third attempt from the reference photo. Here's number two, which I wrecked with a sickly green background. What was I thinking!?! (I was thinking: contrast.)
watercolor, image about 9" x 12"

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Original "It" Girl

watercolor on paper, 8" x 10"
Clara Bow was the movie star woman of the 1920's. 
She's also the reason every fresh young actress gets 
a temporary tag as "The It Girl." 

And she was "It," back in the early part of the 20th century, not only starring in the movie "It," but ensuring producers of an enormous return on their movie-making investments. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Alla Prima Interruptas

8" x 10" oil paint on canvas
Here's a problem. I found a woman's photo online somewhere (which is illegal, or unethical? I'm not claiming the ref photo as my own, nor attempting to sell the painting, but I am posting the painting. Hmm.) and began to paint her, alla prima. I intended to finish her in one couple-hour sitting, but was distracted. 

And now I have no idea where to find that photo reference.