Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays!!

As the holidays are upon us, I thought I would write a quick note before I go to Phoenix to celebrate Christmas with my daughter and her husband, and my two grandsons. (The photo above is of me and my family, around 1960.)
Last week I did indeed get my 6' canvas, which is beautifully stretched, and started to draw in the painting.  While I have painted this large before, it has been horizontal, or if a figure, I haven't ever painted down to the feet. 
There are a few challenges, since the model is taller than me, (and I'm painting her...close to life size) such as......I can't paint her head...eye to eye.  So I have stacked some boxes, and am standing on them to paint.  So far, it is working pretty well.  One day I will have an easel that lowers into the floor, as Mel Ramos does!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

3d out of 2d...

I should have started my commission by now, but the canvas stretchers put me off another week, due to warped stretcher bars....should be this Thursday...

So meanwhile I have started another painting.  I just love when a painting begins, and how the 2 dimensional canvas starts to give way to a 3 dimensional image!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 3...

So yesterday I decided to paint over the dry layer of paint with original Winsor Newton Titanium White, (mixed with the other colors) and the blending is much better...if you compare the closeup view to the previous close up view. I am totally loving this face!  I don't know if it is the model, or the way I am painting, but it seems very "comic book" to me.
Now I will let this dry, and I hate to even think that when I paint in the background, the skin will be way too light.....and I will have to paint it again.  I have to remind myself that this was an experiment to test the quick dry titanium white.
I have a few "famous paintings" in mind for the background, but I am open to suggestions if anyone has any brilliant ideas...something to go with her "melancholy" look.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day white paint.

After painting yesterday, I am finding that the new titanium white (quick dry) is a little harder to blend, and it looks a little "plastic" to me...more like acrylic.  While I have no problem with acrylic paintings, I am already missing my smooth, blendable titanium white.  Having said that, the painting is totally dry, and I am loving that! 
What I think I will do today is repaint the face and body, and maybe mix the two whites, or paint the top layer of paint in the old titanium white....still not sure.  If I had a background planned (I am still deciding), this would be the perfect time to paint that in, and then repaint the whole painting with regular titanium white.  What can I say....another work in progress.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Commission and New White Paint!

I have recently "secured" a very large commission (30" x 72") that I am anxious to start painting!  First I ordered my canvas, and when it was being delivered the wind caught it, and damaged the very edge.  The young man who was carrying it felt terrible, but what can you do?  I should get the new one this Thursday, and then can begin.

Anyway, one of my biggest concerns over this project is the dry time.  If you read this blog, you will see that I paint the first layer of paint and then let it dry and add another, (sometimes the final layer), then I let that dry, and then varnish (retouch varnish at this point). 

I know I live in one of the dryest parts of the country; New Mexico, but I have been waiting for one of my latest paintings to dry now for almost 2 months.  I do use liquin, but am not in love with the shininess, or the paint consistency when it is added.  I have also tried flake white, but don't like the consistency, and chalkiness of it.  I have even tried setting a heater in my drying room, but since I turn it off at night, I am worried about the hot/cold change in temperature, and how that might affect the paint.

Well, the other day, while I was at the art store, I asked about some drying methods, and the guy showed me a line of Winsor Newton Paints (which is what I generally use anyway) that drys fast.  It is called Winsor & Newton Griffin Alkyd (fast drying oil colour). The titanium white is where my biggest problem lies, so I bought a giant tube of it to check it out.

Last night I was painting skin color, taking my time, as usual....using large batches of color as I go, which I then blend.  After about 2 hours I started to notice the paint was getting a little tacky, so I hurried to blend it, wondering if it was drying too fast......this morning, much to my shock and is dry!

So now that I know I have to work a little faster, I am very excited about this new paint!  My dry time is what slows me down, and is one of the reasons I have so many unfinished paintings laying around.  I may even be able to actually finish one piece from start to finish, without starting a new painting.  Hmmm, I wonder if I can adjust???

Friday, November 18, 2011

New painting, new model!

I have finally completed my painting of my new model. As usual, I paint the first layer of paint, let it dry, and then when I get around to it, (because I have new paintings started) I paint the second layer of paint, and try to finish the painting.  The leaves in the background seemed to take forever to paint....I am really in love with her face and hair, and like I said earlier, she reminds me of a J. W. Waterhouse model...maybe it is the long red hair, I don't know, but I already have two other paintings of her in progress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


After my last post, I continue to create without the restraints, or constraints of painting for some one else, and I can say that I feel like a weight has been lifted. I even sold a painting out of the blue, with another possible sale pending. I now have an abundance of new ideas, many beautiful models to work with, and even new devices which are making my life easier!

I am now painting from my monitor, as I mentioned previously, and I also received an ipad2 as a gift from my husband.  (I must say, once you get used to enlarging images with a tap of your fingers, a pc seems a little  As the world gets "smaller", the access to art (and everything else) around the world is mind boggling!  In a good way of course.

I thought I would post another painting in progression, because, once again, it is not yet finished...I feel that with this painting I have crossed some imaginary line, and my work is getting better.  This is my newest model.  She is not only a natural model, but she has an "Eastern European" look to me, that also reminds me of a model from the late 1800's or the early 1900's.  Like a JW Waterhouse or Alphonse Mucha model....

Friday, September 2, 2011

Painting progression continues...

After a week of working on my newest painting, I am ready to post it.  I have only filled in the figure with the first layer of paint, so I will add the background, and then repaint the figure, taking into account how the background will totally change the color of the skin.  As I have mentioned before, I sometimes think I should start differently, but it is my habit to paint this way, so I continue to do it.  I like a few layers of paint over the entire surface anyway, so eventually it gets finished.
This drying time allows me to plan the background.  Sometimes I begin a painting with the whole idea in my head, but this one I still haven't decided what to put in the background...besides the bed, and maybe a few pillows. I will continue to post my progress, but am currently working on another painting.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 5

I haven't posted any photos since day two, and like usual, what started out great, has run into a few problems....I am changing a few things from the reference photo, and I really don't want to put pictures on my blog that I am not crazy about. 
I think I have worked out the problems, but probably won't post any more photos until I am happy with my revisions....and who knows how long that will take....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 2

Yesterday I continued to "block in" the hair, and started to paint the neck and shoulders.  The hair always needs many layers, especially because the burnt umber is so "thin",and it dries fast.  I never like the look at this point, but at least it is filled in, and gives an idea of what the hair will look like in the finished painting.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day One: another painting in progress...

Do I dare post another painting in progress?  I am so excited by, not only my new model, but my new way of painting, that I thought I would take a chance and show my newest painting in progress.
I have been trying to figure out how to see more detail in my photographs, whether that meant getting a new lens, a new camera or I even considered working from an ipad....After checking out lenses, I realized that I could change some of my camera settings, and that would give me more detail.  Then I checked out my neighbor's ipad, and decided it was too small for what I needed. I was talking about the problem to my son, Shane, and he suggested I get a tv monitor that I could hook up to my computer and paint directly from that.  What a good idea!
So I went out and bought a new tv monitor that is 27",(because for now that seems quite big enough.)  My husband hooked it all up for me, and so far it has been amazing!  Now I don't have to have my photos printed to paint from, and I can control the color, etc. myself, directly from the computer!  I can zoom in close to see the detail, and I think I have solved some of my problems....Yay!!
My other good news is that I have two new beautiful models!  This painting is of Ayla, and I have so many good photographs of her, it was hard to decide which one to paint first.

This first post is of painting: Day One. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Poets and Artists Magazine

The new issue of Poets and Artists Magazine came out a few days ago, and my work is included in it.  It is their Summer Extravaganza, and it doesn't disappoint!  There are many great artists in the magazine, and I am proud to be included with them. Here is the link;

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Tomorrow is my birthday, again, and I thought I would post my painting "Cakes".  This painting is at my gallery in San Francisco; Modernism.  The background is once again a Wayne Thiebaud painting.  I love his paintings and his paint quality, especially his cakes and pies as subjects!  It is always a joy to attempt to replicate one of his beautiful paintings!
It has been 2 years since I started this blog, and while I find I don't post that often, it is often cathartic to write what I am thinking in my day to day as an artist. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Newest painting!

Once again I always try to hold things offline right after I finish them, especially before a show, but since I don't have a show date yet, I thought I should post something new.  The painting in the background is by another of my favorite artists; Robert Cottingham, called "Rising Star".  I have named my painting "Rising Stars" because my model Laura is young and beautiful, and also a rising star.  I love the way the star is placed behind her, and I love adding text to a painting.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

NYC and PA

I just got back from a trip to NYC and PA, and it was a wonderful trip!  In NY I saw most of the tourist spots I wanted to see, and went to the MOMA and many galleries in Chelsea.  I saw a lot of wonderful art! PA is a beautiful part of the country, very green and "woodsy".  Very different from the west. We went to my brother's daughter's wedding in Williamsport, PA, and it couldn't have been more perfect!
I have decided that every family should have a wedding every five years or so, because there is nothing better than seeing little children, young adults, and older adults all dancing on the dance floor to the music of Rihanna, JLo, and Britney Spears, with a little Bruce Springsteen and Journey thrown in towards the end.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Caley with Modigliani"

Here is a painting that I started painting on November 9, 2010, and showed the daily progression here on my blog.  Although a painting may go relatively quickly at the beginning, I have drying time between paint layers, or sometimes I just get "stuck"!  Also I start another painting while the paint drys, and I usually end up with about 6 or 7 going at the same time, and then I take a few weeks and try to finish them.
As I have said here before; I love to start paintings, and finish paintings, but sometimes the work in between is daunting, to say the least. 

I basically went back to my original background color, although it is more blue, to go with the Modigliani.  I also repainted the red, and took out the corner edges.  Someone recently commented that the pillow on the far right is still too big, so I am pondering that, and some of my edges.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Painting

Once again I have been making great progress on finishing paintings.  Those final touches sometimes take months!  I am still keeping most of my newest work off line, but it's been so long since I posted anything new, I have decided to post one of my newest finished pieces.  I am calling it "Blue Laura" for now, but haven't decided on the final name yet.
Of course, until I sign a painting and it actually leaves my house/studio, I may still work on it.  I will actually always rework a painting if I see that it needs it.  I recently retrieved a commissioned painting I painted 8 years ago, and repainted it because I didn't like the way it looked.  BTW, it looks much better now, after all... my work has improved in 8 years...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Older Paintings

This week I have been cleaning my office, and came across many photographs of paintings that I painted over 10 years ago, that I did not have digital copies of...because they have sold.  Anyway, my scanner is working extra good right now (I don't know what happened to it?), so I scanned them.  It is nice to have a digital record of them, because they are much more easily accessed from my computer.  Here are a few of them.
I am surprised at how much I like them, but remember that the tapestry was very time consuming to paint.  I wanted to paint more "contemporary" paintings, but now think maybe I should return to painting a few "more traditional" still lifes.  PS  These are all watercolors.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


This is how far I got on Day three, but hesitate to post it because I am not sure if I want to keep all the hair on the model's right side.  If I do keep it, I have much work to do to it to make it hair.  Also I thought maybe a white background would work with Kaethe's dark hair, but now think I will go with a red background. all my progressions in progress, the paint is drying while I work on something else.  (White paint takes the longest, and red to dry...even in New Mexico.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Kaethe, Day Two.

The painting is coming along nicely, and there is nothing I like better than to add color to the face, and "mold" it with greens, blues, purples, and highlights.  I can spend a day just adjusting and readjusting, blending, and reblending the skin colors. I am really happy with the painting at this point, knowing I still have detail to add (eyelashes), and some finetuning.

New Model...New Painting Progression. Day One.

I recently had a new model come over, named Kaethe, and I got some incredible shots of her, so I thought I would paint a "quick" portrait.  Here is the progression.....although I am still working on it.  If you have followed my previous paintings in progression, I always start out quick, and then hit some wall....this time the wall is the hair.  (lol, again!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tamara de Lempicka

One of my favorite artists that I only discovered a few years ago, is Tamara de Lempicka.  She was born in 1898 in Warsaw, Poland, and led an interesting and exciting life, that would be hard to match by anyone, least of all a female artist of her time.  I have read everything I can find about her, and am excited that I am finally going to incorporate one of her paintings into one of mine, as a background painting.  Here are a few of her paintings.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blossom Art Show

I have written about this show a few times now, but after viewing the slide show of all the paintings that were accepted, I am feeling humbled to have been accepted.  The work is amazing, and it will be interesting to see who wins the $25,000.00 grand prize.  I have narrowed my favorites down to about 6, (including my own.....positive thinking), but it is hard to say whose painting was painted by whom, since the names are not under the paintings.  I did recognize a few painter's work, like Daniel Greene, and Jane Jones.  I really liked one painting of Iris', and there was a close up of a blossom with waterdrops all over it, that I really liked.  I guess we will all find out when they annonce the winner Feb. 9, 2011....

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 11...

Yesterday, I added a frame around the Modigliani, but because I wanted the frame to be's already pretty close to the bed...I made a small black frame instead of the gold larger frame I had planned.  I'm still not sure if I will keep it.  Then I darkened the background, and repainted the red sheet, maybe a bit darker.

I also paint the edges of my paintings, even if I don't use a floater frame, because it makes the painting, as a product, more finished, and I like that extra bit of ...quality.
So it is off to dry once again, and then I will decide what else to do with it.  I can say right now, that I don't feel the painting is finished.  I think I will work on the body some more, and the right hand needs some help.  It will take at least a week to dry, so although I only have 11 actual days of painting, it sure seems like longer.  :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Welcome 2011!!

I haven't posted anything for awhile, and while I have quite a few paintings in progress, I really hate to post them before they are finished.  I haven't continued to paint on my painting progression of "Caley with Modigliani", because I have been working on some other paintings, but will continue it soon.

Last night I saw on fb that the "Blossom II- Art of the Flower" has their catalog online.  Because one of my paintings was accepted to the show I clicked on and was excited to see my painting, but noticed it was a different one than I was told was accepted???  I still don't know which one is in the show..."White Cattleya Orchids", which is in the catalog, or "Pink Cattleya Orchids", which I was told was accepted.  The Blossom show people are now trying to figure it out.....

I finally got an email telling me "Pink Cattleya Orchids" was the painting to send to the show, but then a few hours later, the Blossom people called and said it was the "White Cattleya Orchids" that was accepted to the show....better get it to the framer.