Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I have finally gotten this painting to a point where I want to post it.  I really like it! Although that doesn't mean I won't work on it some more if I feel it needs it.  (Sometimes after a painting sits for a while, I see things that I don't see immediately after I "finish" the painting.) 

To me this painting has a spiritual feel to it, I think because of the circle, and the way my model is holding her arms.  I especially love my model's face!  What a beauty!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Close up photo.

I have been working with my new camera, and editing, but think I may need to take a class...I keep thinking my focus seems a little off, so here is a closeup at Vivid setting, to see if this looks more like the actual painting...or more how I'd like it to

Monday, November 26, 2012


I am still trying to finish up some paintings that I have been working on for awhile.  I paint the figure first, then the background, and then do it all over again.

Time to repaint the background, making it brighter and with thicker paint.  Then when the background dries, I will loosen the hair up a bit.  Getting closer to being finished!  Yay!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Painting Update.

I have been posting a lot of unfinished paintings on this blog, and then I see them on other blogs in their unfinished states, and cringe a little.  Anyway, I am finally at the point of having so many unfinished paintings, that I am buckling down and working on finishing some of them.

This painting; "Gumballs with a Prize" has been blogged (by me) quite a few times, but I knew the back wasn't quite I have revised it once again...and hope this is finally the finished painting.

Monday, October 1, 2012

International Artist Magazine Article

A few weeks ago I got an email message from International Artist Magazine that they were going to print my article "Recreating What You Find to be Beautiful".  I was a little confused, because I had written an article for the magazine two years earlier, but with a different title.

So I got out the article I had written, and realized that it probably was the same article.  I wrote the magazine, and sent them newer photos/paintings, to supplement the article .....but alas, when I found the magazine at Barnes and Noble, while in Phoenix last week, it was basically the original article I had written.  I'm not complaining, but it did take me by surprise.  I had assumed that they were not going to run the piece.


The article is 8 pages long, the figurative pieces seem a little orange, and they printed two paintings in progress that are almost the same.  I thought they would run one of a figurative painting in progress, or a flower painting in progress, but not two white floral paintings in progression.....

I guess the lesson learned is that the magazines will print what they want, so only sent what you really want to see in print.

In the end it is a privilege to be in the magazine, and a wonderful way for people all over the globe to see my paintings!  To see the completed pieces, go to my website .

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Painting in progress continues...

I have continued to paint  on this painting, and have added and adapted an Art Nouveau design to the background.. I still hesitate posting the entire painting, although I have posted it on my facebook Suzy Smith Art page.  I still haven't resolved and completed the whole painting, but love where it is going!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Blogs...a thing of the past....already???

My son has informed me, through articles, that blogs may becoming a thing of the past, and that Tumblr and Instagram are the way to go.  Another article commented on how most bloggers now are middle aged women or young mothers......probably true.

Having said that, I still write on my blog, although not that often, and I use it almost like a journal.  I also keep a journal, but find I am writing less and less in it, (more personal stuff) and instead post on my blog.  For my Tumblr and Pinterest accounts, I use those mostly for finding ideas and fashion that I can use in my paintings.  Whereas I used to have to pull out all the images I wanted to use as a "jump off" place, (for a photo shoot) in folders of images torn from magazines, I now just go to my ipad, and pull up the beautiful visions, and multitude of ideas.  As far as Instagram goes, I am just getting started on that.

I think blogs are still a good thing, and I go to many art blogs that are amazing.  Also I noticed that on Pinterest, many of the food pictures link to food blogs, which is where you can find the recipe for the wonderful dish.  The same goes for crafts.  I find I need to buy fewer magazines.  Maybe blogs are just evolving with the culture.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Gumballs with a Prize"

As I continue to work on the painting from the previous post, I am not ready to post it yet.  (It is looking amazing though!)
I recently posted a photo of my painting of my model with gumballs on facebook, and then realized that it was not the finished painting, so I am posting the finished painting here.  (Although I am going to do a little more work on the lower back.)
As a side note, I just read an article in the Artist's Magazine (Sept. 2012), titled: Back to the Garden. It talks about nude versus naked, and interviews Juliette Aristides, Anthony Ryder, Sharon Sprung, Costa Vavagiakis and Mary Beth McKenzie.  These artists are all exceptional figurative painters, but what interested me most was their thoughts on the "model as muse".  Because I have been painting Harmony for so long, I can totally relate to what they are saying. (This is my latest photo of the painting, and it is a little shiny on hair, upper right....will rephotograph.)

Aristides says: "The idea of a muse encapsulates a real phenomenon: meeting someone who captures your imagination. A particular model can physically complete an artist's thoughts and give clothing to an idea--it's a real collaboration and not something you can set out to make happen."

Sharon Sprung says she feels fortunate that she can work with the same model over time.  "It's woman painting woman; the model feels safe," she says.  "The picture is a portrait of me, as well as the model."

Then Costa Vavagiakis, goes even further by saying; "There's a level of detail that's developed over time. A model makes a commitment.  "It becomes symbiotic," he says.  "You (the artist) are a vessel, and she's a vessel.  There's a receiving back and forth."  He also says: "Nothing presents the human presence as much as the gaze back."

I agree with all those statements and feel that finding a model that you can work with, get to know, and paint over and over is one of the pleasures of painting figurative paintings.  Hopefully when you find that connection, the emotion, feeling, and beauty come through in the painting.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Painting continues...

I have "laid in" the first layer of paint on the figure, and think it is looking amazing!  The figure is very pale, which I really like.  As my work has evolved over the years, my palette has changed, and I now use much less orange, or color in my skin tones.  Also I have noticed a trend of pale skin in fashion and make up.

After I add the background, (which I have already started), the figure will probably have to be darkened, and refined, of course, but for a first layer of paint, it is looking good.  I will post pictures of the painting with the background when I am further along....

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day Two....

Yesterday I worked on the hair.  Blocking it in, and then I'll go in later and refine it...probably more than once. I have been adjusting the face color as I go along, and once again think I prefer my old camera's photo of the painting.  The new camera seems too light, and when I put it on vivid it turns too orange and green.  When I darken it, it somehow lacks definition???  (Still working it out.)

At this point, I start to consider the background.  My husband suggested wings, which would look really cool, if I could get them to look real enough.  (I just don't want it to look too Victoria Secret.)  And while I know "you" haven't seen what the whole image that I am painting will look like, yet, I am thinking of incorporating something I have never done.......but I'm not quite ready to share it.  It could be amazing!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Painting!

I have many paintings that need to be finished, but felt like I needed a "jump start", to get me moving forward, so I started a new painting.  My photography has gotten better, and my models have been extraordinary, so here is my newest painting in progress.  It is only a little more than one day's work.  I don't ever post nude photos of my models, but I thought this might be interesting to show a photo of my model; Harmony (head only), next to the painting in progress.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Photographing paintings....

I realize I haven't posted for awhile, but I have been so busy trying to get some paintings finished, and I am glad to say that it is coming along nicely!  If you have read this blog before you know that I love to start paintings, but that in between part, sometimes get tedious. Dealing with background etc.  My favorite thing to paint is the figure, (unless it is a still life painting, lol) so these past few weeks have been a joy, taking my first layer of quickly laid paint, and softening and smoothing it to look like creamy white skin. 
New camera

Old camera

My current muse/model, has the most beautiful fair skin, and combine that with the fact that I have learned how to take better photographs, so her skin doesn't look so orange, I think the combination has greatly improved my paintings!

New Camera

I am still getting used to my new camera, and am learning more everyday.  I cannot seem to get the same look of the actual painting in the photograph.  I have tried changing most all of the settings, so I even tried using my old camera.  I am going to post a few of the different photos of one painting, using different settings and even different cameras.
Old camera

The painting; my "muse" with another Thiebaud painting, (no title yet) is still in progress (left hand still has first layer of paint, and you can see how much more yellow it is), and I can't wait to punch up the background with another layer of thick paint!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


It may seem like my posts have been few and far between...and they have!  After I finished "Dessert is Served", (my 6' commission), shipped it off to San Francisco, and waited for word on how my client liked it, my husband and I took a vacation to St. Croix!
It was such a wonderful trip, very secluded, gorgeous scenery, the ocean, no phone service (Verizon), with free wifi at our hotel...on the beach!
To make the trip even better, I got an email from Modernism saying that the painting had been delivered and the client was happy!  Then on the way home from St. Croix I got an email from the client saying he was pleased with the painting!  Nice!

Now, it is back to work!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Model/Muse...

I have not known my model for very long, but have photographed her many times, and currently have painted 7 paintings of her.  Two are finished, and 5 are in varying degrees of being finished.  There is something about her face, and modeling ability that infatuate me.
I have a feeling that I should call another model, but can't seem to do  I do like to "exhaust" a "theme" before I move forward, so I guess I will see how the path unfolds before me......

Last week my beautiful model came over to have her picture taken with the commissioned painting I painted of her.  My husband was not there to photograph us together with the painting, but I had some plumbers working on our vents, so I enlisted one of them to come in and photograph us....I should have checked the photos before he went back to work, because they are pretty blurred.  But since they are the only ones I have, I am posting some of them.

Monday, March 12, 2012


If you have been reading my blog posts you know I have been working on a large (72" x 30") painting for the past several months.  I have been hesitant to post work in progress since it is a commission, and I didn't want to spoil the "big reveal". 

Having said that I think I am ready to post the painting!  The whole process, from beginning to end has been pretty much a joy!  My client is the one who came up with the idea for the painting, and it was just such an incredible idea, that I was glad we could bring it to reality.

My client is an avid art collector, and has recently ventured into Pop and Modern art.  He is lucky enough to own a Wayne Thiebaud painting; "One and 1/2 Cakes".  After seeing my paintings that include a Wayne Thiebaud reproduction behind my nudes, he visited my gallery in San Francisco; Modernism, and purchased my painting "Cakes".

I asked him if I could see a photo of his Wayne Thiebaud, and he emailed it to me, along with the suggestion that perhaps I could paint a nude holding a tray with cakes on it, welcoming people who enter his San Francisco apartment, where his painting "One and 1/2 Cakes" is hung.  I said I thought that sounded great, and called my model, baked 2 3-layer cakes to replicate the painting's cakes, and had a photo shoot as a "jumping off" point  Since the real cakes were kind of a mess, (lol) my client suggested maybe I try painting the cakes to look like his painting.

That is what I did, and I am amazed at how it turned out, and without too much trouble....I can say now.  Because the painting is taller than I am, I had to stand on boxes and a board to paint the head, and it was difficult to get a sense of the whole painting when I was painting the lower legs, but other than that, it went rather smoothly.

In the end, I decided to keep the painting in a kind of "pinup" style, keeping the figure light, and I think it really works.  Photographing the painting has proven problematic, in that the head (hair) is photographing dark, and I haven't quite figured out how to shoot it perfectly yet. So now I have to let the painting dry, varnish it, come up with a title, and ship it to San Francisco!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I haven't posted anything for a while because I have been so busy painting.  Here is a sneak peak of the cakes in my newest painting....still in progress.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gold Leaf

I have wanted to use gold and silver leaf in my backgrounds for quite awhile.  Last year I researched how other artists are using it, and bought some gold and silver leaf.  Last week, while some other paint was drying I tried it.....and it is rather beautiful, but I am working on getting the background more.....smooth.  I have never seen a painting in real life that has incorporated this method, so I am not sure how...completely gold it gets.  I would like to have a smooth gold finish that looks like a bar of  shiny gold, (who wouldn't?) but am wondering with the weave of the canvas if that is possible.
I first painted a design before I added the gold leaf , in a circular pattern that reminded me of Gustav Klimt's backgrounds.  The design shows through a little, but I think I could use more paint and build up a cool looking design, and it would have an even more "Klimt" look to it.
This painting looks a little yellow, perhaps from the gold leaf, and I still have much work to do on the face, but thought I would post it anyway.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


It's been a while since I posted any new painting photos, because I have been so busy painting.
After making it through the holidays, trying to paint every chance I got, I have made significant progress on my 6' commission.  I have finally reached the point of  showing my clients a photo of the painting, and they are pleased with the results so into the home stretch!

While letting paint dry, and trying to make some final decisions on the commission, I have painted a background (first layer of paint) on one of my other paintings.  (I must say, I could paint this model forever, and never get tired of her!)  This painting is one of my favorites of her, and I have added one of Charles Bell's paintings; "Gumball Section A" to the background.

Charles Bell is another Photorealist, and his work is not only amazing, but captures an entire era with the subjects he paints.  I have painted gumball machines myself, and even have a collection of them.   ( This painting is not completely finished yet either, but is closer....)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Andrew Wyeth (reposted)

 "Chistina's World"
(I originally posted this in November 2009, but when the images diasappeared, I had to find, and repost them, and I was reminded what a great man Andrew Wyeth was!  I felt the need to repost...)

Andrew Wyeth died almost a year ago (January 16, 2009) at the age of 91. I was never so much a fan of his work, as I was an admirer of his work, until I recently finished reading a biography on his life and art: Andrew Wyeth A Secret Life, by Richard Meryman. It is such a wonderful book, that I hated to finish it! Not only does the book give one a better understanding of Andrew himself, but also of his father, NC Wyeth, and his son Jamie Wyeth (both artists). The book delved into their interesting, and complicated relationships with one another. The story of NC's death was heartbreaking, but the perspective on death from Andrew (learned from his father) was fascinating! They seemed to view death as they did life....and that is possibly what makes Andrew's work so interesting to me. In a time when modern art was thriving, Andrew managed to stay true to himself and his work. He painted what he knew, and never questioned it. (He had watched his father "sell out", just to keep his family happy in the style to which they were accustomed.) I had always wondered how the Helga paintings came about, and I thought there may have been a hidden agenda, until I read about them. The story makes total sense, and I personally feel they are some of his best work, although maybe since I am currently painting nudes, they resonate with me. (We even get to see how the lives of his models sometimes turn tragic.) The era Andre Wyeth grew up in is certainly an age gone by, and I found it fascinating to share that time, while reading the book. His paintings definitely have a quiet solitude to them that I find immensely pleasing, that also records a time not so far in our past. Check out some of the Andrew Wyeth portraits on YouTube, and definitely read the book! If you like, or are curious about the Wyeth family, it will be well worth it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photos on blog seem to have disappeared???

While I was reviewing my blog, I noticed that many of the painting images have disappeared, and have big exclamation marks on everyone seeing this?  I have been trying to repost them, but there are so many....

Commission continues.....

I just finished painting the shoes on my six foot figure!  That means the whole body has it's first layer of paint, and, so far, the paint is drying fairly fast.  (I decided not to use the quick dry paint, because I am not sure how I like seems kind of "plastic" to me when it dries, and I am a fan of the way oil paint looks when it is dry....which I think is extremely important when painting a Thiebaud cake.)
My next decision is how to handle the shadows in the background.....after I paint the background, then I will repaint the entire figure, and see what I think.....
And since I always like to post a photo of a painting, here is "Cakes!", with Wayne Thiebaud's painting "Cakes" in the background.

Monday, January 2, 2012

One and 1/2 Cakes!

I have been working on my painting commission that "incorporates" my client's Wayne Thiebaud painting; "One and 1/2 Cakes".  The Thiebaud painting is amazing, and today I am starting to paint the cakes!  The idea of the commission came from my client, and it is a "shift" from what I usually do, but in a very creative way.  When presented with the idea, I was totally taken with it, and the pieces have fallen into place nicely.  I don't think I will post any photos of the actual painting until it is further along, or possibly when it is finished, but here is a photo of the original Wayne Thiebaud painting.....oh I look forward to the day when I actually own a Wayne Thiebaud of my own...