Monday, December 31, 2007

Good turpentine is good.

Everyone remembers vics vapo rub, but do you know that one of it's main ingredients is turpentine? (it is a part of that good smell). Turpentine can also be found in lipstick and many other everyday products that no one is afraid of.

I use turpentine. Not the crappy kind that comes out of China though. Instead of tapping living trees to make the good stuff- China has been grinding up the whole tree- stumps and all. Then they boil it and do who knows what to it.

"Just imagine what sort of maple syrup you would get if you boiled up roots, branches and leaves."
~ Rob Howard

If you have smelled any of this, it would be understandable to think that turpentine stinks. This bad stuff is really bad for you- and unfortunately it has the same name as the good kind. People read the health warnings about the bad stuff and think that it applies to all of it- it does not.

You are welcome to stop by my studio and smell my good turpentine. Compare it to the the crap that you buy at the hardware store, and too often lately, even at the art supply store. Mine smells so good that I defy anyone to complain- unless they just like complaining.

You can buy some of Studio Products great smelling turpentine here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Still Percolating......

Well, and it is the holiday season. I do go to the studio and work. I did a few color studies this week and a nice little painting. I am not showing my crap anymore though. I believe what is said about us being judged by our last painting. My last few have been pretty bad by the standards that I am working toward. BUT- there are big ideas percolating.

I have also committed to doing a new self portrait this month. The last one that I painted was still a WIP when 9-11 happened. After sitting on the couch watching the news for a few weeks, when I finally went to the studio to finish it, I was too changed to complete it. There were a few mirror head from life paintings since then- but they were not so much self portraits as head practice. I have a few ideas about how I want to go about this new SP, which I hope to start this week. (if my family would get out from under my feet:-)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Art for Sale

It is still Christmas shopping season- which means that you find me hiding out- disgusted with what has become of this beautiful season. I am in the studio today- working on drawing and also working on something new...

A Store! (I know, building a store is an unusual way to protest shopping :-) I have been thinking about a store for me for a long time- but have been so busy building sites and stores for other people, (it is what I do when I am away from the studio) that I never got around to it. So far, no decision has been made exactly what will be sold at the store- I am open to ideas. Probably it will be used to sell my own original work as well as prints. There is also the possibility that it will represent artists- but this idea is not quite worked out yet.

Anyway- not open for business yet, am still hacking the software to get it to do what I want. But watch for updates.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I have been working, but not very hard.... actually, mostly percolating, an important part of my job, I think.
I did finish a nice little portrait today, and will try to get a picture of it tomorrow (if I still like it when I get to the studio:-) The best part of the little portrait was that I limited the palette to Yellow ochre, Pyrol Ruby and black- with just those colors, along with some studioproducts optical white, I was able to nail my fleshtones very easily.
It is snowy and cold here, which is working wonders toward putting me in the mood for Christmas. I would really love it if it were not for all of the gift BS. I am looking forward to the Christmas, (and it is coming) when I say NO to all of the shopping and buying a bunch of crap for people that I love but who need nothing. Since I am still kind of stuck with shopping, I am very grateful for the internet again- this time for keeping me out of the mall.

I hope you have a great week, full of the love and peace of the season, and not too much shopping...(unless you are one of those people who like shopping.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Grey Dots- they match the sky

The sun came out for a few minutes today. We have had nothing but dark days for a while now, and a few days of ice storm. I was so excited to see the sun that I ran out and snapped a picture.

The weather has me getting to the studio later, and cuddling up with a book and a warm drink when I get there. I have a few things on the easel, for future unveiling, but for now, I can share this little exercise. I know it looks simple, but mixing the grays to the right value was the exercise, and I am pleased with how it turned out. In this picture, it is hard to see the difference in the higher values. I will try to get a better picture- because the steps are there, perfectly munsell too.

I saw a picture of something like this somewhere on the web, a Reilly demo or page about Munsell, I don't remember where I saw it, but it looked like a valuable lesson. And I am not one to pass up a painting lesson. If you know where I got this idea from, let me know so that I can give someone the credit.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

BANG BANG! bangbangbang BANG bang bang BANG!!

Ah, Christmas at the Dole. Carriage rides and pictures with Santa. The various Orchestras played all day. There were dancers and little kid choirs. The chef mad some wonderful dainty foods.

This week in studio I worked on a few drawings, did a pastel portrait and did three hours of life painting from a model. I also cleaned and prepared for the Christmas at the Dole. Friday was the first day, and an opportunity to show my work to the people who like to wander the building.

I offered my studio for space for a Saturday activity and was given Home Depot. The folks from home Depot were great, and the kids were fun too. The Bang bang bang of the hammers from 9:30 to 3 was an interesting experience, (there was never a moment when they were not hammering). The different surfaces to hammer on, hollow plastic table, wood table and cement floor, and the difference in hammering technique gave me the chance to really practice going to that "Zen Place".

It was fun- glad it is over.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I went to the studio today. first time after the holiday. It felt good to sit and play with some water colors, drink my good studio coffee and get away from the family. Don't get me wrong, I love to be with my family, but I also love to go to a quiet place and work. Last night I finally got around to preparing some panels. They already had linen glued on, so I gave them a good coat of oil/lead primer. Now while I wait for those to dry- I have one ready with linen and glue alone. I think that I will give it a good coat of shellac and start it on Monday.

The turkey was good this year. The gravy might have been the best that I have ever made, and I have been making thanksgiving dinner since I was 14 years old. This year we had 17 around the table.

I always give my best for the Thanksgiving meal. I do not skimp on anything, and there are nods to all my long dead relatives in the foods that I choose. The chocolate covered peanuts in a dish by the door, a nod to my mother's mother. She gets a second nod with the "green stuff" a jello creation that she always made. I like to think that if she had made it through the 1970's, she would have given it up for something else- but she died in 1973, so much as I laugh at jello, grandma's green stuff is on the table, (though I did change the recipe, replacing the horrible coolwhip with real whipped cream that I whip myself). My other grandma, Dad's Mom, used to bring an oyster casserole of some kind. It was covered with browned cracker crumbs. I do not feel bad that I do not make that- no one ate it when she was alive. Her oyster casserole dish is always on the table, with the stuffing in it. We also use her silver, her linens and her glass candle sticks.

Uncle Jan used to come to my house every year. One year I spent a few days creating the most amazing cranberry sauce, only to have my very smart and food savvy uncle complain through the whole meal because there were no can lines. Apparently the can lines were a nod to his grandma, my great grandmother. Even though Uncle Jan died suddenly a few years ago- canned cranberry sauce will always be a part of my thanksgiving. Only now they are a nod to him, (all dressed up looking silly in their parsley garnish on a china plate).

The bird is stuffed and roasted in the old Nesco Roaster. The wine is always Red.

Excuse my little diversion from the subject of painting... I just love Thanksgiving. Now looking forward to getting back to work.:-)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

And on the seventh day we get to rest...

Sunday after noon in the fall. Rick is out raking up the last of the leaves, I have a delicious pot roast cooking on top of the stove. I have evolved to adding a bottle of red wine to my old pot roast recipe, so it really smells good here today.

I am about to hit the garage and prime up some panels with the Studio Products Lead primer. It really is my favorite surface to paint on - a nice panel with linen fixed with rabbit-skin glue and then the lead primer. I love the way that the brush glides on that surface. It is not the only surface that I use. Sometimes I use gesso, not acrylic gesso, but rabbit-skin glue and marble dust gesso. And sometimes I paint on linen that has been fixed with rabbit-skin glue and then shellac , which leaves the warm fabric color showing through. The rabbits always suffer (actually it is a byproduct from other industries, so please do not think that the rabbits are dying for art).

Not sure if I ever mentioned that I am listed on Saatchi. You can see that here. Take a look, it was fun to do. I love looking around at Saatchi at all the artists around the world who show there. There are so many artists every where that you look - Isnt't that wonderful!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lemon Yellow Day

I love
Munsell book!

Today was a color study day for me, this is what I was working on. Pretty self explanatory, so I wont expand.

It looks so easy, painting a lemon, but do notice that I am not showing the painting that I made. :-)

New England Adventure

Am back from Boston- got back Tuesday. Wow, what a long drive- 17 hours just a little too long to make in one day alone.

The show was nice, New England was gorgeous and the Barn was quaint. Only sold 3 pieces, but my work was very well received- I was honored to be invited. It was slow for all of the artists there this year. I suspect that it is the housing market and the price of gasoline. Not to mention that in that part of the country, most homes are heated with fuel oil, which is more expensive than it has ever been.

I stayed with friends while I was there, which was great. Really getting some time to sit down and talk- and hug in the real world. :-)

I even met someone on the way home, and he gave me a little something to remind me of the trip- a souvenir . I am adding his picture too.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

So much to do, so little time.

Dear friends, I am busy busy busy these days, preparing for my 2 November shows. If you know me, you know that busy and I do not get along very well. It is pretty bad when I am finding myself looking forward to December to relax... I mean, who relaxes in December?

Today I am painting a little piece to be used on the LLAP Christmas cards. I thought that I would do it small to make it easier- not sure what I was thinking as this small size is needing me to be very fussy with detail. Not ready to show yet.

The other day we had an exciting day at the studio. We had a world class violinist, ballerinas and opera singers at the Arts Park. They are making a documentary film about the place. This bit of video was made by the news crew who came to document the film crew. Click for video clip

I will be in the movie too, when it is released, mixing purple paint.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

View From the Door

This is my second post today. I posted about my upcoming show earlier, but this is also on my mind.
My studio holds a whole bunch of easels and a 10 foot mirror, all waiting to host a workshop. Many of you know that there was a workshop scheduled for June, but it was postponed. I am looking for painters to come and hold a workshops in my studio. The positives are that it is a great space with easy access to O'hare international airport- an airport that is easy to get to from just about everywhere. There is also a train nearby that will take you to the city, if a field trip to the Art Institute is in order. We have 24 hour access to the facility- And the coffee is great too:-)

Please send an email if you think that you might like to come to the mid-west and hold a workshop.

Driving to Boston!

I will be heading to the Boston area in a few weeks to try and sell some paintings, and make some contacts in the community. You can read about the show on the Got-Art website.

The curator for the event came all the way to my studio this summer, to scout my work and invite me to show my work. I love the mission statement of Got-Art, and I have plenty of work to bring. Look for me on November 9th at the Holliston Historical Society. I have already been the artist of the week on their webpage, but sign up for updates. Let them know if you are in the area and thinking of showing up for the show.

Here is what is on my easel today. At the moment, i think it is finished, but it has only been ten minutes, so I may go back into it. It is a crappy glare filed picture, (with the color all off too) but I felt like sharing anyway.
24x24 oil on linen on panel

Thanks for looking in on my blog :-)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Painting Poodles

I have been painting. Today I almost finished the new poodle still life that I have been working on.

Nothing much to say.... today I am thinking that painting is a solitary journey.

Which is really good if you like the company :-)

Friday, October 5, 2007


Today was one of those glorious slow studio days. No painting on the easel, but a beautiful day with good music on the ipod and good coffee in the pot. I re-read the whole color chapter in Grado's Mastering the Craft of Painting and took the poodles around the mansion taking reference pictures. And I got out my big glossy munsell book and mixed paints.

Three new colors on my color wheel, and since I painted all of my high chroma cubes using only the swatches in the student book, I have been re-painting those. Today I got the 5yr, 5BG, and 5G . I also completed tubing my greys. You can see here that the orginal 5YR was not matching the chip. The new one matches so well that I could not see it when painted on the chip, (thanks to Rob's amazing optical white). Looking at this photo, it looks like they do not match, but it is only because of the light from the window reflecting on the paint.

I guess for a slow day, I did get a lot done.

I am excited about all that I am learning about color- not sure where it is taking me, but will chug along until I get there. So far, the biggest value in these studies is how sensitive my eye is for color, and especially chroma. So that makes it worth the effort right there:-) I am working on a thread to talk about this at Rob's place. Just have not had a chance. But soon.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Being more Clear about Babel Color

It has come to my attention that my words about babel color have been mis- understood. The reason that I have been playing with bablecolor is because Richard M sent me a link to it last April and insisted that I familiarize myself with it before the upcoming color course. He is the one who told me that it is the key to the book. I have figured out how to use it, and today am really not interested in locating color in that way. I may play with it again, or not.

I am on a journey here. One that is not part of any flame war but a personal journey to learn how to paint. At the moment, I am very interested in learning the many wonders of color. What I wrote last week might have nothing at all to do with what I am learning today. As to the mine field that all this mean spirited posting is causing. I do not understand it and you will not find me participating in it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

marina towers done (maybe)

I just finished this one. I mean just minutes ago- which means that I very well might go back into it and pick a bit.

I got away from my munsell studies, and did this with color from my gut. Important, I think- to not get to far away from that.

Is anything as much fun as playing around with paint?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Marina Towers- a WIP

It is a rainy and cool Monday morning. For the first time this year, it does feel like fall is around the corner. It is the kind of day that makes you want to stay in bed and read a book. Or stay home and make cookies. It is the kind of day that makes you want to reach out to your friends. A cold and lonely day. I am knee deep in another in the Chicago series- looking forward to another still life series. Here it is so far (24x24 oil on linen on panel). See you soon. :-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I have been told by three who know that bablecolor is the key to unlocking munsell. Not that it is so locked up. It is making a whole lot of sense to me- even without the babelcolor. But the babelcolor combined with the student book and doing the work is where the big "secret" lies. This is not just your momma's munsell- but a whole new way of using color! I will unscramble it, if it is the last thing that I do.

I am reading the text in the student munsell book again looking for clues, painting cubes and spheres and pictures of cubes and spheres. Sometimes just putting the spheres in different light and really looking.

The time spent with both Rob, Graydon and others has taught me, if nothing else, a direction to move. If I never get there- the new understandings that I have already gained are bringing a new life to my work.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

*Labor Day Weekend Saturday Night Greeting*

Happy Saturday night.

I have been painting, I promise- just nothing that I am ready to share yet.

My Munsell studies are going well- today I resolved some of my issues with the "Norma as flamenco dancer" painting. An attempt at low chroma flesh that I am still not quite happy with, but am much happier than I was before today. I will get it.

That is the thing that I really love about being a painter - getting to spend the rest of my life learning how to do it. I can not imagine ever getting to the end of learning. I am sure that even Rembrandt was still learning new things. And there is no way in my mind that Velazquez could have ever said that there was nothing left to discover about paint. When thinking about the avenues for discovery I just get excited. Color alone could fill a lifetime. There is drawing, composition, paint handling, the whole chemistry of the different mediums and what they will do for you, studying the masters.... And not to mention Content.

I hope that I never get to a place where I think that I already know how to paint., Because there is always more to learn, and this learning is the best part of being a painter.

Happy Long weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Big Glossy Munsell books arrived yesterday so today I am busy mixing paint and sampling colors. (Thank you Rob!) BabelColor is a tool that was recommended to me once by someone who understands this color system. Used with the eyedropper in Photoshop. it is a very cool tool- giving the exact munsell notation for any part of an image. The combination of the book and the computer tools are really going a long way toward training my eye for color. I have lots of work to do- cubes and spheres to paint and then paint pictures of. My plan right now is to take one day a week to learn color- mix colors and explore munsell. The rest of the week will be devoted to applying what I have learned in new works.

This is a detail of a painting of Norma that I left facing the wall some time ago. It is still probably destined for the burn pile, but for now, I am using what little I understand about the color system to try to fix it. Not fixed yet- but so much better than it was.

Tomorrow is a new cityscape- see you soon:-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Grounded- Not about paint

I am grounded this week- have hardly been to the studio at all. We are in the middle of a bathroom makeover- and it has taken over our lives.

Rick thinks that we bit off more than we could chew - and decided to hire a guy to do the tile work. Bummer, I was looking forward to the tile work. But after going a few weeks with out a main floor bathroom, I am thrilled that the man will be fixing us right up and should be out of here by Saturday.

Don't worry though, I am using my time wisely - preparing my next few paintings- and will hit the studio floor running on Monday. :-)

This is a picture of Fred Last month doing the demo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tower stairway WIP

This is what is on my easel this week (work in progress). A simple little painting, but sometimes simple is harder. I am still working on the ceiling, and fighting with color.

In other news, I finally got my hands on all four volumes of the
"Famous Artist's Course". They came in today's mail, an exciting addition to my library! And even better, my big glossy edition Munsell book is due any day now too. Which will make me the luckiest girl in studio book land. :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

a sale and a show

It surprised me that this painting did not sell before today. Everyone in this town recognizes where it is painted from- and everyone tells me that they love it and want it. In fact, I just sold it today and have already heard from 2 people who are sad because they hoped to buy it, (not sure what they were waiting for?). I am thrilled with the sale, and thrilled that it went to someone who not only loves the lake, but more importantly, loves art.

The sale came with an offer to run off to Boston and sell even more work. I am going to take her up on it too. So, if you are sitting on your hands waiting to buy Chicago walk, Hug, Sage hall or any of the others- better stop by soon- after November my prices may go up.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another view of Newburyport.

this painting went together pretty fast. I started it yesterday and finished it today. I love it when paintings go together as easily as this one did. Though I will still be working on it some, the lights in the foreground, and the sidewalk are too bright, so I will be fixing that.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

breaking some eggs

My friend John stopped by last night with some pigments. He knew that I wanted to play with egg tempera- but did not want to invest in all that I would need just to try something that might not be right for me. Well, I have been playing with it all day and I think that I might be in love. It is too early to plan a wedding or anything like that- but I think it is safe to buy a few brushes :-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Studio view

Here is the corner of my studio that greets you when you walk in the door.

My two newest paintings

I am really happy with the way that these new street scenes turned out. My two newest paintings are both 24x24, Oil on linen on panel. They are of Newburyport MA. On my recent week long to Rob Howards's studio for the much talked about "Free-for-All" , Leslie Sealey and I did sneak out one afternoon to go sight seeing and picture taking in a nearby port town.

We had a great time, even though we were walking around all grubby from being painters all day. (it did get the tourists to move out of our way:-) I will remember that afternoon for a long time. (and the martinis that we found too) I have several more paintings of Newburyport coming. Stay tuned.

sage hall- number 2

This is the second painting I have done of this spot- Sage Hall. It is the hallway o outside of the Sage gallery. The first one was 16x24 and was from a different viewpoint- this one is 30x30, oil on canvas. Not sure which one is my favorite- I like them both. Every day I travel this hallway, feeling the history of the building and the world.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Learning and growing

Today I am working on flesh again. I have been struggling with flesh colors ever since the munsell conversations started. Having spent a bit of time on this , I am feeling a little discouraged that it is not working for me. But I know from experience that the struggle always comes right before the light. I have been struggeling for a while now- so I hope the lights come on soon.

I have painted flesh before and liked the results. But now that I am aiming for a specific target- it is more complicated and difficult. :-)

I will get it. I have a whole bunch of books here, and aa lifetime to figure it out.

First post on this new blog. Catching up....

I started a blog last week, but unhappy with the software, I am moving the posts over to here.

Here are a few of my new paintings that are not yet added to my web gallery. These are both of Fred and Cassandra. I took them to the city and walked around during golden hour, taking reference shots for the one of them walking.

I had that one in my mind for some time, and they were perfect models. But the thing that I kept noticing was the nice way that they touched each other. That is why I painted "hug". Hug is one of my favorites and is 24x24, oil on linen on panel