Friday, January 16, 2009


Old Town Spring is a little town south of here where I like to go for small urban landscape painting. Puffabelly's is one of its quaint little places. It's right on the railroad tracks. You can paint it all morning, then go inside and eat there! What could be better? As I painted this, my friend Fran Ellisor was standing near me, painting the cottage next door. Her painting has been in some good shows. My painting, 8x10 oil on linen panel, is hanging in the Richeson Fine Art Gallery in a gold frame with a price tag of $650. You can have it if you call 800.233.2404 and ask for the director, Terry Stanley. This is my last post for a week or so, as I need to devote all my time to finishing the portrait you've been following.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pensive Parent

From a little photograph taken a long time ago, I did this painting for my husband, who took and loved the picture. It's of me being nervous in my mother-in-law's apartment as our 10 month old pulls himself up eye-level on a glass coffee table covered with crystal figurines. I wanted to clear them off, she wanted to "teach the baby discipline." I was very nervous. Even the potted plant looks menacing. You can see my stylish black plastic runner's watch, men's shirt and black skirt: ever the fashion plate. Why do you think he married me?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lily Blooms

Here are two little lilies from the Mercer Arboretum lily pond. I went to the arboretum with 3 of my very good painter peeps and we passed the lily pond when we came in the gate, explored around for quite awhile, then came back to the lilies. The 4 of us pitched our gear around the pond, 3 of us in full blazing sun. It was very bright out and my pupils were pinpoints, I'm sure now, because my painting came out very dark. The flowers seemed to have an internal light that made me feel happy as I studied them. I know I promised koi but they didn't make it into this one either. They are a compositional concern as well as moving model and this little panel did not make room for them. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jardin et Gendarmes

This painting was done in the studio after a trip to Paris and there were several things that I attempted to achieve in it. The light truly is different in Paris and I wanted to reflect that, as the daylight washed over the very lush foliage, producing an inviting shade beneath. The ground was similar to our caliche, here in Texas: not dirt, not gravel, but crunchy. There were always people out walking, or strolling, and paying each other no mind at all. In this composition, everyone is going in a different direction, and I liked the way the light statue stabbed up into the dark treeline and the dark gendarmes stabbed down into the light earth. My main idea was to invite the viewer to want to sit down on the nearly invisible park bench, in the center, right at the drip line. It's where I wanted to go when I was actually there that day, just to watch the people.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Stone Castle Ranch

The Oil Painters of America had their regional paint out near Fredericksburg for us Texans. A generous land-owner gave us complete run of his beautiful ranch, named Stone Castle after his house (guess what it looks like). I did one painting in the morning and then this painting in the afternoon.
For this one, I was perched on the bitter edge of a cliff and the freezing cold wind was actually funny, it was so fierce. Even I couldn't believe that I was going to try to do a painting there, but my husband was with me and I wanted to impress him with my prowess.

I had to hold my panel with one hand and the leg of my trusty Soltek with my feet the whole time to keep things from blowing away. At one point, I almost fell down the cliff trying to catch a paper towel and I could not feel my face or fingers until later that night. This is the fastest painting I've ever done. 5x7, done in one hour flat.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Joe Painting Bluebonnets

This is from one of those paint-outings with my peeps that I was telling you about. We were just outside of Brenham, where they make Bluebell Ice Cream. They say the cows think Brenham is heaven. Some years, the bluebonnets are unbelievable and some years, we get skipped. I don't know why that is. Bluebonnets are not easy to paint but you wouldn't think them daunting if you went by the absolute plethora of bluebonnet paintings that flood the market here every spring. While I was painting Joe, I was flanked by 2 other painters, one of my dogs was at my feet, and about 50 head of cattle kept peeking over the hill behind us. Very cozy out in the wide open spaces.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Still Progressing

I didn't get into the studio yesterday until afternoon, and I knew that once I started on her face, I would be locked in the studio for awhile. It turned out that I did not get to bed until a quarter after 6 this morning... and I'm obviously still not done. It's a lot farther along now though and I feel good about the direction. The canvas is so large that I had to stand on a stool for the entire time; I'm feeling that today! I think I must be the slowest painter ever. I didn't finish the features or necklace yet, and although I've invested countless hours on the background, it's in the same "nearly but not yet" phase. This work is so tantalizing that it is hard to disengage myself from it to do the things that people have to do in life. What a blessing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Three Magnolias

We have a magnolia tree outside our bathroom window that was supposed to be a dwarf. We wanted it to be its very showiest right in front of that first floor window. It's now over the roof of the second floor, but its lower blooms still flirt with us through the glass. I had to go out and gather a few of them so I could experiment with the idea of showing light falling on and through extremely light and dark subjects at the same time. I kept them perky by sticking the stems in little florist tubes of water but they still drooped after hours of my struggling with them. In the end, they gave their lives for this painting.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mystic Lake

This was a great day. It started first thing in the morning at the coffee shop, where I met Sherwin. We got some coffees and set out for Mystic Lake. This is the little 8x10 product resulting from the day.

We both put our gear under a big tree, but as I set up my trusty soltek, Sherwin decided to take the better view, out in the fresh morning sunshine. As the day wore on and the sun got brutal, I waited for him to make me scoot over, but he never did. He endured the sun without even a peep of complaint. Sherwin's in his 80's. Now that's impressive.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas Sprite

Happy New Year! as I deliver the last remnant of Christmas to you... This lovely sprite was our model the last day I painted with my peeps before Christmas. She made this wonderful costume herself. I painted on a piece of very smooth cardboard, something I love doing. It may not be archival but it shows the brushstrokes in a way that most other grounds do not. It will be very easy to crop this and I'm thinking about cropping it right above the arms. However, I enjoy the negative space designs around the figure, which would be lost with a cropping. What thinkest thou, O blogosphereans?

I got a very late start and so had to set up my gear in the back of the room, far from the model. You can see my trusty Soltek and my start. I usually smear the canvas with paint and pull off the highest value areas first, then paint in the darkest darks. Here, though, I was using a sheet of cardboard and the smeared paint soaked in so fast that I couldn't lift it out for the highlights. I love challenges!