Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Side of Spoon" - SOLD

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I've spent some time this last week or so on the couch with my computer - mostly streaming movies to keep myself distracted from the itching, but also looking at art. Today I found a new artist (to me) that I LOVE. Her name is Jennifer McChristian and she is worth checking out if you haven't already. It inspired me to get up and paint something, no matter how simple.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Indian Blanket"


This is a wildflower that grows everywhere here and called an Indian Blanket. It's hard to compose with because it's got a wide range of values all on it's own. So if you put it against something light, you lose the light yellow tips, and if you put it against something dark, all you see are the light yellow tips. This was my compromise - sort of half and half. Indian Blanket meets polka dot cup.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Olive Juice" - nfs & update

I have nothing to show so I thought I'd post the recent olive commission I did that prompted the one I posted a couple of days ago. The meds I'm on have really thrown my system out of whack - not to moan about it ... too much - I hope to paint again very soon.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Martini Olives," on the mend & studio update - SOLD

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My husband has gotten into martini's recently AND I got a commission to do something similar to this. I enjoyed it so much I did this one. This was pre-rash.

It turns out it was poison oak I got into, which is why I didn't recognize it. The plants look exactly like little baby oak trees, which I assumed were normal with all the Blackjack Oak trees in the backyard. The rash got worse before it got better - it spread to my legs and arms and stomach. And it only got better because I broke down and went to the doc and got some prednosone. Which, is no fun either, but it is making the itching and swelling go down. There were a couple of days there where I could barely see because the skin around my eyes was so swollen. I looked like a monster.

Thank you SO MUCH for all the kind emails and helpful advice. I tried some of remedies, but the one thing that has made it bearable (besides prednosone) is ice packs. Everything else made small dents in the itching, but didn't last long.

I am now suspicious of every green thing I see. Alas.

Oh, and while I've been out of commission, my husband has been working on the studio.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Forbidden Love" - SOLD

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After puzzling over a strange rash that has literally taken over my face the last couple of days, I have finally determined that I touched some poison ivy in the backyard. My hands are apparently not sensitive to it at all, and I must have touched my face afterwards - a lot. It is INSANELY itchy and I can hardly think of anything else. After trying an oatmeal mask, vinegar, baking soda, hydrocortizone, desitin (yes, baby butt cream), benadryl and calamine, I have established that it's going to itch no matter what. For those of you who've had it, you know what I mean. For those of you who haven't, I hope you never have to live in this kind of hell!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


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Thanks to Lady Bird Johnson, along any major TX road in spring you will find tons and tons of beautiful wildflowers! It's a little bit of a drive for me to get them (the upside is I live far away from any road noise!) but I have access to quite a few varieties. This is a Coreopsis and at first when trying to come up with a title I thought it looked like a drink umbrulla. But it sags a bit and the "drink" is almost empty, and the colors are a bit after-hours looking ... hence the title.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Yellow Splash"

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Someone asked me recently to explain what I mean by "value." Basically value is how light or dark a color is. So, the lightest value in this painting is the light yellow bits on the edges of the flower petals. The darkest value is the middle brown part where it's in shadow. Value should not be confused with saturation. Saturation is how intense or pure a color is. The least saturated color is gray.

Someone else asked when my studio will be done. I honestly don't know, but we hope to have the shell up in a month or so. I expect the whole thing will be done in 3 to 6 months, working on it most weekends and some weeknights. Check out today's progress.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Escaping" - SOLD

Check out the progress on the studio today.
Today I got the sweetest email from one Judie Stang. Judie teaches at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas. Recently a Drawing 1 class she was subbing for did a project where they set up a bunch of colorful fruit and colored paper similar to what I do and, using pastel, drew a whole slew of square format still lifes and mounted them for all to see! I am so completely flattered by this I don't even know what to say. They did some great work - here are some photos:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Tomato Babies" - SOLD

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I really really liked the subtlety in value here, and the way the light went right through the tomatoes and lit up the shadows as well. I had a good time with this one.

Check out our latest studio updates on my studio blog!

Friday, April 17, 2009

"One Across"


I've been trying lately to play around more with edges - specifically make more of them soft, leaving the important stuff crisp. For some reason this has been EXCEEDINGLY difficult for me. My brain says "NO NO NO!" I managed to do it some here and I like it.

In other news, we have been on hold with the studio for a while so we could get the old house ready for the market. This last week we have been working on the layout and adding up how much wood we'll need. Tomorrow the wood will be delivered - I will post more on the other blog then, with a link here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Cozy & Yellow"

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Thank you for the wonderful response about our book! We really appreciate all the kind words and the help finding people for the potential Washington Post article. Still battling with the yellow tomatoes and this cute little container I pilfered from the grocery store (it originally had some red tomatoes in it ... I just sorta switched them for these yellow ones).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Circumstances" and a request - SOLD

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Yellow tomatoes are freakin' hard to paint. For me it's because since they're yellow I think they're very light in value, but really they're not. It's taking me a little while to get back into the swing of still lifes after such intensive landscape painting. Please forgive my complaining.

And please forgive this off-topic request: I co-wrote a book called "No One's the Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan for Mothers and Stepmothers." It's about how my husband's ex and I have become friends and how we think it's the best thing we could have done for the kids - and how you can do it too! It's being published and will be on bookshelves in time for Mother's Day. Today we got a note from the Washington Post (wow!) saying they would like to cover the book but would first like to find a similar mother/stepmother team (on friendly terms) in the DC area to tie everything together. If you or anyone you know fits this profile, please please please let us know. Here is the book website. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Poppies" - SOLD

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This is my last painting from the Jill Carver workshop. I loved this clump of trees, but the red poppies were actually from a spot nearby. I used my artistic liscense and moved them. : ) In my opinion the trick with editing is to only change what you can handle. If you're making up too much information that you don't have it tends to get funny - for me anyway.

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Rock's Rock" - SOLD

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After the first painting of the day (see last post) I got a new panel and, still standing on my rock, switched views to something in full sun (so I wouldn't be chasing the dapples). I am quite happy with it even though it is no way a spectacular scene. I got it back to class and one of my fellow kids said "your rock's rock!" Hence the title.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Salado Creek 2 - morning

This is from the 3rd day of the Jill Carver workshop. We went down to the water early and I set up on a largish rock in the water (I thought for sure I'd fall in but I didn't). The dark parts are shadows from the trees on the far bank, and as you can probably guess, this scene changed rather quickly. I ended up "chasing the light" (basically changing the painting to reflect how the light changes, as it changes) which is a big no-no in plein air painting. Because the dappled light on the rocks - yes they are rocks - kept changing, I had a hard time keeping them looking rock-like.

Many thanks to all of you who leave comments - they keep me afloat, and I mean that! I wish I had time to thank each of you personally. Thank you!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Life Among the Ruins" - SOLD

This scene is from some historic ruins in Salado. I'm bad at remembering details ... I don't know what the ruins are from. But it was a lovely scene in the afternoon light. What's tough about painting en plein air (outside) is the light is usually so strong it is overwhelming. I have a hard time seeing subtle shifts in value as I put paint on my canvas. The walls looked much more similar in value outside than they do now, on the painting.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Salado Creek - nfs

One thing I really loved about Jill's approach was she gave us full permission to do some really ugly paintings, even if they were all ugly. Not that I absolutely HATE this one, but there are some things wrong with it. The main tree ends right smack dab in the middle (vertically), and it may be a bit too far to the right, and the far bank could use ... something, I'm still not sure what. Another thing Jill talked about was the need to edit a scene, and when and where to do it. I am including a photo I took of the scene right after I painted this (below) to give you an idea of what I changed.

Tonight I am heading out to the Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio to attend the awards banquet for the Salon International Exhibit. I seriously doubt I'll win anything, but I'm going with a friend and it should be fun! I won't be going to the reception tomorrow as it is my husband's birthday, but I'll see the show at the banquet tonight.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Summer Barn" - SOLD

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This second barn painting is from the same location - different barn. My favorite part is the moment where the forward, more orangey building meets the back, more saturated red barn.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

"See Thru Barn" - SOLD

Well, I'm a bit late on my promise to post, but I have to admit - it felt so good NOT to crack open my computer these last 3 days.

The workshop was great! Jill Carver is a wonderful teacher and artist. It was interesting to be on the learning side of a workshop. I tried to completely let go of my way and do what she said, but it was HARD! Fortunately this will help me be more understanding of my students. I will post my paintings in order. We started out with barns (above). Below is Jill painting on the second day.

This experience makes me want to paint outside every day!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

pears & a workshop

8"x16" - also for my upcoming show...

Tomorrow I am off to TAKE a 3-day workshop from one of my favorite painters of all-time - Jill Carver. I can't wait to soak it all up and do some painting outside! I'll post about it tomorrow night.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

"The Tall One" & ellipse stuff

8"x16" - for my show in July at the Wally Workman Gallery. I'm really digging this tall skinny format. I think I might try it wide next.

So the thing I figured out about ellipses, is that if your ellipse is round (so this doesn't work for oval shapes, etc.) and your object is sitting flat on the table (cup, plate, bowl, etc.) you should always be able to draw a perfectly perpendicular + just like this through it, no matter what your vantage point is. Wherever the vertical line of the + meets the top of the ellipse should be the highest point of the cup. The same goes for the sides and the bottom. So when I am sketching out my composition and just getting placement to start with, I draw 4 short lines to indicate the points where the + and edges of the ellipse meet. Then once I have the placement right I round it out. If you look at yesterday's sugar bowl you'll see how it's a little off - but I ... I did that on purpose ... yeah, that's right. ; )

Friday, April 03, 2009

"One Man Down" & sugar... - SOLD

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Yesterday my little boy turned 4. I swear just the other day I was holding his tiny body in my arms, all 5 lbs of him. It is an amazing thing to watch him grow and change.

As promised I photographed these 2 paintings yesterday but somehow as I was transferring them from my camera to my computer ... I deleted them. So I retook them today, and here they are (ta da). Below is an 8"x16" painting for my upcoming show. I realize now that the sugar bowl is a little off. I actually have a trick for painting elipses that I recently came up with. I'll explain it in my next post as it is too late tonight ...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"Call Me Tiny - SOLD

I went to town with strawberries today. I did a couple of middle size paintings with them for my upcoming show. I'll post one tomorrow. Unfortunately the camera doesn't catch all the subtleties that happen in the red parts. I don't know how to get around that.