Thursday, September 19, 2013

Made in the Shade

"Made in the Shade"
4" x 4"
acrylic on panel

My Clover again...This is from a super hot day last week at the playground.  He had to follow us around and check everything out, including climbing up the stairs, until he finally plopped himself under one of the slides, in the shade.

I started getting too fussy with this one and had to stop.  I'm trying to keep to a painting-a-day schedule, but so far this week I've only done two, sending the day after revising.  I find I miss a lot of things when I paint it all in one sitting, without stepping away from the painting.  But usually I can commit only one hour or two to painting, so...  I'm far behind on the 30 in 30 challenge, but at least I'm still going.  20 in 30 isn't bad, right?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day ? - Clover

4" x 4"
acrylic on panel

What day is it? I think, being the sixteen of September that it is Day 16 of the 30 in 30 Challenge.  But this is my 11th painting and I'm not sure I'll catch up at this point so...

Here is a painting I did for a Daily Paintworks Challenge, to paint a pet from a black and white photo, so as to make sure you establish a light and dark pattern.  I started with this photo of my dog Clover, from about 5 years ago.

All I had was a photocopy so I really had no reference for color, other than Clover himself.  I used a limited palette of Cadmium Red Light, Yellow Ochre, Phtalo Blue and Titanium White.  I started working with the reference photo and my painting upside down to block in the major shapes of light and dark...

Then flipped it once I felt I had that in place, and add some smaller details...

Then painted out the quilt that is to the left because it was distracting and didn't make sense.  Not sure is this is better, composition-wise but overall I like the painting.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 10 - Brewster

4" x 4"
acrylic on panel

This little guy is a gift for my best friend Suzy.  She has never been a "dog person" but I think she's a Brewster person.  How could you not be with that face!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 9 - Ruffled Feathers

"Ruffled Feathers"
4" x 4"
acrylic on panel

This is my ninth painting for the Leslie Saets's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge, so I'm a bit behind, it being the 12th and all... But it is my 100th blog post! Woo hoo!

At the lake there were these ducks that would just swim right by as we were splashing around in the water.  They didn't seem to notice, or care, that we were disturbing their otherwise peaceful lake.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 8 - Moulton Farm

"Moulton Farm"
4" x 4"
mixed media, acrylic

Still obsessing on this little farm photo...  

I think I have too many (painting) balls in the air.  I'm still learning about color, and color temperature, and I've never really done a landscape so I'm having a hard time with this one.  There is just something about it that makes me want to keep trying to capture it.

So, today I thought I'd eliminate one of the issues (drawing) and paint directly on a black and white photocopy of the photo.  One of the things I really liked about the farm was the jumble of building all lumped together.  But each time I painted it I just simplified them to one or two buildings, and even then they were not rendered well.  I think I'm just working at way too small of a scale to have room for all the information I'd like to present.  Not to mention the fact that my favorite paintings have very little in the way of detail, and are more about an overall feel, or gesture. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 7 - Stripey Landscape, take 2

"Stripey Landscape, take 2"
8" x 8"
acrylic on panel

Today I attempted the farm photo again, larger.  Still not completely happy with it...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 6 - Bike Path

"Bike Path"
4" x 4"
acrylic on panel

Another summer memory, walking on the bike path, pushing Elsie in the stroller while Liam rode his bike.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Day 5 - Street View

"Street View"
4" x 4"
acrylic on panel

This was another exercise is restraint, and I failed miserably...
I'm trying to use less brushstrokes, and be more patient about putting down color, so that I try and mix correctly the first time.  But, I kept going on this one, reworking and reworking and this turned into this...

Though the color ended up being more true to the source photo, the painterly-ness(?) is gone and it looks blah to me.  So, I will try again, maybe with a timer set, to force me to just put it down and leave it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Day 4 - Stripey Landscape

"Stripey Landscape"
4" x 4"
acrylic on panel

This farm really caught my eye as we drove by... I loved the way the rows of crops created stripes on the hill in front of the farm's buildings.

This is just a little color study/trial run for a larger piece.  I was excited to try to capture what I saw but I don't think it's there yet...

Day 3 - Red Kayak

Red Kayak
6" x 6"
acrylic on panel

Continuing my "What I did on my Summer Vacation" theme...
This is Maggie kayaking in the lake.  We were in New Hampshire staying on Lake Winnipesaukee and she absolutely loved taking the kayaks out.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day 2- In the Surf

"In the Surf"
5" x 5"
acrylic on canvas

This is from our trip to Horseneck Beach in Westport, MA.  The water's edge was very rocky but Elsie still ran right in!
I was experimenting here with canvas (the jury is still out) and with a limited palette.  I started with a Zorn palette of just Cadmium Red Light, Yellow Ochre, Titanium White, and Ivory Black.   But, it was difficult to get a bright blue (for her swimsuit) without using any blue, so....I added Phtalo Blue.  I chose this one because I thought it was nice and simple but I still had to stop myself from overworking it.  That is one of my goals for this challenge, to try not to overwork things, and try to mix the correct color before I put it down.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Back to School, Back to Painting! The next 30 in 30 Challenge...

"Back to School"
6" x 6"
acrylic on panel

Well, with the kids heading back to school soon, it's time for me to get back to painting.  A well timed challenge from Leslie Saeta is just the thing to get me going.  Her new 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge started yesterday on September 1st.
I did this painting last night and hope to get another one done this afternoon.  We just got back from a week long vacation and the kids start school on the 4th so I have a lot of other stuff I should be doing (namely laundry...) but, life is short! So painting it is.
I decided to use the classic "What I did on my summer vacation" theme for this 30 painting series.  So here goes!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

at the barn

acrylic on panel, 8" x 8"

I did this one a while back but was not happy with it.  I keep meaning to give it another try but I haven't yet.  So I thought that if I posted it, I might be motivated to try and improve it!  A self-critique is much more thorough when you know it's not just yourself seeing it...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Morning on Hanover Street, take 2

acrylic on panel, 4" x 4"

It has been far too long since I was able to sit down and paint.  But today I did just that!  (I think the last time I painted was back in June when they were still in school.  The big kids started camp today, and the little one actually took a nap so I had a nice quiet, calm house...)

I came across this snapshot when I was looking through some old photos.  I have painted it before, on a much bigger scale, in oils, about 15 years ago.  It is of my husband back when we lived in Boston, pre-kids.  I've always liked the light in this one and thought it would be strong as a small study.

I wanted to try out a new color palette, the Zorn Palette, of Cadmium Red Light, Yellow Ochre, Ivory Black and Titanium White.  And I was using a Cadmium Red Medium ground so there's that in there as well.  I like the glow of the Cad Red(s) against the neutral grays, but flesh tones can get too brown.  Not sure how to fix that but I will have to play around with it and see. 

Working with the photo upside down, and under tracing paper (to obscure the details) I tried to block in the major shapes of light and dark first.
As I work, I try to take a few progress shots in black and white to check the overall values.
Once I am sure I have the values and larger shapes right, I flip it over, and then take off the tracing paper to work on the smaller, more subtle shapes and color/value changes.
I'm not happy with the flatness of the background so maybe I'll go back into it... As long as there are parts of a painting that I like, I feel I have learned something.  Just happy to have been able to send the afternoon painting!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

mullen pinks

acrylic on panel, 6" x 6"

I painted this last week, or maybe even the week before, and was not happy with the flower color.   I am still trying to get it right but these flowers are no longer blooming, so I've moved on to a new painting of some petunias in a similar color.  In real life it is a vibrant magenta/fushia type color but I was not able to get it with my limited palette.  I tried using a pre-mixed "magenta" but it was too dull and did not read correctly...

 So my question is, how do I mix that vibrant fushia?

Monday, June 24, 2013


acrylic, 6" x 6"

Sometimes it just flows and sometimes it's a struggle... This was a struggle!  I tried laying in an overall dark pattern to make sure I had a sense of light but then it was very difficult to get the peach-in-shadow color right.  Anyway, I'll try again...

Friday, June 14, 2013

(open) white flower

acrylic 6" x 6"

The small bud from my last painting opened!  I was glad at one more chance at these because I'm sure the heavy rain we've had has ruined the rest of these flowers.  I just love their simplicity.

In other news...Today I dropped off four pieces at the Rhode Island Watercolor Society for their annual Small Picture Show.  Can't wait to see the show on Sunday!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

small white flower

acrylic, 4" x 4"

Today was a day of too many subjects and not enough panels... I finally settled in on these small white flowers, and only having small 4" x 4" panels ready, I decided to just narrow my focus to one small flower.  Again, I have no idea what type of flower this is, it is just something I found in the yard, that I  thought was pretty.  I had to laugh when I read Lisa Daria's post today about how she was playing "is it a weed or is it a plant" in her yard because I'm never sure either!  I am sure that I want to try and do a larger version of these flowers wih the jar...

and I am liking how this one looks with the others in the series...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

purple wildflowers

acrylic, 8" x 8"

These little purple flowers were given to me by my daughter Maggie. She picked them at the soccer field then neatly tied them up with a stem and presented them to me when she got home.

I've started this recent series of paintings with the theme of "clippings", or "cuttings", just random sprigs and leaves and such that I come across in my usual daily routine.  Nothing special or exotic, just everyday plants.  I find it easier to figure out to what to paint if I stick to a theme. 

Yesterday I received a package in the mail from fellow artist Sowmya Gade, over at her blog Copper Ground. She has a wonderful sense of color and and her work has such a nice painterly quality about it.  She had a give-a-way last month and I won!  Here is my prize...

It is a magnet of her painting of a Golden Retriever.  So cute!  Reminds me of my doggie!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


acrylic on panel, 8" x 8"

I picked these with Elsie while we were playing in the yard today.  I love the randomness of the arangement.  The flowers actually moved as I was painting them, which added to the quirky feeling.  I had started another buttercup painting a few days ago, and had intended to go back to it, but the flowers had moved too much.  This is as far as I got with that little one...

acrylic on panel, 4" x 4"

Friday, May 24, 2013

lily of the valley(leaves)

acrylic on panel, 8" x 8"

Sometimes you just can't recreate a mood in a painting.  I loved how my last painting, "branch", turned out and I tried to do another with a similar feel.  But I think this one got too tight and fussy witht the reflections in the glass, and the little flowers wilted before I  could add them in... So here are just leaves.  And I tried a little study of the leaves from the branch...

acrylic on panel, 4" x 4"
I am enjoying this little series of clippings.  Next up, buttercups...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


acrylic on panel,  8" x 8"

Elsie and I were walking along the river, looking for ducks, when I spied these neat little mini-pine-cone-type things.  Not sure what type of tree this is...

Here are few shots of the progression of this one:
First I blocked in the large shapes...
And try to get the overall value pattern...
And then go back in with highlights, details, and refine some edges...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


acrylic 4" x 4"

I debated whether or not to put in the highlight on these strawberries (one, because it looked really tricky with a 1" brush, and two, because I ran out of time). But now seeing it, I think they need the highlight...I'll have to get more because these one have been eaten!

one daisy

acrylic 4" x 4"

I plucked one daisy out of a larger bouquet because I need to keep it simple...

Saturday, May 4, 2013



acrylic 4" x 4"

The hardest part of this painting was photographing it!  The background is a teal-y blue and its such a subtle variation between the blue-berry color that any slight temperture change in the light made such a difference in the contrast. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013


acrylic 4" x 4"

I tried working on a dark phtalo blue ground swallows up color.  Not the best choice, unless you plan to layer a lot.

Friday, April 12, 2013

tulips, tulips, tulips, and more tulips

acrylic 4" x 4"

Even though spring has been here for a few weeks now, everything is still pretty gray around here.  So, I needed some nice bright color.  I love tulips but I don't think they're the easiest to paint.  I got frustrated quickly and had to start another painting...
and then another...
and then another...
They are all more like "color studies" then finished paintings, but I had fun anyway.  I was experimenting with different color grounds which is always interesting, to see how the colors change on the different color backgrounds.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mango, Mango

 acrylic 4" x 4"

I really loved the colors of these mangos, the crimson red mixing with the chatruese green skin, and then the nice orangey-yellow flesh.  I tried to crop it closely so that I wouldn't get distracted by the drawing and just focus on the color.  This one I did on a warm cadmium red ground, and the next one was on a warm yellow ground...

acrylic 4" x 4"

The neutral of the wood cutting board was tricky.