Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two New Paintings, Four New Frames

"Three Chicks" - oil on panel, 5" x 7" , purchase here

"Magpie" - oil on panel 5" x 7", purchase here

I am having a lot of trouble with my neck and shoulders over the last few months. I have only been able to paint for a few hours a day if at all. I have a plan now, though and hope to be back up to par soon. The regimen of ice and Advil are only covering the problem, so on to a real solution. "Diamond, Ringleader of the Spring Revolt" is staring at me daily along with the Harpy painting having only a shadow of a face with two black holes for eyeballs and now two more strong ideas are invading my mind, so I am anxious to be able to really focus on painting again rather than the discomfort I am in while painting.

I bought four beautiful frames from Jerry's this week. They arrived yesterday and I am going to put the canvases in after a trip to the hardware store. If you need frames, Jerry's is the place to get them. You do have to buy four of the same size at one time, but that is why the price is so great.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Artist takes a few days off....

I took a few days off last week to run some errands and have coffee with a friend. I did paint three painting by Wednesday, so I didn't feel too bad. I had to go to Michael's, which is bad enough when it isn't Christmas time because they usually have one register open. At least they had another open. It is their busiest time of the year, so it was packed. Somehow, I always pick the wrong line to get in with my giant canvases. I have a knack for picking the line where the lady in front of me is returning all manner of imitation greenery and doo-dads. Always. By the time I got to Michael's I was already a bit roughed up by having to go to the post office on the way. No need to say what the post office is like this time of year. There I was surrounded by people with stacks of packages, little slip of paper in hand to pickup a missed package.
Then when I got home I had two rejection letters in the mail. One on a proposal and one for a juried show. I really can honestly say that this was not as annoying as the line thing....

I am finding it difficult to get into the swing today. We are in the process of buying a house, and everything we looked at over the weekend was awful. We came away quite disappointed yet enlightened and now must reassess what is realistic for us, but it means the loss of some things I had in mind and heart. I am a little down, I guess and for me that usually means apathy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Painting of the Day: "Kid"

oil on panel, 5" x 7", $90, includes shipping, purchase here)

I am back on a roll with this daily painting thing. I have taken a big break over the last month or so to focus on getting some large paintings completed for a few proposals and juried shows.

I have a bunch of photos on file to paint, and apparently I am super motivated to do it. It is a bit of a break from my other work that I am so emotionally invested in.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Painting of the day: Shrike

(oil on panel, 5" x 7", $90 includes shipping, purchase here)

A beautiful bird found mostly in Asia.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Painting of the day: Mottled Cochen Chick

(oil on masonite, 5" x 7", SOLD)

My dad raises chickens over in Norfolk and recently he has lost almost all of them to a lurking strange beast over the last few days. He often catches foxes in the act, but this predator is much larger and bolder. He goes right into the pigeon house and snatches the hens off their roosts along with a few unfortunate pigeons. Probably a coyote. So, on a friday, mourning over the chicken massacre, I painted this little guy. (5" x 7" oil on panel)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Painting

Often, I run into a sticking spot on a painting and that has happened with our friend, Diamond, so I have set him aside for today and started a new one.

This is a Harpy eagle, or Harpia and the largest eagle rivaled only by the Phillipine eagle, though in researching I found the bird nerds have a lot of animated disagreement about the this subject.
At any rate they are massive and powerful, so I really wanted to have the privilege of painting one, so I begin........where the story goes from here is not yet revealed. And of course due to my love affair with chiaroscuro, I will have another painting that is difficult to photograph.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Today's Painting: Diamond

Dark paintings are so difficult to photograph and this is about as good as it gets today. They reflect any available light and the paint tends to be dull in appearance. I zoomed in on Diamond as he was my focus today. You can actually see what I worked on, the feathers, because the darks are really dark until tomorrow when the will be drier and thus duller. I am not really satisfied with the antlers below, so much work to be done there still.
As for further info about this painting, I found out today that Diamond is a "ringleader" of some renown.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Today's painting: "Diamond"

This is Diamond. At this point in the work he hasn't told me much about himself, but I am certain as we get to know one another he will open up. Today Diamond did tell me that his name might not actually BE Diamond, which would be problematic since I saw him with a diamond for an eye.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I have been Tagged.....

Glass artist extraordinaire Kathleen Krucoff tagged my on her blog. Have a look at her beautiful work. I am fascinated by glass artists and Kathleen has created an amazing body of beautiful pieces.

So here is how it goes if you are tagged.
1. Put a link in your posting about the artist that tagged you.
2. Write 5 -7 unusual things about yourself.
3. Tag 5 - 7 other bloggers and let them know.

2. I am a runner and I have been weight training for many years.
I was a veterinary technician for 9 years before I finally became a full time artist.
Back in the 80's, I was a hardcore punk and I was very involved in the underground music scene. (I have the photos and tattoos to prove it!)
I love John Denver's music ......(I know, but I can't help myself.)
SO, That is all I feel I need to share!!

Amy Guidry
Suzy Schultz
Jane Andrews
Steven Walker
Suzanne Berry

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This week in painting

The FCCA offered me a show in November of 2009. No excuses for not having enough work now. I also submitted a proposal to the Center for the Arts in Manassas and have been offered a show in February of 2010. It is like they say, "swing away" and eventually you will hit the ball.

I started two canvases this week after the disaster mentioned in the previous post, so I am back on board. Thanks for everyone for the outpouring of empathy and encouragement. My descriptions on work in progress always sound so esoteric in the early stages, so I refrain. But there will be birds. Oh yes, indeed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Painting pain....

One of the most difficult things to admit as a artist is that a painting is not working. Then the most excruciating act it to paint over that error. Today, I had to do just that with the painting in the previous post. The idea is still very strong and worth painting, but I can do it better. So, I painted over many hours of work.

The thought process goes something like this:
"Hum, that doesn't look as good as it did yesterday.."
"I will try to work around it....touch it up.."
"Wow, it looks worse..."
"All that work I did over the week! I am NOT painting over it!"
"I will work more on it. It will recover..."

Then comes the inevitable comes crashing upon me:
"I have to start over."
Anger, frustration, and maybe one more attempt to convince myself that it can be saved and then, sadly, I mix up my paint and within a few minutes, hours of work is gone. I thought yesterday was the act of commitment to the work. TODAY is total commitment to the work.

If it is worthy enough to do, it is worthy enough to be well done....(I am still a little mad, though.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This is commitment to a painting, my friends. The flock is about half way there. I thought about each bird, each stroke today with the musical shove of Shearwater in the background. This was a rare day of finding myself lost in that sky among the birds........

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Painting update

After returning from a short trip to visit family in Norfolk, I contracted an awful stomach virus that took almost a week to recover from. I really have felt the loss of those two weeks in my work. Finally I have started two backgrounds and have three solid ideas and references for paintings. Monday I can start laying in the subject on the larger canvas. Long time coming......

At this point I have ten to eleven pieces my body of work. I plan to submit proposals once I have fifteen. I still have doubts about working with a gallery, but why not get the work out there and see what happens? I won't know until I try and trying is most of the battle.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A new week

I lost my database of the locations and owners of all the paintings I have sold. Having spent a great deal of time inputting the data this past spring it has somehow disappeared. I still have all the receipts, but they have to be compiled and re-entered. So, I am slow going today. Finding today a challenge to focus. Also living in between paintings, which just creates weirdness.

Two painting ideas are beginning to surface. Now begins the uncomfortable and narrow road of research.

I am tempted to watch 5 hours of "I Love the 80's" on VH1 in my despondency......

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Today's painting

I have been adding the bird over the last few days. Almost complete.... I had my doubt but this looks like it is going to be a strong painting.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Today's work.....

The thing about oil painting is that there are no immediate results. No easy way to get where you want to be and the final glorious image on one's mind ever pushes and dredges up many doubts concerning ever being able to attain to the original idea. Yet, here we are and along it comes with much patience.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Today's painting

(oil on canvas, 6" x 8", $50)

We sort of played hookie today and took Reuben James to swim over at Hemlock Overlook on too beautiful a fall day.

I haven't tackled the white horse this week, but have done three small landscape paintings. The other two will have to wait to be shot as it is the end of the day.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

New painting on the easel

(Excuse the mahl stick.....I just realized I didn't take it away before shooting.)

So, from the difficulty of a black horse to the difficulty of a white horse....I must be crazy.
If I wasn't before, I am after today's painting. Unsure about the background still.
I am really struggling with the mane hair and have decided to call it a day, at least for painting. I fight seeing every detail...ever hair. It is due to my blasted perfectionist heritage.

This painting's very early basic narrative is about a blind horse with a guide which will be some sort of bird. "Creepy good", no?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Etsy Store Front: Art Notecards

After much prodding from friends I have opened an Etsy shop where people can buy nice notecards with my paintings reproduced on them.

I can't afford my own artwork and neither can my friends, so I am happy to provide a way for them to have an image they love at an affordable price. Though the store front offers my dog and cat paintings, almost all of my work is available in this format.

$10 for a five pack with envelopes in a neat bag, same image or mix and here: Etsy Store

Thursday, October 02, 2008

New Painting

When I am chewing on ideas for new paintings, I choose one and then begin research. For the past three days all my mind has been bent upon this process. I am so focused I can barely walk away from it at the end of the day. I am wiped out. I dream about it....

This afternoon I started a new painting. There is great relief in sketching out the image directly on the canvas, beginning to mix color and put down those first strokes. But it is usually then that doubts begin to knock. Is it going to work? Do I have the skill to pull it off? Does the idea have enough strength to stand? Is this the best representation of my idea? It can be quite maddening at the beginning. I have a good start today, though.

I sold two paintings over the weekend, started a new one and have several new ideas for paintings. And it is fall.......God is faithful.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Candy Factory Opening 9/27

There was a great turn was a fun night. Met a few artists, too.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Painting Squirmish, Art Note Card Endeavour

All kinds of doubts have sprung up with the start of this new painting. My good friend often refers to my paintings as "creepy good." I like that description and feel is fits exactly what I am aiming for in my work, but I think this new one is just plain old creepy. I think it is too early to judge but it is one of those paintings in which the eyes follow you wherever you move...and sort of stare at the back of your head while writing a blog post.......hmmm.

With Pam's courage an interest has been generated for note cards with my paintings on them (made $18 this week!) I have been busy with the computer, most specifically Microsoft Publisher, making cards and inserts. After many hours of work, I have a beautiful group of note cards. So, this looks like a viable way to get the work out for people to enjoy and make a profit. Most of my paintings are available on a note card at $2.50 for single card and $10 for a five back either assorted choices or five of the same image. The come with envelopes. Pretty cool.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New paintings

Despite feeling a bit depressed this week, I did complete three paintings. I find myself apathetic and disintrested in anything, so I had to fight to get to work. Sometimes I succeed at it and other times I fail....
Anyone else struggle with depession?.......What do you do to move towards your art rather than move away from it?

6"x6" Oil on canvas, $90

The cool goat I have been pushing paint around on for awhile.....

oil on canvas, $200

oil on canvas $200

Friday, September 12, 2008

Today's Painting

Man, that black is killing is coming together, though and will be worth the struggle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On the's painting

I never thought I would have so many paintings going at one time. I like the idea, though, of going back and forth between several. Long way to go on this one and so wrong to think this would be easy. Black is such a huge challenge. There are so many subtleties of light and color especially in animals. This one isn't a true black...more of a bluish, reddish brown.....very complicated.
I also started "Petal Pusher" but it just looks creepy now, so I will work on it a bit more before I post it..

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Today's painting: Cairn Terrier

This was a fun painting to do today while I am between larger works.

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Painting on the easel.....

I have really wanted to paint this goat for a long time and now is a good time coming off of a pretty significant painting.....just the basics so far with most of the painting concentration in the eye and nose.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Finished painting: The Flowering Bull

I do indeed feel much better........

Painting conflict

Struggling a bit just now. I have a list of other artist's blogs I visit weekly. Many of them are of the painting a day phenomenon and are doing quite well with sales. Really well. Most of the time, I am so glad to see them all doing so well and selling their work consistently. Other times, like today, I am a bit down.

I have heard a lot of advice about being an artist from all sorts of people artists and non alike.
The one I am thinking about today is "you must find what people buy and paint that." I have to say I have done that and after many months found myself really bored. I admire a person who can paint an apple or an egg 25 plus times in a myriad of different lightings and setup and sell every one. And I can do that, too and probably make loads on that bandwagon. I have tried it on one day a week, too, and my heart and mind are thinking about what I really want to paint.

This is a struggle for a lot of us who feel our mark, our creativity is more valuable to us than anything else. Hear me right I do not fault these painting a day artists at all and I am glad they do so well, yet I can't seem to bring myself to do the same thing. Not that my work cannot or doesn't sell, I just think it isn't as widely accepted or accessible. So, the struggle goes on......and it IS nice to get paid for your work and twice as nice to get paid for doing the kind of work you absolutely love. Maybe there is a market out there for me.........I just have to find it, right? Now I ramble....

Anyway, I will probably feel a lot better about it as the day goes on and I finish up that amazing painting on the easel......

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I got a call from the FCCA's member gallery coordinator Elizabeth Seaver last night. I was juried into the gallery for the 2009 year and have been offered a show with Anne Parks in November 2009. A ways off, but way cool.

Here is today's update on "The Flowering Bull." A few more passes and it will be complete.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Paint Wrestling.....

It has been slow going today with the oil painting. I have removed every stroke I put down today, about twenty flowers. I am really not satisfied with my choice, so back to researching flowers a bit to find just the right fit for the subject. Datura is really standing out as an option........

It is a frustrating thing to feel like the last 4 or 5 hours of painting have been lost, but I try to remember that there is a lesson to be learned in persistence and a willingness to find another way to complete a vision better. (Despite my outward maturity on the inside I am saying "aarrghhh," though...)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ONthe easel: The Flowering Bull update

Excuse the wet paint...laying in the vines and starting the flowers. I love the idea of the vines growing out of his nostrils and tear ducts.....can you tell the vines are growing out of where the horns would emerge???

I have an idea to finish out the lamb I hope to move on to that soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On the easel: The Flowering Bull

So, a lot of progress made today on the painting. A few touch ups tomorrow on the hide and then I can start to lay in the vines and flowers.......(what did you think "flowering bull" meant?...)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On the easel: The Flowering Bull

Last week the acceptance letter came for the Caton Merchant Gallery show at the Candy Factory in September. I have spent the last few afternoons making sure the paintings are ready (i.e. signed, edges painted, cat hairs removed...). "Ovis Nectarus" and "Miracle..." will show.

In the meantime after weeks of torturous looking at hundreds of photos of bulls, I finally found one that clicked and started "The Flowering Bull." It is moving along fast. I know exactly where the painting is going after putting aside a few composition options. I almost feel that at times I have too many ideas about a painting and that makes it difficult to choose one.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Heath Ledger's portrait......

A few weeks ago I came across the portrait of Heath Ledger by his friend Australian artist Vincent Fantauzzo. The painting was completed only weeks before Heath's death. It is a technical masterpiece, yet the greatest works of art always move the viewer past technique and into meaning.

Being an actor is in many ways about becoming someone you are not. It is a life of pretending, not only in one's work, but for celebrity status actors, often also in daily life. The appearance of perfection and a charmed life are required at all times and in all places.

I was so winded by the beautiful honesty of the work and Heath's willingness to display that transparency to the world. For a person as famous as him this sort of thing can be dangerous and ever misconstrued, even used as a weapon.

The overwhelming response to the work goes beyond mourning over the seeming untimely death of a tremendously gifted man. People see themselves in the painting. I know I do, as well.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Quick to observe, slow to speak

The amazing Art Biz blog has a discussion going called "Deep Thursday: Questions or Comments that turn your stomach." There are many "amen" posts from artists of every discipline. A few of my favorites that I resonate with are:

"How long did it take you to paint that?" and

"Why don't you paint X, X is what really sells well."

My contribution to the feed the use of words like "cute" or "adorable" to describe my paintings. Kill me now.

I had an exchange with someone close to me that used those words. I told this person to please go back and look at the painting she was referring to as "cute." To take some time and process the image and resist the impulse to go with her immediate impression. This is a most unfortunate weakness in our current culture...this immediate assessment, a summing up based on preconceived ideas. Left brained, indeed.

My friend returned with a new perspective on that "aha" moment of enlightenment. And I am wonderfully thankful that the words "adorable" and "cute" no longer suited her interpretation.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I just discovered that I am an analytical person. Personality tests are fascinating and I have taken many over the last few years. A recent one I took shows the sections on your brain that you use the most and I was shocked to see how analytical and methodical I am. As with all personality traits they can be our worst enemy or our best friends. I am beginning to recognize that my tendency to analyze my artwork and all things connected to it easily becomes a trap to me and destroys my creative spark.....I'll have to work on that. More "just do it" and less "what about this?... .what about that?"

So, almost done with the current painting. This can go in many directions and I struggle with choosing ONE (analytical, right?) which will naturally mean the death of other choices. Could it also be that I am non-committal?!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Gallery Opening

The FCCA opening was last Saturday night. Many of my friends attended and we had a great time. I finally got to meet Steven Walker, a noteworthy Richmond artist who I have gotten to know via the web. He has a solo show hanging in the member gallery. I forget how encouraging it is to connect face to face with other artist. I don't get to do that often, so I came away inspired and feeling less alone. For me, painting is a rather solitary experience in every facet. I still have been unable to find a community of artist with which to ponder......

I decided to come off of caffeine and unwisely did it cold turkey which has created a miserable few days in which I have gotten little done. I have been searching for reference photos for "The Flowering Bull," my next painting and staring at a few unfinished smaller works waiting for more paint. It seems the final details are eluding me due to caffeine withdrawal.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wednesday's painting

I returned from Atlanta, which is always an adjustment. Spending time with my sister and her kids and mom......I am watching my sister struggle and I am amazed at her strength and resilience, but they have been heavily on my mind since returning so I haven't been able to tackle anything this week, only a little shoving....I delivered the painting wednesday to Fredericksburg. It is something like dropping off your newborn at the nursery.......I did finish one painting yesterday. I am unsure if I want to do much more with it....I thought of covering it with paintball late grandfather would love that idea because he hated cats....send any good ideas my way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

FCCA prep day.....

A day of processing and readjustment always follows being away. Back from Atlanta and doing laundry and getting the painting ready for the FCCA show.

I decided to go for the spray ketone varnish and have been applying thin coats all day....have the headache to prove it. I have a skeleton statement ready....a lot of artist release these amazingly wordy and obtuse statements. I am of the opinion that statements can hurt the work either by interpreting the work for the viewer or distancing them from it by general artist weirdness. As a matter of fact, artists are directly responsible for the pervasive idea that people other than artist cannot understand art. Some ideas in these statements are so bizarre (it seems the more bizarre the more artists like it) that NO ONE can get it. Artists seem to forget that the number one reason a patron buys a work of art is because it matches their couch. Sorry, fellow artists but its true. They don't care about our obscure theories.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Today's painting

Today's painting. I guess it doesn't look too much different from yesterday, but it is 3 hours of painting. My camera has a big issue with high contrast, too.I have no idea how to paint wool so I am working that out by trial and error. I begin with covering the entire canvas with a chromatic black......

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New painting on the easel

Day one.
Long way to go.....this is the hardest part. Getting the drawing right and pushing the first applications of paint around can be frustrating. I haven't learned the lesson that it WILL come together. Whites are always tricky, too, because there are really no pure whites....

Ovis Nectarus - completed painting

"Ovis Nectarus"
24" x 30"
Oil on canvas

Friday, June 06, 2008

Final Varnish

Having just a few weeks to prepare the painting for the FCCA show I realized I still need a final varnish. After researching all the options and reading too many opinions about all the specifics of application, type and brand I came away with a major headache.
I think sometimes that artists just want to be contrary to prove that they are quirky. Some tend to give strong opinions about technique and management without giving any reason for their stance or giving a 2000 word thesis of nonsense for their stance. I wonder what percentage of artists have mental disorders?.....Or hope to cause others to develop one by reading their weirdness?!
And why anyone would want to fool with the old Dammar varnish, collected from trees in India, is beyond me when there are several new synthetic applications to choose from which are easy to remove for later cleaning of the work and easy to apply. No cooking here!......AAARRGGHH! I think synthetic is the way to go...... Anyway, these Dammar folks usually make their own paint, too. Kickin' it old school.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Today's painting.....Ovis Nectarus

Getting there......still wrestling with the idea of lots of them around the base of her neck....I did much more standing back and looking today than painting. Once I get the right placement I can start applying more detail.
Mondays are weird. We had a rather socially busy weekend and getting back to the easel is sometimes a struggle.....I am looking for images for the next painting as this one starts to wrap up. There are three idea I am ruminating on now.
Tomorrow I am headed down to Fredericksburg to meet Pam and have a look at the FCCA venue.

Friday, May 30, 2008

FCCA juried show

I just received an acceptance letter for "Effervescent" into the FCCA show in July. This will be the first time the painting has shown publicly and I am excited to hear people's comments and thoughts at the reception.

I feel that this painting was a real turning point in defining my work in style and technique. There is no doubt in my mind that the creation of this work was a divine catalyst to stretch my gift and my faith.

The exhibit runs June 29 thru July 27 and the opening is Saturday, July 5th 5:00-7:30pm...please come by if you can...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On the easel: Today's painting "Ovis Nectarus"

Laying in the, am I excited about this painting. It is manifesting just as I saw it in my mind.
This is another scary part, though, as it is easy to ruin the groundwork of that beautiful llama, but she is absolutely incomplete without the full vision.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Today's Painting: Ovis Nectarus

Third pass. I started adding the nectar at the eye ducts and need to decide just where it is going to come from.....nose, too, probablt and then it is on the deciding on a design for the butterflies. I initially thought of using bees, but I think the butterflies will create the edge I am looking for without too much weird factor. Yes, there is a line. Even for me.
For those of you who have asked "ovis" is the latin name for sheep. "Ovis" is the genus of the eight species of this mammal. The Peruvian word for sheep is "llama." "Ovis Nectarus", sheep of nectar, sounds better than "Llama Nectarus."