Monday, October 12, 2015

Pumpkin Patch

"Pumpkin Patch"
8"x6" oil on panel

This past week I went plein air painting in a local pumpkin patch and had a hard time deciding what to paint while I strolled among the sea of pumpkins.  After a bit I settled on this grouping of pumpkins scattered at the base of a clump of corn stalks.   I brought it home to tweak the background and I am pleased with how it turned out.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Nancy Franke Workshop

     Attending a Nancy Franke workshop has been on my bucket list for a couple of years now.  I put my name on the cancellation list and fortunately, due to some cancellations, I was notified two weeks before it started that I got in!  It was a two-day Ease and Flow Paint a la Prima workshop in Highlands NC.

Nancy paints with a very limited palette of Titanium White, Cadmium Lemon, Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Red Medium.  She loves linen canvases or panels and her favorite brush is a #12 long flat Rosemary brush.  I was introduced to Rosemary Brushes three years ago and have several of them so I already had on hand what she suggested we might want to think about using.  After lightly drawing her composition with vine charcoal she uses her egbert brush to form the flowers or foliage on her canvas.  Here is her beautiful floral demo along with a photo of her still-life setup that she did for us the first morning.  I think the canvas size is 30x24.

The first thing she had us do is paint a still-life setup of three pears with ONLY a paper towel dipped in Gamsol and then in our squeezed out paints.  No brushes allowed!  I won't bore you with my pitiful rendition, but try it for yourself!  She gave us 30 minutes to do this and it is interesting what you can come up with.  Then she gave us another timed session of 45 minutes and I painted these white roses with my #12 Rosemary flat on a 14"x11" linen canvas.  It is my favorite piece of the five panels that I painted those two days.

Next we painted some hydrangeas in another timed session of just a little over an hour.  Let's just say I got carried away and my hydrangeas are about twice the size they should be!

The next morning she produced a beautiful demo of a little girl on a 24"x18" canvas.  She spent more than 30 minutes drawing and redrawing this little girl.  She did not like what she drew and wiped it all off and started all over again until she got what she wanted.  She said to figure it out before you commit!

My big takeaways from Nancy are to use BIG brushes i.e size 10 for a 6"x6" canvas, size 12 for larger canvases, negative space on your canvas is your friend and most importantly be free and expressive and have FUN doing it.  

She is a petite little thing but energizes you with her infectious spirit and immense talent.  Her workshops are FUN.  I encourage you to study with her if you get the chance.  Here is a parting shot of Nancy and me at the end of the workshop.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Plein Air Convention - Part Two of Two

Asilomar Beach

On Tuesday, April 14, after attending the 6:30 am Art Marketing Bootcamp and watching numerous demonstrations by several of the fabulous artists I mentioned in Part One, we headed out in the late afternoon to paint Asilomar State Park in Pacific Grove in the beautiful sunshine but with 25-40 mph winds!  The Pacific Ocean is very deep and mighty but with those winds coming in off the shore, it made for a very exhilarating afternoon of painting. "Extreme Painting" is a term that comes to mind because you had to hold down your easel with one hand while tying to apply the paint to your panel with the other hand!

One of the very special aspects about attending this convention is getting together and spending time with the four other artists that I traveled with. We planned and talked about this spectacular trip for almost 9 months.  Another  delight was seeing old friends and instructors from other workshops I have attended in the past and meeting in person and spending time with the dozens upon dozens of Facebook "friends" that I have followed over the past several years.  We met, clicked and spent several days with the very talented pastel artist in this group photo below after we finished lunch on Fishermans Wharf.  His name is Jz  and he has a fascinating story to tell.  He is married and we are all married but we decided to call this photo "Jz and all the married ladies" because of  Beyonce and her single ladies tune!

Another wonderful thing is meeting and talking with artists like Quang Ho.  I was walking thru the vendors booths and came across him in the RayMar booth and asked if he would mind if we snapped a photo.  He is such a gracious and sweet man and his demo on Thursday was spectacular and a joy to watch.

On Wednesday we painted in the late afternoon at Lovers Point just a few miles south of Monterey.  The winds were calm and we had another beautiful day to paint.    On Thursday we drove down to Carmel by the Sea and painted at Carmel Mission Ranch overlooking a pasture leading out the the ocean with dozens of sheep grazing,  That was quite an unexpected scene.  We then drove around the corner where I snapped several photos of Carmel Misson before we headed back to our Portola Hotel  and the convention sight for another art-filled evening. 

The official convention activities concluded on Thursday afternoon but we were scheduled to paint all day Friday on Fishermans Wharf.  That day turned out to be a very special and enjoyable day and I completed four plein air pieces that day.  It is hard to imagine but let me tell you how exciting it was to be on the wharf with several hundred of your closest friends painting the gorgeous views that you saw at every turn.  

At some point on Friday afternoon, all of a sudden all these artists that I follow on Facebook just appeared together and I told Dottie we just had to have a photo taken with them.  They are Becky Joy, Debra Groesser, me, Dottie Leatherwood, Shelby Keefe and Jane Hunt.  Very talented ladies indeed!  Check them out on Facebook to see if you don't agree!

The 4th annual Plein Air Convention was a glorious week spent in the California sunshine with special friends and new-found friends and it will always be such a wonderful memory for me.  Thanks for taking the time to read this blog but I really wanted to put my thoughts together and share some of my memories with you!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Plein Air Convention - Part One of Two

Recently I attended my very first Plein Air Convention in beautiful Monterey CA along with 700-800  other fellow plein air enthusiasts from around the world.  This trip has been in the works since last June when one of my good art buddies suggested we attend.  Our gang of five met three years ago at a workshop in Atlanta and we have since then attended several other workshops in various places in the South but this is the first time we hopped on a plane and flew across country to paint!

Here we are:  Robin Rohwer, Connie Gaertner, Dottie Leatherwood and me getting caught up in the moment and enlisting in the Plein Air Force.  Karen Rose was missing from this photo.  Sorry, Karen!

Karen and I attended a 1 1/2 day pre-convention workshop with  the very entertaining C. W. Mundy.  When I first began painting several years ago I tore a photo of one of his paintings out of a magazine because I thought it was so beautiful.  So when I learned I could study with him, I jumped at the chance since he is cutting way back on his teaching schedule.  I filled pages of my notebook with his nuggets of wisdom and then watched him paint a 16x20 UPSIDE DOWN painting from a recent study he had done of the rocks and crashing waves.  He painted this in 30 minutes and worked another 30 minutes to add more color and details.  It was fascinating to watch!

Plein Air Magazine sponsored this 4th annual Plein Air Convention and it is a VERY well organized event filled with seminars, art discussion and demos by so many plein air and non-plein air artists.  The convention started each morning at 6:30 am for Art Marketing Boot Camp with Lori McNee and Eric Rhoads.  I am NOT A MORNING PERSON but each day I was there along with hundreds of others to learn about social media, blogging and a myriad of others ways to share and market our artwork.  Each day we bounced from one demo stage (with two huge screens so everyone had a birds-eye view of the palette and painting of the guest artist) to another to watch Bryan Mark Taylor, Roger Dale Brown, Lori Putnam, Jason Sacran, John Lasater, Brian Blood, Lem Chmiel, Carolyn Anderson, Susan Blackwood, Debra Joy Groesser, Bill Davidson and Quang Ho.  And these were just the demos that I watched!  

Many other stages were filled with pastel and watercolor artists.  And this was just during the daytime hours!  In between sessions we would wander out into the vendor booths where every art supplier you could imagine was giving away samples and selling their wonderful toys/wares!    Each day the convention would break at 4 pm so we could hit the beaches and other sites to plein air paint for 2-3 hours then return to our wonderful hotel to drop off our gear to get ready to attend the nighttime sessions watching young Russian painters doing portraits from live models to painting nocturnes along the wharf to listening to critique sessions by C.W. Mundy and Carolyn Anderson and Lori Putnam and Quang Ho.

The daily schedule was exhausting but so much fun!  We ran on adrenaline most of the time but since everyone was there for the same reason-to learn more about this passion we all have-we went from one session to another with eagerness.  

I hope you will come back for Part Two!

Thursday, March 26, 2015


30"x40" oil on gallery wrap canvas

For this most recent session of classes at Butler Studio, Curt stretched us to use color vibration to design and build our composition.  He showed us how to employ abstract impressionism by building our painting slowly using abstract color notes with varied brushes and knives to VERY SLOWLY bring about our design.  He kept telling us that we should not see the subject until about the 4th class of  the 5 week session!

My color vibration was blue and green.  My colors consisted of a limited palette of ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow deep, titanium white, burnt sienna, cadmium yellow lemon with a small amount of magenta (one of my new favorite colors) to add the purple/lilac mountains in the distance.

Here are a couple progress shots showing how this painting slowly came to life.

Stage 1 progress shot

Stage 2 progress shot (sorry about the light bulb glare)

The final class yesterday was spent adding more greens in the tree masses, brightening some of the sky and adding that same brightness to the flowing water.  I am very tickled to see those strokes of purple in the water to balance the same colors in the receding mountain range.   I was very pleased with how this one turned out and am always very grateful for all Curt does to help me "see the light".

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dining Room Sunlight

"Dining Room Sunlight"

I feel much better about this interior scene.  I loved the wonderful sunshine pouring through the bay windows and the shadows that resulted.  The beautiful home of my son and daughter-in-law have provided the photo source for this scene and the one I posted last week.  I am sure they were wondering why I was walking around their house snapping photos here and there!

I subscribe to a blog written by a wonderful plein air artist from The Netherlands by the name of Roos Schuring.  A few days ago her blog featured these words:  "Fail fast, fail some more.  Admit the failure and do better.  Failing can be fun.  Failing is a given."  These words resonated with me as I am struggling with these interior scapes but I keep plugging away and hopefully some day I will win!  

The struggle continues...

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Quiet Room

"The Quiet Room"
8"x10" oil on panel

One thing I have learned as I've grown older is that I am strong enough to put artwork out there that is not up to my in point, this piece of artwork above!  

I have been attempting a few interior scenes lately to stretch myself and also because I have always admired scenes of this sort.  I have learned that it is VERY difficult to pull off successfully.  I may do a few more to continue to practice but really want to learn how to do this so much better.  Someday I would love to take a workshop from someone whom I have long admired-Anne Blair Brown-and who does this type of work so well.

By the way, the color of these blue chairs on my monitor is very electric blue and not at all like the color I have painted them.  I usually do not have this issue but it is very evident in this image.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Evening Glow

"Evening Glow"
10"x8" oil on panel

This is a diversion from my usual landscapes, but I wanted to give it a try.  I always admire the interior scenes done by other artists so I went around the house a few nights ago and tried to set up and capture scenes that might work.  

I have a couple more to paint, so please stay tuned!

Friday, February 20, 2015

"Henny Penny"

"Henny Penny"
12"x12" Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas

This colorful lady is not shouting impending doom like her namesake in the famous children's story but is simply saying "look at me" in all my multicolored glory!

There was considerable discussion as to whether she/he is a hen or rooster but I am the artist and I went with hen!

Thursday, February 12, 2015


16"x16" oil on canvas

This purple cow is quite a departure for a painting topic for me.  But I must say I really like the way she turned out!  My photographer friend Jennifer graciously gave me the photo to use and I really let my creativity run with this one as far as the color goes.  Using various shades of purples and the complementary yellows really allow this one to stop you in your tracks when you first see it!  My sister-in-law Linda named her which is a good thing because I was going to go with the mundane "purple cow"!  Very original, don't you agree!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Art Studio Cleanup and Organization



After putting away all the Christmas decorations and getting my house back in order, I decided to tackle a very overdue project---MY MESSY STUDIO.  Since these past few days in January have been rather dreary and gloomy, I have put my time to good use by putting some order back into my studio!  For the last few years I have used an unfinished door that I bought for $8 at Habitat Restore.  I stained it and it made a very nice desktop atop some old filing cabinets for my studio.  As  you can see, it also allowed me to put anything and everything I had in my hands on it!.  My husband would always shake his head when he comes into my studio and ask me how I can operate with a mess like that but I have to be IN THE MOOD to take on a project like that.  These dreary days prompted me to clean up my act!  It actually has stayed this clean for several days now!  

These chrome storage shelves were ordered from Amazon because we could not find the size I wanted (72"x36"x24") in our local stores.  It arrived in two days, was easy to put together and Steve inserted these dowels in between each shelf to hold things upright and separate the multitude of frames and old canvases that I wanted to store.  I found some never used carpet remnants in the attic from when our house was built 13 years ago and they provide the perfect cushion so frames, etc do not get damaged.  Now everything is in its place and very easy to locate.

You will notice that I have not posted any photos of the OTHER SIDE of my studio!  Actually it is not that bad-just a little cluttered.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bass Lake Stroll

" Bass Lake Stroll"
8"x8" Oil on Panel

Earlier today I received a very welcome phone call from Debbie, the owner of Providence Gallery here in Charlotte, telling me that this little painting sold shortly after New Years.  This was a study I did last spring from a photo Steve and I took in Blowing Rock a few years ago.  Bass Lake is a lovely small body of water about a mile or so from the quaint downtown streets of  Blowing Rock NC.  After doing this study, I created a 24"x24" painting of this same scene.  Love getting phone calls like this-great way to start 2015!!!