Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Small Starts, Big Results

It's a busy time of year as I prepare for my final out-of-state art show in Bethesda, Maryland, this weekend. In addition to my usual show preparations, I've started to work on my annual 25 Days of Minis, a collection of small original paintings perfect for gift giving or for splurging yourself during the holiday season. 

Through this endeavor, I partner with a great group of fellow artists and you can check out all of them on the 25 Days of Minis website.

For the past several years, the minis have been a fun way for me to explore my ideas with a greater sense of adventure. It's remarkable how something small scale frees me up for greater experimentation without any sense of pressure or fear about, "Oh, no, what if I screw up this big canvas?"

(Yes, even after almost twenty years of painting, there is still that little questioning voice at times.)

Often, I will revisit these subjects in larger pieces. It occurred to me this year, why not make that bigger thing a more formal deal? So, I'm pleased to share that each Thursday during December, I'll share a new, "mega" companion painting based off of the smaller mini study for that day. There will be four new mega paintings for you to enjoy as we wrap up 2022. 

One of the mega paintings will be a landscape based off of this mini, "Study, Luminous." I thought it would be fun to share with you how fun and splashy a small painting can be through this timelapse showing its genesis. 

Drop by my website on Thursday, December 1 to see this finished mini as well as its big sibling. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Back to Basics


Garden Bounty

A garden harvest!

Summer is flying past and it's shaping up to be a busy fall with upcoming art shows. I'm excited! But sometimes I can get a little overwhelmed with all of the things that I need to do. When I start to feel lost, I reel myself back in through a couple of means. 

The first is my garden. Thanks to my parents, I've always had a garden of some sort since childhood. Sometimes it was a modest set up, such as pots on my apartment balcony in Wisconsin or a shared community garden plot in Maryland. Now, I'm pleased to have a wonderful backyard oasis in Knoxville, Tennessee. The photo above shows a recent harvest. We have massive fig trees and all of the flowers you see pictured I started from seed in our basement back in March. 

The other way I marshal myself during busy times is by getting "back to basics" with my work. Nothing grounds me and calms me more than picking up a stick of charcoal and working out my ideas with some inexpensive newsprint paper. It's very freeing and I find that it makes it easier for me to tackle more complicated ideas, such as this recent cityscape, "Focus!"

30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

I had this idea from an outing to New York City for quite a while, but I needed to mull it over before I dove into it because of the subtleties of light and shadow. The best way for me to "break the glass" on this motif was to begin with vine charcoal sketches. Shown here are a couple of the initial sketches I made to map out this idea in my mind before taking up a paintbrush. 

I also like to use color maps to envision the overall values before I start mixing up paint. Shown below is the small map that I used to guide me throughout the creation of this painting. 

Color Map

Once I have these details set in my mind's eye, I'm ready to jump into the actual painting. And a great representational painting always has an abstract foundation, as you can see here in this video clip: The Initial Block-In

Thanks to my garden and some sticks of charcoal, I'm able to juggle quite a bit during a busy time. Sometimes, getting back to basics is a good thing!

Monday, July 18, 2022


Summer Oak and Solsticw Sky
 Shown: Summer Oak (left) and Solstice Sky (right)

It's been a busy summer and not quite as I would have planned it. To start the season, I got some good news in late May when I learned that my fractured feet are finally beginning to heal. Huzzah! 

Getting to this point has required a lot of my time and attention. Unfortunately, my feet still aren't quite where I want them to be as I begin a late summer / autumn schedule of outdoor art shows. I had planned to exhibit my oil paintings during back-to-back weekends of the Rehoboth Art League Outdoor Art Show in Delaware next month. But I won't have the help of my underpaid artist's assistant and husband, Tim, for the first weekend and I'm not quite physically ready to tackle the rigors of set up and weekend hours alone. 

As a result, I will be at just the second weekend, August 13-14. It's one of my favorite shows to do and I hate missing one of the weekends, but I'm trying to keep longer-range goals and my well-being in mind. I regard this as a short-term "pivot" for long-term gain.

Recent months have been instructive to me on how to move to a back up plan. As I continue to get my feet into art show shape, I've been focusing on a series of skyscapes / cloud paintings. This is my "head in the clouds" antidote to my feet. 

Shown above are two new landscapes, Summer Oak and Solstice Sky. I caught both of these subjects at a favorite municipal park here in Knoxville, Tennessee where I've been walking each evening with my husband as I strengthen my feet and get back to fighting trim for my outdoor art shows! 

I'm having a lot of fun with these landscapes and I'll probably sprinkle in some more ideas under this theme as we ease out of summer and into fall. Enjoy!