Clouds and Canines...

I was really excited that my husband was going to work from home today.  I was thinking we could have lunch together...maybe some mid-afternoon coffee.

But it's 1:37 pm and he's only given me one sentence today.  And it wasn't until a moment or two ago that I realized why.  He's protesting.

After the kiddos get home, I'm taking "Moe", our 80-pound male weimeraner puppy in to "get fixed" and my hubby is mad.  Never mind the fact that poor Moe has almost gotten hit three times this week trying to lose his virginity to the hot-and-bothered lady dog across the street.  

I can hear her (and so can he), calling out to him with a "Come and get me, Boy!" sound.  Moe has been sitting on my bed all day, his nose pressed to the screen of the nearby open window, listening to her summon him from across the road.  Poor Moe.

Then finally, a few thoughtful words from my husband..., "Maybe we could get him some of those fake testicles so his skin doesn't just hang there..."

"Is that what you're upset about? You want to get Moe some 'Truck Nutz'?!" I retorted.  "How about some standard marbles? They're cheaper..." I suggested.  He didn't find my rebuttal the slightest bit amusing.

And that was the end of the discussion.  He's mad.  He doesn't want to get the dog fixed, even though the dog has been marking up my house and running across the road. 

On the upside...All that silence worked in my favor!  I was able to get about halfway done on a not yet named painting depicting a really lovely cloud and sky.  I'm really excited about how lofty and tender these clouds are.  I used a dry brush technique and the result is really soft edges.  

The composition is loosely based on a photo I took of a nearby farm road with a rather large storm cloud rolling in from behind.  


 About two hours in, with my inspiration photo above the canvas...

About two hours in, with my inspiration photo above the canvas...

 I spent about an hour defining the clouds here...

I spent about an hour defining the clouds here...

 I added some highlighting then stopped here today.

I added some highlighting then stopped here today.

I'll be laying down the rest tomorrow afternoon and will have this one wrapped up by Wednesday afternoon.  Thursday is the last day of school and after that, I hope to be painting with the kiddos each day and posting as we go!


Making Lemonade...

This morning I'm updating some of my products.  This is a great way to fore into textiles with a minimal amount of cost and (wo)man hours.

Transferring photographs, drawings, watercolors, and unfinished work (or work that didn't quite work) to fabrics, leather, and other wearable items is very much designing but with my own original images.  Ever wonder where all the lovely prints on nicer clothing, scarves, handbags, or pocket squares come from?  Much of the time they are commissioned or purchased (or "borrowed") from artists like myself.  Through ShopVida, I can forgo the ever-present middle man and put my own images on finer quality wearable art.  Every once in a while I'll add to my little collection.  This morning I uploaded an image of a wet "Red Rock Evening" in-process photo.  The painting looked great wet, but as mentioned on my blog, looked pretty crappy and bland after it dried.

But here it is on a leather clutch, where it's found a happy new home:

Here's another one that I really (really) like of my painting, "Sand Beach, Acadia":

The site won't allow me to copy the image and post here (that's a good thing!). But you can see my images all over products at the ShopVida sight.  Be sure to take a peek at my favorite item "Sleeping Beard", a men's pocket square/scarf that looks even better on silk than on canvas!

I put down some underpainting today on a new figurative piece and will be working on that and a new abstract landscape that may also end up on a wallet or something...

I'll be making a real post with a new painting on it in about four hours so come back after dinner!


Red Rock Evening, Hurricane, Utah (almost done!)

Hello!  Had a splendid weekend and hope you all did as well.  I made a surprise road trip with our eleven year old to the Hudson River Valley in NY.  It was a really lovely weekend of taking our time, browsing little local shops, some good food, and no schedule.  No schedule being of upmost importance.  I am generally running ragged weekdays and weekends so having a little break (traffic aside) was really both needed and enjoyable.

Rhinebeck is a cute little town that I'd recommend seeing if you're ever up by Albany (in warmer weather).  Our daughter fell in love with the area, even asking about going to school up there in the future.  There were a little colleges dotting the way, not to mention a fantastic view of the Hudson from the Vanderbilt mansion, and the Culinary Institute of America!  I love food, so any trip must include stops at little restaurants with great reviews.  Also made a stop at a very elegant little farm stand with delicious maple syrup, English peas, and tiny beautiful strawberries that resembled the alpine wild varieties.  Our girl ate an entire pint herself so it's good that I bought two.

Back to work today on this southwest evening's where I stopped today.  It's still very wet, but this time I upped the pigment so that the swishy wet spots dry into deeply hued schmears rather than rather bland, subdued tones like last time.  I'm hoping to add a little highlighting then be done with it!

 I had to chop off some of the sides because I was photographing on a flat surface (because the canvas is so wet.  I'll have better photo tomorrow.

I had to chop off some of the sides because I was photographing on a flat surface (because the canvas is so wet.  I'll have better photo tomorrow.

I've already put the foundation on a new piece as well, a 16x24, that will likely be another landscape.  There are a few photos I would like to try to put down on canvas, and I should be sketching that one out tomorrow after the underpainting is dry.

Thank you for stopping in....especially to Dublin!

Home Stretch....Although, I'm thinking a nightscape now...

Good afternoon!

Poor lighting aside (damn rain!), I'm having a great day with my current "in progress" work, Hurricane, Utah.

All that delicious sloppy paint that I swished around on the canvas yesterday lost much of it's saturation when dry.  Rather disappointed that the colors faded with the water (considering those babies are $20 for a small tube).  Uh.  Paints are priced by pigment, and unfortunately, my favorite hues are those of the blue/green variety.  And don't get me started on the reds...

So, after my minor setback this morning when I checked the drying paint, I decided to move forward with more deliberate brushwork.  I'll add some mood at the end by mixing a tinted glaze to go over the sky that will be left to swirl around a bit, offering a little modern nod to what has become a more traditional/representational landscape.

Here's where I stopped today...


I also decided to whittle down the palette a bit.  As much as a light violet sky appeals to me, it doesn't offer as much a contrast as the "lagoon" teal blue that has been layered overtop of it.  There was just too much going on and I needed to make a change or two. Now I'm wishing that I hadn't spent so many hours on that sky and learn, I suppose.

I've got about eight layers of paint on this piece so that texture is part of the composition.  I like it when a little schmear of paint here and there jumps off the canvas.  It also really looks great after it's varnished.  

Happy Friday and thank you for spending a little part of your day with me.

Memorial Day Break

Artists are no doubt inspired by nature and when I'm out of ideas, getting outside is the best way to find my creativity again.

Over the weekend, I took two of our four (plus one German Shorthaired Pointer) to my folk's cottage situated on an inlet of the Chesapeake that used to be two rows of fisherman's shacks.  It's not so low brow anymore since being discovered by D.C. dwellers in recent years.  There are only a handful of the original 1940's cottages left, ours being one of them.

After hurricane season each year, repairs are made, and the little cottage that could is again residable. Not to say that it isn't quirky...having a big ole' hot water heater next to the throne in the one bathroom does not make for peaceful deposits, and it's hotter than hell in that little place once June gets started.  But, native Marylanders are used to humidity.  I'm just a little sensitive to the heat since experiencing Minnesota and Michigan summers, sunny, 80-degree days with no stickiness, no baked car interiors, and no need for cold mid-day showers from constant overheating.

Memorial Day weekend was near perfect this year at the cottage.  The threat of rain kept many away, so the roads were near empty for bikes.  The glut of holiday weekend fishermen/women/children were nearly non-existent.  And Point Lookout State Park, only a bike ride away, is always on the itinerary for an early morning bout of exercise on wheels with my dad.

That morning, the location of what was arguably the most cruel of all civil war prison camps, Point Lookout, offered quiet, calm waters, and a coolish breeze to enjoy the natural beach and native birds crafting nests of weathered driftwood twigs the hue of common button mushrooms.  You can see Point Lookout from our cottage deck and Civil War reenactments are a local staple, celebrating our country's young struggles and those who died while bringing together those who deeply disagreed on the issue of state sovereignty and the equality of "all men" as penned in the Declaration of Independence.  Both sides honor their dead on towering monuments only an acre apart.  The union memorial consists of two obelisks.  The single confederate monument was privately funded years later.   Both are covered with names of the men who died and what state they were originally from.

Below is a photo of the beach that the cottage sits on.  My parents got engaged on that very beach where I learned to swim years later.  It's where our dog spied a sea turtle leaving eggs in a burrowed dune concealed by a large log and some robust grasses.  We also saw the remains of an egret...a mound of marbled feathers, that must have been injured, then done-in by some hungry nearby blue crabs.

 Near the turtle egg laying spot

Near the turtle egg laying spot


Low Tide in the evening....the best time to wade...(above)


And in the studio today...I worked on my Hurricane Utah painting all morning today and am really excited about where it is going.  As soon as I let go of my hyper-controlled lines/strokes, I started to feel like the color and composition was very representative my work.  Below is where I started today, and then where I stopped.  My canvas is absolutely soaked! So, I have to wait until tomorrow to add more paint.  It's starting to bubble up and I don't want to lose the underpainting...

 This is where I started this morning...

This is where I started this morning...



Thank you for stopping by...I expect to have "Hurricane, Utah" wrapped up by the end of the day tomorrow.  Super pleased with today's progress!

Hurricane, Utah

Today is my birthday.  I'm forty-four years old.  

As a nice little service, Shutterfly sends photo albums of what you were doing three years ago this week and reminded me of some great shots I got of southwest landscapes near Zion National Park.

My buddy, Jenny, and I both have birthdays in April, and that particular year, we decided to meet up in Las Vegas, and drive to Zion to celebrate our many combined years.

I've wanted to paint the photo below for a long time but never had the nerve to try.  But today I woke up with an abundance of nerve, and honestly feeling quite blessed at the years I've been granted, wanting to attack life for the next forty years instead of simply living.  Not that I'm discontent with my lot.  Quite the opposite.  I just want to have many more great photos of beautiful people (my family) and places (near and far) delivered to my inbox, reminding me of the rich life I've been granted (but could never deserve).

This is Hurricane, Utah.  I'm putting down the underpainting today on a 20x20 canvas and hope to at least get it sketched out and somewhat shaped in by the time the bus gets here with my lovies on it.


Inspiration photo (above) that I took from the back of a rickety (but dirty and awesome!) old Jeep with my Nikon.

 Prepped canvas (yes, I do like lilac...)

Prepped canvas (yes, I do like lilac...)

 My sketch -  I really enjoy the free hand sketching which allows for changes here and there to accommodate the shape of my photo vs. my square canvas.

My sketch -  I really enjoy the free hand sketching which allows for changes here and there to accommodate the shape of my photo vs. my square canvas.

 Two hours later!  Woo Hoo!!!!

Two hours later!  Woo Hoo!!!!

 Here's where I stopped today...

Here's where I stopped today...

I'm planning to do a bunch more tomorrow after this is dry.  Painting wet on wet doesn't allow super crisp edges, which I plan to use on this piece in order to create some really nice definition.

I really LOVE southwest Utah and we'll be taking the kiddos in a few months to see all this beautiful terra in person.  I'm pretty excited about that and so are they.  We love to hike and our youngest is finally big enough not to be carried around in the backpack all day.

Thank you for stopping in to see my work today.  I've been very bad about posting lately and I'm sorry.  Too much to do.  I was actually pondering what my days will look like in about thirteen years.  Of course, all that quiet won't be nearly as inspiring as all the young, vibrant, and endless energy my little ones have that keeps me entertained.  If I wasn't such an old dog, I'd have another one.  I've never been as creative as when we're adding to our brood.  

See you tomorrow.

Thank God for Def Leppard!

There's this painting....I've reworked it four times now.  I think that's a record.  And after tonight, I swear on my Pappy Van Winkle that I am done.  Because if I'm not, I'm going to stab myself in the left eye with a shrimp fork.

I'm really a wreck over my paintings that are to be installed on Monday at Circle Gallery.  I nearly finished my "Blessed Vessel" piece, a very large and time consuming composition, only to find that it does not look good next to the companion piece.  Because they are so similar in palette, they almost steal each other's thunder and can therefore not be next to each other and I don't want my girls on the wall fighting over the eyeballs of passerbys.

So, Cold Feet #2 will be put up with The Bathers instead.  And the piece formerly known as Kiawah Waterway is now a Southwest landscape.  

Maybe it was the fact that I spent last weekend in San Antonio and Fredericksburg (and other nearby Hill Country haunts)?  Is it coincidence that I relish a balmy evening at a Honky Tonk named Hondo's....or had a killer pulled pork sandwich in Luchenbach while sipping the official national beer of Texas (yes, that's what they call it).  Is there anything better than listening to some truly talented up-and-coming talent under a hundred-year-old Live Oak?  Maybe not.

I must admit here that I think Merle Haggard is overrated (but not Willie Nelson). However, the song, "Luchenbach, Texas", was pretty fun to listen to after actually being there.  I'd go back again for sure.  Not at all what I expected.  The bathrooms were super tidy, is was serene, low-key, and people were very cool even though it was pretty crowded.  I think I like Texas.

So, here's "Perdernales Gets A Drink".  It was dry in Texas and there were enough dried up creek beds to make a girl feel parched, even with a cucumber lime Gatorade in her hand (yes, they have that flavor in Texas, and it was refreshing).


The colors aren't as vibrant as they are in person.  But after I glaze it, it's going to really pop on that big white wall at the gallery.

And here's a little story about how Perdernales came along...

I sat at my work table for nearly two hours staring at paintings I needed to work on this afternoon. But I had a serious case of anxiety-induced painter's block.  All my ideas were crap, and I had no direction for where I wanted to go today.

Enter Def Leppard.

I listen to classic rock and 80's/90's stations when I paint, unless I specifically need Ben Howard or the Beastie Boys.  Today was no different except that today's radio tunes were flatter than San Antonio. I was about to make another liter of French Press coffee so I could get a buzz or at least be half awake, when "Photograph" came on.  

There's an Eric Church song called, "Springsteen" that is about how memories and melodies are so intimately bound.  And as soon as "Photograph" came on, I was in sixth grade again, listening to my boom box in a pink and gray checkered puffy-sleeved top and a pair of painted-on jeans with cartoons printed on them.  Good times.  And just like that, I was hopping around, sorting colors, and laying down paint!  Photograph is a song that I will never tire of.  

So, thank you 1983!

I appreciate all the visits to my site recently.  I have not posted much lately, but I am always working on at least two or three projects at a time that I don't always post.  I'm working on some furniture stuff after having a good idea last week for upholstery materials. This was due in part to the fact that my puppy, a seventy pound weimaraner named "Moe" ate the corner off of my custom made 8' Pottery Barn couch while my mama was watching the kiddos.  It only took half an hour for him to eat the thing down to the stuffing.   Reminds me of the time Mom thought our other Weim (RIP) was uncomfortable in his crate and so put my husband's wool West Point cadet blanket in there to supplement the dog's bedding.

Of course, the dog ate the blanket.  That didn't go over well with the hubby.

Anyhow, thank you to new viewers as far away as Pakistan and as near as Baltimore City....I wish you a restful weekend and thank you for spending some time with me this week....


then in came the legion...

Happy Saturday!

I'm still half asleep at 4 pm after a night out in D.C. last night!  Our eight year old son is on a travel hockey team and they played a short scrimmage after the first period at the Capitals game last night!  So exciting!  We took the entire brood plus my folks to see the game.  Of course, the Caps killed it!  

To celebrate, my folks took us out for a late dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill, the oldest tavern in Washington, D.C. (who in my opinion has the best service in the tri-state area!).  The crab cakes were very good (not as good as Koko's in Baltimore or Casa Mia in Parkton) but my husband's filet knocked my socks off!  The really fun part is that our family has been going there together for nearly 25 years!  

We didn't get home until midnight, and quite honestly, I am out of practice.  I don't get out much and am more of a homebody...

But this morning, while sipping coffee with my fella, I looked up at "Blessed Vessel" and (I think) decided which direction it needed to go in order to tell the story I intend.

Here's some in process about an thirty minutes apart...


I took the rough paint sketch of an anatomically correct human heart and used charcoal to add detail...

 Filling in the background with my Roman soldiers...

Filling in the background with my Roman soldiers...

 Drawing soldiers is dirty work...I accidentally smeared charcoal all over the canvas.

Drawing soldiers is dirty work...I accidentally smeared charcoal all over the canvas.

 Here's where I stopped today.  I wish I could sketch faster!

Here's where I stopped today.  I wish I could sketch faster!

This, as well as the six other pieces are due February 24th.  Although I'm pretty nervous, it's always exciting to get my wall up and see how it looks alongside of the work of fellow artists.

Stop by Tuesday to see where were at with this piece above.  Tomorrow morning I'm going to see my newish nephew who I've tried to see for three months now.  My house kept getting sick and I had to cancel.

Atlanta, here I come!


Another day off of school

We again had treacherous roads glazed in layer upon layer of ice this morning.  The kiddos are home with me, but they are being SO GOOD today that I was able to get the deep dark blue glaze on the background and start fooling around with copper leaf.

I'm really unsure about many things as far as how and where to go next, but I'm going to stop here for today because the canvas is too wet to do anything else right now.

Here's what's going on at my kitchen table...


Hope to see you tomorrow!

Ice Day (again)! No school!

The good news is that the sun is out!  It's remarkable how how relatively warm 27 degrees and full-on sun feels after teen temps and cloudy days of never-ending precipitation.

I needed crampons this morning to feed and water the chickens.  Poor things were sliding all over the place, trying to grab a beak full of fodder before sliding down the incline (bobsled track) to the other side of the fenced in (frozen) chicken utopia that is their quarters and surrounds.  

They are indeed spoiled chickens (as opposed to buttered chickens) but they feed us, so i'm happy to indulge them.  Eggs aside, they also help our family waste less.  Today, for instance, they noshed on a warm pile of cooked dry goods that were very expired in the pantry.

I had a cup of faro, wheat noodles, lentils, and whatever else had been opened two+ years ago that would never make it to our table.  Our daughter, Lilly (14) cooked it up then bravely took it out.  The hens really liked the faro!

Today I was able to get some smoothing/shading done and add another layer in the background on Blessed Vessel.  Tomorrow, I will be applying the Payne's Grey glazing that I did on the companion piece.  Then Thursday, I'll use the fixative to lock in the charcoal before adding copper leaf, creating a modern icon.  

Here's a peek of today's progress:


Thank you for stopping by and stay tuned for some metallic!

Update- On My Easel

This weekend, I've been tooling around with shapes and sizes of babies in bellies of women online.  I like to have my subjects, particularly in a more realistic piece, to have reasonable dimensions.  I came across a photo of a little one with the lifeline curled around him (or her).  

I liked the look because the cord really provides the life support.  I imagine little babies in a scuba sort of situation.  Remember those big, heavy metal diving suits with those thick hoses that provided oxygen?  The cord from mother to child is kinda like that.  And according to my husband (who's cut four of them against his will) they are every bit as tough as a rubber garden hose!  He still talks about how gross that was.  Poor fella.  Being a dad is so demanding!

So here's what I've got for you today.  The baby is almost sketched here after a few unsuccessful attempts of an upside down baby (more realistic but didn't look right on the canvas) and a baby that was too big to allow the belly to show at all, and quite frankly, I like her belly.

Tomorrow i'll be putting some more shading in and working on the background so that it's consistent with "The Bathers", a companion piece.

Hope whoever you're rooting for tonight (Super Bowl!) long as it's Tom Brady launching that pigskin into outer space!  Philly is only two hours from us, but Tom Brady is 40, and therefore gets my vote just for the fact that he's old (for a QB) and still hits it hard on the field and consistently wins with a team of relative nobodies.  Superstars seem to ruin a team.  That's perhaps what happened to our hometown team, The Baltimore Ravens.  Too many glorifying themselves instead of glorifying each other....

Stop back tomorrow for some major additions to the piece below, "Blessed Vessel".


Thursday, December 21st. The Bathers. Done.

Had another great day today!!!  Such a blessing and I am very thankful.  I finished "The Bathers" and also determined that "Sand Beach" is better an abstract after placing it on it's side and adding some drippy paint.  As I said yesterday, all the pieces for this show must look as if they were birthed from the same artist's brain.  This is a challenge as my work depends on my mood and my moods change at will (although in my defense, I lean positive).  

As with "The Bathers", inspiration may come from a photo from last year of a mother and daughter readying to jump into a river (or something) in some tropical locale.  I thought the figures, with their unusually long blonde locks and arms would be interesting to paint.  I like my subjects to have a little whimsey and exaggerated features meet that criteria.

This afternoon, I decided that I liked it as is, without a spectrum of color.  I had cleaned up the skin and hair with acrylics then added charcoal and did some smudging...I hope you can see what I see-- a simple composition that doesn't anything else to be of interest...


Here's a sneak preview...(above) It still needs to dry and some artist's adhesive to get the charcoal to stay put!  I've already signed it though, which means (maybe) that it's officially done!


Here are the other two pieces that will be in the show so far...Notice the colors are all from the same palette, since I'm all over the place in both size and composition.  I'm going to add some texture to the abstract tomorrow perhaps in spherical shape (or not, just thinking out loud here...) to finish it off.

Thank you for stopping by!  Hope to have lots more for you soon.



After a trip to the art supply shop this morning to buy a VERY large canvas for my next piece entitled "The Bathers" for the Melange show in Feb/Mar 2018, I put my in process piece on the kitchen island to glance at and make some decisions.

After choosing what I really really wanted to paint next (a rather modern figurative piece), I determined that my little landscape was just a little too literal for the one in the pipeline.  Having one piece chosen for a show is one thing, but having a seven foot wall to cloth in eager canvases presents a whole other issue...that is, the necessity for a cohesive grouping.

So, after a little pouting (I hate changing courses when I'm nearing the finish line on a painting!!!) I decided that my landscape would instead be a seascape, and I'd add a little more abstract.  Today I did just that, but needed to stop because I hope to do some glazing tonight/tomorrow and need the undercoats to be pretty dry to do so.

Here's where I stopped today:


Meanwhile, I prepped and underpainted "The Bathers".  This piece will be a big one, 30x48".  It will be my statement piece for the show and the one that hopefully lures gallery wanderers in for a closer look...

I'll be sketching that out either this evening, or tomorrow, early.

Signing off for now...