Thursday, November 7, 2013


A little hiatus from fruit . . .

Monday, November 4, 2013


I've really enjoyed returning to these simple set-ups.
They don't seem quite as hard as they once did and
also easier now to portray light.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Lemons/Shot Glass

The shot glass has white marbling all through it—
very pretty but impossible (for me) to paint a real
likeness of it. On the last post, I didn't want to say
I was trying to channel my inner Stanley Bielen
because no one else can pack so much emotion into
a small painting of simple objects, but, yup, I was.
But, it seems like not a bad way to start if one is trying
to get free of self-imposed fetters? Thanks so much
to everyone who comments—can't tell you how thrilled
I am when someone takes the time!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


I've been all over the place style-wise and subject-wise
lately and it feels good to just explore. I've been invited
again to participate in a small works show at the Abend 
Gallery in Denver. They have a great roster of artists so
I'm honored they asked. I hadn't been working small
enough and needed new work so I'm keeping it simple
and paying attention to paint and color. That seems totally
unremarkable but I've been so hung up on learning to
paint form, there hasn't always been room in my head for
the "art" part. I'm feeling confident enough lately to not worry
about getting the objects right, but to try a color or texture
or mark next to another and see if the piece holds together.
But then I started on the 6th one in this series yesterday and
got all hung up on getting it "right" again—easy enough to
scrape and stop, regroup.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Salt 'n' Pear

I wanted to play around with a painting that had more
background than subject matter, just to lay colors next
to each other and see if I could make them resonate.
And, make them work with the subject.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

At the Window

I've been all over the map subject-wise lately, aiming to learn how to
not concentrate on painting the "thing" so much as manipulating paint.
I've always been interested in paint handling but maybe now trying
to be more conscious about it, how each stroke of color and value works
with the one next to it. Instead of racing ahead and having a vision of
what the painting should look like, how it should come out, I'm narrowing
my focus to what I'm actually putting down and then responding to what
comes next, essentially allowing it to come out the way it does.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Red Barn 2

Another try at the red barn . . . I go back to the same subject often
to see if I can simplify the way I think about painting it, find a
different approach, use different colors, emphasize different parts
of the composition and, just in general, see if there's been some

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Old Barn

Another try at "the" barn. I have a vision of how I should be painting
these scenes but am not there yet. Can't seem yet to break out of my own
boundaries. I did enjoy working on this however: no second-guessing
or making it hard or getting in my own way. One good thing is that while
painting, I was most concerned with color in light and color in shadow.
(Yay me.) (This image, too, on blogger is so contrasty with exaggerated
darks compared to the same image in photoshop. ??? )

Monday, September 23, 2013

Little Silo in the Woods

I really enjoy painting buildings and am trying to be more conscious
of integrating their surroundings instead of painting a "portrait" of them.

When I compare this uploaded image on blogger to the image in
Photoshop, it looks coarser or contrast-ier than the Photoshop image.
Does anyone else notice differences in their uploaded pictures?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Red Barn

I had intended to paint this barn differently—more amorphous
and atmospheric, but I am finding it easier to modify what I see and
and not be so tied to an actual scene.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Old Brewery

Trying to be more conscious of light and shadow, color and value
and work towards an airier, less solid effect.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

March of the Trees 3

Another in the series of distance paintings . . . with each one, I try to start
out thinking about abstract stuff right from the start. Always, at some
point, I realize I've gotten prissy and cautious, take a break and regroup.
I'm finding it helpful to work on the same subject, especially a subject like
this that doesn't nag me to try to be faithful to the scene.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tree Line - Sold

I have the hardest time making a landscape be green. There are many
iterations of this painting in various greens but after living with them
each for a few days, they seemed overwhelming.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Settling In—Sold

Montana's sky was constantly changing and endlessly fascinating . . .
thought I'd give painting it a try. This reminds me of cooler weather
elsewhere after a week of 102-105 degrees in San Antonio. Pray
for rain!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Field with Cattails - Sold

After the last two distance paintings (actually, there's a third that's
not finished yet), it felt natural to carry on with the mark-making.
This was mostly just about the pleasure of pushing paint around.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

March of the Trees 2

More adventures in trying to create space and mark-making.
Every preconception I had about painting landscapes was pretty much
wrong. No matter how much I look at other artists' landscapes, my brain
is slow to comprehend how they achieved a sense of distance, so lots of
trial and error . . .

Friday, July 26, 2013

March of the Trees—Sold

Trying to understand how to depict a deep sense of space . . .

Monday, July 15, 2013

Apple Heart

When I cut into this apple, I was taken with the heart shape but also
by its impish expression.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

At the Bottom of the Road

A post at last! I've been painting every day except for a great week in Montana,
but the figures I had been working on weren't working out. Montana's views,  
big skies and constantly changing weather talked me into shifting to landscapes.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pansy in Simon Teabowl 2 and 1

Attempt 2 at trying to marry everything I think I've learned
lately. Attempt 1 is below. I tried a second take because I
thought I was still too cautious with the first one.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Lonely building between the freeway and train tracks.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

House on Madison

This may not be finished yet but I stopped to escape that "tidying up"
compulsion that grips me toward the end. The earth reds from the
underpainting may need to be toned down a bit, and the contrast
overall. I wanted to work on thick and thin paint, also to not describe
and define everything. I don't always "see" clearly what I've put on
canvas or I superimpose what I want to see on what's actually there.
It will take some time of living with this to get some distance and
notice whether I see it differently. Don't want to rush in and "fix" stuff
without a clear intention.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Towne Place

Same street as a previous painting, different reference photo . . .

Thursday, March 7, 2013


One of my goals lately is to work towards an interesting surface quality which 
hadn't yet appeared on my radar. I've been switching subjects as an exercise 
that forces me to think differently depending on the subject, then try to apply 
what I've learned to the next different subject. It's helpful for someone like me 
who tends to approach things the same way when what I wish to do is change 
or see transformation. Since switching from the way I used to work to more 
representational subjects, I long for the freedom that used to come naturally.  
There's a balancing act to work towards and it's good to identify it, because 
it's not always clear what my goal is. I'm working on a nude now, hoping to 
apply what I've learned to the figure but am still too tight—still fixated too 
much on getting it "right" which my brain tends to translate as "rigid." I may 
just have to accept that until something starts to shift on its own. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Downtown Sunday

I really enjoy painting these city scenes because they offer
so many variables and compositional relationships to consider.
With so much to look at, I'm forced to simplify and use a kind
of "shorthand" to convey the scene. I find it hard at times to
not spell everything out and these are great practice to enable
that mind shift. Hope to take more liberties and get braver
with the paint.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Downtown Bridge 2

I painted two other street scenes before trying this one again.
I wanted to simplify and orient towards achieving a sense of light
and abstraction. I left the trees out this time because I liked the
variety of color in the wall at right and didn't want to cover it up.
The things I admire in other painters' work, like different colors/shades
over a flat surface, I usually don't allow myself to do or I do it, then
smooth it out in the end. There's something about being faced with
a literal subject that makes me forget I don't want to treat it literally.
My perspective is off which is an easy fix but tackling this scene again
was a good learning experience overall.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Downtown Bridge

I was in my usual Sunday morning stupor when I realized that parking meters
downtown are free. Grabbed my camera, found a parking spot and walked
and took pictures until the battery died, 19 pictures later. Downtown San
Antonio is tiny and charming and needs to be walked to see the little courtyards
and pedestrian bridges. It took a lot of time to draw this and try to get the
perspective which kept my left brain so focused that my right brain just wanted
to scream "just throw some paint on it!" Well, that's good—maybe I can get them
to play nice together by letting them each have their way. I confess I was tempted
to paint in every vertical line carefully until I woke up and realized my aim is to
be messy. Long way to go but a day with even a little progress is enough these days.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Camp Street

Surrounding my small Victorian neighborhood are a lot of derelict industrial
buildings that are being revitalized or gentrified into fancy pants lofts. Not
sure why I hadn't been enamored of them before but suddenly they're very
rich subjects. And subjects that lend themselves to a lot of interpretation.
While painting heads I really feel the push/pull tug of trying to be somewhat
faithful while intending to not be and then I forget my aim is to make a
painting. The right brain/left brain thing. At the same time, I'm committed to
becoming somewhat proficient. So maybe alternating subjects is a way to
move forward? I felt no need to put in every window so maybe in the future,
I could leave out an eye or nose or a body part in a figure? Before signing off,
I just want to thank everyone who visits my blog and takes the time to comment.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

TV Head 3

I'm finding it helpful to not worry about likeness because it
helps to forget I'm painting a head and remember that it's
really about painting planes, values and making color resonate.
And light, of course, but I haven't yet tackled that aspect with
any real focus. There's so much to learn.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TV Head 2

This looks nothing like the person I was painting but I was pleased that
I was able to lay the paint down without blending or massaging. That's
taking precedence over getting a likeness right now. My temperature
transitions may be too exaggerated but it was satisfying to see colors
and paint strokes stay fresh.

Friday, January 11, 2013

TV Head 1

I had mentioned on my last post that I'd been struggling with a
portrait to give as a gift (this isn't it) so I've been practicing
painting heads I photograph from the TV. I was too attached to
getting a likeness with the portrait and realized it was creating a
barrier to learning about skin tones and temperature not to mention
making my blood pressure rise. With the TV heads, I'm not
attached to a likeness so feel freer to play around, make mistakes.
It takes practice to shoot them so there's no moiré pattern in the
photo reference but they're usually beautifully lit, speaking or
otherwise emoting. This is the first one that feels finished, painted
in three layers, using zinc white for its transparency in the top layer.
No struggle with this and I'm hoping to get back to the portrait soon.