Thursday, December 8, 2011

Self Portrait

16 x 12 oil on masonite panel
I always have to feel my way along with proportions.  I've heard about the rules of feature placement (Peggy Kroll Roberts', etc.) but those just confuse me.  What I need to do is hang myself upside down like a bat and then paint what I see, since I'm not working from a photo.  If you don't know about that trick, turning your reference photo upside down makes you see big value shapes and exactly where they are so you don't rely on what you *think* you know/see in front of you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Molly at the Beach

8 x 10 oil on canvas
It feels good to have a Christmas dog portrait commission done before December!  Molly is big labrador retriever and she loves the water (I guess, as does probably any dog who hasn't had a frontal lobotomy).   I think she has a really sweet face.  I'm tempted to paint her again, just for myself, in wild colors.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Faith Rescued

6 x 8 oil on canvas
I have some friends who are heavily involved with GALT, the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas.  This is their very special foster dog Faith who when taken from a home in Fort Worth, was covered in ticks and fleas, had intestinal parasites galore and a litter of puppies to boot.  She also has tested positive for Ehrlichia. This photo shows her just after her rescue, getting some TLC finally.  She has had expensive surgeries and GALT is trying to raise money on December 3rd at their art auction in Dallas, to pay for her surgery and care (as well as for their other rescued greyhounds).  So I am trying my hand at painting this breed for the first time in hopes of making a bigger, better painting that might help raise some money at their auction.  Even with all her troubles she has had, she is a beautiful girl and I sense that she really appreciates being rescued.  She has also been reunited with her puppies.  I think I saw a trace of a smile on her face in my reference photo.  Oh, you know dogs smile!  Oh yes they do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Boggy Creek Farmhouse plein air

12 x 16 oil on panel

I revisited Boggy Creek Farm this morning and decided to try and tackle their old farmhouse.  When I began painting, the shadows were all climbing up and over the house and by the time I finished several hours later they were hanging down from above.  I went ahead and kept the early ones.  I bet that in about April this garden area was full of greenery but I made do with what little plant life I could see.  I'll be on a plein air paintout in Fredericksburg this weekend so I needed to go get the cobwebs out of my outdoor painting skilz.  My goal next time on a house like this is to... simplify.  Maybe even just crop one area of the house and do that.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Boots Say "Get To Work"

20 x 16 x 1 1/2 Oil on gallery wrap canvas
These are my stompin' boots I bought a year or two ago, since we have a little problem with rattlesnakes around our property.  I usually only put them on when we have recently sighted one because they aren't as comfortable as I hoped they would be.  But when it's time to do serious work outside (as in, moving rocks or anything where those lovely creatures might pop up), I will don these babies.  I probably mostly just like how they look :-)   Regarding how this was painted, I felt like laying it down pretty darn loose today.
I haven't gotten a ton of painting done lately but I have lost 14 lbs since the photo of me driving the boat (that was in June).  Hooray!  Two steps forward in one area, a step forward elsewhere;  yin and yang and all that...
Oh, one more thing, Donna Crosby honored me by asking me to be her invited artist for an upcoming Austin Art Space Resident Artist Show on Saturday, October 15th.  I need to choose one large or two small available paintings to display that night.  Any opinions about which ones?  I love Donna and am so stoked she asked me to do this.  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Looking Out From Within

26 x 11 oil on panel
 This was a 'getting back on the horse' exercise today.   I've got my studio set up back where I had it before, which really doesn't have the greatest natural light at this point in time.   I found that if I stood in the family room looking into it (the family room having super bright natural light) that I could really see my palette and I was able to focus and get after it.  It will all work out but ideally I would just take over the entire family room for my studio!  I'm sure no one in this house would have a problem with that.  :-)

We watched the old Kirk Douglas/Anthony Quinn movie about Van Gogh last night.  I had never seen it before and it got me all inspired to get my rear in gear today.  Thanks, Kirk!   I also found out I got in the Plein Air Austin juried exhibition next month (reception is Oct. 16th, 2 to 4 in the Chase Bank Building).  First time I've entered this show so I was relieved not to be... r...r...rejected!  Only entered one painting, the one of Boggy Creek Farm.  I feel like things are looking up in my art world; I've had a really good year so far on painting sales.  This could be my first year to qualify for paying taxes on my art income -- yikes!  It helps that I have weaned myself off of giving paintings away.  :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunset Profile

5 x 4 inches, oil on canvas, NFS
Again from the same photo but this time I painted her in oil and trying Hawthorne's 'spots of color' approach. I was just looking at Frank Gardner's 100 Mudheads Challenge site today and was glad to be reminded that I need to make paint spots that don't blend together. Every once in a while I have to relearn things because I get mentally lazy (or because my brain is just plain impaired). So in this study for the future portrait of my niece, I was attempting to follow Hawthorne's rule. And this is tiny if you will note the size. I'm not used to making such small strokes with a little bitty brush. Tricky, but a good exercise for me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shed Late Afternoon

12 x 12 oil on panel, SOLD

This is what I'm going to call quasi plein air, because I was looking out our window at this backyard scene. We have a whole lot of big trees so we always have a ton of stripey shadows this time of day. I had just painted some trim on the house and turned around and saw this and decided it was time to switch out paint and subject being painted. But oh man, really hot out there, so I painted it through the window in the cool of the A.C. I should try it again tomorrow out in the heat and see if the outcome is much different. Maybe at a different time of day too.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Bales

12 x 16 oil on panel - plein air + studio  SOLD
This is the painting I did by the side of the road after the Plein Air Austin paintout weekend in Hunt, Texas in May. A sudden windstorm and approaching rain caused me to have to stop painting on the spot and I finished it at home. I included the fence, which I decided should have been left out (Stapleton Kearns' advice on his blog, and I agree one shouldn't 'fence out' the viewer). So, today I reworked the foreground and touched up some other areas. I thought it had too much mustard yellow in it before. Anyway I like it better now. This hay was super fresh - looked like it had just been baled and I tried to use tones that would convey that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Great Times - study

6 x 6 oil on canvas
Here's a small study of some young boys in a small town athletic club. Specifically the Athens (TX) Athletic Club, in about 1932. More specifically that's my dad in the center of the front row. Written underneath the photo was "Estes Park, Colorado - Great times - Ersh."

Since I painted this from a blurry old black and white photo I thought sepia tones would work well just to establish major value areas. I really, really need to get some new brushes, the ones I used for this are like rakes, they're so old. Bad, bad, naughty Camille!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Time To Relax

12 x 16 oil on panel   SOLD
Nice cool saltillo tile is the perfect place for a bunny to sprawl out and beat the summer heat. And it's a good way to keep an eye on his owner while she paints to make sure she doesn't pull a fast one and slip out the door, never to return. Sometimes I think that's what he thinks I have in mind doing. Little does he know that I like our setup and I'm here to stay. Fear not, Disco.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


14 x 18 oil on canvas, private collection
Here are my sister, mother and dad at the beach in Galveston last summer.  My dad is really enamored with the history of Galveston and the Galvez Hotel, and my family has lots of great memories there.  I took this photo on the exact spot where my brother, sisters, cousins and I used to spend time when I was little. Good times.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red Mug

5 x 7 oil on canvas board
I did what I've heard others do; went to Goodwill in search of colorful still life dishes (and my daughter can use them in her apartment). It seems that Monday is a good morning to go -- new things are in after a weekend of people unloading their garages, etc. I got a good haul that day, about eight Pier One mugs for 50 cents each. Also found a nice big heavy wood tray for $5 that had a $50 Pottery Barn sticker on the bottom. Since I avoid the mall like the plague this worked out well for me :0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pearly Bird

6 x 6 oil on canvas, private collection

I have a mother of pearl bird that my mother-in-law brought me from Mexico. It is so delicate and I love the way the light hits it from any angle. I'm a big bird lover anyway so I have several small collectible birds. However, speaking of birds, they have eaten almost all of our grapes we just noticed. That is not a good thing! (for us, -- it's great for them! I hear a very vocal/happy mockingbird out there today - running on grape fructose no doubt) We'll figure something out by the time the next crops sprouts again next year. Maybe we'll need a scarecrow...

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Website, Blog & Upcoming Show, my new website, is finally loaded up with paintings. I hope you will stop by and see what it has to offer. I am going to move this blog there so everything is all in one place.

Also in August I will be in a group show at Russ & Company Salon in Austin, Texas. The opening is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, August 14th but the paintings will be up for almost a month, from August 9th through the first week in September. Kevin Dunne, Karina Martens, Connie Miller, Robbin Robertson, Deborah Thomas and I will all have five or six paintings each on view throughout the salon, located in a renovated three-story house near downtown. It should be a fun place to check out a great variety of artwork.

And finally, the 5 x 7 painting above is one I did several years ago from a photo of a child pouting at the beach. I love the 80's outfit. I have been so busy uploading photos to the new website that I didn't get a chance to paint the last several days. Back to it today...

Monday, June 13, 2011

First Grapes

7 x 5 oil on canvas panel
I've shown you our little family vineyard before, and this week we've had the excitement of watching our first ever bunches of grapes turn from green to red and a lot of shades in between. I got out there in the blazing sun today (because I ran while it was cooler earlier) and attempted to capture the feeling. I loved the sun coming translucently through the leaves. We have nice big leaves that I can imagine could probably be wrapped around something yummy and cooked to eat. I'll have to google recipes because I feel sure in Greece I had some kind of rice dish wrapped in grape leaves, dolmades I think. I'm so glad my husband decided to plant these vines just two years ago. It was his dad's idea - he bought us vines and said, you need to plant a vineyard!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lone Bloom

6 x 8 oil on canvas

Only one yellow bloom remains on our cactus outside. I liked the play of the shadows and the side lighting. This is only the second time I have painted cactus. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

AN2 Colt

14 x 18 inches, oil on canvas panel  SOLD
This Russian biplane is my husband's favorite airplane. I thought this image lent itself well to a value study.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sift Through It

5 x 4 inches, oil on canvas
I like this old fashioned flour sifter. I'm always finding symbolism (holdover from English Lit. classes) everywhere I look. This object reminds me not only of the times we have baked bread or made cakes and cookies in our kitchen, but also this: There is so much negative in the world, and I need to sift through it and focus on the positive. Change things if need be and if I can, but otherwise, enjoy the beauty and wonder of the life I'm blessed to have right now. Knock on wood. I just posted this on Kim Rempel's new Mundane Objects Challenge. So far she has a ball of twine, a hammer, a roll of tape and this sifter. Link

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Down Time

12 x 16 oil on panel
I brought some brown and white paint with me to the lake last weekend and began this one right on the boat. The waves of course made it so I was having to really grab the floor with my toes to stay upright, much less get the paint mixed and where I wanted it. I used a book with a ziploc bag around it for my palette and got a Very rough sketch down which I finished at home a few days later. I've been out of town and just now had a chance to post it here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cobalt Glass

16 x 12 oil on Ampersand board with natural pine frame, $200
I've always loved colored glass. My grandmother Mary LaRue always had colored bottles lined up on a window sill: cranberry, cobalt, red, green. Her whole house was painted and decorated in gorgeous Victorian colors that remind me now of Vuillard's palette. So when I got older and saw cobalt glasses for sale I knew I had to have some. Since then I've run across old wine bottles in the same blue. And here they are on a linen tablecloth in the sunshine, with a little Becker Vineyards cabernet. This painting will be in an upcoming show at Ross and Co. Salon in Austin, TX.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Barefoot and Pregnant

12 x 16 oil on panel  SOLD
These two goats weren't sure what to make of my taking their pictures yesterday. The pregnant female froze in her tracks and didn't move for about three minutes while I was clicking away. I wanted to reassure her that I wouldn't do them any harm. I had a long conversation with a wild turkey in a tree one time, but so far I don't speak goatese. I guess I should work on that, I'll put it on my list.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Octopus Tree

11 x 14 oil on panel
Friends and I met in a park between the Heart Hospital and Central Market yesterday for en plein air painting. This tree reminded me of an octopus; the lower branches were long and resting on the ground. I liked studying the details of the water reflections and I liked the tranquil feeling I got from painting this scene. I think John Muir was on to something...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Before Wii

11 x 14 oil on panel, SOLD
My sisters and I were monkeys. In 1967 you had to entertain yourself, there was no Wii. We were not exactly ladylike girls...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who Goes There?

14 x 11 oil on panel SOLD
This rooster is a resident at Boggy Creek Farm. He was strutting around slowly as roosters do, letting everyone know he was the shiznit. I decided he needed painting for the Daily Paintworks Challenge for this week. I got multiple photo views of him that I hope to paint. I think he is the prettiest breed of rooster, with shiny gold silky feathers that slide all over his back when he turns. In this shot he had quickly turned his head and paused, vigilant to see who dared try to pass. *None* shall pass!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Boggy Creek Farm

9 x 12 oil on canvas panel, shown framed in pine
More beginner plein air from me; not too proud to post my early efforts. I painted this on site at Boggy Creek Farm in East Austin. Deborah Thomas, Nina Brodsky, Robin Cheers and several others were there painting also. Quick decision-making has never been my forte and that is a required skill with this sport. But I'm beginning to see more than one or two greens in front of me. I had a great time afterward photographing chickens and roosters. Nice mild breezy morning and no bugs biting, yay!

Friday, April 8, 2011


14 x 18 oil on canvas board, $150 plus s/h, SOLD
We saw this beautiful shiny red Cadillac this past weekend at the Lone Star Roundup antique auto show. I thought with her red paint and shiny headlights she should be on the beach, showing off. So now she is.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Barton Springs Afternoon

9 x 12 oil on canvas board   SOLD
Several friends met me at Barton Springs this afternoon and here is what I painted on site. My family is kidding me now because I was so appalled that people don't know to be quiet around someone trying to paint something outdoors (okay, in a public place, yes). But even with my earplugs in I had a super hard time concentrating on what I was seeing and what the colors were and how to mix them. I could hear a man talking to one of the others "So you do this just for fun?" (don't ever say that) "How long have you been doing this?" "I mean how long have you been an artist?" ... Remind me not to paint in a public place again anytime soon...
I will get better, but first will need much better earplugs! Trying again tomorrow morning with the Plein Air Austin group at Zilker Botanical Gardens. Should be more quiet... one can hope!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


16 x 20 oil on canvas, SOLD
This dog portrait was commissioned by another lifelong friend of mine. It has been through a long process due to a glazing snafu. But I attempted to pull back some of its former colorful state and if I don't declare it finished I will mess with it from here to kingdom come. Lady is a blackish brown lab; I purpled and aqua'd her up a little bit and now will send her on her way to the Laughlin family in Dallas.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Model A Truck Sketch

I liked the feeling of my original sketch for yesterday's painting. It ended up looking to me like a hound dog panting and 'smiling' with its mouth open, and the steering wheel looked like one eye open. This truck looked rarin' to go to me. I thought I was going to paint it really loosely and keep some of that feeling but of course things don't always go as planned -- I got caught up in the lines and showing the form. I may go back to sketching first somewhere else separately beforehand so I can keep my original drawing -- if I can muster the discipline to do that. I'm a little short on discipline though so it might be needed elsewhere...
By the way, Happy St. Patrick's Day! This truck is wearing green...grass.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Model A Truck

12 x 12 oil on 1.5" gallery wrap canvas, private collection
We saw this old rusted Model A truck when we went out of town this weekend so we stopped and I got photos of it. It had a lantern hanging inside the passenger window -- I wondered if that came standard. The chrome on the front still looked amazingly good considering the years. It's fun to imagine someone getting it for their first wheels... first taste of freedom. It was someone's pride and joy I'm sure.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nude Eggplant

5 x 7 oil on canvas, private collection
This is mine from a couple of years ago, when I first switched to oil paint, and it is now owned by artist Bruce Docker. I have something else going on my easel today and I will probably put up a photo of it tomorrow. I'm so glad we stopped and got some fun reference photos on our way back from Houston this weekend; lots of fun projects ahead from that group including the one I'm working on. I'm going to try and start posting more often because I'm considering looking into joining a daily painting group. Some will be quick studies and others more labor-intensive. Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Underwater Bliss

14 x 10 oil on canvas, SOLD
It so happens that this girl's last name is Bliss, so I changed the title to reflect both her surname as well as her happy state of mind. Her dad says he loves it and that it looks just like her, so I went ahead and signed it. Hooray for a finished, successful commission!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Underwater Girl ~ Day Two

14 x 10 oil on canvas
Still have a way to go; am piecing her together like a quilt. I believe the crazy colors floating over her head are her locks of long hair, or else just the reflection of her hair. Her smile is bigger than this so I'll be making adjustments for that; I've only started on the mouth area anyway. It still has some days of work to go, but I like the direction it has taken so far.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Underwater Girl (in Progress)

14 x 10 oil on canvas
Here's what's on my easel tonight. This is a commissioned work in progress of a friend's daughter floating underwater years ago; she is grown now. The original photo has some pretty wild colors floating above her head so I'm playing with the abstract forms and colors there first before I do her face. Her face will be very paled out and bluish as will her hands. That hand on the right will change a lot but I'm happy with the other one mostly. No matter how this turns out, it has been so much fun I almost don't even care how it ends up looking! Okay, that's a lie. But I wish all my paintings were this much fun. I'll post it when it is done.

Splash Day

7 x 5 oil on canvas, private collection
This is my last Flying Moleskins painting and it is for James Parker, whose book theme is animals. Here are some furry girls who love to dive in a wonderful river with cliffs and gorgeous scenery out in Wimberley, Texas. Although I doubt they care about the scenery; they just want to make a big splash. As I worked on this yesterday I was wishing I could jump in with them -- it was warm enough here!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Geese 2 - Study

8 x 10 oil on canvas, private collection
The color in the top detail is closer to true although it is overall really warmer and darker even than this. Continuing back to the geese we saw at the lake last summer. They seemed always to follow the leader, but in this image one wasn't so sure about the plan. This painting is for Vern Schwarz for our Flying Moleskins project. See Vern, I told you I wouldn't forget you. It will be on its way to you when it dries.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Delicate Balance

6 x 6 oil on canvas
I posted these grapefruit last night from my evening light photo and here they are again in better morning light. These colors are much closer to how it really looks. I was dismayed to see that they looked more like onions than grapefruit from the way my camera blued and dulled down the yellow and orange undertones. I definitely have it on my to-do list that I will try to do my photographing in the morning. Also need to learn to Photoshop (so my colors are true to the original) and I am also building my new website. There is so much more to being an artist than just making stuff, darn it. Anyway, this painting was done with the objective of making each stroke of paint one separate color from the others. No blending allowed. I did my best to follow that but sometimes I forgot -- old habits die hard. Here are the other entries so far for this week's Daily Paintworks Challenge.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Delicate Balance

6 x 6 oil on canvas
I took on the Daily Paintworks Challenge to paint any subject with just one stroke at a time. The natural tendency is to smooth out and blend colors, which just makes them end up looking muddy. Here we have two Texas Ruby Red grapefruit with a pink grapefruit balanced on top. Carol Marine is the Pied Piper of one-stroke painting and I certainly need to take a page from her book. This was fun, I'll try to do more of these.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Yoga Time

5 x 7 oil on canvas (study)  SOLD
Several things came together to make me want to do this one today. First, yesterday I painted three sofas (very boring) and watched The Biggest Loser last night. Then I got a big kick out of a fun Rachel Renault painting this morning. Yesterday I also found photos of a clay sculpture I did in college of a figure with roughly this fluffy form so I based these women on looking at that. I have been doing a lot of small studies lately but not posting them; thought everyone might appreciate the break. :-)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Portrait of Madeline Olsen

17 x 13 oil on canvas, nfs
Better photo without so much glare. I don't want to risk losing those much-beloved blog comments the other post got so I'll just leave that one up for now. Not that I'm fishing for comments. This has a little in common with the Kelli Bland portrait with the blue hair highlights. You can't really teach an old dog new tricks. Anyway, what a joy to paint my daughter :-) Have a great day, peeps!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Portrait of Madeline

17 x 13 oil on canvas, nfs
This is my younger daughter. I painted her from a photo that gave her a bluish glow, which I really liked. This image has a lot of glare on the top so I may switch it out tomorrow for a better one. I have missed painting people on a larger canvas and with more color like this. Feels very satisfying.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Portrait of Sheila Tajima

6 x 6 oil on canvas, not for sale
I saw the artist Sheila Tajima's black and white baby photo awhile back, with her tiny kimono and her luminous expression. I thought it should surely be a painting. I almost added color but opted to paint it as I saw it. So this is my offering to Sheila for The Flying Moleskins project. I hope she enjoys it. I have changed it slightly since last night (still don't have her as beautiful as she was!) and I accidentally deleted the entire post with five wonderful comments (which were greatly appreciated). I have successfully switched out photos before but I guess I managed to forget exactly how I did it. sigh.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sun on the Pit

8 x 8 oil on canvas
Change of plans since it warmed up this morning. I walked outside and saw the sun hitting the wood under the barbeque pit with all the beautiful highlights and shadows and knew I had to try and capture the scene. Our wonderful brother in law had this pit custom made for us out of oil field pipe and surprised us with it. It weighs about three tons. Looking at it puts me in the mood to get some coals going in there for some barbeque...

Sunday, January 16, 2011


5 x 7 oil on canvas
I'm doing value studies as I try to get back in the saddle. Recently I'm fascinated with what I've learned about hydration. The theory I heard is that all pain and disease are directly caused by chronic dehydration, and all are reversible without drugs (and with proper supporting diet and exercise). Supposedly after a certain age we don't realize we are thirsty until too late, and cells and related systems close down in order to manage the body's remaining water supply. So I think that after this value study I'll paint a water glass in color. This is our crystal pattern, Kildare by Waterford.