Thursday, October 23, 2014


I'm not sure this is quite done; now I think I need to adjust the line of the back (in the photo there are more leaves back there, but I decided to leave them out) and tone down the pinkness on the nose. I may add a little detail to two or three leaves, some veins perhaps.
Enjoying these cats: giving me good practice on painting loosely and on mixing grays.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

cat nap

From a photo by Farbenhexe on Paint My Photo.
So far, I have been managing to get into the art room daily, even though I spend as much (or more) time puttering around as painting when I do. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

resolved ...

As happens now and again (actually, with enough regularity that I should be able to anticipate and compensate), my life, or at least the allocation of the time that comprises my life, has gone all out of whack. Such that I'm surrounded by undone things: piles of work, skeins of yarn, uncooked vegetables and unpainted ideas.
I figure I can do something about at least one of these, and have resolved to spend one hour a day, five times a week in my studio--painting, drawing, or just organizing and planning.
This sketch of a cat, from a photo by Lorenz at Paint My Photo, is the result of my first hour.
I have had cats all my life, but find them hard to paint, so I was pretty happy with this sketch.
Next day, I tried another, also from Paint My Photo, by Janina Suuronen, which I'm not too happy with (he looks awfully grumpy).
 For my hour today, I started another of this ginger kitten, which is coming along much better, I think--definitely looks more kitten-like; I had put the eyes up too high on the first attempt.
And here are a couple of photos I took today: a yellow-rumped warbler in my yard, mute swans at Cape May Point, and some weeds at the marina.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Back to birds. My trees are full of warblers.

There's a persimmon tree at the end of my street that always looks so lovely in fall as the fruits ripen and the leaves wither. Painted this branch, but thought it needed something, so I added a little sparrow-type bird--totally out of proportion; should have made it a hummingbird.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

in progress

Negative painting: more work on darks ... If I can get them dark enough, the flowers should really pop.

chickens ... and the subconscious

 A little practice on chickens ... trying to darken my darks, and to see them better.

 Noticed the other day that what I was wearing, eating for lunch, and knitting were all the same colors! I have found in the past that when shopping, I buy things that are the same color as whatever I happen to be wearing.

Friday, October 10, 2014

little autumn still lifes


These little ornamental gourds are fun to paint, and quick, which is good since I find myself, once again, with little time to paint. An unfortunate side-effect of working at home is that the pile of work is always there ... I can eke out an hour or so to paint, but getting in the right frame of mind is more difficult!


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

cape may point

Started this outdoors a few days ago, but only had an hour to spend ... which may turn out to have been a good thing.

And, just looking for a little something to fuss with, found an old painting of my Smilla that I had abandoned ... trying to "save" it : added more flower shapes to fill the space and also the shadow shape. Still needs something ... maybe a very dark background on the right that fades to a lighter color on the left?


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Monday, October 06, 2014

willow creek

Painted on location at willow Creek Winery in West Cape May.
It was a beautiful day and always a fun challenge to paint outdoors ... Still trying to find the way to paint trees! Perhaps that's a lifelong endeavor.

Sunday, September 28, 2014



My homework from a lesson in Val Webb's Birds in Watercolor and Beyond.
In this lesson, we painted the sky in ultramarine then used various lifting techniques to creat cloud forms; the birds were added later. Since I chose white birds, I had to use some gouache.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

a new season ...

The last of the flowers from the yard, painted about two weeks ago! Hard to believe I haven't posted since May ... but I didn't do much painting this summer, despite my intentions.
Below are a couple of photos I took from my kayak and hope to paint before too long.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

life drawing

Joined a life drawing group last night: they meet once a month for four hours. I only made it through three before I was too exhausted to go on.
The models were a husband and wife, but in these 20-minute poses, I left him out.
It felt very awkward and difficult drawing a live model after having not done it for several years, but the challenge is one of the appealing things about it. After trying so hard, I can only get better (right?).


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

before and after

(10x14 sheet)
On the left: done before the Mel Stabin workshop; on the right: after.
Forgot to mention, and I'm sure it makes a difference--everyone always says it does, anyway--that at the workshop, and at home since, I've been painting standing up, rather than sitting, as I always had before.
More bouys. These first washes look a little to light to me; Mel says you should try to get the value right on the first go. Now I'll end up going back in and lose some of the freshness.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

mel stabin, days 3 & 4

 More starting and even less finishing on these two days.

I pulled this one off the block in frustration because I was unhappy with the reflection in the water. 

Here's Mel's demo showing reflections in water:

 For this one I went smaller, with not such dramatic reflections.
I got another, below, started, but then it was happy hour.

This is from a photo I took, and I was a little frustrated because I knew something was "wrong," but I didn't know what--until I photographed it and saw that the right eye is not in the right place!
Here's Mel's demo:

And my final attempt:
This is from one of Mel's great reference photos. I put in all the midtones wet in wet, as Mel does, making things that are the same value--like the man's legs and their shadow--one shape. Started to pick out some details ...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

mel stabin workshop: days 1 & 2

 May 5-8 I attended a Mel Stabin workshop in Cape May, third year in a row--and I've already signed up for next year. So I guess I don't need to say that if you have a chance to, you should take one of Mel's workshops: he's a wonderful teacher and a sweet person.
These are the paintings--all not quite finished--I did the first two days, trying to follow Mel's advice to connect shapes and pay attention to values. And also his oft-repeated admonishment, Don't screw it up.
This fisherman needs a face, and Mel thought I separated the hat from the head too much--he'd prefer to see one wash flowing into the next rather than a hard line since the values were so similar.

This one still need a lot of work: I have to finish the stairs and the large palm, then add shadows and darken the space behind the palm. I think some of the greens could use some darks too, but I should've added them when the paint was wet ...
Below is a close up of one of Mel's palm trees. he painted the fronds with four of five swipes of a flat brush, then dropped some color into the center and drew in just a couple of leaves.

The fence isn't done. 

I think this is done, though, because I'm not too happy with them, I'm tempted to try to "fix" the trees in the upper left.

As in previous years, we had a great group--excellent painters and a lot of fun to hang out with when we adjourned to the bar for happy hour after our daily critique.


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