Saturday, February 27, 2021



It took me the longest time to figure out what was bothering me about this--other than that the paper got a little exhausted in places (from me abusing it!).
It's the eyes. This woman does have lovely large, dark eyes ... which I kept working on and working on. Now I see: I didnt give her enough eyelid.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

virtual life drawing


There was a lot more to the reference photo: in it she's got a foot up on a stool and is leaning forward to pull a gun out of her holster.
Not a big fan of costumes when it comes to life drawing. If she were an actual cowgirl, or if I were illustrating a book on the Wild West, okay, but otherwise it's too stagey for my liking.
So I painted only the part that interested me: the head.
Though, I have to say, I would really like to have a model reading a book, dozing in an armchair, or stepping out of a clawfoot tub!

Thursday, February 18, 2021



A friend of mine says he can tell when I start to get a little tired of a subject. I kinda felt on this one a little lack of commitment ...
I had trouble "finding" enough planes to create interest, which just means the lighting wasn't dramatic enough for me. But also the very thing that attracted me to this face--its smoothness and openness--made it not a great subject, for me, anyway.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

virtual life drawing

Another model painted from a photo supplied by Chesapeake Fine Arts Studio. I am enjoying painting these models.
I wish I had stopped after my first pass, below. I really do like all the white space.
The prettiness of the pink parasol seduced me though, and once I painted that, I figured I should do her kimono as well.

Friday, February 12, 2021

winter landscape


No matter how hard I try for grays, I get color.
At least they should be somewhat harmonious as I used a pretty limited (for me) palette--raw sienna, carmine, cobalt, ultramarine ... and some green in the evergreeens, which I'm now regretting as it stands out too much. I may go back and gray some of it down ... or not; I'm not a great one for going back!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

virtual life drawing


I love deep set eyes and curly hair; they make good shapes.
Toyed with the idea of painting her clothes, but decided a little was enough. Plus, I really have no interest in the clothes, so why bother?

Friday, February 05, 2021

virtual life drawing

  .                            11x15

Years ago I took life drawing classes. I could count the number of times I got a good painting on one hand, but I liked it because it was very engaging, if also very challenging.
In this virtual class we work from a photo of a model, and I have all week to draw them and think about the painting. All of which really helps!
In my classes long ago I found I got better results with some models than with others--they took poses or had attitudes I responded to. I apparently like drawing this woman.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

on the hard


Painted this in a Zoom class. Supposed to be landscapes in snow, but I got a carried away with the shadows.
Outside my comfort, fiddling with the supports and painting that huge tree shape ...

Saturday, January 30, 2021

life drawing


This model has a face like a 40s movie star (Linda Darnell?). 
Her skin tones were so subtle--not so warm, I think, as I've made them.
So, again, not so much like her, and there are a few little mess ups (not so glaring that they ruin the overall effect, I hope), but I think I got the light and how it models her face, and that's more important to me.

Friday, January 29, 2021

week 1: snowy river


Week 1 in a Zoom class on winter landscapes taught by Bill Rogers at the Chesapeake Fine Arts Studio.
They have classes, free demos, and open studios (life and still life!). So check them out.
I did enjoy this class and the way its conducted--you paint along.
Next week we're painting a boat on the hard (on land, that is) in snow. I am looking forward to that!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

virtual life drawing


This started out 11x15, but I just could not get the arms right.
It's not a great likeness of the model: why do I never notice things like the nose being too long till it's too late? Getting a likeness isn't all that important to me, but it would be nice!
I was going to go further, but ... I feel like it's enough. Though I am awfully tempted to paint her tank top!

main st


The third painting from photos taken on the eagle walk.
I love scenes like this. I'd like to collect more photos of little towns hereabouts to paint.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

nature walk 2


The eagle walk was family friendly so there were a bunch of young kids along and I got a couple of good reference photos of them--"good" to me meaning they're basically just shapes and colors that I can superimpose on my landscape shots.
I had high hopes for this but, after the initial wash, felt discouraged most of the time I was working on it. 
Darkening the area behind the kids really gave it a boost, and a focus.

Monday, January 25, 2021

nature walk


Took a walk a couple of weekends ago to look for eagle nests, and we found some--staying very far away; getting close could make the eagles abandon the nest--and saw a pair bringing nesting material to it. I love walking when it's cold out.
I got a few nice pictures, and am getting around to trying to figure out how to paint them.
I try to convert what I'm looking at into shapes, but it's fifficult when the edges are hard to define.
And I've exaggerated the color--so much so it looks like springtime!
Still trying to figure out how to paint distant trees! I want that smoky effect I so often see.

Friday, January 22, 2021



I posted this on Instagram, where it got a number of likes; proving once again that I dont know what people like!
I was trying to pInt something simple simply. I think I pretty much did that, though I went back into the sky to add more blue.
To me this painting is just not very interesting. Maybe it's the uniformity of the grays? The absence of strong light?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

winter tree


Every winter, I am drawn to the bare trees, the lines. the shadows ... and always say I'll paint them but then I get, idk, intimidated, or maybe it's just laziness.
Finally sat down and made a drawing from a photo I took a while back.
Started painting without much of a plan ... and kept going that way.
I'm saying its finished. And while I like a little passage here and there, overall, to me, it's too heavy handed. Okay, so, next time: leave whites; and either expand or contract color palette.
I think I definitely will trace this (maybe eliminate some lower branches?) and do it again.

Monday, January 18, 2021

railroad crossing


I've had this reference photo so long I can't remember where I got it from.*
I like the way the buildings seem to be stagger-stacked upon one another ... But every time I thought about trying to paint it, I'd think it was too complicated and put it aside.
I came across it again the other day and finally had the breakthrough thought: only draw/paint the parts that aren't white.
I really messed up the background, primarily by going into it too many times ... But I like the house on the top right, and I'm happy about the breakthrough!

 *It's not on my current laptop, or the one I used before that! I don't download copyrighted photos, so hopefully I am not impinging on anyone's rights (I won't be selling or reproducing this little sketch in any case!). In recent years, I've mostly painted from my own photos. If you know where this photo is from, please let me know.

Sunday, January 17, 2021



Since I found it kind of hard to make sense of the body, I thought I'd try to leave it somewhat undefined and concentrate on the face.
I can't say it's a good likeness of my Melo--I think it's the mouth; I didn't get the drawing right and so he looks like he's pouting--and I think I'll try to soften the edges of the whites.
But I like the ears!

Friday, January 15, 2021

the meadows


A path leading to the beach at the Meadows, a Nature Conservancy property that's a popular birdwatching site.
Of course I see things I wish I'd done differently, and maybe will, next time I paint this scene.
But I am happy with color of the distant trees. I often struggle to get a color I'm happy with-- it's usually too gray, or too green or purple, or too blue!
These were in the too blue category, then, right as I was finishing, I dropped a little cool red in ...

Thursday, December 31, 2020

arya and sansa


Painted from a rare photo of sisters Arya and Sansa sitting side by side; they usually fight!
Painting white cats, for me, is as hard as painting a black one, but in a different way!
I painted my back cat, Smilla, as a silhouette with eyes.
For the white cats I can never settle on what color to paint the areas in shadow, and also have difficulty with their soft edges.

Monday, December 28, 2020



Started this painting of one of my cats, Arya ... got this far and decided it was done. (Though I think I will go back and soften the hard edges in her toepads.)

Thursday, December 24, 2020



Another take on a background: lightly (maybe too lightly) painted branch shapes wet in wet; lifted/blotted a little here and there; and once it dried a little, added a few more branch shapes.
I like how chilly it feels.
But if that cardinal was in my yard, he'd be getting rained, not snowed, on.


This one didn't work out so well. You know how sometimes when you start out wrongfooted, you just cant fix it. This looks overwrought to me ... though I like the pine cone and needles!