Wednesday, October 27, 2021

snowy owl


Painted these last night in a Zoom class with Oregon artist Ronna Fujisawa. (Check out her website: I like Ronna's approach: it's very direct, painterly, and stress-free!
I never would've attempted a snowy owl--all those markings!
I worked on two at a time because I have a tendency to paint too wetly and this way I can bounce back and forth. Though even so the paper was too wet sometimes ... but it's all right. Painting these owls was
very engrossing and fun.

Also beginning to work on making sketches of local birds-- wouldn't call the snowy owl local but they have been seen here!--that I can transfer to watercolor paper to paint with different backgrounds. 
First up: house sparrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

assateague national seashore


Spent last week camping on the beach with friends. Third year. Each year we vow to do art every day, but then we don't! The time is taken up with walking, biking, kayaking, and eating and drinking around the campfire.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

a little sketching

A little sketching, trying to keep it loose and let the paints do what they do.
My Arya. Sleeping on the art books.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

alice neel inspired


I was able to get to the Alice Neel exhibit in NYC late in the summer. (Saw Daoud Bey and Cezanne exhibits on the same trip!)
And in one of my online art classes, we looked at Neel.
The Neel-ist thing about this painting is the subject. 
I did some outlining and left some parts unpainted, both things Neel would do.
I was working from a photo. And even though it's a photo of my mother and brother, I wonder if it's possible to get the engagement Neel seems to have with her sitters if you're not sitting with a person?

Started a second--me and my brothers: a Neel-like subject but ...

Friday, October 08, 2021

double square


I think I like this double-square format.
I would lime to get more color, or maybe more darks, into the grasses, but I think I'm done with this one. Cant explain it, really, just don't have the desire to keep working it.
But I do like the format and will probably revisit it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

bird painting class


Taking a 4-session Zoom class with Ian de Hoog at the Winslow Art Center.
Week 1: Kookaburra.
Painted the blue one in class, and the brown one after, on my own. 
I have a tendency to prefer the not-so-colorful birds, but also I think the drawing in that one is better.
And what a difference that makes!

At this point I'm about two weeks behind in the class! Hoping to catch up soon.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

landscape class


This week's scene in Bill Rogers's Zoom landscape class at Chesapeake Fine Arts Studio. (I think it's on Prince Edward Island?)
I have been taking a lot of online classes and I think some important lessons may be finally starting to sink in.

1. Plan ahead. Do a preliminary drawing or value study. Try some colors. Have some idea of how you'll proceed: where do you start? where should you wet the paper first?
2. Put the paint down as freely and boldly as you can; don't worry. Try to find the large shapes. (E.g., while I was painting it, I thought the grasses were a mess. Look fine to me now.)
3. Keep an eye on value and edges.

And yet I still mess up.
Here's a painting I did recently on my own.
Going to try again, channeling Bill's approach.

Friday, September 24, 2021


                         Delaware Bay

Trying out some square formats.
Next: double square!


Friday, September 17, 2021

house sparrows


Feeling frustrated with my landscapes of late, so back to birds!
I've been going through my files to find paintings for a studio tour I'll be participating in next month. 
Also found a few pieces of paper, and drew these sparrows on one.
But, when I went to paint them, discovered the sizing was shot--the paint sunk right in and wasn't manipulateable.
This would normally cause me to chuck the whole thing. But in this case, perhaps because the shapes are small and simple, I decided to keep going and work with the difficulties.
Except for the feet, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

zoom landscape class


This morning was the first of the four fall sessions in Bill Rogers's landscape class at Chesapeake Fine Arts Studio.
Unfortunately it coincided with my current slump. I feel like I'm painting in a panic; overworking everything, not thinking. Telling myself it's because I have an event coming up: a "studio tour" sponsored by a local art group that I'm participating in for the first time. 

Wasn't too engaged by this subject, but I started with the sky and was kind of pleased ... 
Should say the 11x15 version was the main painting. I've begun, while I'm doing the quarter sheet painting, to also, with less, or no, drawing, work on another, smaller sheet simultaneously. Not sure why exactly. Hoping for something less strained? To fill the time in the class ...?

The yellow halo on the middle cloud on the top painting, in the middle, just happened: that's how the paint settled on the page! Now that's the kind of thing I love ... that's what I want to get in every painting.

Monday, September 13, 2021

plein air: cape may harbor

                      unfinished 10x14
                         unfinished 8x8

                     sketchbook, 9x12

A little afternoon plein air down by Cape May Harbor.
I got out and painted so that's a plus.
But I couldnt really make my paintings work.
In the first I planned to paint the big area of marsh grass by just keeping it all wet ... It got confused- looking but I still think that's a valid strategy.
In the second I planned to paint a lot of undefined shapes to convey all the stuff in the boatyard, but it got too choppy. I think I could make it better by connecting the shapes, painting a lot of it as one shape, changing colors, but without the hard edges.
The sketchbook page--to me the most successful painting I did today--took about 10 minutes!

Friday, September 10, 2021

birch tree class

                            10x14 sheet
              Birch Trees with Paul Oman

I have been signing up for so many online art classes that I have to watch the recordings of some as they conflict with other art classes!
This was one session with Paul Oman,, and I learned so much!
I'm looking forward to signing up for other classes with him.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

two bird painting classes

        Parrots painted with Nadine Dudek

I follow Nadine on Instagram and am in awe of her bird paintings, which are beautiful and elegant.
She occasionally offers a 1.5 hour class based on one of her paintings.
I have taken a couple and always learn something wonderful.
Nadine's website is here.

            Varied Thrush painted with 
                      Ronna Fujisawa

Very wet and humid here today but I plunged a head anyway and so wound up overworking it a bit. But I did enjoy painting it.
Ronna has a very intuitive and loose approach, which I love.
She also encourages students to keep a book of swatches ... which I am starting to do!
Ronna offers online classes that you can purchase one at a time or in bundles. Ronna's website is salty water art.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

plein air: stites ave., cape may point


A little afternoon plein air painting today.
We decided to find a shady spot and then paint whatever was in front of us.
This path to the beach was lined on both sides by thick and unruly shrubs, vines, and trees. And I spent about the first hour just trying to figure out how I could even approach the subject.
The best decision I made was not drawing the fence (though I did indicate where the vertical posts would be). I had tried to draw it twice and was not happy. So I decided to plunge ahead and paint them negatively ... which turned out to give them an appropriately rickety look.

Friday, September 03, 2021

local scenes

Painted from photos I took of the Delaware Bay near where I live.
Trying to stay loose ... 

Monday, August 30, 2021

birgit o'connor workshop


Painted in Birgit's Nature's Abstraction workshop.
I like the idea--the extreme close up. And I'd like to try it with some dune grasses ... even though such subjects addle my brain.
And I like Birgit's approach--planning, working in sections, mingling colors.
Even though I used the exact same colors as she used, I got a very different result. Birgit's was much cooler, and I overworked mine a bit trying, unsuccessfully, to tone it down.

Friday, August 27, 2021

plein air: rea's farm


Met friends at a West Cape May farm at 8 a.m. to paint sunflowers.
But, as previously when I've painted there, I just could not figure out how to paint a field of sunflowers.
Decided to start with a couple of little sketches, hoping I'd be able to figure out how to divide the space, arrange the elements.
After an hour, a little before 9, it got too hot for me, so the sketches are as far as I got.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

zoom landscape class


This was the last in the latest session of classes.
I like painting the sand and sea wetter, letting them softly meld. Some darks or other colors added when it's dry, or drier!

Hoping to get out for plein air Friday.
Lately it has been either too or too rainy.
And too humid in my art room too.
Thanks, climate change.😠

Sunday, August 15, 2021

carroll villa


The Carroll Villa in Cape May.
As you can probably tell, I started at the top and ran out of energy before I got to the bottom!

Also site of the Mad Batter restaurant, which has been around for a long time, has great food and a wonderful bar!

Monday, August 09, 2021

plein air: cape may harbor

Small studies. Our teacher, Joe Milligan, challenged us to paint a few studies to see what we could learn from one to the next and to see if we would loosen up.
I don't think I got looser ... and I'm not sure what I learned--maybe that doing studies before tackling a complicated subject is a good idea.
My last study (bottom right) isn't quite finished. And none of the boats' rigging has been added.
From study to study I was exasperated by trying to figure out how to paint what was behind the docked fishing boats. I could see a lot of stuff but only wanted to paint enough to frame the boats ... something I was not successful at in any of my attempts.
What really drew me to the scene was the little sailboat and I realized too late that I should have made it the sole subject and dispensed with the background!

Coming soon:

Sunday, August 08, 2021



Practice. Trying to keep it loose.