Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The current challenge from Karin Jurick's Different Strokes from Different Folks--"current" only until 6 p.m. tonight, the deadline!
Karin supplied a picture of a man on a chair, and this is the setting I chose for him (them).

Posted by Picasa

Here I am, deviated septum and all.
This was the first portrait I did from a photo, rather than looking in the mirror ... It's certainly "easier," and judging by comments from people who know me, a better likeness than I've achieved heretofore.
But there is a certain detachment that creeps in, looking at a static image.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 27, 2009

indecisive self

Two little self-portraits I'm trying out for David Lobenberg's Global Self-Portrait Love In: 9/10 is the deadline for sending in a portrait of yourself in a hat.
The top one, from a photo taken by myself on the boat, was much cleaner and fresher before I kept poking at it!
The bottom one is from a photo taken about five years ago in the Keys.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Back from Lewes

(7x10 sheet)
We spent Saturday morning at the Lewes farm market, held on the grounds of the Historical Society. It was rather daunting, crowded with people and vendors, and I spent about as much time shopping as I did painting ... I got some great mini pattypan squashes that I hope to paint before eating. Carol did a great painting of them--but I forgot to photograph it! I'll ask her to email me a copy to post here.

(7x10 sheet)
In the afternoon we painted some flowers at Shelby's: daunted again--it's what to do with the spaces between the flowers in mixed bouquets that stymies me. The centers of sunflowers are so much fun to paint.
For my third try, I wanted to be Emil Nolde-ish, and worked close-up and wet. The result doesn't look at all Nolde-ish, but I'm glad I thought of him and changed my focus. (5x7)

We also made the always looked-forward-to trip to Cape Henlopen State Park. I see so many colors in the dunes and grasses, and simply can't simplify. (5x7)
I feel I was less "productive" than I had intended, but we had such an enjoyable time.
And Shelby and I each entered a painting in the Rehobeth (DE) Art League's member show. I didn't know the deadline for submissions was Saturday, but I had the coconut painting I posted a few days ago on my block, so I framed and submitted it. Shelby entered a beautiful painting of seashells.
I came home feeling so lucky to have such great painting friends, or rather friends to paint with; it's a great change from painting alone in my room: productivity be damned.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 17, 2009

off to delaware

I'm off to the ferry this a.m., heading to Delaware for a couple of days of plein air painting on Cape Henlopen with friends Shelby, Carol and Betsey.
I hope I'll have some nice scenes--from all of us--to show you when I return.
Have a wonderful weekend!!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 16, 2009

caribbean scenes

(5x7 each)

Scenes from earlier trips to the Virgin Islands with Lisa and Mike. That's Mike at the helm.
I have a picture of me and Lisa underwater that might be fun to try to paint ...
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


with miskit

miskit removed
I seldom use miskit--I'm not a planner, and usually if I think to leave a space white, I'll paint around it ... it won't come out perfect, but that doesn't mater to me. Here, it would have been hard to save the orange branch from which the coconuts grow with a resist.
Ultimately though I wound up overworking the whole thing a bit ... the miskited version above is so much brighter!
Coconuts are on my mind: I mixed up a shaker of Pusser's Painkillers, which I first had in Tortola, BVI, when my friends Mike and Lisa invited me to go sailing with them, beginning my love for the Caribbean--and for rum drinks.

Pusser's Painkiller

4 parts pineapple juice
1 part orange juice
1 part cream of coconut
2 or 3 parts rum

Serve on ice.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Testing out a new sheet on my Sennelier block with a little sunflower picture. I didn't notice until just now how the page seems to be split in half ... I filled in the "excess" space with a Daniel Smith duochrome blue; it has a sparkly quality to it.

Friday and Saturday I'll be in Lewes, DE, plein air painting with my friends Shelby, Betsy and Carol on Cape Henlopen.
I met Shelby and Carol two years ago at a workshop in New Mexico, where I painted the picture of the Santuario del Chimayo below. At the time I thought it was a disaster, but Shelby liked it ... Now it's one of my favorites. (And I see that, with the dark tree form in the middle, this page is nearly split in half too: some relentless, subconscious ordering mechanism?)
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 12, 2009

more cg beach

(7x11 each)
Everyone went out fishing early this morning, so I literally missed the boat. I have never been a morning person.
I wanted to give myself a bit more room, so today I painted from my sketches on 7x11 sheets, rather than my usual blog-friendly 5x7.
It's weird, and frustrating, that you can see what you want to do so clearly in your mind, but what you get is something else!
I planned to concentrate on darks and greens and connecting shapes ... but I'm not quite there yet.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 11, 2009

cg beach

Small watercolors done from one of my sketches ... This paper is dreadful: the top one is my favorite, Fabriano, and the bottom Sennelier, but I've had these little blocks for a while and I've found that some papers don't hold up well over time; they become too absorbent.
And I have so much paper! I hate to think of having to discard a lot of it ... Better start using more!


Friday, July 10, 2009

dream comes true

For the past several years I'd been telling everyone that I was going to spend my 50th birthday--this December--in the Virgin Islands, preferably anchored off Maho Bay, St. John. I stopped mentioning it about a year ago, figuring the economy and my chronic shortage of funds would defer my dream.
But yesterday I found out that we will be going to the VI in December--the exact dates have yet to be worked out, but I don't even care if I'll be there on the day; I'm so astounded that I'll be there!--and chartering a sailboat, perhaps a catamaran, with our friends Dave and Jan.
I'm so excited I hardly slept last night and was making a mental list of what to pack!
I'll be keeping myself busy between now and December trying to lose ten pounds by ramping up my lackadaisical exercise routine and overhauling my diet.
I've never had high expectations, afraid of (convinced of?) the inevitable disappointment. But this dream is coming true and now, at fifty, I may become a dreamer.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 09, 2009

USCG Loran Station

Saturday afternoon Peter somehow persuaded me to go the beach; I must have been feeling very accommodating ... And it turned out to be a revelation.
He planned to go to a beach in Wildwood Crest in front of an insanely large and wholly unoccupied new condo complex, but I suggested, since we were headed that way, that we check out the beach on the Wildwood side of the inlet that the Coast Guard owns and recently opened to the public.
A large portion of the beach is an off-limits shorebird nesting site and getting to the beach invloves a 1/5th of a mile slog over hot, loose sand, but it was so worth it. But for one family, which left not long after we arrived, we were all alone.
The dunes and vistas from the viewing platform at the end of the trail before you descend to the beach were simply gorgeous. Of course, I had failed to bring a camera, but we stopped to enjoy the view while I made the first three pencils sketches here.
The fourth is of one of the whale- and dolphin- (porpoises, actually) watching boats. I have never seen a whale here, but the porpoises are plentiful and come in close to shore.
The sketches (esp. the third one) may not make much sense on their own: I was drawing them to paint later.
But now I'm hoping to just go back and paint onsite.

These are two little (5x7) watercolors I did on the deck Saturday morning after everyone decamped for the marina--just looking around for what was at hand to get in some practice ... I've begun to feel superstitious about letting too much time go by without painting something!!
I need to work on getting out my painting things even when other people are around--I'm a closet painter.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 08, 2009



Karin Jurick's current DSFDF challenge ends today at 6 p.m. EST.
I started this last night; added the Virgin-Island-like shapes in the background today.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 06, 2009


Yesterday I took a bike ride along the bay and made these two watercolor sketches in my Maruman folding sketchbook. The paper has a nice texture, but can't take much water or working/correcting; nevertheless, it's good for quick things and I like it anyway--the way the pages unfold makes all these disconnected images look like a narrative.

A week or so ago, browsing the art blogs, I read something that stuck in my head (I neglected to note the source: if it's you, or you know the source, please email me, so I can provide a link) and popped up as I looked at these scenes: squint and interpret.
Such simple advice; so useful when painting plein air.
Posted by Picasa

(5x7 sheet)

In the 1880s Winslow homer made a few little ink sketches of people in rowboats; I copied the drawings and added color.

Sunday we went fishing (yes, I broke my resolve to stay home all weekend--Peter and the sunny weather were too persuasive for me!)and, at the mouth of the Cape May inlet, I saw two men fishing in a small dory--they had a motor, not oars--but they still looked right out of Gloucester!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 03, 2009

Copies~Wyeth and Homer

Everyone's out fishing and dinner's all prepped. So I took the Wyeth and Homer watercolor books I've been looking at, an 11x15 sheet of paper and my paints, and a very large Seabreeze out to the deck.
The top two are copies of untitled Andrew Wyeth watercolors, from 1939 and 1961, respectively.
Wyeth's neutrals are so beautiful: in the bottom one I was quite confounded trying to even nearly approximate them, always getting too warm or too cool.
The top one reminds me of one of my other favorite watercolorists, John Marin, and, in Wyeth's, I was drawn to the strong color and paint application, and to the loose interpretation of the scene. It's a beautiful reminder to me that it's not worthwhile to strive to be so literal!

And these are copies of Winslow Homer watercolors--there are dozens I would like to copy, especially scenes with water and/or palm trees. Here, I was drawn to the top one (which, in Homer's original, Sloop, Horizon [1899] has a boat) because of the stormy sky and the warm neutrals he used in the clouds. I began with a very light burnt sienna wash over the whole sky. I didn't get anywhere near the modulation and interest of Homer's sky, but I enjoyed thinking about his colors, the varieties of blues he uses.
In both of these, I worked in layers--putting in the warm colors and adding the blue when they were dry. Such a useful technique, I wonder I don't think to do it more often!
The bottom is a copy of one of several very fresh dramatic sunset scenes Homer did in Gloucester, Mass., in 1880. I've admired these for as long as I can remember!

Yesterday Peter and I went out to the Wildwood Reef, about twelve miles offshore, to fish for flounder. When we got to the dock it was so windy, we thought perhaps we shouldn't go ... but it was too nice out to go home, and we had the bait, so we decided to give it a try. It was a bumpy ride out, but the wind laid down in the afternoon, and we found ourselves out in the ocean all alone as far as we could see.
I caught one keeper flounder--tonight's appetizer.
I painted the "impression" below in my new Fabriano sketchbook (which so far I'm not so happy with: the paper's light and absorbent) using waterbrushes, which I'm having some difficulty with: one dribbles copious amouns of water, the other stays practically dry no matter how hard I squeeze!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Forgive me, Blogger; it's been one week since my last post.
No penance; just a resolution to paint more.

I've been going through one of those slumps where, though I see or think of subjects to paint, I am not feeling committed to anything ... "floundering," I'd call it.
Last Friday and Saturday each time I walked past this plate of grapes and a lemon on my kitchen counter, I thought I should paint it. Finally got to it, trying to keep a casual "I don't care how it turns out" attitude ... and striving to mix some neutrals.

Fourth of July is the most dreaded weekend of summer for me: it becomes so impossibly crowded here that I barely leave my house the entire three days. I plan to spend the time studying Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth's paintings of water.
Posted by Picasa