Thursday, February 27, 2014

fox sparrow

(I apologize for the quality of these photos; they were taken through a window and screen.)
Yesterday I glanced out the window and saw this little reddish bird I'd never seen before; there were two, actually. They would hop up, off both feet, and scratch at the ground in one quick sweep as they came down. Fascinating to watch. Consulting my field guides, I found they are fox sparrows.
I went outside with camera today, hoping they'd stop by again and I could get some better shots, but I didn't see them today. Did get to see one of my other perennial favorites, the white-throated saprrow.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Just a few roses, trying out different yellow/red combinations.
Left to right: aureolin and opera pink; new gamboge and permanent rose; Winsor yellow and quinacridone magenta.

Monday, February 24, 2014


We had a spring preview this weekend: temps in the 50s and sun, glorious sun!
The kind of weather that prompts attempts at home improvement; in addition to digging up some shrubs and getting up on the roof to help patch a leak, I tackled the overstuffed closet in my art room. I pulled a ton of stuff out of there--and found some brushes from a Chinese brush painting class I took many years ago.

 Next weekend: putting everything back in.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

fading away II

More practicing with the roses.
They actually get more interesting as they fall open and droop.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

fading away roses

I put down a wash of yellows and pinks, then tried to negatively paint to find the petals. 
I did some washing out of stems and leaves that I thought were too messy, then painted them back in when the paper was dry. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

wip: cherries

Another start ... I'm seeing a theme here: a lot of starting and not much finishing. Oh well, that's okay. As I always remind myself, it's the journey, not the destination.

I'm doing a two-day birding workshop in Cape May this weekend with Pete Dunne.
Yesterday we saw brown-headed cowbird, mockingbird, Carolina wren, American goldfinch, house finch, downy woodpecker, lots of sparrows and chickadees and many red-winged blackbirds. Then ended the day with a jaunt out to the Delaware Bay searching for a snowy owl that had been reported. There was a wet-snow gale blowing and we saw dunlins, but not the elusive owl; we all left happy, though wet and cold, feeling very intrepid.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

wip: lemons and crocks

From another reference photo by Lillian Bell at Paint My Photo, combining two of my favorite subjects. And a patterned cloth, which, being lazy, I usually avoid.
Once again, I'm feeling a little out of sorts with my painting ... I may need to push myself a little, try something more ambitious. In the meantime ...

Friday, February 14, 2014

wip: winter flowers

Trying this one again ... with the goal of keeping the yellows fresh and bright.
Not much time for painting the last week or so: too much time working.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

more grapes ...

More grapes ... They're not turning out how I picture them in my mind ... Maybe I get into the midtones too heavily; less pigment may be the answer.

Sunday, February 09, 2014


Another grape-based still life, this one from a reference photo on Wet Canvas.
I like the analogous color scheme, and analogous color schemes in general.
I don't know how I drew that front orange so large! ... maybe I'll crop it out.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

wip "fall flowers"

From Lillian Bell's photo Fall Flowers on Paint My Photo.
I always have problems with yellow. I let the bright yellows get away from me here, but this is such a nice photo, I'll start over.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

lemon and pewter mug

I like the simplicity of this setup and decided to try it even though I usually shy away from painted metallic or reflective surfaces!

As you see from the badge in the sidebar, I joined Daily Paintworks. I'm a little apprehensive about it--putting my paintings out there, putting a price on them--but this seemed like a relatively passive, soft-sell way of going about it (which is the only way I'd feel comfortable with).
Just put up a few to see if they get any traffic; I'll add more when I can.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

too much or too little?

I thought this needed more branches, but when I added them it just looked messy and confusing to me. Luckily, it wasn't too late to wash them out. But I still think it needs something ... maybe some lighter, cooler, softer-edged beach plums in the background.
I thought adding the beach plum behind the bird would add some balance, but I feel it hasn't really worked. Maybe adding on couldn't hurt, since I'm not pleased now ... and maybe I'll learn something.

Years ago I painted with a group that met in Carolyn Howard, retired teacher and painter's, basement. She was a great critiquer and kept a pile of colored paper on hand; she would tear off a piece and hold it up against your painting to help you see ... Some discs of orange paper might help me decide.

Monday, February 03, 2014

plums & grapes

From a reference photo by Yod Barros on Wet Canvas.
Definitely a case of too much dabbing. 

I added another leaf shape and a bit of a wash over some of the grapes at right. Next step, a light wash in the background.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

more grapes

Adding more leafy shapes helps, but I have to be careful not to get carried away with the woody tendrils--I love them.
The large bunch of grapes looked best in the first wash, I think--when I first added yellow; as I continued to tickle them though, the glow from the yellow faded a bit.
Again, not sure about the background. Thinking maybe yellow?

Isn't this a lovely bird; I think it's a mockingbird. I've often seen it flying and could never get a good look, but this morning he or she landed in my yard, right next to where I was standing, happily, for once, with my camera.

Saturday, February 01, 2014


Three steps.
I feel like I'm still being a bit too careful--especially in the initial wash. And, when this is completely dry, I may glaze over the messy grapes to the far right, unifying and pushing them into the back more (I hope).
I'm wondering if I should add a wash--a grayish purple? maybe a dark blue-green--to the background or leave it white. What do you think?