Friday, May 31, 2019

delaware bay

Took a bike ride along the bay yesterday--each time I do I ask myself, Why don't I do this everyday? (Answer: Earning a living is very time-consuming ... ).
Stopped to do a little plein air sketching.
My dune grasses need some work--there's a balance to be struck in there somewhere!
Also, I want to stop being so "casual" about my evergreens, especially since they are often the anchor in a composition like this: I think the painting would be better if I was more observant about the tree's silhouette. 
In my town every street ends in access to the bay and most have a thoughtfully placed bench.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

wip: st mary's


The first time I drew this, when I started painting I found the paper was defective. So I drew over it in black marker anad traced it onto a new sheet of paper ... which seems defect-free.
This is an iconic 1889 Cape May Point building, St Mary's by the Sea, a retreat for Philadelphia's Sisters of St Joseph. Recently the nuns decided that after 2021 the building would be demolished and the land--a nice piece of beachfront!--protected from development and left to return to nature.
Amen, sisters! And thank you.

Speaking of defective paper: I haven't been setting aside time to paint recently so I thought the least I could do would be to work on sorting out my paper situation a little each evening.
I started with the pile of smallish blocks I have on my shelf: I just play around putting colors on the top sheet and mix them and move them around. Did have to discard a few old blocks.
With the blocks the area that seems to cause the most trouble is the "top" edge (the edge where the cover is attached) of the block--you can see the mottling at the top of this painting of a jetty. Maybe they use a different glue here?
So far though, the blocks are in good shape. On to the sheets.


Sunday, May 26, 2019

memorial day weekend


For the last week, whenever I took a break from my hideous workload, I was out in the yard weeding and putting down mulch. I got 3 cubic yards delivered last Monday and have been working away at it for a couple of hours a day ... Down to, I think, about another 3-4 hours till I run out: should've got 4 cubic yards though as one side of the yard isn't going to get mulched. Just as well--it needs a lot more work.
The summer people have arrived here at the Jersey shore. They don't really bother me--except for the noise, and the traffic, and the lines at the supermarket ... other than that, no problem!
Since the winds have finally dies down a bit, instead of mulching this a.m. I decided to take a bike ride.
Took a little painting kit and made this quick sketch of a scene along my route.

 This is what my Sansa does when she wants me to pet her: jumps into her box and shows me her belly.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019



I continue to, sporadically, toy with my idea for a series of paintings of the shells seen in my header, above.
I always get stuck at about this stage!
Trying, first, to find the right colors ... grays, blues, but also touches sienna and other colors I haven't really identified yet!
Again, especially in the one above, I had a problem with my paper! (You can see if you enlarge the photo--the colors sink.) I think the prolonged period of extreme heat and humidity we had here last summer has, I don't know, ruined the sizing? made the paper moldy?
In any case, I have a good number of full sheets I have stockpiled that I think now I'll have to dispose of; it's just not worth the frustration. From here on: buying paper as needed!

Monday, May 20, 2019

plein air: rea's farm


Saturday afternoon my friends Diane, Karoline, and I went to a farm in West Cape May for our first plein air outing of the season.
I wish I could have kept more of this painting wet as I painted--the sun and wind made the paint dry quick. But I always try to think of my plein air paintings as practice ... it's really about going out, looking at new locations and possible subjects, and spending time with friends. 
I like the subject and will try it again in the comfort of my studio!
This old farmhouse gave me an idea for a series: to search out the increasingly rare farmhouse on the Cape and paint them before they, like so many of their predecessors, give way to McMansions.
Left Rea's with a jar of beach plum jelly and a big jar of pickled asparagus!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

blue heron

From a photo I took in Florida last year. This heron was standing on some rocks watching the fishermen ... Got some pix of them too.
I was so worried about, then had so much fun doing, the rocks and the reflection, that I kind of gave the heron short shrift; he's a caricature of a heron.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


 12x18 HP

Finished this one yesterday. I think the one on the right, the first one I painted is more successful; the one on the left would have benefited from more variation in the darks. 
So I started another ...

14x20 CP

Monday, May 13, 2019

big iris

12x16 hot press

I have a nice size bed of bearded and Dutch irises, but when I came home a giant-size iris was blooming in my backyard! I don't remember planting it all!
It got too heavy for the stem so I had to cut it and now it's a race to paint it.
I decided to try this on hot press; was kind of planning to go real wet, but once I started, I started doing shapes ... 
I'll try to go wetter next time!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

storm coming

I always plan to paint when I'm in FL, but rarely get more than one day in!
On this day, my friend Mike and I went to one of our favorite spots: North Beach at Fort De Soto in St. Pete, despite the threatening weather.
I painted these as the storm came in ... before we had to run for cover.


Sunday, May 05, 2019


Earlier in the week I met my friend Shelby in her hometown of Washington, DC. What a beautiful city. We went to several art museums--all free--and had a great lunch at a Jose Andres restaurant.
Shelby and I met years ago at a workshop in New Mexico: we sat next to each other then found out we lived across the Delaware Bay from each other. At that time she had a summer place in Lewes, DE, and we got together to paint often. But they sold the house and we don't see each other as often as I wish we did!

These paintings are a couple of years old: the top one is Shelby's granddaughter Elena, and below is her daughter Nadejda.
I thought I had given these to her! Now I have an excuse to go visit again!

Friday, May 03, 2019


Mason jars and lemons--two things I can never get tired of painting!


Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Last of the daffodils?


I don't know what the variety is called by these double-headed blooms are so small--about 2 inches in diameter--and delicate. 
The ones below, on the other hand, are the biggest and hardiest in the yard!

I have been trying to grow peonies for several years now, without success--well, moderate success: two of the four plants I started with are still alive!
Last year I got, I think, one bloom.
This year, one of the plants has about six buds on it--I'm beside myself with anticipation. But I just realized they are probably going to bloom in the coming week, while I'll be away visiting my brother.
Told my niece she should cut any blooms and enjoy them.