Friday, January 30, 2015

revisiting LaCarte

In July of 2013 I painted a pastel on LaCarte paper - a coarser surface than my favorite Wallis. At that time, I wanted a soft look for the painting shown above so it was a bit of a struggle. Today I pulled the painting out and began lifting color off with a hog bristle brush.

Here you can see the color of the paper showing through. As I lifted, removed and added more color, my mind was occupied with good thoughts of my former father-in-law who passed away today. I was painting on auto-pilot. At some point, I realized I was loving this paper!

"Godspeed" is sitting on my easel...I'm thinking about it. And, I wonder if I have anymore LaCarte. For those of you who are not familiar with this paper, you CANNOT get it wet and since I usually work with an underpainting, I have avoided it. Hope I have another sheet in my flat file.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

acrylic underpainting for pastel

A few days ago I painted an acrylic under painting on Wallis paper. Finally got back to it today.

Path to Gold Creek, pastel, 13 x 17.25 inches

Friday, January 23, 2015

glory days II

For my sanity, I had to end the week with a pastel. Glory Days II, pastel, 13x17 inches.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

second trio and goodbye pretty

If you read my posts of January 13 and 15, you saw my pretty reference photo. I've worked with that photo before as a lesson on value but can't remember completing a painting to send out into the world. Now, here I am again, using the same reference photo for the second trio of acrylic paintings. And, once again, I'm losing interest in this pretty scene. Give me wild, unkempt, tangled nature and I'm inspired to paint. The above painting - about 70% complete - is as far as I got before I started gagging on pretty. The other two panels have been painted over, scrubbed, poked and prodded and I'm starting to get somewhere (somewhere I want to go) with them.

Love the top half of this. Just before leaving the studio last night, I took a wet paper towel and scrubbed off the lower half. I'll start on that again today.

This one will probably be a loose interpretation of the pretty reference photo. Back and forth, paint on, paint off. Running from "pretty."

Monday, January 19, 2015

acrylics to Cole Gallery

Tomorrow I will deliver the first three acrylics of 2015 to Cole Gallery for their annual Anniversary Show. The Opening Party is 6:30 - 9:00 PM, February 7th.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Second Trio Step Two

Here they are again, this time with the darkest value added. I noticed when working with interactive acrylics that sometimes in my enthusiasm, I accidentally lifted off too much value so today I applied varying amounts of acrylic Lamp Black, NOT interactive. And, to keep it loose, I used a rubber spatula instead of a brush.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

a little preparation

Continuing from yesterday...
As I started to work on the three little acrylic foundations I posted yesterday it occurred to me that it would be easier to reformat the reference photo from the vertical format to a square. Then, once I started playing with the photo - which, by the way, I am amazed I could actually find in my computer - I couldn't help looking at the composition and values so I used PhotoShop to change the focus of the light to keep it more in the middle. Below is the adjusted reference photo that I will be working from.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

next three acrylics

The next three acrylic experiments are on the easel. Color is arbitrary - brushfulls of paint applied to white Ampersand Gessobord while I was cleaning my acrylic palette. I lifted color off using a paper towel and/or brushes. Also, I misted the first one with water and let it run. These three are starting out as the same scene using a reference photo from September 2011- see my sketchbook entry below. The original painting from this photo shoot of the Cedar River was used as an Art Journal Blog post called The value of value.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

sunrise on our pond

Faithful, acrylic, 6 x 6 inches
I have been meaning to paint scenes from where we live now but I keep getting side-tracked. Fnally, this one is the sunrise over our backyard pond. I have included the reference photo so you can better see my interpretation. I am enjoying the give and take of the interactive acrylics and the ability to lift color. For more information on this medium, see the December 2014 issue of The Artist's Magazine for an article by my friend, Cathy Woo. This is the third acrylic painting of my Leap to Faith trio.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

painting with faith

With Faith, acrylic, 6 x 6 inches
I am holding on to faith that I will be able to pull off another acrylic painting. I'm working with only one, 1" brush on these little 6x6 inch Ampersand Gessobord panels. When I move to larger work I will have more space to finesse my angular strokes. Right now, I'm enjoying glazing for color and dragging a tacky brush over the surface for texture. Once again, I have done composition check by turning the painting. None of the views annoy me so I'm done.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Turn, turn, turn

As I was framing "Leap to Faith," I enjoyed the yin/yang of the piece as I rotated it. The balance of light and dark is pleasing to me each way.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Leap to Faith, acrylic, 6 x 6 inches
Well, I have to say I am pretty excited about acrylics! If you have been following this blog, you know that this little painting began as a Notan done with regular black acrylic paint (not open or interactive) on a white Ampersand Gessobord panel. It has been hanging around my studio for about a year.

I began work on it a few days ago using Atelier INTERACTIVE acrylics on top of the black and white foundation. What fun! I have been able to glaze, wipe off, start again, poke, prod, lift and rub with a cloth to create a little painting of simple shapes and masses and subtle color. I don't know why I have avoided acrylic paint for so long. Well, yes I do was because I want soft edges and I didn't know it was possible to get them with acrylics. The color on this little painting was built in many layers creating nuances of hues and luminosity. I don't think the photo does it justice.

I have been packing up my studio for our spring move and I'm surprised how many acrylic paints I have. After I work with the interactive type for a while and gain more faith in my ability with this new medium, I plan to move on to the regular acrylics simply because I have them. I am leaping TO faith - not scary because I'm painting just for myself without the pressure of shows or gallery commitments.


I'm going to be working toward simplification in 2015. Simplification in my finished work (simplified shapes and values) as well as in the way I work. In the Spring, my studio and office will be separated. No more tempting dings from the computer when a new email comes in. Yes, I know I could just turn down the volume but it wouldn't work. I would become curious, stop painting and go to the computer and look.

Acrylic seems like a simple medium so I'm trying it. No solvents, easy clean up. Shown above are the three little paintings and my first hour of exploration with acrylic paint. So far, so good. In fact, some nice surprises and glazing and lifting color back off (a favorite technique of mine in all mediums). I don't know where these three little paintings will end up but today, I am hopeful.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


I found three old 6x6 inch Ampersand Gessbord panels with black acrylic Notan paintings in my studio. The middle one looks like the whole panel was painted black then white acrylic created the Notan. These are perfect little foundations for me to begin playing with the Atelier Interactive acrylics I want to try. Stay tuned.

Nōtan is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark as they are placed next to the other in art and imagery.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy New Year!

Another scene from our home in Renton, Washington. This is the bamboo along the street as it catches the light of the setting sun.

Link: Looking back and looking forward

Sunday, December 14, 2014

a few things

A few things:

Bursting into flame: 
This morning I received a comment on one of my posts. Here is an excerpt: "In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." 

How true! I have a file folder on my computer desktop titled "Ready to Paint, Look Here." When I come across an image that impresses me, I label it and put it in this folder. Then, when I am ready to paint, I look at the images for inspiration.

The reason I'm not painting:
The image above, taken yesterday, is our house-in-progress. It is the reason there isn't a lot of new artwork posted on this blog. Our completion date is spring 2015 but then there will be landscaping. Every few weeks I have an art spurt - the last one was five paintings in 10 days but now I am back to selecting the house gutter color, deck floor color, etc. If you would like to follow progress on the house (and new studio), here is the link to our house project.

By the way, it just LOOKS big from the water. The building behind the house is my husband's garage. My new studio will actually be smaller than my current studio but I plan to have my office in another room. In my current studio my office area takes up a quarter of the space. It should be interesting...while I am painting there won't be the distraction/temptation of incoming emails and there will be more space for the possibility of teaching in the studio.

Mentoring and Workshops:
In January 2015 I will begin to mentor a Canadian artist. It will be a three month one-on-one online test. If it turns out to be a good fit for my new life, I hope to do more of this beginning in Fall 2015. If you are interested in being put on a list for online mentoring or a workshop with me, let me know. Contact

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

a little gift

Autumn at Anahim Lake, pastel, 5 x 7 inches
"Autumn at Anahim Lake" is back in the Studio after its debut in the Northwest Pastel Society 2014 Small Works Show in Oregon. A little holiday gift for yourself or a friend? Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 5, 2014

annual tradition

"Tradition," pastel, 7 x 11 inches
It is my annual tradition to rework older paintings that I'm no longer happy with.  Today, it was "Road Show: November," a painting that has hung in one of our bathrooms for years. I have enjoyed it there but when I rotated art recently and hung something new in the bathroom, "Road Show: November" ended up in my studio and my painting style of five years ago began to bother me.

Brushing off Road Show: November from 2009
I unframed the painting, brushed the pastel off down to the ghost image. To bring the sky up in value, I applied an under-painting of white acrylic with a rubber spatula for a mottled effect. Once the acrylic was dry (just minutes) I began to work over all in pastel. This painting went through some very bad renditions and took way too long before "Tradition" emerged. It is named that for my annual tradition of reworking paintings - and because no other title besides Aaargggh! came to mind.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

saving grace

Doing that year-end thing again...reworking paintings that really need help. I gave this painting a partial rework - softening some detail, adding a darker value in the lower left to open up the entrance to the painting, extended the light grasses in the upper right corner to open up the view there but added some shadow to bring the eye back to the center and the road. Wiped off the orchard and added just enough color and detail to indicate trees...I am careful to keep them as an illusion, not a botanical rendering of trees. I'm happy to have saved what grace the original painting had and to have updated it with the signature of my recent work.

Monday, December 1, 2014

autumn memories from memory

Autumn Memories, pastel, 10 x14 inches
Late yesterday I unframed an old abstract pastel and began again with an oil wash over the top of the pastel ghost. It's fun to wake up to a painting foundation that has dried overnight and is ready for the pastel. This one went through some pretty bad stages until I put the iPad reference photo away and began to paint from memory. No specific place in mind...just what I know about marshy, brushy scenes. I like it. See the reference photo and the oil foundation below.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

daily grace in steps

Soon we will be leaving our home of the last 27 years. It is bittersweet so I am gathering memories in the form of pastel paintings. "Daily Grace" begins with a recent photo of our front yard, shown here on my iPad next to my pastel easel. I refer to this photo to block in the scene with an oil wash under painting.

I use a tough brush wet with mineral spirits to lift oil paint from the sanded surface (Wallis).

The oil wash must be completely dry before I begin applying pastel.

Daily Grace, pastel, 10 x 13.5 inches

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

a sense of place - again

A Sense of Place III, pastel, 10 x 13 inches
Yesterday I posted my first pastel painted more than a dozen years ago. Today I went back to the easel after six weeks away and painted A Sense of Place III. Third time's the charm?

Monday, November 24, 2014

my first pastel painting

Plums and Blue Bowl, pastel on velour paper, 8 x 7.25 inches
Dah-da! My first pastel. For those who have studied pastel with me, you know this story.

When I began working with pastel, I thought velour paper would give me the soft look I was envisioning. I applied the pastel to paper and then dutifully took the painting outside and gave it a couple whacks on the backside (per Pat Meras who talked who generously gave me a crash course in pastel during a Women Painters of Washington luncheon about a dozen years ago). Oh, oh...what is that on my shoes? It is my painting!  Pat had no way of knowing I would be working on velour or that I would whack so enthusiastically.

There are pastel artists who work successfully on velour and if you will contact me, I'll make you a great deal on some velour paper! Plums and Blue Bowl will be available for purchase at Daily Paintworks 11/25/14.

an ahaa moment

An ahaa! moment about my creative process. Read more here...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

keeping a hand in it

I haven't painted at my easels for six weeks, setting art aside to focus on building the house. I've been testing house paint on walls but that isn't really the same. Today I was explaining to my son the importance of keeping a hand in your art (he is a baker - an artist whose medium is flour). I was referring to his work but when I hung up I realized I was also talking about myself. I'm a different person when I'm not creating. As a little step back to my art for better balance in my life, today I posted the last painting I completed six weeks ago, "Bejeweled Woodland," as a print available for purchase.

Bejeweled Woodland, reproduction of original pastel art.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drawn from the Heart

I am honored to join Kay Dewar in a two-artist colored pencil show, "Drawn from the Heart," at The Dorothy Liberty Gallery, within Trinity Parish Church, 609 Eighth Ave, Seattle, WA. Show dates are November 20, 2014 to January 4, 2014. The Opening Reception is Sunday, November 30, noon to 1:30 PM.

These colored pencil drawings are in my Collection of the Artist but with our upcoming move and trying to down-size, all drawings will be available for purchase at this show.

Autumn, colored pencil, 17.5 x 21 inches
Heartfelt, colored pencil, 24.5 x 17 inches
Comfort and Joy, colored pencil, 20 x 18 inches

Cherished, colored pencil, 21.5 x 17 inches

A Charmed Life, colored pencil, 21.5 x 17 inches

Twelfth of Never, colored pencil, 23.75 x 18.5

Worldly Goods, colored pencil, 19 x 25 inches

A Fine Romance, colored pencil, 16 x 20 inches

Falling in Love Again, colored pencil, 25 x 18 inches

Illusion, colored pencil, 25.5 x 20 inches
Matters of the Heart, colored pencil, 12.5 x 16.25 inches

Jewels, colored pencil, 6.75 x 6.75 inches sold