Monday, January 19, 2015

Designing a Custom Painting - Take Two

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20x20 Oil on Linen (Reserved)
Prints Available/ Click Title
This is the progress of the second commissioned painting. I applied varying lengths of diagonal brush strokes including pale blue, green, and white, in the direction of the perceived light source. Additionally, I used less purple in the background, since it is a primary color forming the bird's body and wings. The suggestion of a palm tree adds to the tropical island theme that I was trying to create.

When viewed together, they appear to connect and complement each other. 
I have received approval for both paintings and will fly them to SoFlo when the paint dries! 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Designing a Custom Painting

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20x20 Oil on Linen
Work in Progress

I am currently working on the design of two commissioned bird paintings with a special decorator located in South Florida. This is the progress of the first piece. The pair will be displayed along on the same wall, so they need to be the same size and similar in appearance. 

As with most custom artwork, we are referencing a specific palette and style preferred by the clients. These fabric swatches include beautiful pastels and jewel tones with light blue and pale green. Varying shades of brown and beige are carried throughout the home. The darkest color is a deep purple. Additionally, black and white can be added to the palette, offering an even wider range of colors. (I’m always searching for ways to squeeze out more paint!).  

During the interview process, the decorator mentioned her clients favor high contrast artwork, even though the fabric patterns appear soft and subtle. My objective then becomes to create contrast through the value scale. This is fairly easy to accomplish by painting a dark background, with strokes of pure white. Additional light and medium colors vary slightly from the palette, while maintaining tonal harmony.
So far, so good! I received approval for the direction of this painting and started on the next…

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Twitter Art Exhibit Painting

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Dining Monarch
6x4 Mixed Media on Paper

For this year’s Twitter Art Exhibit, I painted another butterfly because they represent a universal symbol of beauty and resonate with people of all ages.
The surface is a hot-press Arches Art Board -watercolor paper. It has a smooth white finish with the sturdiness of cardboard. To obtain the monarch details, I used a fine-tipped permanent ink pen. Watercolors were applied to create the loose background.

If you are an artist and member of Twitter, you can submit a postcard-sized original painting by March 1, 2015 to help raise funds for the Home-Start Moss program. Visit for more information.

Monarch butterflies are of particular interest to me and have been for about twelve years. I have watched many of them emerge from the chrysalis, dry their wings, and take flight within hours of hatching. It is a fascinating process to observe!

And as you guessed, there will be similar paintings to follow…

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ready, Set, Action!

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Cayman Abode
8x10 Oil on Panel
Prints & Original Available
Happy New Year, Everyone!
I am very excited about my upcoming art projects for 2015. Rather than making a resolution regarding the volume of paintings, I plan to create more tropical works, including palm trees, flowers, beaches, and birds. Focusing on these subjects will nurture a vibrant color palette. With two commissioned bird paintings on the books, things are already headed in the right direction.
( I am also leaving room for mountains, houses, lakes and whatever comes to mind! )
The month of March presents another opportunity to participate in the Twitter Art Exhibit, founded by talented Norwegian artist, David Sandum in 2009. I am currently in the process of creating the postcard sized painting that will be donated to raise funds for the Home-Start Moss organization located in Moss, Norway. Read about the exhibit, benefitting organization, and process for entering your own postcard painting at:
This will be the fifth time I’ve submitted a painting to this fundraiser. Even though I am unable to attend in person, pictures shared via the Internet always make it an exciting event to watch unfold!
I have also been asked to teach a budding young artist how to paint. Not having previously taught art, I am certain this will be a great learning experience for both of us! It will be fun combining our creative energy and keeping each other inspired. Additionally, I want to ensure that she does not pick up any of my bad habits :))
That’s enough to get started, so I’d better embrace my word for the year and take some… Action!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Looking Back

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First Winter Snow
9x12 Acrylic on Canvas
Order Prints > Click Here

Brrr. This is one of the few winter scenes I have ever painted. And although I think snow is beautiful, “cold” is a rare subject of choice.
Created in 2001, this landscape was done with acrylics on a 9x12 cotton canvas. The old maple syrup farm is located in Stephentown, New York. Viewing it brings back fond memories of my relatives who live there.
Back then, I had a completely different approach to painting. My palette was limited. I preferred bristle brushes and did not prepare the canvas with a base coat. Every color was lighted with white.
Using a linen canvas seemed farfetched. I avoided higher quality materials and waited several more years before even giving linen a try. Now it has become a favorite surface.
Things certainly have changed.
Whether adopting a new paint color, tool, surface or even philosophy, the creation of art is a powerful source for personal growth. If you’re willing to explore the possibilities, it can be a tremendously rewarding adventure!
Thanks to each of you who have filled my days with warmth, through your kind words of encouragement this year.  Enjoy the holiday season, have a Merry Christmas, and keep creating!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Oil Painting Tip - Take a Nap

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Cat Napper
8x10 Oil on panel
Prints & Original Available

The painting is now complete after three sessions. Each layer of oils was dry to touch before applying the next. I enjoyed adding more colors and values, while keeping the variety of brush strokes in mind.
The majority of tones lie within the medium to dark range. Highlights of white were placed above the mouth and on the tips of the paws. The cat’s facial features were created with finer details and some blending. I left out the whiskers because I thought the extra lines might serve as a distraction. Fur is loosely rendered, with the direction of the brush strokes forming the anatomy. And upon further evaluation, and without deliberation, the body shape seems to resemble a lightly toasted croissant. Hmmm.
In addition to other factors, artists continually make decisions regarding the amount of time and effort spent on each phase of the creative process. As professionals, goals may be specific, such as completing a painting within a few hours or days, keeping the portfolio fresh for review. Pending deadlines set by galleries, clients, and upcoming shows may also enter into the equation. Otherwise known as production, we bring pieces to closure, liking them or not, and move onto the next.
Although there is certainly no guarantee, the paintings I tend to cherish the most are formed in the absence of such necessary constraints. Instead, they evolve around an unlimited number of power naps, formally known as catnaps.