Monday, April 4, 2016

My Bestest

My first official painting post a year ago, titled "My Best" was my husband ice fishing. My last painting post is from the same photo and titled, "My Bestest." If I had any doubts about the value of this year, I just have to look at the first and last paintings and know this was so worth it. Oh mercy, how much I have learned. My deepest thanks to you all for every like, comment and share. You guys fueled the bus on this journey and I felt your support every day. What next? Getting ready for the exhibits and then... who knows? I have more ideas than time, but I will keep posting as plans unfold. Thank you, thank you and then some.   

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Self Portrait In The Style Of.

Vincent van Gogh. When I look at this painting, I giggle. Maybe I have been taking way too much cold medicine. The goal was to have more van Gogh lines demarcating the features, but, my old "control self" kept smoothing and blending. I have one painting day left of this journey and I am going to post the final painting on Monday. Just a little treat to me. "Take a few days." I say to myself. "Thanks!" I say back. : )

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Vincent's Clogs

I was in a mood to paint in the style of Vincent van Gogh. I saw this wooden shoes painting of his and I thought, "Perfect." I don't know why I thought that, but I did. I so thoroughly enjoyed doing this painting. His life and paintings are equally fascinating. And, knowing he did it all wearing these stiff wooden clogs. Oh, to walk a mile in these shoes.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Brown Jug.

All I can say about this painting, is that I am happy I was able to paint -- something. Still not out from under this flu bug thing, but climbing back up and making an effort feels good. Here's to your health!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Warm Red.

Using a warm red and the same blue and yellow, this apple turned out not much different than the previous two. Biggest difference in all three is probably the background color. This exercise was so worth the time. My color mixing has improved because of it. After painting it three times, I can also say, I know this apple by heart. : )   

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cool Red.

The palette I used on this apple had a cool red, a warm blue and warm yellow. I thought adding blue to the mix would make mixing easier, but it didn't. I think the color blending on the Zorn palette apple has an overall richer color scheme. The total opposite of my initial guess. Let's just keep that I was wrong between us, if you don't mind.  

Monday, March 21, 2016

Limited Palette.

Using just two or three colors, forces you to learn how to mix colors. Using an apple for my subject, I am painting it three different times, using limited palettes. The one today was done using a Zorn palette. Zorn was a Swedish artist and only used a vermilion red, yellow ocher, black and white. I was impressed at the number of different colors you can make with only two colors. Limitless.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Full Circle.

A sphere. Black and white. All value driven. I should have done this exercise about 10 months ago, but I thought it was boring and unnecessary. I know better today. The point of the exercise is that once you learn how to make a sphere look like a sphere you can paint anything sphere-like. My sphere is off a bit here and there but at least I know what I didn't know 10 months ago.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One For The Cap.

A feather. Tried a different background technique - which translated means, "I lost my way and winged it." Oh yes, the pun was indeed intended. I think the color combination is fetching and it looks feathery. Happy enough. My guess is this is a turkey feather, feel free to correct me. 

Monday, March 14, 2016


Maple syrup. The real stuff. God's way of making a mediocre pancake-- spectacular. The only bottleneck I see around here are buckets of sap lining up next to the syrup cooker. I do like the way this painting ended up. Good composition with the slight crook of the top cap and the color of the syrup is pretty close to what I saw. 

Friday, March 11, 2016


No painting for today, just a collage of my studio walls with a little over half of my total paintings for the year. In no order of date done or preference. Just felt I had to post something. : )

Thursday, March 10, 2016


This little segment is brought to you by, "Orange." A joy to paint this was. I gave more effort to the background than the orange and at the end realized getting the level of darkness for the background right makes the segment move forward and pop. Love it when an effort pays off.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Time's Up.

Will Kemp has a wonderful tutorial on painting snow Click Here to see it. The piece today is from his lesson. I spent time watching the videos and preparing the canvas and palette etc, but I only allowed myself 1/2 hour of painting time. It was fun to know ahead of time when I would be done. This exercise may not have produced a better painting but it was so much more relaxing and that is a wonderful way to paint. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Berry Good.

Today is one of those days when a good plan went right out the window. I managed to get these berries painted despite the flippy floppy day I am having. I planned to do them in oils but somehow I turned a corner and there I was painting away with acrylics. "Berry good anyway." I say.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Next Step.

In 1866 a drawing course by Charles Bargue was published. The lessons taught students like Van Gogh and Picasso to see and draw and measure. With almost 200 lithographs of drawings done of famous sculptures and paintings, the book is a treasure. One of my next steps has to include drawing from this book. This foot, is one lesson. Measuring is tough. I measure and say things like, one inch and two small ticks. I am, one day, going to learn how to use a ruler. I am, I am.

Friday, March 4, 2016


Another do-over. This time I chose a painting I was originally happy with. As I was painting the new one, I realized I have learned a lot about lost and found edges and color mixing. The big difference between the two though, is my ability to see and paint value changes. I also think my ability to photograph the pieces has improved some.  The first pair looks like I took the photo as I was riding in a car on a very bumpy road, while hiccuping. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Could You Repeat That?

In less than a month my one year painting journey will come to an end. Thinking about the past year I wondered, "Just how did I grow?" So, I looked back at my year and found one of my first paintings. A coffee cup. I don't even think I finished it. I probably filled it with coffee and took a break and that was that. The cup I did today looks like a bit of growth has happened. : )  I will post the first cup painting as a comment to this post.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Birch Bundle.

Another birch tree grove. Another pencil drawing on black tinted paper. This one feels good to me when I look at it. I think using a black background makes all the colors pop out more. But then I never grow tired looking at a birch tree. I sometimes wonder if they were put here just so we could paint them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Four And Twenty.

Black bird. Just one. No pie. I don't know the name of this bird as the photo was taken by our friend on a recent cruise to somewhere warm and sunny. The shadow and the colors of the bird made the photo strikingly enchanting. This piece was done in pencil and pastel on black tinted paper. The result is a pretty good rendering: dainty enough for a king.

Monday, February 29, 2016


The not so ordinary olive. These pretty little dickens look so handsome in the little white - dare I say it, "olive bowl." Like I would have bowls just for olives. I'm still laughing. I like the different colors between the olives and the way the bowl turned out too. I did not feel like painting today-- hey, it happens, but I dug deep grabbed my olives and came up with this. And then I ate them.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Sunny Side Up.

I had big hopes and dreams for this fried egg. It fell short on most of them except that it does look like an egg. Pencils can not be rushed: Note to self. I took the photo of this egg while it was in the frying pan... perhaps saying that will help. "Oh, for Pete's sake diana, it's just an egg," I say. Just an egg. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016


This was a painting challenge on the website. I started it in oils, then moved to pastels and finished with colored pencils. Sometimes it's hard to stick to a decision once you make it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

More Than Red.

Using this simple subject I wanted to use as many colors as possible without just grabbing the obvious red pencil. Good lesson. The richness and depth that came from doing it that way looks good. Cherries are chosen for artwork a lot. Maybe because they are more attractive than say, a rutabaga. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bright Idea.

Another pencil exercise full of minutia. Looking at what I might have changed, I wonder if having the bulb on it's side would have made the composition more interesting. Wait, I just noticed the filament in the center looks like a tiny hand holding a whip. "There's a lion tamer in my bulb." Now that's a sentence you don't hear everyday. : )

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Jar.

A blue canning jar. So glad they are making a comeback. This colored pencil drawing was done with my new pencils. A birthday gift from my Anna. Love them. And her. The pencils were made in France. She is all Minnesota.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sky's The Limit.

Talking to my sister yesterday, she asked me what I was painting for today and I told her I didn't know yet. "Well", she said, "The sky's the limit."  Yes indeed it is and here's your unlimited sky Roni! : ) This was done in acrylics which dry so fast the blending of colors becomes a real challenge. Next time I will try it in oil so I can blend and blur to my heart's content. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Hill.

So not over it. I don't know what age you are when you are officially over the hill, but, today I consider myself to be climbing up it and not yet over it. This pen drawing on watercolor paper was a zen-full joy to do. It is our driveway covered in snow. I am hoping to sled down it this weekend. Just to show the hill who's boss.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


A whistle. Can't see one and not think of gym class. Gym was not my forte. Maybe because I saw my class schedule in the 7th grade and I thought I was going to "gum" class. I was so totally disappointed after that. I like this painting, especially the small piece of rope in the bottom left and it's reflection in the whistle. I think I may chew some gum and then blow the whistle - just for old times.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


A gift-box full of lemons in the mail from my Dad and Sandy in Arizona. I wasn't home when they were delivered so the mailman brought them up to the house and set them inside the door. That's country kindness. Do I like this one? Enough to call it done enough.

Monday, February 15, 2016

got it?

Milk. I tried many different mediums and backgrounds to get this glass of milk right. Nothing was working. Then I decided to photograph the glass of milk sitting on the same paper I was going to do the drawing on and, yes! -- that worked. I had to get a straw and blow bubbles into it and then grab the camera and click. Bubbles flit and disappear. Done in colored pencils and white charcoal on tinted paper with more patience than I thought I had. 

Friday, February 12, 2016


Just in case you need reminding. You still have two days. : )  Such big hopes I had for this one. I was hoping to capture the reflection of red heart on the silver ones and to make each one look foil-like. I did not, however, notice the multitude of edges I would need to render in this collection of hearts until I had committed too much time to give up. Good lesson for me though. When it comes to hearts, it may be best that I see the just the heart and not all the edges.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Second Snow Shadow.

My wondering got the best of me and I decided to try the same painting, but this time focus less on the beautiful blue of the snow shadows and paint the other colors I could see too. Interesting idea. But that's where it ends. I like the first one better. But, I do have that "snow shadow" thing. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Snow Shadows.

I tried something new on this painting by using layers of acrylic paint (10 - 12) and then many more layers of pastels. I think the many layers added a richness to the colors of the shadows. I do love me some snow shadows, yes I do. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Winter Walk.

A little abstract of what I see when I walk in the woods in the winter. This is a watercolor under oil and the vibrant watercolors add a lot to it. All in all a good walk.

Monday, February 8, 2016


Lovely little bird this chickadee is. I am happy, finally, with the result on this one - even though it took me three tries to get here. I learned something painting this one: When that little voice inside your head is jabbering away about how it wants to paint a chickadee, just do it that way. You will save yourself hours of failed tries. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cover Judging.

Nice little solid stack of good reads. I do wonder if they take up too much room on the canvas... should I have moved them back? Made them smaller? Too small and maybe they would have looked like a Kindle. Fun one to paint, this was.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Out On A Limb.

Free style. Except for a few spots, I used only a palette knife. I like it, in a smeary sort of way. I also suddenly have the urge to bake and frost a cake. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Paper Thin Layers

The onion. Ordinary. Everyday. But they can be so very pretty and enticing. Nothing says,  "You're cooking now." than a pan of fried onions. This started out as a charcoal drawing but before I knew it, I had the pastels out and had finished it in color. This end result turned out as colorful as my subject but the dried stem/stalk thing gave me fits. At least I didn't cry. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


When you need a great photo of an eye to draw from, just ask your friend the Eye Doctor. I regret only that I didn't use colored pencils on this one because her eyes are the most beautiful colors. Think Paul Newman. Overall this turned out as I hoped, but the lines in the iris should have been blended more. I would add charcoal then take it off... add it again and erase it. Sort of like, "Does this look better? Or This? This ... or this?" : )

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Weekend With My Dad.

Well, kind of. This is my dad. I spent the weekend scratching pencils on paper to render his likeness. He is a handsome man with a wonderful smile and I only hope I did him justice. This is a small piece 6" x 6" so each tiny mark made a big difference. I am happy with the end result, but truth? Spending the weekend in person with him would have been oh so much better.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Ear Ye! Ear Ye!

Like a landscape of hills and valleys, that's the ear. I tried using graphite powder as a fill in for medium values on this drawing and it was a good thing. Not using color is both, confining and freeing but it teaches me a lot about the value of good values. The value of the ear? The older I get the more I realize how useless they can be. Huh? What'd you say?  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Kinda Nosey.

This nose taught me a lot about pencil marks, eraser do's and don'ts, shading, but mostly, it taught me that noses are boring. Dull. Mind numbing. The Zen-full white noise from yesterday was replaced with thoughts of what seeds to plant this year and what's for lunch? and did I put that wash load in the dryer? I grew restless with it's nosiness. I owe this nose an apology. Sorry nose. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gettin' Lippy.

Nothing is more "Zen" than making 2 bazillion small circles in pencil. My brain goes radio silent after awhile and I kind of like that. A whole face is the goal but, baby steps brought me to just working out the lips. They are not mine... don't I wish. And I think they look lip like. Now on to, who knows? The nose maybe.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I heard the term hoarfrost from my mom one winter when I was in grade school. I always wondered how they came up with that name because I thought she was saying, "Whore's Frost." : ) I worked on this piece more than I ever did on any 4th grade math problem. I tried every medium and technique I could think of to make it look like I wanted it to. And still it suffers. I am reminding myself that my initial goal was to "Just Paint."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gingham Eggs.

A little bit of country feel in this piece. It looked like a challenge and I was not disappointed. Each little square. Oh yes. Each little square. I think the rendering is good for the most part but the upper shadow is a wee bit wonky ... so don't look there and we will be fine.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Cute little cottage in the northern part of Iceland. I think sometimes my memories get in the way of my painting. I don't know how or why but, I think they do. My memory of this lovely spot is so much grander and finer than what ended up on the canvas. It may be, some things are better left in the noggin.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Winter Dozen.

Our chickens slack off in the winter and we get about a third of the eggs we would get in the summer. I wanted this painting to be more suggestive than detail in style. I may have gone a bit overboard. It is very hard for me to know when to stop when painting loosely. Still, you can tell they are eggs, in a carton and the only slackers are the ones in the coop.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Little. Compact. A third of it's original size and still able to correct all the mistakes it makes. How I wish I had that power. I worked hard on getting the three distinct shades of this little guy correct. I think it paid off. I saw a similar painting by Neil Nelson and loved the simplicity of it. I had to break a perfectly good pencil to duplicate his, but the most valuable part is still intact.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Northern Lights.

Think abstract meets surreal. I like the colors in this one, especially the green. A painting of them on a larger canvas is now on my to do list. This was done oils on sandpaper too. The streaky nature would have been next to impossible for me on regular canvas. Almost as nebulous as the "lights" themselves.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Old Degas, New Tricks.

The plan was to paint this Degas using pastels. Instead of pastel paper, I used fine sandpaper. I was using oil paint for the undertone but, the oil paint on the sandpaper was so amazing the way it "melted" into the sandpaper allowing me to paint layer upon layer of oils that I finished the piece without even getting to the pastels. I have no idea how archival this process is but, I can't wait to try it again.