Thursday, December 31, 2015

John Singer Sargent.

An American Master. They say copying the old masters work is a good way to learn. I did learn a lot painting Sargent's, An Out-of-doors Study. He defines his shapes by using the strongest lights and dark tones next to each other: if you remove them, the whole painting is mainly a medium gray tone. This was more daunting to think about painting than it was to paint. A good study indeed. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Snow Road #2.

Bigger. Bluer. Better. Well, some areas are better to me. I like the background depth more than the one from yesterday. I think the shadows are more defined in this one too. This one is on a 12" x 12" canvas and after painting on 6" x 6" for so long, the larger canvas size felt like an ocean to me. I may need to replenish my tube of white paint.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Snow Road.

Snow shadows. If I had to pick my favorite shadow, it is the beautiful blue shadows cast on a fresh Minnesota snow. My plan is to use this study to paint another one of the same thing tomorrow with greater contrast and detail. I do like the road tracks in the snow but I wonder if the backwoods are too sunlit. If is was darker would the shadows look brighter? Good idea, paint one of each. ; )

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bowl and Brown Egg.

I wonder if I have the placement of the egg to centered. I was creating a diagonal line with the shadows and maybe focused a wee bit too much on that. I do like the background colors in this one though. They remind me of a Minnesota winter sky. I must say, painting this simple composition felt good even though I feel like I have been as far from my art as I am to the moon. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gift of the Magi.

I have to admit that this painting isn't finished. I decided I would cut it short due to my lack of time. Get it? I can point out all the places where this painting fails, but instead I am calling it a study in the real sense of the painting term and hope no one notices. The Gift of the Magi - such a beautiful story. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Good Team.

This was painted from an old family photo. I was attracted to the hazy atmosphere, the colors and the stance of the horses, especially the turned head of the horse on the left. I used a limited palette of cad red medium, burnt umber, white and black. I rarely use black but it worked well here. Painting this one was a joy. I don't know who took the photo, but I think I have Grandpa Wayne to thank for his team. Just hear those sleigh bells jingling ring ting tingling ....

Friday, December 11, 2015


I have been taking an online portrait class by Will Kemp. The assignment was to follow him as he did his self portrait and I was to do my self portrait. Well, I thought it best to practice on him. So, this is Will Kemp, my finished assignment. I had to stay after school to finish it and get it posted today. My goodness. Tough one. He is such a fantastic artist and teacher - I hope I got close to his likeness. Glad it's Friday -  just like when I was in school.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thick Skinned.

A good fat. The avocado. What's there not to like? This little green guy has it all. This painting turned out close to what I imagined. Except, I wish my imagination would have included a better background color to add some zip, but it didn't. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Orange You Glad I Didn't Say

Banana! Well now, I don't know how I feel about this end result. I know it looks orange like, but I had a different end result in mind when I started. Creating a painting everyday means sometimes you post when you don't know if you are done or not. This is one of those times. Oranges make me think of Christmas. Maybe because of the Little House on the Prairie books. An orange was a marvelous Christmas gift back then. I can only imagine what a gift getting a banana would have been. : )

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Christmas tree jewelry. I have wanted to paint a Christmas tree bulb ever since I saw a painting of one... years ago. They are so beautiful, reflective, fragile and they seem to be the keepers of all the good Christmas memories. I am happy with the finished piece and the way it turned out. It was a joy to paint.  

Monday, December 7, 2015


The bright orange color is what drew me to this cone. Mainly, I suppose, in a Minnesota winter, there are fewer and fewer things outside that have any color at all. I think I got close to the orange in the cone, and the shape overall is good, but there were so many shifts in value on each scale (seed) that one might just have come very close to taking the paint brush and scribbling over the whole thing like a four year old. But one didn't. : )

Friday, December 4, 2015


I tried to stand back and gauge the values from a distance like the famous painter John Singer Sargent did. The end result is interesting and I rather like it. The sloppiness, for lack of a better word, keeps my eye on the painting. I will definitely give the stand back and paint style another go.  

Thursday, December 3, 2015


I found this little cream pitcher at a garage sale this summer and loved the tarnished surface. It was made in the 1880's. Older than most dirt. The overall shape of it looks right to me and the tarnish looks accurate and it is my favorite part of the oil painting. The handle might be off somewhere in it's shape or maybe not. I can't tell, which is why I left it be. It's nice to know some things get better with age.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


This is a pencil drawing of my great uncle, Jack. The original photo (I don't know who took it...) is one of my favorites because it captures the essence of this kind and wise man. My focus was Jack's face and I think I got that pretty close. I wish the little cow on the left was not so dark, but as I relearned today, in pencil you have to start light and gradually add the dark because going from dark to light is not recommended. Sometimes it isn't even possible. : )

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I Dare You.

Daredevil! Loved painting this one, loved it! Why? Well, I like the subtle shading that helps show the roundness and I didn't mess up by getting the red mixed too much into the white and I think the colors are a good match to the real one.  Sometimes a painting flows swimmingly, like a shiny red lure in the water.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ebony and Ivory.

Back to painting with oil paint. I was attracted to the reflection in the black key and made that my focus. I was able to capture it, I think. The angle of this photo makes me imagine it was taken by a mouse, or maybe a hamster, with a rather wide lens. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Classic

Thanksgiving would not be the same without it. This was tougher to paint than I thought it would be. The different textures of the whipped cream, the crust and the pumpkin filling all brought challenges. I think as a whole it looks pie-like, but the individual pieces could have been stronger. I think there is still one piece left and I hope it has my name on it. : ) 

Twice Baked.

 Biscotti. Bake them once, then cut, and bake again. Great dipped in a cup of coffee on a cold Minnesota morning. This pencil drawing looks a bit more like toast but so did my biscotti. I like the way the lower right bottom ridge of dark crust came out. The holes and pieces of almond have a realism to them too. Fun to paint and eat.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


This speckled face had to be done. And it had to be done in pencil. Such a sweet face she has! I cropped it generously from the original and I do like the composition and the way her eyes hold you in. I could have spent another day making pencil marks but, I have pies to bake, potatoes to peel and miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Double Scotch.

This was a joy to paint. I broke it down into values from light to dark and kept plugging them in. I am happy with it even though it may be darker overall in value from the original. I used acrylics and they always dry darker so maybe that is why. If I am going to have a drink- this is my go to. Single malt scotch - straight up. Pretty glass optional.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Got Cream?

Summer strawberries just waiting for that bowl of cream to swim in. The bottom berry is my favorite; it looks most real to me. The realism challenge here was to pay attention to the tiny seeds and specks of white highlights. It felt like painting individual grains of sand. : ) Thankfully, most challenges have an end point. It's Friday. Happy day. Over the weekend, I may just have to take a 4-inch brush and paint a wall. Or two.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Susie was Selling Them.

Seashells. Tiny motorhomes. Tons of details. Perfect for a realism drawing. Great test of my patience. I almost failed that test and quit half way through. Glad I kept on scribbling. The end result is almost realism... close enough for me today anyway. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

One of My Favorite Things.

There were six of them in the box. My husband didn't eat any. There are none left. Feel free to do the math. I really loved painting this doughnut. I like the chocolate rendering and the small pieces of cake-ness in the bottom right. I kinda wish I had six more. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Spoonful.

Another shot at realism. This drawing was less toil so maybe the struggle was mostly my ineptitude or maybe I am getting used to the style. I like the way the lines in the spoon and their shadows came out. I think the shadow under the spoon handle could have been darker, but I didn't dare try for fear I would over do it. A fine line there. Pun completely intended. I keep humming Mary Poppins in my head. Sorry if you are too now.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Movie

And popcorn!  Another realism challenge. I don't know if this painting style is supposed to be tedious and gruelling, but it is. I am hanging tough and staying with it for a bit longer to see if it is my lack of ability or the way of the style. There is more yellow in this photo than the original piece due to my camera. A few of the kernels have believable shading, but realistic? Not even close. I would be embarrassed to say just how long 5 pieces of popcorn took me to render. Longer than the average movie, for sure. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

After Dinner

I admire photographic realism as an art form. It is... so, well, way cool. This after dinner mint is my attempt at the style. Miles to go before I am even close to where I would like to be, but we all have to start somewhere. For sure I will be doing more of these... not the mints, but ... oh, never mind, you knew what I meant. I think it's time for dinner!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Red Fox Kit

My cousin Sean Hall, creates a stunning calendar every year from his trail cam. He graciously allowed me to paint from his calendar works and I picked this little fox kit. Adorable face and - oh my -- the eyes. I hope I did his "September" photo justice. Well, take my word for it - I didn't really, so a link to his calendar store is here. I enjoyed painting the little fellow, even though the fur felt daunting at times I am pretty happy with the eyes. : )

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pink Pink...

What do we have here? Ahh, um, a Pepto Bismol highway? A Georgia O'Keeffe? The side view of an ear? Does it look at all like pink satin fabric? Yep, didn't think so. Crazy busy day today and I said to myself, "Pick something on the easy side. Something with one or two colors and make it a good exercise in shading." Tomorrow I am not listening to me. At all. : )

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Green Glass Cup

This cup reminds me of my Mom. She collected green depression glassware. It was nice to have her memory in my head while I painted this piece. Painting glass can be tricky, but I think it looks glass-like and green to boot. A good paint day. A good memory A good Mom.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Purple Plum

The light blue cast of color on this plum is what I was hoping to "get." The camera took a bit of it away when I photographed the painting, but I think I came close.  I am pretty happy with the way the shadow on the top of plum looks, but that was more by chance than plan. In my fruit world, plums are a bit like a 2nd or 3rd cousin, I never really think about them, but when they are right there in front of me, I enjoy them immensely.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Jolly Good "Yellow"

I tried to complete this painting as fast as I could. My goal was to focus on the lightest and darkest areas. Just get the big picture. It was a good exercise but at the end of the day, I still fancy the details.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Slice of a November Summer

When it's 65 degrees in Minnesota, in November, you paint watermelon. I was going to paint this one in pastels, but the oil paints on my palette were the perfect colors for the melon. I worked at getting the intricate varying lines of color that appear on watermelon and I think I accomplished that in certain areas. I failed at getting the miniscule drops of juice that form on the surface but I will try again on another. Maybe if we have a 65 degree day this January I will. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Coffee or Tea?

Is this a coffee pot or tea pot? I don't know, but I painted it because it was all white. Trying to paint an all white object is a good exercise in getting values right. The gist of the pot is there but maybe too sloppy all around? Tighter brush strokes? Less dark value? More questions than answers on this one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I Lost Mine

Yes, I did. I knew I had a bag of marbles, somewhere, but I couldn't find them. I actually had to say to my husband, "I've lost my marbles."  : )  Painting these two in oils was a test in color theory, shading and the ability to keep a steady hand. I like the way they turned out. Glad I found them.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Three Cherries on a Plate

This watercolor of the cherries was a fun one to paint. The rich colors and the simplicity of the design made it so. I like the way the colors came out on the cherry in the lower left with it's yellow, orange, red slide of color from left to right. 


Friday, October 30, 2015

Apple Week #5

Apple Week closes with an oil painting of a Pink Lady apple. There are the slightest tinges of pink and light green in this apple and I enjoyed trying to capture them. I haven't painted in oils for 6 weeks and painting this piece reminded me how much I have missed that medium. My hope for this week was to see if I had grown as a painter by painting an easier subject... I think I have a bit, especially in shading and choice of colors. All in all a good week. Now, on to making apple pie! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Apple Week #4

This little apple is a McINTOSH done in acrylics. The colors were so pretty together and they gave the painting a fun variety. So far, Apple Week is teaching me a lot. Mostly, about what I have learned in the last 6 months and what I still need to work on. The first list is way shorter than the second. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Apple Week #3

Hats off to all the colored pencil artists in the world. Their patience! They amaze me. This colored pencil drawing of a green Granny Smith. I thought the two would make a good match and I think they did. I wanted more of the small lighter colored circles and ovals in the apple, but somehow I lost them in the process. All-in-all a good experiment. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Apple Week #2

Black and version of yesterday's apple. Not as appetizing looking but I hope it still looks apple-ish. Drawing using only two colors really forces one to look at the shadows and details. I think I may have become one with the fruit for awhile there. Nice place to be. By the way, no apples were harmed in the making of this drawing, unless you call coating it in caramel and chopped nuts harmful. : )

Monday, October 26, 2015

Apple Week Apple #1

This week I am going to paint an apple everyday. Maybe I will eat one everyday too. In this painting I was hoping to get the fine gradation of the yellow and red lines along the side and I think it worked. The goal of an apple a day for a week is to allow time to experiment a bit. Apples are a good subject for that. Simple. Pretty. And delicious.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Vibrant Pear

One of my loyal followers (my sister) recently suggested I do more "vibrant" art. Because, she really likes it (baby sister - of course).  : ) This very vibrant pear was a tutorial by a gifted pastel artist, Ria Hills. Her work oozes rich color and I so admire it. Her lesson on pushing color for this pear was helpful and I love the way the finished fruit grabs you by the collar and shouts, "Are you looking at me?" : ) Good suggestion Sis!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Autumn's Reggata

Nothing as simple as a leaf floating on water. They look just like tiny boats and seem to have both, an energy and calmness. I was going for a smoother water look, but honestly that looked so boring I had to add some surface tooth and then I liked it better.   

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pastel of Peanut

Steven Seelig, an amazingly talented photographer in Chicago graciously allowed me to paint from his many awesome photos. The photo reference for this painting is of Peanut and I painted it in pastels. Good choice for making soft fur. I definitely like the way the eyes turned out.They look kind. I think you can tell a lot about the kindness of a dog by their eyes. To see the reference photo and Steven's website,  (Click Here) .

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

White Shed

The last of the fall colors were hanging over this little white shed creating a wonderful contrast. I like the shadows on the shed and ground and the red sprinkle of autumn. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

What a Hoot

This snowy owl was sitting on a fence close to our home and was very courteous to wait patiently right there until we had plenty of photos of him (or her?) to pick from. The watercolor underpainting is again bringing out nice colors that would otherwise be hard to create in pastels alone. I am happy overall with the end result.... or maybe ... nope. I am good with it. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Brother From Another Mother

The struggle I had with this painting was whether or not to color it. I really wanted to, but I refrained. I may have to do one in pastels to get that urge out of my system. Good shading I think and hopefully it shows that they are two different colored eggs.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Found it!

I found this skull in the woods and knew it would make a great pencil sketch. After a good soak in bleach and a long dry in the sun, it was ready. I really like pencil artwork - the simplicity of it and the strong difference in values, but it is by far the most time-consuming work. One brush stroke loaded with oil paint can cover oh so much more than a tiny stroke of a pencil. No bones about it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pomegranate in Pastel

The amazing pomegranate. Colorful skin wrapped around a mass of seeds that are a curious gathering of crunch. I like the end result of this piece. I had a watercolor underpainting and it shows through here and there and brings an added dimension to the layers. I was able to produce lost and found edges and I think the shadow colors are accurate. Now, off to eat those seeds. Curiouser and curiouser.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ponte Vecchio

Another watercolor from Anna's Italy photos. This looked better in my imagination's painting of it. ... which is frustrating. Oh well. I like the ink work - the shading and cross hatching. I think I am missing painting with my oil paints today.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Knock Knock

This painting was from a beautiful photo my Anna took when she was in Italy.  I admire a handsome door - especially an Italian one. The shadow here is maybe the wrong color or too black - especially compared to the other mixes of color in the stone and the weathered wood. At the end of the day - the only thing to say is, "Who's there?"