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. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Hang Up.

Oh yes it is. A clothespin. This was a fun painting to do. But, I am someone that thinks clothespins are a handsome. : ) Good shadow and form. A few areas I could have fussed with a bit more. Here's to a happy weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Back Up.

Sledding. Whizzing down a hill feels great even though it requires walking back up the hill to do it again. And again. I actually like the end result of this acrylic painting. I like the energy of the boy pulling forward. I like the sunlight and the warm and cool shades. It was not a lesson from the book, but it was in acrylics. I consider it my ride down the hill and now I am ready to walk back up again.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Spring. Nice thought to have on this frigid Minnesota morning. The colors in this piece are happy ones but, I still struggle.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Pretty. Simple. Took forever to paint. I am nothing if not stubborn, so the acrylic lessons and I "Sally Forth" together even though I find myself looking longingly at my oil paints. The goal for this painting was to show depth and layers. I think it worked. Maybe I should email my oil paints, just to see how they are doing.  : )

Monday, January 11, 2016


For years, one of my Dad's favorite sayings is that he is so old, he no longer buys green bananas. Makes me laugh every time. This painting is another acrylic lesson and I am beginning to better understand the medium. This bunch of not-so-green bananas from a distance is shockingly vivid. I rather like it: from a distance.

Friday, January 8, 2016


Second lesson is an improvement. A little more going for it in color and composition. The lessons I am doing are all done in acrylics and they are such a different beast compared to oils. Acrylic paint dries in minutes. Oil paint takes days. This painting of the stranded boat makes me want to go and fetch it and bring it back home before the ocean does.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Yep. I'm thinking the same thing. See, I took out a book on "painting small" from the library. This was one of the lessons. I may have over simplified. I give me an A for reading a book. A strong B for visiting the library and an "N" for Nice try. Prepare to be underwhelmed - there are 49 more lessons.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

River Snow.

Cool photo of river shadows. Great crop and composition. Canvas size is 8x24 which is a nice wall hanging size. Barely passable attempt at the rendering. I failed at getting the exact color I saw. Snow shadows are hard... it ain't like you can go outside and scoop one up and bring it indoors to really study it. : )  My shadows are too well defined... and blah... blah. Blah. I want a do-over. Stomp. Stomp.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Matching Socks.

The expression on this cow's face was what I was focusing on when I photographed it, but when I was getting ready to paint it, I noticed her matching socks. I don't think she knows her socks match or  maybe she does and that explains her "look." I wanted to paint this one more fuzzy or blurry with just the cow face in focus. I got close to that and I am happy with it. I have a hard time finding two matching socks, having to match four would be tough. Nicely done cow.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.

Another John Singer Sargent lesson. His "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose," painting captures a momentary twilight glow that is magical. I cropped his original down to just this young girls face as she lights the paper lantern. My initial thought was to do Sargent's whole painting, but luckily, the Sane Me talked the Crazy Idea Me down from that ledge. I think my light areas could have used more middle tones and my face is not soft enough which make my girl look older than she should. "Good lesson," says the Sane Me.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Lemon and Wedge.

This painting makes me happy. I like yellow and blue together. I like lemons. I like the composition and the shadows too. I was able to paint loosely and tightly and my forms are believable.  I used very little yellow paint which surprised me because looking at the photo reference all I saw was yellow but there is really more brown and green. Sometimes it just all comes together. This time is one of them - there times for me.