Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The birds

Next up, the birds.


Friday, October 16, 2020

New paints!

 I've had the good fortune to win some paints at a couple of competitions. While I have been extremely pleased with my Rembrandt oil paints, some free fun colors are hard to pass up.

My newer Michael Harding hand ground paints out of London have added some nice bursts of color to my work. More recently, I received my Richeson paints. It was time to open and start using them.

For both of these companies, I chose paints in the red, yellows and blues.


For the thistle flowers I thought I'd start with the Richeson quinacridone rose. Oooh, such a rich color! Mixed with a little of the Michael Harding cadmium orange, I had a good base for the inside of the middle bottom flower. Other mixing I did included titanium white for lightening and Rembrandt ultramarine for cooling.

Rembrandt paints are still my go-to paints, but it is fun to experiment with new colors!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020




For painting the thistle, I mixed four greens, darkest to lightest. The darkest one is sap green with some ultramarine blue, paynes gray, and a little raw umber. The lightest are two greens mixed with radiant yellow and cadmium lemon yellow (to give a bright pop of color.)

I find painting the darkest color first and then moving to the next lightest allows for easy blending. And, having the darkest section in first helps create the structure of the plant.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A special bird

 When I was about 6, my younger brother and I spent a couple of nights with our grandmother at her summer cottage. I remember shucking fresh island peas at a wooden table next to a large picture window. This window looked out to a natural yard and beyond was a large island pond (which we would row across), and further out was a barrier beach and then the Atlantic Ocean.

In the lightly mowed natural yard were several very tall (at least for a 6-year-old) thistles. As I looked out the window, a flash of color dove in to one of the thistles. Looking carefully, I could see that it was a yellow bird. What delicate and fragile bird could dive in to something so prickly? Nana answered that the bird was a goldfinch. This bird instantly became my favorite, and remains so.

Surprisingly, I have only done one painting with a goldfinch over the years, so, I am eager to work on this next piece.

Blocking in the sky


The background and thistle for this painting are from the Hudson Valley area in New York State.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Best Wildlife Award

 Ice Bear just won the Best Wildlife Award at the International Guild of Realism 15th Annual Exhibition held at the Principle Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina.

I understand it took the judges days to decide on the 13 awards for the 111 paintings. With all the competition, I am particularly excited my painting was acknowledged.

To see all the paintings in this show, click here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

International Guild of Realism 15th Annual Exhibition

The International Guild of Realism show is now open!

Accepted in to the show is my painting Ice Bear. For a preview, click here.


 To see all the works, click here.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sometimes Life Requires a 4-inch brush

Yes, sometimes life requires a 4-inch brush. Literally.

After I painted a barn quilt for our shed in the summer of 2019, I knew that I wanted one for the studio. My studio is above a 3-car garage and gives me approximately 760 square feet to work. Overlooking a ravine with a year-round creek, its cathedral ceiling and skylights are an artist's dream.

My husband and I designed it and he built it. The studio came out even better than I envisioned.

And, after 19 years, it was time for an exterior paint job and new stairs. AND, a barn quilt.

my barn quilt on the shed July 2019

For the new barn quilt, I am using the same materials. Pressure-treated plywood, 4' X 4'

The studio barn quilt is the other half of the original 4' x 8' sheet of pressure-treated plywood. To create consistency, I decided to use some of the same colors from the shed quilt for the studio quilt.

Step one: Two coats of quality exterior paint on the plywood. I like to use the building's color. Some of my design uses the building's color giving the design a more airy look. You can fill in the imperfections of the board before painting, but I like the rough look. Feels more like barn wood to me.

Step two: Layout the design. For drawing lines at an angle across a 4' section, I use a 6' level's edge as a guide.


Step three: Start in the center and paint all of one color. All the colors are premium exterior paint.

Now that the barn quilt was done, the studio had to get painted. 

Sometimes life requires a 4-inch brush and a 45' lift. My husband rented a lift so he was not moving a ladder three feet at a time.

Step four: Install the barn quilt. We used 2.5" and 1.25" exterior grade cabinet screws rated for pressure-treated products.

View from our kitchen deck


And there are times when life requires a 4-inch brush, figuratively. Times when we should be looking at the broader picture and not be mired in details which will not matter next week, or even tomorrow. When life seems to be filled with crevasses, maybe a four-inch brush can smooth our path.