Monday, December 31, 2012


Tonight at 7:30 pm PST, I'll be on stage in the Spokane Symphony Chorale with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra for the first downbeat of Beethoven's Ninth.
In past years, our New Year's Eve concert has had a sold out house of over 1600 and we look forward to a similar crowd tonight. Our conductor is Ekhart Preu who, growing up in Germany, makes sure our German pronounciation is correct and exciting.

Singing a great piece of music is a wonderful way to wrap up 2012 and begin a new year. As I head home from the concert with the thrilling music ringing in my ears, the fresh snow which we have been receiving daily will be coating the trees. It would be hard to look more wintery or more beautiful here.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Final Touches

Gold Rush
Original Oil
24" X 54"

I have made some small adjustments to finish the painting. The flipped over mane of the middle zebra just wasn't working so I made it more even. All the shadows are softened beneath the zebra to give the piece more action. Before it looked like the zebra were rooted to the ground.
While I wanted the trees to be soft and loose, the trees on the right needed a little more depth which also helps the lead zebra stand out. I've added some reddish-orangey browns to the trees. A color I like in this instance is burnt sienna and I used it as a base. I have tried Indian Red in other paintings and find it too cool for most reddish brown applications.

In the end, I ask myself if the painting says what I want it to say. It doesn't have to be a profound statement....just something or an emotion I want to share. It does.
The question is, and it is the question most artists ask, does the painting say something that resonates with anyone else?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Almost There

The lead zebra is done and I made it the darkest.

The foreground has been roughed in. Some of the shadows are bothering me. I need some softer edges and more oranges at transition points. The trees on the right should be darkened in the "centers," leaving the silhouetted edges soft and warm. I may have reached the most critical stage of the piece. The final touches can make the difference between a nice painting and one that is really special.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Stained glass window in Salisbury Cathedral, England
Photo by Linda
 On this stained glass window is a timely message -

Suffer little children to come unto me,
                for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven

As we celebrate Christmas and the Holidays, let us especially remember those families in Connecticut who are grieving.

Detail of Salisbury window, photo by Linda

Saturday, December 22, 2012


The sky has been painted, moving from a warm white on the left to a warm yellow on the right. Next I began painting the stripes of the middle zebra. These I wanted warmer and lighter than the left and right zebra. Once those were finished, I had a better gage on the stripe color for the darker two zebra.

Like the stripes, I filled in the body of the middle zebra first. Once its colors were established, I could move to cooler colors with more contrast on the left zebra.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The background

Normally I begin with the sky. On this piece I wanted to play with the trees first and then work in the sky to give a softer look to the vegetation. If the trees appear too detailed they will be "pulled forward" and I want them more as a suggestion in the background.
More vegetation in the same color palette and a hint of a distant hill begins to add some depth. I'll work on the sky and the soft edges of the trees next and then begin on the zebra stripes. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Starting a painting

From where do painting ideas come? For me the answer is almost as varied as the paintings. Many are from my travels (and adventures.) This time it was a memory jog. In the April issue of Western Art Collector I saw a painting by Tom Browning titled Gold Dust on the Trail. It grabbed my attention. Since it was not a subject matter which normally draws me (a cowboy on a horse), it had to be something else.

I studied the painting and remembered the paintings of N.C. Wyeth who often used a shadowed foreground and a light background to create drama. One example which I saw at the Brandywine River Museum a number of years ago is his painting Jim Hawkins Leaves Home.

I have wanted to do a large zebra piece for a while and now I had my concept, light background - shadowed foreground. Next, I searched through thousands of reference photos I took in Africa and found some backlit zebra which could work as a guide for my drawing.

Above is the drawing on my gessoed board. I have added a turpentine wash of raw sienna and burnt sienna. The areas which will be dark have more color in the turp wash.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


24" X 20"
Original Oil

I've done a lot since the last post. When I first painted the floor, it looked like it scooped up on the sides. While it is an old floor, it was not sinking in the center! A few straight horizontal lines helped the perspective illusion.

Time for the altar. My first decision was the color of the altar linens. In the Anglican Church (Episcopal Church in the US), the linen colors symbolize different seasons and events. For this painting I chose white, the color for Christmas, Easter, high holy days like All Saint's Day, Weddings, and other important events. Adding gold stripes on the altar front added some ornamentation fit for a cathedral yet kept it simple. I lit the candles on the altar.

Next came the stained glass windows. The blue ones are particularly intense at Salisbury Cathedral and quite striking. Ultramarine Blue was my go-to color, but there are quite a few other blues to give the punch the window needed. The upper stained glass windows were almost impossible to read from my reference photos. The light streaming through them made the design difficult. With the reds and oranges as well as the whites reflected on the arches, I didn't want to make this upper stained glass set too detailed but wanted to know what I was painting. Researching that set of windows, I found some details and painted just enough to identify them.

Last was to make the painting sing. Some of the floor needed to be warmed with brown tones. The ceiling needed to be darker. The side arches wanted some deeper yellow ochre.

As I was working on finishing the painting, I knew I needed a title. Sometimes the title can wait until the painting is finished. Here, I didn't want to attempt completing the piece without the title. I felt it would guide me the rest of the way. That may sound very "artsy", but for such a cerebral piece, a title could help me stay emotionally connected. A call to a fellow artist, some chatting and he came up with Sanctuary. Perfect. All the final touches to the painting were made with the title resonating through my brush.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The finish line is in sight

With the upper area finished, now I turn my attention to the floor. First I paint the marble coffin on the far right.
Though it may seem all the tough areas have been painted, now comes a critical stage. If the floor perspective is not believable, the whole piece will fail. From here, I have a couple coffins, the column bases, the all-important stone floor, the altar, and the most important part of the painting to finish. The stained glass windows.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Where am I?

As I am working on these upper sections, I am finding it is easy to get lost.  I drew in some faint guide lines but they act as merely a rough outline.
Now, where did I put that arch???

Friday, November 30, 2012

Going Higher

Now that I have finished the arches on the right side, it is time to start on the upper levels.
This level has a cooler light than the main level and my palette has more blues and grays and less yellow. Right now I am working without a title. It would be nice to have one at this stage. With such a cerebral approach needed for the architectural elements, a title would aid in maintaining my emotional connection.  In lieu of having one, I am stepping back often to feel the space by seeing the entire painting.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Near the altar, the "columns" are organ pipes. If you have ever heard a pipe organ in a large cathedral, it is a sound like no other. The bass pipes almost seem to permeate the listener on a cellular level as music fills the space. When you hear such an organ played by a master, the very air becomes filled with life.

I am now dreaming about columns. I paint them by day and dream about them at night. On to arches. I wonder if they will start showing up in my dreams.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

More Cathedral

Back to working on my cathedral piece.
Since my last post on it, I have painted the center ceiling section and darkened the arches between the two stained glass sections. (I thought it would be fun to save them for last.)

The most background ceiling section (the lowest in the painting), was particularly tricky. I want to have that feeling of light shining in through the upper windows and also some of the color of the upper stained glass window reflecting on the sides. If you look closely, you will see some bright orange and reds.

Next up were the columns. They just aren't something I can rush. Their bases will be painted when I work on the floor.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Guess Who Came to Dinner

Guess who came to Thanksgiving Dinner.

......suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
                                                          Only this and nothing more."
                                                  The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe

Thanksgiving afternoon I heard a tapping. It wasn't loud, gentle you might say. I looked out the deck door to see if maybe a turkey was pecking on the deck. Looked out the garage door to see if we had a visitor. No one was outside the kitchen. Then I went to the front and looked out our door to the airlock. There, gently tapping on the outside of the airlock window was a pileated woodpecker!

What a treat. I saw one about 3 weeks ago but only briefly in the trees. A few fleeting sightings a year on our property is about average. To have one come calling was a wonderful Thanksgiving surprise.

(I apologize for the lousy photo. I was more interested in watching him than trying to get the shot.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


One of the things I enjoy most about doing shows is seeing and spending time with my fellow artists. They are a generous group and my artistic side is refreshed and inspired by them and their work.

An artist I particularly admire, Matthew Hillier, said something very nice about my work during the recent Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland. He said it was not formulaic. Elaborating, Matthew said I don't pick one idea and keep doing it over again. I try new things and the paintings seem real because I have been there and seen it. His words meant a lot to me and I hope I can live up to his generous comments.

Here I am stretching. This may be the most difficult painting I have tackled to date. It is 24" X 20" and I am glad it is not any smaller. To make it feel less daunting, I am moving around the painting and doing small sections. Once I work through the painting this way, I will look at it as a whole.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Her Shadow
6" X 7.5"
Original Oil

Sometimes titles for my paintings come easily and I have them in mind before I pick up my brush. Then there are times when I struggle or have multiple choices. Often I have to step back and see how I feel once I am finished with the piece.

This title might seem unusual. Here is a male lion and the title has a female pronoun. But, if you look carefully, you will see why I titled it Her Shadow.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

More small brush work

Cool Dip
4.25" X 10"
Original Oil

One stop on our Antarctic trip was Deception Island. This volcanic island is home to chinstrap penguins and a few gentoo penguins. Above is a pair of chinstraps which I watched for the good part of an hour. 
Continuing with miniatures, my little brushes had a work-out on this piece. I'll have this painting at the Waterfowl Festival which opens tomorrow, November 9th in Easton, Maryland.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Another miniature

5.75" X 9"
Original Oil

Several years ago at the Waterfowl Festival, three of us were up before dawn so we could take a drive down to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. With the show opening that evening and the previous day working to set-up my paintings, I was not enthused when the alarm sounded. As a matter of fact, I almost begged off.

It wasn't long before we were driving beside spent fields on the way to the Refuge when I spotted snow geese. I was so excited that I think I yelled out to stop and then we made our way down a side road. The light was lovely with the sun barely above the horizon.

I'm glad I got up early.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A New Brush

Original Oil
4.5" X 9.5"

Painting stripes and spots are a challenge. Zebra, tiger, giraffe, leopard, and cheetah pieces seem to take so much longer to complete. Here I decided to go crazy and do a miniature with stripes. However, I did make a stop at an art supply store and bought some fresh teeny-tiny brushes.

WOW! Not having to repaint sections because of the brush's frayed ends actually made working on the! Why I don't buy new brushes more often is beyond me. Much of the tiny detail in this piece was done with one brush and it cost $2.99.

The tiger is first in a group of small pieces which will be joining some larger pieces for the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland. November 9th - 11th, Easton will be one hopping town with paintings, sculpture, decoys, duck calling, dog trials, carvings raptor demonstrations and of course music and great food.

My work will be hanging in the Armory and I'll be there the entire weekend. For all the details on an event not to be missed, see  I hope to see you there.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Twenty-one months

Sheep Country
Original Oil
22" X 34"

My last four paintings have been from my recent canoe trip on the Noatak River. I often feel inspired when returning from a trip, especially one of that magnitude.
But like most artists, many of my painting ideas have been rattling around in my head for months or even years. The above piece is a 21-month-er.

I was visiting my sister in Colorado Springs and we had a little bit of time to run over to Glen Eyrie in hopes of seeing the Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep which sometimes hang out on the slopes. This time we were in luck. As I stepped from her car with my camera, I think I said I wouldn't be long. After all, the bachelor herd of bighorns were in a nice group.

Hmm. About an hour later after climbing all over the hillside, I finished. Not wanting to disturb the animals meant a lot of walking and positioning. The rocks and the light kept changing and were brilliant.
Fortunately, I have a very patient sister. Now that I had hundreds of reference photos the real work began.

Some of the "work" was letting the ideas percolate.  In the back of my mind, I knew I had some pretty neat landscapes from Colorado. Every now and then I'd come across them when searching for other reference. One day, the rocks, the light, and the sheep all came together in a rough idea and I went back to those 100 or so photos.

The next task was to design the composition. The drama of the landscape spoke to me and so rather than making the animals the stars as I usually do, the Bighorns are small to make the landscape shine. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Some heavy lifting

Titans of the Tundra
15" X 34"
Original Oil

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the thrilling sights on the Noatak River canoe trip was watching two musk ox bulls fight. But, the scenery was not as dramatic as I like for a painting.

Since carrying almost 1/2 a ton of musk ox to a "prettier" spot and then making the trip back to carry the other one would have been a chore, I chose to employ a bit of artistic license. Near the beginning of the trip, we had Mount Igikpak in view. This is the tallest mountain in Gates of the Arctic National Park. A short hike up the slopes one afternoon afforded us a better view. We saw musk ox tracks near the river but it wasn't until a few days later I spotted the first musk ox. (the mountain team saw one closer to the mountain.) Further downstream we saw the pair of bulls.

In this piece, I used the scene from the tundra with Mt. Igikpak, the first musk ox I saw, and one of the sparring pair to create the composition. Much easier than packing the beasts upstream!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Artist Friends

Double Feast
15" X 24"
Original Oil

It might seem pure artistic expression emanates from isolation, an artist ivory tower. While it would be romantic to say inspiration springs from one as Athena sprang fully grown and armed from Zeus, I find it not quite that easy. Sometimes it takes generous artist friends to complete a painting.

Fortunately, I have been blessed with patient and very talented artist friends. This time I called upon Lee Kromshroeder. Though we kid each other on our different painting approaches, I greatly respect his talent and his advice. I was at an impasse, knowing the painting needed more but not sure what direction to take. After sending him images 3 and 4, we talked and he gave me some good suggestions. Mainly, he said I needed to have more transition between the bright foreground grasses and the background (see previous post). Also, the tail he thought could use more directional texture.

Once I finished those suggestions, my friend Selena came up to the studio to work on her music while I painted. Her good eye was bothered by the fox's nose and she rightly thought it was too skinny. A quick correction made all the difference.

Maybe in this case the title can have a double meaning. The fox has two sik-siks for dinner and I had two good friends help me complete my painting vision. Thank you Lee and Selena.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fox - stage 4

Work in progress - stage 4

There has been a lot of painting done since my last post. Sometimes when you are on a roll, you don't want to stop and take a photo.

To recap, I painted in the fox. Next I played with the right side grasses because I felt they needed to be brighter. The background was a bit light so I darkened it and then warmed up the foreground. I wanted an anchor so the blue shadow near the middle far left was added.
Lastly I painted the sik-siks.

The painting is not done. It is getting there, but now I need to sit and look at it. I'll set it across the room, sit in my director's chair and do the quick glance. That is when I look at anything else, distract my mind, read a magazine, then look up and try and see what it needs.

This may take longer than I thought. The cat thinks sitting in my lap is a perfect place to nap!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fox - stage 3

Work in progress - Stage 3

Now that I have started on the fox, the piece is coming into better focus for me. I have darkened the blue shadow and I think it will contrast nicely with the orange of the fox. The grasses on the right side help balance his movement to the left.
There is still much left to do but I think the painting is moving out of the icky stage.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fox- next stage

Work in progress

For a couple days I found lots of excuses not to paint. That is because I didn't want to go through this stage. The icky stage, the I'm not sure where this is going stage, the what do I do next stage.

I can see the cool shadow is going to work. As for the rest, I need to be patient and stick with the plan.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Unexpected Visitor

Work in progress - Stage 1

     In one of our early camps near the headwaters of the Noatak River I had a wonderful encounter with an unexpected visitor. Five of us were gathered in the cook tent and thinking about starting dinner. The light was so glorious that I stepped out to get a few photos of the surrounding hills.
     Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. To my great surprise, it was a fox walking toward me carrying something in his mouth! My camera was set for the light and while I shot as many photos as I could, I whispered back to the cook tent as loud as I dared, "Fox! fox!" The fox walked past me and when the others peered out, leapt into the willows behind camp.
     It wasn't until I was reviewing my photos days later that I realized the fox had two sik-siks in his mouth. (A sik-sik is an arctic ground squirrel.) He and his family were going to have a feast that night!

     Like most of my paintings, I start with an untempered board which I gesso myself (back, edges, and two coats on the front.) I draw the rough outlines and then do a turpentine wash with a little raw sienna and burnt sienna. From this I have a bit of a value study.
     I decided to take a risk with the composition. A more typical layout would have the fox on the right side of the piece walking left. Conventional thinking would say placing the fox on the left side walking left will lead the viewer's eye out of the painting. It is that shadow under and behind him which I think will balance the composition. If it is a deep blue-purple it will also make a nice contrast to the orange fox. In the end I think this unusual composition will add more movement to the piece.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bears and more bears

8.25" X 13"
Original Oil

During our Noatak River trip we saw 14 or 15 grizzlies. My close encounter will be a story I tell for a long time. It wasn't long into our adventure that every place we stopped had bear tracks. The question was fresh???
This was a younger bear who watched us pass before ducking into the brush.

Sometimes I use a heavier hand when painting and give the piece lots of texture. This is one of those paintings. Rugged bear, lots of paint.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Musk ox

Musk ox  - Study
Original Oil
6" X 14"

With seeing a musk ox in the wild being my top wildlife goal for my recent Noatak River trip above the Arctic Circle, it seems fitting the first piece I complete from the trip features musk ox.

Our Expedition Leader Rob Mullen was painting away from camp when he kept hearing a loud clunking sound. When he went to investigate, he saw two musk ox "at odds." He immediately alerted the other five of us and we scrambled to grab our cameras and witness a dominance battle which has played since the Ice Age.

The setting had grasses and was brighter but I thought to instill the mood, I needed to "move" the musk ox to a tundra scene I saw nine days earlier. As for the Study, this oil painting is a concept piece. I'd like to do a larger work featuring two musk ox battling and working on this study gives me a chance to try out some ideas.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Home from the Arctic

I have returned from above the Arctic Circle. With our accurate GPS accounting (thanks to Expedition leader and artist Rob Mullen), the six of us completed 458.6 miles of paddling on the Noatak River. We were 3 men and 3 women and the trip was self-supporting with no resupply. Above you can see the Noatak River in the upper zone near its headwaters.

What an amazing trip. I have so many stories it is hard to know where to begin. One of my hopes was to see a muskox in the wild. I was handsomely rewarded numerous times. Maybe the best way to tell my stories is through the oil paintings which will be inspired by this WREAF trip (Wilderness River Expedition Art Foundation founded by Rob Mullen.)

I have heard it said a painter paints what he sees. I would like to amend that statement. A "good" painter paints what he feels. My goal is to capture the excitement, remoteness, and adventure of this trip in my work.

First up, a muskox painting. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Updates from the Field

(guest post by brother-in-law, Randy)

Greetings, friends of Linda! In case you haven't been following the updates from Linda's expedition leader, I've compiled the list so far here. Enjoy reading!
As more stories are posted, they can be found using this Google search:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Getting Ready

The logistics which go into a 30 day canoe trip in the wilderness are daunting. The other five on the team had been preparing for months. When the 6th member was unsure he could make it, I was called and invited to be his replacement. That was June 28th, less than 3 weeks before all my food needed to be mailed to Bettles, Alaska!

Since we will be cooking in three 2-man groups and since on my last WREAF trip my "dinner partner" brought our dinners, it was my turn to bring dinners for two. Wanting to add a little creativity to the project despite the short time frame, I came across a great website,

Once I saw Appalachian Apple Pie and Pineapple Upside Down Cake, I was sold!!! You can't buy food from them, but they give instructions on how to design meals and where to get free-dried meats and vegetables. If I had had more time, I could have dehydrated everything myself but with trying to get all my planned August work done before I left August 5th, my plate was full.

The first order of business was to figure out how many calories we should be consuming per day given that the trip is above the Arctic Circle AND we will be exercising and quite wet at times. We decided to push for 2000 - 3000 calories a day. I'll stay on the lower end consuming roughly 40% of the dinner, although it might be tempting to sneak a little extra of the Appalachian Apple Pie.

Breakfast: 2 Apple/cinnamon oatmeal packets, tea, Emergen-C in my treated water
Lunch: pork or beef jerky, dried fruit, trail mix, chocolate/peanut butter protein bar
Dinner: Base of pasta, rice, ramen or potato. Additions of dehydrated turkey or chicken, bacon, cheese, or beans. Additions of dehydrated vegetables. Some of the dinners have toppings of coconut or cashews (should go well with the Thai peanut rice), or parmesan powdered cheese for pasta dishes.
Dessert: Apple pie, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, puddings with bases of graham cracker or toppings of Toffee bits or coconut OR candy AND/OR homemade hot chocolate with a little kick.

It all looks nicely vacuum-packed above. Look below and you can see what the kitchen looked like at 12:30 am after a round of putting together the dinners!!!

All the food had to be shipped to Brooks Aviation to arrive in plenty of time for our departure to the river. Here is my husband packing the 9 boxes of food on July 18th, our shipping day. It may seem like a lot to eat, but my portion of food is less than 49 pounds for 30 days including all the zip locks and vacuum bags.

To follow our trip, the below link should direct you to a google map.

Also, see updates at

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Adventure

photo courtesy of Brooks Range Aviation
Though I have had some exciting adventures in the past, swimming with beluga whales, a 70 km canoe trip down the Zambezi River filled with crocs and hippos and camping along the banks at night, a "polar plunge" in Antarctic waters, this may be my most daunting trip.

Right now I am on the Noatak River in Alaska. Entirely above the Arctic Circle, this river begins in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and ends at the ocean near Kotzebue. Our 6-"man" team (3 women, 3 men) will canoe the river's length of 425 miles over 30 days. This wilderness does not have any support stations so we will be carrying all our food, tents, fuel and supplies with us. My second WREAF trip (Wilderness River Expedition Art Foundation), this will be twice as long as the trip to Labrador.

According to the Noatak River National Preserve, the Noatak River "supports an intact, unaltered ecosystem." We expect to see grizzly bear, migrating caribou, wolves, raptors, musk ox, and there is a good chance of seeing one the most northern herds of Dall sheep in the world. We expect to be the only humans for many many miles.

We will have a satellite link-up to show our location. If it has been set-up properly (keeping in mind we are artists not technicians) you can follow us along on google map. The link is below. Once you access the site, a message screen may appear.
Here is the link for our Google Map location:

We will also have a satellite phone and be calling in a story to a Canadian online news station. Their web site is UPDATE: Stories so far:

This expedition is the first half of "an artistic circumnavigation of the western Brooks Range on the Noatak and Kobuk Rivers." The second half will be completed next summer. 

My husband will be home manning "the fort" and watching our progress on the river. Without him, I would never have been ready for the trip. Check in to my blog in a few days and you'll see what I mean.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Globe Trotters
22" X 62"
Original Oil

I think giraffe would make great basketball players for the animal kingdom. And, from their "uniforms" you know they have a fun spirit.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lots of Spots

While painting so many spots might seem tedious, I enjoy watching the giraffe take shape.

Once the spots are painted, I'll paint the light and shadow on them. I like to begin with the head and then complete each animal before moving to the next.
The final stage will be my overall "finish," revisiting the grass and anything else which needs further attention.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Here I have started to block-in my foreground.
I prefer painting water to painting grasses. However, there are some pieces which require grass. To avoid painting every blade (a task not only boring but unnecessary) I find if I rough-in "grass-y" colors then return to them later, I can create the feeling of grass. By the time I finish painting the giraffe, the lower half of the painting will be dry and I can dry brush a variety of grass textures and colors.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I've left the trees "soft" so they will not draw attention away from the giraffe. Next I'll play with the foreground, saving the animals for last.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Taking Shape

While the raw sienna - burnt sienna turpentine wash gives me a starting point, now that I have painted the sky, the piece has direction.
You can see the right side looks a lot lighter than the left. That is a function of my studio lighting. Even lighting across a painting this large is difficult unless I take the time to set-up a number of lights.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I have wanted to paint a large giraffe piece. When I remembered the herd of giraffe I encountered near the Olduvai Gorge, often referred to as the "Cradle of Mankind", I had my inspiration.

This painting measures 22" X 62."  Here I have completed my raw sienna - burnt sienna wash and am ready to start on the sky.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


13.5" X 11"
Original Oil

This piece was a lot of fun to do. A departure from my usual wildlife genre, it gave me an opportunity to stretch. I hope you enjoyed watching the progress and the decisions along the way.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cooling Down

The first thing I did since the last blog was cool down my water. Rather than Cobalt Blue which I had mixed with Veridian Green, I swiched to Ultramarine Blue for the base blue. Fortunately, much of the oil paint for the water had dried so I was able to dry brush the cooler blue and remix some of the darker lines with a cooler tone.

Since the last blog, I also worked on the child's left arm. It was looking a bit dull so I threw on some bright pinky oranges and added some of the color to her legs.

Now the shorts. .......... Agggghhhkkkk?
Who makes fabric like this and who designs clothing for it?
I was almost tempted to put her in a nice basic color but one of the things which attracted me to the scene was these crazy shorts. As I was painting the first red stripes, a girlfriend called.

Fortunately I can paint while talking on the phone (it has a very long cord). My friend told me a story which took hours and was a huge help. If I had had to sit and paint these shorts without a really good distraction, they instead might have become a nice green color!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Heating Up

Guess I spoke too soon about the temperature. We have had a couple days hit the low 90's. This means some adjusted painting times. Without air conditioning, my second story studio tends to get a bit warm starting at 4 pm. One afternoon I took a break and went back over at 10:30 pm, opened all the windows and settled in for some painting. The gentle breeze encouraged by the cross-ventilation, plus music and much concentration meant it was 2:30 am before I knew it!

I couldn't wait on the adjustments to the water and have repainted a lot of the lower section since the last blog. When something bothers me in a painting sometimes I can't do the sensible thing and wait before I start fussing with it.

"Mom's" hair took quite a bit of time. The shine had to read well or it would just look like a blob of brown. (a salon's worst nightmare!)

With some of the flesh colors already mixed for "Mom" I thought it would be a simple step to paint the child's legs. Wrong. The colors I was using weren't capturing that soft baby fat look. Once I hit on a mix of alizarin crimson and cadmium orange I was headed in the right direction.

I like the color of the child's shirt but I see my water is too close to the same hue and needs to be cooler.