About Me

My photo
I am a professional oil painter that focuses on floral still life. Some ask how I chose to become an artist. The answer to that is simple. I didn't choose to become an artist....art chose me

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Making of a Painting-Thinking Outside the Box

During the making of a painting, it’s easy to get pigeonholed into a certain style or look. As artists, we tend to paint for the collector based on what they desire from us instead of simply painting for ourselves. I have realized how important it is for our creativity to set up a painting and let loose. Escape from the monotony and switch up your style.

That’s exactly what I did with this painting. As I stood in front of my easel, I decided I wanted to have fun with it. I set up a vase with a new variety of roses called “lady of shallot” along with apples and grapes. This is a typical subject matter for me, but I used much different brush work and style.

I find that some of the best paintings I do is when I have no boundaries or preconceived notions of what is expected from me. It was an inspirational learning experience. This paining is a result of having fun one day and painting for myself.


Roses and Apples. 16X20

This painting is on exhibit with the American Women Artists at the K.Newby Gallery in Tubac, Arizona.



Monday, October 4, 2010

Learning to paint Landscapes

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to study plein air painting with Robert Johnson. Robert is mainly known for his beautiful floral's but I have always loved his landscapes and was very excited for this opportunity.

The workshop was held in Estes Park, Colorado. It's a beautiful, majestic place where mountains soar and elk roam. I do believe that as artists we see the world in more vibrant colors, and an appreciation of God's beauty that others dismiss.

As the workshop started I realized that even though I am very comfortable with a paint brush painting my flowers, I was not as comfortable outdoors painting mountains, trees, and rocks.

Another workshop participant who herself was an accomplished still life painter mentioned how hard this was. I couldn't have agreed more. Even though we both knew the principals of art it seemed to elude us when we put brush to easel to paint the scene before us.

In still life painting..I start out by looking for the simple masses of light and shadow. I simplify as much as possible. I know this...why was it so hard to translate that same knowledge when painting mountains, lakes, or trees? The answer finally came to me and since I come from a very musical family, the answer came in the form of music. I play the piano. I've played the piano since I was about 9 years old. My grandmother was my first teacher and then came more serious study. I'm comfortable with the piano. I can sit down and place my hands on the keys and know that music will flow but give me a violin and I am lost. How hard to I put the bow to the strings? Where do I put my bow to find middle C?

So I now understand that even though I can paint still life with ease, landscapes will take more practice and more studying. I am determined however to become comfortable with landscapes as I am with Still Life. I can't live in this beautiful part of the country and not paint landscapes.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My process

Many people wonder how artwork is created. Well, in my opinion it's created with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. LOL, all kidding aside some paintings seem to just flow off the brush and it's as if you are channeling Monet or Sargent or Schmid. Unfortunately this doesn't happen very often. In the hundreds of paintings I have done, I can count on my one hand how many times this has happened. Most artists agonize over their paintings. More often then not, it's a constant struggle of problem solving. Simple composition or complex one... lot of negative space or just a little....to add grapes or not to add grapes, that is the question.

The roses are blooming and I couldn't resist painting a variety of them in this porcelain vase. I started with the set up and wanted to have a dark background. As you can see I have it set up with a dark background. Roses hold their shape for quite a long time but after getting a rough drawing of where the vase would be, I massed in the roses and begin refining the most important ones.

Set up with roses massed in and a few roses refined

A close up of more roses refined

After about 5 hours of painting, I had most of the roses in with a basic vase and some background. This is where the dilemma got me. I originally wanted dark background but the more I looked at it, I thought maybe a lighter background would be better but it was late and time to put the brushes away for the night.

The next day I worked more on it and continued with my original concept. I'm still debating whether to paint another version with a much lighter background.

"Rose Rhapsody" 16 X 20

There is still a bit of tweaking left to do with this painting but overall I think it works. Would it work with a lighter background? Yes but that's a painting for another day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This summer has gone by so quickly. I've been teaching so much that I haven't had much time at my own easel. The summer has been filled with trips to Chester, NJ, Bozeman, Montana, Zion's National Park where I hiked with my kids, and a week up at our cabin in Utah for a much needed break that I have barely stepped foot into my own studio.

Painting is not like riding a bike. It's more like an Olympic sport. You have to keep at it or you lose it so I set up this sweet little still life to just get me warmed up for bigger and better things. How I love to paint David Austin Roses!!! They are a delight to not only paint but to smell.
July 28, 2010

Ok, I'm doing it. Starting a blog. Will take me some time to figure this out. Be patient.