December 26, 2010


10 x 10, oil on canvas
I enjoy catching a glimpse of the brilliant red coloring of the male Cardinals; Kentucky's state bird and a common sight outside my window. They are especially beautiful amid winter's more subdued palette.

"I heard a bird sing
in the dark of December
A magical thing
So sweet to remember

'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
in the dark of December.
...Oliver Herford

December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

8 x 6, oil on canvas

Today marks the Winter Solstice; a day to celebrate LIGHT as we look toward longer days and shorter nights. Enhancing the celebration will be the brilliant light of a full moon.
I have always been intrigued to imagine what life, and this night, must have been like centuries ago when there was no electricity, when the onslaught of winter meant that many would starve or freeze. It is easy to understand why this night was so important, and why people celebrated with feasts as provisions were stockpiled for the approaching famine months, and there was joy in the lighting of candles. And today, while I was still having my morning tea, there was a celebration inside the Stonehenge circle, as onlookers watched the sun set. Centuries ago, the stones there were aligned to precisely capture the setting of the sun between two of the stones in honor of this day, and the promise of future days to come.
Light... Something to celebrate every day in every way. Wishing you the joy of family and friends, a peaceful heart, and the blessings of love and light this Christmas season.

"Somewhere across the winter world tonight
You will be hearing chimes that fill the air;
Christmas extends its all-enfolding Light
Across the distance...something we can share

You will be singing, just the same as I,
these familiar songs we know so well,
And you will see these same Stars in your sky,
And wish upon that brightest one that fell.

I shall remember you and trim my tree,
One shining Star upon the topmost bough;
I will hang wreaths of faith that all may see-
Tonight I glimpse beyond the here and now.

And all the time that we must be apart
I keep a Candle in my Heart."

Mary E. Linton

December 18, 2010


"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,
and behold,
everything is softer and more beautiful"
~Norman Vincent Peale~

December 10, 2010

Christmas Cheer

"Red Star of Mexico"
8 x 8, oil on canvas

"Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live"
Dennis Miller

December 5, 2010

all you need is love...

I have been happily engaged in Christmas commissions only to look up and realize that it is suddenly December. Well, I can't show what is on the easel (don't want to spoil any surprises), but I do want to take a moment to share a couple of new discoveries that are on my list of favorite things.

First, Dreama Tolle Perry has issued the book above on blurb: "Let There Be Love"
in which she is both the author and illustrator!
What I LOVE most about this book is that she explains how her paintings begin with written words of focus and intention penned right onto the canvas. Once the painting is complete, some of her beautiful words can be found incorporated into the shapes and colors while others remain hidden underneath which makes for a very powerful connection to her subject, the viewer and her heart. I LOVE that.

And my favorite children's book ever is by Nancy Tillman called "Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You". Like Dreama, Nancy is both the illustrator and the author. Wait, let me restate that...They Write As Beautifully And As Powerfully As They Paint--nothing short of astonishing! While I love all Nancy's books, this one carries its own special magic that is both timely and timeless, heart-warming and healing. In an interview once, Nancy's response to the question "What is the best gift you ever received?" was "a ladybug that my husband gave me". The moment I read that, I knew she was my new best friend. I haven't broken the news to her yet, but I assure you that is but a minor detail...And while I have never met either of these author/artists, their work reminds me of something Dr. Wayne Dyer often talks about: why we can only get orange juice from an orange (there is nothing else inside). And, he points out, if humans only have Love Inside, that is the only reaction we can ever offer to the circumstances and challenges that surround our days. So it follows that books like these happen only when the writer/illustrator is powerfully connected and aligned with the beauty and wonder of all those seemingly "insignificant ladybugs" out there.

Nancy and Dreama's books open up our eyes and hearts to what we already know, but perhaps were too busy to remember or notice. So wherever You are, my wish for you is that the love "hidden" in every moment will be revealed to you in the shapes and colors of This Day, and you will feel the ~swirl~ of~magic~and~wonder~all~around~you ~

"I wanted you more than you will ever know,
so I sent love to follow wherever you go...
you are my angel, my darling, my star...
and my love will follow you wherever you are"
...Nancy Tillman

November 9, 2010

"It is the East, and Juliet is the Sun"...

Who needs to hire a model when you can paint fellow students like Juliet?...

“In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years… No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery...Daniel Levitin

finding the form

I find I'm obsessed with figure studies since returning from the recent workshops, so that has been the focus of my early morning sketches where, as Kim English pointed out, the goal is to "find the form" and record the gesture.

"The idea that excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimum level of practice surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours"...Malcolm Gladwell

November 1, 2010

Early Morning Club

A few weeks ago, artist Robert Genn wrote about the importance of scheduling creative endeavors first thing in the morning..."The minute you awaken, proceed like a zombie to your studio. Before your kettle has boiled, before you have checked your email, squeeze out and prepare your palette..."
I find that I am really drawn to those fleeting moments before the first light of day, before the phone rings and doorbell demands our attention; before the world sweeps us off our feet and hurls us in a new direction. I love that magic hour when all is quiet (including our minds) and the muses are beckoning. Glancing out at the stars or, on this particular morning, witnessing the beautiful crescent moon, we are encouraged to face the blank page without judgment. Detached from "outcome" we are free to practice "process" before our inner critic awakens.

While I may not post all my efforts, I think I would like to to "join" the Early Morning Club with the intention of sharpening my drawing skills; perhaps rendering studies in paint as well as charcoal, pastels, pencils, markers. We will see. I may make it up as I go along, because after all, waking up before dawn is easy, and I've already "mastered" the part where I am expected to proceed like a zombie... So, the way I see it, I'm already halfway there; why not crank out a few sketches, too? Come on and join our virtual "club"!
"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you...

Don't go back to sleep, don't go back to sleep"...Rumi

8 x 16, oil on canvas
"Sunday in the Park"
I saw this very tall, lovely girl reading her book in the park, and couldn't wait to paint her. The best models are just everyday people being themselves. (click painting to enlarge)

October 23, 2010

brought to you by the number THREE...

I am off on a new painting adventure this week, taking in the gorgeous fall colors and traveling south to study with master painter Kim English. The upcoming week also marks the third anniversary of my blogging/painting journey. So, to "celebrate" that milestone, I plan to embark on a new daily challenge (oh, I do love assignments)... but more about that later.

First, I want to mention three art related events of interest:
(1) The Musée d'Orsay in Paris has loaned paintings to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts until January 2011, for a delightful look at how the Impressionist movement came to be. One of my favorite paintings in all the world is on display there; Edouard Manet's portrait of his friend, and fellow artist, Berthe Morisot. It is a stunning example of the power of design and composition using dark against light with minimal brush strokes, color and values to depict the stylish young artist. (I LOVE her hat!) While Morisot's work focused on a lighter palette and more color brought on by the Impressionist's influence, Manet's painting depicts the more established style that his contemporary value painters held dear.

(2) The exhibit coincides with the American Impressionist Society show at Richland Fine Art located just down the street, so you can make it a day of art!

(3) Also, if you haven't yet heard about my blogging pals' website "Artists Helping Artists" you are in for a treat--check out Leslie Saeta and Dreama Tolle Perry's blog radio show. They interview artists each week and this week's guest was Kevin Macpherson. If you missed the original airing, you can go back and listen to the archives anytime. Always awesome info and ideas from two very creative, engaging hosts.

"There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge...observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts. Reflection combines them. Experimentation verifies the result of that combination"...Denis Diderot

October 12, 2010

American Impressionist Society week in Nashville

It was a whirlwind week of events...First there were workshops featuring master artists Peggi Kroll Roberts and C.W. Mundy. It was my fourth workshop with Peggi, and while I wish I could say NOW I understand it all, I'm afraid I have many miles of canvas to go. She makes it look way too easy. Must be those magic brushes of hers!
Below is Peggi painting a demo:
She painted this little guy below, too. What amazes me most is how her figures "read" from across the room. The values are always perfect, making the paintings appear almost photo realistic from a distance, yet very abstract up close. It is pure magic!
We were also treated to a seminar featuring Bill Bush, of Fredricksburg Artists' School, who spoke on The Business Side of Art. Another evening was devoted to an entertaining slide presentation and lecture by C.W.Mundy; and we were given the opportunity to hear first hand how Vasari colors are handcrafted at their NYC location, much the same way the Old Masters ground their pigments centuries ago. Also, there were painting demos by AIS President Kathy Cooper and VP Mary Garrish.
And the lovely opening night reception was hosted by Richland Fine Art where we were honored to meet AIS co-founder Charlotte Dickenson.

Below: Me and my beach painting. A few years ago, instructor Camille Przewodek discussed with our class the importance of setting goals. She suggested that we choose an artist whose work we admire and then visualize our work hanging next to theirs in a gallery. Well, I'm very happy to say that while Camille's painting is not hanging next to mine; it is however, just a few feet away. How cool is that?
....and below is my friend Marian Pascuta, whose award winning painting hangs behind us.
In addition to the juried show, there are several master artists' paintings on display, including a couple of my other favorite teachers: Kevin Macpherson and Carolyn Anderson! The exhibit will continue into the first weekend of November.
"It's not our art,
but our hearts that are on display"
...Gary Holland

September 29, 2010

Bustin' Out with ACS

Specs Appeal is my entry for the American Cancer Society fundraiser for breast cancer called Bustin' Out! (how clever is that?) The "rules" were to take a padded 36-C bra and embellish every inch, inside and out. So, after some pondering, I decided that my inspiration behind the design would be the Beauty, Hope, and Courage I have witnessed shining from within the brave women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. To symbolize beauty, I sewed white sequins to the outside of the bra because the color white reflects all visible light in the spectrum, and stands for love, purity and new beginnings. I chose sequins that are iridescent, because the bra glistens, shines and transforms from white to pink, changing as light hits it from different angles. I feel that women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer experience a similar inner transformation and this iridescent quality best represents the hope that many women have so poignantly described. I am humbled to witness how some find new meaning and purpose that often brings about a newly found sense of courage and strength. And because I am most inspired by the women who seek a "silver lining" and believe that our darkest hours are, in fact,"opportunities" for reflection and growth; I sewed a soft, silver metallic fabric to the inside of the bra. My hope is that the reflective qualities of the fabric would also mirror how the love and kindness we women send out into the world each day is reflected back into our own hearts and lives.
And because humor is an important component of healing, I've included a few humorous quotes, as well as a pair of sunglasses for "specs appeal"-- a nod to the Pat McDonald song "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" --as we look toward a future BRIGHT with hope and healing.
"I wanted to be the first person to burn my bra, but it would have taken the fire department four days to put it out"...Dolly Parton
"The only gossip I'm interested in are things from the Weekly World News-'Women's Bra Bursts, 11 Injured'...that kind of thing"...Johnny Depp
If you would like to learn more about the upcoming auction, you may click on the Bustin' Out website above, and please visit the awesome photographer's website here: Lucas Ridley You have to see his clever arrangements of the entries that are being made into cards for the auction/ Also on facebook here.
Hugs to all the courageous women who have heard the words "you have breast cancer"--You are an inspiration to us all.

September 25, 2010

lather, rinse, repeat

The universe whispered "simplify" and she replied "Oh yes! I have many photos -like this one I took in Como, Italy-
and they are all organized and arranged by date and...." Then, through an "open window" came an unexpected "gust of wind" that sent the photos swirling into a jumbled, chaotic pile. "OH... I get it!" she said "Organizing is not enough- I should also classify, identify, specify..." and she went to work doing just that.
"No, no" said the weary Universe in a sterner voice..."I said... SIMPLIFY" - and this time the rains came, turning her neighborhood into a lake.
"Oh" she sighed in a much smaller voice.
And then came the carpenters, painters, plumbers, and electricians to remodel and rebuild, and she thanked the Universe for her most valuable lesson and added:
"I get it. No...REALLY... I. GET. IT....(seriously, no reason for you to show me again)...
"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?...Steven Wright
6 x 8 oil on canvas
a 10-minute sketch using Simplified shapes and an economy of values & colors

"The essence of voluntary simplicity is living in a way that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich"...H.D.Thoreau

September 10, 2010

a little stardust

Earlier this summer, I entered the above painting in The American Impressionist Society national exhibition. Every now and then, you just get a little lucky. Being accepted in the show is a double honor, because it will also be a huge privilege to have a painting hang in one of the south's premiere galleries; Richland Fine Art in Nashville, Tennessee. The exhibit doesn't open until October 7th, but AIS and Richland have made it available for early online viewing here. Congrats to one and all.

"Shoot for the moon,
and if you miss,
you'll still be among the stars"
Les Brown

August 21, 2010

The Secret Garden

"My Grandmother's Hollyhocks"
10 x 10, oil on canvas
FCP (ageless and timeless, of course!)

"The Pretty Pink Tulip"
8 x 8, acrylic on canvas
ALP (age 5)
"The Red Rose"
8 x 8, acrylic on canvas
DBA (age 8)
The above paintings are part of a current exhibit accompanying the local production of Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden". The transformational and restorative power of the garden that the book's character Mary discovers, reminds me of how my Dad described his own childhood memories. In addition to vegetable and flower gardens, he was enthralled by the fragrant fruit orchards, with their carpets of spring blossoms that created a magic space for adventure, and afforded him a lifelong love of nature and gardening. Taking time to honor that rich connection to our world is a gift that we too can pass along to the next generation as they seek their own paths to imagination and magic. Special thanks to my young artist collaborators for allowing me to play along!

"The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place. The few books she had read and liked had been fairy-story books, and she had read of secret gardens in some of the stories. Sometimes people went to sleep in them for a hundred years, which she had thought must be rather stupid. She had no intention of going to sleep, and, in fact, she was becoming wider awake every day which passed..." Frances Hodgson Burnett

July 24, 2010

red bucket

8 x 16, oil on canvas
I was inspired by the glow of the sand bucket for this one, and how the sunlight caught her hair.

"The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope.
Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning:
we are all in the same boat"...
These timely words of wisdom were written years ago by one of my heroes who was was a tireless advocate for the sea. Born 100 years ago, his work and legacy lives on. To learn more, click here: Jacques Cousteau

July 16, 2010

True Blue

10 x 12, oil on canvas
...Continuing to tiptoe out of my comfort zone with masculine skin tones this time around. Thanks for all the kind emails and comments about this challenge, and please know that while I can eventually come up with something that approaches looking "human"--portraits are not my thing and I am happy to leave it to the pros who are in a league unto themselves. But trying something different is the point, and reminds me of something I once heard author Marian Williamson say. She defined a miracle as stepping into a space previously unavailable to you--a brand new place that allows you to distance yourself from what you previously thought were your limits, and one that enables you to view the old (as well as the new) from an entirely unfamiliar and distinctly new perspective. And when I visualize doing that, I always get a mental image of the SkyWalk at the Grand Canyon- I have not gotten to go there yet, but I think it has to deserve miracle status- and a pretty cool visual reminder to be open to possibilities that you could never have imagined previously.

"I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that my doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso"
...Rita Rudner

July 3, 2010

do the thing...

A few years ago, I enrolled in a couple of different portrait workshops taught by master artists Dawn Whitelaw and Michael Shane Neal. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of each, it was clear that portraiture just isn't my thing. Juliet said it best--when Lady Capulet inquired how she felt about her impending marriage to Paris, her reply was "it is an honor that I dream not of." That is exactly how I feel about painting portraits.

But this week I have been pondering THIS powerful quote:

So I decided to step way out of my comfort zone and do just that. In order to cross that invisible barrier, I focused on value relationships and color temperature, elements necessary for ANY subject. This "assignment" based on intention and purpose immediately dissolved any angst I previously felt about tackling such a daunting task. That, along with choosing a reference photo of a most endearing model ensured that my assignment would be anything but laborious....

12 x 16, oil on canvas
And now I am issuing this challenge to all of YOU reading this post. Think about whatever it is that you are currently avoiding, and consider Ms. Roosevelt's timeless advice to step out of YOUR comfort zone and do the thing you think you cannot do. Feel free to share your experiences--I would love to hear how you work through challenges to remove mental roadblocks. We all create our own barriers, and often hang onto them for dear life, but sometimes we just need to let...them...go.
"Well... I guess it SORT OF looks human"...(an unsolicited critique uttered by a very frank fellow student upon glimpsing my first attempt at portrait painting) Ouch... but hey, if we already knew how to paint, we wouldn't need teachers and workshops, right?
Happy 4th...

June 28, 2010

summer break

8 x 10, oil on canvas
My focus in this painting was to capture all those wonderful colors in the shadows and still keep light and shadow families separate and distinct--a super duper fun challenge with all the light reflecting up from the water and white ground plane.
"Raising teenagers is like trying to nail Jello to a tree" (anonymous)

June 19, 2010

beach stroll

12 x 16
oil on canvas
My focus in this painting was to capture the luminous quality of early light when the sea takes on the color and value of the sky. The clouds had rolled in and everything looked hazy except for this lady who stood out brilliantly against the neutral background. I love how her hair was illuminated by the warm light.
"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight,
and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world"...Oscar Wilde

June 11, 2010

The Magic Hour

10 x 12, oil on canvas

I've been a "sunset junkie" since I was in high school. That "magic hour" when the sun slowly sinks into the west and creates those wonderful orange and peachy pink skin-tones. It is Simply THE Best and there is nothing I relish more. I just don't think we can witness this light without our cares and thoughts fading away and being replaced with the feeling that everything is as it should be in this moment. The trick then is to breathe in that magic, and take it with you wherever you go...and then you can "paint it" into your day when the vacation is over. It really is That Magic. And it is available just about every day in even the most remote locations...
"I don't know what you could say about a day when you have witnessed four beautiful sunsets"...Astronaut John Glenn

June 5, 2010

Homer's Sirens

8 x 10, oil on canvas

These girls were The Perfect Models on the beach. And no, actually I'm not referring to the fact that they were fashionable, gorgeous and had absolutely no cellulite. They were Perfect because:
a) they stayed relatively still long enough for me to sketch them 
b) their varied poses make a wonderful composition
c) and I was especially smitten by how the shadows connected and formed an interesting dark and light pattern 
....all of which reminds me of a question... Another artist told me she was snapping photos of her son on the beach when a stranger approached and demanded to know if her children had been included in any of the photos taken. The artist explained that she would be happy to delete any that the stranger's children may have accidentally been a part of--and continued on her way, only to discover that the stranger had begun following her and announcing to other strangers that the artist was photographing everyone's children! Which begs the question...Should artists be required to interrupt The Perfect Models to seek permission to photograph and paint them, or should we go into stealth mode and do it unsuspectingly? In an age of cellphones in every pocket and cameras on every building, aren't we all being photographed all the time anyway? My experience has been that when I have asked permission, the "models" say yes, but then they are ALWAYS self-conscious and no longer strike a natural pose, which defeats the whole purpose. 
"First you will come to the Sirens who enchant all who come near them. If any one warily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and children will never welcome him home again, for they sit in a green field and warble him to death with the sweetness of their song...therefore pass these Sirens by, and stop your men's ears with wax that none of them may hear..." Homer's Odyssey, 800 B.C.

May 31, 2010

ode to clean water

8 x 8, 
oil on canvas
May has been a lesson in appreciating clean water. The month began with flood waters that engulfed our front yard and ultimately the lower level of our home. I quickly learned the meanings of water classifications 2 and 3 (potentially contaminated with microbes) which translates to hours of trashing anything and everything deemed "porous": carpet, hardwood floors, bookshelves, walls up to four feet, as well as furniture, toys, games, and yes, even a few paintings. A few days later, while this part of the country continued to dried out, I left for the Charlotte workshop, followed by a family trip to the Gulf of Mexico... a vacation we had planned weeks before. And we were lucky. The beaches were not yet closed, the days were crisp and clear, and yet heavy with the impending dread of what was to come. So on this day when we honor our veterans and celebrate the beginning of summer, my heart goes out to all the lovely people (and wildlife) of the Gulf shores whose lives (and livelihoods) have been, or will be affected by this environmental nightmare. 
"A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. 
 It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature." 
 ~Henry David Thoreau

May 30, 2010

Peggi and Ray Roberts

"Figure Study/Kathryn" (my 400th blog post!)
6 x 12, oil on canvas

       I had the honor of painting with Peggi Kroll Roberts 

and her husband Ray Roberts  this month. This was my third opportunity to paint with Peggi, and as I have said before, she is one of my favorite people on the planet. Not only is she an excellent teacher, but no one could be more kind, gracious and humble. I was especially delighted to meet Ray and have the good fortune to paint with both of them this time around. (to see their work, click on their names above)
My friend, artist Anne Neilson organized the workshop in lovely Charlotte, NC.  If you have never been to Charlotte, let me just say it is one of the most charming and enchanting cities ever. 
And I just had to include the photo below of Ray's palette because it serves as an excellent example of proficient paint quality and texture, and reminds me of a brilliant concept Camille Przewodek first revealed when I studied with her a few years back. I have never forgotten it because it was a huge "Aha!"moment for me, and a point I have struggled to incorporate into my painting process ever since. She disclosed that when offering a critique to her students, she studies their palettes more than their paintings, because the palettes reveal infinitely more about the level of understanding attained so far--or, in most cases, everything the students have not yet grasped! And once you see what she is talking about, you realize that It Is So True! For example, if we are in the habit of mixing separate little piles of color (and values) all over the palette, it will translate to poor value and color relationships in the painting. In contrast, look at how masterfully Ray's palette illustrates the importance of juxtaposing similar values, allowing him to easily compare and tweak the temperature of the paint. As Ray pointed out, if you get the relationships correct on the palette first, they will hold together and read correctly in the painting later. And we just can't get these thick, luscious brushstrokes and blends of color if we lay out tiny little blobs of paint on the palette to begin with (another mistake beginners often make). 
Peggi emphasized this point further with a favorite quote, often repeated by her mentor, artist John Asaro
"Value does all the work but color gets all the glory!" 

May 23, 2010

Cecelia Beaux

12 x 16 (after Cecelia Beaux's painting of her portrait of Henry Sturgis Drinker, titled "A Man With a Cat")
oil on canvas

Another artist born during the same era (1855) as Robert Henri was Cecelia Beaux. She was a master painter of portraits, and what I love most about her work is how she painted the various nuances of white. My drawing of her work is a little wobbly, but I did manage to observe and mix many shades of white for this one.
A renowned artist during her lifetime, Miss Beaux was also a contemporary of William Merritt Chase who enthusiastically declared "Miss Beaux is not only the greatest woman painter of modern times, but the best that has ever lived."

May 15, 2010

Robert Henri

6 x 8,
oil on canvas (after Henri's painting on the cover of  "The Art Spirit")

Robert (Cozad) Henri is one of my favorite painters of all time. Born in 1865, he painted and taught many subjects during his long career, but it is his portraits of children that really shine. I know of no other artist more adept at depicting the personality, character, and sense of wonder inherit in childhood.  I was especially drawn to the ruddy cheeks, curly locks and watery eyes in this one.
"What we need is more sense of the wonder of life,
 and less of the business of making a picture"
...Robert Henri

May 9, 2010

Longchamp Racetrack 1911

24 x 30, 
oil on canvas

In an era when many of the latest fashions were first introduced at the racetracks just outside of Paris, these were the styles coveted by women one hundred years ago. Now, I know what you are thinking--how uncomfortable the women must have been wearing ensembles like these, especially strolling on uneven turf in unpredictable weather....but (sigh) if you discover a time machine, please let me know. I will be first in line to go back to that time. Just viewing the designers attention to detail up close would be worth the trip alone.
 After all, by the year 1911, Coco Chanel's Rue Cambon shop had been open for a whole year already. And she was only twenty seven years old.
"Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions"...Coco Chanel
Happy Mother's Day! This painting, along with Ky Derby Bling is part of a Celebration of Women Show at the Gallery at 916

May 1, 2010

Kentucky Derby Bling

12 x 16
oil on canvas

Today a hat won't help much. With torrential rains expected, a large tarp will be the order of the day at Churchill Downs, which I'm sorry to say also makes it tough for the horses. 

Writer Tom Pedulla says that most jockeys don't even see their horses until it is time for their race to begin, but Derby winner Calvin Borel goes out early every morning to visit the horses and "learn their nuances". Calvin explains "I get on all my horses and work them. Every horse is not the same--every horse has a different key to him. You've got to get to them in the morning and find the key".  Having dropped out of school after the eighth grade, he is proof that school is only one aspect of receiving an education. I find his genuine love of horses and dedication to excellence most inspiring

April 27, 2010

Project Fayway

Party Dress
8 x 16, oil on canvas

Sometimes you just can't predict where your next inspiration will come from. That is certainly true for this painting. After stepping into a restaurant powder room and seeing fabulous fashion illustration posters, I was so inspired to sketch out a design of my own. Now, normally I only paint what I can study, that is, what is actually in front of me-- so nothing could have been more foreign that stepping up to the easel with no plan and no reference. But it didn't take long before I got totally lost in the process, and "forgot" that it was out of my comfort zone. Because oil paint is so forgiving, I easily gave my "model" a purse, a boa, sleeves, a necklace, a hat, and ten other hairstyles...only to scrape them all off, design and re-design until I settled on this dress in one of my favorite colors. I don't expect Project Runway to call anytime soon, but this was tons of fun.  Can't wait to try another pose...maybe a ballgown next time, or perhaps a....
"Today must not be a souvenir of yesterday, and so the struggle is everlasting. 
Who am I today? What do I see today? 
How shall I use what I know, and how shall I avoid being a victim of what I know?
 Life is not repetition....
If you work from memory, you are most likely to put in your real feeling"
...Robert Henri
(Isn't that just the best quote? Henri must have been the ultimate art instructor.)

April 20, 2010


10 x 20, oil on canvas

This is a departure in style for me; a commission where my "assignment" was all about color and emotion.  And did I mention fun? 
"Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls"
...Joseph Campbell