18″x12″ charcoal on chanson paper

Drawing from life. I started with a gesture, and then found smaller shapes, then shadow shapes…and along cane a face from all those shapes!

Pure Joy!

9″ square mixed media on canvas paper

JUMP! Jump for joy! This image made me smile. It is a study for a commission. This painting took on a life of its own. It strayed wildly from the palette I chose for the commission. This image just didn’t want to be a beautiful neutral, it wanted to sing loud and clear! I used a Holbein acrylic color named “luminous opera” which has a much more poetic ring than “fluorescent pink.”

Please enjoy a celebration of pink paintings this month, in honor of breast cancer awareness. I paint for my friends and family who have fought the good fight against cancer, for their families, and for all caregivers who help along with the journey toward a healthy self (body, soul, and spirit). In my strokes of pink, are prayers of strength and healing.

Master and Apprentice

11″x9″ pastel on sanded paper

Watching through the windows at all the levels of classical ballet at my daughter’s studio delights me. Images at the bar are easiest to capture because they do the same things over and over again.

Waiting in the Wings

12″x9″ pastel on sanded paper

I used the pallet I have been using to paint evening primrose flowers to paint these little dancers. I also used as few strokes as possible. I find fields of flowers are more beautiful, and interesting with less information spelled out not more, perhaps that technique will work tiny ballerinas?


Three hour session with a lovely model Rhia. No measuring, or rules… just finding my way through the shadows and lights, just like a landscape. Lots of squinting and correcting: lighter, darker, warmer, cooler. Attempt no. 3 painting a portrait from life in oils went much smoother than the first two. Practice works. Now…who wants to sit still for 3 hours?


Pursuing Portraiture

I am continuing to work on my portrait skills. I took a wonderful one day workshop from the Anna Bain. I walked into her studio and was surrounded by beautiful faces: dozens of framed portraits hanging on all the available wall space. Anna’s paintings were breathtaking and inspiring. Her demo was amazing. The atmosphere was nurturing. After lunch we stood at our easels, brushes in hand ready to capture the lovely model, Misty, in oil. this was my first attempt to paint a portrait in oil. I had also never tried double, oil primed portrait grade linen as a surface to paint on (cotton primed canvas feels like sidewalk in comparison). I wish I would have had 3 more hours because I needed all of my time to establish the major highlights and shadows. My Misty looks older and more severe than how lovely and serene model actually was, but I am happy with my first attempt.

3/4 Study of Wesley

I have the privelidge of taking a three day portrait workshop with Judy Carducci this week. Watching her bring life to a portrait is amazing. Light and shadow, lost and found lines, warm and cool tones stroke by stroke create life and dimension where formerly there was just a sheet of paper. It better than watching a symphony or play, it is nothing short of remarkable. The structure of the workshop is simple, watch Judy do a demo from a model in the morning, and then paint (or draw) a portrait of that model in the afternoon.

I understand color, I can paint landscapes, so I should be able to translate that to the figure….right? I have had an overconfidence problem my whole life. When I was 8 years old, I watched Olympic diving on TV, and made big plans to awe everyone the next time I was in a pool. My thought process: my ability to do gymnastics + my ability to swim = Olympic diving. After smacking the water and driving it up my nose a couple of times, I was humbled. Perhaps my ability to swim and aptitude for acrobatics might make it easier for me to LEARN to dive, but it did not replace a lifetime of training and practice. And so, after watching magic take place on Judy’s paper all morning, I was reluctant to go to the easel myself, I knew about people who made things look easy.

Then, Judy said something that buoyed me forward, “it is better to fail miserably, than to have lost an opportunity by not trying, or produce a weak outcome because you were timid.” Fail miserably, well, that, I was confident I could master. So I set off…standing at my easel with a 19″x26″ piece of canson paper, and a stick of vine charcoal. I was going to capture a likeness through light and shadow and lost and found lines, or fail miserably trying. So I boldly attempted to capture the gesture, and then it was a process of erasing and correcting, over and over again. All you have to do is wipe vine charcoal off with a chamois and it gone, so it is a wonderful medium for landscape artists who are giving Olympic diving a try. After 3 hours of 30 min. posing sessions, and comments and suggestions from Judy’s skillful eye I captured Wesley: