Friday, December 28, 2012


My regular painting schedule has been put on hold for this busy holiday season but I did do a little fun painting...

...our family in nesting dolls. They were a gift for my husband's birthday this year which was a couple days before Christmas.  They elicited a great laugh from him especially when he noticed we were all dressed like the dolls, even him. Before he opened his present, I had asked that he wear his grey shirt and overalls.  Looking at me suspiciously, he went a long with it thinking I must have done a portrait of him since he knew I had been up to some secret painting (he told me this afterwards). Ha, Ha--- he wasn't expecting that kind of portrait. This little yellow one on the end is our dog Jack.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

While You Were Out

8 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches, oil on wood

This is a new painting which is part of a project I'm doing with a couple of friends. We each picked three objects, painted them in our own style (sometimes adding more objects) and then passed them on to the next person.  For this one, the objects given to me were the phone, the pencil and the pink pad. It was a challenge to use these objects in my own setting. It took me a long time to figure out how I wanted to portray them and then I kept adding more and more to the scene.  I'm particularly fond of the little screw lying to the left of the cord.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Goblin and Cyclops

Here's a better close-up of the Goblin mask. It was made with cardboard, masking tape, house paints and  black netting for inside the mouth.  I like this photo, it looks like the cyclops just told the goblin a joke.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

A sickness descended on our house and I haven't been able to paint much for a few weeks and then came Halloween....

My youngest son wanted to be a cyclops inspired by Ray Harryhausen's stop motion creature in the film The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.  It took a few days to make for two hours of wearing---but it was all worth it. The whole problem-solving-inventing-sewing projects are my most favorite. While working on it,  my feet could be on fire and I wouldn't notice. And I like the challenge of using all scrap materials. The only items bought were the masking tape (used in the cardboard under frame) and the black netting for the face. So much fun.  My husband made our older son's mask (below). He's a Goblin.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Portrait Study #3

8 x 10, oil on canvas

One morning my son came out of the bathroom wearing the mustache (but not the glasses/nose) and said, "mom look, I'm in high school"---he's in second grade.  Whenever I'm feeling grumpy I think of him saying that and it gives me a good chuckle.

This painting I'm much happier with than the previous posting, which was also of my son. There's lots off on that first one, especially the eyes. I think this one, even with his real nose obscured, is more successful at capturing his likeness.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Portrait Study

8 inch x 10 inch, oil on canvas

I've been working on a couple of larger still lifes paintings that have lots of objects in them so they're taking a bit of time. In between drying I did this portrait.  It's from a photo I took. I wanted to do it alla prima (all at once) which I did but I didn't finish it. I can't decide yet if I want to go back and work on it.  I'm leaning toward no and instead trying to painting it again on a new surface.  ?

I'm eager to finish my current still lifes so I can take down my scenes and make space to have a new live sitter.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mom Reading

My first oil portrait from life: my mom reading and knitting.

8 inch x 10 inch, oil on canvas

I did this in two sittings, one about three hours and another a couple of days later that was almost two hours.  It was challenging for both of us---for her to sit so long and me to try and capture her in paint.  I had moments when I felt like I understood what I was seeing and doing, but mostly I felt sloppy and a little lost.  I can't wait to try another one and find more of those times that I feel like I know what I'm doing. I'm thinking I will practice from photos as well to get better with handling the paint so when I have a sitter I can be more efficient.  My mom was the perfect first subject. Thanks mom!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tiny Yellow Roses with Cat Skull

Back to painting...

8 inch x 8 inch, oil on stretched canvas

I finished this today.  I had started it a while back with the intention of doing it alla prima but some distraction happened and I wasn't able to.  I kept the still life set up; the roses curled and dried and the leaves fell off but the rest was fine, a little dusty.  Luckily, I had finished most of it except for the skull---that's what I did today.  I'm glad to clear the space now and start something new.  Still working on my skin color exploration charts so possibly the next painting will be a portrait. ?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait: Prismacolor Awkwardness

Increasingly interested in not using photos I gave this portrait a try with the use of a mirror. My whole family said it's scary.  I did it in the evening with only one (harsh) light source---that probably didn't help nor did the resulting wonky eyes. Practice, practice, practice.

This week I'm going to do some color mixing charts in oil paint to explore skin color in preparation for my first sitter! That first portrait is going to be real interesting and probably a mess.  My youngest son just started school so it's the first time in many years that a block of time has opened up to work. I'm so excited and eager to find my rhythm again to be painting regularly. I can't wait to see what comes of it.... 

Prismacolor Marker & Graphite
Reflection #2

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sketchbook Portraits- this week in prismacolor

What really interests me in portraits is doing them eventually from life, that's what all my practice has been leading up too---feeling confident enough to ask someone to sit for me.  The last couple weeks I've attended an open studio life drawing session and tried my hand with the prismacolor markers I've been experimenting with of late.  My first attempts came out terrible, so much so I didn't want to post them.  I was happier with my second attempt---lots of practice is needed still, but I feel I'm getting better.  I sometimes question posting these in-between works, the growing pains, but I also like to see other artist's early works and their evolution. I hope it's interesting to you too.

So here's a few samples from my last live model session.  All the poses are 20 minutes only! Very challenging but extremely exciting to being doing them from a real three dimensional person.

All are prismacolor markers and graphite on paper:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sketchbook Portraits in Prismacolor


 Another yearbook portrait:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sketchbook Portraits: More Makeovers in Prismacolor

Ms. Sanders- After

Ms. Sanders- Before

Gabby- After

Gabby- Before

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sketchbook Portraits---Prismacolor Before and After

This past week I revisited some of my early portrait attempts with the Prismacolor markers and redrew them.  The results are pretty interesting. My control of the pens is getting much better---I still have a long way to go. In some ways, I like my naive renderings more but I like the new ones too.  Right now I'm experimenting with adding blues, greens and pinks to the face--- trying to make the head look three dimensional.

Here are a few of the makeovers:


Christopher--- after



La Vonda---before

La Vonda---after

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sketchbook Portraits---This week in Prismacolor

More Prismacolor marker portraits:

Mr. Dombroski
When my older son saw the above one he said, " Oh, you drew Frankenstein" and then my younger one said, "Yah, that was when he was younger before he had the knobs".   That made me laugh although, Frankenstein wasn't my intention. It's the hair, I think, I did a little too much on his left side.




And... my boys and I played with some porcelain.  They didn't want to keep their creations but I kept the one I made.  If it makes it through the firing, it will serve as a tray to hold my salt and pepper grinders that now just sit on the kitchen counter and make a sprawling mess. I have a few more functional projects in mind.

porcelain, leather hard stage, 5" x 8 1/2 "

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sketchbook Portraits---Prismacolor and 1984

Some more Prismacolor Marker portraits from this past week:

Mr. Evans

My references are small black and white photos from a 1984 yearbook.  Some of the portraits from the previous posting were also from the same yearbook.  All the different face shapes on a page are so intriguing.  I'm making up the color and most of the shading, playing and experimenting and enjoying these studies immensely.

Mark Kahlhoefer

Marc Stager

Mrs. Lucero

And, I finished the slipcover project. It took me a little longer because I decided to make some pillows. Now the test will see how it works.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Portrait Sketches in Prismacolor

Even though this summer I haven't been able to paint, I draw a little everyday.  For awhile I was doing a portrait a day to practice capturing faces.  In trying different drawing media I fell upon Prismacolor Markers and my drawing people routine morphed into doing some experimental abstract sketches.   Once I felt I was getting the hang of the markers, I returned to doing portraits and now I'm finally getting around to posting some of them (as some are really too bad to share!).  I think they're a bit odd (and a little off) but I'm really loving the medium.  I don't do any preliminary drawing, I just jump right in with the pens.  There's no going back on mistakes---I have to work with the marks I put down.  It's a joy to make these sketches.

Here are some of my favorites in order starting from the most recent (today):

Jonathan Toulin

Mrs. Nolan

Bob Smith

Gloria Smith

Mrs. Martin

Mrs. Sanders

Shane Winfield
LaVonda July

Christopher Koster

The Violin Player

The Chef

Man in Gray