Friday, January 31, 2014

"Lincoln Memorial Reflections" (oil on stretched canvas; 8" x 10") sold


The Lincoln Memorial shimmers in the dusk.  Of all the great monuments in Washington, DC, I must say that the Lincoln Memorial is my favorite.  It is an elegant structure dedicated to a great president.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms" (oil on stretched canvas; 10" x 8") sold


What winter we are having!  Even the deep South is in deep freeze!  We are in desperate need of spring weather.  As I lack the power to magically conjure up warm sunshine, I did what I could.  I painted the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Tidal Basin in Washington DC.

By the way, I want to show you how I "recycle" my precious reference material.  Both "Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms" and "Cherry Blossom Festival at Sunset" were based on a same photo. How about that!  Which painting do you like better?

"Cherry Blossom Festival at Sunset" (oil, 12" x 12)
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Monday, January 27, 2014

"Autumn Morning along the Potomac" (oil on stretched canvas; 8" x 10")

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On a beautiful Saturday morning last September, we took a drive to East Potomac Park, which is a small peninsula jutting into the Potomac River on the south side of the Tidal Basin.  The park is a popular place for biking, running, fishing, and picnicking.  There are also a public golf course, a swimming pool, and a miniature golf course.  Unless you know it's there, it is a place easy to miss, but once you are there, you are glad.

While my daughter's school golf team was practicing, my husband and I took a walk about. Many crew teams rowing on the river probably didn't pay any attention to the excellent view of the Washington Monument, but what a view it was!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Jefferson Memorial Sunset" (oil on stretched canvas; 8" x 10") sold


During the Martin Luther King Day weekend, my daughter, an accomplished flutist, took a flute workshop in Washington, DC.  On the way home, we were on a road right next to the Tidal Basin.  I looked out the car window and saw the above scene.  It was not a spectacular sunset. It was a mellow, exquisite sunset that we were glad to see on a cold winter day. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"US Capitol from Pennsylvania Ave" (oil on stretched canvas; 10" x 8")

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This is a famous view of the US Capitol from Pennsylvania Ave.  It always looks grand, doesn't it?  The Capitol dome is probably one of the hardest things to draw and paint.  I have painted it several times.  I hope that I am getting better each time!

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Sasha" (oil on linen; 12" x 12") sold


To say that Sasha, originally from Russia, is a junior at my daughter's high school would be a correct, but gross understatement.  As a sophomore, she was already the concertmaster of the top orchestra in the school.  I have heard about her from my daughter, but never saw her until last December when I went to a fundraiser concert at a local bookstore.  The main program of the performance was by the jazz band, something I always look forward to for its relaxed atmosphere and excellent music.

Before the jazz music, however, I was happily surprised to be treated to Sasha's solo performance.  Oh, my!  She was poised and beautiful as you can see in her portrait.  Her performance was even more dazzling.  Years of practice must have gotten into her level of musicianship.  Talented?  Yes.  But I always put more stock to single-minded dedication.  As a parent of a young musician myself, I was proud of Sasha as if she were my own daughter. Thank you, Sasha, for your great performance!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

"Lady in Pink" (oil on linen; 8" x 8") sold


The happy lady in pink is a good friend of mine, Vivian.  We took an art class together for a couple of years some time ago.  Several women in the class hit it off and became good art buddies.  We regularly went to art museums and occasionally had parties at one another's houses.  One beautiful summer day, a member of our group who had a pool threw a pool party. Vivian showed up in all pink.  How pretty she was!  I hope you feel her kind spirit, because she is one of the kindest people I know.

Alas, our fellowship came to an end.  One friend moved away; I stopped taking the class; Vivian is too busy as an art teacher to take the class either.  I miss my friends.  I painted "Lady in Pink" in nostalgia and happiness.  To friendship!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Crocuses in Snow" (oil on linen; 6" x 8") sold


A Facebook fan of mine suggested that I should paint crocuses poking through snow.  As we've had snowless winters for the past two years, I thought it could not be done.  Guess what.  I found an old picture of crocuses half buried in a thin layer of snow.

Crocuses will start blooming in a month.  If we are lucky, we will get some snow to coincide with these hardy early spring flowers.  I have them all over my garden and yards. Crocuses are good naturalizers, that is, they multiply on their own.  Deer don't eat them either!

Friday, January 17, 2014

"Sprinkled" (oil on linen; 4" x 5") sold


Speaking of donuts, the chocolate-glazed donut with sprinkles is my daughter's favorite.  I consider it the most festive donut in the world.  Just put it on an any happy-colored plate.  It's a party time!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Double Boston Cream" (oil on linen; 7" x 7") sold


Boston Cream is my favorite donut.  The trouble is that one donut is not enough.  Two gets to be too much, but on the principle of not wasting food, I end up finishing the second donut as well.  Life is tough, don't you agree?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Joy of Spring" (oil on stretched canvas; 20" x 16") sold


What a winter we are having!  The Polar Vortex!  Have you seen the pictures of the frozen Chicago Lakeshore?  Burrrr.  I pulled out a picture of peonies and watermelon to warm up my soul.  We had a fantastic spring last year.  It was mild with plenty of rain to keep the flowers going for weeks beyond their season.  The reference photo for the painting was taken on the last day of May, which is very late for where I live.

It was a hot sunny day and I and my darling peonies were wilting.  Just the thought of it made me happy as I painted "Joy of Spring".  There is nothing like sinking teeth into the slice of cool watermelon on a hot day on the patio by the side of gorgeous flowers!

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Tropical Escape" (oil on linen; 9" x 6") sold


In the last post, I said something about not having to go to Europe or a tropical paradise for a wonderful family time.  I still stand by my statement.  Yet.  I will go to any of the Hawaiian islands in a heartbeat!  My family seem to go there every eight years or so.  Last time was two winters ago.  We spent a fabulous week in Kauai, the Garden Island.  I saw ripe mangoes, bananas, grapefruits, etc. hanging in the trees everywhere in February!

On the way to some place, we caught a glimpse of a lovely beach.  We pulled over and scrambled down to the beach.  We stood along a narrow strip of a secluded sandy beach.  The view was breathtaking.  It was a perfect spot to spread out a picnic basket and loll on the beach. We took some pictures and climbed back up to the car with a happy feeling that one gets after a spontaneous adventure.

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Love of My Life" (oil on stretched canvas; 12" x 16") gift


These two people are the love of my life--my husband and daughter.  They give meaning and purpose to my life.  My daughter is a busy high-school kid who participates in many camps during the summer months.  We haven't taken summer vacations for two years because of her busy schedule!

Bemoaning the fact, I suggested a day outing one day.  But the forecast was ominous with thunderstorms and such.  We stayed put.  The weather, however, turned out to be one of the best summer days in the Washington area.  After a nice dinner at a restaurant, we went for an enjoyable walk in a neighborhood park.  I took the reference photo for the painting at the pond gazebo.

"Love of My Life" again proves my philosophy.  As long as we are with the people we love AND enjoy each other's company, we don't have to go to Europe or a tropical paradise for a "quality" family time.  My husband asked me to paint the scene to capture our happy day together.  The painting is for him.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Sadie" (oil on linen; 10" x 8") sold


"Sadie" is for Tom and June.  The commission is a late Christmas gift from Tom's daughter, Christina.  Sadie was a "small" Great Dane that June adopted while living in Beaufort, SC.  Small because at her maximum weight, she was 128 pounds, which is small for a Great Dane.

Sadie was a true gentle giant even as a puppy.  She had a favorite boo toy which was a little purple rubber alligator dressed in a suite.  She would carry it around in her mouth and you did not know she had it until she dropped it down.  That is how gentle her bite was.  She never made it squeak unless she wanted your attention, which was when she wanted to sleep with June in her bed.  Sadie was June's travel buddy.  She went everywhere with June.

June moved back to Pennsylvania when she made the decision to be the in-home caregiver for her parents.  Her mother's health was deteriorating and her father's dementia was progressing. Sadie became their true companion.  She was there for June's mom to lean on when needed and to help make sure that the lady got up and out of bed when June had to work.  She kept June's father company after he became widowered.  She also helped keep him present and focused. Sadie was June's companion during some very hard times.

Sadie was also there when June met her husband on their first date.  Tom often jokes that if Sadie had not liked him (she loved him from the start), they would not be together today, going on seven years.  Tom often told people that Sadie was his canine daughter.  Sadie loved long walks in the open fields of a local park and hiking trails along rivers and up mountains.

Sadie would have been 13 years old this February.  They had to let her go in November.  As I was painting her, I could feel her gentleness and intelligence.  I hope her portrait gives comfort to Tom and June.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

"A Life Led and A Life Beginning" (oil on linen; 12" x 9") sold


"A Life Led and A Life Beginning" is for Liz.  I was excited and honored to paint this special double portrait as the first commission painting of 2014.  The painting portrays Liz's 90-year-old father-in-law and his 10-month-old great granddaughter.  

Curtis was born in Virginia as one of 12 children.  He has been a minister of God for 62 years. He has been married to his wife, Alma, for 62 years.  Together they had two children: Liz's husband and a daughter, Wendy.  Wendy's son is the proud daddy of Emma. 

Curtis is a quiet soul who loves the Lord and has lived his life for others.  He loves his family and has always tried to see the best in all.  He has been ill with Alzheimer's for several years. He sometimes recognizes his family and other times he doesn't, but still can quote scripture and preach his sermons from years ago.

Emma maybe the only 4th generation he will ever meet, so this portrait is very special to Liz's family.  She wished that I capture Curtis's gentle, kind eyes and soul and the sweetness and innocence of little Emma.  The title of the painting was her inspiration.  I did my uttermost to fulfill her wish.

Friday, January 3, 2014

"Budding Artist" (oil on linen; 14" x 11") nfs


Pablo Picasso once said: "Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."  I can't agree more.  My daughter used to love art.  The painting shows when she was not quite three and a half years of age.  She was a fearless abstract expressionist!  She, as a grade schooler, went to an after-school art program for several years, winning awards and all.

Then she grew up and decided that art was not her thing.  These days she doesn't go anywhere near paints and brushes.  She is more likely to read books, play the flute, or solve tough math questions with a pencil in hand.

I painted "Budding Artist" on New Year's Day as a New Year's Resolution.  I want to live and paint fearlessly this year.