Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"Paired for Life" (watercolor; 5" x 7")

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Lately I have been doing a lot of sketches, partly because I've had a low energy level for a while.  I still don't feel well, but I continue making sketches, usually in the evenings, for fun and as compositional studies for future paintings.  I use different paper and material, depending on what the subject calls for.  "Paired for Life" was done in watercolor, started out with a quick line drawing of an aquarelle pencil, which "melts away" in the wash.  The sketch turned out well enough to list on Etsy--loose and fresh!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

"Lavender Harmony" (oil on linen; 12" x 12") sold


On a hot summer day, stand in the middle of shimmering purple lavender fields. You will feel heady in a perfumed air.  Speaking of summer, the entire East Coast is experiencing an unseasonably warm weather--in the 60's and 70's.  With the mild temperature and humidity, it feels like Kauai!  A white Christmas is out of the question; there is instead a flash flood warning.


"Sunrise Quietude" (oil on linen; 9" x 12") sold


A couple of loons glide on a mirror-like lake on a sunrise. Peace and quietude reign.  After the last-minute grocery shopping on Christmas Eve, working on the piece was like meditation!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"Clue" (oil on linen; 8" x 16") sold


"Clue" is for Richard.  Richard told me why he wanted me to paint the cover of the classic board game, Clue.  Several years ago, he and his friends dressed up as the characters of the game to create the perfect mood for his proposal to his then girl friend.  Richard and she had grew up on and were both fond of the game.  Their wedding anniversary is coming up in January, so this painting is to be a surprise gift to his wife.  Have you ever heard of a more romantic and sweeter story? 

If you look at the painting carefully, you will find a diamond engagement ring and the lettering "Magnolia", whose meaning Richard didn't let me on.  He also asked me to keep the mood mysterious and spooky.  I hope I succeeded!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"Glorious Tulips" (watercolor on Yupo; 8" x 8") sold


Squat down in front of tulips in your garden on a sunny spring day and admire their brilliant colors.  Some have fragrance, so sniff them too.  How many months do I have to wait for my tulips to bloom?

Friday, December 11, 2015

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


"Winston" is for Bob who commissioned the portrait for his wife Lindsey.  Winston is a 7-year-old Havanese.  He loves treats and stands on his back paws for them.  He likes chewing on a bone or playing with a toy, but he does not chase the ball when we play fetch with his uncles (the dogs from the double portrait I did for Lindsey last year).  He is very playful but also affectionate; he goes berserk (happily) anytime we come home and acts like we've been gone for months.  His mom is by far his favorite. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

"Wyatt" (oil on linen; 8" x 6") sold


"Wyatt" is for Erin who commissioned the portrait as a Christmas gift for her husband.  Wyatt is a 8-months-old beagle mix rescue dog. He loves to eat, run and play with other dogs at the dog park and doggy day camp.  He loves people just as much as other dogs. He is the greatest snuggler and captured the hearts of his human parents.

Monday, December 7, 2015

"Sweetie" (oil on linen; 7" x 7") sold


"Sweetie" is for Anne who commissioned the portrait of this gorgeous cat for her hair dresser.  She had also given him the kitten.  The gift of the cat and her portrait!  Wow, he must be a special friend.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"Buddy" (oil on linen; 7" x 7") sold


"Buddy" is another pet portrait for Kim, who commissioned it for her son.  Buddy is a pit bull who adopted Kim's son and girlfriend.  The dog was found tangled up in her son's fence one day this summer. They tried to find the stray's home only to learn that he was at a foster home and got away.  Kim's son lives in a college town, so they think some college students left him in the apartment with just a little food and water when they moved out at the end of the school year.  Animal cruelty!

Buddy is the sweetest dog ever.; he loves to snuggle.  Kim was a little skeptical about him being a pit bull, as he does not have a mean bone in his body.  Kim's extended family pet has a happy ending: Buddy has found his home!

Monday, November 30, 2015

"Delft Blue Love" (pen and wash; 11" x 5")

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My irises bloomed again in the fall to my great joy. I put a stem with two flowers and a bud in a Delft blue vase for this minimalist still life in pen and watercolor wash.  I love it so much that I am going to a series of paintings in pen and wash!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"Robin's Nest" (mixed media; 7" x 9")

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When I let my hair down and have fun, I come up with a loose, fresh, and uncharacteristic piece like "Robin's Nest".  To create the effect of an intricate and messy bird's nest, I resorted to oil pastel.  I wonder why I don't do this more often!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Sophie" (oil on linen; 7" x 7") sold


"Sophie" is for Kim, who has had her two other dogs already painted by me.  Sophie is a one-year-old Yorkiepoo.  Here is her story.  Kim's mother had come last Christmas to help Kim as her husband had the double knee replacement.  Kim's daughter thought her grandmother needed company as her dog had passed away the Christmas before.  So without asking, she brought home Sophie four days before her father's second knee replacement. 

Unfortunately, Grandma was not ready for a puppy yet.  Guess who ended up with her?  Yep, Kim and her husband did.  Sophie thought her name was "damn dog" for the first three months of her life.  But, now, she has stolen all the family's hearts and they don't know what life would be like without her.  A happy ending for an adorable puppy!

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Spring Delights" (watercolor; 10.5" x 15")

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A row of small vases filled with bright spring flowers--yellow and white daffodils, yellow woodland poppies, and pink and purple hyacinths.  Have you seen a more cheerful still life?

There was another, smaller version of this painting, which I finished on October 21, on the day of my fainting and big fall.  Unfortunately, the painting got spattered with my blood.  I decided to keep it as a memento mori, as the reminder of how short and precious life is.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Spring Still Life with Bleeding Heart" (watercolor; 8" x 8")

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Another watercolor floral pick-me-up!  I am going to let you in on a secret.  The pink camellia was not pink at all in my original arrangement; I only have a white camellia bush in my garden.  When I painted the flower as was in the reference photo, it simply faded away into the white background.  I rescued it by adding a pink blush!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Daffodil Dazzle" (watercolor; 9" x 9")

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Daffodils are pure sunshine.  If you feel sad and hopeless, get some daffodils.  Every fall, my husband and I plant hundreds of bulbs, most of which are daffodils.  Come spring, we are in a daffodil heaven!

Two springs ago, I made a dazzling bouquet of white and yellow specialty daffodils in a white porcelain vase.  Then I threw in a small sprig of purple hyacinth to match the purple shadows.  Oh, I love daffodils! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

"White Lilacs and Silver Dollars" (watercolor; 8" x 8")

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This spring, whenever the sun shined, I gathered flowers from my garden.  I put them in different vases and took pictures.  When I combined white lilacs with magenta silver dollar flowers in a pink bowl, I was clearly inspired!

Monday, November 2, 2015

"Bella and Kenzie" (oil; 8" x 10") sold


"Bella and Kenzie" is for Teresa, one of my repeat clients, who commissioned the portrait for her old friends.  She has moved from Northern Virginia and now lives in North Carolina.  Her old friends let her stay with them whenever she comes and their dogs are Teresa's dog's best friends. Bella on the right is the the older sister; Kenzie on the left is aka Cra-Cra since she is a little bit crazy!  These sweet, cattle dog rescues are two peas in a pod and, even though they are years apart, they are like twins.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Collage of My October 2015 Paintings

The collage of my October 2015 paintings

I was super productive last month until my accident!  Which painting is your favorite?  This month I will be probably busy with custom pet portraits for the holidays, but still intend to squeeze in a few watercolor florals.  Wish me luck!

Friday, October 30, 2015

"Azalea Sass" (watercolor; 8" x 8")

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Wednesday evening of the last week, I fainted at home and fell forward.  I lost consciousness for a few seconds.  When I came to, I was in excruciating pain in a big puddle of blood. I have several fractures in the nose and right cheek bone, which require surgery.  After hospitalization, several tests and more to come to find out what caused the fainting episode, I am taking it easy.

Even after a full recovery, things won't be the business as usual.  Life is precious.  Everyday is a blessing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"White Lilacs in Rose Vase" (watercolor; 6" x 6") sold


I got excited by the watercolor floral still life on a white background that "Daffodil Sunshine" was all about.  So I looked for old pictures of similar setups that I had taken this spring and in the past years and found a whole bunch.  I am in business for a while!  How do you like this simple, yet, lovely bouquet of white lilacs in a dainty rose vase casting deep purple shadows in the spring sun?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Rose Shadows" (watercolor; 6" x 6")

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Cast shadows on the rose petals, dark shadows on leaves, and deep violet shadows beneath! Don't you love all these beautiful shadows?

Friday, October 16, 2015

""Pale Pink Rose" (watercolor; 6" x 6") sold


With the success of the white peony painting, I decided to try another pale flower.  The painting reads as a glowing pale pink rose, doesn't it?  I guess I shouldn't avoid white or pale-hued flowers after all!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"White Peony Rhapsody" (watercolor; 7" x 10")

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For the 26th painting of my autumn watercolor fest, I decided to challenge myself by painting multiple white peonies with little variations of values or hues in petals.  It took careful drawing, many a delicate glaze, and a Winsor & Newton paint called "rose dore" to arrive at "White Peony Rhapsody".  I am mighty proud of the result; it may be the best watercolor painting I have ever painted!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Oriental Poppy Mystique" (watercolor; 8" x 6") sold


The painting started out with a pure white background.  Photographing it turned out to be difficult.  So, last night, I turned the white background into something else.  A dark, mysterious background brings out the incredible form, color, and texture of red oriental poppies, don't you agree?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Pink Peony Spring" (watercolor; 5" x 7") sold


I was going through my 2013 spring photos.  Behold, I came across a picture that became transformed into "Pink Peony Spring".  Spring comes fast and furious.  When you don't have to capture them in paints, don't despair.  Just keep taking pictures.  Someday you will have all the time in the world and get to finally have fun!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

"Red Poppy Passion" (watercolor; 5" x 7") sold


I decided to paint poppies a little differently.  I glazed the flowers, stems, and pods in several layers (in the left flower below, you can see the first yellow layer), whereas the background was painted wet-in-wet.  The painting looks intense and tropical, doesn't it?  I love it!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"Bountiful Peonies" (watercolor; 8" x 6") sold


Peonies are bountiful flowers. They are big; their perfumes are intoxicating; and so many buds on a stem that it is nearly impossible to prop them up to keep their pretty faces away from dirt!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Morning Irises" (watercolor; 8" x 6") sold


Curiously, some of my irises started blooming at the end of September.  After a rainy week thanks to Hurricane Joaquin, the sun finally returned to my garden.  My spirit soared to the sky at the sight of purple irises glowing in the morning sun!

Irises blooming in my autumn garden!

Monday, October 5, 2015

"Firebird" (oil on stretched canvas; 12" x 16") nfs


A beautiful young model in an unusual leather outfit came to Danni Dawson's portrait painting class two weeks ago.  She is apparently a "fire spin" dancer!  Although her outfit of vest with harlequin patches, opera-length black gloves, and laced-up red boots were fascinating, I decided to focus on her even more fascinating face.  Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I could not capture her likeness.  Her face exuded the audacious and vivacious spirit, which was beyond my ability to transcribe in paints.  Perhaps I will try again as this is supposed to be a five-week pose.

The painting looked like this after the first week.  During the second day, I gave more life to her flesh tone, strengthened the shadows on her face, and made the background flat and redder.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

"Rose Sunshine" (watercolor; 5" x 7")

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Rain, rain and more rain.  Hurricane Joaquin veered off to the ocean, but has still managed to dump a lot of rain along the East Coast for the past few days.  I desperately need sunshine!  What do I do?  Paint a peachy rose in the sun!

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Collage of My September 2015 Paintings

The Collage of My September 2015 Paintings

Time to show off the collage of the previous month's paintings!  There you go.  Lots of watercolors!  Which painting is your favorite?  By the way, I am not yet done with the watercolor fest: more peonies, irises, and roses to explore!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Peony Glory" (watercolor; 8" x 8") sold


I said in an earlier post that I vary my approach to painting watercolors.  With "Peony Glory", I pretty much finished the flower and buds before moving onto the negative space.  There is no one perfect way of starting and finishing a painting.  "Be flexible and have fun" is my motto!

About half way through the painting.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"Red Poppy Glory" (watercolor; 5" x 7") sold


An old collector of mine who bought "Oriental Red Poppy" commissioned me to paint two more of these poppy paintings so that she could display them together.  What an awesome idea!  And I get to paint a mini series!  Thank you, Kierstyn.  This is the second of the series.

Friday, September 25, 2015

"Peony Blush" (watercolor; 7" x 5") sold


During the peony season, I go outside to check my peonies every morning: did any buds open today?  I fine one.  A pink peony bud opening shyly to the morning sun is a blushing beauty!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Peony Brilliance" (watercolor; 8" x 6") sold


Last year we planted a different variety of pink peonies from the one we had been enjoying in our garden.  You can imagine my joy when they started blooming.  For fun, I vary my approach to painting watercolors; this one was started loosely and I tried to maintain the spirit throughout the painting process.  How do you like the result?

A loose beginning!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015