Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Enchanted Harbor" (oil on stretched canvas; 18" x 18") sold


As my husband is from Minnesota and has lots of relatives there, we often visit Minnesota.  We spent a pleasant day in Grand Marais on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota during one of our visits a few years ago.  It is a picturesque artist community with two harbors and lighthouses.  The reference photo for the painting was backlit and pretty much black and white.  But I loved the composition and wanted to make a painting out of it.

I transformed a bleached-out, afternoon scene into a romantic twilight moment.  I went wild with dots in the water, sky and everywhere.  I hope you like my pointillist style as much as I do!

Monday, June 22, 2015

"Rose Sprigs" (oil on stretched canvas; 8" x 10")

click here to buy

By Thursday, the temperature hit 90's!  Prudently we painted inside, myself choosing a small bouquet of roses as the subject.  As it turned out, this painting turned out to be the most difficult project of the workshop.

My teacher, Danni Dawson, is a master of contemporary realism, renowned for her luminous portraiture and exquisite still life.  She showed us how to paint the rose, gooseberry, strawberry, melon, and glass bottle.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't paint like her; I simply did not have her patience of painting a petal by petal!

I brought the roses home, hoping to finish the painting.  The flowers died in a refrigerator.  The thing to do, as Danni assured us many times, was to paint the way I painted.  So I did.  Using the image on my smart phone as the reference, I made finishing touches on "Rose Sprigs". 

The beginning of the painting

Many steps later.

"Stone Cottage with Grape Vines" (oil on stretched canvas; 11" x 14")

click here to buy

On the second day of Danni Dawson's workshop, I decided to paint the studio of her husband and fellow artist Mike Francis, a charming stone cottage with wooden doors draped with grapevines.  As I painted the scene in the shade of a plein-air umbrella, the overcast sky eventually cleared by the afternoon.  The sun moved to cast the lovely shadows of grape leaves on the old, patinaed doors.

I used to "mass produce" these plein-air paintings two a day during a workshop.  No more!  I took my time by carefully observing the growth patterns and cast shadows of grape leaves, and finished the painting on the following day.  It was a lot of fun and not as exhausting!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Summer Roses" (oil on stretched canvas; 10" x 8")

click here to buy

During the week of June 8th, I took a workshop of my teacher, Danni Dawson, at her house in Arlington, VA.  What a workshop it was!  Six of us painted in her rose garden, then when the weather became oppressively hot, we went inside to paint still lives in her spacious studio.  Danni, a gourmet cook, also prepared every lunch of an Italian dish made fresh with vegetables from her garden!

"Summer Roses" was the first painting of the workshop, which I didn't quite get to finish. Yesterday I worked on the leaves to make the painting more lush.  How do you like it?

I started the painting on the canvas toned with an ultramarine blue, which became part of the background. Cool, don't you think?

This is how far I got on Monday. After a heavy thunderstorm that night, the flowers were all gone!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Harbor in Late Afternoon Light" (oil on stretched canvas; 18" x 24")

click here to buy

I started showing my art on, the online gallery founded in 2006 and based in San Francisco.  It's a new era in my art career with larger, better paintings, as the gallery curates the artwork submitted by the artists.  I have already got four of my paintings turned down.  I'd better work harder!

"Harbor in Late Afternoon Light" is an old painting that I spiffed up with dots.  The late afternoon sun was striking Noyo Harbor, a small, working harbor in northern California at a perfect angle, making everything glow.  How do you like it?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"Black Muse" (oil on stretched canvas; 16" X 12")

click here to buy

I am a little behind in blogging.  Better late than never!  The beautiful African-American model is wearing a turban-like head cloth from Mali.  I painted her chiseled face over the two Saturdays in Danni Dawson's portrait class at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA. 

I started blocking in.

I got this far at the end of the first-week session.

Friday, June 5, 2015

"Organic Carrots" (watercolor on paper; 8" x 11")

click here to buy

After three days of not painting to do chores, I didn't know what to paint anymore.  Oh no!  After grocery shopping, it occurred to me.  Why not paint these organic carrots?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

"Red Poppy Dance" (watercolor on paper; 10" x 10")

click here to buy

Red Oriental poppies with delicate blue green fronds dance against a blue sky, which was not a blue sky at all in the reference photo!.  As the painting progressed from the bottom of a quarter watercolor sheet (15" x 11"), it became clear that dark, lush green background all over interfered with the vivid red petals of the poppies. The painting was about to become too choked with intense colors.  There would be no respite for the eye or a breathing space.

I cut the bottom portion, making the painting a square, and made the foliage lighter.  You can't paint what you see; you have to follow the direction of the unfolding painting.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Collage of My May Paintings

The collage of my May 2015 paintings

Last month I started out with portraits and florals in oil.  Then, suddenly, I got my watercolor box and brushes out.  I guess it was the heat, which seems to bring out the water lust in me.  Hehe.  How do you like the collage of my May paintings?  Which painting is your favorite?