Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Blog is moving to my website...

 Sorry for any inconvenience but my blog is now attached to my website and can be found at

Great audio books

I love to listen to audio books while I paint, do dishes, dust etc.  Here are a few of my favorite authors and narrators:

Louise Penny has written a number of wonderful mysteries with the fabulous Chief Inspector Gamache as hero.  Ralph Cosham has won the Audie Award for Best Audio Crime Novel in the US for narrating THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY.

Anne Perry has a whole host of books about Inspector and Charlotte Pitt set in Victorian London narrated by Davina Porter.

You don't have to be a kids to enjoy the Harry Potter audio books.  Jim Dale is one of the best narrators I've had the pleasure to listen to.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Here's what you'll see when you come to the studio

My hubby and I are nearly finished with the front walkway.  After having to tear it up this winter due to possible crack in the foundation (long story) we decided not to repore a cement path and go with a cobblestone look.  I am so happy we did.  Now we go in and finish up the rock wall and replant the boarder.  Fun!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Inspirational and how we find it...

In whatever form our work takes it requires a recharging of the batteries.  I don't know about you but I find it very easy to get stuck in a rut.  On particularly dull evenings I sit in front of my computer glaze eyed looking for something interesting on netflix as my husband does the same on his computer.  Then I wake up from the stupor, go outside with my camera and snap some shots, smell the flowers, watch the sunset and listen to the hummingbirds chitter overhead.  That's how our batteries are recharged, by taking time to smell the proverbial roses.  Sometimes it's done by reading a particularly good book or listening to favorite music.  Lunch with a friend or a walk with our spouse.  Even a good stint on pinterest can be thought provoking.  The good news is it doesn't take much to spark life and energy back into our day. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Update on process of two paintings.

These two paintings are nearly complete.  They both will need to dry for about a week then I can finish up with a final glaze layer.  The glaze layer will add a richness of color and depth and allow for some adjustments in temperature.  When completely dry I'll take some high quality photos for use on Cole's website. 

Now it's time to start some new compositions!  Exciting!!!

Lunch with my buddy in the garden

Monday, August 5, 2013

On the easel and off...

 Here is the latest set up and painting in progress.  This one has gone quite well, each step has been smooth and quick.  I love it when a painting comes together without a hitch .

Below you'll see the almost finished front walkway to our house.  Ken, Sam and I have been working away to get the bricks in place.  All of those years of lego building certainly helped, Sam is a wiz at working out patterns.

 And finally there is a picture of my Ellie had at work on one of the build during her bike trip. She's done so well on her trip and is in Montana already. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Critique and retreat day at Suzy Cyr's Seahorse Studio

We're having a lovely day at Suzy Cyr's Seahorse Studio. In our 13th year, our group gets together monthly for critique and twice yearly for retreats and has become a second family to me. We began as children's illustrators then slowly evolved in individual ways to illustration, fine art, product designers, card illustration and more. It's been amazing so see all of the growth.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

This weekend I'm attending and assisting on TLCWorkshops Dan Dos Santos book cover workshop.  We are learning Dan's process which works digitally for all of the preliminary stuff, ie thumbnails, value studies, color structure and final mockup.  Then switches to tradition oil painting for the final product.  Being "digitally challenged" my prep work was all by hand but I'm learning so much it's fantastic. I'll post the final product as soon as it's finished.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The steps so far...

Here's a step by step of this painting so far.

Thumbnail (2"x2 1/2" approx)
Full value structure drawing 
Toned canvas with charcoal drawing
Lay in of shadows
monochromatic underpainting (with a bit of color because I forgot to photograph it before I started the color layer, oops)
1st pass color layer.

Kind of fun to see it all at once.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A peek at what's coming in Dec.

I'll be teaching a Miniature Oil Painting workshop in Dec at Cole Gallery.  The photo gives you an idea of what the process will be.  When I have the finished painting I'll post it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Making progress...

 This painting is coming along.  The purpose of this layer is to model each object with color trying to get it as close to finished as possible.  There will be another layer of fine tuning, then one for glazing.  My biggest challenge is not to rush this stage.  Especially with the complicated shapes such as the drill.  I start with the overall shape then work my way down to the finest detail, trying to describe the turn of the form in space as the light travels across it. The other challenge as always is not to overpaint the shadows, they have much more punch if left somewhat transparent, allowing bits of the underpainting to show.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A glimpse into my studio...

Here's a peek of my easel set up and the underpainting in progress.  I paint with the easel facing a north window so the light is consistent all day.  The still life is lit with a single lamp which gives strong shadow shapes.  This stage of the painting could take up to three four hour sessions.  While creating an underpainting may seem like double duty to some, I find that it makes the color stage much easier as you can mix the colors to match the value of each area and the integrity of the value structure is preserved.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Monochromatic under painting and meditation...

Today I spent most of my time in the studio working on this layer of the painting.  First I mix a string of values using raw umber and flake white.  Then lay in a the values as I see them, trying to retain transparency in the darkest areas.  This is an oddly satisfying process.

In fact, life is quite stressful at the moment, and it's the time spent at the easel that I am reminded how lucky I am to be an artist.  The act of painting often takes my mind to a calm meditative state.    No matter what is going on around me I can find some peace and contentment there.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Next step in painting process

Here is the next step in my painting process.  With raw umber thinned slightly with OMS, the charcoal lines are painted over and major dark masses filled in.  This is allowed to dry for a number of days.  Next I'll go in with raw umber and flake white to create a monochromatic underpainting to fully establish the value structure.

Home again

 A few more photos from our road trip and the second pass on a small painting started on the road.

  It was great to get out and see some new scenery.  We discovered a few things about travel:

Hot weather sucks!  My hubby and I love it right around 70 degrees.

Driving everyday is tedious, no more road trips for the sake of seeing lots of places.  We like to park ourselves some place and explore over a number of days.