Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Isn't She Lovely, Isn't She Wonderful"

Ingrid, 8 x 10  oil on board

This song came to mind while I was painting baby Ingrid.  The song Stevie Wonder wrote for his own daughter.

Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious
Less than one minute old
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn't she lovely made from love

I always thought the last line was, "But isn't she lovely little daughter".  No daughter in it at all....go figure.
Of course, I mean the baby is lovely,  not the painting.  That needs work..  I changed her mouth some, because she looked a little unhappy. 

This is my friend's grandchild, and I can't wait to surprise her with it on Friday.  She wants to give it to her daughter for Christmas.  She's so sweet all snuggley in her lambie cap.  Isn't she?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sweet Life

Guest House

Before creating art, homes have been my expertise for 20 years.  As a special treat, we took a home tour of a house that was finished 6 months ago.  The vegetation has grown in nicely and it was a mild, gorgeous day.  I have so many wonderful photos of this Provencial home, but to respect for our client's privacy, I can only show a couple of sweet shots. 

Guest House Window
Looks right out of a Provence magazine. 

Loving Onlookers
A huge house to photograph, and I'm taking pictures of the children.  So sweet.

a fountain peaking through the trees

The end of a glorious day       

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Birdie Christmas Card

Christmas Birds, 8 x 10, mixed media (female and male vermilion)

Every year we send a family photo Christmas card.  The last couple of years, it's just been the girls alone. Since the girls are in college, I think it would be a good time to transition to an artistic card.  It's hard to break tradition...but I thought I would have one ready. 

This is a mixed media piece on board.   The background painted with acrylic consists of stamping holly leaves and other textures.  The birds and flowers are painted in oil. 

I'm kind of liking the birds by themselves. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Workshop For One

A wishing star ornament  (This is NOT the exchange ornament!)
A friend of mine asked if she could come over and paint with me one day.  She loves art and hasn't done anything in a long time.  So Saturday morning we sat at my table in my studio partner style for a couple of hours of happy painting.

Originally, we had a couple of ideas of what to paint and I had prepared some boards to paint on for each of us, but when Michelle saw the little ornaments hanging to dry for our ornament exchange at Studio JRU, she just had to make one for herself, too.  I was happy that she wanted to, because I  needed to work on them. 

By now, I had a step by step process, because you can't make 10 little ornaments without a little organization, right.  I also enjoyed teaching her little things I've learned along the way.  We talked about what women talk about and drank coffee.  It was so much fun.  I could get addicted to this.  I can't show you the ornament until Dec. 10, so the one above is another very different one I made.

I also want to give a special thanks to my friend, Kelly at Kelly Berkey Designs for posting my painting and having the challenge that introduced me to many of you.  I wish you could join me and paint one Saturday, too.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sneak Peek Friday

Remember how restaurants and bars use to give away free matches?  You never had to buy any.   I had some really interesting and creative ones.   Last time I grabbed a box of matches on my way out of a restaurant, turned out to be crayons.

Gift shops sell some pretty ones next to scented candles, etc.  So I  decided to make this little pack for fun and put one of my images on it.  I got a pack of ugly plain matches from Ralphs for my fill. 

Little matchboxes 1-1/2" x 2"...so cute!

My table's been full of pretty little ornaments, too.  You'll have to wait to see those.  If you would like join us for Sneak Peek Friday, just visit Jennifer at  "In the Studio"  and give it a try.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plein Air Painting

I came across the website of fine artist, Tom Brown, who I happily discovered teaches at an Art Center very close to me.  Although the workshop is not in session until after the holidays, I joined his group this past weekend in Laguna Beach for a 3 hour plein air session. 

Hotel Laguna, (Tom Brown)

We set up in the shade on the main beach smack in the middle of all the action.  This was Tom's first painting of four that he did during our session.  He was demonstrating painting in impasto style.  When painting the final layer of paint, he painted each stroke very thickly and didn't mess with it again.

Palm Tree, (Tom Brown)

Tom painted this palm tree in 15 minutes.  It was fun to watch him paint and I tried learn from his movements as he painted.  He was constantly sharing experiences and tips with us newbies.

It was a beautiful morning, and there were so many people there, it was like a summer day.  I was trying to paint the tower through all these people.  I never did finish it.

Hotel Laguna, my painting impasto style

The night before I researched what supplies I needed, but forgot about getting 2 wet paintings back to the car with my hands full of supplies.  Luckily, another resourceful artist taped my paintings to the outside my paint box and I could carry them back easily.  Tom showed me a couple of boxes he made to carry wet paintings in..so if I go again, I'll be more prepared.  It was a pleasant experience, even though it felt like the first day of school.  Gosh, I have got to start a list of first time experiences...it's growing everyday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Space to Breathe

A glorious day and sunset last night

It was my first experience participating in a partially silent art journaling retreat.  Time was give for silence and reflection.  We each  worked on a piece of artistic expression reflecting our experience with God through the use of paint, collage, writing, and mixed media.   All of the work had personal meaning, and we shared and explained our pieces at the end.  From the start, I reminded myself that this wasn't about producing a piece of saleable art, and I just let go and enjoyed the experience.  Here's a grouping of some of the beautiful work.  My piece is about all the wonderful, kindred, creative, spiritual women brought into my life lately....can you see them?   They kind of look like rocket's.   Hope your weekend was special, too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sneak Peek Friday

Kristen, 9" x 12" oil on board
Welcome to Sneak Peek Friday!

If  you find yourself slavishly copying a photo, and it is a perfect picture as is, than just stop there and frame it.   The beauty of being an artist is to make an emotional connection between artist and viewer.  Using a reference picture should only be the jumping off spot to making a connection.  How can you do that when capturing a portrait that should look like the person or pet for your painting, you ask?

I really don't have a simple answer, but for me I look for something in the reference photos... a look, a gesture, an action.  For instance, here is a  portrait of a young girl, my daughter, Kristen, entering adulthood.  She has such a beautiful soul, our little Kristen.  The story I see behind this painting is that she's on her way out the door and I think the angle shows motion and the white is the door jamb...a quick look back to me....bye mom,  I love you...(or was it bye, mom... I took money out of your wallet)....and she's gone.  At the same time, it symbolizes her metamorphosis from young girl/child to young woman.

I truly love paintings that deliver a meaning, a story, an emotion.  Do you have any favorites?

If you would like join us for Sneak Peek Friday, just visit Jennifer at  "In the Studio"  and give it a try.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Santiago Canyon Hills

Santiago Canyon Hills, 6 x 6 oil on board
$65 + $7/S&H

Every weekend my hubby and I are mountain biking the hills around Orange County.  It never fails that when I don't have a camera, I see colors and views to die for.  This painting is a result of one of our bike trips up Santiago Truck Trail.  It was a moody day, with low clouds.  The sun was peaking through and lighting up the grass on this hillside or golf course...like a spot light.

I went back the following weekend with my camera in tow and took the reference picture on a sunny, clear day and painted this from memory and with some artistic license.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sneak Peek Friday

"the Babysitter" 8 x 10, oil on board
A couple of "Sneak Peek" items this week.  "The Babysitter" has taken on a new look.  I felt the painting didn't have enough pop.  So, I pumped up the colors by making the ocean darker and changing the baby's outfit to a brighter red.   Now, the colors make me happy.  I hope you agree, too. 

Last night, my art lover friends and I made it to another Laguna Beach Artwalk.   It's so valuable to get out beyond your four walls and see what's out there in the art world.  My favorite gallery was  Sue Greenwood and judging by the turn out, a ton of other people thought so, too.  Besides appreciating  the art from a distance, I stand right up next to the pieces to see the workmanship and feel the texture.

I was impressed with Maurice Gray's work last night.  He takes pieces of paper and collages the background first and then adds a sculptural piece as the focal point.   The collage has a polyurethane finish, and it is so smooth that I thought it was a photo at first.  I had to look at an angle to see the different layers.

This piece was made up of hundreds of  little matches.  All lit and burnt out right away.   The ax and house projected from the piece. It was one of those double take pieces.

I always walk away from these outings inspired...anxious to create another piece of art.  I heard somewhere that you should exposed yourself to really good art to train your eye for your own work.  So get out there, grow in your art and create!

If you would like join us for Sneak Peek Friday, just visit Jennifer at  "In the Studio"  and give it a try.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Babysitter

The babysitter  8 x 10, oil on board
So happy to be painting with oil.  I craved a simple painting and used an image from my summer beach visit. 

I name this the "Babysitter" because I had imagine this seagull watching out for the little toddler making sure she did not get too close to the shore's edge.  The reality of the situation was probably that he was watching to see if she had any food in her hand, I'm sure. 

I still need to work on this painting some more.  The details need to be sharpen up a bit and I crave more contrast...so we'll see.  The background is totally made up so maybe now's a good time to look at reference photos to finish it. 

Hope your having a good day, too.