Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tulips with Carved Ornament

oil on board 6"x8"

Sure, flowers are a pretty subject, but I'm interested in painting them as somewhat melancholy things. 

This took me two weeks, which is a much more patient approach than I've used in most of my paintings these past few years.

Is painting about creating beauty? Not for me. I find the things of this world, lit just right, are more beautiful than any old painting. As an old friend used to say, it keeps you humble.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lilies with Carved Ornament

charcoal 16"x11"

When I teach drawing classes, I try and remember to bring along a can of reworkable spray fixitive. Once a student asked me why it's called "reworkable". I wasn't sure, but said that I thought you could "fix" your drawing, then add more marks over that. For the first time that is what I did with this drawing- when I'd almost had enough of it, I sprayed it and then added some additional layers of shadow. Charcoal is such an ephemeral (and sometimes maddening) medium that it was really cool to be able to make it stay in place and continue to work. I think I'll try this again. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Self Portrait (struggle)

graphite 12"x9"

I've always found drawing or painting a self-portrait to be monstrously difficult. I can look at other people's faces calmly and somewhat objectively, but I turn into a slithering pile of self-doubt when I contemplate my own. 

I think this drawing is passable, plus has a nice searching-in-the-dark quality- a grasping at understanding who I am now, at this middle-aged state of being a 55 year old woman.

As just about every woman past the age of 40 must think, it's awfully difficult to get older and begin to feel relatively invisible.  I hope to try many other self-portraits as a way to prove to myself that I'm not invisible at all. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Children Sleeping

Five drawings of my sleeping children, Julia and Will. A lovely subject as close to my heart as a subject can get.

I will be leaving Daily Paintworks on February 20. I've got just a few paintings left for sale there, and you can view them here. My two art tutorials will continue to be available.

I'm now working on paintings and drawings that I don't finish in a few days, and much of my future finished pieces will still be for sale via this page.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dog in Sunlight

 oil on board 6"x8"

When I paint something, the hours spent staring at the subject often has me thinking how strange and beautiful it is. Everything on this planet is wonderfully strange, even a dog, if you try and imagine you're a Martian, on earth for the first time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dreaming Cow

charcoal 11"x17"

I've been teaching charcoal drawing to a private student, and decided that I needed (and wanted) to get back to using this medium. It's difficult, to say the least, but forces you to see the big picture. Even the thin vine sticks are not good for detail. I find it's quite similar to using a paint brush, and so it's a good prelude to learning to paint. Using the kneaded eraser feels like using white paint- as though you aren't really erasing, but adding whites.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Three Cows Watching

oil on board 6"x8"

The gentle, passive curiosity of cows is endlessly appealing to me. 

Since September I've been posting new paintings quite infrequently, due to lingering issues with my vision since cataract surgery. Finally I've got a pair of prescription glasses so I can focus both near and far- thus can happily paint again. I feel like a whole new ball game just got started!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Trotting Pig

oil on board 5"x7"

Lucky in our modern world is the pig with the freedom to trot around on a grassy field.

This auction is starting with a low opening bid of $50. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Quebec City Chimneys

pen and ink wash 7"x7"
click here to bid or purchase

I love this view of just the top parts of a long row of beautiful homes in Quebec City. See the lower chimneys in the lower left corner? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Carriage Horse

oil on board 6"x8"

This carriage horse is working in Philadelphia's Independence Mall area. I like the swirling composition created by all the black lines against the horse's whiteness, as the head turns. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Philadelphia and I-95

graphite 6 and 3/4"x 9"

I found some great views of Philadelphia by walking partway across the Ben Franklin Bridge. Here is a section of Old City, contained and wrapped around by the enormous concrete ribbon of the adjoining I-95 highway.

It's been a little over a week since cataract surgery was done on my second eye. Although I'm still adjusting to the changes, the world looks a hundred times more beautiful now.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Girl in a Museum

oil on board 8"x6"

I love the pose this little girl stricks, as her mom looks at Van Gogh's "Sunflowers".  I'm happy with the way this turned out, especially the way the two figures fit together, and the way the mother seems to be in motion while the daughter is not. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Girl with Cezanne's Flowers

oil on board 8"x6"

I belatedly realized that my last painting was a bomb, so I deleted it. I'm happy with this one though. 

This girl was visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art with her family, and seemed distracted from looking at the art. She instead was busy absorbing the atmosphere of the place on a crowded Sunday, and I kind of thought she was a work of art in her own right. I have to be really sneaky with my camera.

The painting behind her is Cezanne's "Still Life with Flowers in an Olive Jar". 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Three Musicians

oil on board 6.5"x7"

This young woman is contemplating Picasso's "Three Musicians" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

End of a Summer Day, Saint-Roch, Quebec City

pencil, pen and ink wash 4.75" x 12"

How I love pen and ink. I like the way I have to incorporate accidents into the overall aim of the drawing- it's difficult to be too perfectionistic with a medium that is unerasable. I always start with a very faint wash, and often end up being surprised at how dark the darks end up being.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Two Good Things: Cataract Surgery and an Article

I've been reluctant to mention this, but over the past year or so I've been having problems with painting from life.  It's hasn't been so bad to paint from the brightness and saturated color of my iMac monitor, but trying to work from a still life or landscape has been awfully hard. Turns out it has been the fault of my eyes- I've had early onset cararacts. It may have been caused by years of painting outdoors in full sunlight.

I just had surgery on the first eye, and am excited and eager to paint, but need to take it a little easy this week. It feels like my eye and brain and trying to catch up with each other.

Meanwhile, Bucks County Magazine just published a nice article about my work, written by Michele Malinchak. You can read part of it here.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

View of Old Quebec from the Saint Lawrence River

pencil, pen and ink wash on paper

This view of Quebec City shows a slice of both the Upper Town (Haute-Ville) and Lower Town (Basse-Ville) as seen from the Saint Lawrence River. You can see here some of the beautifully geometric buildings from the University of Laval's School of Architecture.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


oil on board 8"x6"

This woman is studying a Van Gogh painting of sunflowers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I like the way her blond hair in a bun blends in with the flowers, seemingly adding to the generous bouquet.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Girl Among Orchids

oil on board 7"x 5"

My mom gave me the idea to take pictures of people in public gardens, so I took a trip to one of her favorite places, Longwood Public Gardens. This girl is inside the huge glass conservatory, admiring the orchids in the Orchid Room.

My mom has always been super supportive of my work. Tomorrow we'll celebrate her 83rd birthday- Happy Birthday Mom!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mother and Daughter

oil on panel 6.5"x 6.5"

This young mother and her daughter are waiting to cross a street in Quebec City. The late afternoon light on them was so beautiful.