Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Jack at Five Months

oil on linen mounted on board 8"x6"

My grandson Jack! 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Sour Cherries

oil on canvas mounted on board 5"x 7"

I've never painted cherries before, and although it seemed very hard at first to paint them as looking obviously like cherries, I discovered that it's all in the reflection and highlights, plus of course the selectively saturated reds. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Grand Canyon

oil on paper mounted on board 6 5/8" x 10"

Still traveling in my mind, I painted from a photo of the Grand Canyon that I found on a Wikipedia page. I love trying to capture great distances in a painting. 

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Belgian Lighthouse

oil on paper mounted on board 7" x 7"

Since it's near impossible to do much traveling right now, I'm enjoying finding photos of some faraway places and turning them into paintings. 

This photo is from Facebook's "Artist Reference Photos", a free resource for artists.  

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Oregon Coast

oil on linen mounted on board 8" x 6"

It's time to loosen up, after two months of working slowly and trying to put down everything I see. I painted this study in one five-hour shot and will continue this method until I feel like slowing down again. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Fruit Machine

oil on linen panel 10" x 10"

The still life allows me to slow way down, and so does Pennsylvania's Shelter-in-Place mandate. 
I love painting slowly, sometimes even setting up a peephole viewer to get the colors just right, and work in little sections at a time. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Pink Ribbon Eggplant

oil on paper mounted on panel 11" x 7"

Dark purple eggplant is gorgeously colored and glossy, picking up surrounding colors with depth and subtlety. Yet they are so very dark that I like to place them next to lighter, more saturated colors. Plus I find this juxtaposition of the pink ribbon on the lumbering shape of the eggplant funny.

Saturday, April 11, 2020


oil on panel 8" x 6"

This is my niece Abby, who will join the Milwaukee Ballet in the fall.  

Friday, April 3, 2020


oil on linen mounted on board 10"x10"

The world has come to stillness, and time seems to expand. Now there is more than enough time for painting, enough time for taking hour long walks, for reading, for catching up with people on the phone. Enough time to be really, really lazy, and for worrying about the future and then coming up with plans. 

Everyone please be as safe as you can! 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Seashells on Pink

oil on linen mounted on board 12" x 6"

The trick for me as an artist is to not allow the anxiety from this pandemic to kill my desire to create. My classes are all cancelled, and my studio mates have moved back to their home studios, so I have plenty of time, which feels strange. 

Here is part of a poem a friend posted the other day that has been helpful for me. Perhaps you'll like it too. 

This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.

-John O'Donohue

Excerpt from his books, To Bless the Space Between Us

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Jack at Three Weeks

oil on board 8"x6"

My first grandson, Jack, was born in December. It was lovely to work on a portrait of him, but not easy!

Friday, December 20, 2019


oil on canvas paper mounted on board 7 3/4" x 7"
Here's a quick study to prepare for a still life class. If I don't do the exercise myself, I'm not teaching it as well as I could.

Sometimes I spend a month or more on a painting, as perfectionism can sometime grab me by the heels, but it's important to sometimes just paint fast and not take it too seriously. Isn't there a cookbook titled "Fix it and Forget it"? I think sometimes that's good advice.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Pink, Red and Gray

oil on linen mounted on board 10" x 8"

This painting went through a lot of stages, from loose to tight to loose to tight...trying to find a good balance between the two. 

I like the compositional tension between the strong red in the background competing for attention with the more subtle colors of the shell. Bold, saturated colors usually come forward in a painting, dull colors retreat, so I suppose I was trying to see if I could break one of the rules and have it work. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Late Afternoon Light, Late September

oil on paper mounted on board 6"x6"

A painting I just finished- painting in a mad frenzy so I can get to my evening job. Painting quickly has its benefits. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Arch Street Deli

oil on paper mounted on board 10" x 8"

Here is Perkasie's Arch Street Deli, where men gather out front in good weather and shoot the breeze for hours.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Twin House with Trees, Rooftop View

oil on board 7"x 5"

When I'm painting up on the roof, and the sun comes out, there are so many beautiful scenes that I think I'll never live long enough to capture them all. When the sun goes behind clouds all the magic is gone. Painting landscape, for me at least, leaves me entirely at the mercy of the skies. Today I started something, the sun disappeared and I sat waiting and waiting, then went downstairs to do the dishes, wash my hair, answer emails. A couple hours later the sun returned and I scrambled up the ladder to begin another. It's pretty handy to have my outdoor studio right above me, but I feel like nature is in charge, not me!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Suspended Radishes

oil on board 7"x 5"

I had only a four-hour window to work on this radish bunch, then when I returned to them the next day they had moved mercilessly out of position. Frustrated, I worked on this from memory today.

Lately nothing holds my focus unless it's a subject that I have to grab quickly before it changes or vanishes. Landscapes, still lives of fresh vegetables or fruits, or life drawings- all are of living things and seem so much more interesting to me than inanimate objects.

Here is a figure drawing from Sunday:

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Carriage Houses and Backyards

oil on board 7"x5"

I painted this in about three hours yesterday, from the roof of my studio. I like the sneaky aspect of viewing my town from up there, feeling invisible but having so many suprising views. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Fairy Tale Eggplant

oil on board 8"x 6"

I'd never heard of Fairy Tale Eggplant before I spotted these at the local farmer's market, and fell in love. At the end of a long day of painting, I sauteed them with garlic, parsley, tomatoes and peppers. They have none of the bitterness of globe eggplant, and cook quickly. Just darling things. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Dragon Fruit

oil on board 6"x 8"

I am developing a new way of working, trying to keep my work looking fresh and inspired but not too slap-dash. I choose a subject the day before, or very early in the day, then spend 6-8 very focused hours trying to capture it. Painting something with ephemeral beauty (or strangeness) helps me to feel that I better get my impression down quickly, as the second day it will have changed too much. I take a black and white photo of the subject at the end of the day. 

Then I turn the painting around and don't look at it for 2-3 days. When I finally check it out, I'm immediately struck by what works and what doesn't, and make a few changes or additions with the use of the photo, working for under an hour. I keep telling myself that the photographic image is not my boss- I'm the boss. 

It's fun, more fun at least than working things to death and losing the original feeling of inspiration.