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. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Birthday Flowers

oil on board 8" x 6"

I had a big birthday yesterday, and spent the day doing what I love best- working on a quick (and therefore imperfect) painting. So fun!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Rooftop View, Arch Street, July 4

oil on board 8"x 10"

It's a hot 4th of July, and even hotter up on the roof- but the views make it bearable. I painted this same view in May, but from a window- not such a vertical view. I love vertical views, when all lines are moving rapidly away from the viewer, giving the scene energy and movement. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

21B Rooftop Study

21B Rooftop Study
conte pencil

My landlord has allowed me access to the roof. I've spend much time up there this week, sketching and getting acquainted with the views.

It's a little difficult getting up there; I have to climb an extension ladder then pull myself and all my supplies up through a skinny hatch in the ceiling. I have a fear but also a fascination with heights- I think the worry keeps me on high alert.

The other day I slipped up there and landed hard on my tailbone. Today I dropped my new metal easel on my own head as I was trying to get through the hatch. Hope that was it for the mishaps up there- for a while.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Spring Onions

oil on board 8"x6"

The local farmer's market opened for the season on Saturday, and I'm hoping to find inspiration there each week for a while. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Life Drawing (and Painting)

I'm running a life drawing/painting group, and so I HAVE to show up every week. The fifth month in, I'm feeling more confident. What great practice, and what great fun it is!

Painting from a live model is exciting the way painting outdoors is- there is a strict time limit imposed, so you have to make clear, concise and quick decisions, focusing on what really matters.

We alternate weeks between shorter poses and one three hour pose. Here are some of the drawings and paintings I've been the most happy with, starting with a painting from last night:

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Saint-Sauveur, Quebec City

oil on board 8"x6"

I used a restrained color palette here of Ivory Black, Ultramarine Blue and Yellow Ocher, then added just a touch of red here and there. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Harsh Morning Light on Arch Street

oil on board 8"x6"

I prepped a board with clear acylic gesso because I wanted to try painting on a beautiful ocher-y surface instead of my usual white gesso. It took three days of slathering the paint on to get the painting to have a good sense of light- it seems I had to paint very very thickly to get a light color to not show the brown surface coming through. But this was wonderful! The thick texture was fun to work with, and I used a palette knife in the lightest areas.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Conch Shell in Daylight

oil on board 8" x 8"

I've been fiddling around with palette knife painting lately, and this is my second try. I began with a careful drawing, then painted the entire thing with my palette knives. Spreading the paint with knifes is wonderfully fun but also daunting. It's kind of like eating without utensils- or even eating with furry paws or something. 

I am happy with the colors here, and it's probably a good way for me to paint from time to time, as I do normally get so caught up in detail, losing the forest for the trees. 


oil on linen mounted on board 12" x 12"

I was thinking of possible titles, such as "Tulips with Greens" (which sounded too much like a description of a dish), but then settled on what I feel this painting is all about- longing. Longing for something unnameable, ungraspable, and outside that window. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Little Gargoyle and Poplano Pepper

oil on canvas mounted on board 8" x 6"

Here is a wee painting of two things that don't seem to belong together, but that's what makes the little scene pleasing to me. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Duct with Orange

pastel on pastel board 13.5" x 13.5"

Pastels still feel like a new medium, but I'm beginning to realize that despite what I've heard, it's not necessary to have 500 pastel sticks to get the colors you need- just keep blending, then layering, etc. But I am starting to dream of having 500, no mistake about it! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Six Oranges

oil on canvas mounted on board 12 1/4" x 15

This is a study of oranges in preparation for a class. Turns out I kind of like it.

My business is humming along pretty well for being so new. Life Drawing on Sundays has been filling up, as are my classes and classes taught by others.

Here are some negative space studies by some students in charcoal that I think are quite effective: