Wednesday, December 15, 2010

At the beginning again

The show went wonderfully. 
After a moment to catch my breath and set my course, I begin again.  That's one of things I love about art - investigating what tugs at you,  drawing the map as you go along. 

I'm heading into new territory that's autobiographical and archetypal. I'll be tackling images that include landscape, interiors, still life and portraiture.
The first piece is from a photo I took 19 years ago. It was Halloween and and Robert was carrying my son down the street.

The first pass that laid in the street, sidewalk and some of the shrubbery.


Yesterday  I added the skeleton suit and the lion costume.
Today I worked on Parker's face, the landscape next to the house on the left, and the skull mask.

Here's a closer view of the heads.

My plan is for the background to have that hazy nimbus feel, like the Harrow painting, and the two figures to catch the eye with more sharpness and detail.

This image is about what lies beneath father/son relationship. This kind of thing - the actaul story, the metaphorical fable, the image, the fact I kept it for 19 years, and knew I wanted to paint it almost as soon as I knew I wanted to paint - is why I love art.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Auditioning tomatoes at Whole Foods.


Corporal Works of Mercy series is done, dry, wired, varnished and delivered to the gallery. Friday is the opening and everyone is welcome. It's Mason Murer's holiday party, with more than a dozen painters' new works, food, drink, music, and rumors of interpretive dancers. If you come, be sure and say hey. I'll be the one looking happy. I love getting work in on time and making my deadline.

Mason Murer Fine Art

This is what I worked on today, tomatoes from a roadside stand and a plate and knife from Hambidge.  It was so relaxing. I love painting tomatoes and interesting knives with a history.
A friend brought me a butter knife he loves, with an amber handle. I took it for a palette knife at first. I'm off to audition tomatoes at Whole Foods.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Nearly done!

Ransom the Captive nearly finished.
My favorite bits are the lock and the reflection in the dog's eye.
Well, there's a bit to do on the Blenheim's ears. I had to steal the reference off of another dog's head as it was just a brown blur in the original photo.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I took a photo of Bury with sunlight slanting on a part of it, like a broad shaft of light from heaven was beaming down on this dog (if heaven was located to the upper right).
I loved the way it looked, and I decided to do it. Now. Deep breath. Jump.

Go big or go home, as my son says.

This was ...liberating. I'm glad I did it.

I'll be brightening up the fur from the top of the shoulders to the top of the ears. I'm thinking it''s the light of the great beyond you know - "go to the light ...." Or maybe the grim reaper has a really big flashlight.
It's not particularly logical, but it pleases me visually.

Friday, October 29, 2010

(un)Bury the Dead

Worked on fur detail, as in individual hairs, and tried to make his paws and front digging leg look dirty. It will need more peach/red tones. Also did a glaze on the bone. It will never be what I initially imagined, but I am not without hope that it will be done in time. I am okay with the dirt. Note to self - an idea without a working reference is just brain electricity. It's not ready to paint.

Ransom the Captive

Painted the bars of the cage and some fur detail. Each bar has two thin stripes down the side in different colors - violets, blues, greens and browns mostly. The photo doesn't really show it, but you get the idea. Blenheim is still far from done, so here's a detail of the cage. I can't wait to sharpen up the bolt and lock.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Worked on Bury the Dead. 
Closer, though not there yet, especially the front leg feathers which will be getting much darker. I'll be breaking up some of the lights on the body as well. I am once again swearing to myself that I won't start working unless I have a reference that's absolutely solid. I have one for the body, another for the paws, a third for the head, and too many different Georgia clay references to list.What was I thinking?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

7 down 2 to go

Two hours painting. Five hours battling with photoshop.
All but two paintings are finished, and I am hustling them towards completion. The six that are done are up on my website (after much gnashing of teeth and patient explantions plus an extra boost from a friend) and I've emailed them to the gallery.
Down to the wire now with Ransom the Prisoner and Bury the Dead.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Highlights, reflections and silver bells

Kept going on Comfort the Sick this morning. Listening to a Ian Rankin mystery the whole time. Book on CD from the Library - playing through the computer. Turns out to be a good combination with painting. For me this work stands on the devotion of the black dog expressed by his posture, and the tilt of the puppy's head.

Did highlights on the coat, a lot of paw detail.
Worked over the entire puppy, from ears to tail.  Still needs another layer or two. This pup is as speckled as a trucker's mudflap.
Added the pink collar with the tag and two jingle bells.
Added stronger shadow/reflections beneath dogs and wheelchair.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jammie stripes

Easy day. Did a bit of shopping, and knitted while listening to an Ian Rankin novel on CD - lovely Scots voices.
Painted stripes on the jammies.
Some days are  just lovely like that.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rawhide bone

Worked on Visit the Prisoner. Reworked the caged dog's fur, plus the cage background and cardboard beneath. Added the water dish and the rawhide bone.
Put lot of time into his face and especially his eye and his paws, pressed against the bars

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Time's up

Another happy painting day, this time on Harvest+Time.

Carrot tops, darks and lights on most of the leaves, both kohlrabi (is that the plural of kohlrabus?), highlights on the triangle and precise marks on the compass.

Friday, October 1, 2010

When Bitter is sweet.

Returned to Bitter, the painting I was working on before I went to the dogs. heh.
Painted the silver spoon, the hypo needles and the draperies. I could not put a brush stroke wrong. It felt so right. I remembered how much I love doing still lifes.


I've decided that a problem painting is like the out of control kid in an otherwise easy going group. The difficult kid gets 80% of the attention just to keep him from biting someone's ear or setting fire to the drapes, and all the good kids get a little distracted attention and mostly benign neglect. The result of my musing is that my troubled painting is currently in time out so I can spend some quality time with my good paintings.

Tomorrow I'll be photographing a rawhide bone to add to Visit the Prisoner and painting in the floor drain.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Visit the Prisoner

I've spent the day on Visit the Prisoner. I'm using the concrete floor in the garage as a go by for the floor, and worked on the dog inside the cage and the cardboard scrap he's laying on. After a break, I tackled the visitor - a Blenheim I borrowed from the neighbors. Her name is Ginger. There is probably going to be a rawhide bone added at some point

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bones and dirt, two more dogs

Inspired. Found a visual reference of dirt with a root that looks like a rib bone. It was in a corner of a photo I took of guys burying a sprinkler system. I added it to the lower left corner. Added black to fur. Changed angle and length of forward paw. Added dirt behind paw. Extended ears. Lengthened bone into the ground and added and deleted clods of dirt.

Went to breakfast at HomeGrown.

Then did a first pass of the two dogs in Comfort the Sick. Painting Moochie was a pleasure, the pup a revelation in how pink her underbelly is. Compared to painting dirt, the wheelchair should be a snap. 
I took a couple of hours to read and nap, so I can stay up late (um, 9pm) to attend daughter's performance at the High museum tonight.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On a mission

Started painting at 9:30, didn't look up until 1:30, and then realized I'm wound tighter than a tick. My inner timer went off and it's dinging like crazy - hurry hurry hurry.
My next show at Mason Murer opens November 19. I just counted the days left to paint and I'm in get it done, deadline mode.
Painted the chair, shins, crevices, fur and fingers on Clothe the Naked.  Not in that order.
Needs shadows under the fur here and there, and all the blue highlights redone, plus a little work on the paws.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Start of 'Comfort the Sick'

Great painting day.
Decided on the background and table top colors for Comfort the Sick. What's really in the background is a wooden matchstick blind (no way) and they are on top of a pine table with a piece of Lexan (like glass) that reflects (double no way). I went with a couple of values of a chamois color for the top, and a few variations on gray (conjured from purple, ocher, sap green and white) for the table. Mixed 'em up, spread 'em on, blended with a big brush, then wiped most of it off. Works for me. The white parts are the little puppy looking up on the left, and daughter Robin in a wheelchair with Moochie leaning against her leg and the wheel, looking up on the right.

Then I revisited Bury - it needed another layer on the background - then hit the darker places on the dog.

That took the morning, 9-1, after which I ran to the grocery store (cupboard was bare), the drugstore, and home. Chillaxing now, eating duck breast and mango salad (take out). Considering the benefits of a nap.

Just broke open the fortune cookie which reads, I am not making this up, 'You should be able to undertake and complete anything you desire."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Harvest+Time + blue skies

After trying various backgrounds, including a view of  a cabbage garden, which turned it into the painting equivalent of the tv show Hoarders (Too. Much. Stuff.), I went with blue. Bit of violet at the base.

Happy now and back on schedule to be done for the November show. While I was up I added the directions on the compass and a bit of texture to the burlap drape. Still needs feathery carrot tops, and possible some layers of glaze on the leaves, but after languishing behind the drying room door for months, it's on the home stretch.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Feed the Hungry

Her ears might need one more round, but I'm hanging this in the drying room for now. Two down, five to go.
Close up of the pups

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jumping around

Jumping around today. Signed the Hambidge Harrow, which I hadn't gotten around to, and added a few random blades of grass.
Painted the two gold rings and necklace/saints medal to Clothe the Naked.
Worked on the dog's face in Thirsty - pulled his muzzle forward and over the hose just a smidge  Image

Added lots of specific bits of fur, adjusted the shape of the fur around his eyes, lots of darkening and highlights on the ears, fur to his body and legs, more paint on the collar and tag. Also goldfish got a good going over.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Headstone gray

Still painting variations on white fur. Added little shadows under the rosary. Worked on her eyes. Here's a detail

The big change is changing the grass green background to Bury the Dead. I made a color I'm calling headstone gray.
I'm much, much happier.

I heading for a nap now, and when I get up I'm going to draw Visit the Sick. There are two dogs, part of a wheelchair, and legs in striped pajamas involved.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Painted Blenheim fur all morning, layer after layer. Softened the edges of the halo. She's started to develop the expression I remember. I'll be working on shadows tomorrow.


Thursday, September 9, 2010


Today I painted fur, especially his ears
Here's a detail.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

skin tones

Today all I painted was skin.
The legs need to be darker below the knees, but the hands are close to done. I love the blues and teals of the veins.
Once this dries really, really well, I can start pulling the edges of black fur out where it drapes over the body. Also add the gold wedding band, thumb ring, and the saints medal on the gold necklace.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

In honor of all who mother the orphaned


Today I added the edge of the dresser, the rosary, and another round of detail on the eyes and muzzle of the mother dog. I need the dresser to dry before I add the anchoring shadows to the beads. Going to research halos a little more before I start on hers. The mother was losing her fur from the stress of feeding so many, thus the pink patches of skin showing through here and there. Lots more fur to build up still.

The rosary has anchored me to this painting. I like the way it highlights the values the painting references - sacrifice, nurturing the orphaned, the sustaining necessity of faith - over the simple charm of puppies. And there are personal references for me - specifically of a woman who offered to say a novena for me when I was pregnant with my third child and having miscarriage symptoms. I can't adequately express how comforting that was. And in a more oblique way, the fact that foster parents took care of me for nine months while my birthmother resisted putting me up for adoption. I don't know their names, and have no way to thank them. This painting, in a small way, honors them. And the obvious - this is the dam that suckled my puppy when her own mother died giving birth to the litter.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bury the Dead

ImageHere's Bury the Dead.
I now have paint on 99% of four canvases. I pledge to not start anymore until at least two of these are in line for varnishing. Maybe by the end of September? Then I might get two more started and done before the November show. I'll get a better idea when I've done a round of painting the fur (vs just blocking in the shapes). It feels like I've got momentum and velocity just now.
The background will remain hazy, but the ground beneath the dog will be quite detailed - both the lighter color of the cracked, hard crust, sun-baked Georgia red clay and the darker, dense, wet clods of red clay. And then there's the femur.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Feed the Hungry, Bury the Dead

Today worked on the white areas on the puppies and blocked in the Mama. I knocked the red hue down on the far right pups. I'm going to add a rosary across the front that will drape over her paw and over the lip of the front edge (not painted in yet), and put in her halo next. Needs lots of value pushing and, the part I love, individual hairs curving out here and there.


This is the start of Bury the Dead.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Eleven Puppies

I painted eleven puppies; four rubies, two Blenheims and five tricolors. Everything but the white - first the dark colors need to dry. The four source photos I took have different tones and shades, so I pretty much had to make it up the colors based on my personal knowledge of cavaliers. I am going to have to tone down the ruby pups on the far right. The wood underneath them may have to change because it's so similar in value, but maybe shadows will do the trick.