Friday, February 28, 2014

Still Life with Clementines

Still Life with Clementines
8x8 oil on hard board panel
I need to look at this a bit to decide if it is finished. I will need to add another layer of paint in the background and tweak the pealed clementine.
pencil sketch to work out composition
Umber oil sketch to establish shapes and values
Color block-in
Color, value and drawing adjustments

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cherries Three

"Cherries Three"
4x4" oil on hard board panel
Just a little one today, the cherries seemed to need a very small canvas.
I took a trip yesterday to Grenon Trading Co. on rte. 101 in Bedford NH.  They are the largest (and best) supplier of artificial fruit, veggies and flowers.  I have been checking the supermarket shelves for cherries but of course they are out of season everywhere. I left with a bowl full of these little cherries and an arm full of flowers to get me through the rest of the winter.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Early Daffs

"Early Daffs"
6"x6" oil on panel $100
This just needs a few tweaks and then it will be done.  It always helps to see it on the monitor.  I switched to oil today and put the pastels away.  I have an alla prima class tomorrow and I didn't want to be rusty.
My paintings have a busier social life than I do.  I have to keep a calendar of delivery and pick up dates for all the spring shows.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Trail

"The Trail"
11"x14" Terry Ludwig pastels on pastelmat
We spent a wonderful day yesterday in Boston and ate at a sidewalk cafĂ© on Newbury Street.  Between the heat lamps and the gorgeous sunshine we were comfortable eating outside.
The occasion was a visit to Vose Galleries for a book signing and pastel demonstration by Liz Haywood Sullivan.  The book is gorgeous but her pastels in real life were even more beautiful.  I learned a lot and can't wait to try out some of her techniques.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Into the Woods

"Into the Woods"

11"x 14" soft pastel (mostly Terry Ludwigs) on Art Spectrum Colorfix Suede
I worked on this Tues. in the comfort of my studio during a tremendous snow storm.  I don't think I ever saw snow that dense and flakes that large. Even if I was a plen air painter I wouldn't be able to paint outside because the snow is way over my knees.  Driving home from work toda , in yet another snow storm, I noticed that the snow banks were so high on the side of the road that I felt like I was in a bobsled or luge.
I started this one with thumbnails and value sketches and it really helped the painting go smoother.
Speaking of smooth, I like this paper, it may be my new favorite.  I like colorfix and Uart but today I didn't want to work on a sand paper surface.  It eats up the pastel and creates lots of dust. This one had just the right amount of tooth and I was able to add many layers.
I am working on pieces to send to two pastel society exhibits.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

11x15 pastel on Art Spectrum Colorfix, Terrracotta
  I recently switched from small oils to larger pastels and was feeling a little discouraged. It occurred to me that I finished 200 small paintings before I was happy with what I was doing so this is number 3 and I hope it gets a little easier by the time I do 197 more.
My goal this year is to paint  plein air (outdoors, on site)I haven't quite figured out how much to take and how to carry my supplies but I do have 2 French easels.  Also it will have to wait because right now it is snowing heavily and there is still a foot on the ground.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


12"x17" soft pastel on Uart 800
This was my demo at the Lake Street Garden Center "Hearts to Arts" event. It was a beautiful day in the new green house with the sun shining through the glass making it feel like summer.
I took the reference photo while flying with a friend from New York to Vermont.  The world is so beautiful at 2,000 ft. above ground level.

Friday, February 14, 2014


6x6 oil on panel $100
Clementines are such a delightful little fruit.  They are small, easy to peel with just the right amount of sweetness. I have  one with my lunch everyday.
They are a little bit soft and fit into a bowl nicely. I may try this again with a light background.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Salmon River

Salmon River
6"by 8" soft pastel on Colorfix suede
I took this reference photo of the Salmon River last summer.  It is part of the Merrimack River watershed. 
Last Saturday and Sunday I painted at Lake Street Garden Center in their new greenhouse.  The sun was out, the greenhouse was warm and it was a pleasant reminder of summer.
I saw an article by Richard McKinley before I left for the event and thought I would give it a try. He suggested doing a value drawing with umber and coating over it with clear gesso to seal the drawing and create a grit for the pastels. Then he added a watercolor under painting with soft pastel on top.  The gesso made my drawing run a bit.  The watercolor was fun to add because I could be as splashy as I wanted as long as I stayed true to the values. The soft pastel went very quickly because I had so much structure already.  I enjoyed this technique and will try it again.
Today we are in the midst of "Pax" a persistent winter storm.  So far we only have 2 to 3 inches but that is on top of last week's snow. The wind is starting to pick up so I don't think we are near the end. I am tired of winter but I did enjoy having a "snow day" to stay home and paint and get myself out of the painting slump I have been in for the past week.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


4"x4" oil on panel
Nothing like a few wipe-outs to make you think you can't paint!  The first version got so muddy and over-worked, I didn't even use the same panel! I think I like this one but I have to look at it for a while to be sure. This one was for the Daily Paintworks Challenge "Citrus".  Not easy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


ACEO 2.5"by 3.5" oil on panel
Another small rose study

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cross Country

"Cross Country"
5"x7" oil on cradled panel $100
For log-book purposes a cross-country flight is one with at least 50 miles between airports. A friend and I flew and landed in 5 states in one day.  Actually in New England that is not too difficult. I flew the first leg from MA to NY.  He flew from NY to Vermont.  I was able to take the reference for this painting while he flew.  The view was magnificent.  It seemed that each field we overflew was greener than the one before.

Tomorrow and Sunday I will be at "Hearts to Arts" at Lake St. Garden Center in Salem NH.  I will be displaying and demonstrating from 10 to 4.  I hope to start a larger pastel version of this scene.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


6x6 oil on hardboard panel $100
Another attempt to stay loose and make every brushstroke count.
Today is a snow day so I got to stay home and paint.  Snow days are great because they're like having an unplanned holiday, an eighth day of the week.  A time when nothing is expected and you can do anything you want or nothing at all. 
This was difficult to photograph because there is a foot of snow on my skylight.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


"Forelle" 6"x6" oil on panel $100
"If your paintings are overworked and fussy, this is the challenge for you"  I was two days in and still fussing with the still life! After eight sketches just about every bowl and cup I owned was sitting on my painting counter, an apple too but I ate that. And I just could not paint standing up, I was on my feet all day at work so I gave it a rest with a plan for the next day.

There was a storm warning and the grocery store was packed with people stocking up.  I was stocking up too - I bought pears with attractive stems, both Forelle and Anjou.  My favorites for their blush are Bartlett but there were none around.

I followed the directions -sketched first and used a 1/2" brush, mostly. I worked at getting the value just right with each stroke only altering a few as I adjusted the darks.  I stopped when I wanted to blend everything together and soften the edges. Standing went ok too.  I know it's better to paint standing, easier to step back, I just had to keep reminding myself not to lock my knees.

I like this little painting, it certainly was fun to do, I learned a lot.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pink Bud

"Pink Bud"
ACEO 2.5"x3.5" oil on hard board panel
In these little paintings even the small brush seems big!
With a storm coming, a typical New Englander would be in the grocery store getting milk, bread and maybe batteries.  I was there buying pears with attractive stems just in cast I have a snow day tomorrow and get to stay in the studio and paint.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Spilt Poison

Spilt Poison
ACEO 2.5"by 3.5"
Antique Poison Bottles have ridges along the side so you can tell, even in the dark.  I always wonder what they originally held.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

ACEO 2.5"by 3.5" oil on hard board panel
My cousin gave me these little antique bottles, labeled as poison by the ridges on the side.
Thank you Karen.

Winter Day

Winter Day
6x6 oil on panel $150
This was done for the Daily Paintworks Challenge "paint the snow" It is the view out my studio window.  I have painted this many times but now I can't wait to paint it in Spring!