Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Greetings

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted on this blog. The last group of paintings seem ancient to me! In the last several weeks, I painted 12 new miniature Old Master Reproductions in preparation for Christmas giving to premier at The ART Lounge Gallery's FIRST anniversary blast. We are very fortunate to have a group of artists who celebrate each others' passions in art and who support each and every member of the co-op. Thanks for a wonderful YEAR ONE!

After that, I dove right into a church project for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration, of which I am a committee member. I created a huge staging area for the weekend celebration with the assistance of my husband, daughter, son and nephew. The project was 12'x30'x40' and was central to the celebration as the setting of Mt. Tepeyac, at which the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe took place.
Finally, I am getting ready for Christmas. Need I say more? I hate shopping as a rule, but love buying for others, so Christmas shopping is always a joy to me. There is something magical about finding just the right present to show love and appreciation for those who share in my life. That being said, I want to wish each and every one of you the Merriest Christmas ever and a prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


"The Family of Dogs" Oil 22X28
Wow, Fall already!  It seems the Dog Days of Summer have taken their toll and I am behind on painting.  I will have to step it up in the next two months!  Meanwhile, all was not lost.  I have actually been working, just not so strenuously.  I am posting a few of them here.

"Cat-itudes" Oil 22x28
Speaking of Dog Days, for the sake of bi-partisanship, we will include cats here also... I recently painted two large pieces to exhibit at the Walden Lake Hospital and Pet Resort, making a total of six for the exhibit hanging through the end of October.

"Precious & Durango" Oil 14X18
I had lots of fun with LouAnn Watson's photo reference, which she generously allowed me to use in painting "Precious and Durango."

"Nash" Oil 14X18
Each third Saturday of the month Plant City has an antique car show.  The ART Lounge Gallery has a booth set up at the show and we take artwork from the gallery to display there.  I painted the Nash grill for our display next month.  All of our artwork is not car related....there are spouses of car buffs to consider, but we like a few pieces to reflect the event of the day.  October is scheduled to have a "Swap Meet" in conjunction with the classic cars, and is expected to be a record-breaking event!

We are having our quarterly Downtown ART Walk this Saturday, September 25th.  We always enjoy these events, creating our art on the sidewalks and meeting people, answering questions, selling!  It's a great way to reach out to the community and spark their interest in ART.  We will be demonstrating/painting from 9am-5pm, so if you are in the area, come and see what is going on!

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Additions...

"Evening Comes..." 12X20

"Miah" 16X20

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just seem to blink and an entire week has gone by!  In this case......TWO weeks have gone with the wind...  I didn't get much painting done on Ustream, but I did get something accomplished at The ART Lounge Gallery in that time.  I worked on 5 quick studies there, and painted two online, one quick study and one more in depth, but still impressionistic.  To view any of my demonstrations, go HERE.

I am determined to gain some small measure of mastery over florals, for which I really don't care.  But I am, after all, an artist, and an artist should be able to paint anything....or so I feel.  So, some of my recent quick studies have been florals.  To my surprise, I quite enjoyed working on them!

You may remember Wilson's daughter, Sophia from about 6 weeks ago.  A couple of weeks ago, I painted another of his beauties, Miah.  Both were his reference photos and I thank him for allowing me to paint from them.  It is always my pleasure to render the face and his girls are lovely!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 11-17 in Paint

Maya at the Park Oil 11X14 NFS
Last week my family took the opportunity to visit a well loved county park in the area and we all enjoyed the dappled shade and sand hills at the outskirts of the park. This is Maya from one of the photos I took while there. It captures her joy of nature. From the time she was small, our large backyard was her domain and we are happy to see that has not changed.

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I have always enjoyed finding the "cast aside" items and making something beautiful of them. Old trucks and cars are great for this and I just loved how the rust played against the brighter blues of this old truck, and how the flat tires just made it feel restful.

Puebla Oil 8X10 *SOLD*
I can't remember where I got this photo.....I only have thousands thanks to the digital age! It could be a wet canvas reference, and it could be one Mike took when he went on a trip to Texas, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado a few years ago. I thought the intense blues and oranges played so well off each other and I pumped up the intensity even more.

Ribbons and Lace Oil 8X10
Mike snapped this photo at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Festival held December 12th here at the Plant City Stadium each year. She was preparing for her turn with a group of children performing folkloric dance for the crowd. These children work for months perfecting their steps and timing and do a fantastic job. It was nice to catch her in a quiet moment.

Fields of Gold Oil 8X10 *SOLD*
Sunday afternoon several of the co-op artists met at the gallery for some fellowship and painting. Working within a group on various subjects and media is something we find inspiring and pleasant. Since we all work different schedules, it is nice to get together and enjoy each other's companionship, techniques and inspirations.

It's all in the Attitude! Oil 11x23

I started this painting on Ustream: but finished it up at The ART Lounge Gallery on Friday while I was there....gotta paint when I can, and the gallery day affords me the opportunity to paint in full view of the public, right in our front window. I worked on this one because it has eye-catching color and it is a little larger than some of the pieces I paint there.

Gossip Girls Oil 11X11

This amusing swan group is a study for a larger painting that I plan to do soon. I wanted to work out the placement, values and color choices before beginning the 38X38 piece. Gossip Girls stands alone as a finished painting, but the smaller scale allowed me more freedom to play with light and shadows as well.

It has been a crazy week! With the Student Scholarship Workshop on Monday, class on Tuesday, Private lesson on Wednesday and Friday, Gallery Hosting on Friday, Classic Car Show on Saturday......I think I need a nap! Still, I managed to record demonstrations for four new paintings, and completed three more......all this week!
Whew! Another week down! Then it begins again..........ain't life GRAND!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 4-10 in Paint

Summer Series "Shell" Oil 4X4
This is a fun time for being alive... family,Summer sun, good friends and paint! I couldn't even try to get away from painting if I tried... I have one more little shell painting for the Summer Series for The ART Lounge Gallery, and I have completed four others.

"Jennifer" Oil 16X20
Jennifer is my niece who lives in Georgia, and I begged her to let me paint her Facebook profile picture. She is such a beautiful young woman and the pose was striking. I painted this online as a demonstration on ustream: If you go to the site and scroll through the archived video's there, you can view the sessions. Painting on Ustream is pretty new to me and I am still trying to work out the kinks of the camera functions and placement, and I am enjoying it. The difficult part is to speak as if someone was watching the demonstration, whether they are or not!

"Prayerful" Oil 11X14 *SOLD*
I wanted to try a different technique with my painting of the Dalai Lama, called "Prayerful". In it, I used a mottled foil leafing to enhance this painting. Gold leaf, although beautiful, would not have had the same effect which I wanted to achieve, which was of an indistinct patina on the disc behind the monk. The little wisp of smoke from an incense burner was an afterthought, and was devised to break up the empty space to the left. I was happy with the loose painting technique and the atmosphere, combined with the gilding.

"Meditating" Oil 12X16

I have worked on a few pieces lately with the spa, yoga, zen thing in mind. One of the pieces is a yoga pose, borrowed from a friend. It had an interesting negative space, and I really played up the light and color factors, so, although it has a serenity to it, it is still very vibrant and energetic.

"Family Reunion" Oil 8X10

"ART After Dark" at The ART Lounge Gallery is tonight and every second Saturday. If you are in the area, join us for wine and light refreshments and view the newest artwork on the walls of the gallery. We are located at 119 E. Reynolds Street in Plant City, Fl. and the open house reception is held from 6-10pm. I have hung 20 new paintings this month! Come by and have a look!

"Artichoke" Oil 8X10

Next week I will begin the Student Scholarship Workshop at the gallery, instructing 4 area high school students in a four week class on oil painting. I am very excited to be teaching this class, and look forward to meeting these young artists and offering them instruction and encouragement on their future careers... Exciting!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Series

Pre-gallery release of new artwork; see them here first! The new Summer Series begins with these three small paintings. There will be more to come in this series, and I will post them as I get them completed. Each is 4"x4" oil on gessoed panels.....perfect little gems to bring a piece of that summer beach vacation home to enjoy for years to come. They are nicely framed in 1 1/4" profile coppertoned frames and sell for $50.00 each plus shipping. I will have these on exhibit for the months of July and August at The ART Lounge Gallery, if they are not sold first. Email me for further information or to purchase or commission a painting.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beach Series

Summertime is in full swing here in central Florida.  The air is turning humid, but there is a nice gentle breeze always seemingly stirring around our patio, so the afternoons are really pleasant.
Thoughts of summer, the beach, and simple treasures have become the focus of my Beach Series.  With the eminent danger to which our beautiful beaches are being exposed, it seems almost necessary to preserve in paint, some of the bounty of beautiful related subjects.  These four paintings are oil on masonite panels, 5"X5".  Abalone and Blue Shell are framed in black, Conch and Starfish are framed in brown, all with 2" profile.  They will be on exhibit at The ART Lounge Gallery for the months of July and August, with more to follow...

Sunday, June 13, 2010


This is Sophia, 11X14 oil on panel.  She is a lovely little angel cherished by her Daddy, Wilson.  Last week I painted her with the intention of putting her photo and painting, sort of a "before and after," for an advertisement on my portrait commissions.  She will be the first in a series of print ads in the local Monthly Savings Magazine, whose circulation reaches all of Brandon, Valrico, Lithia and Bloomingdale areas, approximately 150,000 homes.  Now is the time to put ideas of Christmas commissions out there!  I am excited to have this marketing opportunity and look forward to a long and strong relationship with the magazine's publisher.  Thanks Wilson!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


"A Father's Love" 11X14 Oil on panel.

Portraits are usually my preferred subject for paintings, and paintings as gifts are no exception. When considering a gift for a friend of my family, naturally, a portrait seemed the ideal. But this is a special friend, my Priest, Father Carlos Rojas. It was obvious that a painting for him had to touch his soul, as he strives to do the same for his congregation. In the past year my family created for him a special chapel in the rectory, and since we have known him and worked with him for the past 6 years as friends, photographers, artists, and Sacristans, we felt we knew him pretty well. His family means so much to him, so there were choices to consider....his mother...his of his four sisters...all possibilities.

I chose for my subject a photograph his mother has allowed me to use of his father and his sister. The photo captured a very personal, joyful moment which I found exquisitely beautiful and profoundly moving; I thought it might do the same for him as a painting. Thus, my choice was made.

Upon completion, I hung the painting at The ART Lounge Gallery, where he is a co-op artist member, and where we were having a farewell party for him last Friday night. He has been reassigned to another Parish, and will be leaving us at the end of June. I have to was the first time I have found him speechless, but for a few long seconds, upon "discovering" the painting hanging on the wall, he could only point at it. I believe I hit the mark! Thank you Father Carlos, for the pleasure of working with you in the past and into the future...

Friday, May 28, 2010


"Spring Meadows"  Original oil painting, 8" X 10"
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Summertime is here! We have been picking beans from the garden, blackberries for cobbler, planting more flowers in the garden and preparing new planting beds...oh, and taking photos in the garden for possible reference. Deluged by all the craziness of Spring, I have cleared some clutter in the studio, prepared umpteen panels for painting, planted, nurtured, and generally created a more serene space in my life.

I finished the self-portrait I began on my visit to Susan Carlin in San Antonio. The reference photo was taken by her charming friend Ugur, who skillfully captured a great reference in one shot, and was delightful company as we painted. Ugur is a highly skilled Graphic Designer and Photographer. Thank you Ugur! The photo is priceless to me.

Yesterday, I put finishing touches on 4 paintings that have been sitting around the studio, and totally reworked another. I framed, tagged, inventoried and prepared them for exhibiting at The ART Lounge Gallery for the month of June. It was a very productive day.
I think I need more frames! Ha!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Finished today........maybe. You know how it is...........

Monday, May 24, 2010

Although the studio clean up is not TOTALLY what I want, I can't stand not painting any longer. I have ideas churning around in my head, and have got to start working with them. My intention is to begin a new piece, and work on some unfinished business..... Paintings which have been sitting around in the ugly stage need to be worked on and finished or tossed and begun again. That is always a tough decision for me. That is why I needed the time to clean up and develop a plan of action.
We had a yard sale recently and some of my studio clean-up included old painting props I no longer intend to use. You know how that goes.....get rid of it, then you plan a painting and that's the ONE element you need! Well, I will just have to live with that. I could no longer live with the clutter. Oh, I still have clutter, it's just more easily contained now.
Mike and I will probably head out one day this week for a photo op. You just can't have too many reference photos! One day soon I would like to do some still life set-ups outside on the patio. I think it will be a challenge to get the set-ups done in natural light. Previously, I have always set up my still lifes in a box arrangement with a spotlight on them. I want something fresher this time. I will just have to see how that works out and let you know.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I have kept a closely guarded secret for months, and now, am able to reveal it...

This is my painting to be used as the cover art for a new historical novel, which released this month to book stores and online sales venues. Ambassador International Publishing's best-selling inspirational fiction series by award-winning author, Ruth Carmichael Ellinger is releasing its third novel in the Wildrose series. "Sword of the Wild Rose" will be distributed to international markets, as well as in the United States.

Our collaboration began when Ruth, a local author, attended a function at Center Place Arts and Civic Assn. in Brandon, Fl. in December. I had a display of my artwork, titled "The Masters as Teachers" on exhibit in Mook Gallery there. Impressed by the subject matter and painting style of the oil paintings, and discouraged by the prevalent use of graphic art designers and their inability to visually capture her ideas, Ruth contacted me with the suggestion of creating the book cover she envisioned.

Delighted with the project, I used the text of the manuscript as my primary inspiration for the painting. I also drew upon my research into vintage period clothing, as well as the Davidson family history and colonial historical references in compiling the piece.

I painted two oil sketch drafts, depicting elements designed to capture the heart of the story. From among these, we chose the strongest visuals and worked out their placement. These decisions made, I then worked at capturing the essence of the story in pictorial form.

I am pretty sure I don't have to say...........I was ecstatically happy to work on this project! I am even happier still, that I was able to keep the secret from Mike until I could put the book in his hand! Ha! :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"ART After Dark" at The ART Lounge Gallery, held monthly on the second Saturday, although always an enjoyable event spent with colleagues, friends and art-lovers in general, held a bonus for me.
Cheryl Kuck, correspondent for the Tampa Tribune, and a wonderful artist herself, and her husband Walter attended the event. Cheryl's success as a gallery owner and art columnist are well known in the area. Although I hadn't had an opportunity to speak to her for some time, Saturday we had a delightful conversation about art and artists in general, and, as always, I found her well informed, educated, perceptive, and enlightening. She really struck me with a comment she made concerning artistic growth. To paraphrase, she said, "Sometimes an artist has a great idea......and has the same idea for twenty years..."
That immediately brought to mind, visions of several contemporary artists, whom I greatly admire, whose bodies of work, for the last few years, all looks the same.....same figure, same model, same color palette, same textures........same, same, same... Some of these artists' work is extremely lovely, and I hadn't previously thought about "sameness" so much as "style" when viewing their work, until now. It was in the midst of that conversation, that I realized that although their artwork was beautifully and well executed, the artists themselves had ceased to grow.
Maybe they had found a safety zone from which they were not willing to venture forth. Perhaps, the monetary gain or the recognition of style was too flattering to resist. So, now, my thoughts revolve around this question: have they sacrificed a large portion of originality, creativity and artistic growth for the sake of the coveted "style" with which most artists seem to be so concerned? I don't know the answer. I am still very much in an evolution myself, when it comes to my own direction, learning and "style". I can guarantee this about myself; I will never view that often elusive and frustratingly difficult to achieve "artistic style" with the same awe and yearning as I had previously.
Anyway, wherever this process leads me, I hope to always keep Cheryl's seed planted firmly in my conscious mind as I make my artistic choices, and I hope never to cease to grow in technique, "style", and especially ideas. Thanks Cheryl!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New artworks at The ART Lounge Gallery are going up this weekend.  Featured this month will be the top winners of the Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show, sponsored by the East Hillsborough Art Guild.  We are excited to have these works of art exhibited in our gallery!  If you are in the area, drop in for a look at the local talent.  :)

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Friday, March 19, 2010

I love Gallery days!  I painted this little 8X10 painting, "Day Labor" today at the gallery, and started another.  Friends stopped by and we enjoyed their company until time to close.  It was a good day...  :)

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Today I painted at The ART Lounge Gallery, this little portrait, which is a study in cool fleshtones and backlight.  The Fl. Strawberry Festival is over and I am eager to get back to painting MORE!  I did get to demonstrate 4 days, which was very nice.  Anytime I can paint is a good day.  I am working on 8X10 portrait studies, faces.  My goal is to sharpen my drawing (with paint) skills as well as to master a variety of fleshtones.  I believe quick studies are the best way to achieve this.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Today I demonstrated at the Florida Strawberry Festival using a WetCanvas photo reference.  More people who came by were amazed with my use of the laptop to pull up the reference and paint from it.  I know there are many of you who do the same.  It saves my eyes and I can enlarge, reverse image, reduce saturation for value studies....on and on.  This is an 8X10 in oil on masonite panel.  I may do a little more work on the blanket across his shoulder, but my aim was to get the pose and the COLORFUL face and water jar.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Each year the Florida Strawberry Festival hosts a Fine Art Show, sponsored and staffed by a group of volunteer East Hillsborough Art Guild members and their friends.  It is a nice show, raising funds each year to benefit our student scholarship program.  There were some fine entries this year, as in the past, and I try to take the opportunity to demo at least a couple of the 11 days of the Festival.  I am posting the demonstration painting from this morning.  I used my photo reference of a young girl for the pose and fleshtones in this 8X10 oil painting on masonite panel.  I am happy with her as a 3 ½ hr. study, so I think I am going to frame her.  Honesty is her name.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

After working at the Strawberry Festival most of the day, I came home to a fun online art buddies had taken a 2-hour online painting workshop with Jonathan Hardesty on Saturday morning.  He recorded the session, so I was able to go online this evening and "catch up" by using his photo reference of his lovely wife Marie (DROP DEAD GORGEOUS EYES!), and painted a nice little study.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Quick studies can be so much fun! If they don't turn out, no problem; you don't have a lot of time invested in them. I personally enjoy the freedom that one thought gives me. It allows me to just enjoy the process and I usually learn a thing or two along the way. It's also a great stress reliever! This is the process I used for "Her First Rodeo" painted from one of my photos, in under two hours. It is obviously a quick sketch, and not a finished portrait.

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The entire country has had strange weather this winter, including central Florida.  On several occasions the growers resorted to spraying the fields with water to protect the strawberry crop.  I slogged through nearly knee deep icy water in the fields to get photos, and put together a couple of those shots for a painting.  This is my entry for the Strawberry Theme art competition at the Florida Strawberry Festival, "Protecting the Future".  While you are enjoying the festival, don't forget to drop by the Art Show, located at Gate 5, and St. Clement's "Make Your Own" Strawberry Shortcake booth, located at Gate 9!  

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