Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Staying Busy!

This has been a productive time for me, despite the Christmas rush and madness. I’ve finished my elephant painting and am very happy with the general feel and mood.

I’ve also finished my lion portrait. Wow! If I do say so myself, WOW! This painting was a breakthrough for me; it just seemed to flow. I really enjoyed working on the dark background. I’ve learned that this creates a dramatic feel to any painting. I used a mix of colors to create the black background. This makes the painting have depth and a velvety “feel” that a straight black would have lacked.

I used primarily raw umber, alizarin crimson, and ivory black. Once the painting was finished I touched up the background with a glaze of alizarin crimson and ivory black and brushed the edges of the lion’s mane to blend it into the background. I have an idea to do another portrait of the same lion with a lioness below him.

Ideas are abundant, I’ve started two small bird paintings. The background and branches that the birds will perch on are complete.

I’ve done some work on my three rams picture; finally figuring out a plan on how to proceed. At first I was overwhelmed with all the detail of the ram’s heads. So now I’ve decided to finish their bodies first and work intermittently on the detail of their heads and horns. I’ve also planned out how to attack the painting of a charging elephant (30x40 in.).

Once upon a time I would have just thrown paint on the canvas, but thanks to the sweet diligence of my teacher, Jim Strong, I’ve learned to do small, quick studies of my ideas. I wanted to make this painting dramatic and had the idea to use strong red and ocher colors in the background to denote an angry feel; but the study just didn’t work.

So instead, I’ve decided to use a strong contrast of warm and cool colors to really make the elephant appear to jump out of the canvas. This promises to be an exciting painting. I have some worries though, simply because I know I’ll have no problems detailing the elephant but rather will probably fuss with the soft, impressionistic background. I’ll try to keep it simple (stupid!); which if you remember from earlier posts is hard for me! Silly me.

Sooooooo, exciting times! 2010 promises wonderful things for me and mine and I hope and pray the same for you. God Bless.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


African Lion: "Royalty"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009


Just spent a week in Fiji! Therefore, my blogging has been severely ignored. But what’s a girl gonna do? Let’s just say I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to paint Fiji and do it justice. I think I’ll stick to painting wildlife. Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

There Are Elephants On My Canvas!

I’m nearly finished with a painting of a trio of female elephants that my husband took in South Africa; it’s about 80% there. The original photo is slightly overexposed, this washes the colors out. But I’ve made that work for me by trying to depict a misty, wet morning.

Everyone always asks me why I haven’t painted my beautiful daughter Tamara in! I think I’ll have to do that on a giclee for her, that would be fun.

The funny thing about this painting is that the elephants were a snap to paint! It was the frigging background that gave me fits. Not only the background but the bank that the elephants are on. My teacher, Jim, tells me to be looser and more impressionistic in my interpretation of the landscape behind the elephants. Easy for him to say! I can spend hours happily detailing the minutiae but—impressionism? It terrifies me! Isn’t that silly? I keep threatening myself (self I say) to paint some plein aire so as to capture a quickness in my paintings that leads to a quick interpretation of what I see. But the thought scares the bejesus out of me! Wow, I’m really nuts. Anything that takes us out of our comfort zone can be so scary, right?

With all of that said (or psycho-analyzed!), I’m pretty happy with how the painting is evolving. I still haven’t decided on a name yet. What do all of you think? Let me know.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On the Easel Now

I began a new painting the other day; sometimes everything in the universe aligns just right. It's a portrait painting of an African lion in profile...quite dramatic.

I started by painting the background black, but mixed with alizarin crimson, Prussian blue and raw umber. If I used only black the background would appear flat and two-dimensional. You don't really notice all the other colors in the black but they give a depth that black alone would not. I finished the background by carefully blending with a large, soft brush so that no brush strokes are visible. This gives a soft feeling overall. Then the fun began.

I always start with the eyes when I begin a painting. It's almost ALWAYS the area of focus: aren't you always drawn to the eyes in a picture or a painting? I spent a lot of time (about 40 minutes) detailing the eyes. I wanted to get the sclera--the white of the eye--just right. It actually adds texture and depth to the eye. Then I painted the cornea: that clear bubble that covers the eye. I think I made a good start and there will be very little highlighting to finish it.

After that, I probably worked another 45 minutes on adding the undercoat of facial hair on the lion. I worked out from the eyes toward the nose, down and then back to behind the eyes. At this point the light began to fail and my husband came home. He quickly grabbed his camera and snapped some photos. I'm so glad he did!

This is going to be a fantastic painting; as I make progress on it, I'll post more snapshots of the process. But first I have to finish the three I've already got going.

Oh, have I told you that I'm somewhat of a schizophrenic painter?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dreams of an Artist

I’ve been dreaming a lot lately. For me the artistic process begins in my dreams. I actually see, feel, and smell the paint. I’ve accomplished complete masterpieces. I’ve enjoyed sleeping lately!

My dream paintings are muted, atmospheric, and in a style that in reality I don’t paint. Subconscious yearnings? Hmmm…

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New Thing

This is weird.

I want you to know I’m being coerced by my evil webmistress (visions of leather, chains, whips, and spiky shoes) to write this blog. Trish, the webmistress, is actually very angelic: sweet, petite, intelligent, and doesn’t go for the vision in black I’ve given of her—but she does enjoy and wear well those spiky shoes! And she’s right. I need to tell you of my journey as an emerging artist.

I say “emerging” not in the sense of becoming a great artist or one who is going to be well-known, but rather as an artist who is phasing from beginner to competent, amateur to professional, a wannabe to “I am an artist!”. I feel so arrogant when people ask me, “What do you do for a living?” and I answer, "I’m an artist." I don’t feel entitled to say that yet but that’s what I definitely want to be when I grow up.

I technically don’t have a job, I help my husband Scott when he needs it in our business. Scott supports me completely in my endeavor to become a painter and needs me less and less in the office.

It’s a conspiracy! I’m going to have to quit whining and get with it. I am an artist, I paint. I love to paint. And it seems I paint wildlife well.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Hello, and welcome!