Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!

When I took watercolor classes in college, the professor had us use Craftint liquid dyes, which were similar to Dr. Ph. Martin's original watercolors. The advantage to them was that they were easy to use -- there were no variations in handling properties to contend with -- and they were brilliant. However, if you wanted your paintings to last more than a few months, you would have had to put them in a folder in a drawer in a darkened room and only viewed them at midnight during a new moon. Every single one of my paintings faded into near-total obscurity on the wall within six months.

So when I returned to watercolor after a long hiatus, the world of tube pigments was totally new to me. I have to admit that I went a little crazy during the testing and trial period, filling sheet after sheet of watercolor paper with little squares of color -- color straight from the tube, color in various mixtures, comparisons of brands, tests for lightfastness.

just a few of my color tests

I saved all these samples and referred to them often in the first few years. The result is that I feel totally comfortable with my choices of paints and can mix just about any color with confidence. Call me an art nerd, but it works for me!!

And now a very personal note:

Today is my 25th anniversary -- married to a guy who is secure enough in his identity to walk all the way home from downtown carrying a bright pink shopping bag after picking up some shampoo for me at the local beauty supply store today!! So glad we met all those years ago, Señor Terremoto!! You're a gem!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Off and running...

Brush-Paper-Water, the new blog showcasing watercolor, starts off with the work of Robin Purcell this week. Robin found me through Pablo Villicana Lara's blog and challenged me to start a group blog. I wanted something with a little wider scope, so I decided on a hosted blog format. Each week, I'll be featuring a different artist working primarily in transparent watercolor. So either bookmark the site and stop back regularly, or subscribe to an email update. My hope is to treat you to a broad sampling of this vibrant medium.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My holiday companion...

When my grandmother got married and set up her own home back in the early 1900s, she took a cutting of her family's Christmas cactus. She nurtured that plant all of her life and one of the rites of passage as her grandchildren grew up and moved into their own homes was a starter plant from Grandma. My plant has been through several divisions over the years but has been in its current pot for at least 20 years. It now measures 54" from side to side. It thrives on my unheated porch here in the San Francisco area -- getting filtered sun in the summer and sunny days and cool nights in the winter. I tend to it somewhat absent-mindedly, giving it a mild dose of all-purpose fertilizer every time I water it and an annual "bath" to wash off the dust and pollen that collects during the warmer months.

For this, I am rewarded every year with a profusion of blooms starting right around Christmas. This year, the first of the elegant magenta flowers appeared about a week before Christmas and will cover the plant in the next week or so. Blooming will continue for at least a month.

It's a lovely memory of my grandmother.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It is better to give than to receive...

As the holidays approach, our thoughts turn to gifts for friends and family. Most of us have everything we need, and the task of finding "the perfect gift" for someone can be exhausting. Maybe we should think outside the box!!

Señor Terremoto and I are blessed with enough to eat every day. For those who are struggling, the food banks are a life-saver -- literally! But the current economic conditions are seriously affecting donations to food banks and impairing their ability to serve the increasing number of people who need their help. So when I read in the paper this morning that some large Silicon Valley companies were foregoing their holiday parties this year and donating the monies they saved to the local food bank, it set me to thinking: What if I put a link to the food bank on my blog to raise awareness and encourage individuals to donate too? My blog is limited in its reach, but maybe the folks who read my blog will pass this idea along, and so on and so on, and together we can reach a much larger audience.

If you live in the California counties of Santa Clara or San Mateo, clicking on this link will take you to the local Second Harvest Food Bank website, where you can donate in a number of ways, including online. You can choose to purchase specific foods or make a secure cash donation (via credit card). What could be easier?

And if you live elsewhere, the Feeding America network (formerly America's Second Harvest) has affiliates all over the country. You just enter your zip code in their Food Bank Locator to find the nearest food bank.

Happy Holidays!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pleasant surprise

"Una Tuna"
16" x 16"
watercolor & gouache

Una Tuna is the other painting accepted into the Triton Museum's Statewide Watercolor Exhibit. When I got to the reception tonight, I was pleased and surprised to discover it had received an Honorable Mention! This piece is one of several I created after spending a day with Señor Terremoto at the Luther Burbank Gardens in Santa Rosa, CA, where they have what is probably the largest patch of prickly pear in captivity!! Although my initial scheme for this painting had to be abandoned, I'm very happy with the final outcome.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Art reception this Friday...

"Morning Glorious"
15" x 18"

It's my good fortune to have two paintings -- "Morning Glorious" and "Una Tuna" -- hanging in the upcoming show at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara, CA. What started as a biennial watercolor exhibition has, in recent years, morphed into a cyclical series of statewide competitions -- rotating between all painting media, pastels, and watercolors. This is the year for watercolor and the competition was stiff. The juror -- Scott Shields, Ph.D., the Associate Director and Chief Curator at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento, CA -- selected just 56 paintings from nearly 800 entries. It's an honor to be included in the show.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is your invitation to join me at the reception this Friday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. The museum is located at 1505 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara. Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Yesterday's post was the first in way too long. But I haven't been snoozing. On the contrary, it's been a very productive couple of months. First off, I finally accomplished a long overdue studio cleanup. I jettisoned some supplies that have been cluttering up the landscape, both literally and figuratively; I got the bookkeeping up to date; I sorted through the idea file and cleaned that up a bit; and I took inventory of a drawer full of half-finished pieces that I want to complete. Perhaps most important, I came to a decision that simplifies my life and gives me a huge boost of energy -- to focus on watercolor (with a collage or two thrown in now and then) and stop playing around with every painting medium that comes into my field of view. I like to try new things, but over the last two years, I found myself getting so scattered that I couldn't see where I was going.

Watercolor has been my favorite medium since I first put brush to paper. As happy as I was with my finished acrylic paintings last spring, the process of creating them was not one I enjoyed. And oils in any form trigger my chemical sensitivities, so that's definitely not an option. But beyond the physical reasons to stick with watercolor, I came to realize that my recent successes were a message from the universe to stay on the path. It's good to know where you stand.

Ever since I started painting seriously, I've put paintings away for some period of time because I get stuck and can't see how to proceed. I periodically revisit each one and think about how to resolve whatever problem caused me to banish it, knowing that I'll eventually come up with a solution. Last year seems to have produced a bumper crop of these goodies. Here's a peek at one of the pieces I pulled out of the "works in progress" drawer today:

The Eyes Have It (detail)

The weird blobs that appear on the surface are masking fluid. I have always disregarded the instructions to remove masking fluid in a very short time, with only one really awful experience as a result. And I started using Incredible White Mask a few years ago and have been very pleased with how easily it came off (as long as it was reasonably fresh when applied). I probably should throw in a disclaimer here along the lines of "don't try this at home" so I don't have a bunch of ticked-off watercolorists emailing me with threats of bodily harm!! My studio stays at a very even temperature because I need to use an air conditioner for my allergy problems. Heat will cause masking fluid to set into the paper: if a painting is exposed to heat or sun, you'll never get the masking off.

Monday, December 1, 2008

First challenge!!

In one of those lovely accidents of the universe, I met another watercolorist on Brushspace shortly after I'd signed up. We started emailing and it turned out that Pablo lived not-so-far-away and had a fabulous solo show that I went to see in late October. So when he proposed a painting challenge last month, I jumped in. We wanted to showcase watercolor -- a medium that too often gets short shrift in the art world -- and have some fun along the way. We settled on a small format with a theme of "something from the kitchen" for this first challenge:

"Sliced with Salt"
Chris Beck
watercolor & gouache, 6" x 6"

"This Little Piggy Went to Market"
Pablo Villicana Lara
watercolor, 10" x 8"

Friday, October 3, 2008

Time in a bottle...

I wish I could bottle up the last two weeks and uncork it when things are not humming along in quite such a fabulous fashion. In addition to hearing last week that I would be featured in the Competition Spotlight in The Artist's Magazine next June, I learned that I'd won the Medal of Honor in Watercolor at the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club's 112th Annual Open Exhibition. The show is at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park until October 15, for anyone who might be in NYC during that time. Each of the galleries has different hours, so rather than list them here, I'll link you to the National Arts Club website. The galleries are sometimes closed for official functions, so it's wise to call ahead (212-475-3424) to make sure you'll be able to see the exhibit.

Then just today, I received notice that I've been awarded my signature in Watercolor West, the west coast society for transparent watercolor. The annual show (their 40th) will open on October 11 at the City of Brea Art Gallery and run until December 19, with an opening reception on October 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. Regular gallery hours are 12 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday and 12 to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. This show is always a wonderful representation of the full range of transparent watercolor, both in subject matter and technique. Please stop by to see it if you are in the L.A. area.

Today was also my last day at the co-op gallery. I packed everything up tonight and closed that door behind me. I'm excited about being free to explore and experiment on new works without worrying about a monthly exhibit deadline.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Totally jazzed...

Back at the end of July, I mentioned on this blog that I'd been selected as a finalist in The Artist's Magazine's annual competition for 2008. Two paintings were chosen in the Landscape category -- Moonlit Cactus and Out of Service: Old Plow. I just heard today that Old Plow will be featured in the Competition Spotlight in the magazine in June next year. I couldn't be more thrilled and honored.

I really wanted to post at least one of Miro Sinovcic's paintings when I was writing my last post, but since I was writing at midnight and hadn't thought to email him earlier for permission to use his images, I was out of luck. Now I have permission and want to share two of my favorites:

Spring Morning
Miro Sinovcic
oil on canvas, 30" x 24"

I love the shimmering light in Spring Morning. The brushwork creates such a sense of energy and the vibrant color enhances that.

Snowy Morning in Philly
Miro Sinovcic
oil on canvas, 30" x 30"

Snowy Morning takes me straight back to winter morning walks to school in Wisconsin. Miro conveys exactly the cool light and the sense of intimacy created by a gentle snowfall.

Before I close, I want to mention another artist I met through Brushspace. Patty Ray Avalon's work ranges from still-lifes to figurative to animals, and from a clear bright palette in her still-lifes to a softer color mood in her figurative works. There is an almost contemplative quality to much of her work -- a sense of serenity in the compositions and choice of subject matter. Pop over to her blog and then link to her website to view more of her work.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More connections...

In my last post, I introduced you to a few new friends from Brushspace. Today, Terry Rafferty was kind enough to feature me on her "Monday Memo" -- a new regular feature on her blog. Thanks so much, Terry!! Please pay her a visit.

Among the other artists I've met on Brushspace in the past few days, Miro Sinovcic stands out for some eye-popping urban scenes. His painting style conveys a sense of shimmering light that infuses each scene with great energy. Do check out his blog!

Take a few minutes to travel around the globe visiting a few more Brushspace artists: Per-Inge Isheden, moving between realism and surrealism, produces works that challenge our complacency as viewers. Larry Brooks, in addition to his fine traditional still-lifes, has a series of "curbside" paintings that blur the line between realism and abstraction. Look closely to see all the details he's incorporated into those images. Joanne Licsko creates oil paintings infused with rich color, but that seem nearly as translucent as watercolors. Jason de Graaf's highly polished realism will wow you with its technical brilliance and intriguing use of subject matter. And last but not least in this list, is Rob Evans, whose apparently commonplace subjects contain an air of mystery and almost otherworldliness.

Enjoy the trip!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

New connections...

I've been meaning to post for weeks and somehow running out of steam before getting to it. Tonight's post is my first post in almost a month and lots has happened in the meanwhile. For one thing, I discovered BrushSpace, thanks to a tip from Jeff Hayes. A new networking site specifically for artists, it's mushroomed from about 200 members when I signed on about three weeks ago to well over 900 today. I've met a bunch of artists through the site and will tell you a little about them in a minute.

First, though, I want to say a big thanks to Jennifer Phillips, who's inspired me to try oil pastels. I don't have anything I want to share quite yet, but I think it's going to be a good fit for me. Jen has a fun blog, with a cool video lesson on framing an oil pastel. Through Jen's blog, I found Wakar over at Lightfast, with her wonderful discourses on art and life. I owe Wakar a big thanks for reminding me to see the Women Impressionists exhibit in San Francisco. It was excellent and surprising -- new to me is Marie Bracquemond, who outshines the other three women in the exhibit to my eye. I particularly liked a small black and white drawing of hers of a crowd with umbrellas descending a broad outdoor stairway in the rain. It is included in the exhibition book, but the reproduction loses all the depth and power of the original.

Back at Brushspace, I found (or more accurately was found by) Linda Lucas Hardy, whose colored pencil works are phenomenal. She's recently switched to oils, and they're just as amazing. I've also been amazed by the watercolors of Pablo Villicana Lara, who's almost a neighbor in this land of commuters. Pablo will be having a solo show in October and I'm hoping to get over to see it. Diane Hoeptner has a quirky sense for iconic images -- check out her Pinocchio and Yoda paintings!! -- and wonderful brushwork. Her floral work is equally appealing. Just today, I connected with Terry Rafferty. I love her paintings titled "Things you can..." -- so far she has buttons as things you can lose, and eggshells as things you can stack. I hope she has a few more of these fun ideas waiting in the wings. I found Otto Lange, whose blog is a fun read and whose website gets my vote for its excellent graphic design. His paintings and drawings cover territory from whimsical to edgy. Lastly, check out J.H. Lukens on Brushspace for some astonishing portraits and intriguing cityscapes.

Well, although I started this post at a reasonable hour, it's insanely late now and time for me to close. Hope you enjoy meeting all my new friends.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Living proof...

Several good things have happened since I submitted my resignation from the gallery a few weeks ago. I got yet another show acceptance -- this time to Watercolor West, based in Los Angeles and the west coast counterpart to the Transparent Watercolor Society of America. I earned signature status in TWSA about 5 years ago and have been working toward the same in WW. This show marks my third acceptance which is one of the requirements for the signature. So I'm basking in the good feelings that come with this success. The painting that was accepted is one you've seen on this blog already, but here it is again:

10" x 10"
transparent watercolor

Second, I've had feedback from a couple of other bloggers and just feel great about being connected. I've had Jeff Hayes on my blog roll for a while now, but I haven't had the opportunity to chat with him until recently. Thanks, Jeff, for the technical help as well as the encouragement on my art. (Be sure to check out both of his blogs.) I also heard from Jennifer Phillips today. I didn't have time to take more than a brief look at her website and blog, but I like her work and her writing too. I'll definitely stop back for a longer look.

And last, I sold a painting off my website a couple of weeks ago and tried Paypal's invoice setup for the first time. I couldn't be more pleased -- it was easy to use and my buyer had the choice of paying with either a credit card or a debit card without signing up for Paypal. Plus, she didn't have to reveal her financial data to me and I didn't have to worry about keeping information like that secure. Now I'm looking forward to trying their virtual terminal when I do Open Studios next spring. One of my big concerns with leaving the gallery was the loss of credit card processing. I don't have enough sales volume right now to support my own credit card account, but Paypal will let me sidestep that. Loud cheers all around!!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When the handwriting on the wall...

starts to glow in the dark, you know you'd better pay attention. A number of marketing projects that I've tried in the last couple of months were beset with difficulties. The co-op gallery I've been in for the last two years recently adopted some policy changes that make it a poor fit for me. And I've been so preoccupied with gallery matters that I haven't been producing enough work for the show circuit, which had been an important part of my artistic life.

So this week, I made the decision to leave the gallery at the end of September and focus on show quality painting. I had two acceptances this past week that boosted my confidence and I have ideas spilling out of my head for new paintings.

The first show I heard from was the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club 112th Annual Exhibition. This painting was selected:

"Out of Service: Old Plow"
20" x 15"

Second, I heard from The Artist's Magazine that two of the pieces I submitted to the 2008 Annual Competition were selected as finalists in the Landscape division. "Old Plow" was one, and the other was:

"Moonlit Cactus"
16" x 16"

I couldn't be more jazzed. To top it all off, my website is starting to generate interest from collectors. It's a good time to be alive!! And now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to work on a painting for a group show that we're hanging this weekend at the gallery

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rare Bird...

6" x 6"
acrylic on gallery-wrap canvas

I had so much fun painting this one! There's just something kind of sassy about this little bird. The bright colors and the fun, cartoony shape go so well together. To top it off, this toy is just plain fun to watch in action. It's very basic, but the hopping and pecking just make me giggle. I have to confess I'm a total eBay addict at this point -- trolling for cute tin toys and silly salt shakers almost daily. It's gotten so a lot of the offerings are sadly predictable, but every once in a while, something like this jumps off the screen. Delightful. Click here to go to the auction and a chance to place your bid.

One more time now...

Been dining on humble pie lately. I had a large serving courtesy of eBay. My first auction ended without a single bid, and I finally had to admit that perhaps I didn't do quite enough research into the finer points of writing a listing title. I've relisted the little snail painting with some revisions to the wording and will be running the auction for 10 additional days. Click here to go to the auction for a chance to place a bid on this cutie:

6" x 6"
acrylic on gallery-wrap canvas

The other helping of humble pie came from CafePress. You may recall that I ordered a pair of tote bags printed with two of my recent duck/bird images. Due to some faulty advice, I ended up with very sad, washed out images. But CafePress stood behind their guarantee and I uploaded a new, darker image with the promise of speedy turnaround. The package never arrived. Back to CafePress again where the customer service rep ordered up a reprint. Two days later, I had a second sample set -- of the original faded images!! Aargh!! They printed the wrong file. Once more, CafePress stood behind their guarantee and ordered a duplicate printing of the darker files. Even speedier delivery this time. Alas, the darker files were TOO DARK, and it also became clear that primary colors are much more successful than some of the funky purples and oranges that I like to use. So it's back to Photoshop to see if I can tweak the duck image to print nicely. And just maybe one of the other primary color bird images will print well too. I have to try one more time....

I'm planning to post another painting Friday afternoon. Check back later in the day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


6" x 6"
acrylic on gallery-wrap canvas

I'm thrilled to have my first auction underway. This little vintage toy snail was itself an eBay auction purchase. I love the patterned shell and the little wheels and I'm sure it goes faster than any snail known to nature. (A note about the image: my scanner is so sensitive that it picked up the minor variations in the weave of the canvas, giving the wee beastie a rather streaky look. That's not visible when you view the actual painting.)

Click here to go to the auction page.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Almost there...

Hang on just a few more seconds. I've got the auction listing all ready to go, but it seems absurd to have it end at 11:15 p.m. some days from now. So I've saved it and will post sometime tomorrow. Look for this little guy at auction, starting tomorrow:

6" x 6"
acrylic on gallery-wrap canvas

As for the CafePress tote bags: when I was setting up the print files, the online preview image was very dark. I spoke with a customer service rep who told me to adjust the image file until it appeared right on the screen. Sadly, when the bags arrived on Monday, they looked like they'd been through 20 laundry cycles -- the images were so faded and blah. A call back to customer service revealed that instead of telling me to lighten up my print files, the first rep should have reassured me that the actual prints would be MUCH LIGHTER than the online preview. In fact, she probably should have told me to darken up my files. Fortunately, CafePress has a fantastic customer service program and I'll have new bags by week's end, no charge. As soon as I see how they've turned out with my revised print files, I'll either be opening my shop doors or crying in a beer.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Has it been almost a month?

Dear Readers, my apologies. I got myself so exhausted in the preparations for my shows in May that I was a near-zombie for much of June. But I wasn't a complete blob. I did manage to massage my website into the form I'd envisioned at the start and I've ordered some sample tote bags from CafePress, which should arrive tomorrow. If they look as good in real life as they did on the website preview, I'll open my shop and put them up for sale right away. And you'll be the first to know!!

I've also been trying to "educatize" myself about the rules and protocols for selling on eBay. There have been moments when I feel like I'm caught in one of those endlessly regressive mirror images. The first page of a tutorial will have several links to other critical information pages. Each one of those pages will in turn have links to other critical information pages. Each one of those pages will in turn have links to other critical information pages. By the time I reach the last link in the chain, I have completely lost track of what I started out to learn. My friends, this is information overload at its finest. But I am very close to being ready to put my first little painting up for sale. I'm hoping to have a post either tomorrow or Tuesday with a link to my first eBay auction. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I've just started on a painting for a group show at the gallery. I'm really excited about it and will share it with you when I have something other than a few pencil lines on my watercolor paper. I've also got a couple of new-to-me vintage ceramic critters that are just begging to model for their portraits. So off we go...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Patience, my pretties...

Early readers of this blog may recall my near-death struggles with Feedburner. Their use of somewhat non-standard English didn't always help. However, I had to admire the silliness involved in creating the word "troubleshootize" to complete the sequence of operations Feedburner provides for blogs: "analyze, optimize, publicize, monetize, and (of course) troubleshootize."

I promised I'd start posting my 6x6 paintings for auction in a few weeks. That's still the plan. I've set up the Paypal part, but when I started to read about setting up an auction, I soon found myself in a veritable maze of information, much of it labelled "Must reads for newbies" or words to that effect. So as soon as I "educatize" myself in the ways of eBay, I'll be online with some art. Please hang in there.

I'm planning to put my acrylic on canvas paintings up for auction initially, but I may follow that with some small watercolors. Here's a prime candidate:

Cockamamie Cockatoo
6" x 6"
watercolor on Winsor Newton 140 lb. cold-pressed paper

Señor Terremoto and I are off on a little road trip for a few days, but I plan to go into high gear when we get back. Plans are in the works for some CafePress goodies too -- you'll be able to go green with canvas bags that feature vintage tin toys and other delights.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Still alive

In some twist of fate, the weekend for the fine arts festival broke all heat records for this area. A week before, we'd been turning on the heat to take the chill off the house in the morning and we're back to doing that again. But two days before the festival, the winds switched from the prevailing westerly direction to the east, bringing all the heat of central California to our normally temperate area. We set up the booth in near 100 degree heat; the next two days were slightly cooler, but still hot. I had the good luck to get assigned to a partly shady spot at the edge of a cluster of booths and we were able to bring some market umbrellas to add extra shade. There was a steady breeze most of the time, making it seem more like a vacation than work. The show organizers did a fabulous job. Everything ran smoothly, lunch was provided both days, and there were booth sitters to give the artists a break if they wanted one.

I snapped this photo just before opening time the first day. The crowds were lighter than usual this year and people were clearly mindful of the state of the economy, but I had sales nevertheless and a lot of interest in seeing more of my work. Both the show and my gallery are in the same town, so many of the visitors had already seen my gallery show. It was a nice chance to meet some of my patrons.

Meanwhile, the gallery show is in its last week. One of the joys of being in a cooperative gallery
is the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of staging a show, including designing a window display. It's a chance to be playful, and especially for this show of vintage toys and silly saltshakers. I scanned the vintage tablecloth from my main show piece of saltshakers – "Heirlooms" – and scattered a couple of dozen rubber duckies on the windowsill, surrounding some of my small paintings. It's been a total kid magnet if the small handprints and noseprints at the bottom of the window are any proof.

The small paintings are from the "Cute as a Bug" series. My plan is to begin posting these paintings for auction in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Swan song??

Ta-da!! So here's my big surprise, finished just in the nick of time. I put in my first all-nighter since college to get this little fellow done for my show and I'm here to report that I recovered a lot more quickly at 20 than I do now!! This is a snapshot taken under less than perfect lighting conditions, but it came out pretty close to the real thing.

Fe Fi Faux Fowl
30" x 30"
acrylic on canvas
The idea for this painting grew out of the show of small works that we hung last fall. I was one of the people who pushed for that show, so when I chose "Out of the Ordinary" as the theme for my feature show, the logical creative step was to "supersize" the little toys I'd painted in the fall.

I love the concept of taking a very small toy and blowing it up to such a large size, but the technical challenges of painting this in acrylic made for many frustrating moments and a lot of very long painting days. I know that working in oils would have made this a much simpler task, but I have a long history of chemical sensitivity that has made me wary of oil paints. As it turns out, I may have to back away from acrylics too. By the time I finished this piece, I was feeling weird and woozly at the end of every day. At first I thought it was just because of the long hours in the studio, but a few days after I finished it, I opened the sealed palette-keepers that I stored my paints in and the odor of the acrylic just about knocked me over. So, in addition to loving watercolor as a medium, it may truly be the only one I can tolerate. But I'm hoping that if I back off acrylics for a while and only work on small pieces when I start using it again, it may be OK. Acrylic has so many unique properties that I really want to be able to play with it some more. I feel like I've barely begun to discover what it can do.

Now I have to get ready for next weekend's outdoor show. There's a whole bunch of framing to do, prints to make and mat, and assorted other tasks. I've recently redesigned my publicity materials and have to update my booth signage to match. It should be a busy week.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My own personal albatross

"Oh, yeah!" you're saying. "She said she'd be posting more clues to the mystery painting. But a whole week and nada." You have my deepest apologies. I've been painting away until the wee hours and frankly, it seems like the more paint I put on this piece, the farther away I am from completing it. For someone who enjoys 6x6 paintings, I'm way out of my comfort zone here. I have less than a week to finish it and get everything else ready for my show, so you probably won't hear from me until that's all finished. But no more empty promises. I'll put up a proper image when the show is up.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

In Progress

Yep! I'm still here -- my computer was in for repairs and I'm painting away on my big surprise for my upcoming show, so I haven't posted for almost a week. Much remains to be done, so I'll be getting back to the studio now, but here's a sneak preview of the painting. Any guesses?

Look for more clues next week...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Battle weary

Turns out I didn't win the skirmish with Feedburner two weeks ago after all. After a complaint from a friend that she wasn't receiving notices of updates to my blog, I went back to the lair of the dragon known as feedburner. Let's just say that my armor is quite scorched. And leave it at that.

I hope I'm not giving false hope when I say that you should be able to subscribe to my feeds now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Homage to Homer

No, not the famed author of antiquity, nor the renowned 19th century watercolorist. I'm paying homage to a much more recent Homer: infamous donut-eater, father of Bart -- yes, the Simpsons. I am particularly fond of Homer's signature exclamation -- D'oh!! -- as a way to express a moment of sudden enlightenment. (I suppose some might argue that this is really nothing more than awareness of prior stupidity, but it sounds so much better cast as enlightenment, don't you think?)

So this week, I started on an acrylic painting that dwarfs my usual efforts. Using the same brushes that I use on my 6x6's, I gamely started on the larger piece. Frustration multiplied by frustration!! In desperation, I finally resorted to some stiffer brushes designed for acrylics that I've been avoiding because I don't like long-handled brushes. Paint moved when I wanted it to, stayed where I put it, blended together easily!! Truly a Homeresque moment.

Since I'm going to keep that painting under wraps until my gallery show, I'll share the most recent 6x6, just being varnished today.

6" x 6"
acrylic on canvas

Enjoy the weekend. I gotta go paint now.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Monet period...

Back in the fall, my gallery decided to do a group show of 6x6-inch canvases. I was eager to try my hand at acrylics and decided to experiment with a looser, more impressionistic style after having followed Karin Jurick's blog for a while. Things started out well -- this little snail was my first painting:

6" x 6"
acrylic on canvas
Notice the painterly approach on the shell, the suggestion of treads on the wheels, of light reflected on the face. I was pleased. I started on the second painting:

6" x 6"
acrylic on canvas

Notice the slightly more controlled style! But there are still impressionistic elements in the piece. I started on the third painting:

6" x 6"
acrylic on canvas

OK!! At this point, there's no denying that I've completely returned to my realistic roots. And in only three paintings!! A veritable nano-period in the history of art. Ah, Monet, we hardly knew ye....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I caught a "fish"

It's not like I've been living in a cave, unaware of the whole cyber-universe thingie. But more and more this past week, as I set up a website and this blog, I've been feeling like I set out to catch a fish and discovered that I'd somehow snagged a whale. The options for communication are SOOOOO vast -- well, it almost leaves me speechless. Which brings me around to the subject of chattiness. Those who know me in person are fully aware that I do not lack the gene for yakkety-yak. But set me in front of a blank sheet of paper and I kind of freeze up. Good thing this is an art blog, I guess!

I mentioned that I'd been honored to be chosen as artist of the month on The Artist's Magazine website back in January. Here's the piece that was featured:

10" x 10"

My mom had a pair of these little salt shakers in her china closet and I always loved them. Over the past several years, I've collected a whole flock of little guys like this, as well as some definitely stranger cousins. Look for more paintings featuring them in the future.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I've done battle with the blog setup options, and I *think* I won.... It really is mind-boggling. If all went as planned, you can now subscribe to a feed and see updates when I post them.

This week has been a flurry of computer work here at the studio -- website and blog all in one week. And the unfortunate downside is that I'm paying for it with back spasms caused by sitting in front of the computer for about 18 hours a day. But I'm being good and taking care to move around more, so things are improving.

For anyone interested, I used iWeb to set up my website. I found it to be easy to use and lots of fun. But I set it up on my studio computer and then wanted to copy it to my laptop so I could work on it outside the studio. To my utter amazement, there is NO WAY to simply move those design files, and a trip to the local Apple genius bar confirmed this. I can laboriously copy over individual elements and rebuild the site page by page, but c'mon.... computers are supposed to be here to serve us! Right?? And as a longtime Mac user, I can't believe they put out a piece of software that is so unfriendly. Very un-Mac!!!

To close, a little eye-candy from my upcoming show:

6" x 6"
acrylic on canvas
Now, I'm off to update our gallery website for the new month's featured artist.

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's about time

After owning a domain name for a longish while (Don't ask! It isn't polite!), I'm finally getting my work into cyber-circulation. I'll be posting occasionally at first and eventually I'll be putting small works up for sale or auction here.

I'm in the midst of getting ready for a feature show at my gallery starting at the beginning of May, and for a weekend fine arts show (Los Altos Rotary Show) on May 17-18. Here's one of the paintings I'll be showing in the gallery:

Quackeroonies #2
6" x 8"

Stop over to see my brand new website and then plan to come meet me in person at my gallery reception (Saturday, May 10 from 2-5 p.m.) or the Rotary Show on May 17 and 18 if you live in the Los Altos area.

p.s. I was honored to be featured in January as Artist of the Month on The Artist's Magazine website. They keep their features active for several months after the initial appearance so you can still view the page by clicking on the link in my sidebar.