Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Before I was Interrupted...

Just to finish my thoughts from yesterday...  I was trying to post a detail of the old woman's face because it was such a great face to work with, but my ISP has been acting up lately and randomly connecting and disconnecting.  AARGH!  
Isn't she a sweetie?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

As I Was Saying

Okay, so here I am again... as I said in the previous posting I haven't done much artwork since April.  I really withdrew into the outside world - the one where my artself doesn't exist.  I've been there before, during my first marriage when for 9 years - that's right 9 years - I didn't pick up so much as a pencil and do anything!  Since I've been there before, I know how easy it is to slip back into that "abyss".  It makes me sad to think of all the time in my life I've wasted not doing any artwork, so I try not to dwell on it.  I try to stay positive and now I have to refocus my artistic energies back into my artwork and get my butt back into the studio on a day basis.

I'm posting one of the few paintings I did recently.  It was a commissioned piece.  I had to work from an old B & W photo of the old woman and child and I found painting the old woman's face a delight!  So much to work with!

                   "Old Mrs. Austin and Roxanne", 18" X 24", oil

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Ba-ack...

Yes, hello, it's me... long time no posting, right?  Sorry, I've been occupied with other things - mostly warm weather which allowed me to participate in my second favorite past time: gardening.  Yeah, I know it's way past "playin' in the garden time" but, you know how you put off doing something for so long that you don't really know how to begin again?  That's kind of been my dilemma.  I've sat down a couple times over the past few months and composed a posting, only to delete it, without ever posting it.  So here goes, the weather is cold and crappy and I'm stuck in the house once again. Therefore, I'm going to foist myself upon you innocents once again :)

When I last left this blog, I was in the process of working on a couple of children's rooms.  I had posted a couple photos of elements in the Pirates' Room.  I'm going to post a few more now.  Unfortunately, the family moved in before I could get proper, uncluttered photos.  (they were under a crunch to get in...)  I'll post a few of the
Pirates' Room but none of the "Groovy Girl's" Room  because the girl's room is way too cluttered with her old furniture and belongings.

So back to my Pirates' Room madness.  As you may recall, the pirate's are coming in to the room to find their
treasure map which is what the walls appear to be: a giant treasure map.

The boy requested a cannonball to come into the room so I made one ripping through the canvas, being fired from the Black Pearl, moored offshore.

Capt. Jack Sparrow

And that's all I'm going to post showing this room.  It turned out quite wonderful all around with the map elements but to show them all won't give you the feel or experience of standing in this room.  It really is quite fun.

Now, getting back to my absence... not only could I not bring myself to stay inside blogging during the warm months but I also worked at a garden center, English Gardens (perfect for feeding my addiction to plants!) over the spring and summer and fall seasons.  I've now been layed off for the winter months, which was expected and I've been looking forward to so that I could return to the easel full time.  I've only completed a couple paintings since April because I was so busy working and playing in my own garden.  I also made another trip to Maui, in June, with one of my daughters.  We had wonderful time.  How could we not?  It's Maui!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Daily Paintings?

Wow! It's been so long since I've posted anything I almost forgot my password!

I just want to let y'all know that I haven't fallen into the pond completely. I'm posting a few of my "daily paintings" from the mural project I'm working on.

These images are inspired by The Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Like many little boys, the child that will occupy this bedroom is gung-ho for pirates and loves the movie. So this is his desire - to be surrounded by all things "pirate". I have a "Capt. Jack Sparrow" inspired image done but apparently didn't any photos of it so that one will have to wait... My creative concept for the room is that of a giant pirate's map which covers the walls being torn down as the pirates have come to reclaim it. The pirate that's coming in, under the map is actually looking for his wayward parrot, which mocks him from a safe perch on top of the closet doors. Meanwhile, the pirate monkey is ripping down the "map" as he sits atop the windows.

And that, folks, is my current "madness" in my mind as I work on this mural.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Back in the Pond

I haven't posted anything of late... I've backpedaled a bit. I'm working on two children's rooms for an old client of mine. Yes, I know I want to give up the mural business and essentially I have. But the circumstances surrounding this job are special and I always liked this client anyway, so it's okay. Besides, I've always said, depending on the circumstances or client, I'd still do "Two Frogs" stuff. I just don't want it to be my focus anymore. Once I get the rooms done, I'll post photos of them. In the meantime, my blogging time has turned to frogging time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another Paint Break...

"Logan", 20" X 20", acrylic

I've realized that I won't be done with the woodwork today, dang it! So, during this coffee/paint break I was poking around in my old "stuff". I ran across, "Logan" and thought you might enjoy this spunky little guy, since I haven't done any new painting this week. He's a little boy that lives down the street from us. It's over a year old, but I still love his expression! He has a little sister, Francesca, that I'll have to paint when she gets to be about the same age. It's always so much fun to do a child's portrait and try to catch the essence of their spirit.

Sigh...I miss being in the studio! I'm going to take a couple days off from being a house painter and get back to the business of being an artist, dag nabbit!

Found: Awesome Artist

Aargh...! Bad news: I'm still in the paint fumes, still wielding the paint brush - Good news: I should be done today. Painting woodwork is not a "fun" job, but it's one of those "must do" jobs to finish a room. Painting walls is much more satisfying, much more along the lines of instant gratification. I don't know about you, but for me there's something a little thrilling about what color can do to a room. And a fresh new color is always a kick.

But that's not what this post is about...

What I am writing about is what I do during my "paint breaks" - I surf around the web, looking at various artist blogs and websites. It just amazes me how many artists' sites there are and all the wonderful artwork and postings and resources and organizations and help and, and, and... geez-o-pete! How does one sift and sort through it all? One link leads to another link, leads to another link, leads to another link... I get so overwhelmed!

I ran across a wonderful artist yesterday that I want to share with you. Her name is Marsha Robinett. She works in pencil and her drawings are exquisite. She has made me fall in love with the power of the pencil, again. She refers to her style as "creative realism". Her attention to detail is tremendous and the depth of values in her drawings is just scrumptious. So rich. Being a painter primarily, I tend to forget about how wonderful working in pencil is. Pencil was my first love and Marsha's stunning work has made me want to revisit that medium. There is just something about graphite and charcoal that you can't get with any other medium, in my opinion. And no one does it better than Marsha. I've added links to her website and blog to this blog. Give your eyes a treat, check out her work.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Break Time/Play time

I was just taking a break from painting - not that kind of painting, house painting. That's my daily painting right now! I realized I needed to get the woodwork in the guest room done before my brother comes for a visit and I have a bit of painting to complete that got started in late December, in my Lizzy's room before she comes home on Spring Break. I still have to do some floral graphics inspired by her snowboard. (Remember, I was a muralist/decorative painter in my "before life"...) These are the kinds of little paint jobs in the house that are easier to do when it's basically just the dog and me around the house during the day, until my husband Steve, comes home from work. Theoretically one would think summer would be the optimum time, but not around this household! It gets way too busy. So for right now, we're living in the paint fumes (I use oil based paint for woodwork). I think I'll haul my air cleaner upstairs for some relief since it's too cold out to open windows...

Anyway, as the old saying goes, " An idle mind is the devil's workshop." Apparently, so too are idle hands! I changed the "look" of my blog. I thought I'd like to see a softer background so I shuffled the colors. I think I like it. It seems a bit easier on the eyes. We'll see... Anybody else have an opinion?

Monday, March 10, 2008

In, Out... No, In

I'm kind of "stuck" on this idea/concept of daily painting. And I realize that not every "daily painter" produces a painting per day, but somehow that scenario just keeps reverberating in my head. As I've stated before, I believe it's every painter's dream or goal to be able to paint every day. It's good discipline to make that commitment because otherwise it can become too easy to say, "I'll get in the studio later...", which can become, "Okay, tomorrow for sure...", which then becomes, "Man, I gotta get in the studio!", which has the potential to become, " Now, what the heck was I doing in here?" when the artist finally gets back in the studio!

So, new week, new Monday, new painting - but it won't be completed in one day. It already has a title, "Piccioni!" It will be the first painting from my series to-be called "The Italian Works".

Hm-m-m...maybe what I can do to "keep myself honest" about my daily painting is to post the painting's progress each day until it is complete. Otherwise, I'm afraid I may find a "reason" to be out of the studio, instead of in the studio.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Two Day Painting?

"Ena's Rose", 6" X 6", oil on canvas

Well, let's see... Monday I prepared panels to paint on, so I didn't paint per se, I gessoed panels. Tuesday, I went through the "what shall I paint" frustration syndrome again. Although I did manage to settle on something - a rose, up close and personal. Yeah, like we haven't seen that before! But it happened to be a rose that was in my aunt's garden, when I visited with her last summer. She has since passed on, so I felt that this rose transcended the triteness of subject. Anyway, I'd been playing in iPhoto with cropping and liked the abstract feel of the severe crop, but of course, painting it was a whole different thing!

I was in the process of checking the original photo on my computer when I discovered that the snow melt was causing water to seep into the basement! Aargh! So that took care of finishing the painting! I spent the rest of the day and night sucking up water as it would seep in and started demolishing on the cabinet that was covering where the water was coming in.

So, long story short, it became a two day painting instead of a daily painting.

I've also decided along the painted path I'm traveling, that doing "daily paintings" is not really working for me. I have found what I suspected before I even started, that the venture would be too limiting for me. It keeps me from doing other paintings because I'm so involved with trying to get a daily painting done. Also, I've never been a still life painter, so for me to set up a still life, no matter how simple, just never feels comfortable. I still love and admire the daily painting genre. It's just not working for me, personally. Will I continue to paint every day? Certainly! But will I produce a painting a day? Not likely. But maybe.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Own Parade

"My Own Parade", 6" X 6", oil on canvas

I'm back to my daily paintings. I know, it's "daily" painting... and my reason for the lapse? Getting ready for the exhibit, tired/burning eyes and basically, just not mentally prepared to commit over the weekend, apparently. But those are all poor excuses. It's a commitment. And when one makes a commitment, it's sometimes easier said than done. I think, in my case at least, it's more about the studio set-up. I need to get a system in place. One that I can just step into and do my work. As it stands right now, I don't feel very organized for this endeavor. So, that's my goal today. Get myself comfortable in my studio for doing these paintings AND do a painting today.

The painting I'm posting today is the one I did yesterday. It's of a little wooden figurine, from a set of "The Pied Piper" figurines. They were made in East Germany, (remember that?! Before the fall of the Berlin Wall?) over twenty-five years ago. I used to collect these little figurines for my oldest daughter, Sarah. I chose the little boy, blowing his horn. I call it "My Own Parade" because sometimes that's how I feel being an artist. Aside from "marching to the beat of a different drummer", I sometimes feel that I'm in a parade of one. That I have to "blow my own horn".

Friday, February 29, 2008

Opening Night

Tonight is the Opening Reception for the show and the area is under a "Winter Weather Alert"... hm-m-m. Oh well, it is February in Michigan. I hope the roads are plowed and clear. I spent nearly five hours yesterday, along with Patrice Erickson, hanging the show. Patrice is experienced in hanging a show, I'm a novice. Therefore, Patrice suggested some options and we decided on color as being deciding factor for the hanging. It turned out quite well. There is a total of eight artists and 28 paintings, as I recall.

The top painting is the painting I was saving to post as my "show surprise" piece since I had already posted "Aberdeen Dreams" and " Sh-h-h..." This painting is called "Out of the Rain".

"Out of the Rain", 9" X 12", oil on canvas

Last summer (summer... remember that folks? sigh...), after a nice rain, I went into the garden and was taking photos of raindrops on my flowers, when I discovered a little caterpillar hiding inside a day-lily. The little caterpillar was my inspiration for the painting.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dream a Little Dream

Do you ever wake up and immediately have the "solution" to something that's been troubling you? Of course, you do, we all do! The mind is a busy place as we sleep. Well, my daily painting from yesterday was the first thing in my head as I was waking up. There it was - this wonderful little painting, the only thing remaining was the background color and the technique... but remember, I don't know exactly know how to do the technique! So, when I get back to this little painting I hope I can figure it out because the painting in my head was quite charming :)'s a thought. Since I "painted" in my sleep, can I count that as my daily painting? I don't know if I can get in the studio today. Too much to do, too little time.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Okay, so that didn't work out!  I did paint but, I didn't finish it... First, after setting up a simple still life, I decided I didn't like it, so I started altering the elements.  Then I started trying other items.  Nothin' was workin' for me.  I must have spent nearly two hours just trying to find something to paint! Mini vase and  strawberry... nope.   Two strawberries... nope.  Two small wooden figures... nope.  One wooden figure... nope.  A dog biscuit... nope.  A wrapped candy... nope.  Nope! Nope! Nope!  There were other things, but I don't want to bore you.  I finally went back to two strawberries.  I  bought HUGE strawberries this morning with the intention of using them in a painting.  They're bigger than golf balls.  I ended up painting with a palette knife because I couldn't get the brush strokes to look the way I wanted.  The trouble with doing that though, is that I've never painted with a palette knife before!!  I like the look so far, but the paint is too thick to continue considering I don't know what the heck I'm doing.  I'll keep at it, but it's going to take more than one day.

There were too many things stacked against me tonight.  Too distracted.  I wanted the darkness so I could create more dramatic lighting.  The problem with that is I'm not used to painting that way and was uncomfortable with the light on the palette.  The clock was ticking away and it was getting later and later, and time shorter and shorter. My eyes were getting tired, I wasn't happy with what was going on... blah, blah, blah. Not a happy camper tonight.  BUT, nonetheless, I did paint today!  And I learned that I'm not a night time painter unless I've already started painting during the day.  So I guess I accomplished something and learned a thing or two after all.

Better Late Than Never

"Indifferent", 6" X 6", oil on canvas

It took a while for me to be able to post my second venture into daily paintings. Just about the time I was going to post it yesterday, I discovered our phone service was down, thanks to the work AT & T had been doing on the lines behind the houses, on our section of the street. And of course, I didn't discover this lovely fact until the trucks had all left for the day!! AARGH!!! But now the phone has been restored and here's my daily painting from yesterday. I call it "Indifferent". Using vintage salt & pepper shakers again as my "models", these two seals, with their noses in the air have always given me the impression of them being quite indifferent to the presence of each other.

I haven't started my daily painting yest today for a couple reasons. The first being, I needed to make sure I had all my pieces in order for the exhibit that opens this Friday. The second being, I want to try a little more dramatic lighting so I need to wait until nightfall because my studio is quite sunny and I haven't had a chance to properly set up a staging area for still lifes.

Actually, come to think of it, I'm not sure I'll be able to do one tomorrow. I'm helping to hang the exhibit. I wonder if I can squeeze two in tonight... oh dear, and "Lost" is on, too!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Daily Duo

I'm still abuzz with the "daily paintings" venture... I've been checking out the bios of the artists that form the Daily Painters Guild and getting a better handle on how it all seems to work. It appears some do just a small painting a day, some paint everyday - not necessarily one small painting, some do both. I think my personal choice would be the latter. As much as I enjoyed my little "Secrets" painting, I was left with wanting to do more. So I guess that would be my solution. To start the day with the daily painting and then continue on to something else, perhaps larger, if the creative juices are still flowing.

The concept has opened up a world of painting for me - not the concept of painting daily, because isn't that something that as artists we all want or strive to do? But the daily paintings - that's the idea that's got me so excited. I just love these little gems! As for my take on daily painting, if you've read any of my other postings, I have a list -. And that list has sometimes perplexed me in terms of how to attack it. There are many "paintings" not even on "The List" because I didn't want to overwhelm myself with "obligations". I see by being able to combine daily paintings and painting daily, the daily duo, I may be able to tackle the list with a better focus. I guess coming from a muralist background where all my paintings were large, room size pieces, the idea of doing paintings like these little gems of daily paintings hadn't crept into my brain. Maybe it was the paint fumes from all those years...

Well, gotta go! Gotta paint!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Daily Paintings

"Secrets", 6" X 6", oil on canvas

I have become infatuated with the concept of Daily Paintings! I ran across Justin Clayton's name and the reference to daily paintings somewhere on the web the over the weekend, as I was surfing about. Intrigued, I checked out his blog and website. I was smitten! His paintings are beautiful little gems of everyday objects, for the most part, although there are some portraits and landscapes. His handling of the subjects is quite wonderful. My favorites are when he takes everyday objects and gives them a sense of importance, whether it's simply a light bulb resting on the table or a slice of lemon illuminated from behind or a sake cup with a blue interior.

I watched his videos and loved the immediacy of the process. It's rather like plein air painting, on one hand. I e-mailed him and he responded, answering questions I had. He also directed me to his FAQ's, which was extremely helpful and he was quite encouraging. Thank you, Justin :)

So intrigued by the process and as I explained to him, I'd really like to loosen up in my paintings, I decided to give it a try. I thought about it all night last night and wondered what I would use for my first daily painting subject. As I sat, reading the newspaper this morning, still wondering what to use, I saw the perfect thing. My funny little, vintage salt and pepper shakers that I bought years ago sitting in the china hutch telling each other "secrets" - or at least that's what they appeared to be doing.

My format is slightly larger than Justin's because I happen to have a box of small canvases that I've collected, liking the size and shape and waiting to find something to inspire me to use them. Which now I have! This piece is 6" X 6" and a gallery wrapped canvas. I certainly enjoyed this foray into the world of daily paintings and intend to keep it up. I love the challenge of it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Wow!  What else is there to say?
That's the first thing that came to mind when I saw this Rembrandt "Portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh, aged 62".  It is absolutely stunning!  I just wanted to share it with you.  It's now on display at The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mass.  It's from the collection of Rose-Mariend Eijk van Otterloo and considered to be "one of the finest Rembrandts in private hands". Wow...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

One, Two, Three... Fini!

I completed my last painting "Out of the Rain" for the upcoming show.  I literally spent the day painting raindrops!  Well, okay... maybe not the entire day, but most of the day!  Talk about tedious!  I can't say much more.  I would like to have a surprise piece left for the show.  I'll post the painting once the Opening Reception is over.  It's unlike anything I've done, but I must say having been well schooled in trompe l'oeil painting with my murals certainly helped depicting the raindrops.

The List

And, now that I've completed my "obligations" for the show, I can start on my list.  Yes, my list.  It's a very important list, one I started keeping a few years ago.  You see, when I was doing "my mural thing", I had no time left over for doing "my own thing" so, I started keeping a list of ideas for paintings that would pop into my head. My list has reached 25 items on it!   Some of those ideas are for series of paintings - multiples!!!  Of course, there are still the commissioned pieces that I have to do as well... but, at least I can get started on my list.  Hm-m-m... which one shall I start with?

(Oops! make that 26.  I know I'll think of more items that I forgot to put on the list.  I've actually had the list written down numerous times, in various places, but now I have what I guess I'll call "The Official List" on my computer desktop.  Trying to be more organized, know what I mean ?)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Aberdeen Dreams

"Aberdeen Dreams", 20" X 24", oil

Remember the post about the new painting I was working on? Well, here it is... Once again, Lizzy was the model. It's from a photo I took of Lizzy when we went to visit her last year, while she was on her Study Abroad Program through Kalamazoo College, in Scotland, at the University of Aberdeen. It was about 4PM on a late January afternoon, as the sun was getting low in the sky (yes, in Scotland the sun goes down even earlier than in Michigan in January!) The light was soft and grey, a typical Scottish day.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Come One, Come All, the Show's About to Begin

Our exhibit is coming soon!  Above, you'll find the list of participating artists. Patrice Erickson has been the driving force to get this exhibit "off the ground" and I imagine it's been no easy task for her when trying to corral so many artists into an organized manner.  To borrow a phrase from someone I knew long ago, it must be " like corralling kittens!"  I must say, she has been remarkable.  Thank you, Patrice.
Although I have mentioned this exhibit under my "Upcoming Events and Exhibits", I do wish to remind those of you who may be in the area to please join us for our Opening Reception. 
Details:  Opening Reception, Friday, February 29th, 6:30PM - 8:30PM
Waterford Cultural Council's de la Ferriere Gallery
2303 Crescent Lake Rd, Waterford , MI - off M-59, about a mile east of Oakland County Internat'l Airport. Phone # 248.618.7529

If you're unable to make the opening but would like to see the exhibit another day, the gallery hours are M-F, 8AM-5PM.  The exhibit will run through April 3, 2008
I'm sure the exhibit will have quite a variety of artwork to enjoy with so many artists participating.  And I can't think of a better way to brighten a winter's day than to be surrounded by art! 
Please, come and enjoy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Smoke and Mirrors

I'm just curious... I've started a new painting and whenever I start a new painting (or drawing) at some point I look at it and think, "Ohmigawd, this is crap!"  But a little voice inside says, "just keep going..."  Invariably, it turns out fine, but there's always that beginning critique given by my inner self.  Does anyone else go through this?  And if so, why?  Why does this happen?  I'm just curious...  

I'd love to hear from others on this.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Something Different

I completed a new painting today - well, at least I think I've completed it.  I had posted it earlier today but I have since changed it, tweaked it here and there.  It's different from anything I've ever done in terms of technique.  I was inspired by the colors used by the Italian artist Nicola Simbari.  After completing the other paintings of the greyhound, Kent and the two family portraits I needed to do something different, something loose and colorful.

So may I present to you, "Maui Dawn".

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Detroit Institute of Arts, a Sparkling Gem on a Winter's Day

For those of you in the metropolitan Detroit area, if you haven't been to the "new" DIA, shame on you and get yourself to the museum!  My husband and I have been there twice now.  The first time was for the advanced opening for members.  It was a wonderful experience.  The galleries are gorgeous and it's new layout is very user friendly.  It's almost indescribable how wonderful it is.  Really.  It's fabulous.  

The second time was this past Sunday.  We had spent the morning doing the usual: hangin' out, drinking our coffee, reading the paper... and it would have been lovely to just stay holed up in the house, snuggled under afghans, reading - but we had decided on Saturday to visit the DIA on Sunday and we were sticking to it.  Boy, am I glad we did!  It was just as wonderful as before.   I had said to my husband that I didn't want to "do" the entire museum.  It just becomes overwhelming and a chore, rather than an enjoyable experience.  We decided to visit some of the galleries that hadn't been open at the grand opening or that we'd missed the first time and of course, revisit our "favs".  Speaking of which, I have a new "fav": the Prints and Drawings Gallery.  There's an energy in drawings that isn't present in paintings, but that's a whole different blog entry...  When you go, look for the small little Ingres drawing of a woman.  It is just exquisite.

To tackle the DIA in this manner is really the way to enjoy a museum and being members allows for such a leisurely visit because you feel like it's "yours" to enjoy on your timetable, as many times during the membership period as you like.  Of course, living within a reasonable distance helps, too.  But, you know what I mean... think about the times you've been to a museum (or zoo!) that you're not a member of.  There's the tendency to go on a "forced march", to go to all the exhibits, all the galleries, (all the animals) - to make sure you get your ticket's worth.  No wonder children tend to roll their eyes when you say, "Let's go to the____  museum!" 
We've always been members and when my Lizzy was around 4 years old, I was a student at the College for Creative Studies, which is located behind the DIA.  I used to go there much more often and knew where all the galleries were located within the building.  I would take Lizzy there on occasion - which one of my professors thought was absolutely amazing that I would take a 4 year-old to the DIA.  I explained to her that we didn't go for an extended period of time,  we just went for brief visits to a couple galleries for my fulfillment and to acquaint Lizzy with the museum and hopefully build an appreciation for art in her, but there were always three things on Lizzy's "must do" list:  go up and down the "roundy" stairs (the spiral staircase); get white cheddar popcorn in the Kresge Court; and visit her favorite room: "The Pink Room".   It was a gallery that was filled with Fragonard paintings,  Louis the somethin' or other gilded furniture, pink walls, pink satin bedding, pink upholstery, pink, pink, pink... a little girl's idea of heaven.   This was during the same time that the DIA had to cut back on hours and close certain galleries on certain days due to budget cuts.
On one particular day, we were on our pilgrimage to "The Pink Room" and when we arrived at the particular spot where it should have been.  It was "gone"!   I remember standing there, holding Lizzy's little hand and turning around, looking and looking - certain I was in the right spot since I knew the layout of the museum so well.  A guard spotted us and asked me if he could help us.  Puzzled, I explained to him about "The Pink Room" and how it was her favorite room and how I thought that this was where it was.   He said, "Well, you're right. It's over here." and led us over to the wall where lo and behold! he opened a concealed door and let us into "The Pink Room".  He opened the gallery just for the two of us, for Lizzy and her enjoyment of "the Pink Room" and explained to me that due to budget cuts, this gallery wasn't open on this particular day.  Now, how cool was that?  I'll always remember that the act of kindness.  He could have just turned us away, but he chose to brighten a little girl's face instead.
"The Pink Room" is gone now due to the renovations and revamping of the museum.  I don't imagine it'll be missed much.  It wasn't my favorite gallery - too frou-frou for me - but it will certainly remain as a fond memory of time I spent at the DIA with my Lizzy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


"Winston", 84" X 24", oil

"Winston", detail

This is "Winston". Kent's "bro". The much more laid back, dignified dog. Sweet as can be - "Winston the Winsome".

The spark of inspiration for Winston's image came as I was driving down Woodward Ave. one day. The entire painting just popped into my head from nowhere. I "saw" just the top half of a greyhound depicted. One always sees their big chest or their long legs. I saw length. The image tucked itself away in the recesses of my brain where I keep my other "paintings". I ran into my friend, Robert one day and mentioned it to him - fortunately for me, they had Winston which would work for the dog in my vision. Robert said he'd think about it...

Robert called me a few weeks later. Now I had never thought of the size of it, just the image. Robert came up with the size: 7' X 2' - to go over their mantelpiece. Zoikes! Alright, cool!

And that's how "Winston" was created.

Kent, the Clown

Kent, 48" X 48", oil

And now for your enjoyment, I give you "Kent". I completed his portrait this past weekend. Kent is a rescued greyhound that rehabilitated by inmates and then adopted. I refer to him as Kent, the Clown because that's what his personality conveyed when I met him and it is my understanding that that is a good description of him. He's a happy dog. A big, gangly greyhound with a heart as big as he is.

Kent is the second rescued greyhound adopted by my friends. This is the second portrait they have commissioned from me. The first portrait was of Winston, who is much more "dignified" than Kent. "Kent" also presented an interesting challenge due to the sheer size of him - 4' X 4'. His tongue is as long as my forearm and his eye is the size of a dinner plate!

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's a Family Affair...

Whew!... I just finished this family portrait.  It was a surprise for the family so I had to work from two photographs provided by the mother/grandmother.  I changed the clothing to make it more cohesive and timeless.  

I also reworked a portrait for another daughter and her son that the mother/grandmother had purchased from an internet portrait company.  She was unhappy with what had been delivered to her.  I don't believe I'll be showing that portrait.  But I will say I did improve the final image.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Doggie in the Window

Aside from collecting quotes, I collect "funnies"  - you know, the comics from the newspaper.  Some are just too good to send to the recycling bin!  Often I find one that is apropos to a given circumstance or something will remind me of a family member.  I keep a file on my computer of my favorites.  Occasionally I go through the file and have a good laugh all over again.  Here's one that I saved the fits my Bailey to a tee!

The thing that is so funny about Bailey is that on a leash, on a walk he never ever has barked at anything!  Not a car, dog, squirrel - nothin'!  He doesn't even try to chase a squirrel or bird.  I've always said a chiquaqua could kick his a_ _, if Bailey's on a walk. He's the biggest baby dog there is.  But in his own house?  He's Sir Bailey of York, Protector of All He Sees.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sibling Rivalry - It Never Ends

"Pigtails",  30" X 50", acrylic

I got a nice e-mail from my Sarah yesterday congratulating me on the new blog and how it looked but, she did say, " I am hoping to see "Pigtails" grace the computer screen or the "Love is..." series."   Now the back story on those two paintings is that they are about her and I appreciate her suggestion to show them on the blog but, I also suspect a little sibling rivalry there since Lizzy, her sister is so prominently displayed... like I said, sibling rivalry - it never ends. 
So here you go, Sarah, these are for you.  I love you...Mom. 

The "Love is..." series is something I have started for Sarah and Nick. Starting with this painting given to them at their Engagement Party, I intend to do a series for them that will be little snippets from their life together. Sarah is a shutterbug.  She probably has hundreds of photos of them together.  I ran across one that just had a little bit of them in the frame and they were obviously laughing madly.  That when the idea for the series popped into my head with this one being "Love is... finding someone you can share laughter with." 

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's Raining Cat and Dogs

Yes, folks, only one cat... one measly little kitty...out of all the animal portraits I've done - just one itty, bitty kitty, Oscar. 
Can someone explain that?  I have a hard time believing that only dog owners are likely to have their pets' portraits done!
Of course, that should all change now since my daughter, Sarah and her husband, Nick - the newlyweds,  got a little, itty, bitty Siamese kitty shortly after they got back from their honeymoon.  Their kitten's name is Maggie, after Magglio Ordonez.  (Did I mention they're big Detroit Tigers fans?)  The biggest trick will be getting Maggie to stay still long enough to have her picture taken!

Now I'll share some of my favorite dog portraits.

This is my Bailey.  He's a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.  
He's the "son" we never had... we have two daughters.  He also believes himself to be The Protector of our street as he sits in the window scrutinizing each person, dog, truck, car, stroller, roller-blader, jogger, squirrel, cat, chipmunk, etc. as they pass by.  
The sanitation workers call him "Doggie in the Window".  
I call him, Sir Bailey of York.

This is Cody.

These pet portraits are all done in pastels. I also do painted portraits. Really I do! But it's taken me so long to get these posted, in a fashion that I like, I can't spend any more time on them.  Will this blogging ever get easier for me?  Oy!

Tank                                              George                                                                                                                                                     

Don't Tell My Dog, Bailey!

Let me  introduce you to "Libby".  This is my favorite dog portrait (sh-h-h-h!  Don't tell my dog, Bailey!).  I was commissioned to do this portrait by a lovely woman, as a surprise Mother's Day gift, for her daughter-in-law.  You see, her daughter-in-law was a "puppy raiser" for the Leader Dogs for the Blind, in Rochester, Michigan and Libby was the puppy she was raising - her first puppy.  Libby was to be turned over to the Leader Dogs for her training shortly after Mother's Day and the mother-in-law wanted to do something special to commemorate the bond between Libby and her "Mom".  I met Libby at her "Grandma's" house, where she had arrived on the sly (remember this was to be a surprise gift), with her "Dad".  I took some reference photos of her and we chose the pose we liked the best for me to work from for the pastel portrait.  During her photo shoot it became quite obvious she was a remarkable dog.  Her ability to comprehend commands and behave belied her young age (the puppies return to Leader Dogs as one year-olds).   Libby is a beautiful specimen of a Yellow Labrador and it was my honor  to capture her spirit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Same Day...Later...

I have so much to learn about this blogging thing! I now realize that when I introduced myself and my art to you I failed to tell you more about "Lizzy's Locks of Love". It was juried into the Third Annual Michigan Portrait Show at the Orion Art Center, in Lake Orion, Michigan this past September. The judge for the show was Kathleen Van Ella, founder of Portraits/Chicago Inc. "Lizzy's Locks..." was awarded a Juror's Merit Award. Also juried into the show was "Sh-h-h...", a pastel portrait of a sleeping baby, Eleanor Genevieve.

January 15, 2008 - Musing and Muttering

Well, here it is - my first posting. After spending a good portion of my allotted computer time ( I try to limit my time for working on the computer before I head for the easel. Otherwise, I'd never get anything done!) trying to figure out how to "blog", I managed to get something up and posted. I certainly hope I get this all figured out rather quickly because right now "blogging" takes way too much time! I'm amazed at the size of some blogs I've seen and now that I've actually started my own, it's hard to imagine how much time some of these blogs require! And honestly, how many people will truly be interested in reading my musings? Is this really the way to keep in touch with everyone? I guess I'll find out...