Merry Christmas

Posted by on Dec 24, 2015 in General, Sources of inspiration | 4 Comments

merry Christmas


Going silent for awhile – May you enjoy the blessings of the season, dear Readers.

Too Hard, Part Three

Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

A few years ago, my mom and I visited Blowing Rock, North Carolina. This is where her mom, my G’ma grew up. We were exploring a bit, and I took a few photos of a little creek near G’ma’s homestead. Mom expressed an interest in having me paint this for her, and I have been procrastinating for 5 years. The point of this procrastination is to acquire more skill.

I’ve been messing with this painting that is too hard for me for several days in a row. Finally, I got an idea.

Since I took the photo and it is on my computer, I pulled it onto the screen and enlarged each murky spot so I could see what I was trying to paint. It’s pretty stinkin’ hard to paint things that I can’t see, and I finally accepted and understood that I cannot see what all those dark murky things are.


Look at that! The colors are brighter and the details appear on the laptop screen.


Now I have lots of rocks in the closer water area.


It’s hard to tell anything in the full sized photo, either as an 8×10″ or on the screen. But when each thing is enlarged, VOILA!




Excuse me for shouting. I’m so relieved. It is too wet to photo (too shiny). It is too big for the scanner, so maybe I will get a good photo when it dries, and maybe not.

Phew. Christmas is 2 days away.

Too Hard, Part Two

Posted by on Dec 22, 2015 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

When something is too hard, we go slowly. Think about a steep trail. Think about moving a heavy piece of furniture.

S L O W L Y.


The background, the part where the sunlight is brightest, and the bank to the right of that area is beginning to make sense.


Ick. This is terrible, and there are too many dark rocks. The colors are all either dark brown or something sort of greenish-brownish-gray. Why did Mom and I like this scene so much?


Best viewed from the back of a fast horse.


Hey! this is looking significantly better! I’ll tell you why tomorrow.

This scene is near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and is significant to my Mom. I hope to finish it by Christmas AND have it dry enough to transport.


Tina, Where Are You?

Posted by on Dec 21, 2015 in General | No Comments

This is an unusual post, for an unusual circumstance. Someone named Tina ordered a calendar but did not provide her mailing address. 

Her email address was provided from Paypal, but there was no physical address or P.O. box # provided so that I could mail her a calendar.

I emailed her twice, and didn’t hear back. This probably means that my email landed in her spam folder. 

She emailed me asking where her calendar was, but still did not provide a mailing address. I replied, but am thinking that may have also landed in a spam folder.

So, this blog post is an attempt to locate Tina! 

Tina, I hope you are reading this! If you are, please use the contact button again, and this time include your mailing address. I really want to send you your calendar!!

Too Hard

Posted by on Dec 21, 2015 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Since spending hours working on a painting that is too hard for me (i.e. “above my pay grade”), I’ve been thinking about how we handle things in life that are too hard. . . we take them S L O W L Y.

I can’t remember when I started this painting. It was many drawings, paintings and at least three murals ago. Many projects with real deadlines interfered with the progress. Finally, I decided to finish this to give to my Mom for Christmas. It’s okay – she doesn’t have a computer or know what a “blog” is.

It has been lurking in the background for months. This was last spring. I got the basic shapes on canvas and decided it was too hard.


It kept asking for attention, so I dabbed at it a bit more.


This was how it looked in July. It is also how it looked in December, when I decided it was TIME. Nope, past time.

Grandma's Creek

What’s to be afraid of? Paint slowly, one tiny area at a time. Mix the colors, dab at the canvas in the areas you know how to handle.


The areas are beginning to get defined.

Whoa. This is too hard. I have to stop and breathe.

Oh – it is near Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Don’t mention this if you see my Mom, okay?

Navel Season

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in commissions, Oil Paintings | No Comments

December is in the midst of navel season. Navels are seedless oranges, known for their great eating rather than for juice. The season has been greatly extended by adding early and late varieties.

These are most likely the classic navel, Washington, also known as Old Line. 

These five oil paintings are also for the ag realtor who gives them as gifts to his clients. 

1570 Navel XI 1571 Navel XII 1572 Navel XIII 1573 Navel XIV 1574 Navel XV

Olive Harvest

Posted by on Dec 17, 2015 in commissions, Oil Paintings | No Comments

Olive harvest takes place in October. For me, it is NOW, because these oil paintings of olives are FINISHED.

Five of these paintings go to an ag realtor who has the good taste and class to give my oil paintings to his clients. Isn’t that brilliant?

The sixth goes to a friend who is giving it to her brother, an olive grower.

There will be a seventh, a 24×24″ painting that incorporates the best of each one of these.

Maybe. I have the canvas and the idea, but until paint hits canvas, it is just an idea.

1565 Olives I 1566 Olives II 1567 Olives III 1568 Olives IV 1569 Olives V 1577 Olives VI

Secret Oil Painting Workshop Part 2

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Lessons, Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

Why “secret”? Because I don’t advertise and recruit. . . it is an insider thing for my advanced drawing students. I don’t believe I know enough to truly teach anyone how to oil paint. Instead, I view myself as one beggar showing a few other beggars how to find bread.

Let’s see how these other beggars did. . .


M wanted to paint the Tetons from a photo she snapped on one of her many road trips. I painted it first so she could see what sorts of colors and brush strokes. (Mine is slightly visible behind the photo on the little easel on the right.) Then, she was off and running, just looking at the photo and mixing her colors from the primaries. She needs another session or 2 on this canvas to complete it. Phooey – I was hoping she would buy mine from me, Just messing with you, M. I am PROUD of you!!

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A chose a photo that I found a little intimidating. She wanted a black background which I knew how to help her with. She has a great eye for proportion, knows what chicks look like and is a bit perfectionistic. These are great qualities to paint in a realistic manner. This is after 2 sessions, and I think 1 more might do the trick. Isn’t this wonderful??

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L is amazing. She has painted with me several times, and is off and running. She paints on her own at home, and has plans to give these second two paintings as Christmas gifts this year. The orange wants more texture, but the pear might be finished. There is no stopping this woman!!

Secret Oil Painting Workshop

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in Lessons, Oil Paintings | No Comments

I’ve been oil painting since March 8, 2006, which doesn’t seem like enough experience to be teaching. However, several of my drawing students have asked me to conduct an oil painting workshop. I began doing this a few years ago, but only for my advanced students.

The participants need to understand proportion, perspective, values and my manner of teaching.. I need to understand where they are in their abilities, and how they learn. 

Oil painting is much harder than pencil drawing because of the added elements of color mixing, all the ingredients to manage and the less than cooperative, wet, flippy brush, but if a student has the understanding I listed above, they can achieve impressive results in just a few painting sessions. Four of the five participants had painted with me before, and we did two sessions together this year.

We work from photos as a matter of ease and convenience. Plein air or using real life set-ups doesn’t fit our space, abilities, or level of experience. I want my students to have success and to be happy with their results rather than leave a workshop feeling as if they wasted their time and money. I am too familiar with that sort of result and want better for my students.

IMG_2032 IMG_2048

About 2 years ago, E asked me if she was ready to oil paint. I told her that she wasn’t. She kept working very diligently at her drawing skills, and this year she was ready to paint. We started with a simple subject – easy shape, few colors to mix. This is how it looked at the end of her second session. This photo looks a bit washed out compared to the painting because it is wet and shiny. But, still. . . pretty impressive! Her choice of background color truly complements the orange, since blue is the complement (opposite on the color wheel) of orange. Hey, Mr. Favorite Customer, aren’t you proud of your wife, and aren’t you glad she didn’t listen when you told her to give up on drawing lessons??


J pulled out this canvas she had started last year and dabbed at it without any photo reference. I dug through my cat photos on hand and couldn’t find the one I was looking for. We found one that helped with cat face proportions, and then as she was packing to leave, she flipped her canvas over and found the very photo I had been seeking! It was how she started this painting a year ago, and then we both forgot. The second session of painting was more fruitful. Lots of life in those eyes!






Commission of Cats with Colored Eyes

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in commissions, drawing | No Comments

Remember, Mr. Customer chose view “C” – a Commission of Cats with Colored eyes?

Here it is, Tabby as a kitten and an adult, Sasha as a kitten and an adult.

colored eyes_edited-1

The kitten on the lower right is perched on some sort of a figurine. I don’t know what it is, but Sasha is in charge of it.

And just for fun, as I was finishing up, I was drinking coffee from a mug that says “. . .and thou shalt have dominion over all the beasts, except, of course, for CATS.”