Monday, December 31, 2012

Done, Thank You, & Happy New Year!

8"x 8"
(watercolor on aquabord)

Well, "Meaghan" is complete. This is my second portrait and my first on aquabord. I'm very excited to give this to my friend. I'll be sealing it today and framing it.  I can't wait to give it to her.  :)  I had a lot of fun . . . all that hair . . . so exciting for an obsessive compulsive personality like mine.  Ha!  

I also must thank you all who visit my blog. Blogging has completely changed my life:  the way I paint . . . and truth be told, the fact that I paint. I originally began this blog as a way to stay disciplined.  I know myself and I can very easily fall into unproductive periods that linger but blogging has kept me on track. I began it to remain focused.  I thought that even if no one followed me, I could imagine that someone might, and just that little bit of pressure would keep me moving in the right direction. But this has turned into so much more. I have met so many wonderful people -- artists, collectors and art enthusiasts who have been so kind and generous to me. Your encouragement and assistance have helped me meet goals I had never even considered when I first started this journey. Blogging has given me so much more than what I ever could have imagined or repay and I have you all to thank. So when you're toasting in the New Year tonight, be sure to raise your glass and toast yourselves on my behalf. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Working on Hair

"Meaghan" - wip
8" x 8"
watercolor on aquabord

Well, I made some more progress on this yesterday.  I'm fiddling now with her hair.  I paint a little and then stand back and look, I paint a little more, then stand back and look a little more.  It's a slow process, but fun.  I keep assessing the relationships between the shapes, colors and values and I think it's coming together.  I'll do some more work today and hopefully wrap her up.  This has been a fun departure for me.  

Thanks for stopping by and visiting.  Have a great day!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Progress on "Meaghan"

don't worry . . . that eye is in shadow and won't look like a weird hole for long!

I normally don't do portraits, but this photo just grabbed me -- the cheeks, the hair and all that dramatic lighting! This little girl is Meaghan and she belongs to my good friend June's son and daughter-in-law. This portrait was meant to be a surprise Christmas present to Junie, but I just couldn't keep the secret and showed her a couple weeks ago. (It was hard enough keeping the Dougal secret from my brother, so you'll just have to cut me some slack.)  :)

Anyway, it's a good thing I showed her, because I didn't make my Christmas deadline . . . grrrrr. Actually, June gave me permission to miss it since I had so many other things going on. Thank you Junie!

So here's the progression in case you're interested.  I'm hoping to get this all done and framed by the weekend (hopefully sooner). Oh and incidentally, this little girl is a year old and no lie, she's had that thick, crazy hair since she was born, only then it was jet black. It was a little like Ernie's from Sesame Street -- only more of it. And when you looked at her, you instantly couldn't help but smile. Gradually her hair turned red and when she was 5-6 months, people would stop and ask her mother if she was wearing a wig!  She said she wanted to say "ummm no . . . why would I choose to put a bright red, long-haired wig on my baby?"  Hilarious!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas and Dougal-Bottoms!!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas yesterday. I was on the go from the time I woke up until the time I crashed on the couch late, last night and so I never got the chance to wish you all a very Merry Christmas on the actual day. Please forgive me. We had a great time with family yesterday and are very blessed. Above is a picture I snapped the other night as I was wrapping gifts and sticking them under the tree. Truth be told, I was still wrapping a couple yesterday morning, even though my shopping was done a long time ago. I guess that's just how I roll!  :)  

8" x 8"
(private collection)
Now this little guy above is Dougal, who belongs to my brother and sister-in-law. I've been keeping him a secret for a couple of months now and it's been killing me! I don't think they usually read my blog, but I couldn't be too careful, so I didn't even share him with you. I loved painting him! I had snapped the photo a while ago at their house, which brings me to the subject I teased about in my last blog: Good reference photos. They make such a big difference -- at least for me anyway. And while high resolution and clarity are very important, for me, dramatic lighting is equally as important. 

The lighting on the two dogs in my last post, was kind of flat (and this isn't a criticism of the photographer, because taking good photos for an art reference is very different than just taking a good photo and I didn't specify. These were very good photos basically.)  But for my needs, it didn't naturally provide great contrast. And thus, I struggled compositionally with regards to creating interesting value patterns, while maintaining a likeness to the dogs and their coloring. 

After comparing the process of painting Dougal to that of the two dogs, I finally came to the conclusion that I'm just not good at making things up, and that I really need a strong reference that contains great changes in value. So my tip to myself (and that I thought I'd share with you in case you're like me) is to, from now on, obtain only photos that can be cropped to a dynamic composition with regards to shape AND value in addition to clarity and high resolution, otherwise, I really struggle. 

So that's my little tidbit for today. I'm off to vacuum and paint. I hope you like Dougal-Bottoms -- my brother and sister-in-law were very happy and surprised!  I'm excited to share with you my newest painting, so keep tuning in. Cheers!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fiddled and Fiddled and Done!

commissioned pet portrait
14" x 11"
(watercolor on aquabord)

Whew!  Finished!  I had a lot of fun with this one -- and am very pleased with how it turned out.  But I learned a valuable lesson about reference photos for doing future pet portraits and will share them with you, because I think they're really important.  Unfortunately I don't have time right now.  (how's that for a crazy teaser!?)  I'll have to do it later because I'm up against a wall here with chores and time.  So stay tuned.

Anyway -- have a great day . . . hope you are getting ready for the Big Guy . . . make sure you're being nice!  Even when you're running late, purchasing last minute items at the grocery store and the person in front of you is getting price checks on cheese, redeeming what seems likes hundreds of coupons, and paying by check!  :)

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Here's An Idea

Elizabeth Bennett is about to receive a gift certificate from Mr. Darcy for watercolor lessons from me!!  How exciting is THAT?  Seriously, I recently received a call from a clever customer asking if they could purchase a gift certificate for private lessons.  Well, what a good idea . . . I never even thought of that!  Perhaps many of my artist friends already provide these, but if not -- here's another marketing idea.  And for anyone interested in a gift certificate towards a purchase, lessons ($25/hr) or a commissioned pet portrait, please feel free to email me.  

Ok . . . back to work now. . . so much to do before the holidays!  Thank you for stopping by.  Wishing you all a great day!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Doggy Painting Update . . .

I'm working on lots of things -- paintings, daily chores, upcoming holiday stuff -- so this is going to be a short and sweet post.  Here's the progress on the dogs -- have a great day!  (how was that for short?! -- thanks for stopping by!)  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Doggy Development

This is going to be a short post as I have lots of painting to do, but I took a little time out to photograph my progress on this latest commission as I thought you might like to see it. It really takes time to evolve.  The dog in the foreground started out like the one in the background: just vague blocking in. Incidentally, it's sometimes helpful to see the images photographed because often errors will reveal themselves more easily. I'm actually noticing things now that I hadn't seen in real life . . . some good, some that need fixing. 

Anyway -- I'm off to paint some more -- as you can see, I have lots of work to do!  Have a glorious and productive day and thanks for taking a peek.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Collector's Photograph

Happy Monday everyone!  I've been meaning to post these photos for a little while now. One of my lovely collectors, L.S., was so kind as to email me, a photo of one of my paintings in its new home. How sweet was that!? I was truly tickled to receive it, AND, she graciously gave me permission to share the photo with you.Even though L.S. lives down south now, her memories and fondness for her New England upbringing remain strong, evident in her beautiful hutch and stunning redware collection. When she saw my painting "Redware Tea" she immediately recognized the Old Sturbridge Village mug and as you can see, her new painting fits right in! Thank you L.S.!!  :)  

It's nice to know that even though some of my paintings may have a "New England-y" feel to them, one doesn't necessarily have to live here to relate.  

OH -- and if you happen to own one of my paintings, and feel so inclined, please feel free to email me a picture of it in its new home.  I love to see and share where they end up!  Have a great day . . . and thanks again for stopping by.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A New Page - The 2013 Calendar

I created a new page for my 2013 Calendars on the navigation bar above in case any one is interested in ordering.  Below is a preview of each month.  I still have a few left in each size so order soon!

In other news . . . I was very pleased to read on Facebook that my painting "American Interior" sold the other day at the Randy Higbee Gallery even before the show's opening reception!  If you're interested in purchasing original artwork in very fine frames, please visit the Randy Higbee Gallery's "6 Inch Squared Show" which can be viewed online here.  (This link will take you to my page, but just click on "back" to view all the work.)

Thank you for visiting -- have a great rest of the weekend!

Friday, December 7, 2012

He's a Beautiful Boy!

"Virgil" (a German Short-haired Pointer)
8" x 8"
watercolor on aquabord

Virgil in his frame

So here's Virgil -- what a beautiful boy!!  He's a show dog and it's no wonder. and I'm happy to report that his mom was pleased with the painting -- (big sigh of relief).  You just never know.  I was pleased, but my feelings don't really matter so much when there's a mom out there who REALLY knows her baby boy.  :)  I spent this morning "trying on" different frames and I think I'm going to go with this one -- simple, sleek and black.  I like the contrast.  And I love this aquabord -- no need for matting or glass.  I think it has a very classic look to it.  

I'm also working on finishing up the Little People circus train painting -- just a few more tiny little details and I'm dragging my feet.  Go figure.  Then there's much cleaning and decorating to do --- gaaaaahhhh!!!  I'm kind of bad at decorating -- takes me forever to get things up, then it's about May by the time everything comes down.  Well, maybe not May, but close.  So that's my "true confession" for the day.  :)  Have a great weekend!  Thanks for coming by.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


12" x 12" -- wip 1

wip 2

wip 3


I thought I'd post these progress shots of my latest commission.  Hope you enjoy . . . thanks for stopping by . . . back to painting!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Backyard Sunlight

"Backyard Sunlight"
12" x 12"
(watercolor on Fabriano soft-pressed paper)

I think I'm finished with this painting now.  I spent the past couple days playing around with some of the shadows and highlights, but I'm done with all the fussing (I think!).  :)  Sometimes it's hard to be done.  Incidentally, my painting, "American Interior" is the room beyond the window in this painting.  See if you can identify what the ornament is in the window.  (how's that for a tease?)

Anyway, thanks for stopping by.  I'm onto finishing up the "Circus Train" painting -- just a couple tweaks here and there -- and starting a Christmas commission.