Cat Mojo

My painting class is not going as planned.  In my first five week session, I came home energized and excited, even if I didn’t like my paintings so much.

This session I have to keep reminding myself they are not all masterpieces.

Take my cat painting, or paintings to be more accurate. Done from a photo I took of one of the barn cats at Arrowhead Stables, I loved my sketch. 

Our first class was on putting a mat around your painting by blurring the corners with paint.  First try….muddy, too many colors, too much.  

Second try.  Too many hard edges.

When I came home from class, I tried to “fix” the first painting, only succeeding in making it worse.  Usually there is a freedom in tackling an unhappy painting.  You can try anything you want……not this time.  Think I can find a greeting card in the head on this second version of the first painting.

This week we worked on adding texture to a painting using different techniques.  I started with a Sandhill Crane that turned into a muddy mess.  Then I tackled the cat again. A bit better, but feeling my mojo is getting a bit distracted or diluted.   

What to do to get it back? Take a break, paint more, change up my palette?  Any suggestions?
“Did You Art Today?”

Double Dose of Paradise

Two more for our home.  These two will be framed and reside on either side of our bed, above the nightstand.  I found some really sweet bamboo look frames in the thrift store and will mat them in a tan mat to give the paintings a vintage feel.  But first I need a trip to Sarasota Art & Frame to pick up my framed acrylic Ibis painting and to find just the right color mat.

“Did You Art Today?”

Living in Florida

FullSizeRender-8Almost done my latest painting. Another commission for our home.

This is quite a different painting for me.  First, it’s acrylics.  Not my usual media.  And, it’s  actually a planned painting.  Normally I’m a grab the brushes and paint kind of gal with   perhaps a few pencil marks for placement.  But as this is 24″ by 36″, a stretched canvas and I want it prominently displayed in our living room; the center of our home, the area where we live, I actually did some preliminary work including a value and color sketch.  The birds were then sketched the appropriate size onto tracing paper, cut apart, and rearranged several times…. eventually winding up near where they started.


The white ibis are the most prominent birds in our new backyard that includes a pond.  They wander around the edges, picking, poking and preening, making sketching and photographing them easy.  Watching them jockey for best position, moving intricately between each other without touching a feather.  They seem peaceful, content and happy to be part of our landscape.

They are very different than any birds that lived in our heavily wooded backyard in Medford, NJ and therefore, mesmerizing.  For me they signify, I am actually now residing in Florida full time.  Just like these three.  After 64 years in one area of the United States, I have been able to realize another dream. Who’d a thunk!

Still a few tweeks before sealing it, and sending it off to the framer (yes, I am actually going to pay someone to frame versus doing it myself!), I will post the full painting when it’s actually finished.  Just thought I’d give you a peak into the making of my painting and how my art comes from my heART.
“Did You Art Today?”






Workshop Wonders

Today I took a workshop with the delightful Deborah Ross at the equally delightful Selby Gardens.  Deborah is the artist responsible for the lovely signs that are sprinkled through the gardens. 

No drawing, minimal brush strokes, it was amazing to watch her push and pull her squirrel brush, molding both the big shapes and details in her paintings.  I think I need one.  

Generous, happy and charming, she demonstrated, and came around with individual suggestions and encouragement.  Here are my results.

I think I could get addicted to this.

“Did You Art Today?”

In My Head – Part 2

During my first new watercolor class, my instructor demonstrated a painting technique that she had learned in a class with Andrew Castagnet.  I liked her result, and my first attempt came out o.k.  Second was a disaster.

Now that we’re in a few week break before the next class, I decided to try to “fix” the first one.  Give that dolphin sculpture a bit more definition.  Make him  stand out from the background..sort of salvage it from the wreckage. Having used a photo my instructor provided, I rummaged through my own photos of the fountain in Bayfront Park in Sarasota.  It was then I discovered it.  I had painted what I thought I saw, not what was actually there.  The lower dolphin on the right hand side was going in the complete opposite direction as the top one.  They were not leaping together as I had painted them.

This is the second time my head has played tricks with me in this class.  The Roseate Spoonbill class had me spinning because I knew what I thought we were doing.  This painting demonstrated something every artist knows….paint what you see, not what you think you see.

I painted it again,  not quite getting the looseness  I enjoyed in that first painting. But this time, I painted what I saw.

Well, not exactly.  The dolphins aren’t blue and purple…then again, you don’t expect me to totally follow that rule, did you?

We may have to have a fourth go at this painting.  I love this park, and that fountain. I’ll keep you posted

“Did You Art Today?”

In My Head

Confusion…at least I wasn’t the only one. Three paintings from one reference photo.  In my head we were doing three paintings, different views, different colors, different crop, etc.  Using a reference photo of a roseate spoonbill, I drew out my three sketches for the paintings.  Ready for my Friday class!.

Not…………..  What we actually did was use the same reference photo, and change the center of interest. My head was having none of this.  When I started painting I felt discombobulated, and awkward.  By the end of class I had to wash out all but two of my brushes. A tell-tale sign I was out of my comfort zone. Two or three brushes are standard for me.

Torture.  I could not get the idea that the Roseate would not be the center of interest in two of the three paintings. Hell, it’s a pink bird. How can it not be the center of interest? In painting one I made the focus the sunset, painting two made the foliage the center of interest, and in painting three I would finally make the bird the center of interest. Hated the first one, did another sunset again. Trying to downplay the bird left the silhouette pale and lifeless in both paintings.  But if I made it darker would it compete as a center of interest? Grrrrrrrrrrr. Four tries, none of which felt right, including the painting with the Roseate as the center of interest.

When I came home I darkened the silhouettes of the paintings done in class. Made them a bit better, but still not happy with my paintings from class, I took one of the drawings I had prepared the night before and did my fifth painting for the day.  It was in my brain, so therefore I think it was in my brush. Loved this one.  A reminder how powerful are our thoughts.IMG_1257

Wondering what would have happened if I hadn’t assumed what we were doing?

Loving this class (if not the paintings produced) for the challenges presented.

“Did You Art Today?

Hat Trick

Today’s class was about painting wet and dry.  The demos were mostly florals, and while I didn’t quite conquer the negative space concept demonstrated as well as I’d hoped, I was in my glory, feeling my mentor, Dan Hines smiling over my shoulder.

Wet me some paper, let me sling some paint. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Birds of Paradise, approximately 12′ x 10″

Loose Purple Floral approximately 9″ x 7″

The Zen of Selby Gardens, approximately 9″ x 7″.

”Did You Art Today?”