The Process

My constant straightening in the studio is never predictable and hardly ever produces the desired neat result. Sort of a dance of daring today.  

The three paintings hanging out on the mat cutter table were particularly bothersome.

Two, from my first new watercolor class, are complete failures.  Should I leave them out for inspiration or as a reminder that practice is often the key? I do want to try that method again.  Underneath those two was the rose painting. A pretty basic floral made special by the memories of the gift they were.

Did I like it enough to mat? List it for sale? Frame it? The more I held it in my hand, I felt it needed something.  So instead of straightening the studio, I pulled out my stencils and watercolor in spray bottles, making more mess.  For a brief moment I hesitated.  If I did the “stencil thing”, it could ruin it.

Never being known for my restraint, see the above before and after.

And now the studio desk is covered with sprayed watercolor,  watercolor spray bottles,  wet stencils, and the rose painting.  The other two paintings remain on the mat cutter desk.  
Progress? Setback?  Not sure….just, for me, the process of being an artist

“Did You Art Today?”

End of Polo Season

Just a little bit sad on this last day of Sarasota Polo Club’s season.  However, I have some great reference photos (once I sort them all out) that will make some fun paintings.  So don’t for one minute think you’ve seen the the last of polo from the paintbrushes at Wallace Studios.

“Did You Art Today?”


In an effort to jumpstart my painting in Florida,  I started a watercolor class with the delightful Elaine Charney.  Her first class demo was based on her six day workshop with Alvaro Castagnet.  My limited palette contained none of the suggested colors, but I managed to do two paintings, neither of which prompted a show and tell.   I do want to try the process again with a bit more thought using my own photos and doing some preliminary sketches.

In today’s class, she talked about composition. And we were free to use whatever reference photo we wanted, as long as we kept the composition principles in mind.  She came around helping to pick photos, nixed my original idea of a rather complicated painting for a more simple reproduction of a photo I had that caught her eye. An easier assignment to complete in the three hour class, I readily agreed.

These white ibis are the most prevalent birds on our little lake, and I get to observe and photograph them often. They are a bright spot against the green landscape and dark waters of the lake.

Simple and bright….definitely symbolic of this Florida lifestyle.
“Did You Art Today?’

Gifts Keep Giving

We had a lovely lunch with our friend for whom I painted the black and white kitty.  She was touched and near tears when opening her gift.  

Frankly, it was hard for me to concentrate as she had brought this gorgeous pitcher full of delicious, honking big pink roses as a housewarming gift.  My eye kept getting drawn to their size and scrumptious color.  

As you can imagine, the moment I finished cleaning up after they left, I was in my studio, playing with paint.  It feels like it’s been a bit since I’ve experienced the delight of painting wet-into wet. And it’s also been a bit since painted any flowers…double delight.

Roses have always presented a challenge to me… wanting to paint those hard edges, losing the soft. Not bad today…a bit of both.  But in my enthusiasm to sling that paint, I realize I forgot to put the pitcher handle in!  

The gift of creativity.  In this painting the roses are in a vase!

“Did You Art Today?”

Next to Last Polo Sketch

While I can’t promise there won’t be any more polo paintings until next season (I have a ton of fun reference photos that are just begging to be painted.) there will probably only be one more polo sketch next week, as next week the season closes at Sarasota Polo Club. Did you hear a little tear escape from the corner of my eye?

But, I have started a watercolor class for a few weeks, (I used a bit of what we learned in the first class in this sketch) so they’ll be some paintings coming soon…even if they’re not my favorite paintings ever.  But that’s for another blog.

Stay tuned.  Who knows what I’ll get fixated on next!

“Did You Art Today?”

Polo Sketches

If you’re following my blog, you know we have been attending the polo games on Sunday.  Sort of like groupies.  My sketchbook is now filled with lots of polo sketches, so I thought I’d share.

“Did You Art Today?”

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The Gift 

Taken directly from my Artist statement.  ‘The best part of being an artist is the pleasure I get in sharing my gift.”

When we moved to Sarasota, my husband had just retired.  Paperwork was endless.  One of our new neighbors is a notary and willingly, graciously and happily notarized document after document for us. Always happy to visit her home as I would get a furbaby fix from her black and white kitty, Briggs.  Friendly and personable, I got to enjoy his purrs and antics with the tissue paper his owner so lovingly left in a spot on the floor for him to enjoy. Being petless is a new experience for me…..and I miss the critters.

The paperwork is finally finished, and as a thank you, we are having her over for lunch soon.  Last visit, I nabbed some pictures of her handsome boy to paint a special thank you for her giving so freely of her time.  

I am so excited to see her face when she opens the gift. Reminding me of the power of giving.

Have you experienced the joy of giving lately?  I can highly recommend it.
“Did You Art Today?”


img_2612Another well-attended match at the Sarasota Polo Club.  Another beautiful action-packed day.  Polo gladiators the announcer emphasizes. We got there earlier than last week, so I could get some unobstructed pictures.

Using my camera viewfinder for sketching before the match and in between chukkers, I was reminded of how I love the art connection.  My bio states “For me, the best part of being an artist is the pleasure I get in sharing the gift.”

A group of young children waiting for their burgers were so cute.  “You’re really good?” “How do you DO that?” were some of their questions.  Trying to explain to youngens that I just follow the line, I’m sure didn’t have much impact.  But I did get to tell the one young woman that if she liked to draw and kept practicing, she would get better and better.

Another man asked if he could take a picture to send to his daughter.  She loved to draw and he wanted to encourage her.

When the woman came up behind me and praised my work, she asked me if I sold my art.  Reaching for a business card, I answered affirmatively.  “But would you sell that piece of art?” she asked pointing to my sketch book.

Visiting from out of town, she wanted a memory from the day, and the fact that I drew it while she watched made a connection.  Asking her if I could finish, I sold the sketch (there was another on the back) hoping it’s creation brings back memories. Knowing we are now connected by that moment in time.

“Did You Art Today?”



Dogs, Polo and Sarasota

A bit of a long blog today..or perhaps a rant.

The weekly match at the Sarasota Polo Club was packed this Sunday. We have been attending for years and normally get there about an hour early to get a front row seat.  But this week , due to the crowds, we were relegated to a seat a bit further back.  It was an exciting game, going into overtime to pick the winner.  As it was difficult for me to take pictures without people in front of me, I passed the time beforehand and in between chukkers drawing the myriad of pooches who came to watch polo.

Dogs (leashed) alcohol, families and outside food are welcome at the games.  Perhaps a reason the popularity has grown so much over the years. One of our favorite things to do in Sarasota, I have many a sketch, and a bunch of painting ideas from my photos for enough paintings to last a lifetime.

However, I often wonder about the dogs.  The little French Bulldog in front of us began snorting and breathing heavy soon into the day.  His owners had thoughtfully brought him a blanket, had lots of water, kept him in the shade and were very attentive, changing his leash to a more comfortable one when they went for a walk. I know these breeds are prone to this sort of thing due to the short snouts, but I couldn’t help but wonder if he was happy, as he figdgeted, and generally fussed.  Getting comfortable, only to be distracted, when another panting dog went by, or approached.

With one flipped down ear, the Yorkie mix was enjoying him/herself.  Hardly panting, but again, constantly up, down, laying down, sitting up, the owners picking this cutie up on several occasions as if he/she was interested in the action.

And the big brown Lab laid half in the sun, half in the shade, looking resigned as his owner ate some ice cream.

Most of the dogs were panting terribly, despite all having water and owners who provided shade.

Sarasota culture is very tolerant of dogs….not just service animals.  They are in the outdoor seating areas of restaurants, the banks, Lowes, in strollers in Home Goods, in the pharmacy. St. Armand’s Circle merchants generously leave bowls of water outside their stores.  Our last visit to a wine store next to a Petsmart made me wonder if we had gone into the wrong store.  They are at every festival we attend. Little dogs (being carried or in strollers to avoid being crushed), big dogs (their noses near parallel with food vendor trucks), mutts and fancies all together.  

I love animals, and this is the first time in a long time there hasn’t been a four legged critter in our home.  Maybe that’s why I find this all so interesting.  As you can imagine, all these dogs are not well behaved or socialized.  The encounter with the German Shepard and the Golden Retriever at Lowes near put two owners on the floor and me running for a weapon.  All the owners are not always responsible, allowing leashes to get tangled, dogs to jump on people (my instinct brings my knee into their chest) or other dogs.  Forgetting to bring water for this pet that is so beloved they can’t leave their home without them, but insisting a restaurant or facility provide the water for them. Using the word rescue to explain away bad behavior.

And the dogs themselves? Frankly, I have yet to see a happy dog at a festival.  Their body language is usually tense.  There is confusion as to where to walk, lots of panting, and at food festivals, the noses going a mile a minute.  Or they’re straining at their leashes trying to get to the other dogs they don’t know, impeding and confusing foot traffic.

Understanding the love for your pet. Knowing the unconditional love they give back.   Wondering if they are loving these outings?

“Did You Art Today?”