Messing in the Studio

Just finished watching a great painting series by Robert Burridge. This series was completely free and hosted by Strathmore Artist Papers. Every year they offer some great resources for artists, and if you haven’t signed up to receive their emails, I’d highly recommend it.

Inspired by his fearless, but calculated approach to painting, I got out my acrylics and attempted a few paintings on mat board (he demonstrated in oil). The cardinal’s head has a bit of a crazy look to it, but I am somewhat fond of the goldfinch’s simplicity.

Thinking this is deserving of more exploration. Have you explored with your art recently?

“Did You Art Today?”


Card Art – Titmouse Trio

Fun playing with paper and colors today. Thank you to Pat Dolan for her generosity in allowing artists to use her photo on Paint My Photo, which can be found here.

These three paintings all measure 4″ x 6″. Enjoy doing these cuties, exploring color, and subject matter. As we have few hardwood trees near our Florida home, I don’t get to see these gentleman as often as I did in our New Jersey home. But then again we now occasionally get to see pink birds (roseate spoonbills) instead.

Do you have a favorite? Think I like the top one best. Isn’t it funny how I felt my signature belonged in different places on each painting?

‘Did You Art Today?”

Rainy Sunday – No Polo:(

Since Sarasota Polo Club started their season a month early this year, we would have normally headed to the polo field yesterday. But an odd full day of rain in the dry season kept the ponies in their stalls.

We did go to the opening game last weekend. Complete with live music and a decent crowd, we got to enjoy our favorite past time, even if the wind at times tried to make the umbrellas projectiles. As we go early to get a good seat, I always take a picture I’ve taken and my sketchbook and paints.

So while we didn’t go this week, I’ve still got polo on my mind.

“Did You Art Today?”

Four Tries – Card Art

At a Goldfinch today…..and you’re only going to get to see the two that aren’t totally embarrassing…though the upside down one is close!

A reminder of the work and practice that goes into a painting. Photos courtesy of Jan Nother (here) and Debra Underwood’s upside down goldfinch from the great reference library at PMP (Paint My Photo).

Need more practice!

“Did You Art Today?”

Card Art – Cardinals.

It’s a cardinal kind of week.

At this tine of year, so many are missing loved ones passed, I felt like the cardinals deserved a special place in my card art inventory.

The first one is painted using the same reference photo from Rodney Campbell which can be found here, and the second one was painted from another Rodney Campbell photo which can be found here.

A little softer than the bigger cardinal I painted earlier in the week, and a much quieter background. The bigger painting sold and is on it’s way to it’s forever wall in Kentucky. Thanks again DV for your friendship and continued support of the Arts.

“Did You Art Today?”

Cardinals Appear

“Cardinals Appear When Angels are Near”. Watercolor, 8″…10″ $75.00 + shipping

So happy to get some painting time yesterday. The studio has been quiet for far too long.

Painted this for the Paint My Photo Monthly Painting Challenge. The challenge was to paint something using mostly a primary color. Rodney Campbell’s bird photos are always outstanding, so I took his Winter Cardinal Photo ( which can be found here) and adapted it to the Primary Color Challenge, adding the suggestion of fall red leaves in the background. A reminder that as artists, we don’t need to be a slave to our references. We need to add a piece of ourselves to our work.

Using some Arches Hot Press paper, which I don’t normally mess with, I painted the bird realistically, then added the softer background using a wet-into-wet process. The HP paper allows the paint to lay on top and pool at bit. Not fun for the detailed part and did definitely not spread the way it does with Cold Press. But I had a big piece sitting around and decided that these monthly challenges are just that….a challenge. The paper reminds me a bit of the reactions you get with the synthetic “paper” Yupo.

Last month the monthly challenge on Paint My Photo was for items that had been decorated. My Arabian piece “All Decked Out” with the tasseled bridle took a second place.

I can definitely see those new palette colors influencing my paintings. Who’da thunk I’d use red and orange so much!

Hoping to keep the brushes dirty this month.

“Did You Art Today?”

This Week’s Card Art – Love Over Hate

Some birds and butterflies this week. Stretching again with using stencils in the backgrounds. For the butterfly painting, I drew around the stencils and then painted. Not loving the visible pencil marks and will try to remove.

The Brown Thrasher was painted directly over a marked up piece of paper. Spraying watercolor through the stencil and making some additional marks on the paper became the background. Letting it dry, I then added the Thrasher. It is my favorite of the three. Think I like the lighter tone of the background.

Lots of paint on the Purple Gallinule, but it feels a little muddy in places. In my mind, the sparkle in the lower left created by the dry brush is it’s redeeming quality.

They all measure 4″ x 6″ and will be attached to cards to be sent with love out into the world. Hoping to cancel some of the hatefulness so present these days.

Which one is your favorite?

In addition to these paintings, my desk and I were covered in scraps of paper and doodads this week. My idea for my Christmas card image this year involves collage. However, the image and I may be too stuck to my desk to finish executing it. Stay tuned.

Also, the sewing machine has magically appeared in the studio. A different kind of “make.” The bar stools at the breakfast counter need some cushions, and I couldn’t find what I wanted. This is all Mom and Dad’s fault. Depression-era parents who were creative and resourceful….they set a high bar for what you can accomplish.

A busy studio this week. Want to know why? Thanks

My studio is just a joy, even in dark times. A retreat when the news becomes so painful. When I start to lose my faith, my hope, it draws me in. It brings me into the moment, it soothes my soul. It brings me back to what I am, and what I can do. Small cards sent with love to people who may need to know they are important. Sending love one card at a time allows me to make a difference in my world. Hoping the ripples of love will reach in all directions.

So grateful for my gifts and grateful to share them.

“Did You Art Today?”

It’s Funny

All Decked Out” Watercolor 8″ x 11″ $50.

How things work. I am on a mission in the studio. Pulling apart closets, drawers, paper storage, etc. even starting setting the timer so I don’t make more of a mess than I can handle. All inspired by seeing a fellow artist’s wall of paintings. Go figure.

Recently another artist friend posted some work she’d done on her iPad. I’ve had the Procreate app and an ipencil for ages. It’s always kind of baffled me. A little past my technical skills.

But I had done a small painting for a Monthly Challenge on Paint My Photo. The challenge was to paint something decorated. Immediately an Arabian Costume class popped into my head. These elegant creatures galloping around with tassels, tinkling chains twinkling in the light, manes and tails flowing beneath velvet. Very dramatic.

I found a great reference photo by Ainslie-Gilles-Patel which can be found here. Love those tassels.

It’s funny. There are artists who won’t use others’ photos, there are shows that won’t allow you to use others’ photos. There are some who believe you shouldn’t even paint from a photo at all.

I think that’s all very funny. Frankly, this was what I wanted to paint. Closing my eyes I could visualize the scene, the sounds, the hoof beats. I got so carried away I forgot about my background.

Usually my background is part of my painting process. But in these days painting for fun and pleasure, I hadn’t considered it. I liked what I had done and would normally put a green or blue background on it…..but I do have these new colors on my palette.

Bingo……enter Procreate. That was pretty funny too. It wasn’t pretty, and I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. But being able to change the background color over and over was a a riot….like having a big new box of crayons.

Settled on one of the new colors. Let’s hear it for fun.

“Did You Art Today?”

Every Once In A While

……. I wonder why I still paint. Why I keep all these art supplies. Why do I need such a big studio. It could all be done on my iPad.

Starting on the shelves under my desk, the abundance is embarrassing. Palettes, canvasses (I rarely paint in acrylics, let alone oils?) But there they sit, enticing me with the possibility that the next best painting could be on that palette, or will show up on that canvass. The studio is encircled with storage cabinets filled with supplies, books, stencils, card making supplies, old sketchbooks, stacked framed paintings. It’s a big room….it holds a lot of creativity.

While we’re at it, let’s look at the paintings themselves. First they go to the line….a wire clothes line with clips that hold my latest endeavors. Recently I saw another artist’s version of the line. The paintings looked similar, the style familiar and consistent. My latest foray into expanding my palette has resulted in an interesting mix on the line. (Did I really paint that horse with the orange background?) When I painted with a four color palette, they had a consistency. But I’ve thrown that to the universe, in my latest playing episode.

When I get tired of looking at them on the line, they head to the bins. One bin for the larger paintings, one bin for the smaller. Occasionally I will flip through these, usually in need of raiding a mat for something I’ve sold or promised to a friend. (We all know how much I hate to cut mats.) #

Occasionally, when the bins get too full, I go through them and decide the painting is pointless. At this point I usually cut it into 4″ x 6″ sizes and use the back to paint greeting card paintings. They go in a drawer. Out of my way and out of sight until I need to rifle through and pick one for a happy or sad occasion.

At this point in my life, these are, frankly, my favorite art form. They are quick and fun. I pick subjects from the Paint My Photo Site, or from my own photos, that don’t need to be major undertakings. I can experiment, play with that new palette, and they eventually leave the house, hopefully brightening someone’s mailbox.

You know I can’t stop. It’s just something I have to do. But every once in a while…..

“Did You Art Today?”