Monday, December 12, 2016

Paintings I Began During Frans Hals Workshop

So here are the paintings that I created at the Rob Liberace workshop on Frans Hals. Really trying to focus on blocking in color quickly and then using a more painterly, loose approach to my brushwork. To aid us in this endeavor, we had to keep our taborets in front of us so as to stretch our arms out to the canvas. Were not allowed to get too close as we needed to focus using fluid arm movement and not tighten our grip on the brush. Of course we could get closer if we needed to add fine detail during the finishing stages. This was a big help to me. I noticed a difference between my strokes during first two days and the last day as I got the hang of it. These paintings were meant to be portrait studies and not completed paintings but I may try to finish them as I did take ref photos of the models. I really hope I am able to take some more classes like this one in the future. Hopefully I can sell more paintings to help with the cost.

Steve, 16 x20 inches, oil
16 x 20 inches, oil

Portrait sketch of Jamie 18 x 24 inches, oil

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Franz Hals Workshop

Last weekend, I was able to take a class with a nationally known painter who teaches classical painting techniques, Robert Liberace. I have wanted to take one of his classes for a very long time but for various reasons until now, I was unable (e.g. was working or his classes were full). This particular class focused on exploring the painting techniques of 17th-century painter, Franz Hals! A perfect class for me to take since I have been wanting to loosen my brushwork and develop a more painterly technique. Rob is not only a wonderful artist, he is a very thorough teacher. Encouraging as well as tactfully honest, his advice and class demos were very helpful and I hope to be able to take another class from him. I met many lovely and talented people in this class. One man  flew in from Puerto Rico to attend. It was an honor to be there. Below are pictures of the class; a copy that Rob painted of a  Franz Halz; and a painting that Rob did of our costumed model, Steve (man with white beard). I will post my paintings from this class in another post. Thanks for looking.

Demo of Steve by Rob Liberace
Copy of a Franz Hals by Rob Liberace

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Throw Back

"Jalopy" watercolor, 11 x14 inches

Right now things are a bit crazy with the holidays and having problems with my sinus and tummy (I have been having a lot of pain for the past few weeks and will be having a test in 2 days). So I put two oil painting projects on hold for a few days (just needed a break from the solvents). Instead I began working from a photo I took long ago while strolling along the streets of a little German town call Dinkelsb├╝hl. While walking around, we came upon this old jalopy tucked away in a carport attached to hobbit-like house. I loved the lines of it and the pretty gated carport so I snapped a pic in the hope of painting some day. Will enter it into the December juried exhibition at the Art League Gallery in Alexandria.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Inside Out

Can't remember where I purchased the pretty bottle that was used for this painting but really enjoy painting glass and reflective surfaces. At first I simply wanted to add a few flowers to the scene, which would have looked elegant but I really wanted to get started. So I decided I would use what I had on hand and added the small glass pebbles. I have been toying with the idea lately that I would like my still life paintings to say something. Enjoying the beauty of everyday things and configuring them on canvas is perfectly ok with me but sometimes I just want to say a little bit more than, "ok here are some pretty things to look at". To create sometimes involves revealing the voice within that wishes to share the things of the heart. Also, to live a good life, a person has to put aside their desires at times and give something of themselves to others. I am drawn to the theme of emptying oneself and doing the right thing even when it hurts...a painful process that in the end reaps many benefits, though not always in ways one would imagine.

Click here to bid in the auction.

"Inside Out" oil on panel, 6 x 6 inches

Friday, November 4, 2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016

In Memorium

"In Memorium" oil on panel, 6 x 6 inches

Painted this little work of art using a real still life set up, with a badge leant to me by an officer of the law. He was very protective of the badge of course so I gave it right back to him. The black band around the badge signifies that an officer has been killed in the line of is a gesture of respect.  Had to mostly use a photo reference that I took of the still life since I could not keep the badge. For the blood I looked at photos of blood online and used water droplets too as a reference. The result is that the blood looks a little too contrived but it's the meaning behind the painting that is really more important than technical skill here.

I'm not usually a controversial person, nor am I trying to be here but I have a deep respect for police officers and detectives. I have some family members who have worked in law enforcement as well. My brother-in-law is looking to retire soon after many years in the service (my sister, his wife also worked as a 911 dispatcher and warrants clerk for a number of years).  In addition, I have a cousin who worked for the NYPD homicide division for some years before retiring. And recently, my soon to be 18-year-old son has expressed  his wish to make a difference by joining the force after college. I don't think people realize that in addition to putting their lives on the line for us (if that isn't enough), police officers endure much emotional and spiritual strain just from all the hardened and neglected lives they interact with on a daily basis.

I am sure there are rewards to the job that will warm their hearts at times and help to remind them that they are doing a noble job, but mostly they see and experience the darkest side of life this side of heaven. So.... while I do believe that black lives matter and that we need to understand the reasons why people of race are discouraged/concerned that they are not treated fairly, we do need to continue to protect and offer support to our law enforcement folks. We can't function as a nation without them.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Grinzinger Hauptplatz

"Grinzinger Morgen" 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas

Back some years ago, I was fortunate enough to live in a picturesque little village located in the 19th district of Vienna, Austria. Grinzing is known for it's quaint wine taverns (heurigen) that are frequented by tourists eager to try the area's home-grown wines. Living there brings back some of the fondest memories of my life: the slow pace of living; virtually no crime; countryside/vineyards interspersed among the neighborhoods; and charming historical buildings (no high-rises). On our second tour of Vienna, we lived in a garden apartment located on a little cobbled street (Probusgasse) only a few yards away from an old historical building were Beethoven lived. Around the corner was a Teddy Bear restaurant that was likewise decorated--a place my children loved to comment on whenever we strolled by it. Another well-known area of the district is Grinzinger Hauptplatz depicted in my latest painting above (from a photo I took in 2005). Behind the yellow building is the parish church of the area, Grinzinger Pfarrkirche. I generally don't do landscape paintings but I do have a plan to paint some of my favorite areas from around Europe that are meaningful to me. Back when I lived there, most businesses where closed on Sundays so things were very quiet on that day save for people out on walks and the tolling of the church bells (something that roused my romantic nature as well as my spiritual side). This normal cultural phenomenon was especially meaningful to me as I generally liked to set aside my Sundays as restful days out of respect for God, though I do admit as an American it was also something I had to get used to. When I painted this scene, I wanted to evoke the quietness of the morning. I had meant to paint more loosely but above is the result (reminds me a little of an  Edward Hopper painting though hopefully a little more cheerful). Thanks for looking. :)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mini Miss

This little portrait of my niece posing with me at a little teahouse my sisters and I attended. Reminds me of the painting done by James Whistler though I wasn't thinking that when I snapped the ref photos for the painting. We love having tea and finger foods and this particular house let us try on hats in the hat room. I have also pics of little Ashleigh with a big fuchsia hat on that I will be painting. So many subjects and possibilities...

"Mini Miss" 5 x 7 inches, oil on panel

Sunday, September 25, 2016

David's Pose

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 I have been working on a few paintings that are coming along well and also touching-up older ones that I now see flaws in. Its funny how you can be blind to flaws in your artwork and yet later see where you missed the mark...kind of like life. Often I find that I am so hungry for the experience of diving into a painting that I don't really do enough to prepare. It is however, important to do preliminary studies, especially for  larger works -- something that master painters often did. Today I have uploaded a portrait study of my son, Dave. I am fond of using my children as subjects of my paintings. After giving him a buzz cut, I asked him to pose for me -- to avoid the look of a snapshot, I asked for a serious expression. Dave is good at giving me intense looks ... along with the expressive face, comes a big soft heart. He is infatuated with the military so am thinking of working that theme into the final work.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Still Life in My Studio

A while ago, I made a still life platform/box in order to filter light the way I would like. I got the idea and specs online from another artist though I am not sure I can recall who. It's been great to set things on this and shine my lighting through the top, side while draping curtains to enable me to control the light somewhat. Here is a little set-up that I am currently working on.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


This little painting is so much more pretty in real life. Photos just don't pick up all the nuances of values. I like the idea of being connected. Vine tomatoes last a bit longer than those not on the vine...reminding us that we all need connection! :)​ People are indeed more important than things but there are also times when we artists feel a deep connection through the creative process.
"Connected" oil on canvas, 6 x 6 inches

Thursday, June 30, 2016


This painting has gone through quite a metamorphosis....and I am still unsatisfied with it!! I will need to look more closely at color scheme and values to give it the glow and beauty that I am imagining for it. I feel helpless but I know what to do when that happens.

I went to a falconry show some years ago and took photos of the handlers. This young lady walked out with her falcon and I was able to catch a snap of her just so. I like that the bird faces the same direction. There was something parallel about them. The bird is blind folded so that he doesn't become distracted by what is around him. He need only be focused on the task that lies ahead. When the falconer is ready to display the bird's skill, she unmasks him and sets him free to find his reward. Likewise I think we need to remember that there is someone beyond us that guides our moves, who tries to keep us focused on what we are called to do. Sometimes we are blinded for our own protection and other times we are allowed to see what we are called to see. It's all a matter of timing. Of course as humans we have free will to do what we please, but we can miss out on the best that is planned for us, if we do not let the handler guide us. Proverbs 19:21

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Schools Out..Time to Focus on My Art!

Now that school is out for the summer, I am able to do more painting and the bitter sweet thing is that I will not returning to my art teaching position in the fall. I have resigned so that I can help my daughter watch her little one and also am looking forward to being able to devote more time to my own art. I do have to admit though, that I will miss teaching the children... I have learned so much from them and my need to be humbled by them. Have met many awesome teachers over the years too. Recently, I am doing a number of still life paintings. Love painting florals...if I am using real flowers I have a window of time in which to render them before their bloom fades. So it is with children. There is a window of time to appreciate their innocence and delight w all things. The little things in life can sometimes remind us of the bigger things.

Working on a this little 8 x 10, "Milking It"

Little Video

Have recently completed a still life painting and while painting it, I thought it would be good to take pictures of the progression. Though...