3 Canvases started today

"Peonies"

"Alium" starting out.

"Clouds" in it's earliest stages.

"Clouds" about 50% done

Beautiful day in Lead today (pronounced "lEEd.")

Sketched out 3 different size canvases. One large landscape and 2 florals. Once they were all blocked in, I started laying in the color of the large landscape...a sunset scene taken from a photo I took from our back yard.

Also, Frank, our black pug, decided to keep me company the whole time. He's a bit of a snorer, but good company.

Finished 2!

"Spring Lilacs on Yellow Cloth," 24" x 24", oil on cradled gessobord

"Afternoon at the Garden Center," 12" x 16", oil on cradled gessobord

Well, it took me a bit, but I finished two different paintings that had been started a couple of months ago.

Better late than never, right?

Feels good to get them done. Every time I walked into the studio, they would be sitting there staring at me with (I felt) sad, neglected eyes.

The lilacs were really hard. Maybe that's why I procrastinated on them. Lots of value and color changes going on.

The smaller painting was from a photo I took at Anne's Garden Center in Dixon last summer. I've always wanted to do something like this. I also started on a black background on this piece, where normally I start on a warmer red toned background. This painting is also looser with less attention to exact detail.

Finished 1 - Starting another

"Leaving Peoria," 18" x 36", oil on gessobord

I finished the lanscape I started a couple of weeks ago. The holiday really cut into studio time. Last week was my last week of working at the hotels. So, I guess I now have some time for painting. People keep telling me that. Only problem is that they have to sell to pay the rent!!!

This piece is titled "Leaving Peoria" because I was driving back home from a food show in Peoria at the end of September this year. There's mostly country highways on the way back to Dixon and the sun was just starting to get low. This painting is definitely more illustration in style and I don't know how I feel about it yet. Kinda like working with the oranges and bold blues. They do bounce off each other.

in progress

Getting back into still life too. After finishing "Leaving Peoria," I started on a floral still life. Haven't done this in ages. This photo I shot over a year ago...almost two! So far I have just the blocking in stages started. I'm enjoying a bit of spring while winter is starting to gain foothold here in the midwest!

Painting for Dollars!


Woke up this morning, made a pot of coffee, and fired up my laptop to get inspiration on what I am to paint today at the Art for Art's Sake fundraiser for The Next Picture Show in Dixon, Illinois.

I know...why wait until the last minute right? My mind has been so scattered lately and making decisions that are not life and death are put on hold a lot.

I've decided to do a landscape that I've done before. Less worry about the execution in front of lots of people. My daughter, Erin, is coming in from Chicago to paint also. She has a degree in illustration and has a technique and look SO DIFFERENT from me!

Another reason my life is scattered is that I started a new job last week as Director of Sales and Promotions for Capstone Management. This company manages hotels and I'll be working with the Dixon Hotel Group. So far so good, but as in any new job, it's rather stressful learning the ropes and coworker personalities. I think I'll really enjoy it once a month or so rolls around. Also, working full time for someone else is an adjustment after being self employed for 15 years!

Okay...gotta get in the shower and pack up my stuff for the day! Enjoy the weekend everybody.

It's gonna be 50 degrees tomorrow!

In Her Shoes, 18" x 36," acrylic on gessobord

It's Friday evening and there is absolutely nothing on television after 9 p.m. (U.S. Central time). As my dad used to say, "Television is a VAST wasteland."

Got up early this morning all rested and refreshed and had every intention to dive right in to finish my shoe painting. But first I wrote out bills, went through 3 different email inboxes, and in general, pissed away most of my day.

Well, there was a bit of personal drama, but thanks to some very good friends and family (sister and mom), I managed to get by without shedding a tear, well almost anyway. You all know who you are and I will never forget you guys.

After that little bit of strife, I actually finished the shoe painting. The photo is just okay, since the sun had set already and I had to take the photo in less than ideal lighting. I don't use flash when photographing my art ... glare - ugh. So it may be a bit blurry. I will retake the photo tomorrow and will post that pic to my Etsy Shop and my website.

Tomorrow is errand day in Dixon and then to my bff's for a great dinner. We love cooking and laughing together. Her husband's pretty funny too! He had better be, cuz we never hang with Negative Nellies.

"In her Shoes," in progress

Step 1: All sketched in and intial toning blocked in.

Step 2: Initial colors

Step 3: One pair down, four to go.

I started this painting on Saturday and got back to it today. Above are the first three steps of this painting. It is 18" x 36" on ampersand gessobord in acrylic.

There is a women's exhibition coming up in a couple of months at The Next Picture Show in Dixon called "Dos: Equis." This is one of the paintings I plan to enter into the jurying.

Lots going on besides the art stuff. There are several committees I'm on, plus family stuff starting to rear its inconvenient head right now. Makes me dizzy. Literally. I've been really dizzy the last couple of days. Probably just stress. Funny, but if I have a glass of wine the dizziness seems to right itself. hmmmmm...interesting.

Reflecting on Andrew Wyeth


I saw this video on YouTube and wanted to share it with you. With his passing this past week, another American artist is gone, but not forgotten (hopefully).

It was a very long weekend for me. Men can really suck sometimes. Thank goodness for my bestest friend in the whole world. Saturday, we drove (in her husband's brand new big red truck) to Freeport, IL to the Freeport Arts Center to pick up free art supplies for her school, The Next Picture Show gallery, and the Phidian Art Club (all in Dixon, IL).

Boy, was that a job. Many very heavy boxes to take down two flights of stairs then many steps in between the center and the truck. And the snow on the ground didn't make it any easier. We were pooped, but the physical exertion was just what I needed to work out my crappy mood. Plus...afterwards we went to lunch and I had the best pumpkin pancakes in the world!!!

We delivered the art supplies to the gallery, with the help of John (bff's husband -- so maybe men aren't all that bad). We went to her school and dropped off the last of all the art stuff.

Went home, peeled off wet jeans and soaked boots (from that darn snow), crawled into bed and took a 3 hour nap. Naps...they do a body good.

Yesterday, I got to go to a birthday get together for my bff's daughter. It was so nice and fun.

TODAY I am setting up still lifes for a show I want to enter (a women's show) called Dos Equis. So, I need to get off this computer and get cracking on doing some art.

Here is another video of one of my favorite painters, Carol Marine. She's a "painting a day" painter and a very successful one at that!


2009 will bring big life changes

"Living behind a Glass House," 18" x 24", oil on 2" cradled gessobord

Guess what? A bug got up my butt and I actually forced myself to get back to my easel yesterday. We have closed our restaurant and inn for a bit (we have a contract, but it may take awhile for the sale to go through) and I have officially resigned from that part of my life.

So, the first week after the holidays was rather surreal for me. My girls are gone now. The oldest is in Sweden/Bosnia with her fiance. It's his home(s) and he hasn't been there in years. My youngest is starting her last year at University of IL at Chicago. That's not so far away, but she doesn't get home much. As I said in a previous post, my dog passed away this fall, and now my employees (which I used to complain about) are gone. Be careful what you wish for.

The web work I've been doing for a company out of South Dakota has cut my hours way back. Crap. Sorry about the pity party. I'll snap out of it. So, anyway, I did sell a painting the other day and it made me realize that I can't depend on other people for my livelihood. So, it's back to the easel.

I do love still lifes and for some reason had gotten away from them. This still life is from a photo I took a few months ago. I love the challenge of glass and reflections.

The main lesson here is to not look at the glass as a glass, but as an abstract and to paint it as I SEE it, bit by bit. All of a sudden it becomes real. I paint most of my paintings over red cad medium. This one I painted rather quickly (for oils) and left a bit of the red peeking through.

Two more flower beds and one more Painting...done.

Aqua Vase with Daffodils, 24x24, oil on gessobord

Last evening, since the restaurant wasn't overly busy and we had staff-o-plenty, I decided to get into my studio to finish up the painting above that I started last Sunday. The weather was going to be perfect today (sunday) for working in our gardens, like just around 60 degrees or so. I don't mind manual labor if sweat isn't involved!

As I finished up the painting, I decided to do a small series of work with this same vase but with different seasonal flowers. Today while gardening, I cut several branches of lilacs to compose a similar still life set up in the same vase. Lilacs...are one of my favorite flowers and fragrances. Lilies of the Valley run a close second...both of which are now in full bloom. In the early evening the scent just wafts through my open windows. Looking forward to starting the next painting.

Busy week coming up this week. Jack, my web boss, is back in Illinois for the week and we're meeting with both potential and current clients throughout the next few days. Very busy these days. Hoping to land a chocolatier's account. Now, that will be a nice change from the 3 cancer treatment sites. A bit more uplifting! Although, I didn't think I could ever learn so much about the different options in treating cancer. Never want to have to use that knowledge, if you know what I mean!

Also, hope to get one day in for a canoe ride. The river seems to be going down a bit and the weather is perfect for it. Do you hear me little Debbie?!!!

until later
.

A sunny side to a rainy Mother's Day

1st stage of still life, oil, 24x24

2nd stage of still life, oil, 24x24

Yesterday I woke up to a windy, cold, rainy and dark Mother's Day. Now, you may think this is weird, but those kind of days are some of my favorites. You know, snuggling in a warm bed, with a cup of coffee.... But, being in the restaurant biz, Mother's Day is a big deal and an appearance there was necessary. My youngest daughter, Morgan, took the train home from Chicago for the weekend. We did the sushi thing, bought some popcorn, came home and watched a dorky comedy together. Really nice.

On Saturday, my sisters, some nieces, nephews, and one brother-in-law (he'll get his reward in heaven), went to Mendota to my mom's to get her flower gardens in order. Laurie, my sister, was the project foreman and all went well, but we were pooped! During a work break, 5 of the worker bees decided to make reservations at the restaurant. So, now I really had to make an appearance! That was fine. We had a great dinner, lots of laughs, and they all went home by 3!

So, with their early dismissal, and the day still dark, I surprised myself by getting to the studio for the afternoon.

Above, you will see a start of a 24" x 24" floral still life. I haven't done a floral in a long time. These daffodils are from my garden. The vase was from a birthday bouquet from my oldest daughter. As soon as I saw the bouquet, the vase is what caught my eye...the cool aqua color and I knew that it would be a part of still lifes to come.

Normally, the first stage I will put values (shadows) in before adding the color. But, this time, I started adding color once the sketch was set down. Don't know why....guess I didn't want to waste another hour. It's been awhile painting something for me.

Must have been enjoying myself, because before I knew it was after 8 p.m.! With sunset coming so much later, the afternoon flew by. So, the painting will be done the next time.

Today is a Y day and a hair appointment day and a weeding day. The rototiller is all primed up and the sun is supposed to be out most of the day...woot. Jeff's Monday golf league has officially started. He is taking Morgan back to Chicago before that. Time for some bonding. You know what that means? I have the day to myself ... completely. Yeah baby.

until later
.

Now that the feeling is back in my arms....

"Grand Old Apples," 16 x 20, oil on gessobord

This morning I started a new session at the Y in body sculpting with a different instructor. I've taken her classes before, but just usually during the summer because my exercise buddies are teachers, and they can't take this in the a.m. Unfortunately, the 5:45 p.m. sessions were getting blown off with too much regularity during this winter. Either conflicting meetings, worked too late, or just lost motivation when the weather was really crappy. Also, the night time instructor, although a wonderful girl, was not as intense and her exercises rarely changed.

BUT, and this is a big BUT, the morning session is like boot camp and I relearned the intensity of this workout. After arriving home and downing a bowl of Special K, it took an hour before I could lift my arms comfortably. Seriously.

So...the apples on stripes got finished today. Almost quit about 2 hours into it. Cause I wasn't into it! Always happens. So looking for inspiration, I flipped on a DVR recording of Oprah to help me get my butt in motion. My tv girlfriend. Then the 2nd wind kicked in and the crappy part of the painting started to make way for the good stuff. It's kinda bright, isn't it?

Now dinner awaits preparation. Huh....my arms are getting hhhheeeeeaaaaavvvvyyyyyy.

Insomnia 101

In progress ... no title yet. 16" x 20" oil on gessobord.

Finally, a Monday I can work in my studio. I was messing around at first because deciding on my next subject to paint was proving rather daunting. So, little things were accomplished. First, the painting below, "Crossroads," was done last week but it didn't feel finished. So I went back in and changed the sky color and hit the lightest lights a bit more.

Feeling better about it now...it's a different style for me...an experiment.

"Crossroads"
16" x 20", oil on gessobord

Then all those paintings that haven't been varnished, got varnished. Maybe that's why I can't sleep...all those fumes. Of course, having a husband fall asleep while watching the basketball game finals last night with the tv going full blast and every light on didn't help. Our bedroom has french doors off that room (small cottage). He came to bed around 2 a.m. and guess who woke up and never went back to sleep? Don't you hate that when that happens? So, at 4 a.m. I just got up, put on a pot of coffee, and decided to update my blog.

After varnishing 4 paintings, I went through my digital images reserved for future paintings and decided to do the apples at the top of the blog. This photo was actually created for the 3 day workshop with the middle school kids. I think I had 6 photos of different still lifes for those classes. So, this time I decided to do one of these in oil (the classes were in acrylic) and take a bit of time and finish it all the way.

This is about 3 hours of work. One more half day should do it. Just got to find that half day.

...

Phoenix Bound

"Left Leaning Lily"
18" x 24", oil on gessobord

It took two weeks, but I finally finished the Lily painting above. This lily was one of the flowers in my 26th wedding anniversary bouquet. Believe it or not, that green wall is my studio wall and some may feel that's a distracting color for a studio, but I find it stimulating, especially when the day is particularly dreary. No napping here!

My husband and friends (yes, the Thompsons), surprised me this week with the announcement that we are taking a one week vacation to Phoenix. We'll be there in time for the last week of Cub's spring training! Cool. It's my husband's present to me for my 50th birthday. This absolutely blew me away because last Saturday, 3/8, almost a week after my birthday, he threw me a surprise party. I've never, ever had a birthday party before and this one was a doozy. He, my daughters, and the Thompsons, all were in cahoots. It was held at the Thompsons. All 5 of my sisters and my mom were there, my inlaws, and close friends. Oh yeah, lots of wine and food too!

So...I won't be doing much posting Easter Week. We leave Easter afternoon.

Tomorrow Debbie and I are to go clothes shopping...I've got a bit of a cold today, but I'll muddle through it...heh. Also, busy week with meetings (a couple of art boards) and it's Jack's (my boss) last week in Illinois. The week we're in Phoenix, he and his family are moving to South Dakota. So we have lots to do client wise before we're both out of commission for a week.

Until next...
..

The SLUG is back.

Step 1. Toning with acrylic over my pencil sketch.

Step 2. Orangey acrylic wash applied over top of sketch. No more white.

Step 3. First level of oil color blocked in.

The Slug is back. That has been me for over 2 days. Friday, I didn't even get out of my pajamas, or bed, for that matter. Kind of a flu/cold thingy. Nature's way of saying that burning the candle at both ends never works. So...today I'm in clothes (not very cute clothes, but clothes nevertheless) and needing to do something but watch the food channel and taped episodes of American Idol.

I'm posting the acrylic part of this lily still life. Once it's dry, I will start working in oil. It's on (as usual) gessobord. The size is 18" x 24". I like working with glass reflections and lately the itch to do one or two has been getting the better of me.

So, stay tuned while I'm busy scratching that itch!

If I'm painting, then it must be snowing.

"Apples on a Path," 16" x 20", oil on gessobord

First time in 2 weeks that I was back in my own studio doing my stuff. This piece isn't signed because I think it needs a bit more work. Lost my good light because, as usual this winter, it got very overcast and started snowing.

In fact, it's been snowing on and off for the last 2-1/2 months. A tourism board strategy meeting was scheduled for tomorrow, but it has already been canceled. (not complaining)

Back to the painting....after uploading the photo, it seemed more done then when I put down my brushes. I will check on it in the morning light (if we get any light ... heh) and see if it indeed can be called "complete."

Hope it isn't a "snow day" tomorrow. Have lots of work to do for Affinity AV. Big deadline coming up. My boss has 3 little kids and if school's called off, he works from home. Seems like we get a lot more done when we're working in the same location. You know...questions get answered a lot faster and that kind of stuff. Also, I've been in my house for 48 hours and am getting a tad stir-crazy.

Sitting still for Cherries

"Cherries in Shadow," oil on gessobord
18" x 24"

Back to still lifes again today. This one was definitely going south about half way in. My goal (without knowing I set this internal goal), is to try to do at least one complete painting per studio session.

The palette for this piece was cad. yellow light, cad yellow medium, a smidge of cad. orange and cad. red medium, thalo blue, ultramarine blue, diox. purple, alizarin crimson, and titanium white. For the first time ever, I didn't have any kind of green. It was a mistake actually, and I didn't notice until near the end.

My show at The Next Picture Show gallery will be finishing up on 1/31, so I will have to go take that down this week. Also, another gallery will be closing up at the beginning of March that has a few of my pieces. So, I have to go get those too.

Our restaurant has been looking pathetic because I've had to raid it to having paintings for these galleries. Thank goodness for my own private venue for times like this.

This past Saturday, I attended the "I'd Rather be in the Studio" workshop by Alyson B. Stanfield. It was very good and I'll post later on that experience.

Going small

"King of the Hill"
6" x 8", oil on board

I didn't get in the studio until 1:00 today. My youngest daughter came home from Chicago for the weekend and I had to get her to the train by 8:45 a.m. in Mendota, IL. That's about 40 minutes away. Then I had to get myself back home for a 10:00 meeting. Made it with flying colors. The meeting took two hours and hopefully, I will be able to report some good news on that in the near future. Gotcha curious didn't I?

So the first painting I did today....did I mention that I completed TWO paintings today? Well, I did! While I was painting, it started to snow and it was so peaceful, that I got into a real zone. Couldn't stop.

The second one is a 12 x 16 landscape. I'll post the picture tomorrow, because the light for photography had deteriorated.


Ice Jam at the dam in Dixon, IL

On Sunday, yesterday, my daughter, Debbie, and I thought it would be fun to go to an open house. I had my eye on this one home, and was curious to see it. Oh, the agreement on this adventure was unanimous. So, we get to the house, and ring the bell, when a sinking feeling came over me. Where is the "open house" sign? The homeowner answered the door and said the open house was the day before. Duh

Well, we brushed that moment of stupid off and just did what any 3 healthy American women would do. Lunch.

Just before going back home, we stopped to take a picture of the ice dam on the river. You can't see the real dam anymore because of the ice. Flooding is starting to occur to the north.
Today it warmed up quite a bit, 20 degrees. I was wearing my tank top. heh

Gotta love friends

"Oranges over Dots", 16" x 20", oil on gessobord

As an exhibiting artist member at The Next Picture Show gallery in Dixon, IL, we are given at least 2 weeks each year to be the featured artist. This means we can show our work at the front of the gallery. My 2 weeks start on Jan. 15 through 31, 2008.

My work featured until Jan. 31, 2008 at The Next Picture Show

This past Sunday, my friends Debbie & John Thompson, and my husband, Jeff, and I went to the gallery to take Debbie's featured artist show down (she sold FOUR paintings) and then they proceeded to help me get my show up. Two birds with one stone you know. We did all that and packed the cars up within one hour's time. Not bad at all. Gotta love friends.

We then walked down to Books On First, a wonderful independent books store, for a coffee and general chit chat. We were killing time before a 3:15 movie. We went to see "Juno." Everyone enjoyed the show, which is saying something when going with 4 people who all have different movie tastes! Then a quick supper at a local eatery and then home. I was pooped. It didn't help that it got really cold and blustery. Seems when it gets that way, I use a lot more energy just keeping warm. Heater car seats are a beautiful thing.

Today, I did a quick still life of oranges on a polka-dot cloth. SEE TOP of post. Did this in one afternoon. Blue and orange seem to go well together...really pop against each other.

My studio dog, Annie, was lonely and did a rare climb to my 2nd floor studio and plopped herself down between my easel and stool. I didn't have the heart to move her, so I painted the oranges straddling an old fat, farty, black lab.

Multi-tasking is a good thing.

"Last Blooms of Summer"
20" x 16", acrylic on board

Wooo hooo! Made it into the studio today and actually got to paint. I had about 4 finished paintings that needed their sides painted (they are all 2" cradled gessobords) a nice rich dark color. It really sets off the painting from the wall.

Painting the sides of these things is something I tend to put off, like getting them wired for hanging. My cordless screwdriver bit the dust and now I have to use an old-fashioned screwdriver! I know....crazy, right?

Today I finally got around to painting the featured piece. I sketched it out at the end of September. Its an acrylic instead of my usual oils. Needed a change and it was fun to do a painting in one session. Although I think I'll need to work on the background transition a bit more.

Don't know when I will be able to get back in the studio. Christmas parties in the restaurant start full swing this week.