Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Guitar Player (again)

I began working on this painting last week and reached a stopping point which I posted about here. Then I brought the painting to the monthly art critique held at Beth Haizlip's house.  As usual I got some great suggestions on how to make the painting stronger, and I tried to incorporate some of them tonight, and the result is what I have above. I do think I'm happier with it now.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Guitar Player (so far)

This one is not finished, but I reached a stopping point on it. I'm trying to come up with a painting for the "It's Instrumental" show we are having at Wehner's School of the Arts  in January. The paintings are supposed to fit the theme of musical instruments.

I pulled out this photo I took some years back to see if I could turn it into a painting. It's always fun to paint with company, so I went to Cindy Csalovski's open session "Studio C" this afternoon from 1-4 PM. So that's why this is incomplete - I had to pack up and stop painting at 4 PM! But it's always good to stop and step away at some point.

This is a 9x12 done on Richeson sanded paper, the first time I have used it. It seems to be a pretty decent surface and has a decent amount of tooth.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ocean Hammock

 Today was the last day of our workshop with Michael Chesley Johnson. We had a glorious day today, and Ocean Hammock Park in St. Augustine Beach is a small gem - primarily a 1700-foot boardwalk walkway at present, but leading through varied habitats of the hammock and the dunes out to the beach. Again we did our color sketches in the morning to create a painting in the studio in the afternoon.

I took lots of photos along the boardwalk. But because I don't like being in direct sunlight I ended up sitting in the parking lot. I have Michael to thank for the idea of the finished painting above. I had done two color sketches during the morning.

One was on the roadway, and one was of an interesting tree. He asked me which I planned to do for the full painting, and I said I wasn't sure as both had elements I liked. So Michael suggested I try to combine the two for a unified whole.

So I looked at them both. I had a unifying central element in the post - that sits on the left of the tree pic, and is the same as the rightmost post in the pathway pic. So I used that to center the two sides of my image, and had to crop off bits on either side to fit on my 9x12 Art Spectrum sheet.

But I did a pencil sketch first, and thought it looked good. So that was what I did. My reference photos were all on my cell phone, and the cell battery died at the end of the morning! So I had only my two color sketches, my memory, and my imagination as references for the finished work. :-)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Vilano Beach

Today was day two of the workshop with Michael Chesley Johnson. We gathered at the fishing pier at Vilano Beach  We were supposed to do small color studies of 2-3 locations in and around the pier. And from those to develop eventually a larger picture. Above is the one I began as my larger picture, before we have had our critique session with Michael.  9x12 Art Spectrum.

And these are the two small color studies I did earlier in the day near the pier. Though I got rained out as I was working on the second one! The two small ones are just on sketchpad paper, each one about 4x6.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mission Nombre de Dios

Today was day one of the wonderful workshop with Michael Chesley Johnson! Despite a rainy start the sun finally came out, and we got to choose our spots to work at the old Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine.

I chose the bridge, a bit of a challenge, but figured getting advice in a workshop on it would be a great time to attempt it, and I rather like this painting - on 9x12 Art Spectrum

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Plein air mystery painting (IDed as Princess Place)

Tomorrow I'll be going to St. Augustine to take a 3-day workshop with Michael Chesley Johnson. I'm really excited about it, and I spent this afternoon going through my stuff to get ready with the things I need to take.

When I cleaned out my plein air cart I found this painting inside a glassine bag. Well I found several paintings actually. But I knew what they all were except this one! This one is a mystery. I have no idea when or where I did it, although it's obviously here in Florida. And I know I did it plein air because it's on an 8x10 Ampersand board, and I only ever use them when I do plein air.

So I figured I'd post it anyway. Maybe if I stare at it long enough I'll remember something about it.

Update Update! I've figured out what this is. It was done at our First Coast Pastel Society plein air get-together at Princess Place.  And I actually see this painting sitting on my easel in one of the photos I posted there. So it's no longer a mystery. And Princess Place is one of my favorite places!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Flyin W pond

One of the members of the Art Guild of Orange Park, Donna Grasso, invited members to join her for a day of plein air painting at the Flyin W Farm in Green Cove Springs. The farm is beautiful and rural , with open fields, horses, sheep, and a lovely little pond.

We had great weather this morning - and I took lots of photos of the horses and sheep, and may use them for reference photos. But for plein air I prefer non-moving targets, LOL. So I set up my easel by the small pond near the barns. I did this on Art Spectrum paper, 9x12, using a variety of pastels.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Camp Chowenwaw

What a lovely day it was today. We are really headed into my favorite part of the year, weatherwise, now. We had our first plein air event of the season for the First Coast Pastel Society, and we had it had Camp Chowenwaw Park, which is just ten minutes down the road from my house. Very convenient for me. :-)

I sat down near the edge of Black Creek, facing upriver towards the fishing pier. The woman I sat next to and I both agreed that we still don't really feel comfortable with plein air, and feel like the works we do with the FCPS look like "kindergarten works". But we both agree we love coming for the enjoyment of the great outdoors, and the camaraderie of the other artists. There were ten of us there today. This is the painting I did today. As usual with my plein air I feel sort of "eh" about it. But it was a wonderful day and lots of fun being out of doors with fellow artists.

Done on 9x12 Art Spectrum as is fairly typical, sort of a cream color.

Monday, September 09, 2013


This is a painting I did with the hope of it being juried into the "Happy Hour" show at the Great Hang Ups Gallery.  But the show was just the impetus to get it done. I'd been planning this painting for a couple months. It's from a photo I took earlier this summer up at our old farmhouse in New Brunswick, Canada. My two sisters were both up there with me, and we were getting ready for dinner. We had bought two bottles of wine, and it was that golden hour when the last light of the afternoon is streaming through the kitchen window over the sink.

The light poured in, hitting the wine bottles with such a glow, that I had to take a photo. And once I took a photo I knew I had to try to paint it, to see if there was anyway I could try to capture that rich glowing light.

This is 12x16, and done on Wallis Belgian Mist. I still love Art Spectrum, but I'm enjoying working bigger than the 9x12 size I usually do with the Art Spectrum. The only problem I have with their paper is that it seems to come in only two sizes, Too Big, and Too Small. The Wallis comes in a 12x18 pad, and it does hurt a bit to cut off that expensive two inches on the bottom. But the 12x16 fits so nicely into the frames I have.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Tidnish life classes

 One-minute poses.

I had a great time again this summer going to the Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery, where once again they had life drawing open studios on Monday evenings. 

Five-minute pose.

I only got to go twice this summer. The first Monday I was there I had just arrived and was too tired, after driving nearly 2000 miles, to go over to Nova Scotia in the evening.

Five-minute pose. 

The second Monday I was there was Canada Day, so the gallery was closed for the holiday for the open studio session. But I finally got to go for the third and fourth Mondays, and then it was time to head home again.

Twenty-minute pose.

But life classes are always a good exercise. Human bodies are far less forgiving than trees! And of course I still struggle with the figure, but I also enjoy getting some practice.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Back before the heat of the summer began to get too bad I got together with some of my pastel friends for a plein air session at a place called Castaway Island Preserve located along the intracoastal waterway. It was a lovely spot, and I may go back again as the weather is slowly starting to cool a bit. Still hot during the day, but lately there has been a faint tang in the air when I walk my dog in the morning.

I love my cute new little Heilman box, just the size I had always wanted.  It's perfect for plein air for me!

I had an initial disaster as I was setting up! I accidentally bumped into my tripod, and my tripod, box, and all my pastels went flying off in every direction, many of them breaking into tiny unusable pieces. Sheesh, what a way to start my morning.

But with some help I finally got most of them back under control, and painted the picture above. It was fun, and pretty soon the weather will be nice enough for plein air again. Not something I can happily do during the Florida summers.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shall We Dance?

I took John to Camp Chowenwaw one afternoon, where he met a little girl, and the two of them played happily together for quite a while, including quite a bit of dancing! It was so cute watching them dance together that I kept snapping photos, and in the end decided I *needed* to paint a picture of it too, and this is the result. Actually a few minor changes were made to the photo after this, but I forgot to take another photo.

And now the painting is framed under glass, and on display at the Gallery 1037 at Reddi Arts up in Jacksonville, as part of the first member show of the First Coast Pastel Society.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Marina - workshop day three

Wow, I'm still so behind here with my blog, so much to post. But I'll finish up with my last day of the Kathleen Galligan workshop in February. Our last day we met at a marina in downtown St. Augustine. It was a gray day, and I kept running in and out of rain showers all the way over there from home.

So at the marina we didn't know what to expect. I decided to set up underneath the cover of the picnic area so that even if it began to rain I'd be protected and still able to paint. So once I again I found myself in the usual position of finding a comfy place to set up, and then seeing what I could paint from that position - rather than finding something I wanted to paint and then setting up. That just never works for me. It's alway "too" something - too hot, too sunny, too buggy, etc. 

Anyway the picnic area faced out over the dock, and a couple boats docked there, and the above is what I ended up painting. Usual 9x12 Art Spectrum, which is a size that works well for plein air. 

But while it stayed gray all day it never did rain at the marina. And it was pleasantly cool, and I saw a lot of amazing birds. So all in all a fun day to end the workshop with.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Butler Park

This is from Day Two of the workshop with Kathleen Galligan - a wild, cool and windy day! So different from the hot day before at Anastasia. It was the sort of day to send easels and pastels flying if you were not careful - but a pretty little park and boat ramp along the intracoastel waterway. This was done on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum paper using a variety of pastels.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


More catching up, but back at the end of February I took a 3-day plein air workshop with Kathleen Galligan here in St. Augustine. Plein air is still a struggle, but it's also fun to try out. The first day of our workshop was hot and sunny, and our location was Anastasia State Park, one of my favorite places in St. Augustine located on Anastasia Island. The painting opportunities there are endless, as are the birding opportunities!

But I *hate* being out in the hot sun, especially in mid-day, so I chose to set up underneath the roof of a picnic pavillion, as did several others. So it became less a matter of "what vistas do I want to try to paint?" and more a matter of "what can I see from this picnic pavillion that I can turn into a painting of sorts?"  :-)

So the above is my work from the day. I'm not crazy about it - the shadows need some muting and the greens need a hint of variations with other colors. On the other hand I do like the sky, LOL. But since I'm not crazy about it I've just set it aside at this point. We'll see if I decide to do anything with it in the future, but more likely it will be just onward and forward.

Done on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum, cream color.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

At the Arboretum

The first weekend in February we had our FCPS paint-out day at the Jacksonville Arboretum. This was February after all, and the temperatures were in the 30s when we first arrived there early in the morning, and people had on their hats and coats and gloves, and even long johns! But it's Florida as well and by late morning it had warmed up to the low 60s and was a glorious day for painting out of doors.

I had never been to the arboretum before, but it's certainly a true gem in the area. Most of us set up our easels at spots along the walking trail that surrounds the small central lake. Normally I'm drawn to water as a subject, despite my inadequacies with painting it!

But I was on a tight time schedule on this day. As soon as the paint-out ended I was heading up to Hilton Head to spend a few days visiting with friends. And I struggle so with water. So I decided on a slightly different scene, and chose to do these trees, not that that was not a struggle as well, LOL.

This is a little bit smaller than I usually work, and was done on an 8x10 Ampersand pastel board. Various pastels as usual.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

For Maggie Price - RIP

My poor blog. It's been neglected lately. Of course my art has been neglected a lot too, but I *have* done some art work - just struggling to get it posted. But I figured I would finally make a start. We had a paint-out yesterday with the First Coast Pastel Society, at the Nature Preserve at the University of North Florida.

We were all saddened to have learned of the death of Maggie Price the day before. Maggie was a huge luminary in the pastel world, and a warm and lovely woman. I took a workshop with Maggie a few years ago and it was one of the best workshops ever. I recall one day Maggie did a demo painting of a rushing stream coursing over a bunch of boulders. She wanted us all to work on rocks, and claimed most people wound up making their rocks look like potatoes. So throughout the day she kept saying, "No potatoes! No potatoes!"

So when I found this big rock on the island I decided I had to make it my subject, and to do my best to avoid the potato look. Maggie, I hope I succeeded.

Since this is my first post in so long I decided to show sort of a progression of the growth of the painting.

Preliminary sketch and laying in some of the darks - to catch the shadows in plein air before the light shifted too much.

Filling in more shading on the objects, and the background.

More in the water and the foreground, and the objects.

Working more on the rock.

Working on the ground in the forest,

Mostly finished.

And the final painting again. Now that I've posted again I'll have to go back and start adding the pieces I've done in the last couple months - not all of them pastel!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Club Continental Waterfront

This is the third painting I did for the Club Continental show this afternoon. There were 60 paintings in the show, of which about 10 were chosen to remain on display at the club for about a month - none of them being mine, LOL.

This was done on an 11x14 sheet of Richeson paper, the first time I had ever tried that surface. It's a sanded surface but a bit rougher in texture than I prefer. But since I bought a pad of it I'm sure I'll try it out again. :-)

The show itself was a lot of fun and we had a good turnout of folks from the Art Guild, both show participants and others who just showed up to enjoy the show. The Club is beautiful and the appetizers were yummy.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Club Continental - The Blue Window

Grrr, I was so stupid. I *always* take pictures of my paintings when I finish them. But in the case of this one I totally forgot and didn't even think of it until the painting was already framed. Naturally that made it darned difficult to photograph as there is always reflective light from the glass, but I wasn't about to unframe it either. So I just moved it to a dark corner which didn't get much light, and did the best I could.

This is a second one for the Club Continental show tomorrow, where all paintings in the show must be of the Club or its grounds. This was done on 12-16 piece of Art Spectrum.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Club Continental Fountain

This Sunday I'll be participating in an Art Show at the Club Continental in Orange Park, FL. All of the paintings have to be of the Club itself or in and around its grounds. With the deadline looming over me I decided I'd better get cracking! I worked on this this morning, a view of the fountain on the grounds, and reached a point where I decided to step away from it, so it may not be done yet. I'm not quite ready to put it in the frame. But I did reach a spot where I  needed to stop for a bit.

This is done on a 12x16 piece of Wallis Belgian Mist. I know lots of people adore Wallis but it's not actually my favorite, Just a tad *too* toothy for my liking. It just about ate up the entire remaining stick of a favorite blue just working on the sky.

But I wanted to fill a 12x16 frame I have, and I had a pad of 12x18 Wallis that I bought years ago, so decided to bring it out and cut off the bottom two inches and use that. It *is* easy to get a lot of layers with Wallis, and that part is really good. But I still prefer my usual Art Spectrum which is also pretty toothy, but a bit less so than Wallis so doesn't eat up your pastels as much. I WISH that Art Spectrum came in a few different sizes. I mostly use the 9x12 , but I wouldn't mind working a tad bigger. The larger sheets are too big, but if I try to cut them up I wind up with just my usual size anyway unless I want a lot of wastage, and I'm not a fan of wastage. :-)