The Next Stage

October 3, 2011

Yes, I know it has been several weeks since I have managed to post to my Blog.  I have been recovering from Bronchitis an juggling several other projects here as well.   So tonight I’ll offer you a sampling of my latest painting project and walk you through it’s stages of development.

What is this new subject?  Hamilton Pools!
For those new to our lovely hill country, Hamilton Pools is a gem in our own backyard just outside of Austin. Best known for it’s scenic sunken grotto featuring 45ft waterfalls, massive rock overhangs and hiking trails to the Perdenales River.  Well, it’s somewhat more like dripping falls in our drought here.  Even in the warmest summer, the natural lake is quite cool.  It is however , most of a 1/2 mile high down to the pool. But it’s definitely humbling and breathtaking to see and worth planning a day for picnicking to calm your nerves a bit..

Photographs hardly capture the beauty of this marvel. Seriously, I had to piece several photos together to reference the distance across the lake, not to mention to adjust for the change in lighting under the cavern.  I can only hope that I can capture it’s impression and vastness with my painting.  I realized after a few initial sketches it was very clear that a small painting would always feel cramped and and limited in translating the vastness of Hamilton Pools.

But I do have to start somewhere. So Once I had determined that I definitely wanted to work the composition in a 1:3 ratio. I started by enlarging my sketch to 18″x36″ drawing to work out the scale and values. It will simplify conversions for a larger panels later as well.

Sketch for Hamilton Pool.

I prepped this color study on two 18″ square panel boards, and designed the composition across them.  Why, did I choose panels rather than canvas? The cradle board panels offer the ability to seamlessly piece multiple panels together.  Not to mention the added advantage of less warping, square gallery depth edges and they don’t require a frame later.

The second part of the challenge would come in determining a workable color scheme.  Establishing solid atmospheric perspective (depth) will be influenced by the color choices.  I started by laying in a violet under painting, to establish warmth and depth for the cliff work.


I continued to layer colors and work the transitions between warm and cool patterns.

Hamilton Pool, stage 1.

Hamilton Pool, stage 5.

The study is close but not quite there yet.

Test editing

So in my time away from the studio, I have used photo shop to work out what I want to develop further.  It helps me test potential color changes before I jump back into it.  It lets me live with it a bit too.  I’ll post an updated version soon with the resolved areas.  So stay tuned.

In the Mist. 18x24. 2011.07.17 *Available at Abbey's.

*** Sneak peak for August show.

I am here doing what I know best. Painting.

So I set about finishing larger pieces today.  This one in particular.  I knew it was close but needed more atmospheric development and depth.    So I worked, mixing, matching, adjusting paint values and hues.

This is a subject / composition I have wanted to revisit for several years now.   So I finally got around to painting it for my next exhibition of landscapes.  The original study was much smaller and simpler to achieve in a moment of painting clarity. The small image is just a teaser.  Larger means more problems.  The challenge was going back and figuring out what I had done and refining it. I started this one in June.

All the while I hear my son’s voice in the background narrating different action sequences for his speed boats or singing along to his favorite cartoon. Mixed in with the occasional skipping feet to see what I’m painting or solving his puzzles next.  We have a system.

The irony of his youth is that he still retains clarity when he looks at my art and what is really there.  Today he enjoyed critiquing or “schooling” me as I worked on this last painting.

Mommy's critique.

Turns out he was spot on too.  I’m not surprised since he knows his colors. And I mean more than the 16 count crayola box.  He wants the real stuff.  Yeah, It’s getting harder to keep him contained to his paint and brushes.  So we shared color mixing and matching today.  He had a ball.  In the midst of all his play time we worked out the painting.   I came back to finish the details I needed steady hands for after he went to bed.

This will be on display at Abbey’s in Georgetown for the month of August.



These Shoes…

July 16, 2011

Sexy Shoes. 7x5. 2011.07.16

Stepping out of the norm. These shoes are Sexy Shoes.

They are a favorite pair of mine.  These shoes are surprisingly elegant and beautifully comfortable to wear.  I’m a more practical classic kind of gal.  Comfort before style…at least when its my shoes and I have to wear them.  But these are elegant beauty and comfort. I’ll take them. Maybe I’ll paint them too.

The more elegant and simple the subject appears the  more challenging to paint.    And that’s before you even get to load up on color ranges.  The challenge in painting elegant shapes is in the complexity of the simplicity. Think about it.  Go ahead you try to draw a perfect circle or ellipse with only a pencil no other  gadgets. Then consider painting it in all the values to transform that circle into a sphere.

These shoes are a complex creation of spheres, cylinders, cast shadow, loops, light patterns and reflections.  Weee!!! “Jump in and push the paint” only works to a point.  An artist must know the shapes and value temperatures needed.  An artist must know how the paint will mix when applying it next to a wet area. All this and more to relate the subtle shifts in light and depth to create credible impression of the intended subject: my shoes.

So here is the painters “not so simple” version of elegant shoe theory, at it’s basic development.


July 15, 2011

Sassy Cootie. 6x6. 2001.07.15.

This is Sassy Cootie.

Thick paint gives definition and body to the toy cootie as warm light shifts to cooler shadows.  Because one cootie is never enough.  This 6×6 could be a sister study to Solo Cootie.  Check out the detail of her head to get a good feel of the paint application.

Sassy Cootie, head detail.



Wind Up Dino

July 5, 2011

Wind Up Dino. 5x7. 2011.07.05

Here is today’s study in the Toy series.

This one is for those that love extra thick expressive paint.

I applied the paint somewhat thicker since that seems to be the nature of painting without thinner or medium these days.  But i do like that it has grit and form to it.  However, something to remember, even us artists have our off days and others are just totally disconnected.

I spent most of the day trying to push the contrast to pop the dinosaur with complements (opposites on color wheel) thinking Blue Green’s complement was Red Violet.  What was I thinking? Its more like Red Orange.    That helps.

Starting Fresh

June 21, 2011

Here it is!

My long awaited blog is here featuring daily paintings, adventures and research.  My subjects vary from the playful still life to intriguing city scape exploring the balance of light and dark within each painting.

The goal is to create  5 new paintings a week.  I have completed 5 paintings in 7 days!  Woot.  Sorry, I had 2 days of non-painting, and 2 crash & burners, thrown in there for emergency family needs.  I will continue to post a new painting each day so long as life allows.

Blue Kitty 2. 5x7 2011.06.18

Orange / Blue spit compliment study. To purchase please click here.


Ren's Garden Strawberrys. 8x10. 2011.06.15

Green / Red split compliment study. To Purchase please click here.

Blue Kitty. 11x14. 2011.06.14.

Limited Blues study. To purchase please click here.

Reds & Yellows. 9x12. 2011.06.13

Dramatic Light, playful subjects. To purchase please click here.

Feel free to browse and comment on these.  Sales links are attached.  Future posts will be daily inspirations and creations.