Tuesday, April 29, 2014


When you see a painting that makes you say “wow”, do you try to discover the “why”?

It must be my analytical mind, but I've always enjoyed figuring out the “why”. As a child I loved to take things apart to see how they worked. This trait has remained a constant in my life. Over the years my art students and I have study different artists, their techniques and color choices. We have explored and shared thoughts and observations. I found it was the curious student who showed the most promise and improvement.

I have a special folder on my computer filled with copies of paintings that have the “wow” factor for me. I look at them often for inspiration and guidance. But just looking wasn't enough. I needed to take the time to really analyze what it was that made these painting so special to me. So the other day I sat down at my computer with pen and paper and looked at all these paintings, taking notes on color combinations, subject matter, composition, brushwork - any aspect that I found interesting. The time was well spent.

I have been referring to these notes as I study my unsuccessful paintings. (We all have a stack of those, I’m sure). The “whys” were clearly apparent.

Painting is a balancing act. Composition, color, value, edges, brushwork, etc., must all be recognized and placed in their proper relationships. Sometimes in the excitement of beginning a new painting, we forget that there is an underlying structure to good painting. All the parts must be given due consideration and they must all work together. It isn't enough to set up a pretty still life or find an interesting scene outside. You must be sure that all the parts work together. And often the parts need to be modified to improve these relationships.

Strange as it sounds, these components and how they relate to each other are more important than the subject matter itself. There is a lot of “thinking” in successful paintings. I found that if I paint correctly, with all the components in mind, the objects become secondary. I have to make a conscious effort to keep to this thought process while I am painting. That was the major fault in my unsuccessful paintings. I was painting objects, not relationships, and the paintings wouldn't hold together.

We study and read. We learn and forget. Do we ever reach the point as artists where we can say, “There, now I know all there is about painting.”   No, I don’t believe we ever do. The more you learn and understand, the more you realize that there is still so much more to learn.

A good artist is a student forever.

Thanks for visiting.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Tom's House, 8x10, oil, SOLD

View from my kitchen window.

It was just too cold and windy to paint outside so I set up my easel in my kitchen and painted the scene that I see so many times every day when I work at my kitchen sink.  I have always loved the play of light on my neighbor's house.
This was my beginning.

Tom's House, 8x10, oil  SOLD

I listed this painting on my ebay page.  It now has a new home in New Hampshire.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

In For the Night, 8x10, oil

In For the Night, 8x10, oil

After a long day of snowmobiling it's great to be back at camp.  Fire crackling in the woodstove, the smell of fresh coffee. Boots off, slippers on. A pot of stew slowly heating on the back of the stove.  Gas lights, no electricity, no phone, no television - just the quiet sounds of camp.  Our dear old camp isn't very fancy but I wouldn't trade it and the memories it holds for anything.

This painting is available on my ebay page.

Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Break, Wilson Stream, Maine 8x10, oil

My Tuesday student just returned home from a vacation in Florida and wanted to paint one more Maine snow scene.  This is my version of early spring at Wilson Stream in the Moosehead Lake region.

Spring Break, Wilson Stream, Maine  8x10, oil SOLD

Our camp is located a few miles from the scene of my painting. This photo was taken last weekend. Still plenty of snow and the lakes are still frozen. Spring break has a different meaning up here.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, April 14, 2014

April Newsletter

In my March newsletter, I mentioned that our physical gallery, The Working Art Gallery, Belfast, Maine, is now a virtual gallery. The move is complete and I have been sorting through my paintings and prints. Some paintings will go to other galleries, some, along with my matted prints, will be listed on my ebay page and the remainder will be stored and listed later on.

I'm also breaking in a new computer. Since Microsoft recently stopped supporting Windows XP, I upgraded to a Windows 8.1. This past week was spent moving and sorting files and pictures and learning this new system.

The weather is finally warming and the snow is gone except for shady areas and the deep woods. This is a good time to finish all this sorting, organizing and updating of both my website and the gallery website. Next week's weather forecast is for sun and temps in the 50s. Time to start painting outside again.

I hope you've had a chance to read my recent blogs. I showed a simple pattern for an easel shelf that works great on my outdoor easel. My husband made it from a piece of leftover birch plywood. It is easy to attach, just slip it on. Cutouts hold extra brushes, my medium jar and turps container. 

I still enjoy writing in my blog and have over 60 posts. You can sign up to receive my new posts automatically in your email mailbox. Look for the sign-up form in the right hand column on my blog page. You may opt-out at any time but I hope you will enjoy these visits to my studio.

Thanks for reading. I hope you will visit my links below. Happy Easter to you and your family.


My Ebay Page

Friday, April 11, 2014

Plein Air Easel Shelf Modified

This was my original easel shelf that my husband cut from a piece of leftover birch plywood.

After using it the other day, I had him add the cutouts for my
medium and turps holders.

This shelf is so useful.
Tomorrow I will give it another try as spring is finally here.
The days are warm and sunny and the snow is almost gone.

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you found this information useful.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Simple Plein Air Easel Shelf

Today my husband made a shelf for my outdoor easel 
from piece of leftover birch plywood.

Such a simple pattern but yet it is snug and sturdy.  
Easy to attach and remove - just slide it on and off.

The canvas holders that came with the easel give added support.

 Perfect for holding my palette and brushes.

Stores easily in my outdoor kit.

What a guy!

Thanks for visiting.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Riverside Cottage, 8x10, oil

Riverside Cottage, 8x10, 0il

I really enjoyed this painting.  Hope you do, too.

This painting is available on my ebay page.

Thanks for visiting.