Saturday, November 25, 2017

November Ramblings

Morning Stillness, 8x10, oil
Available in my Ebay Store.
My daughter-in-law’s home decor shop, Patchwork Plus Maine on Rt. 3 in Searsmont, Maine, is gearing up for the holiday season and she asked if I would paint some small seasonal paintings for the shop. She carries a line of my work but these would be specific to the season. 

It’s been a fun change to paint snow scenes and children playing. These little paintings are no larger than 4x5, some are smaller. Happily, they are popular and I’m enjoying the challenge. Because they are oils, they still need to be done in layers, then dried and varnished. The standard painting process only in miniature. In between the little paintings I’m finishing up some larger ones. I have a stack of half finished work that needs attention.

Picking up on her energy, I decided to join in with the Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales events in my Ebay Store. I’ve never done a sale before and this should be interesting. Ebay makes it really simple to add these events to your listings and I choose which items will be part of the sale. It was nice to check my email this morning and see all the sales. Pretty nifty! I’m still thinking about Cyber Monday…..

Our Virtual Paint-Out Group has been on vacation since October and I’m looking forward to the start-up in January. Artist Leslie Saeta starts another 30/30 challenge in January. Looks like that’s going to be a very busy month!

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and that all is well.

Thanks for visiting,

My Website

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Studio Sanity

A few thoughts when all you want to do is paint.

Whatever time you plan to stop painting to prepare dinner, stop sooner because food prep and cooking always take longer when you’d rather be painting.

Rinse your brushes in turp and cover your palette before leaving your studio. Something will always keep you from returning in a timely manner.

Keep a clean paper towel near your phone to use when you answer another robo call.

The dog will always be on the wrong side of the door so another piece of paper towel is needed for the door handle.

A few hurried brushstrokes will undo an hour’s work.

Unexpected company will arrive when you’re wearing your painting clothes and forgot to comb your hair.

This same company thinks you’d rather sit and “chit chat” instead of paint. 

You understand why Paul Gauguin ran away to a remote tropical island. It’s better than cutting off your ear.

Thankfully there’s always tomorrow.


My Ebay Store

Friday, October 27, 2017

Drying Cupboard

One of the hazards in an artist's studio is the vapors from drying oil paint. There were days when the paint odor was so strong in my studio that I had to open all the windows and run a fan for a few hours before I could comfortably and safely work there. This was especially inconvenient in cold weather. Now we have solved the problem.

My husband converted this beautiful two-door oak cabinet into a drying and storage cupboard. It works perfectly and the air in my studio is now fresh and clean. 


Inside the cupboard he mounted a small exhaust fan at the rear of the top shelf, vented it through the wall and into the garage. Now all the vapors from the drying paint are removed from my studio. This is a small electronics fan designed to run continuously and quietly.

I have always stored my palette and tubes of paint in covered plastic boxes but it was the drying paintings that caused the problem. Now I store all my new paintings and works in progress vertically (separated with clothespins) or in racks in my new cupboard, close the doors and the fan does the rest. 

Oil paintings take a long time to dry completely. Even when they are dry to the touch, they continue to emit vapors while the paint cures. And when you have a large amount of paintings in various stages the odor is very noticeable.

There is also plenty of room for supplies. The shelves are adjustable and I can easily add another shelf if needed. Goodbye clutter.

I feel like I have a new studio.

Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Art Class Remembered

Looking back over my art career, some of the best times were spent in the classroom. Over the years my students have ranged in age from 9 years old in my Junior Class to over 80 years old in my Adult Class. My young students came once a week throughout the school year and it was a joy to watch them grow from children to teenagers to young adults.

Originally my painting classes were held at my gallery in Belfast, Maine, but as the gallery grew and we needed more space, I gave up my classroom and moved classes to my home studio.

My Adult Class has seen many students come and go but I had my main students that were with me for many years. They were my dedicated “crew”. We met weekly and worked very hard to incorporate the principals and theories of oil painting into our work. They were a very special group and our sessions were filled with laughter, sighs and music.

One of our very special students was Genie Francis, from the TV Series, General Hospital. She has a summer home in Belfast and it was our good fortune to have her join our classes for a few summers.

 We also had many outdoor adventures, some quite memorable.

It was my greatest pleasure to see my students enter shows and win awards. To see the smiles on their faces when they brought their ribbons and awards to class was priceless. We all celebrated together because we understood the hard work and commitment that led to this proud achievement.
When I was teaching at the gallery, summer visitors would often stop in and ask for a few lessons. They had just bought their first paint set and wanted to learn to paint. They were the most difficult students, as they didn’t understand that it takes many years to grasp the principals of painting and more years of hard work to put these principals into play. I knew they would leave frustrated but hopefully these first few classes would peak their interest and they could go on from there. They also left with a greater appreciation of the art we displayed at the gallery.
I taught for over 15 years and have now retired. I sometimes think of teaching again, but life has a way of moving on. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for my students. We were a family and together we shared joys and sorrows, triumphs and failures. We still keep in touch and paint together and their voices still echo in my studio.

Thanks for visiting,

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October 2017 Newsletter

October Thoughts.

October in Maine is colorful leaves against bright blue skies. Crisp mornings with a touch of frost, warmed by the sun and cool, clear nights. It marks the end of another busy summer.

Time to get the gardens ready for winter and bring in the houseplants that have flourished so well outside. (But where to put them is another matter.) Time to check the wood stove and get out the heavy sweaters. Soon it will be winter again....

September was a very busy month with Leslie Saeta again offering her 30/30 painting challenge. Thirty paintings in thirty days is a challenge. Add to that the photographing and posting each day. I was pleased to complete 26 paintings. I posted them daily to my Blog and my Ebay Store. Happily some are now sold.

Our September Virtual Paint-Out Group traveled to Southern Florida but because the month was so busy I was only able to complete one small Florida painting. I have a larger one started that I am looking forward to working on. Our travel group is now on vacation until January. That will give me time to catch up and I may take a virtual trip on my own.

I was very pleased to paint with my friend and long time student, Rev, who spends her summers here. She is returning to Miami this week and I will miss her. Rev is a remarkable lady, as my students will remember, and she is taking a great painting back with her.

My newsletters maybe brief and infrequent but I make up for it with my Blog. I try to post a few times a month but I posted almost daily in September because of the 30/30 challenge. I enjoy receiving questions and comments about art and art theory. I'm an artist and a teacher and I enjoy sharing what I have learned over the years from books, from other artists and by trial and error. I thank all the artists who have shared their knowledge with me and I try to pass that knowledge along.

I invite you to subscribe to automatically receive my posts in your e-mail. You may unsubscribe at any time but I hope you will find my posts interesting and informative. And if you have any questions or topics you would like to discuss, please let me know.

Thanks for visiting with me. Wishing you all joy and peace.

Happy painting.

Some links you may enjoy.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sept. 2017 30/30 Painting Challenge, Day 26 and 27

Getting behind in my posting.

Day 26
The Dinghy Landing, Belfast, Maine 5x7, oil SOLD

 Day 27
Mountain Stream, 5x7, oil SOLD

Thanks for visiting.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Sept. 2017 30/30 Painting Challenge, Day 24

Wilson Stream, 5x7, oil

A portion of the rapids on Wilson Stream in Elliotsville, Plantation, Maine. My favorite spot!

This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Small Paintings.

Thanks for visiting.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sept. 2017 30/30 Painting Challenge, Day 22

After the Rain, 5x7, oil

This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Small Paintings.

Thanks for visiting.


Here Comes Trouble

The most dangerous time in my painting process is the finishing stage. That last hour or so when I need to decide what to leave in and what to take out. The time of final corrections, the addition of highlights and accents that can only be added at this stage.

When I reach this point, strange as it sounds, I find I’m not seeing the painting as a whole presentation anymore. After working intensely for hours, my focus has slowly shifted to the individual elements and I could be heading for trouble. I have to force myself to stop, put the brush down and leave my studio for awhile. And often that isn’t easy. I’m tired and I want to finish. “Just one more stroke. Let me fix that spot, etc.” ….. Here comes trouble.

A successful painting is a sum of all it’s elements all working together, balancing and complementing each other. All working together to support the story line or focal point. When you begin to concentrate on each element separately you risk throwing the whole painting off balance. A few times I have gone beyond the point of no return and had no choice but to wipe the whole painting away. Frustrating! Especially when it had a good start and I just couldn’t stop fiddling.

Now I try to keep reminding myself of what my painting is about and ask if the element I am working on is important or a distraction. Discipline! The most important element in your studio.

Three quotes that I read a long time ago and need to bear in mind.

  • “A painting is finished when you have simplified or taken out all you can.”
  • “If it looks good, leave it alone. Trying to make it better never works.”
  • “Working in stages lets the paint dry and your brain rest.”

And yes, I have been painting today. Can you tell?

Happy painting, 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sept. 2017 30/30 Painting Challenge, Day 17

Our Virtual Paint Out Group is visiting south Florida this month, the area below Interstate 75, otherwise known as Alligator Alley. I have started a larger painting of Biscayne Bay but haven't had time to work on it. So today I painted a small version of a scene on Naples Beach. I plan on doing a larger one of that area, too. I really enjoy painting palm trees, why, I don't know. Maybe because they are so graceful and carefree. And maybe because I recall watching them blow and sway outside our windows in Florida. Anyway - here is my quick study for today.

Naples, Florida, 5x7, oil

This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Small Paintings.
Thanks for visiting.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sept. 2017 30/30 Painting Challenge, Day 13

Storm Surge, 5x7, oil
This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Small Paintings.

Today's distraction was extra special -

Watching our friends launch their sailboat in Belfast Harbor. They will be heading south in a few weeks. Happy sailing!

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sept. 2017 30/30 Painting Challenge, Day 12

Path to the Sea, 5x7, oil

So many distractions - 

Our peach tree is being very generous this year. This is the second basket I've picked and there are still more peaches on the tree. Thank you, peach tree, but you are seriously cutting into my painting time.


This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Small Paintings.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Sept. 2017 30/30 Challenge, Day 9

Recalling wonderful memories of all the winters we spent in sunny Florida.

Thoughts and prayers to the people of Florida as they await Hurricane Irma. 

Florida Sunrise, 5x7, oil

This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Small Paintings.

Thanks for visiting.