Tuesday, December 30, 2014


"Only Sky" 6x6 oil on panel - sold

Here we go again. The best intentions and all that...I feel like I'm in the confessional. Forgive me, for I have sinned; my last blog post was in May. I really don't know how I managed to neglect my blog for that long, but no excuses. I'm starting anew!

Since I've always pledged to and always failed, I think I'll put it this way. This year I may not post daily, but I will post whenever I have a new painting to show.

I'm pulling in everything I can think of to motivate me to paint more and to improve. I've signed up to participate in Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Painting Challenge beginning January 1st which should get me off to a good start in 2015. I am also signed up for Qiang Huang's workshop in January and for Nancy Tankersley's workshop in March (both in Austin). I've been reading Carol Marine's wonderful new book on daily painting, brilliantly named "Daily Painting".

Yesterday, I made myself a bunch of beautiful new panels this time using oil primed linen which I got from a dear friend made me a deal I couldn't refuse on a roll she didn't need any more. I've always heard it was the best painting surface and I am eager to test it out.

If all that doesn't motivate me to paint (and blog about it) I don't know what will.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Straight from the Easel!

You probably thought I'd fallen off the face of the earth. I've been painting quite a bit lately but failing to blog. I know that blogging is an important piece of art marketing. Qiang Huang taught me how important it is and he leads by example, blogging every time he posts a new painting. I'm just not in the habit, but it's a habit I must cultivate if I want to continue to grow.

Today my painting group, Plein Air Austin (PAA) painted out at the Johnson Wildflower Center just south of Austin. I'm ashamed to say I'd passed it many times but never taken the time to go in. It was well worth the trip. Beautiful grounds, lovely buildings made of natural stone, butterflies, rabbits, turtles, ponds, and of course fields of wildflowers. Even at the very end of May the wildflowers were spectacular. I passed a very pleasant morning painting away. I'm attaching a photo of my painting. I'm afraid the quality of the photo is not great, but I can't take another as it was bought right off my easel by a lovely lady from Dallas visiting with her grand daughter. Many of my paintings are sold online so I rarely get to meet the buyer, so it was a nice treat to meet her. I will definitely return to paint at the Wildflower Center again. Everyone was so welcoming and helpful. The facilities are beautiful and all in all it was a wonderful experience.

"Wildflower Vista" 8x10 oil on canvas board SOLD
Today's painting was a continuation of my recent experiment with the Anders Zorn palette, however, I did expand it slightly. I found it just too limiting with only 4 tubes of paint. This time I used 6 tubes of paint (white, cad. yellow pale, yellow ochre, vermillion, cobalt blue and ivory black). It's amazing how many variations you can make from such a limited palette. It's something I intend to continue to practice for all my plein air work. Transporting only 6 tubes instead of 12 or more is much lighter and more compact to carry when traveling.

Now back to my easel to complete my color charts. I've been steadily working my way though the color charts that Richard Schmid recommends each artist making. It is slow and tedious work but so worth it. The end results are not only beautiful to look at, but the process of creating them is so educational. Who knew you could get such subtle skin tone colors from transparent red oxide, terra rosa and white? Until I did the charts, I can't remember the last time I even opened my tube of terra rosa but it had to be a while because it took quite a bit of work with the pliers to get it open.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

An International Sale!

I was always taught not to brag on myself, but I just have to brag about this one. This little 6"x 6"  painting (see below) that I painted right after my Qiang Huang workshop. I painted it from one of the photos I took from the riverboat we rode on from Guilin to Yangshao on our trip in China last September. It sold to a delightful Russian lady currently living in Israel. She told me that she would be moving back to Moscow next summer. So this is the first painting that I've sold internationally to someone I did not already know. It sold through Daily Paintworks (as most of my paintings that sell, do) and it garnered at least 4 different bidders who bid a total of 18 times before it sold. I know that is not all that big of a deal compared to some of Qiang's paintings, but it's the first time I've had that much interest in one of my paintings, so it was a really big deal to me. Now if I could only find the time to paint every day....like I promised myself I would this year. Life sure gets in the way.
"Li River Haze" 6"x6" Oil on Board SOLD

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Qiang Huang Workshop

Workshop Participants with Qiang and Song (his wife)

This week was so much fun. One of my China trip cohorts, Billie Bassette, came to stay with us and we both attended Qiang Huang's 4 day painting workshop in Austin along with a number of my Plein Air Austin, Central Texas Pastel Society, and Austin Pastel Society painting buddies along with some new painting buddies we met there. I just love painters. They are all so generous with their praise and with their knowledge. The workshop was at the Anderson Mill Garden Club and I have to give thanks to the wonderful Garden Club volunteers who greeted us each morning, fed us continually throughout the day and waited for us to all leave before locking up. They were wonderful and the food they prepared for us was great.  If you ever get the opportunity to take a painting workshop with Qiang Huang, I can't recommend it enough. He is an amazing artist AND a great teacher. He is very organized and teaches in a way which works with students of all levels, beginners to professionals. It's no wonder his demos usually sell at the workshop and they actually have to draw names to see who can buy each painting since so many want to buy each one.

I finished 3 paintings during the workshop and have one more which is almost finished. It just needs a little punching up. The last one I did was a view of Zhouzhuang from the China trip. I am so proud that I finally was able to "get" the perspective after Qiang demo'd a similar photo that morning explaining all about how the vanishing points worked. I've had it explained many times, but this time it actually seems to have sunk in a bit.

I painted a Chinese butterfly last week and it sold at auction on Daily Paintworks. I was very pleased with the painting so I'll show it to you as this week's painting.
"Flutter By" 5x5 oil on board SOLD

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New Resolutions!

Happy New Year! It's been three months since my last blog. I feel like I'm a penitent in the confessional. I know it's been far too long. Now with the new year and renewed resolve, I pledge to post once a week. Originally I wanted to post daily, but that's not realistic. I don't have that much to say. A realistic goal is a weekly post with the best of the week's painting and perhaps something I've learned that I can share. So here goes...

Since the week is new the best painting so far this week is my Chinese pigeon which I painted today using a photo of a pigeon I'd shot in Beijing when I was there in September. Basically a pigeon is a pigeon, I'm not sure a Chinese one looks any different than any other. I really enjoyed painting it. This is one of those paintings that just seem to work right from the start (unlike some of the other paintings I've attempted lately which I do not plan to post).

"Winged Scavenger" 5x5 oil on board click here to buy

Now here's a useful hint for my plein air painting friends. Never get caught without a trash sack for your paint covered  paper towels. Buy a dog walker's bag dispenser from your local pet store or dollar store (I got mine at Dollar Tree). Clip it on to your backpack. Bring a small clip or some tape to attach your trash bag to your easel and you're ready to go.

Dog Waste Bags with Dispensers Each small dog bone shaped dispenser holds 20 bags. Each bag holds enough trash for one of my plein air sessions. No muss, no fuss. Talk about convenient.