Tuesday, March 27, 2012


A quick, loose sketch one night at the dining room table. I have an entire room dedicated just to painting, but very little actual work ever happens there.

About to go visit my brothers and sister-in-law in OKC! Probably won't get any painting done, but I can't wait to see them!!! 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Painting with Harley

I've never taken Harley painting with me, but a few weeks ago I got home from work and it was so beautiful outside and just I couldn't bear to leave him behind.

We drove over to a nearby park and set up camp.

It took some effort on both our parts, but it worked out. 

 Keeping alert.

Finally he resignedly flopped down and relaxed for the last 20 minutes. Here are some close-ups from the day's work:

And what it looked like when I finished:

"Spring Shadows" Oil on canvas, 9x12"
I might touch it up in some spots, but I'm mostly done. 

Tonight I checked the Camp Hill Plein Air Painting festival site and realized that the deadline for entries was two weeks ago. Somehow I had it in my head that the deadline wasn't until the 28th. I had it written all over all my calendars. 


I'm a teeny bit relieved, because I was nervous to fail (very talented and more experienced painters have entered this competition), but mostly I'm really frustrated with myself. This is a challenge that I had been mentally preparing for for a long while, now. Can't believe I screwed it up. Poor Josh was disappointed, too - he was more excited about all this than I was.

Anyway, I can still be involved in the quick draw that Saturday. And there's always next year.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fixing Failures

Today I don't have to do ANYTHING. 


I went out and painted for a while. I painted on a very small canvas panel and chose a fairly detailed street scene to paint. Frustration ensued. I've always preferred to paint BIG. Deep, layered expanses of color are my thing. This painting was the opposite of my thing. 

I'm looking at it now, though, and I think I like it. 


No, I probably don't. 

On a different note, here's a painting I worked on a few months ago one day when we finally got some snow. Don't know how I feel about this one, either:

"Snow Day" Oil on canvas, 9x12"

I'm happy with some parts of it, dissatisfied with others. Here's the work in process:

Feeling like I should have stopped about here and kept it all high-contrast and ghostly. (And, yes, I am painting from inside my Jeep. Told you I don't like to be cold.)

I think I need to learn the art of fixing failed paintings. It's a mental thing, you know? To force yourself to return to something that you don't particularly like? That takes discipline. Like running. And like running, it's also usually worth it.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Spring is coming early and little things are starting to bloom all over. The elderly couple who owned this house before us must have been really wonderful gardeners. They left us some beautiful rosebushes. Here are some roses from our garden last year:

I cut them way back this fall. I hope that was the right thing to do - I don't know anything about roses.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Somehow I've been finding bits and pieces of time to paint lately. Here's a plein air painting I started last month:

It was a sunny day, but it was February, so this is as far as I got before my fingers were completely numb:

Snapped a few photos, loaded up my stuff, and got the heck out of there. I don't like to be cold. 

"Treeline" Oil on canvas, 10"x14"
Here it is after working on it more at home. I'd like to tweak it a bit more, but it's pretty much done. You can see how the light changed from the beginning of the painting to the end when I took my photos. 

I love those long shadows that show up around five-ish every evening. I also love those evergreens. I specifically chose this scene because of the evergreens.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Little Houseplant

Painted my little houseplant a few nights ago at my dining room table:

"Little Houseplant" Oil on canvas panel, 6x8" 

Beginning my painting. I painted over an old painting and it left some interesting texture that I like. 

I learned early on in college that painting symmetrical objects (in this case, the white planter, but also wine bottles, candelabras, milk cans, vases, and a whole slew of other still life props) can be difficult. 

I've since learned that what's more difficult is to give the impression of symmetry without creating a perfect image - that is, while still employing a loose brush and keeping that painterly effect.

After a bit of time...

"Little Houseplant" Oil on canvas panel, 6x8"
He's such a friendly-looking houseplant, don't you think?*

We're supposed to be getting some warmish weather later this week. I'll take that as a cue to get outside and start painting. Wish I had some inspiration about where to go, but usually I find that it's more about getting somewhere - anywhere - outside and then finding the inspiration in whatever's in front of you.

*And easy, too. Don't know what he is, but he goes for weeks without water (necessary tactic at our house. Only the strong survive). And what is it with artists personifying their inanimate subjects? At least, I think it's an artist thing. I feel like when I'm painting something, it's very easy to create a personality for that thing and then bring it out in my work. It becomes like a portrait. Weird?