Saturday, December 30, 2017

Red, White and Black horizontal

Another version using the photo reference. This one bringing the white cow out more and using a horizontal format.
12" x 9" oil on canvas

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Christmas pins

I was a little late getting these finished due to commissions. I paint watercolor on regular matboard. Then spray them with fixative. Using a sewing needle I string up beads, then dip in acrylic gloss medium and slowly push the beads off the needle. That explains the crooked line of beads. I will sign the pin on the backside then finish up with a coat of the acrylic gloss medium front and back before attaching the clasp.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Red, White and Black

The reference for this is from the garden tour. We had snow yesterday and maybe tomorrow I can get out and try to paint, maybe watercolor painting in my car. 
8" x 10" oil on baltic birch

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Another version of the commission. 
14" x 11" oil on panel

Tea Party

This is a commission I just finished. After several failed attempts the client was very pleased with this one. I learned a lot and even with all the stress would do it again. 
14" x 11" oil on baltic birch panel

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Gray Days of Winter

This was the second painting I did during the Bloomfield plein air painting event. A challenge of  different shades of gray. I have learned to love neutrals. One only need to look at the paintings of Andrew Wyeth to see the possibilities.
9" x 12" oil on baltic panel.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Study of Grays

This time of year the landscape is various grays. Reflections in the water are duller than what they reflect, grayer than gray. For some reason these were also a tinge of green, maybe something in the water that day. Shades of gray are subtle and that is an advantage of painting plein air over photos.
12" x 6" oil on panel

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Arts Enrich Our Lives

Saturday I participated in a plein air competition in Bloomfield, Iowa. A favorite part of these events is reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Richard Dutton, now a retired college art teacher made the two and a half hour drive to participate. He was also my first watercolor workshop teacher over twenty five years ago. I remember he started by saying he wakes up every day looking forward to teaching art. At 78 he is still teaching workshops, entering competitions and art fairs. A true teacher, he came over and advised me to stop on this painting or I could end up overworking it. I was his competitor in this event and won first place with it. When trying to explain why the arts matter I am reminded of Richard active and still enjoying this long after "retirement"
8" x 10" oil on panel. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Abandoned Bridge over the Skunk River

I took the photo reference while standing on the new bridge. I saw this view while returning from another plein air painting adventure and noticed how that time of day highlights the sun hitting the tops of the bridge and the trees. It goes quickly and maybe I can stand on the bridge long enough to do a watercolor sketch. It would be nice to paint plein air, but the new bridge does not have a pedestrian/bicycle path.  Most of the vehicles move over when passing me photographing the old bridge. The bridge is a favorite backdrop for photographs and I have painted while on it, although it does have a few missing planks. It would be nice if they tried to save it like the ones in Oakland Mills and Bentonsport.
12" x 9" oil on baltic birch.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Fairfield All Member's Show

I was going to enter the previous abstract painting along with the top painting. Then I read the requirements and I interpreted it to mean that the paintings had to connect in some way, so I sanded off the abstract and painted the bottom painting to be the other bank of the Des Moines river.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Monday, November 20, 2017

6" x 6" Show

The Fairfield Arts Association is having their annual members show. The format this year is 6" x 6". You can exhibit 4 and it should be interesting what the artists will come up with. Mine is a single stand alone piece.
6" x 6" acrylic on canvas

Thursday, November 16, 2017

One Spotted Me

I had to edit the original photo by taking the background cattle and moving them back and left. A lot of the cattle around here are mixed colors. It makes for interesting colors as shown by the one in front whose color resembles that of a Weimaraner dog. That was the challenge. Also notice the cow's head is in the center of the painting, my choice. Like Bob Ross said, "If I paint something, I don't want to have to explain what it is." In other words I don't know how to explain the composition.
12" x 9" oil on baltic birch panel.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Plein Air at Starker Lake

This was painted plein air then edited from a photo. Painting with friends on a cold day hoping to catch some fall colors and I pick a scene with evergreens.
10" x 8" oil on baltic birch

Friday, November 10, 2017

Watcher in the Woods

The weather is getting colder but the landscape is colorful. Wednesday I had a chance to get out but failed to create a painting; just wiped off the panel, went home and painted this from a photo.
12" x 9" oil on baltic birch.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Pile of Pumpkins

I am still playing with watercolor on gesso. This time using India Ink. The india ink was applied with a watercolor brush pen to give me the ability to vary the lines. I will then spray with clear Acrylic. I need more practice on this especially control of the india ink brush pen.
10" x 8" mixed media watercolor and india ink 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Running Rabbits reverse order

If this looks vaguely familiar, it is a previous reference with the rabbits reversed order. Working with Photoshop I can move the rabbits around. It also relies on a little prior experience painting rabbits since I am not that great at taking photos. Also just for fun colors
12" x 6" oil on baltic birth panel

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Using left over paint again for a just for fun painting. This was from a photo I took a long time ago. I liked the way the light hit the high points. A local Arabian horse owner let me come and take photos, pre digital, of his horses. He was even kind enough to run them around the pen for action shots. I wonder if he would be open to let me take pictures again.
8" x 6" oil on baltic birch panel

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fun with Paint

After working on a couple of paintings I had a little paint left on the palette. Cleaning up the pinks and blues by using the them on rabbits and grass. Still having burnt sienna left helped with the darks. 
12" x 6" oil on baltic birch

Had some time to go out to Wilson Lake to practice. 
6" x 6" oil on canvas panel 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Painting What You See

Painted during Bluffstrokes inside Monk Kaffee Pub in Dubuque. This was a lesson in painting what you see versus what you think you see. This is a mannequin not a person. I struggled to put aside my previous knowledge of human anatomy and stick to what is in front of me. I think I should have softened the transitions and made it stiffer. A good challenge would be to take a photo of a real person next to a mannequin. 
10" x 8" watercolor on panel.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Appleberry Orchard

Appleberry Orchard has some young trees dripping with heavy apples planted close together. 
10" x 8" oil on panel

Sundown Mountain Resort Dubuque

Tuesday during the Bluffstrokes plein air event was cold with intermittent rains in the morning and possibility of  rain in the afternoon. At the first light of day I took off for Asbury Road where I was told there were great vistas. After a failed painting I headed back to the Convent Suites with the intention of painting downtown. Gin was still there nursing a cold. When I told her about the great views along Asbury Road she asked me to show her the way. The road goes past Sundown Mountain Resort. We pulled over when Gin suggested we could paint there if we ask. They groundskeeper even offered to open the lodge so we could paint from the balcony. We had a beautiful view and place to warm up. When the rain hit hard we could go inside. Gin took a pic and sent it to a friend to brag. I remember the place back in the 70s when my husband and I took his teenage brother with us sking. He skipped school and told us his mother was OK with that. She was not, but he had a great time and was grounded.
16" x 12" oil on panel

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Rocky Bank at Wilson Lake

Yesterday afternoon I sketched some of the residents of the one of the local assisted living homes. I did not get model releases so no pics. Wish I could share as I loved the interesting faces with lots of character. Sunnybrook sponsored the art center's current exhibit, so the art center director and I entertained the residents for an hour and a half as a thank you.

I had enough time after that to run over to Wilson Lake to paint. I liked the abstract quality of scenes like this pushing the limit of color with the red. 
8" x 10" oil on baltic birch panel.

Monday, October 16, 2017

University of Dubuque and other plein air paintings

Brush Strokes plein air event this year was a wonderful experience. The sponsors and volunteers did a great job. I am so honored to have been a participant.
This is the Heritage Center on the campus of the University of Dubuque. I had a hard time finding a place to park that was not restricted. This view was from a residential street that had a sign saying students and faculty of the DU not allowed to park, so being neither, I parked there.
14" x 11" oil on panel

Wednesday was a rainy day and we were allowed to paint interiors. Paul's tavern is a great place to eat and paint. This is a watercolor on gessoed panel with india ink. I spray an acrylic varnish over it.
8" x 10" watercolor on panel sold

Dubuque has several beautiful murals downtown. This is Michelangelo's David painted during the nocturne.
9" x 12" oil on panel

This one sold. I took a photo with my phone, not the best image. This is from the quick paint. Under the bridge is a good place to paint on a rainy day. 
12" x 9" oil on panel sold

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Practice commission

Working on a commission, I will paint several images to get one I am happy with. The proportions are off.
11" x 14" oil on canvas 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Grazing on a Summer Day

Final painting

I was playing with mixing mediums. This started as watercolor on gessoed panel. After it was dry I brushed it as lightly as I could with Acrylic Glazing liquid. The Acrylic glazing liquid can be used to extend drying time with acrylic paints. I painted acrylic into the glazing over the watercolor. The problem was the glazing did disturb the watercolor. I may try airbrush medium in a spray bottle.
10" x 8" mixed medium

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

And the Winner is...

Paintings from today on the bank of the Skunk river. This probably would be underwater if we had regular rain. The access is seldom used and they chained off the camping area now. It has been a nice place to let the dogs off the leash to run and play in the water. I hope chaining off the camping area is not a sign of things to come. I encourage people to use our public recreation areas.
10" x 8" oil on panel

The winner of the Color Match contest is John Preston. John got 6 out of 8 which in my contest close wins. Looking at the paintings myself I noticed that 5 and 6 probably can be John wins. Also no other takers. The 5 and 6 paintings makes me wonder if a lot of my paintings would have almost the same colors. I don't have a set palette, although I often keep burnt sienna and ultramarine on my palette. I have played with replacing them with Burnt Umber and Prussian.
 The answers are:

On my palette for 7 I added pthalo green because mixed with Ultramarine it makes a nice teal.

I added Cerulean Blue to my palette for the sky with a bit of Ultramarine for the top area.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Color Match

I often take a painting I admire off the internet and match the colors in Photoshop. This post is a fun game matching the color samples to the paintings. I would have preferred some of the painting I admire but that would be a copyright issue. So match the color samples to the painting. Who ever gets the answers first in my comment section wins a new Sheaffer Prelude fountain pen. I like to use these fountain pens for sketching.