Wednesday, December 9, 2009

After Carlsen

This is a tiny painting I did of a detail of one of John Carlsen's landscapes. Nobody paints snowy trees like Carlsen. And his book on landscape painting is truly the best I have read.

Finish By Noon

This painting is ready for a coat of varnish and then off to a friend who requested I paint a Colorado mountain scene for him. He loves to hike and like all good boy scouts know - always be prepared- when hiking in the high mountains you must finish by noon for that is when the clouds move in and often the rain. I hope he likes it! We had hiked this area - Maroon Bells- beginning early in the morning and as we finished we looked back upon this view.

Friday, October 16, 2009

La Chinoise

Painting with Friends time again and today our model held this lovely parasol. Here's today's effort. I may have to get a parasol just to have on hand to paint. Fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Here's a picture of what I was told is a sand crane. The bird was just standing there very still as if it did not mind me taking its picture. So I did. But as I started to walk away, I noticed a second bird's beak and neck rise up from the lagoon not far from the first(not in this oicture). This bird had a small fish in its beak and began a gargling motion to jiggle its catch down its neck. Then it disappeared into the lagoon and emerged a few minutes later with another catch. Now my model began to squawk a bit. Praise or warning? Sand cranes mate for life in an elaborate dance and song. Later that same day I attended the wedding of my son's best friend from high school. I think this crane and his mate were a good omen for the marriage of Tyler and his bride.
And a Happy Birthday to my mate! Live long and prosper!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


This is the painting I entered in the "Brush with Bardstown" competition and received an "award of merit." We all feel honored when our work is appreciated. I loved doing this one - the sun was out and the wind was blowing - lovely day!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Bard's Town

Romantic English major that I am I like to think quaint little Bardstown was named for The Bard, Shakespeare, the great poet. Yesterday, it certainly lived up to its name. This brave town hosted a wonderful 'plein air' event called "A Brush with Bardstown" in which I participated. The stormy skies cleared, then the winds blew, and by mid-afternoon the sun reigned supreme.

By 9 AM my canvasses for the day were stamped and I was on my way to find a spot for painting. This little canvas was used to paint Bill's Barn. This is a barn just big enough to hold the antique fire truck once used by the Maker's Mark Distillery in case of fire.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On the Vine

I painted the lovely vine tomato painting again and am 'gifting it' to a new friend. Ah, living color!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Here she is in living color. Hmmmm, a whole new ball game and I'm not sure I like the score...but wait the game is not over. That's the beauty of oil paint - you can easily adjust it. And getting the likeness while in the studio earned me a score to be proud of.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mona Lisa Revisited

Tonight I started a new canvas with brush and browns. I love charcoal and have tried to get the charcoal feel with my brush and paint here. Tomorrow is our last time with this model and I wanted to get a head start(so to speak.)
Next feat is to get the flesh tones I need. I remember the great patch of reflected light under her chin - a warm red from the yellow and crimson shawls she wore. Also a bit of greyed smoky blue above left brow and under nose. Overall her complexion is a rosy brown with ivory tones. She must have taken a time machine from Leonardo's day.
Thought I'd better take a photo of this. Tomorrow with paint will be a whole new ball game.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Last Friday the studio model was exceptional not only for holding her pose but for her Mona Lisa gaze. We all really enjoyed her and will attempt to convey her likeness again Friday. I have a bit too much white in her skin tone and will get a better palette ready for Friday.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Figure in Landscape

A painting friend asks "Do landscape paintings need figures?" Well, ask any artist and get a different answer. As with color and just about anything in art, there are few rules. Artists who 'think outside the rules' seem to be the ones we get excited about.

In this painting(dim due to not good lighting here - sorry, it's a gloomy day) I originally had no figure other than that of Pan atop the fountain. But the backlit light hole right of the fountain (see picture two posts ago) seemed ripe for something. Of the many figures walking by I thought a mom with baby in stroller would be nice here. When I stood back, the 'mom' looked more like a child in stature. So, I quickly moved head and hat and voila now I seem to have a 'dad' pushing a baby.

All this, Sarann, just to say that I think the main purpose that figure serves in landscape is to enhance the landscape rather than draw much attention to the figure. As in your painting of the pavillion, you used figure to help define foreground, middleground, etc. and in mine I used figure to balance the composition.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trees along the Carriage Lane

My sister's post today is about trees. I'm a tree lover as well.
I'm posting this painting of mine from last Fall at the Horse Park in Lexington Ky. Horse drawn carriages ride down this lane in the shade of the large trees there.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hogan's Fountain - Catch the Light

Two Turtle Fountains _ Yandell and Bernini

Our plein air group continues to paint in the parks around town. I was inspired to get a head start on the next location - Cherokee Park. This fountain graces an area of the park and was designed by Enid Yandell(she also created the statue down the hill from this - of Daniel Boone). The sculptress also worked in Paris for a time with Auguste Rodin. The fountain features Pan holding up his pipes calling the woodland creatures and served, at its installment in 1920, as a watering basin for horses and dogs. In this small study I am capturing the light on the fountain and added a mom pushing a stroller with baby on board.

I look forward to returning and adding the details en plein air. Including the turtles! The turtles - four of them- sit perched on the top edge of the fountain where the water spouts from their mouths. I saw a fountain with similar turtles years ago in Rome. My Uncle Dominic Mattei had encouraged me to see this fountain - he called it the turtle fountain. Little did I know that the fountain was located in Piazza Mattei in the Trastevere. When I paint the turtles in the sun this week I will remember him.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Dahlia Parasols

I took this photo last year in a small park near my sis's where I was enchanted by these huge dahlias(dinnerplate?). The gardener had 'planted' parasols strategically in order to shade the flowers and preserve their colors and blooms. Look how the parasol's color is reflected on the petals!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Crater Lake

Alas, we have one more day before returning home. Leaving the beauty of these mountains will be sad but we will return refreshed! And we hope to come back. An added and uncalculated attraction in Aspen has been the Aspen Music Festival. Celebrating its 60th anniversary this summer, it provides the finest in classical music and gives young performers the opportunity to work with world-renowned artists. Yesterday I attended the Aspen Festival Orchestra's rehearsal in the big tent and delighted to hear "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Let It Bloom

I found these beautiful dahlias across from the Esceola Lodge in Linville when I visited there. Summertime is so lush and unstoppable in its unfolding petals of living. Take a minute to stand back and admire.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Peace of the mountain

This weekend hubby and I walked a lovely trail in the Appalachians in North Carolina. I've hiked the area many times but never when the rhododendrons were in full bloom. They are so lovely and I paused and looked back to capture them on film and saw this patch of peaceful light coming through - a spotlight on the flowers and the trail.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

To the Pavilion

Here is the pavilion painting fresh from easel and time machine! I added a woman and child approaching and their dress is what would have been worn at the time the pavilion was built 100 years ago.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shawnee Pavillion

Louisville Metro Parks spent $350,000 last year to restore this pavillion at Shawnee Park and enhance nearby restrooms(not pictured here). The balance of the $800,000 total restoration cost was met by the Olmstead Conservancy and Brown-Foreman which gave $100,000. The structure was originally built in 1920. This morning I started a painting of it en plein air at Shawnee Park.

Looking at the canvas at home, I was not satisfied with my focal point and am toying with the idea of adding my great-grandmother strolling with parasol up the path to the pavillion. (See her round parasol sketched in in yellow in the lower right quadrant. She visited this park often by taking the streetcar from the city out to the edge of town. Shawnee Park was developed in part to encourage city people to move further out. Cities were dense and dirty from the coal dust. Funny how times change. Now 100 years later we are trying to get people to move back into the city center.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Painting with friends

Today we painted the lovely Jessica again. I think I captured a pretty good likeness which is to me what a portrait is all about.

I bet her mama loved her sweet face!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The 4th Revisited

I just received an electronic invite to the Telluride Plein Air Festival for 2009 and thought I might want to compare my painting from last year's parade with the painting chosen for this year's parade. Maybe I'll rub my ruby slippers together and get thee yet. I see many good things in the painting selected and would like to try my hand/brush again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Happy Hand

Here is the porch again with a few more strokes and hopefully for the better. The funny hand was actually a statue there. I guess it was waving, "Hey look at me and my glowing porch!" Good job Maestro Hand! And a good opportunity for my brush to play with the light and shadow and the green glow! I added a whole lotta nuttin' and the final touches next will be to the hand conducting the play of sun and shadow on the porch.

My own back porch was glowing last night...Mom and Dad and my family gathered for a southern dinner of kale greens, smoked pork chops with green apples, taters, and plenty of iced tea. My Dad saying 'pour me a little more tea sug,' really brought back the memories of summer dinners on their screened -in porch. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, welcome summer!!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Porch Aglow

I photographed this glowing porch last summer when we visited Telluride. Today I painted it. I am not finished but I am pausing for the day and wanted to post my effort so far.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Trying to apply what I learned last you tell me, "what is the focal point?"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Rounded Porch

After painting the fountain all morning we escaped the heat and dined in the Conrad House on our sack lunches. Like little flowers given a fresh drink we revived ourselves. Then we returned to the 'plein air' and the 90 degree temps. Most of us had struggled with the fountain and wanted to try our hand at painting one of the old homes that line the street. As everyone gravitated to the house with the red geraniums, I turned to see this house on the opposite side of the street. I fell in love with its gracious rounded porch in green and the sun illuminating the red brick of the home next door. I tried to guide the viewer to the square made by the porch columns where the fern's tips were brightened by the sun. Debra gave me some helpful hints and a compliment for my effort as well!

Life is Best viewed through... window. An old wisdom! The first morning of our workshop we assembled under the shadow of the great Water Tower and listened as Debra dropped many pearls of wisdom. She also did a demo of the building we faced - the old water company and pump building. Such an elegant building for the common function. That speaks of a more elegant time I think. Then she turned us loose on our canvasses. I chose this one window to paint. The sunlight changes so quickly and I did not get it quite right and tried painting over and made it worse then the painting angel - Debra - brought over her magic brush and fixed it! I think this is a lovely window.

Cool fountain for a hot day

Tuesday morning our workshop participants met at St James Court Fountain. Our wise leader gave us a few suggestions and I listened carefully. I can't believe how right on she was about using your brush to sweep down and leave the impression of water cascading from the fountain. What do you think?

The statue is not well defined but I will try that another day.

How to paint a river

Monday afternoon was a steamy day along the river. Our workshop group left the air conditioning of the Water Tower after lunch and Debra informed us we were going to do a 'paint along.' She wanted us to understand the process of capturing a large scene quickly and then having the energy left to do a lot with the focal point. So we squinted and saw the varyng color of the three distant hills and put them in. Gotta have that blued color. then scrub in the tree masses and the lawn and bank - then the river and then the sky. I have not put the focal point in as we ran out of time but we did watch as she added sailboats and a family watching, a flag waving and also boats on the left bank. Really cool how she broke it down for us!


Cherries are such beautiful fruits. So red, round, shiny, lovely and tasty. It's like a bonus - that something so pretty could also be so tasty!

One of the things we focusssed on with Debra Huse during the workshop she taught here this week was making your painting have a focal point. She described how putting a "whole lotta nothin and a little bit of sumpin" makes your painting work. Creating a painting is all about inviting the viewer into your canvas and giving him\her a guided tour. The focal point is where you guide the viewer.

Just looking at this painting now I remind myself how important it would be to do this one again as an exercize. First I would conceptualize what was important - the cherry I think. so how would I make a whole lotta nothin with the cantaloupe and the peach which are lovely in themselves but need to be subordinate. I learned so much this week and hope to share and recollect it so that I can go back to it over the next month. Our entire group was energized by this workshop.

Paint Out #2

This is the second one - of a new building downtown and of the park by the waterfront. It's only a 5X7 so it's teeny but was fun to do. But I have learned so much from my workshop (it started the day after this) that I would like to turn the clock back and try again!
Must clean my brushes and re-pack my art 'stuff.' Look for more tomorrow.

The Great Paint-Out

I've been tooo busy painting to post lately so now that I'm back I have lots to post. Sunday I participated in the Louisville Visual Art Association's paint-out marking their 100th anniversary. Their chief goal has been to provide free art lessons to children who are interested and show artistic promise in art. I believe my blogging sister may have gotten her start with some of the classes they sponsored years ago at the Free Public Library.

Our canvassses were stamped at 7 AM and we were off to paint until 3 PM when we were to turn our best effort in. Here are the two I painted. It was lots of fun!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shawnee Park

Yesterday it rained but we gathered at the park to paint anyway. After much socializing I did this sketch of a painting I want to call 'the music a park makes' and then today I did a quick pre-painting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bare Fruit

We all know we are to go forth and bear fruit! Some of us ask why do painters always paint bare fruit? Have patience with us...we are trying to copy the beauty we see and feel around us. Our tools, like our natures are limited and we are always trying to improve upon our last effort. Mary Anne Currier advises the artist to work upon the same subject - green apples may be my subject! Painting them will help my brush and canvas bear fruit!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Once Again with Feeling #14

Before this peony drops its petals, I painted it again and learned I should have chosen the crimson one (from yesterday's session) as it would have been easier than shades of white. Live and learn. Fun anyway.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Peonies #13

The peonies are bloomng in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. This effort I timed at 1 1/2 hours. I am hapy to be back at the easel as the last week has been busy with few opportunites to sneak one in.

Monday, May 11, 2009

T C Steele at Work in the Open Air

T C Steele is shown here painting from his home in the Brown County hills where my husband and I visited this weekend. We took a 24 hour getaway that was delightful. We heard an old friend perform at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington, spent the night at a lovely B&B in the middle of a red oak forest, and toured Singing Hills, Steele's beloved home and studio. Our guide was exceptional and one of our group was a founding member of the Indiana Plein Air Painters. Together they made our tour fantastic. Steele was a fine portrait artist but what really made his soul sing was painting en plein air. In addition to his home and studio there are walking tours of the vistas he loved to paint. And all this is only two hours from my home. How lucky!
When we returned home we had dinner cooked by our dear son and his girlfriend. I could not have had a better Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oz/Louisville #11

Today was the first day of plein air painting for my friends and I. We were glad the weather cooperated and the rain halted for awhile. We are painting the Olmstead Parks in Louisville this year. The first park on our list is Iroquois. I went early and found a secluded spot on a little used trail that afforded me a view of downtown. Not finished but you get the idea because I focussed on the values. Rule of painting #1 Get the values right and you can use almost any color.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

To the Point #10

There is a famous painter who started this knife composition thing and his name escapes me now.

Tea and Oranges #9

Here is a request for the blue hand-painted china that was my dear Aunt Louise's.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Julep for You

Yesterday we enjoyed watching the Kentucky Derby and a julep too! Here's one for you!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dogwood for Derby

It's Kentucky Derby week in Louisville. The festivities have been building for weeks. This year even the dogwoods have participated!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Shape of things to come...

The Taylor Gold pears are in now and they are scrumptious. Fruit like ice cream in a brown wrapper. Next I will work on a landscape and see if I can get the shapes of trees and fields as round as the still lifes I've posted recently.

Friday, April 24, 2009

5 On the Vine #5

Tomatoes are so much fun to paint. You can concentrate on the color because the shape - round- is so delightfully easy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

#4 Complements

Today I put complements together - purple and yellow.

L'Orange, The Shy Pepper #3

It may be time to go back to more round fruits/veg's with a few less planes. Still trying to learn how to impart value in the color, you know, how to make orange dark. Add its complement? Shall I go back to monochrome? Here is a shy pepper, turned away with stem peeking.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's About Time! #2

I can honestly say I am happy with this painting. Not that it is a great painting but it is expressive and that is where the joy lies. I limited myself timewise which is a good thing because I had to constantly make decisions about what was important.

Daily Painting #1

Yesterday I was inspired by one of the 'daily painters' to begin this work of painting daily a small work. I am told that it is very instructional. Patience and regular effort will I hope bring results. I struggled with this and am not 'happy ' with the results but I do sense that if I keep it up I will get better, er 'happier.'