Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Suzanna Winton's Oil Portrait Demo

I went to Art of the Carolinas this past weekend.  I took two workshops with Suzanna Winton.  This is the oil portrait that she demoed in the class. Isn't it great?

I took a watercolor portrait class with her and challenged myself to use hot pressed paper.  I usually use cold pressed paper for my portraits.  I have used hot pressed paper for other paintings before and it is different as well as more difficult for me.  But with many of my portraits on cold pressed paper the skin is just not smooth enough.  Amy Snowden uses hot pressed paper also and has wonderful results.  I think that I can get used to it with a little bit of practice.  After all I use rough paper for some of my paintings other than portraits.

I was only planning on taking the watercolor portrait class but at the last minute decided to take the oil portrait class and I am so glad that I did.  I've had a recent unrest with where I'm going and have had the urge to try something in oils.  (As well as other media.)  But I kept telling myself that I need to keep working on my watercolors if I am ever going to get anywhere with them.   Then I went into a magic place with the oils and have had so much fun working on the portrait ever since the workshop.  So I guess I made a good decision.  I'm not saying that I'm going to give up watercolors and start painting in oils again. But I think that trying new and different things is a way to unleash my creative spirit.

This all goes back to how we cannot limit our growth by listening to that little voice inside our heads that says be careful don't go too far from your place of familiarity.  We need to sometimes listen to that loud voice that screams get out of your box and explore something new.  It's the only way we will continue to grow.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bushel of Crabs

I've wanted to paint a bushel of crabs for a long time.  I started working on this last spring and finished it up over the summer.  I particularly enjoyed painting the bushel itself.  The crabs were a little more complicated.  When I finished with the painting I then added a little pastel to the crabs just to highlight the shells.  It was alot of fun.

Right now I'm not really sure what direction I'm going in with my art work.  Sometimes I think I'd like to do some oils, colored pencils or maybe devote myself to learning pastels.  Then other times I think that I need to work on nothing but watercolor portraits for a while.  I really feel free at this point in my life to go in whatever direction suits me.  I just can't make a decision what to concentrate on next!

Monday, October 14, 2013


I painted Festus a while ago. A friend of mine found the picture and it was love at first sight. Painting it was one of those easy portraits. (If there is such a thing!) I especially enjoyed painting the hat and the clothes especially the tweed on his jacket.

Yesterday Amy Snowden came to the Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists meeting and did a demo on painting portraits.  I first noticed her work at the Virginia Watercolor Society.  She had painted a redheaded young woman that was spellbinding.    She has studied with Ted Nuttal and has picked up alot from him but her style is definitely her own.

I learned so much from her yesterday and when painting my other daughter today started applying some of her ways of looking at her painting process.  For example she spoke about painting the shapes of the face and not looking at it as painting a nose or a mouth or an ear.  As you paint the shapes the nose or mouth or ear just appears.  I love that I was able to work on a portrait so soon after seeing the demo.  It really helped me to experience the concepts of what she was demoing.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cape Henry Show

I recently finished painting this Pink Peony. It's ready to go to Cape Henry High School for a Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists show along with Red White and Blue and A Rose is A Rose. The show runs from October 1st to November 17th at 1320 Mill Dam Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23454 and the viewing hours are Monday through Friday during the day. The Opening is scheduled Thursday October 3rd form 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

The Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists are a local group that encourages painters in this area. This year I have taken on being the program chairperson. I am scheduling some interesting programs for the monthly meeting including Sterling Edwards in March 2014. This month we are looking forward to Amy Snowden a portrait artist from the Williamsburg area. Check her work out at The meeting is on October 13th at 1:00 pm at the Kempsville Library.

I have wanted to paint a peony for a long time and welcomed the opportunity. In painting it I pushed my value changes. I usually make an area darker and then blend it in so that the value change is subtle. I feel I am on the verge of getting to my style in painting flowers I want them crisp in some areas and soft in others. I am able to achieve the crisp edges but still struggle with the softer areas. I've only just been able to see the soft edges and now I need to try and depict them.

I must say that I feel like the weight of the world has lifted off me and I am enjoying getting back to the life that I love. I want to thank all of you that have been supportive of me this past year.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Daughter Kim

I painted this painting of my daughter Kim in one of the classes that I teach. Everyone did so well and we had many versions of her. You could have one hundred people paint from the same picture and you would have one hundred different paintings. Kim lives in California and spent the summer on the Outer Banks so we got to see each other more than we usually do. She had asked us to come down and dog sit for her and her beau Bryant to go down to Okracoke. I'm so happy to say that she got engaged. Congratulations to Kim and Bryant!!! When I was painting her I experienced such love for her while I was laying down colors and stroking my brush around the shapes of her face. I have felt these feelings while painting before. Sometimes I feel like I go into a trance and the brushstrokes just come naturally. I call it being in the zone. Other times I feel like I'm just using my technique to create a likeness but I do not have any emotional attachment to the process. I have admired the paintings of Mary Whyte for a long time. Recently I saw her show of her Working South Paintings at the Penninsula Fine Art Center. It was breathtaking. I went twice with two different groups of my students and I saw even more the second visit. I loved many of her paintings, the feelings that she captured being right there on display. My favorite was Shroud. It had such movement to it and it captured a dreamlike state. I just sat down and allowed it to envelope me into its mood. I recently was looking through her book Watercolor for the Serious Beginner. In the last chapter she discusses Forming a Personal Vision. She talks about making a Five Senses List by listing your five senses in a notebook. Over a week or two write down ten items in each column that really move you. The list should be very personal and individual. I am going to do this and have my students do it too. If you want to try it please do and just put it on a comment so that we can share it. I am looking forward to starting this blog up again. I have some ideas for it. Thank you for coming along for the ride.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Posting Pictures

I have been trying to post pictures to my blog and it has not been working. I have tried everything on Blooger help and none of tt works. It is ironic because I have just come back to keeping up my blog. Has anyone else had this problem? I will continue to try and figure it out.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A New Year

This has been a very bad year for our family.  On August 9th my sister-in-law passed away from cnacer.  We took her into our home on hospice and tried to allow her passing to be as comfortable as possible. It was emotionally exhausting.  I have recently gone to the Outer Banks and relaxed a little and I'm starting to feel better.  I am ready for a new year and to get back to a more normal life which will include keeping up my blog. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Stockley Gardens

I'm going to be in the Stockley Gardens Arts Festival on Saturday May 18th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Sunday from noon to 5:00 pm.  I'm hoping for a great weekend with the weather, the people and all the Art Show energy!  If you're nearby stop and see me and the other wonderful artists as we proudly show what we have been working on.  There will be food and music and activities for the kids.  A great way to welcome in the Spring.

The address is 801 Boush St. in the Ghent section of Norfolk.  The parking can be a bit of a problem but you can park at the Chrysler Museum and take the shuttle bus over to the park.

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My sister Marie

My sister Marie passed away unexpectantly at age 58 last month.  It is a great loss for our family.  She was a beautiful person, a great wife, a terrific mother and grandmother as well as a wonderful sister.  I love you Marie and miss you so much.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Seashells in the Sand

My husband is doing better which means I am doing better.  I hope he continues to heal and gets stronger every day. 

Here's another "seashell" painting.  I really used many media besides watercolor including gesso, watercolor pencils, pen and ink, acrylic ink and pastels.  I must say that I had a great deal of fun painting this painting.

Mixing media gives me more creative ways to capture different textures.  It allows me to think outside of the watercolor box to find new ways to capture a visual depiction of the subject.  It gives my imagination a workout!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Year's Plans

My plans for the new year have been put on hold.  My husband had quadruple bypass surgery in January and is having some complications in his recovery.  Some things in life are more important than everything else. 
I just wanted to let you know what is going on and that I plan on coming back soon and exploring my new ideas.  I cannot wait to get back to my regular routine!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year

I want to wish everyone a very happy 2013.  It is a time of the year that we reflect on the previous year and anticipate the new one.  Even though I'm not making any resolutions this year, I certainly know the areas of my life that I want to improve in. 

I know that I will continuing painting.  It is such a joy to me to find a subject that excites me, to plan the composition, to start loose and then begin to define my panting and then to see it develop a life of it's own.  It can also be quite a challenge as I am finding with my current painting!  I am passionate about my painting sometimes I feel a bit obsessed.

I sincerely hope that art sales improve this year for myself and all the other artists out there. 

I am going to make some changes with my blog.  I have some ideas in the back of my mind but haven't put them together yet.  I feel that I have been doing things the same way and it's getting a little stale.  It's time to refresh it!

I have to redo my website.  It is so old and it needs to be reborn.  I just haven't figured out whether to get it done professionally or to attempt to do it myself. 

I will be teaching only three classes a week this year.  The two classes that I am teaching at the Art Studio are going very well and I'm going to teach a beginning class at the Adult Learning Center.  I will still be doing some shows but I'm going to pick and choose them a little more carefully than before.  I just really need to slow down a little bit.  And that is something I just don't know how to do!

Happy New Year to all my family and friends.  I hope you have health and happiness and that you can continue your lives filled with a passion for something that brings you joy.