Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pig reflects

"Pig Reflects", oil on canvas, 12" x 12"
Created December 30, 2012.
Year's end, a good time for quiet reflection.  Cheers, everyone!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rubber bunny

"Rubber Bunny", acrylic on canvas, 20" x 16"
December 16, 2012

I love this vintage bunny's personality and his wonderful sculptural quality.  I just recently discovered the amazing artist J.C. Leyendecker, and I was inspired by his style as I painted this.  There's a great exhibit of Leyendecker's work at the Haggin Museum in Stockton going on right now -- I highly recommend it!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Creamer and apple slices

"Creamer and Apple Slices", oil on canvas, 12" x 9"
December 6, 2012

Here's another step in my quest to paint a little more realistically, without losing my own quirky vision.  I hope you like it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


"Minx, Seated Pose", acrylic on canvas panel, 11" x 14"
December 3, 2012

"Minx, Horizontal", acrylic on canvas panel, 8" x 16"
December 3, 2012

Our model at the figure sketching group this week was Susan Monson, a beautiful actress and creative spirit.  Susan invented three characters for us, complete with elaborate costumes and personalities that inspired her poses.  This character is "Minx", a voluptuous platinum blonde all decked out in bright red lace, satin and feathers.  Our fearless leader, Big Al Lopez, invited a fantastic jazz group to serenade us and the evening was pure fun!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


"Vaudie", acrylic on canvas panel, 12" x 16"
November 26, 2012

Our model at Lynn Peterson's studio this week was Vaudie VaVoom, a beautiful dancer and actress.  She fell into this lovely Odalisque pose that was a joy to paint.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

White star on white

"White Star on White", oil on canvas panel, 7" x 5"
November 13, 2012

Here's a new one in my "White Star" series, this time a study in white-on-white. It was a joy to find all of the beautiful pastel colors reflecting in the star's facets.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My little piggy

"My Little Piggy", Oil on Canvas, 6" x 6"
October 23, 2012
This was inspired by the "Paint Your Pig" challenge on Daily Paintworks. My pig is fun and functional -- he's a tape measure! It seemed like he needed a little pedestal to sit on so I posed him on a palette cup.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


"Musetta", oil on canvas 7" x 5"
October 10, 2012

I've loved trolls ever since I was a kid.  This little cutie belonged to my Mom and now she sits on a shelf in my studio, inspiring me and cheering me on as I paint.  I named her Musetta because she's my muse.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bamboo puzzle

"Bamboo Puzzle", oil on canvas 7" x 5"
September 22, 2012
I love wooden burr puzzles -- so fun to draw!  This one looks like a three-dimensional asterisk.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

White star

"White Star on Magenta", Oil on Canvas 7" x 5"
September 11, 2012
I love the way reflected color bounces around on the facets of this little white ceramic star.  Here I placed it on a magenta ground with bright, warm lighting.  The blueness is sky light coming from my studio window.  I've started a series with this star exploring different color combinations.  Look for more posts coming soon!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


"Cuties", oil on canvas 5" x 7", September 9, 2012

Here I challenged myself to see all of the subtle color and value shifts in a shiny black plate.  I especially liked how the red-orange of the background mingled with the blue ambient light in my studio to create some unexpected notes of red-violet.  This one was a joy to paint!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Blue lightbulb

"Handy and Blue Bulb", acrylic on canvas, 24" x 8", 9/7/12

This painting was inspired by the "Lightbulb" challenge on Daily Paintworks.  I use colored light bulbs a lot in my classes to show students the amazing variety of shadow color and temperature.  Many students comment that before my demonstration they thought all shadows were gray.  It's so wonderful to open people's eyes to the beauty of light and color!  Here I decided to make the bulb itself the star.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Still, life

"Pear Study", oil on canvas 6" x 6", 8/30/12

So tempting, with pears, to give your painting a "punny" title, especially when it's a pair of pears.  But I thought I'd spare you!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Apple studies

"Green Apple Study", oil on canvas 6" x 6", 8/27/12
I'm returning to oils after painting with acrylic for several years, so I'm going back to basics.  I absolutely love Carol Marine's style, and she has these great tutorials on Daily PaintWorks that have really inspired me.  I did the little value study below first, using only burnt umber and wiping out the lights.  It's a lot harder than it looks!

The color study came next -- what a joy!  But the photo also helps me see areas I need to work on, like softening and losing edges, seeing color accurately, breaking the form down into planes and getting the light right.  Holy Moly!  Good thing it's fun!  I plan to do many, many more of these studies until I can get a handle on this stuff.

"Apple Value Study", oil on canvas 6" x 6", 8/27/12

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A new little streetscape

"Georgia Street Bridge", acrylic 5" x 7", August 2012
Here's a new one in my series of little tiny streetscapes.  This beautiful bridge spans University Avenue in San Diego, and it always reminds me of an aqueduct.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Brentwood Backcountry

"White House on Sellers," acrylic on canvas, 8" x 10", 2012
This little house is on Sellers Avenue in Brentwood farm country.  I've always loved the interesting cluster of gable roofs and the play of cast shadows on the old white siding. The wisteria was in bloom the day I painted there, filling the air with a lovely fragrance.  It was a nice day to be a plein air painter!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Second and Flora, Crockett

"Second and Flora, Crockett," acrylic on canvas 12" x 12", July 2012.
Crockett is a fun town to paint!  This massive stucco apartment building caught my eye, looming up from an intersection at the bottom of a steep hill.  I did my usual tweakings -- the house is not really yellow, and the sky just wanted to be pink.  What can I say? 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quonset in Oakley

"Quonset," acrylic on canvas 8" x 10", July 2012.

This boarded-up old shed complex is not far from my home in Oakley, California, where there are still pockets of agriculture hopscotching with suburban neighborhoods.

I was attracted to the strong forms of the quonset hut nestled against the gabled barn, and the beautiful shadow pattern. With so many cool colors and complex details in the building, I decided to go with a simple red-orange matrix for balance.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Zion Terrain

Here's one of my shots from our trip to Zion National Park in June. I love the cascading layers of rock and the whole hillside seeming to tumble toward us. And of course the colors in Bryce and Zion are amazing. This scene wanted to be painted.

I started with an underpainting in cool colors to establish the structure of the terrain. Took a few liberties (I always do!) -- removed most of the foliage to focus on the rock forms and invented a little arroyo on the left

Here's the final painting. I decided to remove the tree on the top of the hill, since it seemed out of scale and looked a little bit like a candle on a melting birthday cake in my underpainting!

This painting sold at the Scene on the Strait. I really enjoyed working on it -- am planning to do a series inspired by the Bryce/Zion landscape.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Just joined Daily Paintworks

"Black Diamond Canyon," oil on canvas 16" x 12", 2012

My friend Kaethe Bealer turned me on to the Daily Paintworks site. Looks like a great way to be challenged and inspired, connect with other artists, gain exposure and sell my work. I plan to paint and post new work on a regular basis, and will keep this blog updated with thoughts and background as things progress.

This is Black Diamond Canyon, an oil painting I completed a couple of weeks ago. I did a little terraforming here, combining a view of our local Black Diamond Mines regional park with some memories of Bryce and Zion canyons we saw on a recent trip to Utah. It was a pleasure working with oil again, after focusing on acrylic for so long.