Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pastel sketch of Maggie

Sketch of Maggie, about 12 x 16 inches, pastel.

Some friends and I are sharing the cost of a model about twice/month--this is a sketch that I thought was very nice and even though unfinished captured the sense of the person very well.

Monday, December 01, 2008

In the Marshes

In the Marshes, 18 x 18 inches, pastel.

This painting is an enlargement of a small 5 x 5 oil painting I did a month or two ago. You can see that I am using the speckled technique that I have been intrigued with lately. I like the little flecks of color scattered judiciously over the surface, but worry that I am overdoing it. The foreground of the painting is still unresolved...I am going to leave it up on the wall for a while. Usually a solution suggests itself to me after a few days of gestation.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Temple Sunset, 11 x 16 inches, pastel.

This painting is a study for a larger commission I might be doing soon. The photo of the painting contains some glare caught in the paint--I shall have to re-photograph it before I email it off to the patroness!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Light on Water III

Light on Water III, 18 x 18 inches, pastel.

And one more... These paintings are enjoyable to paint because the pastels shimmer when you put close shades of color strokes right next to one another.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Light on Water II

Light on Water II, 18 x 18 inches, pastel.

Here is another water, impressionist painting. In these paintings, I can see the rhythm of the music I listened while doing each painting. Is this an abstract or just a detail of a larger impressionist landscape that I have not made yet?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monet in Pastels

Light on Water I, 18 x 18 inches, pastel.

I know I should be oil painting, I just can't help it. Pastels are perfect for getting the impressionist color shimmer that takes sooooo long in oil paints, because one has to keep ones brushes clean and color bright. I have done a set of three of these and may do one or two more.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Delta at Twilight

Mount Hamilton at Twilight, 24 x 36 inches, pastel.

I went painting in the Delta a few weeks ago with Kim Fancher Lordier.
This is a painting done from some of the photos taken as the sun was going down. The painting is done in a near-pointillist style, with speckles of color scattered over an underpainting--the result is rich and interesting to look at.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Janon's Garden

Janon's Garden, 10 x 10 inches, oil.

A painting friend of mine had a party the other weekend that included a painting session on her beautiful farm. I had a lovely time in the sweet fall weather. I am continuing to paint in oils--and find that I have learned much from my pastel work that applies to mixing clean color in oil.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Delta Impression

Delta Impression, 16 x 20 inches, oil.

I am channeling my inner impressionist, and trying to create the kind of sparkle one sees in a Monet painting--not likely, but a fun endeavor. I don't think this painting is finished yet, but I do like it, so could not resist posting it.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Two Improvisations, 10 x 10 inches (x2), oil.

I made these two up in my studio this afternoon--quite fun. They are done with a soft fan brush.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Delta Painting

Delta Afternoon, 12 x 12 inches.

Kim Fancher and I drove out to the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta two weeks ago and painted in the lovely afternoon and evening light along the levees. The Delta surprised me with its unusual beauty--I felt as if I had traveled far from home, instead of driven for two hours. I hope to go back very soon.

Marsh Seven and Eight

Marsh Seven, 6 x 6 inches, oil.

Marsh Eight, 6 x 6 inches, oil.

These two paintings were done at the Oil Painters of America Paintout at the Palo Alto Baylands. I was pleased with the paintings, even though the day was overcast with flat light.
Ordinarily, I would be in the studio on such a day, having resolved to avoid potentially boring painting conditions. I especially like the painting harmony and composition of the second painting--it reflects the quality of the day very well.

Still playing in the Marsh

Marsh V, 6 x 6 inches, oil.

Marsh V, 6 x 6 inches, oil.

These two continue my recent series from the Marshlands close to my home. I am enjoying seeing the color scheme continue between painting sessions.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Two more from the Marsh

Purple Distance in the Marsh, 6 x 6 inches, oil.

Last Light, 6 x 6 inches, oil.

Here are two more to continue the series from the previous post. These early evenings with warm weather make painting a true pleasure. Again, I like the color harmony I found in the second painting here, with the yellow/purple contrasting with the orange in the midground reeds. As always, the loveliest part of the evening is not on the canvas--an egret lifting ponderous, light-soaked wings over the reeds and water.

Two from the Marsh

Trees at the Marsh, 6 x 6 inches, oil.

Path to the Bay, 6 x 6 inches, oil.

Yesterday evening I spent some time at the Baylands in Mountain View, watching birds, and light and painting the evening colors. I particularly like the vibrant knife work in the second painting. I started out with the foreground much fussier with blue shadows striping across the path, then took them out in disregard for reality, but respect for pictoral integrity. The ommission bounces the focus back to the distant trees at the top of the composition. These little plays are always fun.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On the Mist Trail

Up the Trail, to the Falls, 30 x 40 inches, oil.

This painting is from a photo taken in early spring when the falls in Yosemite Valley are charging down the mountain. The technique in this painting is something I have recently come up with--it involves smooshing paint into paint to get washy gradations with a palette knife. It makes for long painting hours because the technique does not work at all once the paint is dry.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

self-portrait on a hot day...unfinished

The bay area is hot this week, and I have took a break from worky- work to do a quick self-portrait. For this painting I reverted to a former style of brushwork rather than palette knife. I also adhered to the lighting and color truly found in my studio, rather than pushing and pulling at the color harmonies, for once.

Here is a link to something totally different, original and lovely:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Chocolate!, 10 x 10 inches, oil.

Today is a painting day, and here is a portrait of afternoon snack, now consumed...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Evening in the Garden

Evening in the Garden, 18 x 24 inches, oil.

I reworked the painting below into the one above, I must say that I liked the result. I just put a new layer of palette knife oil paint over the old painting-- a fresh look really helped the painting. The figure in the painting was not touched at all, but now he looks as if he fits in.

Here is the original, now underpainting...


Reflection, 6 x 6 inches, oil.

Dawn Sketch

Dawn Sketch, 6 x 6 inches, oil.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Morning Sun, 18 x 24 inches, pastel.

This studio painting is done from a photo taken on a trip to Sonoma. The morning fog was clinging to the ground and creating an ethereal light effect that the painting celebrates.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cherries in a Plastic Bag, 11 x 14 inches, oil.

Kim Fancher Lordier
came over to my studio today, and we worked in tandem on paintings of this still-life. Painting with direct observation--what someone referred to as "the razor sharp eye" always rewards me with a fun painting. I find the process of true observation very relaxing and rejuvenating.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Napa Trees, 16 x 18 inches, pastel.

With high summer here, it seems a good time to post this painting that I completed by mining a field sketch. I wrecked the original paintings by fixing it with matte fixative, but I enjoyed the motif. I redid the painting by distilling the motif to the elements that I enjoyed the most. As always, the color harmonies interest me as a pastelist. Pastels lend themselves very well to this sort of experimentation. Here is the original, just for comparison:

As you can see, I zoomed way in, and fiddled the color!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Mill in Buren

The Mill at Buren

Here is a watercolor of the the flour mill in Buren, the small village in the Netherlands where I just spent a few lovely days eating crisp apples and cherries, riding bikes and visiting family. Summer there is sweet and gentle with warm breezes and soft showers. I took only watercolors on this trip and enjoyed playing with them for the first time in years very much. As you can see I juxtapose a waterproof black drafting pen over the watercolor, after doing a pencil sketch. This painting still needs a hint of sky painted in. I did not do it on site for fear of running the wet paint of the foreground into the sky. I will sit down this afternoon and finish up.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Drawing of Angola, 16 x 18 inches, pencil on sanded paper.

Angola in Color, 12 by 20 inches, pastel.

These two drawings were done last friday at the portrait group that I attend occasionally at the Alameda Artworks. I did the pencil drawing first, and then the pastel painting. It was such a pleasure to draw jsut for the pleasure of the thing! A drawing can be a thing of whimsy--always the best equalizer of art angst! Sanded paper turns out to be a wonderful substrate for figure drawing, the sanded paper allows a lovely, wandering line, yet is also quick to accept dark shading.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vinyard Light, 30 x 40 inches, oil on canvas.

I worked yesterday's posting up to a large painting, but essentially using the same methods. At this size the painting seems over the top--large and busy. I will go back into it and work on it some more--this will mean solidifying and unifying some of the shapes, and perhaps toning town the oranges a bit. This might be difficult, because the painting is done a la prima, with soupy paint--adding new paint to dry paint will give a painting a very different look.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fall Vinyard

Fall Vinyard, 10 x 10 inches, palette knife oil.

I recently completed this study in my studio in preparation for a larger work that I hope to take to the COPIA show in Napa at the end of May. Pallete knife work is somehow viscerally satisfying. Colors are cleaner and brighter, and an element of surprise, and a lack of perfect control can lead to a strong, whimsical paint expression. I have completed (almost) the larger work of this one, and will post it tomorrow--it is still a little rough, but maybe that is the nature of the approach.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Open Studios this weekend, and two Gardens

Iris Garden, 8 x 10 inches, palette knife oil.

Sunflowers, 6x6 inches, palette knife oil.

My son napped through the painting of these two paintings. I painted them in the order displayed--as is often the case, the second is a distillation of the first. I find that this phenomenon often is a good reason to paint more than one painting at a time of a single motif.

A reminder: Open Studio this weekend at Cubberley Studios, there will be about 16 artists there with their doors open.

Open Studio
May 3 & 4
11- 5 pm
Cubberley Studios
4000 Middlefield Road, right next to Piazza's and Peet's

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cottonwoods, 21 x 23 inches, pastel, on display at Anita Siepp Gallery at Castilleja School.

This painting has been posted before, but it recently appeared on the cover of the Palo Alto Weekly. The show is a collection of artworks by alumni of Castilleja School. I was very pleased to be interviewed on the decision I made to be a professional artist. It is a short article and in a local newspaper, but it still made me think about some of the choice I have made over the years. The show is interesting in that it allows me to display pieces like the one above, very traditional, as well as some of my modern work, like Torch Song.
article in html
article as pdf

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Red Barns, 6 x 6 inches, oil on canvas.

The spring is sprung, and I packed up my 8 week old son and went painting with the POPS group (who have a new web site!). I did this painting while he was napping, just to see how it might work out. I love these buttery, bright colors--I often feel as if I am icing a cake. Painting in close color harmony gives me practice in bending a color just a bit to make a big difference. My palette always looks lovely afterwards as well.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Escape Shoes, 14 x 14 inches, oil on canvas.
I just completed this portrait of my skates, which turned out to be a surprisingly difficult drawing task. It was hard to get the perspective of the wheels and trucks correct. I am still not sure that I have done so. This is one of the first paintings that I have completed in my new studio--it is such a pleasure to work there. The new space has windows with natural light!

I know that a few of you are waiting to see more paintings or drawings of my cutie pie here...oddly this painting has a lot to do with him. His dad was watching him, so that I was able to both paint, and and go for an evening skate--my first skating since getting pregnant 10 months ago.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Crazy Garden, 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas.

I finally had a little time away from my sweet son to work in the studio. This weird piece is done exclusively with my fingers, or rather the tips of my much to large rubber gloves. This appoach makes an interesting and delicate mark--I may do some more of it, but with a stronger subject matter. I am not the first to come up with painting with gloved of my favorite painters, Ken Auster, has been doing this lately.

Monday, February 11, 2008

As an pictoral explanation of the total silence on my blog for the last month, here is a (quick, and not excellent) sketch of my latest project, sleeping....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Red Skein, 6 x 6 inches, oil with palette knife, available.

I recently attended a knitting party put on by a friend of mine, and learned a bit about knitting. It turns out to be a fun thing to do, kind of like Sudoku, but in 3-d. Here is a small still-life of some vibrant red yarn to commemorate the acquisition of a new time-sink!

Baylands I, 6 x6 inches, oil with palette knife, available.

Baylands II, 6 x 6 inches, oil with palette knife, available.

Yesterday afternoon, after a day of dense cold winter fog, the sun shone for a few hours and I took myself down to the marsh for some much needed plein air painting. These are two sketches that I completed before the winter light left and my fingers became to cold to paint.

These paintings are both done very quickly, but with close attention to the actual light harmony and quality at that very moment.