Monday, December 12, 2011

Snowy Field

Oil on hardboard
8" x 10"

Brrr. The temperatures have finally dropped into the fifties, so I'm feeling wintry :) Really I'm hoping I won't see any of that frozen white stuff this year.

This is for sale on my Etsy shop

Monday, December 5, 2011


Oil on hardboard
5" x 7"

A very well-ventilated barn.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Super duper end of year sale

Rock bottom prices on paintings - 50% to 75% off! This is a great opportunity to acquire original artwork inexpensively, for yourself or as a gift. Prices are good through December 31, 2011.

Visit the sale here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


The challenge on Daily Paintworks this week was: paint in the style of your favorite artist. Well, I don't have "a" favorite artist, but I adore Jackson Pollock. Our styles couldn't be more different, but I love his work. There is such an energy and verve!

I've never tried to paint in his style before, and I discovered it's very difficult. I'm not displeased with it, but I never quite achieved what I was looking for. For one thing, I worked on a 9x12 inch canvas, and his were more like 9x12 FEET. It makes a difference—the physicality of laying the paint is entirely different. I've seen film of him working, and he moves around the canvas, approaching it from different sides and different altitudes, whereas I worked from the same position on a drawing board. He created a whole body piece; mine was all in the wrist :) Pollock is an artist whose work inspires people to say "My kid could paint that!" I can tell you, "No they can't." You may not like Pollock's art, but there is no question he is working deliberately and intently.

This painting is based on a landscape I've been working on recently. I can't find quite the approach I want, and I've tried a couple different things. This one might be my favorite.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Oil on hardboard
5" x 7"

Another scene from Nags Head Woods. I've been experimenting with a light touch on these landscapes, and I like the almost watercolor-y effect.

SOLD at the 2nd annual Art of the Auction at the NC Museum of Art.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ready to Burst

Oil on canvas panel
8" x 10"

The colors have been unbelievable this year!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Cotton Candy [sold]

Oil on hardboard
5" x 7"

I'll return to the Nags Head Woods paintings next week, but in the meantime as we get closer to winter it's nice to remember the beachy part.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Oil on hardboard
5" x 7"

I'm working on a series of paintings from photos I took at Nags Head Woods a couple years ago. We spend a week at Nags Head every summer (in NC, mid-September is still summer, believe me), and it's usually a beach thing. Then I saw a piece about Nags Head Woods on the local PBS station, and we spent a day there instead of at the beach. I did my first plein air painting there, so it was very exciting.

This is for sale on my Etsy shop.

Monday, October 24, 2011


5" x 7"
Oil on canvas panel

This still life is from a couple years ago, one of my first attempts.

Monday, October 17, 2011


6" x 6"
oil on hardboard


1. Sign up for my Painting of the Week email if you haven't already (send me a message with "subscribe" in the subject or body)

2. Anytime before FRIDAY NOVEMBER 4, send me an email telling me you want to enter the drawing for the painting.

I'll choose randomly from all the entrants and announce the winner on Monday November 7, 2011.

Privacy policy: I won't share your email address or other information with anyone else for any reason.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Parkway [sold]

6"x8" oil on hardboard

I'm still working with palette knife and liking the results - big thick paint.

Friday, September 30, 2011

50 Starts - Start 15, Green Bowl and Green, er, something...

7x7", water-soluble oils

I painted this in response to the Limited Stroke challenge. It was terribly difficult for me to make myself do this, but a very good practice. The result is an awful mess of sludgy paint, but I did come away with a much stronger painting than I usually achieve. Somewhere or other I saw a motto that said "Move toward discomfort" and apparently there's much truth in it.

And speaking of discomfort, that jar in the back turned out a lot more phallic-shaped than in real life! Oh well, I'll only sell this one in the adult section of the art gallery :D

Click the "50 starts" label underneath this post to see other posts in this category.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gold in the Green

Gold in the Green
6" x 8"
oil on hardboard

It's not quite autumn yet here in North Carolina, but there are a few leaves turning. This is at Tailrace on Neuse reservoir.

I started this painting plein air back in May. It was a study I did during Mike Rooney's workshop. I decided to finish it in the studio yesterday, using a palette knife, for the latest DPW challenge. I like the result, somehow using the knife lets me loosen up more.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

50 Starts - Start 14, Boats at Dock

This photo was all about the warm and cool contrasts - one boat was in the sun (very low sun) and the others back in the shadows. Obviously it's a very loose sketch, but I can see a lot of potential for a full painting—so the study served its purpose.

Click the "50 starts" label underneath this post to see other posts in this category.

Monday, September 5, 2011

DPW Help the Children of African challenge -SOLD

Beatnik Peppers
5" x 7"
Oil on canvas board.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, as part of the Help The Children of Africa campaign, to aid victims of the devastating drought. Visit the Daily Paintworks page to read more, view artwork, or enter a bid for this or other paintings.

Thanks to the purchaser for her contribution - a check with matching funds has been sent to Doctors Without Borders.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

50 Starts - Start 13, Stream at NCSU

I started this painting immediately after finishing the previous rectangle Challenge. That's unusual for me, to paint twice in one day, but I was all fired up.

Wasn't sure exactly what my boundaries were at first. The rectangle painting was a great out-of-the-box exercise for me, so I started with that in mind (that's why the small trees look like green fudgesicles), but then switched to no restrictions on shape, just the number of them.

I felt like I got too detailed with the first rectangle painting, and it's such a struggle for me to simplify, so I thought "I'll only allow myself 12 distinct shapes in this one," whether they are rectangles, ovals, or amorphous.

Obviously there's a few more than 12, but overall I think I kept true to the spirit of it. I'm very pleased with the way it turned out — feel like I'm on a better, clearer track now.

A little contretemps with the greens: I had phthalo blue on my palette, and I think I have to ban myself from that hue. I've seen Qiang Huang use it to great effect, but it's too wild for me to control right now. I had to rework the trees on the right a couple times; at first they were the exact color of Gumby.

Click the "50 starts" label underneath this post to see other posts in this category.

Friday, September 2, 2011

50 Starts - Start 12, Rectangle Fever!

This painting was SO fun to do. And also incredibly difficult; I could feel my brain cells burning up as I worked. It's only 5 inches square, but still took me two sessions. It's part of the Daily Paintworks weekly challenge: you can see the description here.

As always, I got in too tight, but it was amazing how many different colors and values I began to see as I studied it. I limited myself to only horizontal and vertical rectangles, which I don't think was part of the original challenge, but it was a good experience to do it that way.

Click the "50 starts" label underneath this post to see other posts in this category.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

50 Starts - Start 11

The underpainting for this was gorgeous, and I'm a little disappointed with how it turned out. The reflections can only be described as stupid. Ugh. Will be trying a new direction on the next start, I have a couple tricks up my sleeve that I hope will break me out of the recent rut. But - I kind of like the building on the left, way in the back. See, there's always something good even in the worst painting.

Click the "50 starts" label underneath this post to see other posts in this category.

50 Starts - Start 10

I'm having a bad run, here. I think I'm jumping into too-complicated a scene - for now I've had best results working on a close composition. But I can find something I like in everything I've painted.

By the way, the scan was crooked—the buildings aren't really leaning over that much!

Click the "50 starts" label underneath this post to see other posts in this category.

Friday, August 12, 2011

50 Starts - Start 9

Back on track here. I really enjoyed this one, it's a great scene with all kinds of reflected colors on all the surfaces, and more going on outside the window than I showed here. I might attempt it again as a larger painting.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

50 Starts - Start 8

I'm not in love with this one, but I'm going to blame it on working from a bad photo. Yeah, that's it.

Really it was a lack of focus; it was a busy day and I was painting in brief bits in between other work. I decided it was "done" when I ran out of time, not when it was really done.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

50 Starts - Start 7

This is my new favorite. I couldn't get that orange umbrella color as intense as it is in real life, but I'm happy with the balance of everything.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flag Day

Flag Day
6" x 8"
oil on hardboard

I used the same reference photo from Start #3 to do this small painting of a cottage.

50 Starts - Start 6

I did the original sketch with a magenta Sharpie - which contributed to the illustrative, rather than painterly, look. A fun technique.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

50 Starts - Start 5

Much better. Still too much purple, but the relative values/temps are better.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

50 Starts - Start 4

I definitely got a little lost in the lavender color: it's not quite right but I wanted to move on. Someone wise once told me: "Fix your mistakes on the next painting." But I do like the background.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

50 Starts - Start 3

This is my favorite! I felt like I was starting to catch on and make some sense of what I'm doing. And I really like the tight composition. My purpose in that close framing was just to keep the painting manageable - it's only five inches square - but I like the composition for itself.

I'm not showing steps now, because I've moved on to oil, and the block-in wouldn't be dry enough for me to scan. But it's the same steps. I'm sketching with acrylic paint - magenta - so I don't have to wait for that part to dry.

- - - - See the finished painting here.

50 Starts - Start 2

This was very experimental - I used colored pencils, which are not a familiar medium for me at all. I have no technique with them, but as a color exercise it was great.

The same three steps: initial sketch; value/temperature; color correction and detail.

Click the "50 starts" label underneath this post to see other posts in this category.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

50 starts - Start 1, Falls Lake

Click here or on the "50 starts" label underneath this post to see all posts in this category.

I'm going back to basics and working on quick studies. I remember reading in one of Kevin MacPherson's books that an artist should do "100 starts" - to learn the habits of composition and value, without spending the time on a finished painting.

Of course I'm not that energetic, so I cut it in half to 50 Starts. I've got 50 pieces of heavy sketch paper cut into 5"x5" pieces, and am working my way through. To keep myself from becoming too detailed, I'm working in three stages: 1) the sketch, just a loose positioning of the scene; 2) a blocking in of value and temperature; 3) color adjustment and a few details.

Here's the first one I did - I used acrylic for the drying time, which had its good and bad points. My stock of acrylic paints is limited, so it took too much effort to mix the color I wanted. On the other hand, good practice in working from a limited palette.

Initial sketch in magenta using a round brush. Very loose.

Blocking in. I'm attempting a sort of modified Cape Cod School approach that I learned from Mike Rooney's workshops. Still struggling with that, but as you'll see when I post more of the Starts, I'm slowly making progress.

Color correction and just a little more detail. Have to practically tie my hand down to keep myself from futzing with it and adding little branches and stones and such.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What is "50 Starts"?

Click here or on the "50 starts" label underneath this post to see all posts in this category, sorted by most recent first.

Landscape painter Kevin MacPherson wrote that an artist should do "100 starts" — quick, not necessarily finished, paintings, to learn composition, value, and temperature. There's not much emphasis on detail or paint handling techniques, it's about getting a LOT of practice with the basics of painting.

I'm attempting "50 starts" because I'm lazy, and 100 paintings of any kind seems out of my reach.

He's right that it's one of the best things you can do to improve your painting skills immediately. Each one that I've done has been a direct path to better painting the next time I pick up a brush. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Path by the Brook

Path by the Brook

5" x 7"
oil on hardboard panel

There is a wonderful walking trail through the park at the Art Museum in Raleigh. You pass by sculptures and outdoor installations, open fields, wooded trails, and a pretty little brook tucked away at the bottom of the hill.

This is for sale on my Etsy shop.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bridge at Tailrace

Bridge at Tailrace

6" x 8"
oil on canvas panel

I spent a gorgeous Saturday at Tailrace fishing area on Falls Lake, at Mike Rooney's all-day plein air painting workshop. He teaches a sort of modified Cape Code school style of underpainting, and it really clicked for me. This is one of the scenes I painted, the bridge over the river.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Red Skiff

Oil on hardboard
9" x 12"

A scene at the Southport marina, NC.

This was one of those overcast days where everything seem to just blend into everything else, and there are no edges.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Barn Road

Oil on hardboard
9" x 12"

A farm in Granville County, NC.

For sale at Elodie Farms.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Crape Myrtle

Oil on canvas
14" x 18"

A crape myrtle at the arboretum.

I'm pretty happy with this one. That tree at the arboretum is fabulous, and you could paint it every day with entirely different results. And I love the color contrast between the red crape myrtle and the cool green background trees. Struggled a lot with those mid-ground trees, though—couldn't seem to get them quite how I wanted, and by then I had so much paint on the canvas it was getting mucky. Sometimes it's better to quit when you're ahead, or at least before you make it worse :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Oil on hardboard
8" x 10"

Rural mailboxes in a valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I had a lot of fun and struggle with this one - I started it over entirely once, and several times scraped the paint off and repainted an area. Trying to loosen up, as always, and use a bolder brushstroke than usual. The white newspaper boxes are my favorite part, and the foreground around them - I managed a sort of Gauguin thing I really like.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Azalea River Sky [sold]

Oil on canvas
24" x 30"

This is just upstream of the Battleship NC. The sunsets in Wilmington are always beautiful, but this one was extraordinary. The colors reminded me of azaleas - pink, fuchsia, magenta, lavender...

Saturday, April 2, 2011


6" x 6" oil on gessoed hardboard

I'm very excited to announce that Landing has been selected to be displayed and offered for sale at the North Carolina Museum of Art's inaugural Art of the Auction, Saturday May 21. Proceeds go to the NCMA Foundation.

Monday, March 21, 2011

On the Roof

Oil on hardboard
5" x 7"

At the Raulston arboretum in Raleigh. I painted this after seeing Laurel Daniel's demo on her blog, and it was really helpful.

Monday, March 14, 2011

R/V Dan Moore in Pink

Oil on hardboard
8" x 10"

The Research Vessel Dan Moore on the Cape Fear River.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Before the Party

Oil on hardboard
8" x 10"

I was in Wilmington in November, and took a lot of reference shots. It was unusually warm and sunny for that time of year, but there wasn't much foliage or flowers - so it's a less colorful painting than a previous version of the same scene from the other side of the restaurant.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Oil on hardboard
8" x 10"

I finally had the chance to finish a painting I began in November at a workshop given by Mike Rooney. I think that sets the record for Longest Painting to Complete. I'm really happy with it though; usually revisiting a painting doesn't turn out well.

This will be for sale on my Etsy shop; I need to wait until it's drier to get a better scan.
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