The Challenges of Landscape Painting

Lately, I have been watching videos and reading books about landscape painting. This is one kind of artwork I have not done. Oh, a few hit and miss attempts in the past, but it is one of my weaknesses. It would be so lovely to be able to paint outdoors and while on vacation, so I have been trying to educate myself about plein air.

One of the best instructors on the internet is Kurt Lackland, who has several excellent beginner videos on YouTube. He makes it look easy! I have yet to give it a try. Will keep you informed.


When Green Isn't Green

We are back home in Washington state after a lovely winter vacation in Florida.

I do not travel with my oil paints, but this time away from the studio has prompted me to look into ways of painting while traveling. So, I spent a lot of time lately watching online videos about plein air landscape painting. This style of art is way out of my comfort zone, but I am ready for a new challenge.

The most difficult thing for me in dealing with painting landscapes is in seeing the many colors. When I look across a beautiful view or at trees, all I see is green. All different shades of green.  Many landscape painters see so many other colors when looking at the same scene ... purples, rusty reds, even light blues. I am determined to find a way to see those colors too.

Lately, I sit outside on my back patio a few minutes each day and just look at the trees around me. It is real winter here, with snow on the ground, so the greens are muted. To someone as in love with color as I am, muted greens are not inspirational! Then, one morning, I noticed that the tall pine trees in the next block over were pink. Honest! They were a soft, misty pink in the early morning overcast. Eureka!

As I have said before, much of an artist's job is seeing. That takes time. Patience, patience.


Play With Weebles

I have been having a lot of fun with my new retro toys series. Not only am I enjoying the actual painting, but I have the perfect excuse to buy toys.
Enjoy your day!
8x10, oil on panel


What Madilyn Taught Me About Being Fearless

Who of us has not had that feeling? Fear of creating. Fear of the big, white, empty canvas. Fear that a work might not be as good as we want it to be, or as good as someone else’s. You know how that feels … how that keeps you awake at night, supplies you with a multitude of reasons to procrastinate, and causes you to freeze before the easel.

I would like to tell you about my niece Madilyn. She is an artist, working in acrylic on paper and canvas. Her painting style is spontaneous and courageous, just like her. When painting, she wears whatever she wants, often pink and purple. Unicorns and sparkles are a common choice. She spreads her quart jars of acrylic, brushes, and canvases on the kitchen table. And, she just paints. Marvelous happy houses and smiling people. Rainbows and animals. If something is not the way she wants, she paints over it, or throws it on the floor and starts a new canvas.

Being so spontaneous, she makes a mess all over the table and herself. Who cares? She just strips down to her underwear and continues with her work.

Madilyn is 7 years old.

What my niece has taught me:

Making art is fun. 
    Madilyn does not do internet searches to see what others are doing. She does not tell herself she cannot do it or call herself names when something goes wrong. She does not think about that person who told her she had no talent. She joyfully plays.

Art can be made anywhere.
    Got a kitchen table? A corner of the dining room? A seat at Starbucks? Go for it!

Dress the part.
    Okay, so we may not all want to strip to our undies to paint, but having one special piece of clothing can tell you “It’s time to create!” How about designating a favorite old t-shirt as your “art shirt”? Or, a funky old hat? Personally, I have a box in the studio full of colorful cotton play clothes just for painting. 

Throw it out and move on.
    So, the piece did not work out. You learned what not to do! It was not a waste at all. Get a fresh canvas and do it again.

Put your art on the refrigerator.
    Well, maybe not literally. But, share your work with others. Making art makes Madilyn happy and I smile every time I look at her canvas (below) on my wall. Enjoy your creativity and spread the joy around.

Happy creating!

8x10, acrylic on canvas
by Madilyn


Smile With Howdy Doody

The first of my new series of retro toys.  Hope you enjoy!
8x10,, oil on panel


Seeing An Old Friend Again

I often wonder what happens to my artworks. This 20x24 painting, "Poppies," left my studio in 2007 for a new home in Texas. Imagine my surprise to get an email from the owner this week, complete with a photo of the painting hanging in her dining room! Since 2007, the painting has traveled from Texas to Arizona, and now resides in North Carolina.