Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Guard Tower--Castillo de San Marcos"


This is still one of my favorite places.  I never get tired of St. Augustine.  When my youngest son was about 3, he started to call this place the "mountain" because the fort sits up on a high enough hill that it's great fun for the kids to run (and roll) down.  He still asks me if we can go to "the mountain" pretty much every time we go to St. Augustine.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November in Spring Park


I had a fun day yesterday plein air painting with the newly formed First Coast Pastel Society.  The day started sunny and suddenly turned cloudy and rainy, but it was fun.  This day reiterated what I already knew to be true--plein air painting is hard!  Well, hard for me, anyway.  I tend to take a long time with each painting, focusing on details, and when I try to go fast I get frustrated and unhappy with the results.  This painting spent a very long time in the "ugly stage" and I almost abandoned it, but I'm glad I stuck with it.  Towards the end of the day it finally started to come together and look the way I wanted it to!

It was interesting to see every artist's unique style--not just in the finished paintings but in the whole process.  Some were able to complete beautiful paintings in a short amount of time--just getting it all "in there" with vibrant colors and gestural strokes of the pastels... and then there was me... but it really was fun and and I hope to participate in plein air groups more often.  And hey, completing a painting in one day is a huge accomplishment for me!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October in St. Augustine


(This painting received an Honorable Mention at the AGOP "Through the Looking Glass" juried exhibition.)

When I visit my favorite city, I can’t help but wonder what it was like to live there before all of the tourists, gift shops, and trolleys.  The Spanish Quarter is the area’s “living history museum” and it is the one place where you can easily imagine what life was like back then.  As in many areas of St. Augustine, it is beautiful.  It’s full of tall oak trees, interesting old buildings, and it has been kept in an authentic condition.  It feels a bit like stepping back in time.  But what I especially love about it is the feeling of peacefulness that comes over me when I am there. 

My life is usually very hectic.  I’m the mother of 3 children who are in 3 different schools and who all are involved in sports and activities.  There are days when I’m needed to be in 3 different places at once.  I wouldn’t trade any of this, but there are times when I long for a quiet place (did I mention I also have 4 dogs?) and this painting represents that place where time slows down, all is quiet and peaceful, and I can just sort of take a deep breath and relax.    We all need that now and then!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Zinnia with Butterfly


"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Painting makes me happy, as I "sit down quietly" at my easel, lose myself in my favorite music, and create.  There is nothing like it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I sometimes have trouble naming my paintings.  One friend recently joked about how "non-creative" my painting titles are, and I have to agree! My creativity is in my painting and *not* in my writing.  A "striker" in soccer is a forward player who is expected to score, and I think the title is appropriate.  I admit I considered a completely different title though--"Time is Fleeting."  This is a painting of my son that captures a split second in time as he plays his favorite sport.  He started playing soccer at the age of 4 and I can so easily remember him and his tiny little team-mates chasing the soccer ball all over the field.  He is now 12 and I rarely catch any more glimpses of the little boy he used to be.  So I painted this one in a reflective, melancholy sort of mood.  Our children grow up too quickly.

I tried to keep the focus strictly on him and the ball and purposely kept the rest of the painting loose and kind of blurred.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sky and Water Study

(approximately 12x9)
Sadly, I have been in a bit of a creative "slump" lately.  Life's distractions, some welcome and some not, were interfering with not only my painting time but with my desire to create--which normally is always right there bursting at the surface.  I finally feel that inspiration has returned, and I'm very happy for it.  The above painting is just a "study"--I love the beach and this felt like the right place to jump back in.  I'm back! :) 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Anastasia Dunes

14x11  I took a workshop with pastellist Lyn Asselta, and she demonstrated how to do a watercolor underpainting in complementary colors.  This painting started off looking like a landscape from Mars--but the underpainting added depth and the process was fun.  I'll do watercolor underpaintings again with landscapes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


10x8, an experiment in painting "loose".  There are times when I feel that my painting style is too "tight"--too detailed, not "painterly" enough. I painted this with the intention of having fun and seeing where it would lead, and I'm happy with how it turned out! I plan to paint more florals with this approach. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Kristen in Blue" part 2

I decided to correct a few things about this painting that were bothering me, and here is the final result. This was a good learning experience for me and I feel much better prepared to tackle additional large portraits.

This painting was juried into the STAAA "Portrait and Figure" show in St. Augustine which runs through February.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Kristen in Blue"

pastel, 18x22

This is the largest portrait I have painted yet, and I've found that it truly is easier (and more fun) to paint large with pastels.  I started by photographing Kristen positioned near a strong light to create very definite light/shadow areas on her face, and I used this photo as the reference.  I "made up" the clothing and background, and this is where I'm uncertain if I'm finished with the painting. It is very, very blue.  In some ways, I really like this intensity of color, but at the same time, I'm wondering if I need to adjust it, tie in some other colors, or just darken the value of the background... I've decided to let the painting "sit" on the easel for a day or two and come back at it with fresh eyes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Christmas Past" Christmas card painting

This was my second year of creating a painting specifically to use for Christmas cards, and although it adds a bit to the "must get done" list of pre-Christmas stress, I thoroughly enjoy creating my own cards and plan to continue with it each year.  I had wanted to paint a scene from St Augustine because I love how that city lights up in December, but I wasn't too happy with any of the photos I took (and I always paint from my own photos or from life). I decided instead to paint my 2 older children from a time when they were much younger and very excited about Santa Clause and the magic of Christmas. This may be the first time I painted in a square format, which presented a few challenges, but I loved this glance back in time.


Ok, I really need to do a better job of posting more than once every other month!  This is a painting I finished in November of "Penny"--a sweet german shepherd mix (part belgian malinois). Reference photos are definitely needed in painting pets as they don't like to pose for very long, and I had a difficult time in getting a "good" reference photo.  Every time I'd call her name to look up at me, she'd come running over! I finally settled on a reference that was less than perfect, in which she was completely backlit with the very strong late afternoon Florida sunshine. Even so, this was fun to paint with the play of light and shadows. Overall I am pleased with this one and I feel I've captured her sweet personality.