Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I love foam!

Charcoal on paper

Monday, December 01, 2008


(oil on board 8"x10")
This small painting is for a woman I surf with who was interested in one of my earliest "board-in-the-water" paintings. Instead of the generic white board, the stylistic ocean (limitations of using acrylics), and my lack of experience at the time, I offered to do a "portrait of her favorite board,"Greenie". It was fun to see the difference..

Water, with interruptions. (YES! It's finished!)

The final challenge.. naming the painting. (oil, 48"x60")
A frequent question is, "How long did it take?" Since I have worked on this for almost three months, but not consistently, it seemed only fitting to use "Water, with interruptions" as a title.. It addresses the "how long?" question as well as describing what is actually going on IN the painting itself. Especially since I usually paint calmer, water. I was inspired by a book I am reading now, "Death with interruptions" by Jose Saramago.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


* Not Finished Yet

This baby is BIG! I can't even take a decent photo of it because the light in the room is different top from bottom.. Things one doesn't normally notice. If I had floor to ceiling windows, maybe the color would be uniform.. or some kind of consistent light..

Sunday, October 26, 2008

So close and yet so far away...

Getting close.. but not there.. SO many little adjustments to make...It seems critical to have space to step back and look at this painting..however my studio doesn't allow for that.. Hence, the photo.. I see things I haven't seen before, like the drastic color change in the bottom third of the painting... I wonder if it is really there, or if it is caused by the lighting in the studio (height of windows, etc.) I see that color change a lot, usually caused by shade.. but it wasn't intentional here.. And is this what I was hoping the painting would look like? A balance between a bit of drama and a soothing effect? I'm not sure. I probably need to leave it alone and return after a week or so... But my goal is to finish it before I go back East on Nov 6... Plenty of time, it seems..

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Diving right in!

Above is the second layer of paint, where I try to define the wave forms, a step up from the underpainting below. Now the fun begins as I immerse myself in the water, the light, the color, the motion and the forms... I have a faint idea of where I'm headed but hopefully the painting will take on a life of it's own and all I have to do is be open to it.. Just like surfing!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Painting water

Funny, when people ask me what I paint I say "water", and they usually say, "watercolor?"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Color search

I have to commit to color when I start painting the big least that is what I am telling myself. These were three specific studies done with different color palettes... The top two look like the same color, but are obtained by different mixes.. top is paynes grey, windsor blue... middle is indigo, cadmium yellow pale hue, bottom is ultramarine blue and olive...all have white as part of the mix (duh) Basically i wanted to avoid using the tubed indigo and tried to mix the same color with something else.. think i am close enough. Middle study comes close to the color i want.. bottom is too grey.. Fun figuring out the mixes..
(all are 8x10 on board.)

Wall easel

One of the challenges in painting large is finding the room in my studio..I bought a 48"x60" canvas, only to find I couldn't hang it on the wall (the nails kept falling out) or put it on my cheapo easel. So my husband built me a wall easel.. If he had his way it would have been much more complex. Pulley system, whatever, but I just wanted a simple system so i could hang a canvas and move it around easily. here is the result. The nails are removeable and can be moved up and down the supports. It works perfectly and I love it..

So no more excuses, I had get started. I have to say, this size is a bit daunting, but I managed to complete the underpainting today..probably 16 hours of work, more or less. It will dry quickly in this hot weather we are having, and then I can launch into the real stuff! I'm excited..

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Oil on canvas 30"x40"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


(oil, 15"x30")
Boy, did I enjoy doing this painting. I just launched into it, no establishing the image before I started to apply the color. (although I did use a photo for reference) The wave just appeared on it's own, pulling itself out of the paint strokes. I think I am finally beginning to see the results of all my experimentation, teaching myself how to paint, how to use oils... (not to mention all the time I spend in the water looking, looking, looking. )
I'm off to Bali for a few weeks, so no painting for a while...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Magnolia Gallery

Theresa Ryan, framer and creative person extraordinaire, offered to hang some of my paintings in the front window of her framing gallery... If you local readers are passing by downtown Larkspur, Magnolia Ave, check it out!

Very interesting glasss reflections..and yes, that is 200 pounds of sand on the floor..

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


18"x36" oil on canvas

I'm either plagued or blessed with being a perfectionist. Especially when it comes to painting. So why don't I have the patience to get a really good photo of a painting? I just want to post it and move on to the next thing...Maybe it's because I feel limited with my camera...and am also not willing to take the time to set up a photo shoot.. In the past, I used a 35mm camera and shot photos at night with Kevlar lights and film. That always worked cause I took the time and knew what would work.. If it was important to me to have a perfect photo for some other purpose other than the blog, I would take the time or find the means to do it.. But a blog just seems so... casual.. and that is what I like about it.
For those readers who don't know, if you click on the photo it will enlarge..

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another sitting surfer

I've always been attracted to the image of a surfer sitting, waiting for waves. Usually this happens when I am also waiting, and have more time to turn my attention to observation mode, instead of just being on the lookout for the next wave. This particular day was beautifully calm and clear...and I was able to walk out in the water afterwards with my camera without fear of getting it wet.
This is a study ( 8"x10") for a larger painting. I didn't know if I had enough visual info to be able to paint the girl, as a black wetsuit just looks black in a photo (no shadows or highlights) .. so tried it on a small scale. I sure wish I knew more about color, and painting..

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Walking into an art supply store is like walking into the proverbial candyshop.. Desire rules supreme.. I made a vow not to buy any new canvases until I use the ones I have...And most of them are quite small.. great for studies, experimenting, learning. But they always end up looking like 'pictures" to me...

I guess that is why I am attracted to larger sizes. I feel like I want to recreate the experience of being in or close to the ocean..The stillness or movement, the vastness, the color and form.. It never seems big enough. However, practicality takes over. My studio can only accomodate a certain size.. already it is difficult to stand back and look at the painting without some serious maneuvering. Painting larger also takes a whole new set of technical skills and well as time.

When I am on my board, waiting for waves, I am constantly trying to figure out what color the water is.. Last week, on a particularly beautiful still morning, with LONG waits between tiny sets, I was shutting one eye and then the other, looking at the water around my surfboard, when I noticed that each eye saw the water as a different color.. The left eye saw more green/teal and the right eye saw more brown/green... Which was correct? No matter how I turned, it was always the same.. Could it be the angle of the early morning sun? Different eyes? Since I spend so much time trying to figure out just what color it is I am looking at, this discovery was quite a surprise.

The images below are small studies (8"x10" on board) done mostly from memory.. A mini test for myself. Have I learned anything? I think one thing I love about painting water is it's constantly changing nature.. impossible to hold onto.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


While patiently waiting for the right image to appear on a new canvas, I continue to have a foam drawing always in process.. Just finished this one.. I can't say "ripple" without thinking of a wine from the 60's? Or, "Ripple in still water" from the Dead? Anyway.....

Meanwhile I have been playing with some quick oil "sketches" on small (8x10) boards. As I always work from photos, I am trying to keep the reference at a minimum, relying on what I am learning from all this painting of water.. . It is really scary, and I feel like I am going someplace without a roadmap..or rather, I have been relying too much on the roadmap and now I need to trust my ability to get there on my own... At risk, of course, is perceived failure.. or getting lost..Often, it's when I learn the most. Will post them when they dry..

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Taking a break

Ah, the purgatory between paintings.. Finished one, not sure what to do next. It's not that I lack ideas, it's just that I can't settle on one.. This is the story of my life, and the challenge of living with a distractable mind.. When I do sit down and start to explore something, the mind will dismiss it for a number of reasons.. It's too hard, I don't have the technical skills to pull it off, it's really not as interesting as I thought, and on and on. Meanwhile I feel like I am wasting time...because I am not "producing" What I always forget is that this period is work too... So I am trying to relax and not make it a problem..easier said than done. Like anything else, it will run it's course.. And it is spring..trees are blooming, the air is warmer, and the days are getting longer.. Yeah!

In the meantime, I am posting this image of lunch bags. When i was exploring what i wanted to do after the years of pastel still life(s) I decided to draw a paper bag a day.. or whenever I was able to work in the studio. I loved doing it.. And I love how all the bags are different and how they all work together.. Plus it reminded me of all the lunches we had packed for our kids over the years before college.. Now I can't even find a bag in the house.. Things change..

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Still moving water

Still moving water
STILL! moving water
Still, moving water
Still moving, water

oil 36"x48"
Somehow, it looks very different on the wall, lighting perhaps? Surrounding wall color? I think the teal blue of the blog background emphasizes the green in the waves... too much, actually...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Plum Blossoms

I love walking into the studio this time of year. It seems like the plum trees in the backyard all exploded in blossom overnight.. On the painting scene, I have "quit" this painting so many times.. Working large, trying to put together all I have learned with the past color experiments.. I feel like I bit off more than I can chew.. Somedays I think I am "getting somewhere" and others I just want to toss it! Being interrupted ( by life's other obligations) is a big issue.. Will post it.. when and IF I finish it..

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The underpainting is gone!

oil 16"x20"

What a challenge.. Foam is so amazing! Especially when the camera stops it's trajectory. There are all sorts of funny and interesting shapes that emerge, yet they all seem to belong to a similar "family". It often reminds me of shaving cream, of whipped cream, whipped egg whites, or even melted snow. All seem have the common theme of a mixture of air and water/liquid.. The natural world is amazing.

And here I am still attempting to make sense of it, trying to understand and see clearly something that cannot stand still. The camera a a great tool..It allows me to see more clearly...combined with hours of observation.

With each painting, I feel "obligated" to name it.. This naming has always been really challenging for me, and I often wonder, "what's the point?" Other than distinguishing one painting from another, I am content with "Foam 1" and "Foam 2" but after 20 paintings/drawings, even I get lost. I often want to find some sort of metaphor to use in the name, but then it gets too cute. If the painting went deeper than mere observation/exploration and a love of beauty , maybe it would be different. Sometimes the paintings name themselves...
Guess I will just have to wait!