Thursday, March 29, 2012

Iris Eyes Are Smiling

"Iris Eyes Are Smiling" 6x6" oil on canvas panel 

When Iris eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring....

When Iris hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist the play on words here. This stunning iris—found resting in the early morning shade beside still waters—was painted from another inspiring photo by eagle-eye Angela. 

Symbolically the iris is associated with faith, wisdom, cherished friendship, hope, valor, my compliments, promise in love and wisdom. Irises were used in Mary gardens as the blade-shaped foliage denotes the sorrows which pierced her heart.

The color purple is a perfect balance of warm red and the calm of blue. In fact, my very astute little niece recently told her mom that "purple was hot and cold." Pretty insightful for a three year old. 

According to, purple embodies a sense of mystic and royal qualities, often well liked by very creative or eccentric types, and the favorite color of adolescent girls. Mentally and physically, purple is uplifting, calming to mind and nerves, offers a sense of spirituality and encourages creativity. So do you think if people thew away their antidepressants and started wearing purple they'd be smarter, feel better, start attending church on a regular basis, and want to paint or take up piano? Hmmm...sounds like a great Jr. high science fair project.

Thanks for strolling into the garden today!


My graphic design:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Bare Facts

"The Bare Facts" 6x6" Oil on canvas panel

"Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art."
- Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect, designed the Guggenheim

The object of this week's DPW Challenge was to paint an apple using the "smallest amount of information possible" and stopping, not when it is finished but rather as soon as the painting reads as a three-dimensional apple. It certainly requires discipline to limited strokes, the number of colors, and the number of areas of color.

For this red and green painting, I limited my palette to lemon yellow, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, phthalo blue, and just a dot of white for the highlight. I love painting quick, loose and wet into wet, so this was a really fun challenge. The painting ended up with sort of a watercolor feel. My favorite part is the area of green at the top of the apple just where it disappears and merges with the background. Edges should be both hard and soft, I like the loose edge of deep red on the shadow side of the apple. The cast shadow picks up the reflections of the green background and just a touch of the apple's blush peeking through the cool shadow. The hardest part of this exercise is stopping yourself from going back over a stroke twice. That's where the paint dies and looses its freshness.

I believe that less is always more. Leaving parts of a painting seemingly unfinished, beckons and engages the viewer to enter a painting and fill in the blanks for themselves. I'll be repeating this exercise again and again, to learn to simplify further.

Thanks for bobbing in today!


My graphic design:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Loves Me, Loves Me Not

"Loves Me, Loves Me Not" 6x6" oil on canvas panel

Click to Bid

"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming." 
—Pablo Neruda

We had a couple to dinner over the weekend; my centerpiece was this old vase beaming with yellow pom daisies. I figured I better paint them quickly before more petals decided to take their final bow.

Author John O'Donohue said, "A room that is yellow can throw a glad brightness back into the space it surrounds." I love the freshness of this color, as most of the walls of my house are painted a soft tint of yellow. However during our dinner, between the glow of candle light, the yellow walls and the brilliance of the daisies, my dining room was literally bursting with such luminosity, you practically needed sunglasses! In fact, the vibrations were so intense, my demure purple vase was totally blown over from the blinding rays, as the grapes huddled together sheltering their faces in the shadows.

Thanks for ringing round my pitcher full of posies today!


My graphic design:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mini Munchkin

Mini Munchkin, 6x6" Oil on canvas

With spring in the air, instead of painting last weekend, I spent all day Saturday working in my yard. My yard is looking so much happier, but the downside is I didn't have any paintings to post. I worked on a landscape for several hours on Sunday and had it just about completed, but then decided I didn't like it and wiped my canvas clean and started on this nude instead.

I have been wanting to practice painting skin tones but didn't have a model. Flesh is a grizzly bear for me to paint, so I figured this would be a great exercise. I found this tiny rubber baby which is actually a to-scale model of a 12-week-old fetus and held it in my left hand while painting with my right. Not exactly easy, but the baby fit so perfect in my palm and looked sweet all snuggled up in the cradle of my hand.

I need lots more practice on skin tones but every time I try, I am learning something new. Slowly but surely with lots more practice, I hope to keep improving day by day.

Thanks for letting me bare my soul today!


My graphic design:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Birdie? What birdie?

"Mr. Bean", 6x6" oil on canvas panel
(painted from photograph by Angela)

Click to bid

This is Mr. Bean, Angela's cat, all stretched out like some fat satiated king resting on pillows by a sunny window after an overindulgent meal. Hmm... I'll bet he's been up to no good? He is looking suspiciously contented, like he just got away with stealing cookies from a cookie jar. "Pussycat, pussycat where have you been?" Frightening a little mouse under her chair perhaps... or maybe a little Tweety bird or two? I inspected the scene for telltale signs of perhaps the tiny tip of a tail, or a wisp of feather at the corners of his mouth but efficiently, all incriminating evidence had been destroyed and licked clean. Pretty sneaky, Mr. Bean.

This was a fun one to paint. My favorite part is that one little red-orange spot of color on his tongue. The light was hitting it just right making it glow with transparency.

Thanks for resting here awhile... Meow!


My graphic design:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In the Red

"In the Red", 6x6" oil on canvas panel

No, this painting isn't about negative finances. It's about, red, one of my favorite colors to paint with. It's a color that really knows how to scream out loud. Red has the ability to conjure up a wide range of emotions from passionate love to violence and warfare. Red is the color of blood, energy, danger and fire, also known to stimulate and increase blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat, and pulse rate. In China, red is associated with good luck and fortune and in Singapore it symbolizes joy. It is the highest arc of the rainbow, the longest wavelength of light, and the first color you lose sight of at twilight.

According to "The Language of Stained Glass" at Armstrong Browing Library at Baylor University: When Dante spoke of the Seraphim - the first of the nine choirs of Angels - the color that "glows" was the pure orange vermilion which his fellow citizens and brothers-in-spirit (the painters, illuminators, and glassmen) knew as red. So, it may be said that pure red is the color of divine love, the Holy Spirit, courage, self-sacrifice, martyrdom, and all the warm impulses that belong to the great-hearted everywhere.  You can read more about red here.

So what does this rather strange combination of apple, radishes and Flowering Quince (Japonica) have in common? You guessed it...the color RED! Oh, how I do love red, the warmest of all colors.

Thanks for looking through rose colored glasses with me today. : )


My graphic design:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Relentless Desire

"Relentless Desire"(painted from a photograph by Angela Fletcher)
6x6" oil on canvas
Click to Bid

Green is the color of relentless desire denoting growth and new hope, bursting forth, at first, with soft lime whispers of spring energy. John O'Donohue in his book The Invisible Embrace Beauty says, "Gravity cannot hold it down; the call of light is always stronger." The power and will to survive, as witnessed in tender first grasses and plants, find a way to emerge through even the tiniest crevices in concrete. Miracles emerge out of the cold, dark emptiness of winter's tomb, bursting forth in triumphant birth into the light of life. The glory of spring has come again. 

Thanks for viewing my painting.

My graphic design:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pond-ering Thoreau

"Pond-ering Thoreau" 8x10" Oil on gessobord

"A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature." - 9. The Ponds, Walden, Henry David Thoreau

Did you think you were looking at this upside down? This abstract landscape was painted from another one of my friend Angela's inspiring photos, capturing looking glass reflections of aqua sky and surrounding forest. Sparkling on the silent stillness of another "Walden's" pond, the aqueous pool was dotted with a flotilla of lily pads, all set a sail in the early morning chill. A bare low-lying branch with willowy outstretched arms, hovers just above half submerged logs breaking the water's surface, and forming bridges for sun loving turtles.

And where was Monet for all this?

Thanks for pausing and reflecting on my work today.

My graphic design:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cana Carnival

"Cana Carnival" 5x7" oil on canvas panel

Spring in the air! My bright fuchsia-colored azaleas are in full bloom and robins have returned on the waves of warm afternoon temps in the high seventies in this part of Texas. Meanwhile, I've been on high-visual alert for signs of resurrected friends donning billowy bonnets for my garden spring follies.

I actually painted this flamboyant redheaded Cana Lily, sometime ago. She was doing a high-kick can-can like she was expecting Toulouse-Lautrec himself to show up to paint her portrait. I have to admit, she is pretty cute even in the abstract.
Thanks for buzzing around my world of color. ; )

My graphic design:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Just Horsing Around

"Just Horsing Around" 10x8" Oil on gessobord

I was really jazzed to enter this weeks DPW Challenge, since I have never painted a horse before. Guess I've just never had the opportunity to photograph one in the wild. I have included above, the photograph we were asked to paint for the challenge.

I think I enjoyed painting the grass as much as the horse. I tried to break the grass up into an interesting pattern, and was happy with the mosaic, patchwork-look that emerged. My personal challenge is to always try to keep my brush strokes as loose as possible. I had been working on a large commissioned piece that had to be rendered very tightly, so this was a welcome change of pace for this old mare now free to roam in new pastures. 

Thanks for stopping to graze awhile in my pasture. ; )

My graphic design: