Tuesday, July 22, 2008


about 8"x10"
oil on canvas

This is one of Dede's favorites... I think because it is of him when we're finally doing our rocking chair and meatloaf for dinner thing.

The canvas started out as purely abstract, and then I went through my cabbaged photos from the internet. This gent's presence was so compelling that I doodled him onto the abstract.

He seems to be pretty much at home.

Rubber Ducky

about 12" x 14"
oil on canvas

Well, really: which way would you have turned it before signing it?

These are pieces which I am working on currently. The "Shower Tree" and "Out o'the Box" are two stretching exercises I gave myself to try working differently from my usual style. They both make me very uncomfortable and leave me wondering what I am to learn from them. None of us are done yet, so the story awaits further light (and darks).

Shower Tree

11"x14" or so
oil on canvas

Out o'the Box

11"x14" or so
oil on canvas

Jack and Me Napping

oil on canvas

The above is a just-started piece inspired by nap time before class. The canvas is a "breakage" unit because something tore the surface (not captured in the shot) a wee bit. I had to curb my enthusiasm when a customer came down reporting a torn canvas upstairs. My mind raced with what I could paint next!


oil on canvas
approx 38"x44"

This was a primo canvas stretched for me by Ed and Verna as a gift. It is huge, and it is lead-primed linen (claussens). The canvas itself weighs a good bit. The painting is almost done... as in only a gazillion more hours of dry brush work to go to get it to where it's a zinger.

The most interesting thing about painting this piece has been working with the backlighting. Ed suggested that I paint the face highlights in lavender, and the shadows in peach, all of a light hue. This taught me about using cool and warm to create form instead of the usual light and shadow.

This one will be a keeper because the canvas was a gift and I like the gist of the message.

Also shown in an earlier post, this painting is now complete after its sale and exchange for another...

... It was almost a preemie

Being a purveyor of the stuff of art, I make samples from time to time with materials that we sell so that people can see some possibilities. Product R&D accounts for a good percentage of our sales: to ourselves.

This canvas is linen (lovely bounce) primed with a clear gesso, so that the color of the linen can become part of the scheme in the piece. I chose to do a sketch with oils, putting down only the shadows and highlights so that the tan of the linen would provide midtones:


We also sell tiny canvases/canvaii. These are popular items, but I had to give them a go just for fun. The last picture is of the tiny things on display so you can get a sense of proportion:


Blue Squares

oil on canvas

This piece has appeared in previous posts because I had the canvas tacked to the walls of the shop as a painting, although I've known it isn't finished yet. A customer who purchased The Source (aka Zeus) asked me about this painting, and when I told him I didn't feel like it was complete, he said it needed turquoise pyramids. Just spelling that slowed me down. Hearing it quickened my inspiration and sounded like a wacky enough idea to do it.

Now the canvas is stretched properly upon bars and ready for the next whatever, probably a suggestion of something in turquoise.

You have to love it: turquoise pyramids! Oh, and he said they should be the three-sided ones. I didn't know pyramids had different numbers of sides...

For Where's Waldo fans, the painting has two elements from actual photos: the highlights on a baseball cap and the highlights on a rippling evening gown. All of life is merely abstraction made into preconceived patterns...

or something like that

Mermaid's Smirk

approx. 14"x18"
oil on canvas

Yes, portraiture.

I'd like to use this post as a venue to open up a discussion:

Upon seeing this image, you may have said something like "oh, wow" or thought something like, "oh, she CAN paint". I'd like to ask you to think aloud in the comments section here and help me to understand what it is about a recognizable picture that catches us so instantaneously.

This is more than mere curiosity. I would like to get that same "ah!" from my abstracts, but I don't know yet what is the Ah-factor.

Penny in the Fountain

oil on canvas
approx 30"x48"

I think it is now done. The glass bits I added to the painting this morning came from a birthday gift assortment of doo-dads from my sister:

This canvas was originally prepared as part of a mixed-media class, where we contrived to add as much stuff as possible to the creation in progress. My results were the equivalent of an attempt in throwing a wad of pizza dough into the air along with string and copper wire. The conglomerate never made it to the prepared canvas, and I used this surface instead for one of the paintings done in my accustomed manner. This is the first undamaged canvas I have worked on in some time.

Here's what I've been up to, on Mondays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the parking lot. I paint, and people come to learn and end up just painting. I get nervous just before class wondering what I have to offer any other person who wishes to create. After each class I realize that I offer a space and time, to myself and others, where we can show up and paint. It's the best scope and sequence I've come up with in my teaching career: just painting.

I'll show the works in a series of posts so that each one doesn't get too image-heavy, and I can talk a lot about each idea without sounding as windy as I am.

The two recent paintings "Root Children" and "Penny in the Fountain" are hallmark works in that I think they may show the direction my work will take from pure abstraction into adding two elements: recognizable forms, and attachments or inclusions.

Root Children:

oil on masonite panel
approx 22"x30"

The inclusions are plant material found by Jack's lua, and on a hike to the end of the world. I didn't alter the shapes of the bits at all, only adding a bit of coppery gilding to them in places: