Thursday, May 28, 2015

Holding Onto The Dogs

Summer Sky, oil, 5x7" Available

Sometimes, I don't realize how badly I have painted a piece until later. This is usually not only a piece that does not sell, but also one that starts to make me cringe whenever I look at it. I rarely destroy them, because I believe in trying to learn from my mistakes, and believe it or not, sometimes it takes me a while before I figure out what went wrong! Holding on to the dogs, at least for a while, keeps me humble, too.

Eventually, the day comes when as a warm up, I decide to paint over the piece. Sometimes, I sand it down and do something totally different. Other times, I repaint and make the needed improvements to the original painting. Then, this time, I kept the theme, and even the location, but changed the view to something I like better. Here is the original painting:

Both images are from an afternoon as the clouds were building in the heat. The first was as a storm was coming in and has more edge to it. The end result is a calmer, more laid back scene. Now, there is nothing wrong with either in that regard, but the silhouette of the tree in the foreground bothers me and the clouds seem way too harsh. I probably will attempt one day to do another dramatic cloud scene, as I do love them. For me, they are very difficult to do, but I like the challenge.

Friday, April 24, 2015

My bad boyfriend

Thank you, Sara, for your permission to share this on my blog!

Robert & Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letter -- Insight and inspiration for your artistic career.

My bad boyfriend

Dear Artist,
On last night's flight from New York, I read Amy Poehler's memoir, "Yes Please." An actress, writer, director and producer, Amy describes the distinction between that thing you do as an artist and your career as one. "Creativity is connected to passion -- that light inside that drives you." On the other hand your career, writes Amy, is simply a series of opportunities and jobs, and should be treated with some ambivalence. "Learn to let go of wanting it. Treat your career like a bad boyfriend."

I'm pleased to report that I am the top earner of rejection letters amongst my peers. My early twenties were spent painting, writing impassioned cover letters and compiling slide packs for galleries of international repute. In theatre, this is called a "cold audition." I had misinterpreted what it meant to take responsibility for how my brilliant ideas would be shared with the world. On top of this, somewhere along the line I'd taken on board the idea I had some control over the design of it all.

Instead, something else happened. I call it, "Organic Plodding with Joy." I learned that the healthiest relationships are mutual, and the best galleries are as equally invested in finding you as you are in being with them. Amy writes that people don't want to hear about the fifteen years of doing small shows while you work hard to improve your craft. Add to this that there are better ways to stick your neck out than dropping your script on a famous person's lap while on the train, or building a vision board to hang above your workless desk. Cold auditions of any kind most often amount to not very much. "Almost every job I have ever gotten was due to someone knowing my work and seeing me in something else," writes Amy. Better just to keep busy while waiting for something to happen.

I filed my rejections and went to my easel for real. When I emerged some years later I found I truly had something to love, something to do, and somewhere to be. Amy was teaching improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade and bringing her comedy sketches to the table readings at her new job at Saturday Night Live. I was delivering my paintings to a new neighbourhood, the Park Avenue moon smiling down on another grateful hustler. Some days I even had a little walking around money -- slipped through the hole in my pocket to jangle around in the hem of my coat.



PS: "It likes it when you don't depend on it. It will reward you every time you don't act needy. It will chase you when you act like other things (passion, friendship, family, longevity) are more important to you. If your career is a bad boyfriend, it is healthy to remember you can always leave and go sleep with somebody else." (Amy Poehler)

"Ambivalence is the key to success." (Amy Poehler)

Esoterica: Letting go and caring less about that thing you want so badly is a tricky feat. Amy sums it up like this: Care about the work you do but not about the result. Care about how good you are, but not how good people think you are. It's a hard one, but organic plodding with joy might just get you where you really want to go. "Mix in public opinion and past regrets. Add a dash of future panic and a whole lot of financial uncertainty. Career is something that fools you into thinking you are in control and then takes pleasure in reminding you that you aren't. Career is the thing that will not fill you up and will never make you truly whole." Creativity, however -- and that light inside that drives you -- is the love of your life.

If you would like to read more information related to the above, please visit the letter My bad boyfriend and informative responses by readers.


Monday, April 13, 2015


This free event is the annual celebration of the arts in the greater Verde Valley and runs from 10 am to 5 pm daily, April 24-26.  The tour provides thousands of visitors a unique opportunity to meet the artists and see the studios in the greater Verde Valley. There will be over 50 artists participating, working in a variety of mediums, such as: ceramics, painting, fiber, photography, jewelry, watercolors, and sculpture. This is a self-guided tour allowing visitors the opportunity to meet with artists in their daily work spaces, ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of the creative process. Please come out and see me, I am at studio #47.

Maps and artist information is available on-line now at:  Printed maps and brochures will be available in a number of Sedona area businesses and hotels by mid-April.  If you 

have further questions, you can contact Mike Upp at or 503.789.4437.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Swans, oil, 5x7", $99

Thought I do the Daily Paintworks Challenge, today. I took the original morgue file photo and altered it considerably in Photoshop. I can view photos from a flash drive on my TV because it has an USB port. Then, I just work from the monitor and never have to print out my reference. This is my new way of working, if I need to work from a photo. I love it. My TV screen is a 43" and I can zoom in on a photo, too. Sometimes, I just love technology.

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Backyard Trees

Backyard Trees, oil, 5x7" $99

These trees are in a neighbor's yard that I see from my studio window. I enjoy how the evening light dances upon them. It's the best of both worlds, when I can paint an outdoor scene from life, in the comfort of my studio.

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Granny Smith Apple

Granny Smith , oil, 7x5", $99

I try to eat an apple a day. Fuji apples are my favorite for eating. Crisp, juicy and sweet. I love the form and color of this granny, especially with the purple drape. I am going to slice her up and eat her on my salad...yum.

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

Number 2 Cow

Number 2 Cow, oil, 6x6", $99

I created this painting from a photo I took in CA. I think she is one of those 'California happy cows'. She sure looks happy enough chewing on that grass that I gave her!

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze, oil, 8x6" $125

When I saw this lovely lady's photo I just thought of a summer breeze. I love the way the light plays on her face and the sweet expression of her face. I often listen to music when taking my morning walk, riding my bike or painting. Here's the tune:

See the curtains hangin' in the window
In the evenin' on a Friday night
Little light is shinin' through the window
Lets me know everything's alright

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

See the paper layin' on the sidewalk
A little music from the house next door
So I walked on up to the doorstep
Through the screen and across the floor

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune
And I come home from a hard day's work
And you're waiting there, not a care in the world

See the smile awaitin' in the kitchen
Food cookin' in the plates for two
Feel the arms that reach out to hold me
In the evening when the day is through

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind


Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Number 1 Cow

Number 1 Cow, oil, 6x6", SOLD

I have always been fascinated by cows. I used to love to pick tall grass and feed them through the fence as a child and even as an adult. This is my first closeup 'portrait' of a cow and I didn't notice until I was painting her that her tag read '1'. How apropos! She is also so beautiful, that she is number one in my book!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Red Tea Pot, Mug and Apple

Red Tea Pot, Mug & Apple, oil, 6x8" $125

Thank you,  Jill Rae Martin-Golden for your comment on my cupcake #3 expressing interest in my three color palette for that painting. I replied that I can't really take credit for my palette as it was sort of based on Zorn's, comprised of Ivory Black, Cadmium Red Deep, and Yellow Ochre. Well, that got me to thinking. I have never really tried Anders Zorn's palette for a painting until today. It's pretty easy to focus on the values and play of cools vs warms. Forget about making intense colors, other than red. However, I found it to be a great exercise and I am glad to have done it and learned from it.

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Click on the link here to see an earlier version of the same subject that was painted with a full palette.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Lyssandra, oil, 14x11", available

Today, was an 'All-Day Portrait Studio' at the Granite Reef Community Center sponsored by Portrait Artists of Arizona. Lyssandra was our beautiful young model and she is as sweet as she looks. It was hilarious how the men in the group went ga-ga over her and most were old enough to be her grandfather if not her great grandpa! Nothing inappropriate, as we all appreciate beauty, and had a great time getting together and painting.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cupcake #3

Cupcake #3, oil, 7x5", $99

I used a limited palette of only three colors plus black and white. They are: titanium white, ivory black, azo yellow, utrecht red and alizarin crimson. The black mixed with white reads blue, and when the alizarin is added, it reads purple. This cupcake almost painted itself, it went so fast!

Click here to purchase on Etsy

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Water Lily

Water Lily, oil, 5x7", Sold

This is from a photo I came across on Paint my Photo. It reminds me of going out in the rowboat to find and pick water lilies to bring home to my mom.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cupcake #2

Cupcake #2, oil, 7x5", $99

I don't know if painting cupcakes is a good idea for me. I almost convinced my husband to buy me some actual cupcakes for reference. I am not to be trusted! All kidding aside, cupcakes are not as easy as I thought they would be to paint. I think they are a great painting exercise for me, because I just focus on the shapes without any emotional attachment as I would have with a portrait or an animal.

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Milk Break

Milk Break, oil, 5x7", $99

I took the reference photos for this painting a few years ago when I lived in the farming community of Manchester, Michigan. It was spring and this little one was adorable!

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Canine Pet Portrait of Faithful Companion

Portrait of Suzy, oil, 10x8" SOLD 

Please say a prayer for Suzy's owner as she is very ill.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

This Little Piggy

This Little Piggy, oil 7x5" $99

I loved painting this porker! I used a photo from Paint my Photo. Cool site, cool pig!

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cupcake #1

Cupcake #1, oil, 7x5", $99

This is my first painting of a cupcake. Many more to follow. It was fun, but not easy! I worked from a photograph because I dare not have any in the house, or they will be inside me.

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Dawn Breaks Over Mt Shasta

Dawn Breaks Over Mt Shasta, oil, 5x7", $99

I took the reference photos for this painting while on a trip up to Oregon over Thanksgiving week. It was a cold morning and the fog had lifted to this majestic scene.

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

White Maine Coon Cat

White Maine Coon Cat, oil,  7x5" $99

I decided to participate in Leslie Saeta's "Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days Challenge". I had fun painting this cat! I hope each and every piece I create will teach me something new.

Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Portrait of Margie

Portrait of Margie, Oil, 24x30 SOLD

I just recently finished this portrait and wanted to share with you my process. Margie is a wonderful person; sophisticated, charming, warm and vivacious! During the photo session, we took photos throughout the house and deck. Margie is photogenic and all the photos looked portrait worthy. Then we decided on a change of outfit and Margie invited me into the bedroom. I loved the warm lighting from her nightstand and the cooler lighting coming in from a window in which hanged a stained glass piece. Margie was all excited to put on her attire that she was taking on her cruise through the Panama Canal. We both giggled like a couple of girls playing 'dress up'. We both knew we had a winner!

Well, while Margie and her husband left for the cruise, and I got started on the portrait.

I began sketching with a brush and paint thinned with mineral spirits. I am most concerned with placement of the elements and not a lot of detail.

Next, I began to wash in some values. I am letting the white of my canvas serve as the light.

I begin fairly early to block in some color with thicker paint. I believe this photo was at the end of day three. I tried not to get too hung up in one spot, but I spent about the whole day fiddling with the face. It was getting close, but not what I wanted. I gave myself permission to take my time on this portrait and not rush too much. However, I did have a deadline to have it done for a Christmas party where it needed to be finished and dry to the touch for an unveiling. No pressure, right?

I have been working with a fairly complex palette: titanium white, naples yellow light, cadmium lemon yellow, transparent oxide yellow, cadmium orange, cadmium red medium, carmine, permanent alizarin crimson, king's blue, ultramarine blue, dioxazine purple, permanent green light, and viridian. My mantra was: cool vs warm, complements of yellow vs violet, blue vs orange, transparent vs opaque, thick vs thin and dark vs light. I kept the most detail to the face and figure, simplifying as much as possible, especially in the background. You can see around the head where I start to mix Neo-Megilp into my paints. I love it even more than Liquin. It stays wetter longer and makes everything luminous, especially the dark colors that tend to sink in.

This necklace was very important to Margie to get it right. The trick was to get enough detail to read as diamonds, but not so much as to take away from her face. I know I got it right when Margie gave me a huge hug when she came over to view the portrait. The best compliment of all, was at the unveiling when Margie's husband got misty eyed!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Feline Repose II

Feline Repose II, giclee, 7x5", $15

I scanned my original drawing before it was sold. I then colorized it in Photoshop to create a digital art piece. I am including a double mat suitable for an 8x10" frame.

Click here to purchase.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Anticipation, oil, 16x12" SOLD

"Everyday is good, some days are better!" Yesterday, I met with my model, Mary Beth Hamilton, and she purchased her portrait for a gift. She's a beautiful woman and is now a full time model. I met with her at the Scottsdale Artists' School where I had to pick up my pastel paintings from the Arizona Pastel Artists Association Fall Show. My hubby took our picture in front of the school.

If that wasn't good enough, I was also there at the Scottsdale Artists' School for a demonstration by renown New York artist, Max Ginsburg. What a wonderful artist, teacher and a gentleman!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Got My Head In The Clouds!

Self Portrait, oil, 12x16"

Ok, so I know having one's head in the clouds is saying that one is a little 'out of touch' with reality, but that is where I choose to be! I think you almost have to be if you want to be an artist. It's not an insult...just a creative compliment!

I enjoyed painting this portrait because it reflects who I have become. I just had my 62nd birthday and I intend to show my brightest colors before giving way to the dark. I've had some storms in my life, too, and they ebb and flow. I chose to have a big smile because I had my husband take my photos and he is just the light of my light! He always put a smile on my face even when I am mad as hell. Like my friend Hope always tells me, "I got it good". I am grateful, thankful and proud to be an artist. I am proud to be me.

Monday, October 6, 2014

California Gold

California Gold, Oil, 8x10", SOLD

This painting reflects just about everything I love in the countryside; water, trees, tall grasses, hills, mountains, and a sunny day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Morning Storm Clouds

Morning Storm Clouds, Oil, 9x12", available

This is a plein air that I did yesterday morning. The sky was pretty stormy and I wasn't sure if I would catch any heavy rain or wind. Luckily, I did not encounter much, to speak of. As you can see in the photo below of my set up, it was clearing up nicely by the time I was wrapping up my gear.

I like using my Guerrilla Painter® 9x12 Pochade Box out in the field even though it's a bit heavy. Actually, that bit of weight keeps it pretty stable when the wind kicks up a bit. I use my Best Brella religiously to keep the sun off of me and my artwork. It gets hot out in the sun and if you ever painted with the bright sun on your surface, you know your painting will look too dark inside.

Best decision I made was to get my jeep. She gets me places even our truck can't get to.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Desert Rain At Sunset

Desert Rain At Sunset, Oil, 8x10", available

Oh my, I have been having a good ol' time. I have been so busy with hiking, biking, off roading and yes, painting! I have lost a ton of weight, had to replace my wardrobe 3 or 4 times and now I am ready to start anew! So, I apologize for neglecting my blog, but I promise to start posting my work from the last few months and new stuff as it comes along.

Here is my hubby with my off road jeep to hit the trails with for plein air and fun with my guy:

This is a trail in Sedona that the jeep tours take. It's only accessible with something that can climb rocks. Rich is teaching me to do just that. Whoa, is that a rush! Here's me from the same day: