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Showing posts from 2011

A Study of Values

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"Apple symbolizes wisdom, because in the Bible, it is the fruit of the tree "that gives the knowledge of what is good and what is evil"1(Genesis 2:9), which Adam and Eve are forbidden to eat. God had said "You may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except the tree that gives the knowledge of what is good and what is evil..."2(Genesis 2:16-17). Nevertheless, being tempted by the evil serpent, Adam and Eve eat the apple. After they consume the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve "[are] given understanding"3(Genesis 3:7), and are thrown from paradise, the Garden of Eden. Therefore, the apple may also symbolize the beginning of an exile, or suffering."
--Dominique Mao

Her Gaze

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Adrienne is a petite young woman with the most compelling gaze. The shadows are painted very thin and the light values, especially in the face, are impasto. My intent was to show some interesting brush work in this 2.5 hour sketch from life.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue.

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I borrowed the blue glass from Judy Goral of Lemons, IL. The flowers were given to me from Carol Marine. This lesson was to use one color per one stroke. I groaned at first then decided that I loved the results! Got to do this more often.

Apple with Cup & Saucer

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I set up this arrangement after our lesson on composition at Carol Marine's workshop. I borrowed the cup from Cathe Hedgespeth of Henderson, KY. She is a sweetheart. I worked at the same table as her each day. I borrowed the background papers from Trish Lyons of Louisville, KY, who also shared my table. Trish is a wonderful gal, too, and I was happy to loan objects along with everyone else. We had a fantastic group of people, which included two great guys!

At the Carol Marine Workshop

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If you ever get a chance to attend a Carol Marine workshop, your money will be well spent! Carol is a fabulous instructor and a teaches a wealth of information. Even an old dog like me can learn a new trick or two. This piece is one I did on my first day. I will be posting more and putting up on DPW.

Her Highness Holds Court

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The Daily Paintworks Challenge is to paint man's best friend and his/her favorite things. This is Sasha and she looks so regal that she could be Queen!

Portrait of Marjorie

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Marjorie had sat for us, again, and I did the usual oil sketch. I liked it, but it had a couple of issues that I decided I'd address at home. I bring a camera with me to the sessions and take a few photos of the models as reference. I rarely go back and alter a piece at home, as I either like what I did or I don't. Those I don't, I will use to paint over with something or someone else.

Marjorie is special. She is someone that I admire, consider a friend and feel a special bond with her. I hope that my portrait of her shows the respect I feel for her.

Lost in Thought

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Heather was our model at Open Figure Studio. I was quite pleased with the outcome from the dramatic backlighting. I was working on a fairly dark toned panel. This piece just flowed without much pressure. I am not sure who was lost in thought more, myself or the model?

Gar's Shoes

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A simple still life that I set up for my students. Gar provided the shoes. I did this as a demo.


Art Center Coffee Mug

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Last Thursday, I had some time in between classes to eat my dinner and set up this simple still life. I teach an oil class for beginners and I like to keep it simple. "what the hey", I thought, "I'll knock this puppy out myself before class". Well, I am very pleased with the results.



Open Figure Session, September 28, 2011

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Marjorie was our wonderful model, yesterday. I was so happy with her choice of the red top as it reflected plenty of warmth into her skin. The walls of the art center are a very cool white and yesterday was overcast, adding additional coolness. Everyone kind of got a late start, so with breaks, I painted this in about two hours. Doesn't seem to matter how early I get there, time just seems to get the better of me. The upside is that I don't seem to be over thinking my approach. I had a warm reddish brown tone on this board and it seemed to really help to paint the portrait quickly. You can see it particularly in the blouse.

Open Figure Session, September 7, 2011

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I love this guy! He's so funny, talented, easy going. He kind of has a bit of a nut job for a wife, but hey, nobody's perfect.

Rich was our model yesterday at our Open Figure Session. I have painted him a time or two and every time I do, I think I get a little better at it. I love the far away look in his eyes and the shadow on the wall. The unfinished shirt with the red underneath, seems to point the viewer straight to the face while giving a nice texture. What do you think?

Open Figure Session, August 3, 2011

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Dick is a fellow artist and member of the Jackson Civic Art Association. You can see a gorgeous piece of his pen & ink art, "Sudden Encounter", on the JCAA website. It is always a pleasure to have Dick as a model, as he has so much character, both as a model and a person. I have used him many times in my workshops and classes. Here is a quick computer sketch that I did of him a few months ago:

 And, on a similar note, here is a quickie pencil sketch that I did while sitting at my computer, from a Google image of Drew Barrymore awhile back:


Something about the act of drawing that I find both soothing and stimulating. Sounds a bit like an oxymoron, but I feel so relaxed while drawing and totaling engaged, simultaneously. How about you?

The Nature's Arrangement Challenge

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This is a  Daily Paintworks Challenge posted byJames Coulter. The directions are as follows:


For this challenge you'll have to go outside (yes, even if it's hot). Choose some flowers on the ground and stand from one to six feet away from them. Use only these colors: Ultra Blue, Cad Yellow Med (or Lt), Cad Rd Lt and white. Limit your painting time to one hour (don't cheat!). Using only three brush sizes (large, med and small) start with a large brush and cover the canvas with thin paint (not runny), getting most of the large, dark areas blocked in. Then work dark to light, thin to thick. Have a focal point with darker darks, lighter lights, more intense color, thicker paint and fewer sharper edges. The rest of the painting should support that area with less visual energy (softer edges, less intense colors, less contrast). Use the smallest brush only at the end and in the focal area only (last 15 minutes). Use a value scale of at least 8 to 2 (dark to light). And try not to u…

Open Figure Session, July 27, 2011

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I love this poise at today's Open Figure Studio. I have been working on oil and acrylic paintings for the last few weeks, in my own studio, so its a nice departure to work with charcoal. Pat is a great model that holds very still and is a wonderful photographer in her own right.

Open Figure Session, July 20, 2011

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It might of been sweltering hot outside, but we were as cool as cucumbers at our Open Figure Studio. Linda, our model, brought in fresh picked blueberries and we drew and painted to soft music. It's so nice to spend an afternoon with fellow artists doing our thing.

Open Figure Session, July 13, 2011

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Ben graciously accepted my request to be our model for Open Figure Studio. I bet his mother wishes that she could get him to sit as quiet and as still as he did for us! I had not touched my oils in about 4 or five weeks due to many other commitments. I do, however, draw, sketch or paint almost everyday. I had a little trepidation and had actually given myself permission to not push myself. Well, from the moment my brush touched my panel I got totally lost in the joy of what I was doing. Mmmmm, maybe that is what I need to practice everyday. Just letting go and having fun in the process of doing!

Little Ben Saved the Day!

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This is Ben. He is 11 years old and one of the best models that I have had the privilege of working with. I taught a two day Figure and Portrait Workshop last week and the scheduled model neither called or showed. Ben happened to be in with his mother who is on staff with the Community Arts of Tecumseh. I asked her permission to use Ben after I asked Ben if he was interested. He gave me a resounding, "yes", and he was our only model from 9 AM until 3 PM. What a trooper! Everyone loved him and I think you can truly see his wonderful personality in this charcoal sketch that I drew of him.

A Good Day

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This is a scene from my office window of the path that my husband mows for easy access into the woods. It tickles me to watch turkeys strut down this path or the deer promenade from out of the woods. I painted this primarily plein air and did some touch up from photo reference in my studio.


"All good things come to those that wait". Had this little piece in our local Manchester gallery, The Wild Acorn, for what seemed forever. I got the call today while in my Open Figure Studio in Tecumseh, that my piece had sold. This scene is from one of my husband and mine's many forays into northern Michigan.


Linda was our model today at Open Figure Studio. She is fantastic and doesn't move a bit. At break time she  once again becomes her usual bubbly personality! Linda is a wonderful artist in her own right and I am proud to say that she has been one of my many students.

Shhh, I Hear The Light

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I've had a terrifically busy few weeks since my last post. I taught a two day Portrait Workshop Boot Camp, that was fabulous. Just a great bunch of students and a couple of terrific models. I did a two day outside event of my fine art, that unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate and I had to pull out early due to high winds. I have been teaching my acrylic, pastel and portrait classes and several commissions and caricature jobs that came my way took up my time.


The Whole Cat and Kaboodle Challenge was posted by Dreama Tolle Perry on Saturday May 14, 2011. I got around to it this morning. Originally, I intended to do it in oil, but got sidetracked when I decided to use acrylic to cover and tone a panel that I had used to demo in one of my acrylic classes. My husband, Rich, provided the title. I hope to do a version in oil, if I can spare the time.

Letting Go

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The All about Me Challenge was posted by Carol Marine on Saturday Apr 30, 2011. The details are: This challenge is just for fun - simply paint a self portrait. Nothing to learn here, except perhaps that a self portrait is frickin' hard! So, make it normal, make it silly, but let us see the real you! I was captivated by the "let us see the real you".

The real me has little to do with how I look and everything to do with who I am. I love blue skies, the warmth of the sun on my face and having a connection with nature. I am in awe of God's creation and I am thankful to be alive.

OK, I am well aware of the cliché, pushing up daisies. Soon after the photo was taken that I used for reference of myself, I was diagnosed with cancer. It was one of the scariest passages of my life and one of the most profound. After surgery, I was given a good prognosis and I am just shy of my five year anniversary. A day doesn't go by that I don't think of it. And the good news is, n…

Memento Mori

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One of the skulls that either my husband or I have found and cleaned up over the years. I guess its an artist thing...at least this artist. I have always been fascinated with anatomy. I used to study my father's manuals from when he was a medic in World War II. I believe all the copying of skeletons and muscles helped me to develop tremendously in portraiture.

On this particular piece, I was mostly concerned with painting the light and not the minutia of the skull. I was going for drama with the color. It was sad to me that this healthy young buck was shot and ran off to die, undiscovered until he could not be eaten. My husband came across his corpse while taking a leisurely walk in the woods and brought home his head. I find his skull both beautiful and disturbing, just like this story.

Pulse of New York

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Yet, another Daily Paintworks Challenge! I love doing figures, and I have already done an oil painting on this theme, All A Twitter. Many of you have commented on the use of my color on the DPW site. I love color, it is music for my eyes! New York is pretty drab, but definitely an exciting place. Color is what excites me and is a good metaphor for the sounds, smells and intensity of the city as well as the look in this woman's posture and face.


Here is my second version in acrylic:

I haven't worked in acrylic lately, other than demonstrating for my students. Thought I'd give in a whirl! I used a limited palette and like the subtle difference in the color scheme.

Two of a Kind

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I was fortunate to be able to take my mother to Bermuda several years ago, prior to her illness that took her from me. I photographed these intensely colored flowers growing on an old stone wall. A apt metaphor for our relationship. I can hear her now, "Mary, I like your flowers...they will look great on my wall!"

Elvis Is In The House

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Last year while visiting some friends, I took photos of their chickens. I figured that one day I'd get around to painting chickens because they look cool and taste great! Well, as you can see, our friend had some rather plain, drab hens and then this magnificent bird. I don't know what breed this is, but he really reminds me of 70's Elvis, in his white jumpsuit, a bit bloated and really strutting his stuff! Those chicks are his adoring fans.

Missed You For Tea

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I entered this miniature into The Color of White Challenge, posted by Susan Abbott on Daily Paintworks. It is my second piece. My first sold this past Thursday. Missed You For Tea, although small, was a complicated piece that took approximately four hours to draw.

A Bike Too Big

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I was twelve years old and other than a tricycle as a toddler, I had never owned a bike. Even worse, I couldn't ride one. I wanted more than anything to enjoy the freedom of riding a bike; going long distances in less time, getting out of the neighborhood, exploring new places. Then, out of nowhere, a friend of the family gave me their daughter's old bicycle. A red bike with fat tires, heavy and clunky and very BIG. Hey, I didn't care that it was 'retro', I figured that this thing was going to crush me the moment I fell off considering that I couldn't balance. I would try and I would be bruised, perhaps more pride than body.
Both of my brothers had learned to ride on their friends' bikes and then bought bikes of their own. They didn't teach me. Neither did my parents or friends. Back then, it was something that you learned on your own. If you wanted it bad enough, you did it! OK, but my big bike just seemed too big. I felt humiliation about not being abl…

The Road Less Traveled

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This is the companion piece to Headed Toward the Light. This was actually toward the beginning of our hike and in near proximity to my pastel painting, 'Around The Bend'. As you can see, we were still on relatively level ground. When I paint these little pieces, or even gaze at them, they take me back to being there. But, most of all, walking hand in hand with my best friend, my heart, my husband.


Open Figure Session, April 6, 2011

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This was the second time that Brian modeled for us. He is a student from a nearby college. A handsome young man and an enjoyable model to paint!

The Long and Winding Road

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This is my second submission for the German Landscape Challenge, hosted by Carol Marine and Daily Paintworks. When I am painting, I feel as if I'm at the movies. With every stroke, I become a part of the scene, enjoying all the sights and sounds. I am the director and I like happy endings!


The Long Road Home

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This is my submission for the German Landscape Challenge, hosted by Carol Marine and Daily Paintworks. I have never been to Germany, but my objective with all my paintings is to express myself with color and mood. I know what the light looks like and how the air feels on a day such as this. I hope you feel the breeze in your hair and the warmth of the sun on your skin, as you remember walking the long road back home.

Red Pepper

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I love to garden and to cook, and the red pepper is a vegetable that I also love to paint as well as eat! It has wonderful color and shape. Notice the subtle reflection on the surface that it sat on. All in all, a tasty treat!


Open Figure Session, March 30, 2011

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Wednesday was our portrait session in Tecumseh, and Dominique was our wonderful model. I spent about two hours minus breaks on this study. Dominique was a very energetic girl and this was her first time modeling. The arm resting on her head was her idea and although a difficult pose for her and for us, everyone did a fantastic job! I took some good photos and perhaps will develop this into a more finished piece.

Red Rose, ACEO, original color pencil painting

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Red Rose is an original 2.5 x 3.5” (ACEO) painting. It was painted with professional grade water soluble colored pencil on UART sandpaper and comes protected in a clear polypropylene resealable card sleeve. This one of a kind miniature painting is initialed on the front and signed on the back by the artist along with the title. It is unframed. Photo of framed art is for illustrative purposes only.



This little gem was originally painted for the ‘A Valentine’s Day Rose Challenge’ on the Daily Paintworks site. This particular challenge was hosted by Qiang Huang. The rose is my favorite flower, its scent as pleasing as its beauty.

Parked in the Promised Land

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Parked in the Promised Land is an original 2.5 x 3.5” (ACEO) painting. It was painted with professional-grade water soluble colored pencil on UART sandpaper and comes protected in a clear polypropylene re-sealable card sleeve. This one-of-a-kind miniature painting is initialed on the front and signed on the back by the artist along with the title.To view more on this piece or to purchase, pleaseclick hereto go to my Etsy page.
This little gem was originally painted for the ‘Old Car in Florida Challenge’ on the Daily Paintworks site. This particular challenge was hosted by Carol Marine. 



This was a fun little piece and not my first car, by any means. One of my most memorable was a Ferrari Testarossa along with the portrait of Fiat’s owner published on the cover of Manufacturing Engineering magazine back in 1987.


Art Cards, Editions and Originals (ACEO) are an offshoot of Artist Trading Cards. ACEOs originated when some artists began to create cards to sell, in addition to trading among th…

The Help Japan Challenge

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'Home' is the theme this week for the Daily Paintworks Challenge. It is dedicated for artists to help raise money for those who were affected by the recent disasters in Japan.I am honored to be able to offer this painting for this challenge and to help the people of Japan.

This little piece is on the lake that I spent my summers and eventually became my parent's full time home. It holds many of my cherished memories.

I will donate all proceeds to Japanese "Aid for Bed" - Directly Helping by Providing Shelter for the Displaced.

Chinese Tea Strainer on Silk Chiffon

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The strainer cup sits on a little hand, held in place by the thumb and fingers. Its part of a beautiful tea set that I received as a gift from China, brought to me by my brother who travels there often. Tea was also part of the gift, vacuum packed and enough to enjoy for years to come. The fabric of the chiffon is very diaphanous with subtle variations in color and pattern. The inspiration for this piece is from the The Color of White Challenge.

Portrait of Anne

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This is a portrait, commissioned by Anne's grandmother, a lovely lady who lives many miles away from her beloved granddaughter. All she had were a couple of snapshots and small school photos. I told her I would do my best. Here is the primary reference that I used:

My requirements given to me for the commission were to use pastel, make the face three quarters and the hair long. I used a sheet of steel gray Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper. I used the dimpled side of the paper to give the piece some interesting texture. This girl's personality looked so vivacious that I used strong bright colors in the hope to capture it. Grandmother loved it and will be shipping it after framing!

All A Twitter

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My husband and I were out at a park last summer and I was taking photos. I have a pretty good zoom lens on the camera, so I was able to snap photos of people doing 'their thing' undetected. I took some snap shots of this young lady and worked out some ideas.

I love the light, shadow and the many angles of this composition. It seems rather abstract to me. It is reminiscent of a pinwheel that spirals down to the phone in this girl's hand. I just imagined that she was probably texting her 'honey bunny', her heart was going 'pitter patter', and she was 'all a twitter'! All said, it was just another quiet summer day in the park.

Lincoln Challenge Part Deux

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Here is my painted version. Value study of President Abraham Lincoln. A president of true values.