“Summer Flame”


I’ve been working on this painting off and on for 9 months and I can finally say it is finished.  Some things are worth waiting for, don’t you agree?  Now that it is complete I will take you through the step by step process.

First the reference photo of the flowers.  The light is coming from several votive candles placed on the table near the flower arrangement, creating dramatic lighting and color.

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I started by sketching out the drawing on 14 x 20 140lb cold press Arches paper.  The white highlights on the vase were then masked out so I could put a yellow wash on the entire sheet of paper.   This would allow a warm yellow glow to come through the rest of the painting.


After wetting the entire paper I applied a light wash of  Golden Indian Yellow Hue.



Now the fun begins.  I started by fleshing out the beautiful gerber daisy that is the focal point using Gamboge, Quinacridone Gold, Pyrrole Red and Transparent PyrroleOrange.


Then I moved on to some of the surrounding sunflowers using the same colors. And then using a mix of Phthalo Blue, Violet Oxide and some Burnt Sienna I started putting down some of the background color.  You can see Charlie’s legs sticking out from under the table … always wants to be in the picture.


Next I started to work on filling out the sunflowers on the right and getting more of the background color down.  With the dark areas filled in I can get a better sense of how bright to make the flowers.   Each layer is built up gradually until I reach the intensity that I am looking for.  For the green I used Cobalt Blue and Gamboge adding Dioxazine  Purple or Burnt Sienna to darken it.  For the very dark greens I added the Phthalo Blue, Violet Oxide and Burnt Sienna to the mix.


I also started filling in the leaves behind the gerber daisy.  This is very time consuming because I can’t really see them in the photo.  I use photoshop to lighten the photo as much as possible to get an idea of what is hiding back there.  I’ve been asked why I take the time to paint are area that is obviously going to be painted over and unseen but I feel it gives the painting more depth.  I could easily just paint it black and be finished much faster but then the painting would feel very flat.  I want you to “feel” it as much as see it, you know there is something back there but you just can’t quite see it.


From here I begin the process of fine tuning, pushing leaves and petals back into the background by darken them with purple washes over the sunflower leaves and the black mixture over the greens above the gerber daisy.  Where I lost some of my white paper I discovered this wonderful product by Daniel Smith – Watercolor Ground.  I use it almost like paint, it is much closer in color to the white of the paper than any white paint I have found.  I only use this in very small areas ….. where I forget what I am doing and accidentally paint over an area that was meant to stay white.


Tah-Dah!!  It’s finished.


“Good Game, Good Game”


Yay, it’s finished!!  Last Memorial Day I was in Charlottesville, VA with friends and family.  We visited some of the wineries in the area and found one that hosts polo games on Sundays.   My goal was to finish it before this past Memorial Day and I did, I’m just a little slow in posting to the blog.  Here is what the original photo looked like – Image

I pumped up some of the colors and simplified the background.  I wanted the white horse to be the focus of interest and attempted to blur the edges on the other horse and the riders.  Something I find difficult to do  because I usually end up painting EVERYTHING in detail.  That is my challenge.  The white horse was a lot of fun to paint, there were so many colors in the shadows and reflections, lots to play with.  This is 27″ x 20″ fluid acrylic on Arches 300lb. watercolor paper.  Hope you like it!

New Paintings

Here are a few of the paintings I’ve completed in the last few months –


This portrait was commissioned as a Christmas gift.  It was done on 300 lb 12 x 16 paper with fluid acrylics.  I used violet oxide for his primary color with highlights of burnt sienna and  transparent red oxide.  Also, dioxazine purple for shadows and violet oxide mixed with burnt umber and some sepia for the very dark shadows.

Reference photo

In the process of working on this painting I found an old table easel of my mother’s, it works beautifully on my counter height drawing table.  I find sitting too confining as I need to be able to get up and down to look at my work as I paint.  Easy to do when working on a standard easel but with watercolor its a more bit difficult.  The table is high enough for me to stand while painting and the table easel  leans back far enough so it does not create runs in the paint.  This allows me to do the two step easel dance – one step back, squint – one step forward paint – one step back squint!

   The following day, after I completed this painting , I became a brand new grandma!!  Needless to say, all painting was put on hold while I fell in love with this beautiful new little baby girl!!

In January I returned to planet earth, the holidays were over and  I was ready to paint again.  I started with this little piece called “Up?”  Look at those seductive eyes saying, “you know you want to pick me up”.


An artist friend of mine told me about Aquabord and I thought I’d give it a try.  This was done on a 6 x 6 square in fluid acrylic.  It has the same absorbency as the watercolor canvas, which means the paint floats on top of the surface (not my preference).  However, it does have the benefit of easy correction with a Mr Clean magic eraser.  I was able to easily remove a lot of the acrylic paint with little harm to the surface.  “Up?” was completed in a few hours, world record time for me!!  I purchased several of few of these little boards and over the next few months I will do more of these little paintings and have them available for sale at my shows this summer.

Reference photo

I am a member of a wonderful little art blog called Artcolony, this year we are doing art challenges every month.  For the month of January we had the “White Challenge”.  As I didn’t have a lot of time to do a new painting after the holidays and I was struggling to come up with something new,  I turned around one day and realized I already had something in the works!  This will be completed in the next few weeks, winter will be over soon and the grass will be calling once again.  Stay tuned.

White Challenge

For February we had a Red Challenge and I had the perfect painting.  Once again, Jack is in the starring role…… hope it doesn’t go to his head.  Murry would not be pleased.

"Undercover Spy"

This is 8 x 12″ on 140lb paper in fluid acrylic.  I used raw sienna for Jack’s base color with burnt sienna for his stripes and a little transparent burnt sienna for the yellowie fur on his leg.  For the blanket I used pyrolle red as the base color and pyrolle orange for the highlights.   For the shadows I used dioxazine purple and the for the deeper shadows I used a combination of paynes grey mixed with violet oxide.  I also used  dioxazine purple with sap green in the darkest parts of the shadows.  It’s always an experiment for me.

Reference photo

Live your dream.