Saturday, October 23, 2010


One of my favorite subjects to paint is people on the beach. I captured these two young girls playing in the surf in Santa Cruz, CA. I am attracted to the colors the light at the ocean emits...the warm tones of the bodies against the cools of the sea. But it is through the brushstrokes that I try to capture the freedom of spirit of the girls.

This painting was accepted into the National Juried Show of the American Impressionist Society for 2010. It was my first attempt to get in and I was both surprised and very excited to be accepted!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In this demonstration, I began with raw umber to draw the still life of pears. The design is created not only with the objects, but with their shadows as well. This unites them in the painting. Then, continuing the idea of 10 strokes, I painted each pear using only 10 strokes to put the color and their shadows down. By limiting myself to the ten strokes for each pear, I force myself to work the whole painting rather than getting bogged down with details too soon. I moved from pear to pear and once each was done in the ten strokes, I then began to let the smaller details come out. Eventually, I decided to darken the background in order to bring out the pears.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boat Landing oil on canvas 9x12

Doing paintings of boats is always an interesting challenge. I don't know anything about boats, so as I always tell my students, they are just shapes. By reducing what we look at into the concept of abstract shapes, we can paint them. The process is all about observation without pre deciding what we think we are looking at. We have a tendency to draw what we think we see rather than what we really observe.

This painting was chosen by Camden Falls Gallery to be donated as part of their fundraiser, "Giving Thanks" to benefit the Mid Coast Charities" of Maine.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This is an exercise I do with my class. I find that many students start to noodle their paintings, yet they want to "be looser" with their paintings. So, I set up one object at a time, light it and ask them to paint the object in only ten strokes. I allow the drawing, done with a brush and in a neutral tone, to be created without counting. Then, as I start to apply the paint, the counting begins! I create one stroke with one color, reload my brush changing the color or hue either slightly or dynamically, and then apply the next stroke. Although this may seem like a swift process, it actually demands that the student think, look and take the time to make the right choices.

The Onion is an example of beginning with just the 10 strokes and then continuing