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Then until Now…See my First Paintings from 1985!

Practice might not make perfect, but it certainly facilitates improvement!

My parents signed my brother and I up for many extracurricular activities that never stuck.  Some of which we asked to do and some of which were thrust upon us – soccer, softball, guitar, ballet, Girl Scouts, and track, to name a few.  However, in February 1985, my mom signed me up for my first art class at age 7.  I have been taking art classes ever since.

first painting collage

So, the next time you take a class for fun, you never know, perhaps you will fall in love and continue for decades!

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My Paintings is Answer #3!

blogcollage“Five Doughnuts Stacked” is referring to my painting, “Doughnuts Galore” in the Find-the-Food Scavenger Hunt!  I recently attended the opening reception of “Feast Your Eyes: the art of food” at Annmarie Garden in Dowell, MD, in which two of my paintings were exhibited.

It was one of the most creative and playful exhibits I have attended.  They had several interactive stations, such as Find-the-Food: Food Art Scavenger Hunt and Create-A-Plate Display,  in which one uses felt to visualize what her/she likes to eat.  The creativity was fabulous.  Instead of the traditional, first, second, third place prizes, they were re-titled  the “Creme-de-la-Creme Award” and the “Amuse-bouche Award.”  The the jazz trio and the great h-orderves did not hurt either.

Now I have to start thinking of creative ideas for my next solo exhibition in 2015!  If you have any clever ideas, please send them my way 🙂

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You Can’t Even Draw a Stick Figure?

“I stickfiguream not creative and I can’t even draw a stick figure.  I could never do that,” is the response I get many times I tell someone I am an artist.  At that point I typically chuckle and say, “You never know” and then drop it.  But what I REALLY want to say, is you could be if you wanted to!  Honestly.

I look at my young children and their friends and see how creative and uninhibited they all are.  We are all born with this amazing enthusiasm and imagination (not to mention energy) and would be the best artist in the world, except for one thing; practice.  I truly believe that anyone could be an artist, they just have to want to do it, have a passion for it, and then put the hours in.  “And maybe a lesson or two, ” as my daughters book “Tallulah’s Tutu” says.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill: I believe it.  I entered my small liberal arts college expecting to major in visual arts.  In my first semester I had a reality check of what it takes to be an artist and quickly fled to the confines of the economics department.  I found the art majors to put in the  longest hours, were the most hardworking, and most competitive of any major on campus.  You had to work REALLY hard to get a C in a drawing class.  I could not hack it and was shocked by their dedication and drive.

Years later, I sometimes wish I did not run away from the art department with my tail tucked between my legs; however,  I have to remind myself that life really is a journey and you have to learn where you want to be, not everyone knows when they are 18.  My point – If you wanted to be an artist, you could, you need to find the desire and log the hours.

I am constantly surprised by my skill progression, the more I paint the better artist I become.  Artists are some of the most hardworking individuals I know.  Artists spend many more hours then they will admit perfecting their craft.  Of course it helps immensely that we love what we are doing.  So, if you want to be an artist, start with the stick figure and make 10,000 of them.  After that you might think differently about your abilities and what you can and can not do.

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Week Four: 30 in 30 Painting Challenge – The Wrap Up

I set out on September 1st with the goal to paint every day during the month – all 30 days in a row.  How did I fair?

I painted 27 out of the 30 days ( for 2, I was out of town and for 1, I was just plain lazy).  I completed 4.5 paintings (I spent a couple days at the beginning the month completing a commission and have already made headway on my next painting; hence the “.5” painting measurement).

All in all it was amazing having the continuity and fluidity of painting every day.  Did I sometimes want to use my painting time to get other life stuff done or take a nap…for sure!  In the coming months I will try to stick with painting most days, but not keep a tally and allow myself a bit of breathing room.

The most exciting part of all the paintings that I completed this month is that they are all going to be on display and for sale at a  fabulous, festive show show starting this Friday!  Come and see them in the “Rising Tide” exhibition at Washington ArtWorks (12276 Wilkins Ave, Rockville, MD) from October 3 – October 26.  Free open reception on Friday, October 10 from 6-9pm.  Come join me!

Lastly, a teaser, I have decided to increase my canvas size for the next painting…this image has been in my queue since May and I am so thrilled to be able to be working on it!

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Week Three: 30 in 30 Day Challenge

Painting 6 out of 7 days is commendable, so I am going to roll with that!  I really had no excuse for not painting on Sunday except I was tired.  I have noticed that painting more regularly has gotten me fired up to keep painting so I hope to continue the trend for the rest of the year!

With that in mind, I think my love of gummy peaches has grown.  This time not for the taste, but for its glorious, vibrant colors.  So, for all those people who tell me, “I would be too hungry if your paintings were on my wall,” there is a deeper appreciation that grows as you gaze on a object for a prolonged period of time.

With one week left, I have one more gummy peach painting to add to my triptych.   From order to chaos.  From orderly to unkempt.  From yearning to sated.

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Week One: 30 in 30 day challenge

I did it!  I painted every day (well, except for one when I was out of town).  I finished a commission I had been working on, which I will unveil at a later date as it is a surprise gift.  AND I complete “Treasure” (see left).

I LOVE sour gummy peaches.  They are one of my all-time favorite sweets, yes up there with French Macarons.  Sour gummy peaches are the perfect combination of sweet and sour and oddly pairs nicely with dark chocolate nonpareils – candy store here I come.  I had so much fun elevating my gummy peaches from a lowly movie snack to high art!  It is so true, one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

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30 Paintings in 30 days, kind of

Canvases primed and ready to go for my own 30 in 30 Challenge!


Yes, I might be a little nuts.  Yes, I have two small kids and I signed up for Artists’s Helping Artist’s Thirty Paintings in Thirty Day Challenge.  For those who are not familiar, this is a personal challenge to complete a painting a day in the month of September.  Hundreds of artists around the world have accepted this challenge.  Now, I gave this considerable thought and I am going to modify the challenge (as it is flexible), as I know I am not going to be pleased with a one day canvas, as my painting style requires layer upon layer of detail, not to mention the time-consuming nature of my two kids.
So, my personal challenge will be to paint every day in the month of September!  I hope to complete many of the painting ideas in my “ideas folder,” not to mention enjoy the fluidity of painting on a very regular basis.  From my push in May to meet the tight Strathmore Show deadline (4 large paintings in 5 weeks) I learned that my painting thrives on deadline and pressure; therefore, I am so excited to take on this challenge!  My blogs for the next month will focus on my process, progress, and lesson-learned from this month’s challenge, so stay tuned!


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The Skinny on Art Shows

Noticed posters around town promoting local art shows and exhibitions?  Have you wondered what these are all about?

Art shows are a great way for art to meet an audience, according to Wikipedia.  Art shows typically take place in a community venue, a gallery, or even outside festival.  A specific organization, gallery, or individual sponsors these shows. Local art shows are a fabulous way to support emerging artists and establish your art collection.

How does the art appear?  Upon securing a location, the sponsor sends out a “Call for Entry” to artists to submit their work for the upcoming show, often months in advance.  Artists respond by submitting digital images of their work, an application, possibly a small fee, and, at times, a resume and an artist statement.

Juried vs. Unjuried?  A juried exhibition implies an appointed judge (often a well known artist, critic, or curator) selects, from hundreds of submitted images, his or her favorite pieces and creates a cohesive show based on the criteria and/or theme from the “Call for Entry.”  When the show is hung, the judge then awards first, second, third places, and possibly some honorable mentions.  The awards can either be general or be judged by category, such as still life, animals, landscape, abstract.  Therefore, if an exhibition does not specify that is is juried, then there is no filter process and any works submitted can be displayed.

My Plug:  This coming Labor Day weekend (Aug 30 – Sept 1, 2014) there is a fabulous art show, “Paint The Town,” at The Kensington Armory.  Besides displaying high quality artwork, this show is unique because each artist participating is required to enter one painting based on the Town of Kensington, MD.  Per my love of delectable, gooey sweets, my entry this year (“Satisfying a Craving,” 2014. Oil on canvas, 24×36) was inspired by Jenny Cakes Bakery’s carrot cake cupcake!  Feast your eyes, no calories there!

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Adventures in Watercolor

watercolorUpon informing my very encouraging painting teacher I was going to be away from my paint brushes for a month, as summer often brings long beach vacations, he promptly suggested I try watercolor during my travels.  “You might really enjoy it,” he tells me. Purchasing a new set of paints, brushes, and paper that all fit neatly in a cute, compact container was exhilarating!  How easy to travel with!  Paints this compact and clean could make my life so much easier.  I had grand visions of ditching my messy, bulky, chemical-laden oil paints and become a watercolor artist!  That is, until I actually used the watercolor paints.

Being so accustomed to oil paints, I was not prepared for how fast watercolors dry.  Five minutes after squeezing the paint from the tube, the glob of paint would be dry!  I soon realized my oil painting pattern of creating an underpainting and then gradually add more and more detail to the scene was not going to fly.  When mixing colors to achieve the correct hue, they became muddy and then dried out in a few minutes.  Furthermore, I learned the unforgiving nature of watercolor was a great contrast to oils.  I needed to have my drawing precise in order for the watercolors to be effective.

My life is unpredictable with two small children, I need a medium that is forgiving and allows me time.  So, upon returning from vacation, I will be placing my watercolor paints in the corner of my studio in hopes that one day life will slow down and I will have the luxury and desire to learn to manipulate them.  In the meantime, my deepest respect and admiration goes out to all those watercolor artists out there.  If you know one, give him/her a big hug for me!


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Anatomy of My Painters Palette

My 5 year old is fascinated by my color palette. Upon walking in to my studio, she always seems to seek it out and ask questions about all the colors. After painting for so many years I have taken it for granted, as I have set it up in a certain order to be a constant in my painting life.

Underneath the glass palette is grey piece of paper, so when I mix my colors the true value can be seen, not a tainted hue from the ugly white plastic case beneath. My paint colors are repeatedly laid out in the same order, so my brain knows automatically where to go for a certain color, like a typist on a keyboard.  As a shortcut, I don’t usually clean my palette of the globs of true color for a) I might be able to reuse them if I paint again soon (the gloriousness of oil paints) or b) I don’t have to think too hard about what order to squeeze out my paints next time.

As an exercise to communicate more openly about my art, this is the first post in a series about  how to begin an oil painting.  My rich, colorful and organized palette is my starting point.

Palette in use