Reds are always a good idea ….

It must be because the temperatures are in the 70’s today, here in the depth of our Northern winter, that I’m moved to paint flowers — in warm colors.  Actually, I don’t ever need ANY encouragement to paint flowers, but today it does seem reasonable to imagine that these blooms can’t be far away from showing off in the garden …. The watercolor red roses are a practice/color study for painting wet on wet and wet on dry — an excellent exercise on any day, really.


Inspiration … and then some

On what’s become an annual trip to London to visit my son Jonathan, I was delighted to spend a few hours almost every day at some of my most favorite museums in that fabulous city.   Among these is Somerset House —  I love that its Courtald Gallery has on permanent display a relatively small — and impressive — collection of late 19th century impressionist and post impressionist works. (Pictured above is Banks of the Seine at Carrieres-Sur-Seine by Maurice de Vlaminck.) It was so inspiring to stand next to these works — to really look at the iconic interpretations of form, color and light, so controversial in their time..


The Abstract Expressionism exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts took my breath away — the works I’d only studied  in Arnason jumped off the walls.  I hadn’t expected to be so affected by these room-filling pieces, but if I close my eyes, I can still see them.  When I was in the room with them, I wanted to inhale their color and drama.  I loved that one of the main displays in the museum gift shop was loaded with oil paint sets all ready for inspired visitors to take to their easels.


As a rule, it’s color that moves me ….

but this painting by James McNeill Whistler, Nocturne, Blue and Silver: Battersea Reach, is all the more striking because of its monochromatic composition.  On a recent visit to Boston, I was so happy to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to spend time with its magnificent collection.  This wonderful little painting is in the Yellow Room and you really need to look at it head on for a minute or two before the shapes of the boat, lights and clock tower emerge.  I can’t wait to work on some color studies in the near future that will be largely in one color.  So much depth and mood to convey …

So glad to be back in my studio

After a few weeks of  travelling, which took me to both coasts, I am happy to be back in my Milwaukee studio (which is a very sunny corner of my loft) and am ready for the cooler weather.   This vegetable still life came to be as a result of my farmers’ market haul over the weekend.  I am so thankful to my wonderful teacher, Pat Hidson, for introducing me to the incandescent delight that is gouache.  I don’t work in this medium often, but every time I do, I fall in love again.

Small Works

You can see here how I jerry-rig my table top easel in order to paint a small canvas.  One of the aspects of creating small works that I particularly enjoy is the ability to complete a painting fairly quickly and then be able to do another painting of that same scene to capture it in a different light, at a different time of the day, while the paint’s still wet on my palette.  My sketchbook color studies are especially helpful here, recording the changing light at different hours of the day.  At present I prefer to create plein air watercolor color studies and then to complete the finished oil painting in the studio, but that may change.

Since a good part of my time is occupied with my “day job” (my specialty baking business), it’s encouraging to be able to sit down for a few hours and actually complete a painting, which in turn inspires me to paint often.  I also find that just about everyone can find a spot for a small painting — 6″ square, 5″ x 7″ or 8″ x 10″ at most.  It’s a good size for a gift, souvenir or a thoughtful design element for your own personal space.

Here goes …

In this, my very first post, I want tell you a little about what I love to paint.  I have dozens of sketchbooks and many of them are filled with color studies of the water — the harbor on a cloudy summer afternoon, the lake shore on a sunny winter morning and so on  ….  My sketchbook, paints and water brush are always in my car and ready to go whenever the mood (I should say whenever the scene, because the mood is always there!) finds me.

I work from these color studies to create small oil paintings — many of these canvases are water scenes.  My time on coastlines — Cape Cod, Ireland and Lake Michigan — inspires me every day.

I am also drawn to and inspired by the garden and everything in it — many of my paintings are of flowers, fruits or vegetables.  Living in the North where the grey winter lingers, the need for color is an unrelenting force….