Friday, December 30, 2016

837 Shining Light

The Campion home was filled with warmth and joy at Christmas and Chanukah.  We had a house full of family--many from a warm climate who loved the cold (go figure) and frolicking in the snow.  We were all bundled up to endure snowball fights, building forts, and the highlight-- snow tubing.  Food and drink were plentiful, and laughter filled the air.  Santa visited and left many gifts for the children after filling his belly with cookies and milk.  We are all so fortunate to have so many blessings.

Painting over the last few weeks was at a minimum, but I was too busy to make it a priority.  I was a little worried that the dreaded painter's block would slip in, but thankfully it didn't.  A giant antique door knob painting called out from the easel, and a beautiful amaryllis gift from a friend is blooming and stirring potential painting ideas.

But at this time yesterday and today, I felt compelled to paint another refugee child pictured on ANERA'S "#Shine Your Light" year-end fundraising campaign ( as part of The Innocents Project.  This little girl stole my heart with her big brown eyes and bowed lips.  This will make my 10th portrait in this series,  and I will continue painting until I have a body of work to display and raise awareness (and funds) for the refugee children in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan. American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) has a great track record for providing education, shoes, warm clothes, medical supplies, improved water systems, and whatever else is needed to give refugees some dignity and the tools needed to make a better future.  It is very cold in that part of the world, perhaps you didn't know that, and heat is not plentiful even in regular homes, let alone in tents and makeshift cement structures. Imagine sleeping in 40 degrees without heat!  I hope you will check out ANERA's web sight and their Facebook page.  Their focus is on providing better lives for the refugees, NOT politics, so I hope that will further encourage you to read about their good work and to consider a donation.

I would like to express my gratitude to you for following my work and for all your comments, suggestions and encouragement.  I am grateful for the two galleries who represent me, Edgewood Orchard Gallery in Door County, Wisconsin, and The Leigh Gallery in Chicago.  I wish you all good things for 2017--good health, happiness, a heart full of love, and whatever prosperity means to you.

"837 Shining Light"
acrylic - 12x12 in

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Hob Knobbing

Even though it has been only a little more than a week since I last posted a painting, it seems like so much longer.  These are indeed very busy days with the holidays rapidly approaching, but rest assured, I am still painting!

I recently held an open house/open studio which was very enjoyable and successful for me, despite all the hard work in preparation, as well as in followup.  I am very fortunate to have a large space in which to work in our home, and it normally appears as if a tornado went through, but for safety's sake, I had to clean things up a bit.  I always raise an eyebrow when I see photos of artists' studios in magazines that look more like living rooms, neat as a pin, so I felt a little dishonest by having it so neat and clean.  It didn't take long for it to get back to "normal."

The painting above, "Hob Knobbing" is a variation of an earlier painting, "Hob Nobbing It" which sold through one of the galleries that represent me.  I used the original "Hob Knobbing It" painting along with my first Daily Painting "So Happy to Meet You" on my Open House invitation.  A collector saw the painting and really liked it, so voila! another appeared on the easel and, at her request, with a red knob where a blue knob appeared in the original painting.  There are sure to be more doorknob paintings in my future, as I enjoy the detail and uniqueness of each one.  While painting, my mind wanders and imagines the stories those old door knobs could tell if only they could talk.

We are thrilled to have all of our family together for the first time this Christmas.  It will be such a joy to have Santa visit once again after many years, and to have the laughter of children fill our home.  If I don't post until after the Holidays, please know that I am enjoying my family, my first love.  I am still painting in preparation for the new year, but will be working on larger paintings, which therefore take more time to complete.  

I am so grateful for those of you who follow my work, who take the time to comment, offer encouragement, and to those of you who like my work enough to purchase it and display it in your homes.  I love what I do, and I hope you can see that passion in my "work."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

836. Sticking Together

Today is Giving Tuesday, and it couldn't be a more perfect day to have completed this painting for one of my favorite organizations, ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid).  ANERA states their request more eloquently than I could ever do:  "Today is #GivingTuesday. Your gift can bring warm clothes to a child living in a tent. Your gift can deliver vital medicine to families living in isolated #Palestinian villages. Your gift can give kids and teens access to basic education, so their dreams don't fade. Please #ShineYourLightand give today."   I assume these two darlings are sisters, and I hope I have communicated that resemblance.  Unfortunately, all they have is each other.  

Recently,  I had an open house/open studio to share my artwork, and front and center were my 10 paintings of portraits of refugee children in Palestine and Lebanon as a part what I am calling The Innocents Project.  People donated to the cause and, in addition,  I am donating a percentage of my sales of artwork to ANERA.  I know that the money will be well spent.  As an artist, I feel an obligation to express myself not only in "pretty paintings" but to communicate my passion for the good of these children, who are innocent victims.

I am so proud of this organization, ANERA.  97 percent of their money goes to satisfying their mission. They do great work.  Please consider a donation to the Innocents Project, my effort to raise awareness and money for ANERA, at today or any day.  Thank you for your consideration.

"836. Sticking Together"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Friday, November 25, 2016

835 Puppy Love's a Christmas gift.

"835 Puppy Love"
acrylic - 20x16 in

Sunday, November 13, 2016

839 Annabelle

Annabelle is a Springer Spaniel whose breeder gave her up to the Indiana Humane Society because she had an eye infection.  She was then sent to the Wisconsin Humane Society where they were better equipped to treat her disease, but unfortunately, her eye could not be saved.  Her new family fell in love with her at first site, and adopted her immediately.

When I arrived at Annabelle's home, she was so happy to meet me and couldn't get enough of my attention.  I loved being loved!  We played indoors and outside.  It was all good until I got my camera out, when Annabelle literally shunned me from then on.  She wouldn't look at me or come near me but I still managed to get a couple of nice shots of her including this one.  Her favorite spot in the yard is under a bush near the house, so this portrait setting is meaningful.  I visited her today to check for color accuracy and received a very warm welcome.    Isn't she beautiful?

"839 Annabelle"
acrylic - 14x11 in

Friday, November 4, 2016

833 Blessings

I learned a lot about pomegranates while trying to come up with a title for this painting.  There are many blessings associated with this exotic fruit, which is given as a gift in many cultures--- abundance, good luck, prosperity, ambition, happiness, but most frequently fertility (Ancient Persia, today's Iran, India, China, Armenia, Greece).  Not only is the pomegranate beautiful, it has many health benefits.   It is a popular ingredient in a lot of Middle Eastern recipes, although I don't recall my Mother cooking with its syrup or seeds.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

832 Bursting With Joy

The first time ever I saw a pomegranate growing on a tree was in 2008 in southern Lebanon in a small village called Marjeyoun.  I was "bursting with joy" that I was standing in the village where my ancestors originated.  It is a beautiful place and I felt a very strong connection there.  As a child, it was a real treat to have a fresh pomegranate, so being there stirred many emotions.

Very recently, I had a delightful visit with my contact at ANERA (American Near East Refugee Assistance).  I've written about all the good work they do in Lebanon and Palestine to make the lives of refugee families better.  She brought me a beautiful gift, a glass pomegranate from the Hebron Glass and Ceramics Factory.  "There once were 14 glass factories in Hebron.  Now there are only two due to problems of export, a decrease in tourism and restrictions on Palestinian movement."  The owner's family has been blowing glass for 700 years!  It is indeed a treasure for many reasons.

In other news, I finished the commissioned quilt!!  At approximately 106 x 124" it is the largest quilt I've ever made and the recipient is delighted!  She deserves most of the credit as she picked the fabrics and the design of the quilt, and all I did was execute it!

Friday, October 28, 2016

831 Competition

Jean Wells is a Milwaukee potter who makes beautiful art.  I started collecting her bowls and platters many years ago.  I particularly liked her oak leaf,and morning glory themed items, and have painted the bowls so many times in still lifes.  Recently she brought the oak leaf pattern out of retirement, and I purchased two of her vases.  This is the second one painted this week--same sunflowers but the shorter vase.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

830 Leading Lady

I purchased the sunflowers and set them up in my new Jean Wells vase on my still life table.  It was fun to paint a small painting again after so much time.

"830 Leading Lady"
acrylic - 8x6 in


Sunday, October 23, 2016

829 Pretending

I have studied this child's face for many months in anticipation of painting his portrait, searching for his true emotion.  In his eyes, I see such sadness, yet he tries to muster up a smile for the camera.  I note that he, like all the other refugee children, have dark circles under their eyes.  Their sleeping conditions are poor at best, and they may be cold or hungry or both.   Fear has to play a part in their emotions, as there is often unrest in the refugee camps.  Many of the children know no life other than in a refugee camp.  These children are The Innocents.  They deserve so much more.

ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) tries to give these the children the "more" --- the things we take for granted:  clean water,  warm clothing, shoes, medical attention, schooling---and all of this requires money.  Please consider a donation to ANERA and  "The Innocents Project," which ismy attempt to bring awareness and monetary support of the good work ANERA does in Lebanon andPalestine.  As you know, Lebanon is inundated with refugees from Syria, and it greatly affects their economy.  ANERA is there to help the Syrian and Palestinian children and families.

Here is ANERA's contact information:
1111 14th Street N
Washington, DC 20005

Thank you for your consideration.

"829 Pretending"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Open Sesame

This painting has been in the making for quite some time.  I selected the keys, many of which were antique monastery keys, and enjoyed arranging them carefully so as not to look contrived, yet still balanced enough for a good composition.  I'm crazy about painting old things with texture/rust/patina, as well as collections of items, so this was really fun for me. The hardest part of this painting was the background, which I know sounds silly, followed by coming up with a title.  In the process, I found a quote by Pablo Picasso, that I like:   "Action is the foundational key to success"  ---which applies to just about everything, including painting, doesn't it?

"Open Sesame"
acrylic - 36x36 in

Sunday, October 16, 2016

828 Just For Fun

This was so much fun!!  I've been working on some LARGE paintings that are very detailed, so as a relief/distraction, I thought it would be fun to do something completely crazy (for me).  I put plastic on the floor and used the extra paint from my palette and lots of medium, squirt bottles and hot water from the shower.  I painted layer upon layer, alternating with hot water showers, and a final coating of white paint, then another shower.  All of this was painted with my fingers!

Just for fun---that was what this was all about.  A new painting is almost finished and I hope you will like it.  I need to look at it with "fresh eyes" several times a day for a few days.

"828 Just For Fun"
acrylic - 16x20 in

see my blog for more information:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

In Wine There is Truth (In vino veritas)

I loved these antique hand blown wine jugs, but was really wondering if I could handle painting the complexity of the subject.  I went into it thinking it would be a good learning experience and as it turns out, I loved every minute of the experience.

Finding the right title was a challenge.  "Antique Hand Blown Wine Jugs" just didn't do it for me, so I did a little research.  The title in English and Latin, is one of many common proverbs about wine in everyday language in Italy, wine being an important element.  Basically it means "wine makes people tell the truth."

"In Wine There is Truth (In vino veritas)"
acrylic - 30x24 in

Thursday, October 6, 2016

827 Interrogation

At this time last year, I was in Taos, New Mexico with my Art Lady friends.  We were painting en plein air on the grounds of the historic E. Irving Couse House/Studio--J.A. Sharp Studio with a beautiful view of the landscape---mountains, trees, vibrant chamisas.  During a break, I wandered and came across a horse farm and many other interesting sites.  The horses were friendly, especially this one, and I remember wishing I had some carrots or an apple to share.    This particular horse intrigued me with his/her marking, clearly a question mark in my mind.

"827 Interrogation"
acrylic - 20x16 in

Monday, October 3, 2016

826 Russian Olive

I saw this tree in a garden tour of a beautiful property overlooking Lake Michigan, and was attracted to its graceful limbs and soft whispy leaves.  Little did I know until recently when I asked the question, it is an old Russion Olive tree, Eleagnus angustifolia.  It is difficult to find in nurseries because in some states it is considered a "noxious weed," and therefore cannot cross state lines.

I love learning new things during the process of painting.  In addition to learning about this lovely tree, I continued to learn about the color green.  I did not use any green paint in this painting, rather mixed a variety of greens from different blues and yellows.  It was lots of fun and amazing to learn how many combinations there are!

"826 Russian Olive"
acrylic - 15.75x20 in

Thursday, September 29, 2016

825 Angelic

This is the seventh portrait as part of my series called "The Innocents Project."  This picture is of a one-year old girl named Tala in either Lebanon or Palestine, who wasn't getting enough nutrition. With assistance from ANERA, she received a vitamin fortified powdered milk and very soon grew taller and gained weight.   ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) is an organization headquartered in Washington D.C.,  founded in 1968 with the intention of helping those in refugee camps in Lebanon and Palestine. They never imagined they would be needed all these years later, but the need is still dire to help repair and build water systems, schools, provide food, medicine, clothing and hygiene products to the thousands and thousands who live in horrible conditions in refugee camps.

This image of beautiful little Tala was taken in 2012 when she was just one year old.  Sadly, I doubt that four years later her life is any better.  She has probably never known a "normal" life outside of a refugee camp. ANERA tries to make children's and their families' lives a little more "normal."

If by chance you are so moved, please make a donation to and mention "The Innocents Project."

"825 Angelic"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Saturday, September 24, 2016

824. Say "AHHHH"

I have a keen appreciation for old things.  I found the carved limestone image taken from an old hospital in Chicago at a salvage house, and thought it would be interesting to paint.  I am very happy with the result.  It is reported to be an image of a physician, and I think the title is appropriate.

acrylic - 16x20 in

Here is the picture of "823 Buddy" that I was unable to post.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

823. Buddy

Photo posted 9/24/16.

Buddy was a "best friend," unlike technology has been for me this past week. I'm unable to post a photo of this painting, but hopefully you will go to my Facebook page or here to see it.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

822 Inner Conflict

As you may recall, I have been working on a large quilt for a friend/client/collector.  She is a person who appreciates handmade quilts, and in this age when you can buy a cheap quilt at Marshalls/TJ Maxx for your guest room, she is willing to have something beautiful and hand made.  I could not appreciate her any more!  My Left Brain (analytical) has taken over in this process, temporarily displacing Left Brain (creative), despite my efforts to keep both parties engaged.  I keep dreaming of quilts and plans to use the piles and piles of highly organized fabric (according to color).  It doesn't help that my Garden Club is organizing our first garden tour, "Quilts in the Garden," for July of 2017.
SO, quilts are on my mind, which means Left Brain is highly active.

My client requested NOT to see any images of the quilt before completion, so I will not post until it is back from the quilter and then bound.  I finished the piecing the quilt and took it to Patched Works to be quilted on Friday.  I am hoping my Right Brain will take over and allow me to paint freely.

I have always felt an internal conflict in who I want to be as an artist.  Part of me LOVES realism and painting what I see, and the other part of me wants to bust out and go crazy, but I find that much more difficult to do.  So this week, I slapped some oil paint on some canvases without paying attention to anything (Right Brain). Then I went in with my compass and pencil and divided into shapes (with my Left Brain).  Hence the title of the painting, "Inner Conflict."  I have a new rubber tipped tool that I used to remove the paint in the triangles and circles, leaving the neutral grey visible.  I am curious to see what this looks like with white or black in the triangles/circles.    Although this painting is only 6" x 6", I think it could be any size.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Red and White Hollyhocks

This summer has been one of experimentation with new media and techniques.  This painting is an oil painting, and it took so many tries and several months to get it to where I am happy and proud to post.  I have been considering that it may be time to give up the struggle with oil paints, but then I went to an art fair today.  I visited with a man whose portraits I admire, in fact I approached him several months ago to inquire if he gives classes (he does not).  So I introduced myself to him and we conversed.   He gave me some good tips.  He was mortified that I normally paint with acrylics.  He also hated the idea of me painting with water soluble oils.  After several minutes of conversation, he had a sale.  We agreed to be (Facebook) friends.   I guess I'll keep thinking on this.

"Red and White Hollyhocks"
oil - 24x12 in

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Any Which Way

This painting is of a mid-century hand carved panel that I've been pretty crazy about for months.  I painted it once in bright colors-- "Atypical," which I'm pleased was rented to a cable television show's (Patriot) production and has since sold.

The reference for this painting is actually three panels, one large, a second medium and a third smaller.  I loved them all, and if you knew what I went through to get photos of them, you would think I'm crazy.  I prefer to use the word "determined."  I had to incorporate elements of each panel to make this work.  It took several tries.

I can't decide which orientation I like best, but I think it's nice that there are options.  Which do you like best?

"Any Which Way"
acrylic - 16x40 in

Saturday, September 3, 2016

821 Kronos

This is a commissioned gift for a special person, so if you know anyone who had a horse named Kronos, please don't mention this.  It is always a challenge to obtain a good photo for a surprise painting.  This one was a cell phone screen shot.  The horse is a Cammaroon pony.  With a very serious face, my husband  calls it a "Calamari" pony.  The painting conveniently qualifies for the Daily Paintworks Equine Challenge!

Despite the fact that I have not posted a lot of paintings lately,  I have been painting nearly every day and  have several rotating on my easel. Some are a little larger and/or are more challenging.  I have been working in acrylics, watercolor, and oil.  YIKES.  I will post them when I am satisfied they are "finished."  This summer  has been my time to experiment with new media and techniques.  Not everything is "post-able."

I have recently become reacquainted with an old friend, my Bernina sewing machine.  I gladly accepted a commission for another custom quilt,  and it has become increasingly clear that the Right Brain and Left Brain have very different functions and deserve respect for their individuality!   I have always known about this fact, but to experience it so vividly at this time has been eye-opening.  Quilting is a right brain function because of all the precision required in cutting of the fabric and sewing precise seams.  I experienced this the hard way yesterday when Right brain slipped in and I cut a pile of fabric the wrong size (too small).  With painting, my mind can wander, but with piecing quilts, there is no room for that.  Focus, focus, focus.  The Right brain can slip in for fabric choices and final arrangement of the squares, but Left better be on guard throughout.  With modern rotary cutting tools for fabric cutting, you can cut yards and yards of fabric in a very short period of time, so it better be right. 

I was a less serious painter before I was a quilter.   Quilting is a very obsessive craft/art.  There is something special about the tactile nature of it.  I loved it, still do, but when I started painting,  I realized the hard way that I could NOT do both in the same day.  I am going to really try to defy that this month while I work on this quilt.

I will post the photo of the finished quilt when it is....finished.

Enjoy this long weekend.

Monday, August 29, 2016

820 Triplets

This was just a fun little exercise where I added slivers of old postage stamps and thread to the painting.  I think it would be fun to add a secret message to the nest for someone special. 

"820 Triplets"
acrylic - 6x6 in

Saturday, August 27, 2016

819 Hibiscus Buds

My neighbor Vicki has a beautiful yard with many gardens, and giving her much pride is a giant hibiscus tree.  It has stunning dinner plate sized flowers, but I loved the buds.  I'm afraid I didn't do them justice.

"819 Hibiscus Buds"
watercolor - 8x8 in

Friday, August 26, 2016

818 Heliconia


The reference photo for this beautiful tropical flower was taken at the Lincoln Park Conservatory in their Tropical plant house.  It is one of my favorite photos, and I painted it years ago in acrylic paints, but need to freshen it up a bit. 
"818 Heliconia"
watercolor - 10x7 in

Monday, August 22, 2016

817 Connemara, Ireland

As I mentioned in my previous post, my niece recently visited Ireland, and this is one of her favorite scenes.  The reference photo was taken in Connemara, Ireland, and we both love the mossy rocks and trees.  I am happy that she likes this painting, so it will be framed and gifted to her.

"817 Connemara, Ireland"
acrylic - 16x12 in

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

815 Somewhere in Ireland

I hope you have all had a wonderful summer so far.  I have been very busy with different "rounds" of company, and yes, I am still painting almost every day, except on company days.  I have a number of paintings in progress, and am using this summer to experiment with new ideas.

There is so much to say about this painting.

My niece/goddaughter recently visited Ireland and sent me a few photos.  This and another were her two favorite scenes, and beautifully photographed, however, Ireland is...... g r e e n.  Lots of different shades of G R E E N.  Any good artist knows there are many, many ways to make various greens without using green out of the tube, but still, it seemed sort of (I hate to say it) monotonous to have SO much green in a painting, SO I tried to add some variation with blues, and purples and yellow.  Please note, this is not my usual style of painting, nor my preferred medium.  This canvas was toned with bright colors ( to add a little punch)  contrasting with the end result, as opposed to being toned with black gesso (my favorite) and was painted with oil paints, which admittedly I am not comfortable with, but am giving it the old college try.

To show how committed I am to learning, prior to this I painted this landscape in watercolors....a real bomb.  I won't even show you that one.  yikes.

So...I will continue to work on this particular landscape by painting it in my most comfortable style next.

I am much happier with the painting of my niece's second favorite landscape, which I will post another time.  I wonder which she will like.

"815 Somewhere in Ireland"
oil - 12x16 in

Thursday, August 11, 2016

814 White Phalaenopsis (Orchid)

One of my very favorite places on the planet is the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which is on the same grounds as the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.  Both have free admission, so it makes it very easy to visit.  The Conservatory is a beautiful glass dome building and has three "houses" for different types of plants.  There is a Palm House, a Fern Room and an Orchid House, my favorite.  I took the photo reference for this painting there.   Although it is probably the most popular and certainly most familiar of all orchids,  it is one of my favorites.  I particularly love the white ones which are so elegant and last a very long time.  I have painted them many times with acrylic paints, but this is the first with watercolor.  Painting "white" is tricky as there are many colors to "white."  I hope you like it.

"814 White Phalaenopsis (Orchid)"
watercolor - 8x10 in

Sunday, August 7, 2016

814 The Color of Citron

The reference photo was in my stockpile of floral photographs, unfortunately I don't know what kind of flower it is.  I really like the greenish tint to it. 

"814 The Color of Citron"
watercolor - 8x10 in

Thursday, August 4, 2016

813 Parrot Tulip

It has taken me weeks to finish this painting.  After several days away from it, I returned today with fresh eyes.  I am finally happy with it.  I enjoyed experimenting with the white ink.  I hope you like the painting.

"813 Parrot Tulip"
watercolor - 8.5x10.5 in
Price: $250

Sunday, July 24, 2016

812 Peony

I took several photos of beautiful peonies at the Peninsula School of Art this Spring but never thought I'd be compelled to paint any of them so quickly.  I really enjoyed this exercise, and hope you like the product of many, many hours of work.

"812 Peony"
watercolor - 8.25x11.5 in

812 Peony

I took several photos of beautiful peonies at the Peninsula School of Art this Spring but never thought I'd be compelled to paint any of them so quickly.  I really enjoyed this exercise, and hope you like the product of many, many hours of work.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

811 Hollyhocks

A friend posted a beautiful photo of her hollyhocks and gave me permission to paint them.  I struggled with this as I do with most things yellow.  I wonder if other artists have difficulty getting a certain color right.

Many thanks to Jeanne O'Dean-Wotnoske for the great photo.

"811 Hollyhocks"
watercolor - 16x10.5 in

Friday, July 15, 2016

810 Super Girl

Loulou, a 17 year old 12th grader looks like any other girl her age, right?   Loulou lives in a refugee camp in Northern Lebanon and she is passionate about soccer.  Last year, ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) built a soccer field in the camp so that kids could play safely.  Here is what Loulou had to say, "Now, with the new field, my friends and I have a safe place to play. My teammates call me 'Super Girl' because I'm a fast runner and I'm always urging the team on. I help them learn new tricks. I think this is how we improve and move forward."  Loulou is making the best of her situation and is a leader, and I admire those qualities. 

 "ANERA uses soccer and other sports programming as a tool to cross cultural divides, cultivate gender equality and teach conflict resolution. Their staff works with local sports clubs to organize tournaments and practices with professional coaches."  ANERA improves lives in the Middle East by renovating and rebuilding schools and hospitals, providing warm clothing, blankets,  food and distributing medical supplies.  They do great work!

"810 Super Girl" is the seventh in my series of paintings for "The Innocents Project."  I'm a big fan of ANERA's and am hoping to raise awareness and funds so they can continue their work.  You can read more about their work by going to their web site at  They are located in Washington, D.C. and if you are so inclined to make a donation, please reference "The Innocents Project."

I have revised the previous six paintings and you can see them by scrolling through my blog, or in my Daily Paintworks gallery, where they have all been updated.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

809 Basil in the Morning Light

The Whitefish Bay Garden Club is always involved with interesting projects.  Our plans include a garden walk next July, which has somehow branched out to our participation in our Village's annual sidewalk sale, which is now called a Sale-a-Bration since there will be a street party with a band.  For this event, the Garden Club is partnering with a not-yet-opened farm to table restaurant, Moxie, and our members are donating fresh basil from our gardens, from which Moxie's chefs will make bruschetta to serve at the party.  We also painted Lake Michigan stones with images and herb names, and will be offering them as gratitude for a donation to our Club.  One thing leads to another.......but one thing for sure is that we always have fun serving our community and promoting healthy growing practices.  We keep young and healthy by playing in the dirt, too.

"809 Basil in the Morning Light"
watercolor - 5x7 in

Sunday, July 10, 2016

808 Adjustable

This was a little mind boggling, especially in the drawing stage.  Yikes.  I originally thought of painting this in a large format, but decided I should try a smaller study first.  I do think it would be a cool painting if much larger.  I love to paint the texture of old and rusty things.  In case you are wondering, these are hardware spindles.  They were used with doorknobs and could be adjusted based on the depth of the door.

Should I paint it larger?

"808 Adjustable"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Thursday, July 7, 2016

807 Orchid Cactus

I've had several projects going at the same time in the last couple of weeks, and in one recent day,  I painted with three different mediums---oil, acrylic, and watercolor---hopping from project to project.

I am enjoying a renewed interest in watercolor.   Watercolor was my first love as far back as high school, then post-college, but I've set them aside for many years.  These are not the same watercolors as they used to be---they have so much more pigment, and are so vibrant!

I took the reference photo for this painting at the Lincoln Park Conservatory on the grounds of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.  I love going there in any season to see all the beautiful plant life.

"807 Orchid Cactus"
watercolor -

Thursday, June 30, 2016

806 Sunflower

It has been a long time since I last painted with watercolor, probably during my feather/nest series.  The reference photo begged for watercolor interpretation, so I listened.  It was more difficult  than I thought it would be, but I am happy with the result.

"806 Sunflower"
watercolor -

Sunday, June 26, 2016

805 Inspired by Nature

As an artist, it is very worthwhile to take time off to "play" and try new things--new media, new techniques, subjects, etc.  This certainly has been a week where variety played a big part.

I  broke out the water-soluble oil paints and made a big mess.  I played around with alcohol inks and have dyed fingers I hope will come clean by the weekend.  Lastly, I hosted my Garden Club friends two days for rock painting, which was loads of fun.  I love encouraging others to discover how much fun being creative is!

The above painting was an experiment.  I photographed mushrooms in my front lawn and thought they were very interesting and pretty and, again, "had" to paint them.  A Canadian artist, Sandrine Pelissier, has been very inspiring to me to try new media and techniques.  There are so many different inks/paints/other products in this painting and while I am not sure they are all compatible, it was indeed a learning experience.

"805 Inspired by Nature"
mixed - 8x10 in

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Portrait Revisions

I had never really painted portraits prior to November 1, 2015 when I began Chantel Barber's online portrait class.  Chantel has a very unique style and I was eager to learn.  Although I have been unsuccessful in adapting to her style (which is beautiful !)  I did learn so much from her and with practice, practice and more practice, I feel like I am making progress.  Here is my very first assignment,  which I think was a timed assignment in which we were to study a photograph and then paint it without referencing the photo in a short time, but no's awful.  Pretty scary, eh? (I am divulging my vulnerable side!)

If you follow my blog, you know that I wanted to learn to paint portraits so that I could paint the refugee children of Lebanon and Palestine in what I am calling "The Innocents Project."  I have painted six portraits of refugee children so far, and will continue for as long as I am able.  I hope to raise awareness of the dire situations thes  innocent children face, and to bring focus and attention to the great work that ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) does to help them and their families.  Someday, somehow, I hope these paintings will not only raise awareness, but will raise money for ANERA's valiant efforts to serve these children and their families.  Please visit their website:
 and make a donation if you are so inclined. 

Today, I spent the day rearranging facial features and skin tones to reflect my current level of ability.  It is a very powerful (and rewarding)  kind of feeling that an artist can move eyes closer or further apart, and adjust noses, lips, etc.   I also changed all the backgrounds of the paintings to reflect a more optimistic and hopeful color.  After much thought, I decided that I want to present the children playing outside on a sunny, blue-skied day, imagining a beautiful playground with real swings and slides and sandboxes.  The previous background was rather depressing, so I am much happier with this choice.  Here is a photo of all six revised paintings.  I hope you will provide feedback.

Aren't they beautiful children?  They deserve so much better!

Thank you for reading my blog. 


Friday, June 17, 2016

804 Summer, Finally!

I really enjoyed painting this after a rocky start.  It's been a few months since I painted with the oil paints and a subject so unprecise.  I was inspired to paint by so many beautiful works of art that were part of the Cedarburg Cultural Center's Plein Air show.  I did not participate in the plein air painting (next year!), but enjoyed helping to hang the paintings with artist Chuck Eaton.  I couldn't wait to get home to paint! 

"804 Summer, Finally!"
oil - 9x12 in!/485221

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Czech Republic "Very Cool" Juggling Pins

I saw these juggling pins, which are also called clubs at a salvage house in Chicago.  The title of the painting is exactly as the sign was written.  Each pin's cost is $85.  I thought they were very cool, aged and beat up by presumably many years of practice and entertainment.

As an artist and curious person, one fact I am constantly reminded of is that no matter what subject I paint, there is always so much to learn.  In this case, there are all sorts of different juggling clubs/pins.  I learned that juggling is much more popular and prevalent in Europe than in the United States.

I have fond memories of our local village's Fourth of July parade.  Present and popular every year was a team of two local jugglers, Heads Up Jugglers, comprised of beloved Ken Head and his juggling partner (I'm sorry I don't know his name) who entertained everyone each and every year.  Ken was a local "celebrity" whose real job was to be a real estate professional.  He and his wife worked together in their real estate business and their slogan was "Two Heads are better than one."  Sadly, this very active man died of ALS recently and I know he will be honored and missed every day, but especially each Fourth of July.

"Czech Republic Very Cool Juggling Pins"
acrylic -

Friday, June 10, 2016

803 I Deserve More

 From all outward appearances, this darling little girl looks normal, right?  She's clean,  her hair is combed and she is wearing a nice big smile on a sunny day (not that all of that makes "normal).  But her life is far from normal.  She is one of too many refugees living in makeshift camps devised from tents or old barracks in Lebanon and Palestine.  In the many photos I have seen of the camps, they appear to be cement walls with a tarp used as a "roof" to connect them.  It's very sad for me to think that this is how this little girl lives and it is the only way she knows to live.   Her family has to beg for clean water to cook, drink and bathe in a bucket.  

ANERA is working very hard to help these children who have faced war and displacement in their very short lives.  They have renovated schools, improved on water systems, and provide shelter, medical supplies, clean clothes, blankets, playgrounds and done everything within their power to make the lives of the displaced Syrians and Palestinians more comfortable and "normal."  

This painting is part of my series of refugee children that I am calling "The Innocents Project."  I am very committed to try to raise awareness of the horrific situations that the children face, with the hope that you will check out the good work that ANERA does (American Near East Refugee Assistance) and consider making a donation to help these children.   This project came about for me because I wasn't satisfied with just sending donations to this worthy cause.  I felt I needed to do more.  I sincerely hope you will go to ANERA's web site to see the reality that these people face and will make a donation. 

"803 I Deserve More"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Saturday, June 4, 2016

802. Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, a.k.a. "The Rached Church"

Today was the third and last day of my painting class with Milwaukee based artist, Shelby Keefe and lots of other really cool painters at The Peninsula School of Art.    Yesterday, Shelby's demonstration was of an architectural scene from her recent plein air painting trip to Cuba, and so I thought I should try to paint something in that genre.  Yikes.  I am far from a technical drawer and this was really difficult.  I learned so much from these three days that will carry me forward, most notably that I should take more time with my rendering and be much more purposeful with my brush strokes.  And that I need a bunch of new paintbrushes.    

This is a Catholic church in the south of Lebanon in my ancestors' village of Marjeyoun.  We still have family who live there--the most generous and hospitable people I've ever known.  The church is affectionately called "the Rached/Rashid Church" because the Rached/Rashid Family has helped maintain it throughout the war years and beyond.  It is quite beautiful and is a symbol of our family's connection to our heritage.  This painting will be donated to our 88th annual family reunion for their

"802. Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, a.k.a. The Rached Church"
acrylic - 20x16 in