Monday, March 21, 2016

792 Art in Bloom

Because I renewed our Milwaukee Art Museum membership at Art in Bloom, I received a complementary bouquet of flowers, which was a pleasant surprise.  As you've probably guessed, I love to paint food and flowers, because to me, they represent the simple essence of home and life.  You may have seen my black and white Mackenzie Childs platter in some of my other paintings, and perhaps you remember that I won it in a charity luncheon raffle. For this painting, I couldn't figure out how to incorporate the platter.......  then, AHA, I remembered that napkins came with that wonderful "Black and White" raffle prize, and HA! one problem was solved.

Do you know that tulips grow after they have been cut?  The tulips in this little arrangement grew 2-3 inches overnight, which really messed with me on the second day of painting.  I loved the way the tulips danced on Day One, but they wouldn't have fit on the canvas had I started on Day Two.

"792 Art in Bloom"
acrylic - 16x20 in

Sunday, March 20, 2016

791 Nap Time

I felt like doing something a little different so I employed my favorite palette knives for this scene from Hollywood Beach, Florida on a cool Sunday afternoon.  The photo reference is very tranquil, much better than the painting.   Not every painting is a winner, I humbly admit.

BUT speaking of winners,  and to make up for the crappy painting, I am SO proud to share that my garden club won the People's Choice Award for their floral interpretation of Gerhard Richter's painting "Breath" at the Milwaukee Art Museum's Art in Bloom.  It is mostly florists and grocery store floral departments who participate in this spectacular event.  We may be the only club, and most definitely have the most limited budget.  Here is our entry.  I will share some of my other favorites below it. 

This next piece is one of my favorite paintings at the museum, "Betalo Nude" by Robert Henri, with such a soft and luscious color palette.  The Milwaukee Flower Company's Sally Vander Wyst and Courtney Stenberg created the floral masterpiece, which includes a handmade custom container for this gorgeous arrangement.  I was very disappointed that this creation did not win an award.  I think it should have.

This next piece won First Place in the judging and it was indeed spectacular.  The floral designer pieced three pieces of driftwood together for the base.  She had never seen Clara Driscoll's Tiffany lamp "Laburnum" in person, rather composing this arrangement from a photo.  Amazing.

This next painting is also a favorite of mine, "St Francis of Assisi in the Tomb" by Francisco de Zurbaran.  The floral artist assembled the piece at the museum using all dried materials except for the only living part, a few flowers.  The first photo is of the back of the arrangement, which was very interesting, I thought.  He won Third Place in the judging.

Second Place judges' award went to The Flower Source for their interpretation of Thomas Moran's "Three Mile Harbor, Long Island."  Our garden club often partners with The Flower Source, so it was nice to see them win this award for their interesting and beautiful interpretation.

Although there are so very many art pieces at the museum that I love, my consistent all time favorite piece at the Milwaukee Art Museum is "The Wood Gatherer" by Jules Bastien -Lepage.  I love everything about it!

If you have never visited the Milwaukee Art Museum, I hope you will someday.  It is a world class museum with a very rich collection and is located on the bank of the powerful and beautiful Lake Michigan as its backdrop.

If you would like to see more, you can visit the Museum's Art in Bloom page:

"791 Nap Time"
oil on canvas - 11x14 in

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

790 Mazie

Mazie is one of several "Teddy Bears" in our neighborhood, all from the same breeder, including my own pooch, Oliver,  and Rodeo (Oliver's half brother), Chester, Henry and Mazie.  I have painted all of them except Henry and you can see them all somewhere in my daily paintings.  Teddy Bears are great dogs, and are a mix of toy poodle, bichon and shi tzu.  I happen to have a naughty barker, but we still love him. 

It's amazing to me how devoted our pets are to us, and we to them.  They comfort us when we need it, and seem to know when we need it most.  I often think that if all the children of the world received as much love and attention as our pets, the world would be a much better place.  Do you agree?

"790 Mazie"
acrylic - 8x8 in

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

789 Pretty As a Picture

When you go to a restaurant and the server presents you with your food and it is so beautifully arranged as a piece of artwork, what do you say?  I say, "It's pretty as a picture!" or "Too pretty to eat!"  This painting and "787 Still Sunny" really look so nice together.  I'm happy I took the risk and painted it."

Speaking of risks, yesterday's painting "788 But Tell Me, Where Will the Children Play"  received so many wonderful and compassionate comments via Facebook and private email.  I am very happy.  My intent is to raise awareness of the plight of the refugees in Lebanon and Palestine.   Art is supposed to start a dialogue, and I am happy that this painting gave me an opportunity to do just that.
And big thanks to those who commented.

"789 Pretty As a Picture"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Monday, March 14, 2016

788 But Tell Me, Where Do the Children Play?

This is the first painting of my new endeavor, called The Innocents Project, in which I will paint the innocent children caught up in the tragedy that is the Middle East.  My intention is to raise awareness and funds for the benefit of the children.  This is the Ein El'Hilwen Refugee Camp in Lebanon, southeast of Saida.  It "houses" 120,000 people.  I am working directly with ANERA, American Near East Refugee Aid, on this project and thank them for allowing me to use their photos as references.  They do great work in the Middle East, supplying humanitarian aid to Palestinians and other communities in Lebanon and Gaza.  More details about this project will emerge in the days/weeks/months ahead.   

"788 But Tell Me, Where Do the Children Play?"
acrylic - 12x24 in


After the 1973 October War, ANERA provided $2 million for reconstruction, helping Palestinian refugees like these children.

American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) addresses the development and humanitarian needs of Palestinians and other communities in Palestine and Lebanon.
Through partnerships and close consultation with local groups and communities, ANERA responds to needs with sustainable solutions and also delivers aid during emergencies.

- See more at:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"So Happy Together"

I know I'm showing my age, but do you know who sang this song and what year it was a hit?

"So Happy Together"
oil - 24x24 in

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

787 Still Sunny

Sunflowers are universally loved, I think.  There are so many interesting varieties
that everyone should be happy.  Sunflowers remind me of two special friends who love the cheery flower, one of them being from Kansas, where sunflower is the state flower.

Sunflowers also remind me of Van Gogh's iconic paintings.  This past weekend, I visited the Art Institute of Chicago and the "Van Gogh's Bedrooms" exhibit, where a life-sized mock-up of his bedroom in his yellow house was featured.  It was wonderful and I'm happy I had the opportunity to see it. 

"787 Still Sunny"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Saturday, March 5, 2016

1959 Chevy Impala at the Wigwam Hotel

This painting of a vintage car at the Wigwan Hotel on Route 66 is headed to its new home on Monday. Credit goes to my cousin, Jeff Rashid  who took the perfect reference photo, and graciously shared it with me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

786 Signs Galore

This past weekend, I attended a workshop taught by one of my very favorite artists, Tom Nachreiner.  It was held at the Mainstreet Art Center in Lake Zurich, IL and it was a very valuable, yet humbling experience.  At Tom's suggestion, I decided to work with my new friend or foe, (depending on the day) water soluble oil paints.  We were each given the same photo reference and I was not prepared for so much detail---there were at least 13 signs in the original!!!!  Tom started the workshop with a demonstration, and early on, I texted my husband, "I'm in way over my head."  It was really fun to see all the different ways the participants approached the task and a great learning experience.  One day soon I will tackle the second day's photo, a farm scene, which I hope I am more successful at.  I may even repaint this scene with my acrylic paints to see how that turns out. 

"786 Signs Galore"
oil - 12x16 in

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

785 Worried


As this little girl sat on the bench to rest at her soccer game, she appeared to be worried about something, and I couldn't help but snap a photo of her.

"785 Worried"
acrylic - 8.5x11 in