Saturday, April 30, 2016

796 Shy

This is the fourth portrait in my series called "The Innocents Project" in which I am painting the refugee children living in camps in Lebanon and Palestine.  I am hoping to raise awareness and money for the children through ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) in Washington, D.C.

There is no "normal" for a kid living in a refuge camp.  Most people don't realize that it gets quite cold in the Middle East during the winter, and heat is unlikely in the camps, and often in homes.  ANERA has distributed over 100,000 pairs of shoes and boots to keep the children safe and warm in Lebanon's refugee camps and in Gaza.  Tom's has been very generous in donating the shoes and boots for the children, who otherwise might be barefoot.  According to ANERA's recent newsletter, they have also distributed millions of dollars worth of vital medicines and supplies to clinics and hospitals in Lebanon and Palestine during the past year, 20,000 relief kits (school supplies, blankets, quilts, hygiene supplies, and clothing) in Lebanon, and as mentioned previously, 12,200 parasite treatment kits to prevent lice in the overcrowded camps in Lebanon.

Aside from all of the physical abnormalities of living in a refugee camp, imagine the psychological affects of living in a refugee camp where children see death from illness, violence or electricution all too often.  There may not be places for them to play, or clean water to drink.

Please consider a donation to ANERA   and please mention "The Innocents Project."

"796 Shy"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Jumping Through Hoops

I like to paint what I see.  To paint an abstract, you must be able to "see" beyond what you see.  In this case, I didn't see anything.  I just needed a gigantic painting to fill a wall in my living room and I needed it to coordinate with certain colors.  I am not kidding you when I say that this is the FIFTH painting on this canvas. The previous four were bombs.  Imagine how much paint it takes to cover a 48 x 48" canvas FIVE times.

I suspect that most people (non-artists) think that you just slap a bunch of paint on a canvas and call it an abstract, and indeed, many people do paint that way.  But the truth of the matter is that learning to paint abstracts is far more difficult than any other genre.  The same elements and principles of design still hold for abstracts: line, shape, form, color, space, unity, similarity, contrast, balance, scale, etc., etc.  and it's extremely difficult to achieve success.

I named this "Jumping Through Hoops" because I put so much research into this before and during painting.  I studied Hans Hoffmann and Gerhard Richter and Mark Rothko paintings for hours, hoping and praying for the push and pull gift needed to pull it off.  I'm not sure I quite achieved that, but the painting does look nice in room it was painted for, so I am happy (to be finished with it).  whew.

"Jumping Through Hoops"
acrylic - 48x48 in

Saturday, April 23, 2016

795 Hopeful

This beautiful little girl lives at the Ein El Helweh Camp and attends kindergarten with the young girl in my previously posted painting, "793 Not Forgotten."  ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) recently renovated the preschool at the camp and is focusing on providing a safe and intellectually stimulating place for these young children so they can find some sense of normalcy in an unstable and sometimes violent area.

To read more about ANERA and their commitment to refugees in Lebanon and Palestine, please visit their web site"  and please consider making a donation to "The Innocents Project." Not only do they help with the physical rebuilding/remodeling of schools, but they provide medical supplies, education, distribution of warm clothes and blankets, etc to those in need.

"795 Hopeful"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Monday, April 18, 2016


I saw this clunker in Taos, New Mexico while I wandered during a break from plein air painting.  If you could see the front of the truck, you would see that the engine is missing, also quite humorous. I love to paint textures/rust/patina, and so I felt like I had hit the jackpot, knowing someday I would paint it. 

acrylic - 30x40 in

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

794 Purple Pineapple

This is a birthday gift for my neighbor friend, who will gift it to someone who loves pineapples and the color purple.  She photographed the pineapple in Costa Rica and was so excited that she could satisfy both desires.  I never accepted the challenge in the past, but am glad I did this time.

Not sure what it is about pineapples, but the other day I came across two other pineapple paintings.
Maybe it's a new trend and I'm just out of the loop.  A warm beach and a pina colada would satisfy me right about now.

"794 Purple Pineapple"
acrylic - 8x10 in

Saturday, April 9, 2016

794 Attention Getter

I have so much to report today.  But first, I'd like to tell you about this painting.

As you may know, I am hoping to raise awareness (and money!) for the beautiful children who are so deserving of a better life than what they have as refugees in Lebanon and Palestine.  With the generous assistance of ANERA (American Near East Refugee Assistance) in Washington, DC, I am able to paint the portraits of some of the children in what I am calling "The Innocents Project."  This young man captured my heart with his smile and spunk, as he made his way into several of their photos.  In this case, he is smiling because he has received a gift.  Unlike most gifts children his age would receive----- a new Star Wars toy or sporting good, it is a supply of lice kits for the people in his tent camp in Bekaa in eastern Lebanon.

I would like to refer you to an article that really touched me, written by Niki Erickson,  ANERA's manager of operations in Washington on December 30, 2015 entitled "Syrian Refugees:  The Children Deserve Better."
I had not read this article until today as I was preparing to write this message, but it is very timely that I did.

In her article, Ms. Erickson wrote that as she arrived at this refugee camp, the children swarmed around her, all wanting to hold her hand.  One little boy "with several fresh scars and a smile on his face was tossing rocks at my back.  It wasn't out of anger or hatred, but rather out of desperation to be noticed."  I am going to take a guess that this painting is of that young boy.  As I look closely at his photo,  I DO see scars.  I am pretty sure the scars on the outside are nothing compared to the experiences of being a child living in a refugee camp.

In other news, it has been three years today since I painted my first painting for Daily Paintworks.  On my first day, deciding what to paint, painting it, naming it,  photographing it, posting to the blog, then to Daily Paintworks took me literally from morning till night.  I remember thinking, "this has to get better."  Indeed it did.  I learned to do all of the above much faster.  In those three years, I have painted almost 800 daily paintings in addition to many large paintings.  It's not 1096 like some Daily Painters who never miss a day, but I am very proud of it.  I painted nearly every day during those three years, perhaps not finishing a small painting, but working on a larger painting.  It has been a joy.

I have cut down on the small paintings and I have decided my time is better spent painting large(r).  Many of those small paintings became studies for large paintings or to find my "voice," style, favorite color palette or technique.

As I have said repeatedly, technology is either your best friend or your worst enemy.  I recently learned the hard way that my Mac-created web site went kaput with the installation of my Mac's updated operating system, El Capitan.   I must now rebuild.  Ugh.  (Enter procrastination)

So to all of you who have taken the time to comment on my paintings or to share my blog or Facebook page, and certainly to those who have purchased a little piece of "me" via my work, I sincerely thank you for your kindness.  I love this "job" and hardly call it work. 

"794 Attention Getter"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Patent Pending

Kibbey Couse was the son of E. Irving Couse, one of the founding members of the Taos Society of Artists.  Kibbey was always interested in creating things, and eventually became an engineer and inventor.  He invented a mobile machine shop, which could be trailored from site to site to work on heavy equipment and tanks, and later for the U. S. Military.  When his mother died, he moved his family to Taos and set up shop in his parents' garage.  At this time, the E. Irving Couse House is exactly the same as it was in the 1930's.  I took the photo reference for this painting when we Art Ladies toured this historic site last year.  I knew someday it would be a painting, but never expected to be compelled to paint it so soon. 

"Patent Pending"
acrylic - 30x40 in

Saturday, April 2, 2016

793 Not Forgotten

This little girl haunts me.  Hers is the first portrait in my series, The Innocents Project.  The blue flower on her paper hat is heavily glittered, but even that doesn't seem to make her smile, nor does having her picture taken.  I don't know her name, but I know that she lives in one of Lebanon's refuge camps,  Bourj El Chemall.  This particular camp was established in 1948 and is still in existence.  I do not know how dependable Wikipedia's estimate of 20,000 registered refugees is, but it is far and sadly too many.  She and thousands of others like her are being assisted by a partnership with ANERA (American Near East Refugee Assistance) and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief), who are renovating preschools to provide early childhood education and emergency responses for the refugees from Syria. ANERA also assists in many other ways, including providing medical supplies and warm clothing to the refugees. 

For more information about ANERA and the good work they provide, please visit their web site:

"793 Not Forgotten"
acrylic - 12x12 in