Tuesday, December 29, 2015

753 Teddy

This is my neighbor dog, Teddy, and a commissioned painting for a Christmas gift.  Teddy is camera shy, so this photo took some effort on Teddy's owner's part.  I couldn't have asked for a better photo to work from.
"753 Teddy"
8x8 in


Monday, December 28, 2015

752 Avery

This is Avery's official portrait, given as a gift to a special family for Christmas.
"752 Avery"
acrylic - 9x11 in


Saturday, December 26, 2015

751 Joon

"751 Joon"
acrylic - 8x10 in



Friday, December 25, 2015

750 Beatrice

This is Beatrice, one of the commissioned pet portraits that I painted as a surprise this Holiday season.  Happy Holidays to one and all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

749 Three in a Row

I love these three trees along Lake Drive overlooking Lake Michigan. 

"749 Three in a Row"
watercolor - 4x11 in



Monday, December 21, 2015

748 Lakefront Sculpture

I am fascinated by trees of all sorts.  I consider them Mother Nature's sculptures.  I wish I knew the name of this conifer, but there are several of them at our Lake Michigan lakefront and they are so interesting and beautiful, especially the graceful nature of the branches.  I used white and black ink on this painting and made shades of grey.

The frame shown is optional and available for a very good price.

"748 Lakefront Sculpture"
ink on canvas - 8x10 in


Sunday, December 20, 2015

747 August

"747 August"
acrylic - 5x5 in



Saturday, December 19, 2015

746 The Eldest Daughter

In a family with seven children, she was the second child, the eldest daughter, born to Lebanese immigrants who came to the United States to chase the American Dream.  Throughout her life, she was faced with great responsibilities, and always fulfilled them with grace.  She was beautiful and lovely and sweet.

"746 The Eldest Daughter"
acrylic - 6x6 in



Friday, December 18, 2015

745 Welcome to the Gullah Grub Restaurant

Chef Bill Green prepares a menu filled with Gullah family recipes that will make your mouth water.  Choose from barbequed ribs, fried chicken, seafood gumbo, shrimp and grits, corn bread, peach cobbler, with lemonade and swamp water to drink.  Anthony Bourdain visited the restaurant several years ago and that put  Gullah Grub on the map.  Not only does he cook, he welcomes you at the door, and may even serve you your food.  He's quite a character and I enjoyed painting him, except for the teeth.  His salt and pepper beard gave me a little trouble, but as I have said many, many times, each new day brings a new lesson.

"745 Welcome to the Gullah Grub Restaurant"
acrylic - 6x6 in



Thursday, December 17, 2015

745 Helpful

The Art Ladies visited South Carolina a few years ago to paint marshes.  One of the highlights of our trip was to visit Beaufort and St. Helena Island, where we visited the Gullah Grub Restaurant.  The Gullah are a people rich with history and culture, living in Sea Island and the coastal regions of the South Carolina, Georgia and Northeast Florida.  Bill Green, owner of Gullah Grub welcomed all of us and not only was the food delicious, but the hospitality was warm.  Bill's young granddaughter happened to be helping out at the restaurant and was very serious about her responsibilities.  She had a face I knew someday I would want to paint, and it took some effort to get her to smile.  I wish I remembered her name. 

"745 Helpful"
acrylic - 6x6 in



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

743 Beautiful Bride

I got to thinking today that it must be a little scary for my family now that I am painting portraits, because they will never know when they will be the subject of my learning attempts.  Poor things.

Again there is much to learn and despite warnings about painting teeth, I just had to experience it.  This lovely young woman has a big smile in nearly every photograph I have of her, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I'm not going to lie, it was difficult, but I tried not to overwork or get too fussy.  Not sure I'd want to make a habit of painting teeth.

"743 Beautiful Bride"
acrylic - 10x8 in



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

741 More of Myself

This morning I woke up with a strong urge to correct what you didn't see in this painting yesterday. Although I feel a little awkward posting "myself" two days in a row, I had so many thoughts about portrait painting today that I want to share.  Just a slightly off curve or a fraction of an inch in the spacing of the eyes can blow a portrait because a likeness will be missing.  And one little thing can affect all of the expressions in the face.  For example, my husband, who has never had any creative training, yet always seems to know just what is wrong with a painting, thought I looked sad in the painting, so back to the studio I went to make myself look happier.  A little up turn of the mouth, more pouf on the cheeks and a little something to the eyes made "me" as happy as possible without starting over.  He then commented that my eyes still look sad.  Oh well.  I still learned a lot through this experience.

It occurred to me, too, that portrait painting is a powerful position to be in.  I could have given myself lips like Angelina Jolie's and a beautiful nose like Adele's.  HA!

Tomorrow a new adventure:  I will tackle painting TEETH!

Monday, December 14, 2015

741 Selfie

I suppose the title of this painting should be "Former Selfie" since this is a reference photo taken 5 years ago.  I wish I could say I haven't aged since then, but that would be a lie.  I thought it would only be fair to paint a self-portrait since I have bombed a few family portraits.  I wondered if it would be easier or more difficult to paint myself.  It was just as difficult, even though I see that mug in the mirror every day.  I need to make some adjustments to the larger painting but will do so tomorrow.

"741 Selfie"
acrylic - 6x4 in


Sunday, December 13, 2015

740 A Moment in Time

Thirteen years ago, during a summer vacation, my family visited a beautiful gallery with a lovely courtyard and gardens.  My daughter couldn't resist plucking a flower from the garden and I snapped a photo of her.   I felt so welcome there at that inviting and peaceful place, but little did I know that I would be represented by this gallery many later.  I have always loved the photo of my daughter, but now I appreciate it so much more.  I enjoyed painting her with her look of happiness and joy over such a simple and sweet little pansy.

"740 A Moment in Time"
acrylic - 8x8 in


Saturday, December 12, 2015

739 Woman With Pink Hat

A dress-up box provides lots of  photo opportunities for paintings.

"739 Woman With Pink Hat"
acrylic - 8x8 in


Friday, December 11, 2015

738 Innocence

"738 Innocence"
acrylic - 8x8 in


Thursday, December 10, 2015

737 Avery, a study

It is strongly recommended that artists paint a study of a scene portrait to get colors and proportions right.  I tend to be impatient and often skip this step, but I have learned that it takes much more time to correct errors in the painting, so the study is a very valuable tool.  This is Avery, my best friend's granddaughter. Although she looks sweet and innocent as can be, she is a feisty little girl and gives her parents a run for their money.  I just love that about her!!!

"737 Avery, a study"
acrylic - 8x10 in


Monday, December 7, 2015

736 Tightrope

I have been working tirelessly on portraits to the point of frustration.   Portraits are very tricky because if you know the person, you will see subtle errors in the painting that no one else would pick up on.  So it behooves a person like me to paint portraits of people that no one else knows.  Hmmm....

I desperately needed a break from portraits, so when Whole Foods had mandarin oranges complete with leaves, I bagged several of them with such fragile care and was eager to set them up to photograph.

Thanks to all who visited the Tall Tree Gallery Gift of Color and especially those who brought donations for our charity, Addulum Outreach, and to those who purchased gifts of artwork and cards. 

"736 Tightrope"
acrylic - 8x6 in


Saturday, December 5, 2015

735 Fifth Grade

There are some people who will always bring warm thoughts to you.  My kids' fifth grade teacher, Mr. H. will always be that person.  I was his first parent volunteer in 1993 and worked for him until he retired many years later.  For all these years, he has remembered me at Christmas with a beautiful poinsettia plant.  He is the type of teacher who adults credit with their success, having had him as a teacher in the fifth grade.  Although he is retired now, he still substitute teaches.  He is a master teacher, and a dear friend.

"735 Fifth Grade"
acrylic - 6x6 in


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

734 Best Baby on Earth

This is my daughter at 3 weeks old.  Yes, you read that correctly---she came home from the hospital with a pony tail.  The nurses thought that was cute.  You can see that her eyes had not changed color yet, which was very interesting to paint.  A baby's facial structure is different from an adults, so that was another learning experience. 

She was such a good baby, even had a hat that said "Best Baby on Earth."Today, (Thursday) is her birthday.  If you know her, wish her a happy day.

"734 Best Baby on Earth"
acrylic - 8x10 in


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

733 Loyal Friend

This painting is a gift for our son-in-law, so shhhhh.....don't tell.

Aeris is an old dog, so beautiful with her shiny black coat, and a pleasure to paint.
"733 Loyal Friend"
acrylic - 6x8 in


Monday, November 30, 2015

732 Baby Queen Bee

This is my grand niece/god daughter, Natalie as a baby.  She is now an adult and has always been affectionately called Queen Bee.

"732 Baby Queen Bee"
acrylic - 7x5 in


Saturday, November 28, 2015

731 Hello

I thought if I would paint someone I didn't know well, it might be easier.  I enjoyed this exercise.

"731 Hello"
acrylic - 8x10 in


Friday, November 27, 2015

730 Contemplating

With each new painting and lots of study, I am learning.  I have
 corrected this painting at least a dozen times after photographing it, when errors glare at you.  I have to give it up for this painting (for now).  As the month nears an end, I hate to see it go, as Chantel's class comes to a close soon.  I never thought an online class could be so informative! I will continue  working on portraits at least until the end of the year, and then who knows where my whim will take me....

"730 Contemplating"
acrylic - 8x10 in


Thursday, November 26, 2015

729 Make a Wish

Although I am enjoying this portrait painting class very much, I am having difficulty getting my subjects to look like they are supposed to look.  I seem to make the children look older than they really are in the photo.  Perhaps I should be an age progression artist.  ha ha.  I am not sure if this is because I know the people I am painting, and if it would be any different if I were less connected to the person.  In any event I am not giving up and will continue to practice.

Perhaps you have noticed that I have not posted with my regular frequency.  I have two tennis elbows and it is really cramping my style.  In addition, these portraits take much longer than my normal daily paintings so I often take two days to complete one.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  I am grateful that you indulge me by receiving my paintings and notes each day.  I really appreciate your comments and encouragement.

"729 Make a Wish"
acrylic - 9x12 in


Monday, November 23, 2015

728 (My) Brown Eyed Girl

There are a few things off in this portrait, but one of them is not the eyes of my Brown Eyed Girl.
It's really telling that when you paint a painting, you almost become too involved with it, and you cannot see the errors.  But give a little distance and time and perhaps a view of her staring back at you on a computer screen and I see that the nose is a little too long and the lips are a little off.  The "attitude" in the reference photo is missing, and she is softer in the photo, less tough.  Taking all of that into consideration, I still feel good about his painting because I only started this portrait course 23 days ago, having never painted them before.

"728 (My) Brown Eyed Girl"
acrylic - 9x11 in


Sunday, November 22, 2015

727 Patiently Waiting

I am certain that my family will be mortified when they read this blog post. Quite some time ago, I was at Kinkos/Fed Ex and the line was quite long.  In front of me stood this lady, so patient and very beautiful, particularly her skin.  Because the line was moving slowly, I had quite a bit of time to debate with myself, "Should I or shouldn't I?"  I finally convinced myself that "What do I have to lose?"  So I explained to her that I am an artist, and although I did not currently paint portraits, I would someday like to, and she was a perfect candidate, so would she mind if I photographed her.  She was so flattered, yet embarrassed because she had just come from a work out and she thought she wasn't presentable.  I have kept the photo in my "someday" file, and am so happy to include it as one of my assignments for my portrait class. 

"727 Patiently Waiting"
acrylic - 10x8 in


Saturday, November 21, 2015

726 Ronnie With the Smiling Eyes

This is my brother Ron as a baby.  He is now in his late 70's.  The photo, where he is sitting on a horse, is very grainy and in black and white with just a hint of sepia.  In case you are wondering about the long hair, my mother thought if you cut a child's hair too early, the curls would go away and never come back.  At his age, he has a full head of beautiful white hair.

"726 Ronnie With the Smiling Eyes"
acrylic - 8x8 in


Thursday, November 19, 2015

725 Lost and Found

Yesterday I found this old girl roaming around our neighborhood, looking for food.  No collar/tag.  She was frightened and looked so sad with those big milky eyes.  Bribing her with treats, she cautiously approached, then ran away again.  Luckily she went to a neighbor's yard with a gated section for their trash cans, so she was cornered.  Our local police came and took her to the station, and luckily she had a microchip, and later he called to say she was reunited with her family.

I should be working on painting people portraits today for my class, but I can't get this pooch out of my mind.  I started wondering if the same principles we are learning in our people portrait class would work with painting animals, and I was so pleasantly surprised.  I have painted many, many dog portraits, but never with this technique.  As instructed, there was no drawing, just painting with the paint, blocking in shapes and values.  Soon she emerged and I was pleasantly surprised.   I hope she is happy at home.

"725 Lost and Found"
acrylic - 6x6 in


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

724 Pretty in Pink

The online portrait class is definitely a challenge for me, but I'm enjoying it (most of the time).  These paintings take much longer to complete, and I am hoping with time, I will be more familiar with the process, facial construction, and therefore more comfortable painting portraits.  I am determined.

"724 Pretty in Pink"
acrylic -


Sunday, November 15, 2015

723 Daydreaming

"723 Daydreaming"
acrylic -


Friday, November 13, 2015

722 So Tired

I need lots of practice with the lessons I have learned so far in my online portrait class.  These exercises are very gratifying but I have far to go.   I may have bitten off more than I could chew with this one.  The angle of the face was challenging for me.  I am still having trouble with the colors---I don't want them to look clown-ish, but I don't want to be so realistic that there is nothing exciting about the painting.  The last portrait is a good example of that.  I tried to be a little looser with this one.  (For some reason, yesterday's painting did not get posted to Daily Paintworks, so please refer to it via my blog if you would like.) 

To get accuracy with the image, I employed a few of the suggested tools to measure size and placement of features.  I also, as recommended, turned the photo and my painting on it's side, at which time glaring errors became evident.  Then I turned both images upside down, and bingo! that's when the greatest improvements were made, especially in shading.

I am very excited about learning something new and am enjoying Chantel's class very much.  She is an excellent instructor!

"722 So Tired"
acrylic - 6x6 in


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

721 Ruby

As I recently mentioned, I am taking an online course on portrait painting.  It is very organized, informative, well taught and includes homework.  Our second assignment is to pick a photo ( with no teeth showing!).  Using a timer, observe it for 2 minutes, then put it away, and paint from memory for a timed 15 minutes.  I can't even consider showing you how horrifying that painting was.  Next we studied the painting for 2 more minutes, followed by 15 more minutes of painting.  We did that for 2 more times until we reached an hour of painting from memory.  It was still still horrible, and I was so unsettled that I spent another hour doctoring up the painting by looking at the reference photo.  I put it aside for a day, and of course, errors were glaring when I returned to it today, so I spent another hour moving features around and adjusting lights and darks.  In the photo, Ruby was a baby, and the child in the painting above looks much older.  Considering I haven't tackled portraits in the past, I feel I am making progress, but there is still much to learn.  I have nowhere to go but "up." 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

720 Opportunity

Some days I have a set plan, other days I have no idea what I will paint, hoping something will present itself to me.  Today was one of those days.   I had homework to do for my portrait class, but wasn't sure I would want to post that.  Then an opportunity presented itself.  Oliver and I were taking our morning walk and we passed some guys doing fall cleanup in our neighborhood.  In the pile of leaves were several gorgeous hydrangeas in a variety of colors.  Since my hydrangeas didn't produce a single flower this year (why is that?), I couldn't resist collecting them and bringing them home.  They are so lovely floating in this lovely aqua bowl.  There is opportunity everywhere.  You just have to look for it.

"720 Opportunity"
acrylic - 6x8 in


Sunday, November 8, 2015

719 End of the Season

We visited Door County this weekend for one last time until Spring invites us back with fresh paintings and vivid spring colors.  Many of the shops and restaurants were closed for the season, giving Door county a sleepy town feeling.  The Gallery was hopping on Saturday night for the artist party with a vivid literature theme, including many very creative costumes depicting favorite books.  Fifty Shades of Grey seemed to be a popular theme, with many people wearing a variety of paint chips in the grey scale.  The people there, artists and their guests/spouses were friendly and the air was festive.  It was a magical ending to my freshman year, and I am so looking forward to what is ahead.

This scene is one I look forward to every time we visit Fish Creek.  As you approach the quaint downtown area, you drive down a steep hill and this is the view you see around the bend.  I don't know what the island is in the background, but it is a beautiful scene.  I hope I have done it justice.

"719 End of the Season"
acrylic - 9x12 in


Thursday, November 5, 2015


Although I have not been posting with my usual regularity, I have been very busy with all things art related.  I am preparing for a show at the Tall Tree Gallery and Studio, my away-from-home happy place, which is where I meet once a week, year round, for lessons.  In addition to the actual painting, there is so much to do to prepare for a show---varnishing, framing, preparing lists for the gallery owner, sending invitations with notes, etc. 

I have been painting on larger formats, this one measuring 24 x 24", which of course is not completed in a day, hence the recent absence of small works for Daily Paintworks.  I just love these bowls, hand made by Jean Smaglik Wells.  I've collected the bowls and her platters for many years.  You can see more of her work here:  http://www.jeansclaystudio.com

I also recently started an online portrait course with Chantel Barber http://www.chantelsoriginals.com/
I have NO experience with portrait work, nor have I ever taken an online course, so this is really scary for me.   So far we have had one homework assignment--to paint a grey scale portrait using 4-5 greys in 45 minutes or less.  It's not that easy, folks!  Finding a suitable reference photo was a real challenge, as it needed to be high contrast, and no toothy smiles!  Chantel critiques our work, but I have not yet had the courage to check for that.  I know I will learn a lot from this very talented artist with a most distinct style, who is very giving in sharing her techniques. 

I am pleased to tell you that I had a successful season in Door County and have been invited back to the Edgewood Orchard Galleries for next year's season.  I am very grateful.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

718 Wishful Thinking

After working in the yard all day doing Fall cleanup, and having recently painted many Autumn paintings, it hit me hard that winter is coming, which I dread.  Maybe the subliminal wish for Spring, rather than Winter, moved me to paint this today.

"718 Wishful Thinking"
acrylic - 12x9 in


Friday, October 30, 2015

717 Rescued

These flowers were in with garden waste at the curb in my neighborhood.  The marigolds were such a beautiful vibrant color---difficult to achieve, but irresistible.  

"717 Rescued"
acrylic - 6x6 in


Thursday, October 29, 2015

716 Drive By Photo Shoot

I am constantly reminded to squint when I am painting so as not to paint harsh lines and fussy details, in fact, I recall with a smile that in one class, our instructor asked us to smear Vaseline on our glasses to blur the image we would see.  It was a fun exercise.  This photo (reference) was very blurry because we were clipping along in Door County.  I just can't resist a photo op when I am in the passenger seat. 

"716 Drive By Photo Shoot"
acrylic - 6x8 in


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

715 Welcome to the Sunset Trail

This striking maple tree is located at the base of the Sunset Trail of Peninsula State Park.  It was magnificent to look at last weekend, especially on a blue sky Sunday.

"715 Welcome to the Sunset Trail"
acrylic - 8x6 in


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

714 Changing Seasons

The reference photo for this painting was taken in Door County in late August.  I love the softness of the colors of the leaves.

"714 Changing Seasons"
acrylic - 10x8 in


Monday, October 26, 2015

713 Somewhere in Door County

We spent the weekend in Door County, where the tourist season is wrapping up.  Many of the stores, restaurants and galleries will be closed by November 1.  The Fall colors were beautiful, even on the grey Friday, and the cold, rainy blustery Saturday.  Sunday was beautiful with blue skies, a perfect day for a walk on the Sunset Trail at the Peninsula State Park.  I took many photos from the car while in motion, otherwise we would have worn out the brakes.

"713 Somewhere in Door County"
acrylic - 6x8 in


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

712 Alone With My Memories

"712 Alone With My Memories"
acrylic - 16x20 in


Monday, October 19, 2015

711 Abundance

On Tuesdays, I look forward to receiving a box of fresh produce from Springdale Farm.  It is fun to see what's in the box, and I really enjoy setting up and photographing several still life possibilities.

"711 Abundance"
acrylic - 11x14 in


Sunday, October 18, 2015

710 Stealing the Show

Anyone who lives in my neighborhood knows EXACTLY where this scene is.  I see it every day and approach it head on with this magnificent Ginkgo tree, a real beauty to behold.  The other trees are in full Fall color now, and are so beautiful, but competing with the Ginkgo.

"710 Stealing the Show"
acrylic - 12x18 in


Saturday, October 17, 2015

709 Somewhere (Else) in New Mexico

This scene is somewhere between Taos and the Albuquerque airport.  I was attracted to the bright white stone of the mountain, and on closer look, the two crosses at the top, providing the imagination with endless possibilities.

This painting is on watercolor paper.  I have conferred with another artist who successfully mounts her paper paintings onto hardboard or cradled hardboard, and will include that option if sold. 

"709 Somewhere (Else) in New Mexico"
acrylic - 8x10 in


Thursday, October 15, 2015

708 Somewhere in New Mexico

The photo reference for this painting was taken during our ride to the airport.  With nearly 800 photos taken during this trip, I think I will have enough painting material for a long time.

"708 Somewhere in New Mexico"
acrylic - 9x12 in


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

707 Sisters

There are a lot of things I could write about, but I will keep it short.  This painting started out as something entirely different, though based on a very simple sketch from long ago.  Little Sister had a prettier color dress giving her more importance, Big Sister had no bow, giving her less importance.  Little Sister had red hair and pink complexion.  I am happier with both sisters feeling special with red bows.

It took great restraint to abstain writing about my sister.  It would have been a very different and very  lengthy post.  I could have told you about the time she......   but I won't.

"707 Sisters"
acrylic - 8x6 in


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

706 Aunt Mamie Takes a Break

"706 Aunt Mamie Takes a Break"
acrylic - 8x6 in


This is another painting taken from a simple sketch found while cleaning out my work space.  I originally planned to call it "Do-si-do" because I imagined a girl dancing at a barn dance in rural America.  As I began painting and let my mind wander, I was taken back to my childhood summers spent in Streator, Illinois, where my Aunt Mamie was the Martha Stewart of her day, only she didn't have a staff.   Typical Aunt Mamie, she would say on a whim, "Let's pick the cherries today, and we'll make jam,"  or "Today, we're going looking for cat tails for flower arrangements."  She worked very hard to take care of the family, a large house, a beautiful yard that included her award winning roses and the most gorgeous gladiolas you've ever seen.  Aunt Mamie never took a break--she cooked and cleaned and served her community, quietly and without a lot of attention or recognition.  As I grow older, I realize what a strong influence she had on me.

The pose of this woman in the painting could be interpreted as a hands-on-hips reprimand, and certainly Aunt Mamie could be authoritative, but after all this sentimentality and reminiscence, I decided this is Aunt Mamie's alter ego, who breaks into dance in the yard on a beautiful summer day.

I recently visited the family home, and felt the same warm-fuzzies I remembered.  I graciously declined a tour of the home from the current owners because I wanted every image of its interior to remain the same as in my memory.

Monday, October 12, 2015

705 Reflecting

I've been cleaning out and rearranging work spaces, and during this process came across a pile of simple drawings of people done in a long-ago class, probably from magazine or other photos.  I was sort of enchanted with the sketch of this woman, and since I had no reference photo (other than the sketch), I thought it might be fun and challenging to make up the colors and background.  I enjoyed painting it, and may attempt other sketches.  It was a good exercise.

"705 Reflecting"
acrylic - 8x6 in