Thursday, December 30, 2021

1122 Good Cheer and Success (for 2022)

 Every year without fail, a friend sends me a poinsettia plant as gratitude for many years of  help in his classroom, when I'm the one who is grateful for the experience and his friendship.

Did you know that the Poinsettia is December's birth flower?   I recently learned that the poinsettia was introduced to the United States in 1825 by the first Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett also an amateur botanist.  Interestingly, the red "petals" we think of as part of the flower are really just the leaves.  The actual flowers are the little yellow things that look like buds or seeds in the middle.  

The poinsettia symbolizes good cheer and success, and that is what I am wishing you, along with good health, happiness, and a clear mind.  I am grateful to you for following my art journey and being a supporter in my progress.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

1121 Luna

 The portrait of Luna, an Imperial Shitzu, was commissioned as a Christmas gift for a couple who had experienced a fire in their home.  They self-proclaimed that they would NEVER get a dog, but finally succumbed.  Luna provided them with comfort and love during the difficult recovery time.  Dogs are great therapists.

As a side note, our family watched the hilarious movie,  Best of Show, last night.  The Shitzu won first place in its category, and I noticed all the Shitzus had bows exactly like this one.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

1120 R.I.P. Cocobean

 Cocobean crossed the Rainbow Bridge and this portrait was a Christmas gift for his dog-Mom.  I hope she is happy with it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

1119 Sacred Place

 This painting is a commissioned gift for my goddaughter/grand niece and husband as a reminder of their  Kyoto Japan honeymoon.

Friday, December 10, 2021

1118 Jumped in with Both Feet

 Painting a 48 x 48" canvas is a major commitment.  There is no backing down.  If I thought I was putting my toe in the water before, this was me diving in to the deep end.  I had another more colorful painting in this spot, but was tiring of it, so I painted a new one, with more of a calm feel.  I think Oliver likes it too.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

1117 Dunkin'

 Today I finished the second of two palette knife workshop classes with Helen Oh at The Palette and Chisel here in Chicago.  It was great fun and a valuable learning experience.  The palette knife was a tiny narrow knife, and using it in a confined space was very different from using a knife on a landscape or abstract painting.

I would love to try painting doughnuts with colored frosting and maybe some sprinkles.  Someday.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

1111, 1112, 1113, 1114, 1115, 1116


An 11 x 14"  mat purchased at Michaels has an opening to fit these paintings, 9.5" x 7.5".

For intuitive painting, it was recommended that I tape up multiple papers in a grouping, and work on them collectively as a body of work.  I learned that this helps to avoid obsessing or giving too much attention to an individual painting.  Gestures are made over the entire collection of papers, in this case six, some with eyes closed, so that a line or a splash extends from one paper to the next, creating cohesion in the paintings.  I did thoughtfully obsess about each painting at a certain point, and I know that sounds silly, in other words, I could have been more daring.

In these paintings, I used ink, acrylic paint, my rust solution, and hand painted papers for the small amount of collage.  I'm still not comfortable with the collage part, but will keep trying.

One final, but important note.  It is not easy for me and I know for certain, many other artists to put our work out in the universe, especially the learning experiences like these.  It is very scary to expose your work,  not knowing how people will respond to it.  The goal is to not CARE about the response, to enjoy the process, but that is very difficult.  I post these not because I think they are wonderful, but because it is important to show that it takes courage to be vulnerable, and requires a certain amount of confidence.  I hope people appreciate that.  

Your feedback is appreciated.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

1108 Playtime, 1109 Leftover Paint, 1110 Bad Day

It has been a long time since I've posted a painting, but I've been busy painting every day.  I am not able to post several paintings until Christmas because they are commissioned gifts, because someone somewhere will recognize the subjects.  

I've been fascinated with abstraction for many years and have tried it periodically without success, at least what I think of as success.  There is so much more to a successful abstract than just paint slapped on to a canvas.  The same basic principals of a good painting still apply.  Some may disagree with me, but that's my feeling and I'm sticking to it.  As an artist who paints what she sees, painting intuitively or from imagination is very difficult, but I am determined to improve.  I've made a complete mess of things in my studio, and have some things to post at a later date that I am happy with, at least enough to post.

I've posted the three paintings above not because I like them, but because they illustrate some of the many approaches one can take.  The first one, I'm okay with.  I did have a vision for a very large, now completed abstract, but first I had to play around with the tools and paints.  I made the rust pigment with instructions from artist/teacher Mary Mendla, which was a lot of fun and interesting.

The second more colorful painting style is all over the internet by a few artists, one in particular who has achieved great success using this "formula" which is drawing inspiration from beautiful gardens.  She is a California artist named Betty Franks.  It may look easy but it is not, I assure you.  Betty uses many, many tools and many, many layers of paint.  Her work have grown on me because they are so colorful and happy.

Intuitive painting is a fascinating subject I haven't fully studied, but am learning.  It makes sense to me if, once again, the basic principals are adhered to in the end, which I feel is almost intuitive in itself if you have those things embedded in your head.  This painting began as just a piece of heavy paper covered in beautiful pastel colors, but then something happened to make me very angry and I reached for the black paint and spread it angrily all over the paper.  My son applauded me, and I admit I did feel better, but I wouldn't say this is going to be in my repertoire in the future.

Tune in for more....

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

1107 Gathering of Like-Minds

 I love the way Cosmos are such delicate flowers and yet have a mind of their own, bending their stems every which way.  The reference photo for this painting was provided with permission by Holly Ann, a fellow member of the Chicago Gardeners Facebook Group.  I love painting white flowers, and paint them every chance I get, each incident being a steep learning experience.

I hope you like it.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

1106 Afternoon Stroll

 I wanted to give another shot at the white and yellow flowers, as I wasn't thrilled with 1105 Morning Walk.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

1105 Morning Walk


Even the weeds or wildflowers make a walk on city streets more enjoyable.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

1104 Forget-Me-Not

 Forget-Me-Nots are one of my very favorite flowers.  They are small and humble, but their beautiful blues capture my heart.  This summer, I grew Chinese Forget-Me-Nots in my rooftop garden, and they brought a beautiful compliment to all the pinks, oranges and yellows of the other flowers.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

1103 Let's Sit For Awhile

 Here is one last painting of zinnias from my garden, painted from life.  I struggled with the chair color, auditioning several different colors.

Sunday, October 31, 2021


 Pink and red and orange flowers can cure just about anything, in my opinion.  These are zinnias.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

1101 Seat Taken

 This was my last chance to paint the marigolds I grew from life.  It was really hard to say goodbye to them as they were so brilliant.  The chair is one I painted several years ago, modified in this painting.  In reality, every surface of the chair is painted with a design, but I felt too many details would take away the focus of the marigolds.  I'm very happy with this painting. but I am NOT falling in love with it because that is "the kiss of death" for a painting, as a wise former mentor would say.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

1100 Purple Pollinators


The Asters are back again and they are beautiful.  I wish they lasted longer.

I've been painting up a storm but haven't been able to post everything I'm working on because they are surprises in one way or another.  I'm having a ball.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

1099 Aloha

 I took the reference photo for this painting at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.  There are stairs surrounding the waterfall, and at the top there is a beautiful hibiscus bush.  It's always crowded on this narrow path, so I had one shot, and I think this turned out to be a perfect pose.  I always think of Hawaii when I think of hibiscus, where I've never been, unfortunately.

Monday, October 18, 2021

1098 Dancing Cheek to Cheek

 I had to get one more nasturtium painting in before the garden is put to bed for the winter.  I am collecting seeds from the nasturtiums with the hope of growing them again next year.  They are such a happy flower and bring me joy.

Friday, October 15, 2021

1097 Mum's the Word

 These teensy little mums have outlived all the others in the mixed Fall bouquet my daughter gave me,  and I couldn't toss them before painting them.  This was another opportunity for me to stay loose.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

1096 Asters

 Flowers for the week included these Asters, one of my husband's favorite flowers.  We both wish they would last longer than they do.  I was pleased that I did not get "precious" with painting the flowers themselves.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

1095 Norma Jean Baker a.k.a. Sugar


Introducing Sugar, a Coton de Tulear, who is living the good life.  Her real name is Norma Jean Baker, named by her "mom," a big Marilyn Monroe fan.   Her name was modified to "Sugar," Marilyn's character's name in the movie, Some Like it Hot because Sugar's "dad" refused to call her Norma Jean, which I think is hilarious.  

This was a commissioned painting to be given as a gift.

Friday, October 8, 2021

1094 Solar Power

 I almost felt guilty buying sunflowers at the farmers' market when I grow them on my roof, but I couldn't resist the unusual colors of the red ones and the mauve/white ones, which I don't grow.  Unfortunately the only sunflowers flourishing that I could (barely) reach are the little yellow ones on the top of the arrangements.  

By the way, I have had many inquiries about note cards featuring my paintings.    I will have two sets of six of my Strada Easel Challenge paintings bundled together for a very reasonable price.   Also, most any of my paintings can be featured as note cards, as an alternative, in case you have favorites.  Please contact me via email if you are interested in more details or would like to place an order.  My email address is:

Friday, October 1, 2021

Strada Easel September 30-day Challenge

 Thirty paintings in thirty days--that was the challenge.  Here is a composite of all thirty of my paintings, thanks to Roberta Schmidt a.k.a. ArtcyLucy for effortlessly whipping this together while I struggled with the basic thought of it.  

Participating in the challenge was a very worthy use of my time.  New techniques, substrate, colors, and tools were all employed and many lessons were learned in the process.

Which is your favorite painting?

Thursday, September 30, 2021

1093 Leaning Left

 Today is the last of the 30 day Strada Easel challenge.  I have truly enjoyed the experience and have learned many lessons throughout the 30 paintings.  I really like some of them, and others I am dying to change (or maybe not).

I hope you've enjoyed my progress and I, as always, appreciate you following my artistic journey.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

1092 Two Generations

 The pink zinnias took off like crazy this year, but the orange zinnias were few and far between.   This is one of the few I could bring in to enjoy.  There are a few buds left and I will hope they will bloom before the frost.

Day 29 of the Strada Easel September 2021 challenge

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

1091 Difference of Opinion

 There is a line between "persistence" and "glutton for punishment" and I crossed it again today.  I tried to paint yesterday's subject, yellow begonias,  which was a second complete failure.  Here is the second painting of the day and I'm happy with it.

Day 28 #stradaeasel Challenge

Monday, September 27, 2021

1090 Within Reach

 What a day it has been!  My first painting is so bad that I had to paint another.  This isn't much better.  Some days are like that.  Time to move on.

Day 27 of the Strada Easel September challenge

Sunday, September 26, 2021

1089 Last Minute Decisions

 The extraneous tasks that accompany a painting--photographing, posting to social media, etc. are often very tedious.  So often I think I am finished with a painting, then I photograph it and discover something glaringly wrong, so I peel it off the wall, alter the painting, delete the old photos, and start over again. This happens many times for the same darn painting.  Very frustrating.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

1088 Oh Happy Day

 It's a beautiful, happy day.  Nothing says "happy" like polka dots.  I love them.  In fact, later today we are attending a wedding and guess what I am wearing. A black and white polka dot dress! 

I was curious to know more about polka dots.  This is part of what I learned, compliments of Wikipedia.

"Polka-dots: If you can't let go of polka-dots dress or shirt, your personality is probably just as lively and energetic as the playful print. Those who prefer polka dots have also been identified as hardworking and multi-taskers. ... You can use polka dots even in neutral colors, like black, white, and grey."

Day 25 of #stradaeasel challenge

Friday, September 24, 2021

1087 Defying Odds

 There is an unwritten "rule" that groupings of objects should always be in odd numbers, but I am defying that because there might be one flower hiding.  I'm sure you can see it behind those leaves.

Also, Daily Paintworks regularly posts challenges, and a recent challenge was for Even Number Challenge.  I submitted this painting.

Day 24 of the Strada Easel challenge.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

1086 Solo Performance

 Each day as I approach the top stair to the roof, I witness a flock of birds at the Campion Rooftop Spa, bathing in the puddles of the sprinklers, and feasting on sunflower seeds.  They fly away quickly, but not before I whisper hello and thanks for visiting.  I'm truly grateful that I do not have to share my space with rabbits or deer who may not be so courteous.

Renee Schwaller is the artist who made the little vase.  She is also the owner of Off the Wheel Pottery in Door County.  

Day 23 of the Strada Easel challenge.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

1085 Memories of Mamie

 I have always had a special fondness for gladiolas because they remind me of my Aunt Mamie, who had a great influence on me.  I always say that she was Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart.  Her creative talents were immense, and so were her domestic abilities.  Aunt Mamie had gorgeous gardens, including an entire plot of glads and another large garden full of award winning roses, where every day my job was to distribute the coffee grounds.  There was never a time when there was not a formal floral arrangement in the house, and all were beautiful.  When the fruit trees were laden, we would make jam on impulse.  For these and so many other reasons, I feel very fortunate to have grown up with her influence, and that I have inherited some of her creative genes.

Day 22 of the Strada Easel September challenge

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

1084 Misty Morning


The days are getting shorter and the rooftop garden is struggling to stay alive and productive.  Soon there will be a lot of hard work to break it down, and at least one elevated bed will need taking apart before winter.  The cooler nights and fading plant life are a strong indicators that you-know-what is coming and I for one hate to see summer ending.  

I got an early start on my painting today.  It was grey and misty outside and I was struck by how vibrant the geraniums are on our patio.  Have you noticed that Nature's color palette in general is more brilliant in the fall?  

Day 21 of the Strada Easel September challenge

Monday, September 20, 2021

1083 Simply Pink

 Apparently, pink flowers have many meanings--and all of them warm fuzzies.  Affection, love, romance, passion, sentiment, gentleness, happiness, grace, innocence.  I have come to love the color pink and all its variations, but particularly magenta.

Day 20 of the Strada Easel September 2021 challenge.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

1082 Safflower in an Olive Oil Tin

 This painting should really be called Sunday Morning Obsessing.  I've photographed, changed, photographed, changed umpteen times.

Day 19 of the Strada Easel September challenge

Saturday, September 18, 2021

1081 Hidden Agenda

 I have had it with these Gerber daisies.  

Day 18 of Strada Easel September 2021 30 -day challenge. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

1080 The Gift of Sunshine

 Yellow is such a happy and beautiful color, but I have the hardest time painting it. There is not a lot of color variation in these daisies,  so my tendency is to get too fussy.  I will give it one more go tomorrow (as long as the flowers are still alive) and then I will try to find a different color daisies to paint.

Day 17 of the Strada Easel 30-day challenge. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

1079 Dancing Dahlias

 I have a few dahlias growing on the roof, and the bees LOVE them, in fact to the point where I have to be strategic in my attempt to cut them. They are very territorial.
Day 16 of the Strada Easel 30-day September challenge

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

1078 Happy Polka Dot Day

 I found this darling little vase on Etsy and it arrived yesterday.  I know it will be a part of many future paintings.  Dyna and John of Owl Creek Ceramics processed the sale so quickly, and enclosed a cute little note.  

Day 15 of the Strada Easel 30-day challenge.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

1077 Growth Spurt

 This year we modified our front patio gardens and we wanted to start out with plantings that were easy to find and reasonably priced.  We decided on Impatiens, and chose magenta/orange mix for 2 beds and 2 beds of white.  When I planted them, they looked so wimpy in the beds, but look at them now!!!  It's a little overbearing but I'm simply amazed at how happy they are!!  I've never seen impatiens this tall!!

Day 14 of the Strada Easel September challenge.