Step by Step


This painting has been quite a process.

It all started more than a month ago with the blog post below. I knew it would make a good painting but needed to be fleshed out. I decided to add more horses but didn’t want them to distract too much from the trees so wanted them quite small. These quick studies helped me know how to tackle the horses.2016-05-26 16.45.43 (1)

Next, I tackled the larger format 16 x 20 inch board, painting the elements in loosely allowing for changes. The foreground horse was added to improve the composition, pulled from my imagination so a bit more of struggle than the others. When the lights came onto the trunks of the trees, everything changed! I am so happy with the results of a more methodical approach to my work. I already know what I will tackle next!


New Direction

I’ve been striving to take my paintings beyond a good likeness of the scene and into something painterly, exciting, full of life. So I seek out those qualities in other painters, and even going so far as copying their work, to help me feel handling paint differently and find out what it takes to create a certain look.

IMG_4882 (1)Last week I painted out at a local spot nearby and found reasonable success but I wanted to use what I learned there and back up, see a longer row of eucalyptus trees, make the subject less about the horse and barn and more about the setting, the place.


This small painting accomplishes my goals, not just to change the composition, but more importantly to add more paint and allow more freedom and life to the picture. I will try it again, bigger, on a board not simply canvas paper. Very happy with this new direction!


Beyond the Opening


I’ve been itching to paint after all the attention on the show. I was able to paint on a property with an amazing view at the top of Sonoma Mountain. The sketch I did quickly, plein air. It cried to be done in a wider format. I’m tackling a slight change of course by leaving more portions of the work unresolved but hopefully interesting through color or marks, shapes or simply the contrast with the more distinct parts of the piece.

I also wanted to add a touch of conceptualism to the studio painting by indicating a change in season, turning the lush green to dry, golden brown. We have had a wet spring and the grasses are still juicy, in fact it’s been drizzling all day. But green turns golden in a week, given the right conditions. It’s the soft browns with dark green round oak shapes that defines the California landscape for me. This painting seems to be one of anticipation.

Wow! Such a fabulous turn-out at the opening of my Spring Painting Show at Bump Cellars. I was overwhelmed. And to have sold so many on top of the praise. Such a boost to my confidence, I am most grateful to you all. Thank you!

Spring Painting Show

PosterMy spring show is about the be hung. All the paintings are framed and carefully placed in my car, ready for transport. There are more than 50 paintings, mostly plein air, for sale or previously sold and invited to come back to round out the collection. I’m have a bag of tools, tags, postcards, business cards, wire and rulers, plus two helpers to advise, schlep and support and everything will get organized and displayed, lit and polished. There are details enough to muddle my life, and I’m almost there! Phew!

The show opens Friday at Bump Cellars in Sonoma. The reception is 6-8 pm. The art will hang for the month of April.

The walls in my home are now open. They have been displaying my work as it accumulates. The open walls are teasing me because I know, pretty soon, I can start some new work. And I can’t wait!  Getting a show ready, at least for me, has taken weeks away from the creative side. No wonder I’m muddled!

Please come see the show if you have a chance. It’s my best work to date.

Hello again, Art Lovers!

IMG_4306I’ve been painting with total focus on “improvement” without the distraction of chatting about it. After joining a semester-long night painting class for the past number of months, new supplies and techniques are being tried out and incorporated into my toolbox. I believe my selfish attention has been paying off. This painting came surprisingly quickly, just 2 sessions. And, more importantly, I’m happy with it.

I have also been getting ready for a show in at Bump Cellars in Sonoma during the month of April.

I look forward to posting good paintings much more often! Thanks for your continuing support.

New Chapter

Hi everyone. I’ve been gearing up to take a class. We have just finished our second week. I couldn’t be more excited about what I’m learning. I feel like a beginner again, being exposed to lots of new material already.

The class has just begun painting after being introduced to the basics of canvas and linen, rabbit skin glue, oil primer applied with palette knife, beginning with imprimatura, a demonstration of scumbling, ala Mark Rothko, who will be our reference for the first assignment. The classroom is rich with paint and books, easels and big messy stainless steel sinks, ensconced with a skeleton model. My fellow students as varied as imagination can conjure. It smells good in there, like linseed oil. The outdoor enclosed patio has oak trees dripping, dappling light amid tables for applying ground, making ink, sanding, sawing (yes, there’s a table saw!) painting or just enjoying. There’s even a large room for “no solvent” painters. I’m right at home, soaking it all in.

I painted this today, just to go back to something familiar. The shallots and onions, drying under the broad old oak is quite a compelling subject. I don’t think I got the temperature of the highlight on the tree warm enough. But there are some areas which I really like. I may try it bigger, as this is just 6 x 6″. It was done over an older painting, some of which you can see as the background.


FYI: The class is given by a master painter and equally talented teacher, Chester Arnold through the College of Marin. It meets 7-10 pm, twice weekly until December. Oh boy!

Practice Seeing


I’ve painted these trees many times. Each time, I see them differently. They are patient and lovely and always exciting. I even see them from my kitchen window and watch the wind blow through their branches. As if they are waving.

Today, I was the second pass on this painting that I started last week and have only just gotten back to. I’m going to have to pick off some debris when it’s dry, it was windy out there, but I’m happy with it now.

I’m very excited to be signed up for a painting class at the College of Marin with Chester Arnold. Chester is a valuable resource, a painting teacher with amazing depth and thousands(?) of students in the bay area. And he’s a farmers’ market regular at our stand! I look forward to learning and sharing.

After the first pass...

After the first pass…

Paul got me...

Paul got me…

I got the pickles canned, then felt entitled to paint for the rest of the day!

I got the pickles canned, then felt entitled to paint for the rest of the day!