Tennis

Tennis

“I just throw dignity at the wall and think only of the game”
– Suzanne Lenglen- the world’s first female professional tennis player

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Nuance

Nuance

“The trouble is, my dear doctor, is that you see, but you do not observe…”
– Sherlock Holmes to Watson

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Composition

Composition

“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”
– Josef Albers

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Fortune

Fortune

“… and we never failed to fail, it was the easiest thing to do.”
– Crosby, Stills and Nash

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Grace

Grace

Last week I was talking about a space feeling “right.” This week is about a painting feeling “right.”

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Blue Butterflies

Blue Butterflies

I love butterflies. How weird and wonderful that they taste flowers with their feet.

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Rattled

Rattled

Someone asked me recently what was the most difficult commission I have ever done. And without hesitation I thought of one of the very first ones I ever did.

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Cat Prints

Cat Prints

So apparently my cat walked into wet oil paint and walked across my taboret and floor…

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Already Gone

Already Gone

“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.”
-Eagles song, “Already Gone”

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Neutrality

Neutrality

Just as in this tumultuous political climate, in art, there is no such thing as neutral.

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Spilled Rice

Spilled Rice

In the past few weeks I have moved on to painting other things. And sometimes things get knocked around.

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Book It

Book It

A hardbound book is given to the client at the end of a commission.

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To Make an Omelette

To Make an Omelette

You know the saying “To make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs?” Well, to make a pastel painting you have to break a few sticks.

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The Reveal

The Reveal

So I always get annoyed with taking photos of my finished work…

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Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas

Once the client is satisfied with the overall design and I know what their goals are in the commission, it is time to get to work.

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Study

Study

I have worked with artists creating commissions thoroughout the years and one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to them is to do your homework.

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Abstraction

Abstraction

So I am not an expert on abstract paintings. In fact, when I go to a museum or show, they don’t tend to capture my attention. The only clear exception for me has been Frances Kline.

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Teeth

Teeth

I see portraits all the time with teeth… oh man, just don’t do it.

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Brushing Up

Brushing Up

A brush is an artist’s friend, so we need to take care of our pals…

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The Devil

The Devil

“It’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off…”   – Florence and the Machine

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Getting The World to Tilt

Getting The World to Tilt

The weather has been nice where I am lately so I recently found myself out on the grass looking up at white, fluffy clouds moving quickly past the trees.

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Getting Curves

Getting Curves

And just like an an awkward teenage girl, when a line grows up it can get curvy.

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A Crit

A Crit

So while in quarantine I have been doing critiques for artists…

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Impact

Impact

Sometimes a light shines in the darkness… or at least into your living room.

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Flowers

Flowers

I am busier then ever… so why do I feel that I am not getting much done?

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Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

Hi! this week I am taking you to a wonderful blog spot called How to Pastel.

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Arrested Momentum

Arrested Momentum

In the very beginning of designing this painting I asked myself- “What is most important?”

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Light and Air

Light and Air

Hang in there everyone! Glad you could join me again this week from containment. I sincerely hope that talking about painting will keep your mind off any worries for a few minutes and we can chat about beauty and art…

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Purple People

Purple People

“What color should I use for skin?” I get asked this question all of the time.

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This Is Not A Pink Rose

This Is Not A Pink Rose

I often see artists getting ready to paint something like this flower above and I watch them getting out all their pretty, pink pastel sticks or start to mix up pink paint… uh… nope.

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Raindrops

Raindrops

I got new glasses.... And in getting new glasses I discovered a few things. I am not that young anymore. Yes, I finally had to break down and get Progressives. Or those pesky "bifocals" as we used to call them. Ok, I am almost 52 years old, so I guess I did pretty...

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Shooting Stars, a Deserted Island and Pirate Booty

Shooting Stars, a Deserted Island and Pirate Booty

Over the holidays I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in the Caribbean with my daughters’s boyfriend's family who live in Antigua so I got to be surrounded by all three of my kids in 80 degree weather. On New Year's Day we heard about a meteor shower that would be...

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Psst…

Psst…

One of my favorite books of all time is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I know there is a movie coming out soon based on the the book, but I don't think I can go see the film. The entire reason that I love the book so much is in the writing. It is the one book that...

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Color of Light

Color of Light

All light sources have an inherent color. Photos tend to throw things off so we see things as “white light” yet did you ever paint something, say, a sunset, and when you added white to the sky it just looked plain “off” or even felt not very lit? Why do some paintings glow with light and some just seem chalky?

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Sketchy Endeavors

Sketchy Endeavors

While you are reading this I am in day 4 of Jury Duty. Yup, this week I am a servant of the State.

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The Lies That Photos Tell

The Lies That Photos Tell

If you paint portraits from photos, you instantly have a battle on your hands because those pesky photo references tell lies. Here’s why.

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Color Color Color…

Color Color Color…

Controlling color is one of the most important things you can do as an artist… as well as the most difficult.

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By A Nose…

By A Nose…

My students often complain about painting a nose. I hear ya, they are tough… so let’s look at a few things to make painting the schnoz a little bit easier.

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Running Around Like a …

Running Around Like a …

Nope you didn’t miss anything … I have skipped a few blog posts. But a wise artist once told me that we have to bend “when life gets in the way” so here is what has been keeping me so busy.

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Illumination

Illumination

I recently posted a little oil painting that I was working on last week and was pleasantly surprised when it received a lot of attention on Facebook. SO cool! So I thought I would show how this little image came to be.

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Learning Never Stops

Learning Never Stops

I am always amazed when people tell me, “Oh! you are so talented!!” as though my work stems magically from fairies and pixie dust. Nope. Good art is created out of dedicated time and knowledge.

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Walking in the Leaves

Walking in the Leaves

Recently someone asked me if I had a plan for my career now going forward. Goals for awards, shows etc… in other words, what does success look like to me now?

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Chocolate Snob

Chocolate Snob

Chocolate is my friend. Well, maybe we are a bit too close when I see photos of myself.

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ALL the Colors

ALL the Colors

Last week I was in Iowa City. I took my daughter to college orientation for the University of Iowa. My days with her home all the time are numbered, and soon it will just be my son and I. On the flight this is what he packed…

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Joy

Joy

“Painting a landscape is illusionary…  like trying to catch rainbows…”
–  Phil Salvato

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Alexander Soukas. Visiting Master

Alexander Soukas. Visiting Master

Last week I had the honor of inviting and studying with Alexander Soukas from Denver, Colorado as part of the Master Series of Workshops I am setting up here in Sewickley at Sweetwater Center for the Arts.

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War

War

Sometimes a painting just keeps tapping me on the shoulder until I confront it, design it and then try to execute it. Sometimes this conversation with an image takes years.

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The Rest Is Just Noise

The Rest Is Just Noise

Do you hate the painting you are working on? Frustrated with it and just wanna get it “over with?” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but anyone looking at the painting will know…

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Flying Buttresses

Flying Buttresses

“It’s all in how you arrange the thing… the careful balance of the design is the motion.”
– Andrew Wyeth

Yup… composition is king.

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Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid

“I don’t think that there is anything that is really magical unless it has a terrifying quality.”
-Andrew Wyeth

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The Value of Design Part 2

The Value of Design Part 2

“The way I feel about things is so much better than the way I’ve been able to paint them. The image I had in my head before I started is not quite – never quite – completely conveyed in paint.”
– Andrew Wyeth

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The Value of Design

The Value of Design

One of the most prized possessions I have in my studio space is an old book I bought for $6.99 from a second-hand book store.

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