Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Process: Mine Shaft Ruins

Each of my paintings live quite an extravagant life before they are finished and displayed in a gallery/on my website/in someone's home. Some of you have mentioned you enjoy seeing the "behind the scenes" of how my paintings come to life -- or rather, to their final life. Here's the evolution of one of my most recent paintings.

Phase 1: On a gray toned canvas I drew the coal mines structure and positioned the trees, stakes & shadows.

Phase 2: After sanding phase 1 with a medium grit sandpaper I refined my dark lines & defined the highlight areas with flake white. (The mustard yellow color is from a failed painting. Instead of ripping off the canvas and re-stretching I started this painting over top of the previous one.)

Phase 3: Giving the stones & tree trunks some color, darkening areas and a thin wash of warm color over the weeds/undergrowth.

Phase 4: More color added -- greens & blues in the background, browns and reds in the foreground.

Phase 5: This was when I was trying to decide if the trees in the background should be lighter or darker than the stone archway. I also added some variation of color to the stones to show the light reflecting around in the shadows.

Phase 6. I decided my previous decision to lighten the background wasn't looking right -- so I pulled out the sandpaper again.

Phase 7: Another attempt to achieve the right background value.

Phase 8: Still experimenting with the background. Building up the foliage as well.

20x16, oil on canvas

Phase 9: DONE. The background goes dark again. Glazed the stones & emphasized the reflected light with cool blues and warm pinks/browns. Gave the tree trunk in the foreground a pretty, sunny vine. Darkened the dark areas a little more. Tried to balance out the rich warm colors (of the archway & the tree trunks) with some rich cools (violet blues in the deep shadows around base & cracks in the stone structure). A little red "a" in the corner & she's done!

I'd love to hear what you think of the final or any of the steps along the way. Thanks!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Midlothian Mine Shaft Ruins

Mine Shaft Ruins
20x16, oil on canvas

Below is a close up & shot of the piece framed.


Sorry for the stark lighting on the second pic. I had it framed for an incredible price at the Collector's Gallery and took the photo in the parking lot after I picked it up. I don't think the picture does it justice, but I had to post it anyway. :)

Tomorrow I'm hoping to post the progress shots of this piece. 
It had quite the life leading up to this point. Check back soon!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Art Works All Media Juried Show Oct/Nov

I can't believe it's been a month since the September opening at Art Works! Time flies.

Last night was the October 4th Friday opening (and 100th Art Show Celebration) at Art Works.

My two pieces received 3rd place!
(Yes, the juror chose both for 3rd.)

These are the pieces selected:

Roseland, oil, 24x12"

Evening Over Morris Street, oil, 11x14"

Friday, October 26, 2012

Make Lots of Starts

I've been reading (very slowly) the little book, Hawthorne on Painting

Charles Hawthorne was an artist and founder/instructor at the Cape Cod School of Art in the early 1900's. I highly recommend the book to anyone who has a passion for painting. It's mostly a collection of comments and critiques addressed to his students, so if you can get past the lack of context in some of the paragraphs it's an extremely motivating and encouraging read.

Anyway, early in the book he talks about gaining experience and our continual journey, as artists.

"If you look into the past of the successful painter you will find square miles of canvas behind him. It's the work that counts, experience in seeing color... After you have covered acres of canvas you will know. Be very much a student. Be always searching, never settle to do something you've done before. Always be looking for the unexpected in nature -- you can have no formulas for anything. I don't know a better definition of an artist than one who is eternally curious. A great painter is always a student. 
Do studies... be alive, stop when your interest is lost... wait till later to try to finish things -- make a lot of starts. "
So, yes, I've been making lots of starts.
If it interests you, here are a few visuals of my works in progress.

Some are close to being finished, some must be finished, some might never be finished. It's the experience that comes from the acres of canvas that counts. I've explained to people before, I don't value my paintings based on how long each individual work took to complete, the value is in my journey as an artist -- the acres and years that it took to bring me to this place as an artist.

And so, back to the studio with myself... for more starts and for miles and miles of canvas!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Starin Farm

Round two of this scene of the Starin Family Farm. I took a little different approach than the first time.

Here are some shots of the progression:

The underpainting in burnt sienna/permanent rose/burnt umber, and the start of designing the clouds.

Designating the colors, allowing the underpainting to show through.

Cloud design complete, working on centering the focus to the house, reshaping the mountains & highlighting the fall leaves.

24x36, oil

Finished -- after toning down the trees, giving the horizon a bit of an evening glow, unifying the colors, highlighting the house & painting rows in the golden field to draw your eye to the focal point -- the house.

two detail shots:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Artworks All-Media Show & Recent Happenings

I Lift My Eyes to the Hills, oil, 36x24

The Artworks All-Media Juried Show opens this Friday at 7pm! 
Three of my pieces were accepted into the show & one will be receiving the first place award. Exciting! 
If you're in the area and are interested in checking it out, here's the info:

Holding, oil, 11x14

Slow & Graceful, oil, 11x14

Last Friday I attended the Crossroads Art Center artwalk. One of my pieces was accepted to the All-Media Juried Show over there as well. The show will be up through November 5th in the Rhoda MacCallum Gallery. 

Richmond Rooftops, oil, 12x16

Thursday, September 20, 2012

White Rock Creek

This was one of the largest alla prima paintings i've done since college. It was incredibly fun. My husband took a look at it and said "where's all the detail?" I'm leaving the loose section to your imagination. I think you can fill in the details. 

6x6 study:

Two progress shots:

White Rock Creek 
16x20, oil on canvas

Friday, September 14, 2012


"Beauty in art is the delicious notes of color one against the other. It is just as fine as music and it is just the same thing, one tone in relation to another tone." - Charles W. Hawthorne in Hawthorne on Painting

12x24, oil on canvas

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


A Pink Coat
8x10 oil on canvas

This tree can be found in front of the Dooley Mansion at Maymont Park, Richmond. I loved the contrast of the little lady in the bright coat next to the giant tree.
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