Friday, May 30, 2008

Slim, our Abyssinian

Sketch of Slim – 6" x 8" Oil on Canvas Panel

Slim is our Abysinnian cat, she is a wonderful and precocious companion. When the weather is good, she begs for walks and likes to be outside. Because she is a very small kitty, 6.5 lbs full grown (7 years old) we do not like to let her outside unattended. So she gets to go outside with a leash, which she handles very well, almost like a dog.

This painting was a memory exercise. She kept her pose for the few moments I could sketch it out, she then moved to another area on our patio. So with the initial sketch I completed this painting, and checking her out every so often to verify I got the right colors and values of her. It was a fun little experiement. This weekend is going to have good weather for a while, so I think I will try it out again… have a great weekend!

Here is a photo of Slim on a walk behind our apartment building

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yellow Flowers

Yellow Flowers – 8" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

I think these flowers are a hi-bred of black-eyed susans. Which are one of my favorite wild flowers, unfortunately they do not grow wild in the northern Virginia region, so I rely on Trader Joe’s to supply me with this beautiful palette. The deep brown of the flower center was a deep red almost purple hue. I love the complexity and simple forms of these flowers and the natural complementary colors. I hope you enjoy this little painting…

Thanks, Liz

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tomato on Stripes

Tomato on Striped Dishcloth – 8" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Sometimes it is fun to revisit an experience and to see if with the passage of time, maybe some new skills have been gained and maybe there is even a sense of improvement being accomplished. This experience was encountered here in this painting where I revisited painting a striped dishcloth. A tomato is the focal point while in a previous painting a blood orange was the central focus. Thanks for dropping by and being part of my painting journey!

Monday, May 26, 2008


Sunflower – 6" x 6" Oil on Gessoed Masonite Panel SOLD

In January and February I purchased several masonite panels to paint with. A few months ago every painting I attempted turned into a muddy mess because the surface is more smooth and slick than the canvas panels and stretched canvases I typically paint on. Today on a lark I picked up a panel to try it out again, and this is the painting that was accomplished! I was very pleased with the results; I like the energy and variety of the brush strokes. I feel this painting was a right of passage for me, it proved I am growing with posting these paintings on my blog and I am glad to be going on this journey. Though I have found that posting paintings daily has been a profound challenge while also maintaining a full-time career in residential architecture, I do enjoy the process, and I always aim to post approximately 3 times a week.

Of the daily painters out on the web, I admire Karin Jurick’s work the most for the quality and energy of her paint handling. I think she has such a great knack of capturing the spirit of her subjects, and I love the variety of the themes she paints. She is accomplished in painting still lifes, cityscapes, and figures (anything she decides to focus on actually). I believe of her paintings those of people viewing art in museums most capture the spirit of art and how it affects everybody, young and old. I feel lucky to have such artists to look up to and admire, to keep me going and enthusiastic about painting on a very regular basis.

First Plein Air Painting of the Year!

Jefferson Memorial – 8x10 Oil on Canvas Panel

Yesterday, Steve and I went down to the national mall early in the morning to celebrate Memorial Day weekend. I wanted to kick off the plein air painting season and Steve wanted to get out on his bike and ride around the monuments. It worked out great, as I am not a morning person having Steve involved with the scheme it ensured I would get out of bed and get some painting done.

While we were at the mall, we went around to the WWI and WWII monuments, then sat and watched the Rolling Thunder parade go by. Here is a picture of the various motorcycles we saw drive by…

Then we had a laid-back lunch of hot dogs and ice cream, the ducks at the Tidal Basin are super friendly as long as you are eating some form of food with bread. A mallard drake and a mallard hen were our lunch partners along with two small finches. The female duck was more aggressive about grabbing all the choice crumbs, leaving the drake to occasionally obtain a morsel or two.

Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Single Lemon

Single Lemon – 6" x 8" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Here is another 6" x 8" painting of a piece of fruit on a deep blue background. It was not until painting these three paintings (the oranges, the apricots, and this lemon) the realization hit home for me about how to create a sense of visual depth. By employing “atmospheric haze” with still life paintings visual depth can be emphasized and help the background recede and the foreground come more forward.

Please click here to visit the auction.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Three Apricots

Three Apricots – 6" x 8" Oil on Canvas Panel

This is the second (completed) painting I worked on yesterday. Lately I have been having a love-hate affair with apricots … All this past weekend paintings were started and scraped down, all depicting apricots and even yesterday I think this was my third attempt. It was not until the end when adding the affects of the fuzz did the captivating soft pastel colors of the fruit start to glow. This is what I was enamored with, trying to capture the richness and the softness of this fruit all at once.

Since the weekend I have been looking at other artist's depictions of apricots to get an understanding of how to maybe depict them, some of the paintings I have come across are just beautiful. Here are a few other artist’s take on apricots, it is wonderful how the same fruit can be intrepeted and presented in so many different ways.

J.L. Fleckenstein - great close up with a beautiful aquamarine cup to complement the warm yellows and oranges of the apricot.

Mati Karlwein - very complex compositions, I admire the patience of the artist for undertaking such ambitous projects!

Vitali Komarov - I love the texture and energy of the way he captured the fruit! Especially the play of the cool green areas with the hot red-orange areas.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Two Oranges

Two Oranges – 6" x 8" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Today worked out for me when it came to painting. I started the day slowly and feeling a little under the weather, our milk was past the due date so I had to run to the store to get fresh milk. While I was out shopping I picked up some new fruit to bring home to eat… Well now some of it ended up on my still life stand. All I have been doing is painting since I got home. I just wanted to focus on what I had found, and playing with a new painting technique of getting the background to fall back into space.

So here is the first of three paintings I completed today. I will post the other two in the following days.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Busy weekend, alas no paintings to post...

Photo of a few booths at the Reston Arts Festival on Saturday, May 17th.

This weekend I just did not come up with anything I liked. I spent a fair bit of time in my studio (our converted breakfast area) where I scraped down four small paintings, worked alittle on a freize painting, and contemplated what I should do next... I typically use the weekends to catch-up and paint some of the small paintings that get posted during the week. I always hope to find some time during the week in any freetime I have outside of work and life commitments to get some painting in as well. However this past week was a crazy one, I was only able to sketch in my sketchbook and paint in my class taught by Danni Dawson on Tuesday. So I do not have any drawing or painting to share right now.

Even though my time in the studio was somewhat less productive than I had planned this weekend, I did find time to visit the Reston Art Festival on Saturday. It was a fun time and the weather was very nice. I found a lot of rest and relaxation in just walking among the artists and visitors. Listening to local muscians and getting some refueling. I am planning on finding the time and energy to make the most of this coming week.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Three Pears - Separate and Together

Three Pear Frieze - 5-1/2” x 12” Oil on Canvas - SOLD

This is the third frieze composition I have completed. It was a lot of fun working to capture the variations of the colors on the skin of the pears. To me the pears seem to glow. I have included some detail photos to show the brushwork of the more tricky areas.

Thanks, Liz

I have recently started using DaVinci Maestro 3 hog bristle brushes, these brushes are more springy then the previous brand I was using . Making it possible to paint wet in wet and skim the rosy red colors over the wet yellow-green underpainting on this pear.

This pear was closet to my model light, so between breaks I would have to shut the light off to prevent "cooking" it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Single Pear – 5" x 7" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

The name for this painting is a play on words… Sometimes I just prefer a simpler setup, however this is really one pear of a painting of three pears that I am working on right now… I will post this painting later in the week as I have a few more things I need to do to it before I feel it is a finished painting…

Monday, May 12, 2008

Another Bell Pepper

Bell Pepper – 5" x 7" Oil on Canvas Panel

I really liked the brown and green background I had used for the tomato painting and was interested in seeing what else would look good on it. So in rummaging through the refrigerator I came upon the yellow bell peppers from last week. Placing one on the table, I knew it was a good match for the varied levels of value I was going for today. After visiting Artomatic on Friday evening I have been thinking of the importance values have in helping establish the theme and concept of a painting.

Thanks, E.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Red Tomato Still Life

Red Tomato – 6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

I just got some new tomatoes from the grocery store, and I was fascinated with the way the stem of this single tomato had such personality. It really amazing how very different each plant grows, this tomato's stem wraps around and the texture of the twisting stem seems to change as the stem gets further and further away from the "meat" of the tomato. No other tomato of the bunch purchased is similar, they are all different. I plan to paint the other tomatoes before I cook them, but that depends on how busy the week turns out to be...

Thanks, E. Floyd

Saturday, May 10, 2008


On Friday evening my husband and I attended the opening night of Artomatic, a volunteer artist organization in the DC area that hosts a large art event once a year for both the performing and the visual arts. The open acceptance of any artist into this event (if you get your application in on time) reminds me of the type of exhibitions I read about when I was learning about the French artist Henri Rousseau and how he begun exhibiting his art. Henri Rousseau was a regular exhibitor of Société des Artistes Indépendants (Society of Independent Artists) which was a “no jury or no awards” show. This is really a fun and thought provoking experience, and I would like to encourage anyone in the DC area to attend it as the event will continue through June 15th (2008).

Last night after I came home I jotted down my impressions of the show, focusing only on the visual art displays of the various artists. Here are the characteristics of the various display areas that were most successful in presenting their artwork in an eye-catching and successful manner:

1. The artwork displayed had a cohesive color palette among all of the pieces hung

2. at least one image was a clear and simple composition, there was clarity of artistic message (this piece did not need to be a big piece, thought it did help as there was so much visual competition on the nine floors of displays)

3. The artwork had interesting and varied values. Contrast was visible, so the image was readable from a distance.

4. the entire body of work displayed on a single wall by a single artist looked like these pieces belonged together, there may or may not have been a story, but those that did narrate a message were more compelling to stop and absorb with greater attention than those that were just a hodge-podge of pretty or interesting images.

5. The background wall that the artwork was hung on complimented and reinforced the pieces displayed.

6. the signage was clear and easy to read

7. All printed information was easy to discern and absorb. All relevant information was presented. I especially liked how some of the artists had placed sheets with their artist statement and price lists.

8. Business cards – My opinion in this type of exhibition, one cannot have too many of them! Some display areas had already run out of them so I was unable to quickly gather their information for future contact opportunities. I also liked the business cards that were professionally printed, easy to read and identify, I also now looking at them the day after, really prefer the ones that have an image on them to help me remember exactly which artist they are for. I am a visual person so the visual reinforcement helps me trigger the memory of the entire wall of painting with greater ease.

Here a list the artists that captured my imagination most: (in no order of preference)

Rodina Yelena - Beautiful use of color, very cohesive presentation and lovely paintings

Mia Merin - Nice landscape paintings

Karen Derrico - Liked the way she captured emotion in the eyes of the animals she painted

Gail Vollrath - Beautiful use of color and I really enjoyed being drawn into her abstract compositions

Laurie Breen - Her paintings were bold in color and texture. I also like the cohesive imagery presented.

Tina Duryea - Great big bold painting along side some beautiful abstracted landscapes. My husband said her landscapes reminded him of Kevin Fitzgerald's work. Check out her blog, she has a photo of her wall posted.

Lou Janesko - beautiful draftsmanship, reminds me of some of the old master's field sketches.

Diane Tesler - Colorful and large paintings, I really liked the postcards she also had available

Amanda Engels - beautiful large paintings, I especially liked the diptych of the two ladies at the open door.

E. B. Kellinger - beautiful and colorful large format paintings that were strong and simple compositions

Susan La Mont - I really liked her large compositions. My husband commented that the painting with the lady in front of the dinner reminded him of an urban explorer, someone ready to visit new places and new experiences, I agree with him. There was a sense of exploration in the painting.

Cristina Montejo - I liked the quality of line in her work, I also like the cool format for her business cards.

Patricia Bennett - Bright and colorful, with a very specific message.

Genevieve Lynn - Beautiful chinese brushwork, lovely images. I especially liked the small tiger painting.

Drew Graham - he does not have a web presence, however really cool work using wood and spraypaint...

Jess3 - Bright and colorful images. There was real fun one on display with Rex Harrison and Jean Simmons... Check out the website, there are more examples of visually complex collages.

There were more, however these are the artists that had business cards available to take home. As this exhibit will be going on for a while longer I may go again. As I only wrote about 2D artists, there were some great glass and ceramic artwork that was beautiful and worth mentioning as well... I just did not pick up their information. I guess last night I was really just focusing on 2D work, something I did not notice until writing this review.

Please visit Artomatic, it is a great venue to see local artists in the DC area!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sketch of Gerry

Sketch of Gerry from Danni Dawson's figure painting class
±9x12 inches Oil on Linen

I have had a very hectic week, and do not have another completed painting to post. However I wanted to share this composition sketch I completed in my Tuesday painting class. I like keeping current and posting what I have available to show.

This was a fun experiment; I am still practicing the “color study” method of Henry Hensche/Charles Hawthorne. So the under-painting is a variety of colors. I think for the skin tone, I started with cad yellow and cremnitz white in the light areas, and a cad scarlet and white for the shadow areas. The blue shirt the model was wearing had a lot of pink and purple undertones in it, so I first laid down pink values in the shirt area, and later laid the blue colors on top. To further differentiate the shadow areas from the light areas I applied different levels of paint texture. The paint in the shadow areas was laid down in thin layers, while the lighter areas have thicker applications of paint. So not only is there a color temperature difference between light and shade but also a textural difference as well. I think Manet was a master of using paint thickness to emphasize form and shadow, specifically the painting, The Dead Toreador.

It was not just the paint application that was fun, I also had fun with the pose. Compositionally I love this painting because of the hands, they are so full of expression. Gerry’s pose was set up to look like a business man just coming home from a long day at work. I feel the unwinding and ease in his pose, I almost expect to see him next reaching for a nice drink any moment. I know that is how I feel sometimes after a hectic day….

Monday, May 5, 2008

Yellow Bell Pepper

Yellow Bell Pepper – 6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

This is another bell pepper painting I completed this weekend. I just love how the pepper is somewhat translucent and the shadow side of the pepper down at the base glows orange. I had not observed that in the painting with two bell peppers… I do not know if anyone else experiences this, however when I am painting something, I think I am taking it all in, and if I paint the same item again in a different setup I see totally new characteristics. I wonder if it is the familiarity of the object that changes what I see, so I can absorb new aspects… I do not know, maybe I will investigate it more and share with you my very unscientifically gathered research information.

Take care, and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Two Bell Peppers

Two Bell Peppers – 6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

I have been meaning to paint some bell peppers for awhile. I just always ended up cooking with them before I got around to painting them…

This was a fun painting, I like how the palette of this painting is essentially made up of oranges and greens. Not quite a complementary palette, but close as green is right next to blue on the color wheel.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Two Pears Painting and Artist Statement

Two Pears – 5" x 7" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

With this painting I was fascinated with the high key palette of the setup. I love the calming effect of the light, light blue background and how the pears seem to float on the surface while also being grounded to the vertical background by the shadows the pears cast. I was also fascinated how I was seeing so many colors in this relatively restrained setup.

Lately I have been branching out with painting techniques while also listening to podcasts on somatic learning, specifically podcasts about the Feldenkrais method. I have not yet found how these two worlds intersect, however I do know that by listening to these lectures I have been able to find the words to express what I am striving to do with my current paintings. Thus these worlds are intersecting and I am growing with the experiences.

Below is an artist statement I have started to develop (an artist statement is often stressed as something every artist should have) but so far I have only been discussing my paintings as they are created. This is my first attempt in describing what I am striving for as an artist and why I continue to paint these still lifes. Please read on, it is an early draft and I would love to receive feedback or questions if there are areas where I have not elaborated enough. Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading it, Liz


With my paintings I am trying to capture a sense of emotional harmony. A peaceful happiness that can be found in the everyday, not some fleeting feeling that can only be felt when one leaves their routine. I feel that I gain from these paintings of still life objects that most everyone is familiar with. I feel that in capturing these objects my life becomes more calm and whole, as I do believe that with a sense of peacefulness one is able to find their inner self and thus a happier aspect of life.

I always strive to make the most of each painting experience. Typically I also incorporate a painting technique or principle in a way so I can test my understanding of it while also painting a beautiful scene. Art is such a personal experience that I feel I must impart a part of me in each piece. I do this by incorporating my love of beautiful objects along with my love to experiment and learn.

An aspect of my personal character is that I do not like driving the same way to a destination too often. I start to get bored and I want to see what else is going on or what else exists along a new and different path. My love of exploring and seeing what is around me is also recorded in my paintings, as I tend to work in series. I get interested in how a certain design scheme can be repeated while also being subtly different. I will paint a subject over and over again, relearning or enhancing my understanding of the object until I believe I know it. I then move onto another object, but before long I will return and redress the previous object with new information, thus the paintings are different, but hopefully still impart some of the fun of what I have been learning in them.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Three Pears

Three Pears in a Bowl – 5" x 7" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Today started out as a gray and rainy day, and I had the good fortune to not having to work today. My office is in the midst of a move, and when I arrived today at the building, it was utter chaos. I was told to go home since the desks were not yet built for our individual workstations; hopefully tomorrow will be a different story… This being said I took advantage of the day off by painting and catching up on reading articles that have been piling up.

I think because of the gray and rainy day, I was inspired to set up a still life that was bright and in a high key. These pears were solid green last week, and to my delight they have ripen to include some nice rosy red areas. I find it easier to paint pears when they are all a solid color, however today I relished the challenge. When Steve, my husband, saw this painting he commented that it looked like the pears were three friends in a boat… I like that analogy and enjoy grouping fruit in this bowl.