Friday, February 27, 2009


Awakenings III – 2-1/2” x 2-1/2 – watercolor

The dream is coming closer, everywhere I look and turn is providing me with the excitement to begin creating.

Here are a few places I have been finding inspiration this week:

*finding winter
*colors that remind me of spring
*a Richard Diebenkorn quote

What has been capturing your artistic spirit this week?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lemon Wall

Over the weekend one of my patron's shared this photo with me. It is her collection of some of my lemon paintings. I am so honored by the care and thought she put into arranging these paintings along with her other items. I am totally in love with her ginger jars on the table.

THANK YOU Mary Lou for sharing this with me and allowing me to post this photo on my blog!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One more step taken...

Awakenings II – 2-1/2” x 2-1/2 – watercolor

Well my employer is somewhat understanding about my decision to go. Being that I am leaving to pursue art (my heart’s desire) instead going to another architecture firm may make my resignation more palatable.

Today I mailed in my business license renewal application. These are heady times for me; I get excited about the official-ness of these activities. I am not playing at this, it is for real! Taking the steps to be a responsible business owner and a fulltime artist is liberating.

Above is my second installment of the Awakening series. One of my favorite pigments/colors in watercolor is cerulean blue, I love how grainy it is. I never know really what it is going to do, especially if you add another pigment into the mix. Will cerulean play nice? Maybe, but not always… Where I find ultramarine blue always plays nice, mixing in with strong color.

Have a great evening! Liz

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bartlett Pear Still Life

Bartlett Pear – 6" x 6" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

Sunday mornings begin with me heading over to the Mount Vernon Rec Center to swim. My friend, Marilze, encouraged me to start swimming again on New Years Day. After a morning swim I am usually ready to dig in and focus on the day’s tasks, which always includes some time to paint or draw.

For this painting along with the prior apple painting I set up the lighting for a dramatic effect. I propped up a panel to half block the directional light to cast a long shadow in the background on the side the light is positioned. This method really enables some dramatic contrasts in light and dark. Something I will continue to play with.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cameo Apple Still Life

Cameo Apple – 6" x 6" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

This is an apple I painted over the weekend. Initially when I began this painting I was able to block in the shape and basics of the apple, but it just was not clicking. Typically when this occurs, I scrap down the painting and start over. This time I decided to go for a run instead, which made all the difference in the world. Being outside, in sunny but crisp weather, was enough to change my point of view and state of mind. When I returned to the easel, painting was easier, more energized.

The Decor8 blog has recently been running an article series about creativity, the second installment was about how exercise helps get the creative juices flowing. What sage advice! It worked for this painting.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Awakening 1

Awakenings I – 2-1/2” x 2-1/2 – watercolor

I have started to experiment with watercolors again, small pieces that are inspired by emotion and color. This is the first of the Awakening Series, which will record this time of transition from working fulltime as an architect to working fulltime as an artist.

Tomorrow, February 23rd, I am resigning from my current job. March 20th, 2009 will be my last day of fulltime architecture employment. This has been a dream of mine for a long time and it has been a goal that Steve and I have been working on for now close to five months. I have wanted to focus on art fulltime for several years, but it was more of a dream than a reality. And this gigantic step would not be possible without the wonderful support of my husband, family, friends, and patrons. Thank you for the wonderful support! Liz

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pencil Drawing and Reading

No paintings to share this week as I spent the weekend drawing and reading. I spent most of my weekend reading time with Harold Speed's The Practice and Science of Drawing. I was inspired how he encourages art students to focus on building technical skills of "searching accuracy" found in many academic drawings. So once the technical aspects of art making are firmly under control, the artist can respond with greater freedom and spontaneity when the creative inspiration hits.

Not really feeling like painting I decided to draw instead, deciding to complete some assignments that involve pencil rendering. I feel it is an area that needs some help and over 2009 I want to improve and get more balanced in my skill set. Over the weekend I went through 3 assignments in Ernest W. Watson's Course in pencil sketching: Four books in one.

The assignments seem to be a lot of repeating a drawing 3-4 times, experimenting with rendering techniques and learning with each one. As an asside, I typically do not like drawing delapidated buildings, some people find these quaint, but being an architect I hate seeing buildings not being maintained. Most of the images that are assignments are of falling down and abandoned buildings, so these exercises are really about following through and learning even from situations that may not capture my soul and interest me. Oh well, I did learn a lot with the three windmill drawings above, the lower right hand corner drawing was my last.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Watercolor Mixed Media

This week we have had wonderful warm weather for February. This change in the air got me thinking of spring and how inspired I get during the months of April and May. As the days get longer, I get excited and interested in more activities.

I also tend to respond more to visual inspiration.

Lately I have been inspired by the way artist's interpret birds.
* Geninne's Bird Series
*Paris Breakfast's Love Birds

Friday, February 13, 2009

Drawing Class

white chalk and charcoal on Strathmore Charcoal Paper

On Fridays I take a drawing class taught by Robert Liberace at the Art League here in Alexandria. Last week was the third class and I completed this drawing. I spent more time on this drawing then ever before. How did I do this? I am not really sure, as I typically get to a point and want to start over...

When I was about to start a new drawing Robert came by and suggested I work some more on it. He gave me some direction on what to look for and I started to apply what he had said, and gained some valuable knowledge for future drawings.

What I learned from this drawing:

} after the big value shapes are placed, check for any areas that need corrections

} correct it right away

} do not let the light values become to light, if all light areas are the same value as the highlights the figure looks flat (this goes for the shadow areas also)

} continue to squint and compare the figure to your drawing

} when you think you are done, turn the drawing upside down and see if anything looks strange, if so turn it right side up and correct it.

Typically I get bored and start a new drawing (this is my way of dealing with not knowing what to do next), but with this drawing when I figured out that I had all my lights one value and no where to go, so to speak, I knocked the light areas down and then I had so much more room to work with. It was a liberating experience.

So my new mantra with drawing will be: There is always room to work, I just need to decide where to give my drawing space to move around in regard to value. Then there will be plenty of opportunities to explore drawing variations and results.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bell Pepper Still Life

Green Bell Pepper – 6" x 6" – Oil on Canvas Panel

Immediately after painting the lemon painting I wanted to loosen up and paint like I usually do, with stronger brushstrokes and more contrast. So I chose to set up essentially a complementary palette of green and purple. Because the green of the bell pepper was a uniform local color only by interpreting value was it possible to give shape to this item. The exercise of the lemon helped me make value judgments with greater ease and confidence, allowing me to focus on brushwork on this painting. It was a real pleasure to go back and forth between the tighter more specific investigation of the lemon to the loose investigation of the bell pepper this weekend.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Single Lemon Still Life Painting

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

Last weekend I started this painting, but it got late and I was unable to finish it. So on Saturday I spent some time completing it. This time when looking at the lemon, I really worked on evaluating the different values of the lemon in front of me. A lot of artists like to simplify and distill an object to its basic features, sometimes simplifying the value scale to as little as 4-6 tones, and typically I do the same thing. This time I decided to see if I could interpret the lemon and the various values to as many nuances as I could discern. I used color saturation and desaturation as a means also to create subtle changes in the value of the lemon where a real value tone would be too strong of a change.

I was inspired to paint like this after attending my Friday drawing class, where I perceived that the instructor, Robert Liberace, has an amazingly fine tuned sense of value. So I decided that if I want to draw like him, I need to start honing that skill of observing and recording values in greater detail than I have before. So this painting is the start of a new method to explore.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Three Lemons Still Life Painting

Three Lemons – 6" x 8" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

Bright paintings always cheer me up. For this painting I wanted to paint something that was a challenge and also colorful, so lemons and a bright checkered cloth was just the right.

This was a great way to end the weekend. How did your weekend go?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Strawberry Still Life Painting

Strawberry – 6" x 6" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

This weekend strawberries were on sale for 99¢ each container. So I picked up a few for a change in what fruit we will have for this work week. As I was cleaning and chopping them for future use I kept my eye out for a particularly picturesque strawberry – one with a lovely rosy red and a great top of leaves.

I found this perfect strawberry. Instead of painting it with other items I really zoomed in on it. Painting in the little seeds was a little obsessive-compulsive, so after getting a little heavy handed with them I knocked some down and switched my focus to the form of the strawberry. I like paintings that look like paintings, not a paint-by-number accuracy that takes away the human investigation.