Monday, August 15, 2016

Arlington - Military Spouse Series

Arlington - Military Spouse Series
36 x 30
Oil on Linen Canvas


I am continuing my Military Spouse with an emotional painting titled "Arlington."  Arlington is the Cemetery that lays to rest those who served in the military.  It is located in Washington DC.

The subject of this piece is the wife of a classmate of my husband, graduating from West Point in 1974.  We attended the funeral...the first Arlington funeral I attended.  The solemn, traditional ceremony was beautiful, meaningful and very moving.  

Since then I have laid holiday wreaths on the graves of fallen service members, specifically classmates of my husband.  Meeting the families is always a highlight of a solemn occasion.  They are from all over the country and have amazing stories of lives lived to the fullest.  Some stayed in the military after graduation, some followed other paths, but West Point shaped their lives in many ways and they have a camaraderie that cannot be denied.   

Of course the most moving burial was that of my father.  I am proud to say he is buried in Arlington.  His ceremony was beautiful.  The staff at Arlington is caring and professional.  I cannot imagine having a job that requires such compassion constantly.  I am forever grateful.  

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Letter - Military Spouse Series

The Letter

36 x 36
Oil on Canvas


My last post showed a portion of this is the entire piece.  Her name is is a bit of her story:

In 1992, Maria married her college sweetheart LT Greg Bowie.  However, it was more than 10 years later before they resided in one place –together and permanently. During early marriage, LT Bowie was assigned to the USS Nimitz and in 1994-5 the ship served as the test platform for a “new thing” called e-mail.  Writing brief messages, just a couple lines long, families and friends were able to communicate for the first time with a surface ship at sea in a matter of hours, instead of days, weeks or months. Despite the huge leap in technology and convenience, they continue today to add to their families’ history of handwritten letters and cards, like the generation before. They live with their son, Gunnar, in Arlington, Virginia where black ink and crisp stationery are in good supply. 
When Maria first told me she was able to email her husband...among the first to do so...I just assumed that she wrote a newsy, lengthy note telling him of her daily happenings.  I didn't realize that it would be just a couple of lines.  It makes me feel so fortunate to be able to communicate at length whenever I want.  
I still like handwritten notes and do write especially thank you notes.  I don't write as often as I would like...but whenever I get a personal note I feel special and make a new resolve to write more often.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Military Spouse Series - Work in Progress

This is a peek at a portion of a Work in Progress of one of my Military Spouses.  This piece measures 36 x 36 in total.  

Her story is that she is one of the first military spouses to be able to send an email to her husband serving on the USS Nimitz.  Prior to email communication with our spouse while he/she was out to sea was nearly impossible.  Snail mail was sporadic and telegraph messages were used only in emergency situations.  The use of email was a giant leap forward in communication.  

When I paint these pieces I think of my life and the struggles communicating with my husband while he was on maneuvers or deployed.  It was always a challenge.  I am so glad it is easier for families today...still a challenge to be separated...but nice to be able to communication.  

I will be posting the completed piece soon I hope!  

Monday, July 18, 2016


12 x 16
Oil on Raymar Panel

I am in my new studio now and have been working very hard getting it set up the way I want...getting things put in places that give me a smooth work process.  The first thing I painted was a small "Charlie Chaplin" piece.  I also have 4 large Military Spouse paintings in the works at various stages of development.  When I want to take a break and paint something that is no pressure, pure fun, I paint a selfie.  Sometime I use photos, sometimes I paint from life...this was a combination.  I had a picture that I really liked but needed to check my features in a mirror to get more detail. Especially my nose...I do have a bulbous nose!  hahaha!

 I purchased a full length mirror for my studio so I can check out features whenever I want.  It helps with figurative work also. Sometimes a photo reference can be blurry or I just want to change something about a composition so I use the mirror for reference.  

So now that I have finished my "fun" selfie...back to work! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Rosie Remembers

Rosie Remembers
24 x 20
Oil on Canvas

It is no secret that I love anything military related and Rosie the Riveter is no exception.  Recently a bus load of Rosie the Riveters descended upon the World War II memorial to celebrate their contribution to the war effort.  The trip was courtesy of the Wonderful Honor Flight organization who frequently flies in World War II vets...I am so glad they honored these ladies.  They were all clad in festive red and white polkadot accessories.  Most of them were wheeled about in wheelchairs and you could see the exuberance on their faces.  If I called out "Thank you Rosie" I was met with smiles and the iconic "gun show"  that is Rosie showing off her muscles.  It was a wonderful sight.  

I took my Rosie opportunity to take many source photos and try to get as many stories as I could.  The ladies were all so lovely.  

So here is my Rosie...remembering her glory days...when she helped win the war!  Thank you Rosie...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Portrait Society of America Conference - Reflections of my experience.

 Some pictures from the Portrait Society of America's Conference...and my impressions...

Rose Frantzen's discussing her piece "Locket"

Dinner with artist friends

Max Ginsburg sketching class/demo

Carol Arnold during my sketching/demo breakout session

Watching Rose Franzen paint this piece was absolutely amazing.  She throws color on the canvas with what seems like reckless abandon and in the end this wonderful likeness emerges.  I am in awe of her talent. 

Reflections of my conference experience...

I have been gathering my thoughts since attending the Portrait Society of America's Conference here in Reston, VA.  I am overwhelmed by the amazing artists I met, the amazing artists I reconnected with and the ones I was able to learn from.  The weekend starts on a Thursday night with an amazing group of artists...15 in all...painting 5 models...three artists to a model.  They are arranged in a large circle and spectators walk around and around admiring the process of creating portraits in 15 different styles.  Some begin with a blank canvas and start swishing brushes wildly while others begin with quiet, definitive strokes building from the inside out.  It is awe-inspiring to watch.  After a couple of hours we are presented 15 fabulous portraits.  While circling and watching...artists are connecting, chatting, and meeting other artists.  They are discussing techniques, color palettes, and artistic energy.  It is an amazing event. 

From there the Conference is a blur of painting demonstrations, portfolio critiques, workshops, exhibits and sales of art materials, conversations with friends/artists, lunches, and presentations by prominent artists such a Michael Shane Neal, Everett Raymond Kinstler, James Gurney and Daniel Greene to name just a few.  I found myself attending my breakout session...running to grab some lunch, running to get some books signed...running to get my portfolio critiqued...running back so I don't miss the next event.  I was constantly on the between...or as I ran I bumped into people I know, Facebook friends, and managed to get into the Exhibition and Sales area to purchase some much needed (hahaha) art supplies. 

Other highlights included meeting and actually getting to talk to Rose Frantzen and having her sign her book, "Portrait of Maquoketa", having Anna Rose Bain sign my copy of her book "The Wait and the Reward", meeting Jennifer Balkan and getting to discuss her artwork,  meeting Tina Garrett and talking to her about everything, a lovely discussion with Ted Reed and other dinner guests... I know I am leaving some names out but the list is so is overwhelming to remember it all!  I was able to have my portfolio critiqued three times by Julian Hess, Elizabeth Zanzinger and Brenda Hash.  Three different perspectives that will certainly help my future efforts.  

If you ever thought about attending but were hesitant because you were't sure if you would connect with anyone, let me put your mind at ease.  It is a given that you will find artists to talk to, to share ideas with, to learn from BUT even if you don't talk to will be busy running from place to place to take advantage of all that is offered.  It is a blur of activity from start to finish.  

In closing I have to mention words spoken to me by Daniel Greene..."Study...just Study"  I plan on putting those words in my new studio as soon as I move in.  They will serve to motivate me as well as remind me of a wonderful critique and a more wonderful dinner with artist friends.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mom - Mad Hatter

Mom - Mad Hatter
9 x 12
Oil on Raymar Panel

I come by my love of hats honestly.  My mom always loved hats and had some of the most fabulously outrageous ones...I loved them all.  She often wore tall hats as she is only 5 feet tall and my dad was 6 feet 3 inches.  I wish she had kept them...but alas a military lifestyle is not conducive to holding onto things that were not necessities.  

I collect hats. Love to wear them and I use them extensively as props for my models when I paint and I just love looking at them.  I am always looking for something unusual...but a top hat with a blusher veil will always wins me over.  

This portrait is one of the ones that I thought was finished a couple of days ago.  Then after letting it sit and re-evaluating I decided to re-work some if it...which led to re-working all of it a few more times.  The last thing I did was the reflection of the shirt on the neck, cheek and chin.  Then I had to call it done.