Friday, November 20, 2015

Salute - Tuskegee Airman

Salute - Tuskegee Airman
20 x 16
Oil on Raymar Panel


This painting continues my "Salute" series.  I honor veterans of our services...these men and women dedicated their lives to assure our country's freedom.  Assurance that they are not forgotten is paramount.  I often walk around the World War II Memorial in Washington DC and meet many members of the Honor Flights.  Honor Flights bring veterans to see the World War II memorial at no expense to the vets.  The flight is donated and volunteers make sure the veterans, many of whom are in wheel chairs, get around.  When I talk to the veterans you can see the pride in their eyes.  When I ask them to salute I can see the young man emerging from the old.  Their back straightens, their head tilts up and that twinkle of a youthful service member shines in their eyes.  They are transported to the feeling that they are invincible...they are once again the superman/woman that defended our freedom.  They made a difference in our lives.  

You can read more about the Tuskegee Airman here.   These Airmen were an amazing group of primarily African American service members who were trained as pilots, navigators, maintenance staff, instructors and any support that kept the aircraft flying.  A group that was not recognized until recently.  Thankfully, now, they are being recognized for their enormous contribution to our freedom.  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Sky is the Limit

The Sky is the Limit
6 x 6
Oil on Raymar Panel


This is part of my military series.  I love seeing children play...and when grown ups join them it is even better.  This little princess is playing with her mom building a tower to the sky out of building blocks.  Mom is still in her flight suit from work...not a trendy jumpsuit from an exclusive store...a flight suit from her job as an Air Force pilot.  

And now a bit about photos of artwork...

I don't think I am a lazy person...quite the opposite in face.  I keep busy and have dedicated myself to painting every day.  It is my job and I treat it as such.  I get up in the morning, workout (most mornings), have breakfast and then head to the studio.  I paint most of the day either at a studio outside my home or painting small pieces at home.  The rest of my time is spent researching, reading, practicing with color, discussing art with colleagues etc.  I do keep busy.  Where I fall painfully short is when it comes times to take pictures of my work.  I too often opt for the cell phone picture and post it.  Today I took my lazy cell phone picture and decided to take a picture with my Canon Rebel also.  I set up proper lighting and took a picture...the result is painfully obvious. In the cell phone picture the colors are off...though a monitor can skew color it is still good to try for the best possible color rendering.  The photo is not as is just not as good as taking the time to set up a proper photo shoot.  So...with this lesson in mind...I shall take pictures with my Canon and be thankful I have a nice camera to produce better results.  One cell phone is not new and maybe the newer ones take better pictures...but for now I will use my camera. 

Taken with my cell phone

Taken with my Canon Rebel 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

U. S. S. John Warner Commissioning

Commissioning of the USS John Warner
24 x 12
Oil on Canvas

I was fortunate to get to attend the commissioning of the USS John Warner in Norfolk, Virginia.  My husband worked for Senator Warner and I found him to be an amazing person.  He began his service to our country when he was only 17 years old joining the Navy during World War II.  After the war he resumed his education at Washington and Lee University and then University of Virginia Law School.  During the Korean War he joined the Marine Corps.  He resumed his studies after his time with the Marine Corps and received his law degree from George Washington University.  He subsequently went on to practice law at Hogan and Harrison before becoming the United States Senator from Virginia.  He is honest, fair and open minded.  I wish we had more politicians like him.  Attending the commissioning of the submarine that was dedicated in his honor was a once in lifetime experience for me...and one I will never forget.  

I love painting white...the many shades of white...and this opportunity to paint these white uniforms was great fun.  My love of painting white and this historic event produced a tangible memory which I will enjoy for years to come I am sure. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Salute - VFW

Salute - VFW
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel


I am back to my "Salute" series.  There is so much I like about painting these veterans.  I love the pride they have in their country.  I love the pride they have that they served.  They made a difference.  I found this veteran at the commissioning of the USS John Warner.  He was sitting in a seat near me.  I watched as he greeted friends and fellow veterans.  He proudly wore his VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) hat.  Sometimes I am a little shy about asking for a salute...I have only been turned down once...but most of the time I overcome my inhibitions and just ask.  This gentleman was very happy to oblige.  I still have quite a few in my "Salute" folder...but if you know of anyone who is willing to participate..please let me know.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Self portrait - Vivi and Miss Sweetieheart

Self Portrait

20 x 24
Oil on Canvas


I have been working on this piece for a long time.  I first painted the source a few years ago and always loved the position of the little girl, Vivian, and her favorite stuffed animal, Miss Sweetieheart.  Once the painting was done...Vivi visited again and I saw her looking at her portrait...holding Miss Sweetieheart in the same way.  I just love the scene.  I have painted Vivi many ballerina outfits, with sunglasses on, in different costumes...She is a wonderful model.  She takes direction well and always gives me a wonderfully soulful look on her face.  I have had this picture for a long time and I always come back to a few months ago I began.  I wanted it to look like she was in the studio checking out a portrait of herself.  I mocked up a studio scene and placed Vivi and the painting in it.  The painting has gone through quite a few iterations but I am happy with it now. 

This is one of the paintings of Vivi and Miss Sweetieheart.  This one is a tiny 6 x 6.  Happily it found a good home!  

The lesson I learned...the lesson I keep learning is to never compromise.  Keep trying different color combinations, change the composition, be open to whatever the painting needs to be successful.  I worked on this piece on and off for months reworking every part of the piece.  I know there are many who would encourage me to do thumbnail sketches, paint a small sketch of the piece and work out any issues before I begin a painting.  I have done that many times...but find when I begin the larger piece I change my mind.  So I will keep working on my process...keep working on my artwork...

Stay tuned...

Friday, July 31, 2015

Value Study - Maria Bennett Hock

I have been wanting to do an exercise using only black and white.  I mixed 9 puddles of paints in progressively darker values.  It was a challenge and I am not sure the puddles at the darker end of the spectrum are different enough in value...but I will work on that.  

I then blocked in my features with a middle value.  I used a photograph I had taken and printed in black and white.  I also used a mirror and made sure the light from my window was the same as when I took the picture.  I wanted to compare what I saw in the picture and in real life.  

I refined features and darkened and lightened as I went.  Working quickly as the light from the window would change soon. 

 This is my final.  I blended the darks and lights.  I am pleased with my first attempt at this.  I will probably work on it some more.  I am always tweaking my paintings to try to improve them.  Sometimes it works...sometimes not....but it is always an interesting learning experience and very fun.   

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Salute - World War II Veteran - Honor Flight

Salute - World War II Honor Flight Veteran
16 x 20
Oil On Panel


I am continuing my "Salute" Series.  I started with World War II veterans on honor flights.  I would meet them at the World War II Memorial and ask for a salute.  Witnessing the pride they feel as they salute makes me feel so good about the series.  These are men and woman that truly preserved our freedom.  Finding male veterans is pretty easy...but actually finding female veterans from World War II is a challenge  

This Veteran was at the World War II memorial on a hot summer day.  She was proud to salute and I was proud to add her to my I said...finding female subjects is not an easy task.   She was also so impressed with the World War II memorial. 

Since I have enjoyed this series so much I have expanded it to include any veteran...the series is meant to honor the vets.