Monday, December 23, 2013

Bruce - The man, the myth, the legend..

Bruce - The Man The Myth The Legend
30 x 40
Oil on Canvas


I love painting portraits and I love painting members of my family!  This is my loving husband who reluctantly offered to sit for me.  He is very patient…but I hate to take advantage of his good nature to much!  He is pleased with the portrait, I am very happy to say.  

Besides finishing up some paintings cleaning my studio I have been planning, preparing and  readying myself for the new year.  I want to concentrate on improving my work with color studies and sketching.  I have a long list of things I want to accomplish…so much to do so little time! 

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday no matter how you celebrate or what you believe.  Be kind, practice random acts of kindness…pass it on!  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Let the Drums Roll Out!

"Let the Drums Roll Out"
6 x 6
Oil on Raymar Panel


While walking around downtown my husband and I always see interesting sights.  One day I spotted this little guy playing the drums…have a ball!  I snapped a few quick photos for my file.  Today after hearing "Pa Rum Pa Pum Pum" for the third time I decided it was time to share this painting!  So I will leave you with the Little Drummer's song floating through your brain!  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Masked Ball at the Opera - National Gallery of Art Copyist Program

Masked Ball in progress
16 x 20
Oil on Panel

This is the latest progress on the Masked Ball piece at the National Gallery of Art.  It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted about it.  I just felt like I was working hard with not much progress to really show.  Today my goal was to finish the first layer of the faces and start on the balcony.  I was able to achieve that and am pleased with my progress.   The canvas is covered with paint and now I have to go back and put more paint on, detail, adjust and play.  It will be a fun next visit!  

My husband always comes to visit me at the gallery when I paint…he works two short block away so is easy for him to stop by and I love having the support.  Here is the obligatory action shot.  That is me using my new telescoping mahl stick.   He told me I put my easel in the wrong spot and he couldn't get a good picture.  Oh well…

The National Gallery had all their Holiday decorations up…it looks so festive!  AND It was very crowded!  Who'd a thought this would be a prime time to visit the gallery???  People are always very respectful and always very complimentary.    

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Strike up the Band!

Strike up the band!
6 x 6
Oil on Raymar Panel


Hear the cymbals ring…strike up the band.  After watching the Macy's Christmas parade and seeing all the wonderful bands at half time during football games I was in the mood to catch that excitement and action!  What fun!  It is an exciting time of year.  

In other news I am having an open studio this Saturday the 7th of December.  It should be fun.  This week I will spend cleaning up my studio and finishing up a few paintings.  My son Michael is quite a good cook and he will be catering the affair.  So nice to have help!  He also writes a blog,…just in case you feel like reading some witty prose.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ho Ho Ho - Santa Claus is coming to town!

Ho Ho Ho
6 x 6
Oil on Raymar Panel


Now that Thanksgiving is behind us…let the Christmas celebration begin!  This is the Santa I painted for my Christmas card this year.  Last year I had the opportunity to take pictures of Santa Clause at a local mall.  He was kind enough to pose for me…I had a ball.  As a result I have quite a few source photos that I am sure I will be using for years! 

The Thanksgiving dishes were hardly dry when I started decorating for Christmas.  I have a large collection of Santa Clauses that adorn the base of my tree and each year it is a treat to unpack and arrange them.  

Here is a picture of some of my Santas and our tiny little tree.  The Santas are all shapes and sizes and were purchased/gifted/collected from all over the world.  There are so many memories…I just love revisiting the good times.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sun Showers - Tour of Washington DC

Sun Showers
8 x 16
Oil on Raymar Panel


This is a painting I never thought I would finish.  It just didn't seem to come together…so many lessons learned!!!  Lessons on perspective, figurative positions…light…dark…warm… was just a jumble.  Slowly and methodically I started working out each issue.  I studied angles, positions and perspectives.  It is still not perfect, but it was a great learning experience.  Some paintings seem to just flow off the brush…this is what I call one of my BST works.  Blood, Sweat and Tears!!!

The scene is actually in front of the Lincoln Memorial looking away from the memorial.  The concrete blocks were placed there during construction and are no longer there.  The first woman with the yellow umbrella was a tour guide and her flock followed behind soaking up her knowledge of our great capital, Washington DC.  Sometimes I follow these groups to hear bits of knowledge…they always have amusing stories.  

As an aside…this is is a small portion of a large piece I am working on.  "Steampunk Marissa" is the working title.  I still have lots to do on it…but I am please with my progress so far!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Miss Sweetieheart

Miss Sweetieheart
6 x 6
Oil on Raymar Panel

All this talk of Randy Higbee's 6 x 6 small works show inspired me to try a few 6 x 6 pieces.  I didn't enter this one but I loved painting it!  I have been painting larger pieces...but it was fun to go small for a bit.  The subject of this painting is one of my now famous grand nieces (Vivi) and her very much loved stuffed animal, Miss Sweetieheart.  

The results of the Randy Higbee submissions will be revealed tomorrow and I am sure Facebook will be all abuzz with congratulations and high five's for well-deserved acceptances.  The show is always a rousing success and sales are traditionally very high.  I am looking forward to seeing who will be represented.  

This past weekend I was able to gather two of my son's friends and my daughter in law for a fabulous photo shoot!  The girls played dress up with lots of tulle, corsets, top hats, and lots of other accessories and I snapped about a thousand pictures!  I tried to study shadows, angles, positions…giving thought to composition…hopefully paintings will spring from my brush with all this inspiration!  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Unfinished Mom and The National Gallery of Art

Unfinished mom

My mom doesn't like having her picture taken so getting sources for portraits is a challenge.  At our recent family reunion my brother Dan, and excellent photographer, took many family photos.  I love this one of my mom so I did a quick sketch just for fun.

This is my progress picture of the National Gallery of Art.  It still doesn't look like I have accomplished much but I have been working diligently.  I brought a tiny brush with me today…I usually try to use large brushes…but the detail on this one requires a very small one.  I started on the right and decided to paint each person in turn…It was slow going but it is such a rewarding piece to reproduce.  I am loving it!  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Row, Row, Row your boat!

Row, Row, Row Your Boat
6 x 6

Here they are….two of my favorite grand nieces on another great adventure.  I loved painting this one…it made me feel like I was in the boat with them…of course I would be the one rowing!  I also love the colorful life vests and cute sun hats.  It is just a compilation of everything I love!  I wonder what they did with their little brother Will???  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Songbird - The Tiny Pianist

6 x 6
Oil on Raymar Panel

I painted this little sketch of a friend's granddaughter.  I saw the picture and just fell in love with the whole scene.  I love paintings that tell stories and this one, with such a tiny little girl sitting at the piano, lets my imagination fly.  I imagine a lifetime of music, songs, and laughter.  

I was brought up in a family that loves to sing and some of my fondest memories revolve around singing.  A lot of our singing involved long car rides and singing obscure songs that, I am sure, no one else in the world knows.  "I Had A Dog Named Fido", "Let the Ball Roll", and "Remember Your Name and Address" are just a few of the songs in our repertoire.  

Ah, well, now I will go humming back to my easel and see what other stories I would like to tell with my brush.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

National Gallery of Art - Masked Ball at the Opera

Well, it looks like I have done precious little, but I worked for four hours today.  I had some struggles.  I initially sketched in the scene with a DARK watercolor pencil.  I usually just sketch in with my brush and a light neutral paint but really wanted to get the details so I decided to go with the pencil.  As I painted today the colors kept getting tainted by the watercolor pencil sketch and all my colors got muddy.  It was very frustrating.  I still have a long way to go, but will just be careful with my strokes to try not to mix with the pencil too much.  I didn't notice it last week because because I used dark colors all day long.  This week as I worked on the walls and light sconces it was quite a challenge.  Ah, well, I am here to learn!  

And here is the obligatory action shot…

The gallery was nice and quiet today.  I worked in peace most of the day.  One woman did ask if I wanted it to look like the original…huh????  Whadda ya think???  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

National Gallery of Art Copyist Program

This is the piece I have chosen to copy at the National Gallery of Art.  It is titled "Masked Ball at the Opera" by Edouard Manet.  The sketch, by Manet,  for the original painting was done at the event, but then he completed it in his studio.  He spent months working on it often using friends to model.  It is thought that he included his likeness in the of the many top hatted gentlemen.  At the bottom right of the painting is a fallen dance card.  Manet chose to place his signature on the dance card.

I chose this painting for many reasons not the least of which is to challenge myself.  I love the energy in the piece created by the crowd of people.  The top hats intrigued I do love hats...and I love the line the hats create that move the eye across the canvas.  The pops of color strategically placed also lets the eye dance across the sea of black.  I knew the hats would be a challenge and I knew all the black would also test my abilities.  

So I begin.  I gridded the canvas and counted the hats in each quarter of the painting.  Even with the grid and counting getting the correct number across in the correct proportions was daunting.  That occupied most of my time at the gallery.   I will be seeing top hats in my sleep!

As always, I encountered some interesting characters.  A group of home schooled children were on a field trip and stopped by to watch for a while.  I was on a brief respite from my sketching so I offered to take questions.  It is so rewarding to see young people interested in art and actually be able to answer their questions!  

So I look forward to next wednesday...the journey continues...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Qiang Huang Workshop

Last week I took a Qiang Huang workshop.  Though I don't usually paint still life paintings I was very interested in his techniques and learning his use of color and light.  He was fascinating to watch...every stroke meaningfully, masterfully executed.  He is truly a master of his craft.  

His lesson plan included different stages.  Placement or composition, value, color, edges, and finally seeing the painting as a whole.  He talked about contrasts...thick vs. thin...dark vs. light...texture vs. smooth to add interest and dimension to the piece. 

Things I really liked about the class were that it was relatively small in size...15 students.  Qiang was very careful to walk around the room and spend quality time with each student.  He was thoughtful in his critiques as he spoke.  

This is the 9 x 12 painting I worked on in Qiang's class.  I learned so very much and highly recommend the class to anyone looking to improve their work.  

Sue Churchgrant took the workshop with me and has an excellent blog about the class...much more in depth than mine.  Definitely worth a look.

In other news...I begin a new painting at the National Gallery of art tomorrow!  I am very excited..but for now I am headed to my easel!

Monday, October 7, 2013

You Gonna Share That Gelato?

"You Gonna Share That Gelato?"
12 x 16
Oil on Raymar Panel


This is, of course, from my recent trip to Switzerland/Italy/Germany.  We were in Italy here...where else would you get gelato!  This dog desperately wanted some of the delicious treat but waited patiently until he was allowed to lick the bowl.  I love the look between the anxious understanding.  

The setting was one of the cobblestone stairways...of which there are Italy.  They all look so quaint and foreign to me that I could only think of movie sets and how wonderful it would be to film real life in Italy!

Yesterday my son agreed to sit for me so I could paint from life.  Here is his Steampunk look. He owns the top hat and glasses.  I imagine I will be doing more of these as he has agreed to sit again...and his wife has also relented and will sit for me also.  It is such a good exercise.  This one was done in three 20 minute sessions...then I called it done.  When I do these I am trying to get as reasonable likeness as I can as quickly as I can and not be too knit-picky about it.  I am pretty pleased but will do better next time!

Well, arrivederci!!!  Which means, of course..."till we meet again"!  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Putt, putt, putting around! The little Golfer

8 x 10
Oil on Raymar Panel

This is the grandson of a dear friend.  The whole family golfs and they have hit the links with the little one already.  I love the gesture in this on..the child looks so confident.  I just love the body language.  

I talk about sketching a lot.  I think it is very important to my development to sketch as often as I can.  I have often felt bad about my isn't pretty.  I have been chastised during classes for not having cleaner lines..."Strong, bold lines are what is required" I am told.  I just can't seem to get there.  I have decided my style is scribbling...I like scribbling.  There is no is what it is...scribbling.  So here is my latest scribble.  I often sketch...or scribble in the evenings...Bruce is a easy model.  When no one is there I pull out my mirror and do a self portrait.  I have done dozens.  So, now I embrace the scribble!  I feel so much better!   

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tennis Shoes - A Coming of Age Story

"Tennis Shoes"
9 x 12
Oil on Raymar Panel


The story of this painting was inspired by my neighbor.  Her daughter is an avid athlete and loves to wear her tennis shoes and play basketball and baseball among other sports.  When I asked her to model for me...I could sense the dread.  She had to put on a dress!  The horror of it all!  She, of course, looked adorable...but prefers her shorts, a tee shirt and her tennis shoes.  So the story of this piece is a coming of age.  A young girl dressed up to go out but longing for the comfort and simplicity of her sports wear as she gazes longingly at her tennis shoes.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Waiting for Daddy - National Military Spouse Network's First Annual Small Works Show

Waiting for Daddy
16 x 20
Oil on Canvas


This is one of the pieces I am showing at the National Military Spouse Network's First Annual Small Works Show.  The show will be October 19th at the Mary Gates Learning Center in Old Town Alexandria.  The show features works of art by Military Spouses.  I love that the mother in the picture seems to be looking for something and the child is looking at the viewer.  My my that she is waiting for her husband to arrive home to meet his child.  The little one is, of course, oblivious to the whole situation but is distracted by something in the distance.  It was a fun piece to do.  And fun to imagine a joyous reunion.  

My blog will be silent for a while. I am off to Switzerland with some fabulous art friends for 10 fabulous days.  My husband will have to fend for himself!  

So Bon Voyage to me!!!  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sue - National Military Spouse Network

16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel

Sue Hoppin is the founder of the NMSN, National Military Spouse Network.  It is a networking and professional development organization supporting military spouses who balance their own goals and ambitions with the military lifestyle.  

I met Sue recently through our mutual facebook friend, Carrie Roets Waller.  Carrie is an accomplished and award winning watercolorist.  Sue is organizing the third annual National Military Spouse Network Summit and this year will feature a Military Spouse's small works exhibit which I will curate.  That is what brought Sue and me together...Carrie and her recommendation that I curate this show with her.  I am very excited.

Then I met Sue in person and found out that she is a bundle of energy, ideas, and she can make things happen.  So the first Annual NMSN art show will be during the Summit on October 19th at the Mary Gates Learning Center in Old Town Alexandria.  It is going to be a great show and a great networking event.  

After meeting Sue and hearing all her wonderful ideas I was compelled to try and capture that spirit on canvas.  Sue has a shock of long, thick, black tresses that are absolutely gorgeous.  I loved painting this one...I am pleased to say that she loves the painting also.  

So I continue...painting smiles AND it counts as a Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 entry!!! all around.

Friday, September 6, 2013


12 x 12
Oil on Raymar Panel

I am trying to keep up with Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 but not faring as well as I would like.  It is more like 15 in 30 for me as I am posting every other day.  Then there is that darn trip to Switzerland ;)  that will put me out of the game for 10 days!  But I do what I can.

This painting is of one of my precious grand nieces hugging her doll...I just love the angles and positioning of the legs.  It was fun to block in the lights and darks and let the painting take shape.  I did have a bit of a challenge with the doll...not wanting it to look too much like human skin...trying to get it to look more plasticky.  When my husband arrived home from work I excitedly presented my work for his praise...he said the monkey looked too back down to earth I fixed the monkey to look more like a doll.  Ah, well...he keeps me from getting a big head...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Just Another Gig

Just Another Gig
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel

The source for this painting was taken when I was in England at a friend's wedding.  The event was marvelous...I really got a small taste of non-touristy British life...right down to the fish and chips at the rehearsal dinner!  The wedding was fabulous and the reception so much fun.  This musician was part of a 4 person ensemble including a sousaphone, banjo and clarinet.  The musicians personalities were priceless ranging from "over the top" to "worn out."  I plan on painting the whole band in the is on my short list!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Road Well Traveled

A Road Well Traveled
12 x 12 
Oil On Raymar Panel

I saw this couple on a jaunt downtown one day.  They were so comfortable with each other...both wearing their fanny packs and their hats.  I could tell they had been together for a long time.  I would imagine that they could finish each others sentences and read each others thoughts.  I also imagine that they carry sunscreen and snacks in their fanny packs...and anything else they need for their journeys.  

I painted with a limited for me at least.  The colors were cad yellow medium, ivory black, white, cad red and prussian blue.  I chose those colors because it is what was left on my palette from my last painting.  I decided to use those and only added some flake white.  It was fun to mix the colors, especially the greens.  I hope to experiment with more limited palettes to help me achieve a more cohesive look when I paint. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Recital

The Recital
18 x 36
Oil on Canvas

After working diligently on trying to reproduce Mary Cassatt's "Girl Arranging Her Hair" and being mindful of every brush stroke and exact colors I needed a respite!  I chose one of my loves...little ballerinas.  I scoured my source photos and found this one of a friends recital.  I love the body language of all the little ones and the looseness of the tutu's.  The light source was from above so I concentrated on the glow surrounding their hair and shoulders as well as a slight reflections in the polished floor. I decided to lose as many edges as I could...always a challenge for me...but I had great fun doing it.  How fun for me!

Friday, August 30, 2013

National Gallery of Art - Girl Arranging Her Hair after Mary Cassatt

Girl Arranging Her Hair  (After Mary Cassatt)
22 x 26
Oil on Canvas

Here she version of Mary Cassatt's "Girl Arranging Her Hair."  I am pleased with how it turned out though I could have tinkered with it for another couple of weeks.  I learned a lot painting this piece.  I learned a lot about Mary Cassatt.  I especially liked that she paid close attention to everything in her compositions...nothing was gratuitous or superfluous...everything had a reason for being included.  My process included painting in everything just to get it all in place.  I then concentrated on brush strokes.  The nightgown was painted with lots of paint and rough strokes...a lot of texture.  

Here you can see the original and my version.  The lighting is not always stellar so mine looks much lighter...but it is not.  There is sunlight coming from the huge ceiling windows and it varies according to cloud cover.  I can be painting merrily when a cloud passes overhead and the room can really throw you off.  A small price to pay for being a part of this wonderful program.  

Here I am in action.  A dear friend and fellow artist, Lydia, stopped by and snapped a few photos of me hard at work.  As always, comments were varied, numerous and complimentary.  Kids always want to know why I would paint something that is already painted...they are so inquisitive.  I love getting their perspective on the artwork that surrounds us.  

I applied to remove my painting from the gallery...I handed my paperwork to the guard, he checked the canvas and made sure the numbers matched and OK'd my request.  One more copy completed.  I have begun research and am trying to decide which piece to copy next.  So many paintings so little time!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel

This one was so much fun.  I took pictures of an American Indian last weekend while walking around our nations capital. An American Indian was walking up the stairs to the Lincoln Memorial stopping periodically to have pictures taken by his entourage.  He finally ended up at the bottom of the steps and held out a sign 

Thank the creator for Johnny Depp...the last American Indian.  I am sure there is a message in there...but it is lost on me.

I arrived home and started looking at all the pictures I took and finally decided on one that really showcased the headdress...I love the feathers.  I wasn't happy that the guy had on sunglasses...but I was happily painting away.  Then I thought I can put anyones face in there...THEN I mom has always been very proud of her American Indian heritage...she has dark skin and high cheekbones...looks very found a picture of her and this is the result! When I called and told her she laughed out loud!  

Yes...I do have a good time!

Friday, August 16, 2013

National Gallery of Art - Copyist program - Girl Arranging Her Hair by Mary Cassatt

Things are going well at the National Gallery of Art.  I am continuing my work on "Girl Arranging Her Hair" by Mary Cassatt.  I am nearing the end and I think one more Friday will do it.  I hope to complete her on this Friday's session. I did a lot of detail work today...the wallpaper, darkened the furniture and worked on the background.  I still have to refine the whole thing.  I think I will try to use a palette knife to finish the lights on the night gown...the strokes seem to be pretty rough so hopefully that will do the trick.

Walking towards the gallery to begin, I was called over by one of the guards.  He said "Let me see that painting"...I, of course, obliged.  He then proclaimed "Ah, Mary Cassatt...she would be proud"!   Can you tell it was a perfect day???  What a great way to begin!  As always, people were very inquisitive, but very polite and respectful.   The kids are always the most fun. Their questions are priceless...I especially like when they ask me if I painted the one on the wall too.  One little one asked me if I was a famous artist...;)  No...not famous...just an artist...a very, very happy artist.    

Friday, August 9, 2013

Girl Arranging Her Hair by Mary Cassatt. Copying at the National Gallery of Art

Girl Arranging Her Hair by Mary Cassatt

I am continuing my fantastic voyage reproducing "Girl Arranging Her Hair" by Mary Cassatt, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.  After setting up, the challenge began.  Painting the facial features was first on my agenda.  The angle of the head...the nose...eyes and lips all seemed to elude my eye and it seemed I was going down fast without a life vest...but then a glimmer of hope...the features started to fall into place.  Painting shapes instead of features led me to a reasonable likeness.  I am sure Mary Cassatt was worried...but I hope she is feeling better now.  I know I am.  There is still much to do...but I am excited...and anxious for next friday to arrive!

Comments today were numerous and generous to say the least!  One little girl about 5 years old could not figure out why I would want to paint a painting that had already been done.  She asked a dozen questions.  A two and one half year old just kept asking "why"...every time I said anything.  And there were various and as sundry "Atta girls" which I always appreciate.  There were a lot of what I call "close watchers"  People who want to see what is going on...up close and personal.  Two people tripped on my stool.  That is when I have to step back and take a break. I was leaving the guard told me I was doing a good smiling I left the gallery...anxious to get back next Friday. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Way

The Way
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel

I love these nuns and I love that I was able to capture them as they were directing each other.  They were sight seeing and it was a horrendously hot day...I cannot imagine that they were not sweltering in their habits...but they must be used to it.  I followed for a while knowing that I would love to paint the black head pieces and white robes...what fun!

When we spotted the three nuns Bruce and I were taking source photos...we saw them from a distance so I took off running to catch up and possibly get some pictures!  Bruce has a torn he stayed behind...little did I know that he was taking pictures of me running after them.  I had on a red dress and straw hat so you know I looked pretty inconspicuous as I trotted in hand...trying to get the perfect shot!

Here I am...running!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rain rain, stay here and play!

Puddle Jumping
12 x 16
Oil on Raymar Panel

Today I wanted to paint something had to be had to be...well I remembered that Cracker Jacks commercial...

What do you want, when you gotta eat somethin', and its gotta be sweet,  

And it's gotta be a lot, And you gotta have it now? What do you want?
Lip-smacking' Whip-crackin' Paddywhackin' Knickaknackin' Silabawhackin' Scalawhackin' Crackerjackin' Cracker Jack!
Candy-coated popcorn, peanuts, and a prize
That's what you get in Cracker Jack!"

That's how I feel about this painting...It had to be sweet, it had to be had to bring a smile...So this is my Lip-smacking' Whip-crackin' Paddywhackin' Knickaknackin' Silabawhackin' Scalawhackin' Crackerjackin' Cracker Jack painting for today!

Just cause...just for  fun.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

National Military Spouse Network Art Show - Seeing Daddy Off...

Seeing Daddy Off...
16 x 20
Oil on Canvas

In October I am curating an exhibition for the National Military Spouses' Network.  The artwork featured will be by military spouses, veterans spouses and, retired military spouses.  I am very excited to be a part of this wonderful group.  Click HERE for the prospectus to enter paintings or photography into the show.  The theme of the show is "Together we serve".

As one of the curators I have the opportunity to contribute to the show.  I LOVE to paint portraits and figurative pieces.  For this series a story will be told starting with this one.  This is a spouse and child seeing her loved one leave on a deployment.  It is an everyday part of life for a military spouse...never easy...but a part of life.  Every military spouse serves in a very special way.  I am proud to be a military brat, military spouse and mom to two military brats.    

Friday, July 26, 2013

National Gallery of Art - Copying "Girl Arranging her Hair" by Mary Cassatt

This is the painting I am copying at the National Gallery of Art.  It is "Girl Arranging her Hair" by Mary Cassatt.  The NGA has some interesting information about Mary Cassatt, Edward Degas and their professional relationship at this link.  

I began at home sketching the piece...a rough sketch...just to see where everything is on the canvas.  I sketched it three times.  Then I took a trip to the National Gallery of Art and took notes on style and color.  I study the brush strokes and try to figure out what colors were used.  

I arrive at the gallery and set up. While sketching I try to remember my notes.  In spite of my preparation I kept sketching the head too big!  The head is really very small on the canvas and I was making it much to prominent.  After calming down I think I have it proportionally correct. 

Then...color!  I got the folds of the fabric in and began placing color in the night gown.  It is dark...but I will lighten it up later on. 

Here is the result of my days' work.  I am happy with the folds...they still need work, and the gown has to be quite a bit can see the bowl and pitcher in the background...the value of the gown has to be lighter than I have some work to do.  I was afraid to start too light...but I will be able to lighten it up.  

I did meet a lot of nice always...and got some very nice comments in spite of my struggles.  One man was telling his son all about me and my work (his son was about three years old)...then he came back about a half hour later to say he forgot to tell me I was doing a good job!  hahaha!!!  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


8 x 10
Oil on Raymar panel

I am taking a break from my work at the National Gallery of Art and finishing up some small works that have been on my plate for some time.  These two little girls are the subjects of many of my paintings and I just love them.  Here they were visiting and playing so intently I just had to try to capture the mood in oil.  

And now playtime for to my studio!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Beatrice Townsend by John Singer Sargent - The finished copy

I just picked up my copy of Beatrice Townsend by John Singer Sargent.  I am pretty happy with it and wanted to recap the process.

As a Copyist at the National Gallery of Art I applied for permission...the piece has to be in a gallery that is approved for copyists and since only one copyist can be in a gallery at a time, I have to make sure there is a day available for me to work.  When I got the green light from the Registrars office I began my research...I had requested the Sargent piece and was thrilled that it was available for me to copy on Fridays.  First I looked up anything I could find on Beatrice Townsend but found precious little. I then researched Sargent and found a lot of good information including his palette.  It was explained and the author added colors I could use today since I was not familiar with some of the colors on the list.  I got this from Aaron Miller's blog and found it most informative. 

After reading a bit and researching I was itching to get started and I began sketching.  I usually sketch the piece two or three times just to see how everything lines up...where everything is on the canvas.  I like to have a good idea before I go to the gallery.  I also print out a small 8 x 10 copy of the piece to use for reference.  Once I feel comfortable with the sketches I head to the National Gallery of Art to begin. 

I brought a blank canvas and started at the very beginning.  Once I completed the sketching  and made sure everything was in the right place I started placing in colors.  I worked on matching brush strokes, especially with the little dog.  Those strokes were very definite and defining.  

Here are some pictures of me working a the gallery.

It is very common to have people stop and watch.  Solitude is the norm for my this sudden influx of interest in what I am doing takes some getting used to.  I am surprised at how well I am able to tune people out and just concentrate on the task at hand.  Having said that I try to be helpful and pleasant to anyone who has a comment or question for me.  

It was a challenge but great fun and I cannot wait to start my next piece.