Saturday, December 26, 2009

Proud Gramma

I finished this painting about 2-3 weeks ago, but couldn't post it until after Christmas. It was done as a gift for someone, and I didn't want to take a chance that the subject would see it! It's surprising to me how quickly it dried, considering many of my paintings in the summer months can take 6 weeks to lose their tackiness. I guess the air in my studio is pretty dry during the winter. I really like this one... I think it expresses my more "painterly" style that is continuing to develop.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Preparing for the holidays

It's been a while since I've posted here, not for lack of wanting to, but possibly for lack of focus. I hadn't painted in quite a while and now that Christmas and the New Year are upon us, I'm feeling renewed vigor toward getting back to working on some projects. This is a commission I did recently for a man who wanted an ink drawing from an old photo he provided. He wanted me to add the horse and cart and the old car, to give it more "movement" and eye appeal. I realized a few days into the project that I was feeling out of my element since I've been doing nothing but oil paintings in recent years. So I had to satisfy my curiosity and try it as a black and white painting too (he wanted black and white). I used acrylic paints as he was hoping to have it in time for Christmas. Which do you prefer?

I hope this finds you well. I think of you often, and thank you for following me here. Have a wonderful Christmas! God Bless You!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eaton Exhibit Opens

I'm pleased to announce the opening of an exhibit of some of my works (and Chuck's!) at the Spies Public Library in Menominee, MI. The exhibit, located in the lower meeting room of the library, opened one week after the unveiling and dedication of my portrait of U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak. The library is a beautiful building. Its older section is filled with rich woodwork and stained glass, while the newer addition's huge windows overlook the waters of Green Bay. You are invited to meet the artists at a reception on Thursday, November 19 from 5:30-7:00pm. The exhibit will be in place through mid-December.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak

I am still reeling from the exhiliration of last night's unveiling of my portrait of U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak at the Spies Public Library in Menominee, MI. The Congressman was very gracious and complimentary. I'm honored to have his portrait permanently displayed in this public place, which is located in his District. Here are a few photos from the event. My brother and his penguin family made a surprise visit while trick-or-treating!

Friday, October 30, 2009

You Are Invited

You are invited to the unveiling and dedication of my portrait of U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak. Saturday, Oct. 31, Spies Public Library, Menominee, MI - 5:30-7:00pm. Congressman Stupak is from my district. The painting was purchased by a group of philanthropists (through the support of a friend) who wanted to have it permanently installed in the local library. I am truly honored!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Crown (with detail)

This painting has been a work in progress. It originated from a smaller study I did called Crowning Glory that was painted from the same older model. I really like the original study, and wanted to expand on it in a larger painting. The actual size of this painting is 24 x 24. I love the sweet expressions on these models' faces, and the memories that this scene invokes. I used to love to make crowns of flowers and play princess when I was young, but not everyone did. I think the close-up detail inset shows the mixed emotion on the younger model's face. What is she thinking?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Flower Girl

My posts have come less frequently lately. I attribute it to personal priorities and a newly found focus on perfection in my work. August and September were also very hard on me this year, with asthma meds making me too woozy to paint. I think I went from one extreme (daily paintings) to another (slow, deliberate brush strokes). I'm feeling good about the quality of this piece. I'm working more "in the shadows" to really make the subject the focal point. I have several in the works at the moment and will continue to post them as I can. Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Last Semblance of Summer

The end of summer is here, and it's a bittersweet time for those of us in the beautiful northwoods. The trees are are beginning to turn beautiful colors, which creates an artist's paradise, but soon the bleak monotone days of winter will be upon us. For many who are avid outdoorspersons, the winter is not a time to stay indoors, but to frolick in the beautiful ice and snow. I'm looking forward to the opportunities to try new works!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mark Your Calendar

I delivered my two entries to the Michigan Portrait Exhibition at Hillsdale College last weekend. My accepted work includes a portrait of U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak and a painting called The Douglas Women. The Sage Gallery is a lovely venue, and I'm so excited to be a part of this prestigious event. The Exhibition will be on display from September 12 to October 3, with an opening reception from 2-5pm on Saturday, September 12. You are cordially invited to attend!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Plein Air Painting Fun

My husband had one of his rare afternoons off yesterday, so I coerced him into going out and doing some plein air painting. The day was absolutely magnificent! High 70s, light breeze, patchy clouds... gorgeous! My painting does not do it justice. We were facing each other as we painted opposite directions on the Menominee River. I think his painting is much brighter than mine. I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that the sun was shining directly on my canvas, so my work appeared brighter to me in the process of painting it. I love the depth and airiness he achieved. I love painting en plein air!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

And as the sun slowly set in the west...

... their shadows melded as one, and they lived happily ever after. I'm a "wannabe" novelist, I guess. Actually, someone recently brought to my attention that every painting should tell a story. My paintings all tell a story, but I haven't given it strong consideration like I've begun doing recently. The process makes me think harder about what I'm "composing." I'm enjoying it!

Evening Stroll at the Lighthouse, Oil, 11x14

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Red Farm

After taking some time out to attend to family and business issues, it's time to get back on that horse and ride! I thought this would be a good painting to start with... This "red farm" is not too far from where I live. I've enjoyed bicycle rides, long walks and drives past this farm, but only recently did it catch my attention as a thing of beauty.

The Red Farm, Framed Oil Painting, 11x14

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Perfect Pair

This was painted using flat brushes, rather than the filberts (rounded) that I normally use. The result of this effort is a different texture than I would achieve with a rounded brush. I like the still life look of this little gem. It pairs well with my earlier painting done on Day 30 of my Personal Challenge. I'm preparing to show at Artarama in Eagle River, WI on July 18. I hope to see you there!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Simple Pleasures

I started this painting on a rectangular board and was very pleased as it progressed. I considered adding more to the background, but I think it would take away from the simple beauty of this image. Now that it's dry, I've decided to cut the board into a perfect square to draw the eye to the center of the painting. I wouldn't try to attempt that if it had been painted on a canvas, although I've known some artists who have done it. The model I worked with was just wonderful! I look forward to painting her again.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Three Graces

This is another in the dance series that I'm working feverishly on. I wasn't sure about the composition of this one, but there's something gentle and serene about it that I really like.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Flower Girl

This was a quick study on a 9x12 canvas. Another attempt at speed painting. I'm finding that the looser I paint, the easier it comes, and the more I like it. This was painted from a photo taken of one of the models at my workshop with Daniel Gerhartz. I just love his work!

Friday, May 22, 2009


This one surprised me. I haven't done a sailboat yet, but I really like the way this one turned out. Of course, I had to make sure there were people on the boat!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Gentle Touch

Here is another "Doctor and Patient" painting. You may recall my previous "Doctor and Patient" painting (see older post), which mirrors the pose in this one. My friends at Northern Lights Clinic were kind enough to allow me to use photos I had taken of them for these works. I can see the changes in my technique since the first one was finished. I've been painting a lot, and trying to "loosen up." What do you think?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Three Crosses

This was painted from a photograph taken by a friend on one of her recent travels. I thought it was an interesting picture, and a bit different than my usual work. Do you know where this photo was taken?

Friday, May 8, 2009

In honor of moms and grammas everywhere...

This one is titled "Self Portrait with Grandchild." It's another 5x7 quick study. Isn't he adorable? Happy Mother's Day to all you moms and grammas of the world!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Quick Kitty

This is Spooky. He's a very friendly stray who has adopted us. I decided to do a quick study of him on a 5x7 canvas. Sometimes I think I work too hard at trying to create a likeness, so every so often I do a "speed painting" and try to learn something from it. I'm not sure what I learned here, but it was fun to do!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Who was that masked dancer?

This reflection was an interesting study that was painted from another photo taken at Ms. Bunting's First Street Academy. If I didn't know better, I'd say her legs in the "mirror" were not the exact reflection of the actual dancer, but they are. I'm learning so much from these figurative works.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Joyful Little Dancers

This group of tiny dancers at Susan Bunting's First Street Academy was just too adorable... How can you not feel their joy?

Monday, April 27, 2009

In Costume

Here is another dancer, waiting in the wings, and absolutely beautiful. Ms. Bunting at First Street Academy in Menominee, MI was so kind to take time out of her busy class schedule to have the ladies dress in costume for me. This pose was particularly challenging, as most people don't stand (or aren't able to stand) this way. Try it! I did, and almost fell over. Getting the knees right in this painting was extremely important...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Hope You Dance...

This is another in my "dance series" of paintings. Although I took a number of "staged" photos, some of the candids were fun and relaxed, and I couldn't wait to try my hand at this one. This exercise is giving me a lot of valued experience with difference sizes, shapes, poses, and skin colors of the various dancers. I'm putting together a retrospective from this series called "I Hope You Dance," to be introduced at Art for All in Menominee, MI on June 28.

Friday, April 10, 2009


This is Linda. She and Julie (see earlier post) drove a fairly long distance recently to visit me at East Ludington Gallery in Escanaba, Michigan. I have wanted to do a painting of Linda, and finally talked her into posing for me recently. She is a beautiful person, and we had a fun time that I will cherish forever.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Keeping Watch

These seagulls keep watch almost year-round along Seagull Bar, and spring brings dreams of warmer days here in the Upper Peninsula... I'm on a roll now, and anxious and excited that I have been accepted to show at Artarama in Riverside Park in Eagle River, WI this summer. My work is cut out for me... I'm told this show is one of the exceptional shows of the summer. I hope to define a stronger direction in my work as I prepare.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Time for Reflection

This is another painting in my "dance" series. As I was wandering around the dance studio, this young lady caught my attention as she enjoyed a quiet moment. I'm told reflections are some of the most difficult images to capture. It wasn't easy, but I really like the "feel" of this painting.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Foray Into Folk Art

I began painting this Escanaba, MI lighthouse with the thought that I need to expand my portfolio to include more mainstream work. As it materialized, it reminded me of old-fashioned folk art paintings that are whimsical and fun. So I decided to try my hand at this time-honored tradition. What do you think?

Friday, March 27, 2009


This is David. He is tall, rugged, outdoorsy, funloving... Dave is our youngest child. I asked him recently if he would allow me to paint his portrait, and his reply was "I thought you'd never ask" (or something like that). After painting so many people, I can't believe it took me this long to paint this handsome guy. The photo isn't great because I was anxious to post this. It's difficult to take photos of wet paintings...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Congressman Bart Stupak

After several months of steady progress, I have finally completed a portrait of Congressman Bart Stupak. I had asked my congressman if he would mind allowing me to paint his portrait and he was very accommodating. This was my opportunity to step it up a notch and add a portrait of a well-known person to my portfolio. The actual size of this painting is 48" x 30". To be honest, I was shaking in my boots at our final sitting, but his calm demeanor and positive comments allayed my fears. On to my next challenge...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Happy Couple

This is Carol and Robin... I'm actually not quite finished with it yet. I've been painting this from a photo and haven't met the happy groom-to-be yet. It's been a little difficult to get together as he lives in Germany. I don't like painting from photos because of the fact that it's hard to capture a personality when you haven't even met someone. But I was fortunate to have access to many, many photos of the two of them together, and am hopeful that when we do meet I won't have a lot to "correct." It's been a while since I've posted... I've been away, but am back to painting more regularly. I hope you haven't given up on me!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Behind Bars

This is Gretzky ... He was painted from a favorite photograph taken by his owner a few years ago. Upon finishing this painting, I've decided it would be fun to pursue painting more puppies! It was so much fun to see him emerge before my eyes. I think maybe I have dogs in my head lately. We've begun a search for a dog and, although we're not in a hurry, it is a void that will inevitably need to be filled.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Guitar Hero

Our son-in-law, Earl, never ceases to amaze me with his versatility and wit. His intelligence is matched by his creative abilities. Here he is, charming the socks off of our grandson, Brady. This was a quick study done as a possible prelude to a larger painting. I love this scene and debated whether to call it "Magic Carpet Ride" or "Guitar Hero." Either way, Earl is obviously his son's hero.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dance Series

Being a portrait and figure "specialist" I recognize the need to focus on what I do best, while creating paintings that are more "mainstream" in style and design. There are many art forms, all of which require dedication, discipline and confidence. This painting is the first of what I hope will be a series of dance paintings. I want to extend a special thank you to Ms. Bunting and her wonderful students at First Street Academy of Dance for so graciously allowing me to intrude on their lessons! Your input is always appreciated!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Babies are a challenge to paint! Their porcelain skin, distorted features, and expressive looks all make me wonder why I'm so moved to paint them. This is from a photograph our daughter took of our grandson, Brady... Yes, it is off-center. It's a very artsy photo – thanks for your permission to do a painting from it, Jess!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


This is Julie. She traveled an hour and a half just to visit me on a day I was scheduled to be at East Ludington Gallery in Escanaba. Well, she may have had ulterior motives -- there is a casino not too far from downtown Escanaba. But I was honored and humbled that she made a point to travel that far at this time of year in the cold northwoods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. So I invited her to sit for me. The lighting in the gallery is not the best, but I think it's a fair likeness. Julie is a beautiful person, inside and out, and has a heart of gold. (Hence, the golden glow around her.) Friends are truly jewels in our lives, and I cherish every one.

Friday, January 16, 2009

An amazing opportunity!

I am honored to have recently been permitted a portrait sitting with Congressman Bart Stupak. I have run across many instances of artists who have taken the liberty of painting a well-known person's portrait without permission and I have mixed emotions about this. Although in my early years of portrait study, my naivetée beckoned me to paint anyone and anything just to get the practice, I have become much more aware of the personal nature of painting someone's likeness. I now believe it is important and necessary to get their permission before doing it.

Which brings me to today's painting. This is not about politics. Mr. Stupak represents my area of Michigan, and I have had several opportunities to meet him in person. He was genuinely interested in my work as an artist. At one point I suggested that perhaps some day he would allow me the honor of painting his portrait, explaining that I still consider myself to be in the learning stages. He was extremely gracious, and generous with his time. I am now in the process of painting a full-body corporate portrait of him as a result of our initial sitting. This vignette was painted alla-prima as a study for the larger painting. To be permitted to paint a portrait of a well-known senior congressman is about the most exciting thing that has happened to me as an artist. Thank you, Mr. Stupak!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy New Year!

Resolutions are a funny thing... as determined as one might be to make and keep meaningful resolutions, life sometimes gets in the way of the best intentions. Now that I am back on track, I'm looking forward to a year of growth as an artist, and as a person. It is, after all, only January 12. I have a full year of exciting paintings to get done!

This is Hanna. She is a sweet, gentle purebred Springer Spaniel who was rescused from the local animal shelter a few years ago. Recent paintings might lead you to believe that I'm focusing on pet portraits. Although I do enjoy painting pets, I actually have a number of "people portraits" in the works that I'm looking forward to sharing with you. I look forward to your feedback...