Monday, December 15, 2014

Brighten Up a Winter Day

In early October I fell and broke my rib. I also twisted my spine, sprained my wrist, and hit my head, resulting in some whiplash. Needless to say, I was a wreck. So, after about a month we drove to Arizona for some R&R. It was just what the doctor ordered! It was so good to spend time with family and friends, especially my grandchildren. I also started painting again!

I feel so good that I signed up for Leslie Byrd Saeta's 30 Day Challenge, which starts on January 1. If you want to follow my daily paintings, please "like" Eaton Art Gallery on Facebook!

Here is a teaser of one of the paintings I did while out west.

Now available at DCF Art Gallery & Gifts
19571 Mack Avenue Grosse Pointe, MI

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer's Over? Hardly!

Doesn't it seem like summer just started? Every year it flies by so quickly. I'm still in the thick of it, with several painting events coming up in the next couple of weeks. Here is my schedule:

Friday, September 12 - Quick Paint from 2-5pm in downtown Delafield, WI with and opening reception for the Wisconsin Plein Air Painters Members Show "Brush With The Wind" at the Delafield Art Center that evening. (

September 13-14 - My work will be on display in the River's Edge Gallery booth at the Hidden River Arts Festival (

September 17-20 - Plein Air Shorewood, a plein air painting festival in Shorewood, WI (See their website for a schedule of events: The Show and Sale is Saturday, September 20 at 6:30pm at the Shorewood Public Library. There are also events during the day that will allow you to preview the work. I hope you can come!

September 28 - Opening reception, "The Art of Preservation" - Rahr-West Museum, Manitowoc, WI

I thought I'd share a quick study and the finished studio painting I did from the study to show one of my methods of working out the kinks in my paintings. It really helps to have the opportunity to paint from life whenever possible. I painted the study from life at the Green Bay Botanical Garden in about an hour. The studio work took about a week. The study is 11x14, while the finished studio work is 24x30. I've accumulated hundreds of photos from similar scenes to work on throughout the winter, so the small studies that I've done will help. The finished studio painting shown here will be on display (and available for purchase) at the Rahr-West Museum in Manitowoc, WI, from September 28 to November 2, 2014.

A Day at the Botanical Garden by Kathleen Eaton

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Forever Hopeful

This painting was done as a practice in "limited palette" work, meaning I limited the number of colors used to create it. I've painted several works from this same spot, and every one becomes my new favorite. I remain forever hopeful that all the hard work is worth it.
See details about this, and more of my work at

Monday, July 21, 2014

Where In The World Is ...

This lovely little spot is a garden located adjacent to my local public library. Beauty can be found in the least expected places sometimes! And speaking of beauty, I'll be in Fish Creek, WI, this Saturday, July 26, participating in the Dockside Quick Paint. You can come and watch the artists work from 9am-11am, and see the works on display during a reception at the Peninsula School of Art that evening. And a shameless plug - please vote for mine while you're there! The People's Choice winner is invited to participate in the week-long plein air festival the following year. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Three Graces

Every so often I get inspired to paint large. Very large. Four feet by four feet. I have painted larger, but, on average, I don't usually go this big. I felt the subject matter warranted the size. Sometimes I don't know what I'm thinking, but I know I'm always guided by a higher power.

Three Graces
Oil on Canvas
48" x 48"
Original Art, $4800
Now also available as tiles and giclee

6"x6" Ceramic Tile, Matte Finish, Framed - $89

 12"x12" Giclee Reproduction, Unframed - $129

 Contact me at
for more information

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On Track

Summer is going by so quickly!! I can't seem to paint fast enough. I have a hundred ideas in my head for studio works, but the plein air bug has bit me, and I want to make the most of the warm weather while I can. I have a number of new works that I'll be adding to my website here: Please take a look! I'd love your feedback.

On Track, by Kathleen Eaton
24" x 36"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Plein Air Painting

I've had several people ask me what "Plein Air" means. Simply, it means painting in the outdoors. It also means being prepared for cold, fog, rain, sun, heat, wind, bugs, dehydration, starvation, criticism, and anything else that comes with painting outdoors. There are also a lot of positive things about painting outdoors. I have the opinion that it keeps me "honest" in my work. When you paint outdoors with all the colors and elements there before you, it can be the best teacher. I also enjoy being able to re-connect with artist friends that I haven't seen in a year.

I'm in Cedarburg, Wisconsin participating in its annual Plein Air Festival - a 10 day event featuring 160 artists from around the country. Here is how it works:

Check in on a Wednesday. Paint in Port Washington, WI.
Thursday - paint in Cedarburg or Port Washington
Friday - paint in Cedarburg
Saturday - QUICK PAINT. Each artist must check in at the registration table in town with a blank canvas. The volunteers stamp the back of the canvas, and record the time that you check in. You are given 2-1/2 hours to get to where you want to paint, set-up (it's wise to lay out paints before you check in), sketch out and paint an entire painting, frame it, and return to the registration table with it. It sounds intimidating, but is actually exhilarating.
Sunday-Thursday - paint in Cedarburg
Thursday morning - Turn in paintings. Each artist can turn in their "best" two paintings from the Cedarburg days, and one painting from Port Washington.
Friday (June 27) - Come and see all the works on display!

Saturday and Sunday (June 28-29) is Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg. If an artist wishes, they can participate in "Paint the Festival." I won't be painting the festival this year, but it can be a fun experience. This festival draws tens of thousands of people and is the climax of the Plein Air Festival. Most of the artists will opt to leave any unsold paintings at the Cedarburg Cultural Center, to be on display until August 9.

I've also been asked how difficult it is to transport wet oil paintings. For those who aren't familiar with oils, they can take up to six weeks to dry. These panel carriers have come in very handy: I like to paint on panels when painting outdoors. The thicker surface keeps light from shining through from the back side.

Here is one of the paintings I worked on while here:

Cedarburg is a lovely community!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Be Not Afraid

This is my most recent painting in a series of Angels. There is a story behind it if you care to read further. If you are interested in this original painting, or a print of this image, please contact me at Thank you for looking!

Be Not Afraid
36" x 24"

I started out this year full of good, artistic intentions. Nothing was going to get in the way. I joined some online art marketing sites and purchased books to inspire my growth as an artist. But I wasn't “myself.” My asthma had gotten worse, and I was susceptible to viruses and infections. I didn't feel like working, and, if you are an artist, you know that it takes focused attention, and some physical labor, for your work to be successful.

I'm sharing this, not for sympathy, but to raise awareness and maybe help even one person who might be similarly afflicted. For the past two or so years I've struggled with a variety of ailments. It started with a tooth infection. After two root canals and multiple antibiotics, I asked my dentist to pull the tooth. It wasn't his fault my roots are so long that they almost reach to my brain. (That's a joke, but it did take two hours to remove the tooth.) Healing was slow, but I thought I would finally start to feel better.

I continued to have a variety of issues like sinus infections, sore joints, tiredness, and low-grade fevers. I was starting to wonder if I had cancer, lupus, fibromyalgia, or whatever. Well-meaning friends and family told me to stop working in oil paints. I wasn't as productive as I had been in the past, but I didn't believe that the paint was the issue. I have an industrial, barrel air cleaner going constantly in my studio, whether or not I'm painting, and it keeps the air very clean. I take vitamins and probiotics, exercise (probably not enough), and eat fairly healthy, avoiding fast food and limiting alcohol.

Recently I saw an allergy specialist because my asthma continued through the winter when, in the past, I've only had a seasonal form of it brought on by molds and some pollens. She told me I likely have an overgrowth of yeast ("candidiasis") in my system due to the antibiotics I had taken, which could bring on all of the symptoms I was experiencing. Plus, being allergic to molds, I was probably having an allergic reaction to the yeast in my body.

The solution? Avoid sugar, alcohol, vinegar, aged cheeses, breads made with yeast, mushrooms, dried fruit, etc… basically anything that is made with a fermented process, or promotes the growth of yeast. It isn't easy, but I'm trying, and I'm starting to get my energy back. Even though I thought I was doing everything right, I had to take it a step further. It's not easy to avoid all the things that make yeast flourish in the body, but I'm doing the best I can. There are medications that can be taken to speed up the process, but there is nothing like good old-fashioned, conscientious avoidance of what makes you ill.

Of course, my body had other ideas about this new-found health. My gallbladder, which was already known to be somewhat faulty, decided it didn't like my new, healthy regime. So on top of all the other things that I've cut out of my diet, I also removed red meat and fats. I'm not avoiding fats altogether, but cut way back. And, to my surprise, my gallbladder pain is starting to get better too!

If you are reading this, and suffering from similar issues, I encourage you to try modifying your diet. It won't be an overnight cure, but your body didn't get that way overnight either. I read that it can take 3-6 months to reverse the overgrowth of yeast in your system. On the positive side, I've lost weight and am feeling better. I'm back on track and more productive than ever! I have 5-6 paintings in the works at this time, and several more that were recently finished. I've been surrounding myself with angels!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why Paintings Should Begin From Life

This photo is a good example of why it's so important to paint "on the spot." Look carefully at this photo. As I stood in front of this beautiful home, I painted exactly what I saw. It was a quick study - about two hours of work. But I was able to get enough information to go back to my studio and finish this piece from the photos I took. If I had not had the time to set-up and paint here, the roof and sky would have been lost to me. If you look at the roof of the house in the photo, it fades out. That's what photos can do, especially with digital cameras. They are mini-computers with a mind of their own. Photos rarely record actual colors and depth. Granted, the light has shifted from when I began to work, but the light on the roof was fairly constant. This is the same reason I practice portrait work as much as possible from life. If you don't have the experience of painting from life, it is that much more difficult to paint from photos.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Path to Life

Psalm 16:11
Oil on Canvas

You will show me the path to life,
abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A New Vision: Painting Portraits of Your Loved Ones

Have you often thought that you would like to learn how to paint a portrait? Have you experimented in painting portraits and were unhappy with the results? I've been there! Portraiture is one of the most challenging subjects to tackle, but when you know the basics, it's much easier. I'm excited to be teaching this course for beginners at the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek (Door County), Wisconsin, this summer. In this class you will achieve the basic skills needed to paint faces from photographs, and learn how to apply these skills to different genre, including animals, landscapes and still lifes. Come and join the fun! Click here for more information:

A New Vision: Painting Portraits of Your Loved Ones
at the Peninsula School of Art, Fish Creek, WI
August 14-16

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Playing with Paint

I finished the "re-work" of the painting I shared with you in my last blog post. I completely re-painted the entire 30 x 40 canvas so it would be consistent with what I wanted to achieve in the revised version. Some critics say that art should leave something to the imagination... perhaps "leave them guessing" might be a good way to put it. I've had some difficulty with this concept, and so I continue to examine new ways to create. I'm not saying that I don't like representational work. I absolutely love the work of Randy Ford ( whose work is so photorealistic that it leaves me in awe. But I also love the soft beauty of an impressionist painting. I think this new work of mine is more along that line.

Psalm 27 - Revised version

When you compare it to the first painting I did, you can see the difference.

Psalm 27 - Original painting

The colors in the revised painting are more muted than in the original. The brush strokes are softer, thanks to the long-handled Rosemary brushes. And although it's still very much the same painting, I believe it leaves more to the imagination. I'm not making radical changes, but I do see the value in pushing myself to be more "uncomfortable" with my painting style. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Friday, March 21, 2014

En Guard!

I've been doing battle with my paintings lately. I've even considered taking a knife to one or two. I'm sure I'm not the only artist that revisits their work on occasion. I know that I have a strong tendency toward tightness in my paintings, and I often think about trying to loosen up more. So, I decided to try something radical. I ordered some Rosemary & Co. extra-long handled brushes. Using these forces me to fight the urge to include the fine detail that I so often want to add to my work.

This painting might look familiar to you. I had painted it not long ago, and recently put it back on my easel to think about for a while. After bravely deciding to make some changes to it, I carefully sanded the surface, and rubbed it with walnut oil to soften the paint. Then I pulled out my new "sword brush" and went to work. I hope to finish it soon and take a better photo of it to share with you.

Thank you for following my adventures!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies

I recently returned from an extended visit with family and friends out west. It was wonderful to see them and spend some quality time together, but I have to say that I'm happy to be back in my own studio. It has been a rough winter for many people across the country. We missed a lot of the bad weather (so far) by being in Phoenix for a few weeks. The highs were in the 70s most of the time. People laughed when I said I was looking forward to going home! I love the smell of fresh snow and how it seems to clean the air. I wish I could bottle it!

Here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan our winters are longer than most. I love this time of hibernation and painting studio works, as opposed to plein air paintings outdoors. Not that I don't paint outdoors at this time of year... just not as often as during the summer.

Here is a painting I completed in Arizona. I think it reflects the brightness of the climate there.

Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies
Available at
DCF Gallery
19571 Mack Avenue, Grosse Pointe, MI

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Playing with Color

This is an interesting phenomenon. Most people don't realize how color interacts with other colors. This swatch contains only 3 colors - blue, yellow, and gray. When the gray dots are placed on the blue background, they join with the color and rest comfortably in a value that is slightly lighter than the dots. But when the same color dots are placed on top of the yellow background, they vibrate and appear to turn almost lavender. The dots did not absorb the background color, since the background was completely dry when I placed the dots on it. Artists must pay attention to the colors they are using in comparison to the surrounding colors if they are attempting to make a particular statement.

Monday, January 6, 2014

They Grow So Fast

Here is another painting that I have been given permission to share, now that the gift has been opened. I've been enjoying following these little darlings on social media as they grow in leaps and bounds. I've mentioned in earlier blog posts the importance of preserving a moment in time in a professional oil portrait. Photos don't last, but oil paintings, when done properly, will last for hundreds of years. I often think about the person who inherits a painting such as this one, and how their life will be different than this moment in time.