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Starting Something New



Oh geez, well here goes. I am going back to acrylics.  Yup, it’s time to start working at the easel again.

I have been working 95% in digital for 2020 but since I have a big digital deadline and the work is stalled right now I thought of switching it up to break through my wall.  So, I will paint in the REAL again. Should be easy, I have painted in acrylics before.

But nothing is working right.  The acrylics and canvas feels strange.  I didn’t realize how much physical strength it took till I got tired after an hour. A hour.  I usually paint for 6 hours at a stretch but now I am wiped.  1 hour of painting equals 3 hours napping.

Why not sit down?

Standing and painting is the only way I can paint. I have to step back every couple of strokes to judge my values or check to see that my straight lines are really straight.  If I sit and paint I slant everything to the right.  It looks like the painting was left out in the sun and is melting.  I had to laugh at that one. Apparently I fall in love too quickly with my colors and I can see nothing else.

See the little value scale at the bottom left of the picture?  If I was ever get a tattoo, this is what I will get. A value scale. It isn’t super sexy but it would be so handy. I misplace the damn thing at least once ever time I use it.  Some artists wear it around their neck.  Ugh, that is probably the next step.  Also, why are they made of paper? If they fall into coffee, the lake or paint they are instantly dead.  Metal would be better.  Whatever, just not paper.

So far…

Everything is going wrong.  It is a comedy of errors.  I put my paints in a fancy new palette but I put in too much water in the bottom reservoir and now I have paint soup.  The canvas was too absorbent and too scratchy. I fixed that with er, a special sauce. Then, the paint wouldn’t glide on so I dusted off the medium and started using that but with the soupy quality it was a hot mess. Right now, as I write this, my paints are drying out on my bureau tabletop so I can use it again and the fancy new palette is on the floor for a time out.


Don’t you have a digital painting deadline?  Yes, yes I do.

Okay, I have been dreaming of this deadline and I WILL make it but I am stuck in the mire of ‘I can’t make a decision‘ so I thought I would paint with acrylics to relax.  Ha! That is hysterical in hindsight.  Here is the digital painting so far.


Turmoil 18 x 36″ Digital on aluminum (I am pretty sure this is what I will choose with my print shop)

It is NEARLY done, it’s just…I have made…oh, I don’t know sixteen versions? Yeah.  If I had a kingdom to rule it would be the Land of Indecision.

It is going to be great AND the opportunity is HUGE. I will finish it and ya know MAKE the deadline. It is just stage fright right now.

Once it is done (85% there) I will send it off with 2 other entries and then wait.  At that point my job is done.  If I do get in then, I will start catalogue shopping for a new outfit, make an appointment for a real haircut (I have cut my own hair twice now) and even get the truck washed.

I have been hiding out due to the coronavirus. I got really sick with influenza in December and I am just now recovering, 80% there.  Going out is scary. REALLY scary because people are not keeping their distance or wearing their masks.  This means people like me, with compromised immune systems are all wound up. California just hit record breaking outbreaks for the last couple of days. We got an emergency alert this afternoon too so painting waves in my studio is the place to be right now.


Well, I bet my paints are dry enough now for me to work on the first painting again.

Anyways, thanks for reading this and take care.  I am going back to the studio now that I got this little rant out of the way.  I will post again when I am done with my acrylic or  digital painting.

Be sure and check out my shop to see if there is anything you want to buy.  I have some prints available that I hope you like too.

Bye for now,






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Cloudy With A Chance Of Hope

Peach, digital painting 30×30”

I created this series of clouds to bring peace and a sense of hope.  We all need a little hope right now. It is crazy out there.  A few weeks ago we were just worried about the novel coronavirus.  Who knew those would turn out to be simpler times .

Well, let’s forget about that for a minute and talk about art. The clouds are starting to pull my interest away from all the waves I have been painting. It is too hard to paint waves from photo references alone.  I need to be at the beach and seeing the water turn into waves and roll towards me.  Actually, it’s more than that.  I need to be irritated by noisy gulls, hot sun or overcast skies.  Anything except air conditioned, well lit rooms.

The problem with painting inside is it doesn’t help with a sense of urgency.  Fear of getting sunburned, or sand in my iPad are real things I have to contend with and it makes me work harder! Well, for me, that is a ways off since I am still recovering from damaged lungs due to painting in oil.  I can almost walk two blocks.  Yeah, it IS going to be quite a while.

So, I am looking  up and up and up.  Clouds don’t care if you are quarantined, they are still there.  They are accessible and  challenging to paint.  Right now, I am painting them digitally. Later I will explore acrylics and gouache.  I really do like painting digitally because I can carry a whole studio in my iPad Pro.

If  you can, take a hike and cloud search. Pay attention to the subtle color changes and see if it connects you a little more to the present.  That is what it does for me.  My cloud paintings are now available in my shop with some of them also available as prints and some smaller sizes too.

Thanks for stopping by.


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A New Abstract Painting titled “Searching”

The painting “Searching” is about the new world we are now in and how we are searching for different things. We are searching for a sense of place, dealing with loss and sorrow, creating new routines and searching for answers. I wanted to make a painting, an abstract painting, to mark this moment in time. To help myself with my feelings of searching and to create a conversation about it too. This new world is hard to get a grasp of. We have to adapt quickly and that is hard.

I decided to paint my ideas and feelings as an abstract gestural painting. I decided to use three colors that I have long been fascinated with: black, white and gold.

The first stage of Searching
Acrylic on watercolor paper

I liked it to a point but I wasn’t loving it. I created 10 paintings over the last few days but there was something missing. So I turned to digital.

Digital might seem like an unusual next step but if I can make a painting better with my favorite medium I am going to do it. It went from an acrylic painting to a mixed media painting just like that. Two hours later and I was excited by what I created. I used Procreate and my custom brushes for this one. Once the collector chooses the size, it will come to life on canvas. I am looking forward to picking out the canvas for this piece. I like to be involved in every aspect of the painting. There will only be one created, even though there are two sizes to choose from .

But doesn’t that make it a print?

It would, if there were more than one of these being made. It will also be enhanced, so it has texture too. I will be using the same tools I used to create the acrylic painting.

“Searching” in the final mixed media form.
It will be on canvas once someone chooses to buy it. Incidentally I will have a small one made to check to make sure the colors and texture is accurate.
In the entry over a side table

Searching (small) 27” x 36” $3800.00

“Searching” digital phase two

The last phase is secret and no one will get that information out of me. Anyways, it is long and tedious and takes me hours to finish a painting. It is worth it to me because it makes the painting look great.

In the dining room

Searching (large) 45” x 60” $10,800

There is one part of this painting that isn’t abstract and that is all the dots. The dots represent all the people we have lost and I wanted to pay tribute to them in my own way.

This was a painting that took a while because nothing was happening over the last week. I was simply stuck. I hit a wall. So I would just keep going back to the studio. A lot of people, including artists don’t like to stay in the studio if nothing happens. For me, it is a muscle that you have to use daily if you want to see results. Thanks for stopping by.


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Roadside Attractions, one of the last oil paintings from me

Roadside Attractions, Oil on Linen, 9” x 12”

It is true, this is one of the last oil paintings I have because I no longer paint in oils.

I loved painting in oils. The gooey, squishiness and luminosity were the things I loved most about it. The things i didn’t like was how hard it was on my lungs.

In order to get the effects I liked, I tried a lot of different mediums to increase the transparency, build texture or build glazes. Unfortunately, oil paints didn’t like me. Slowly, over time it became harder and harder for me to breathe. So I modified my set up, painting indoors for 3 hours max, then 2 hours, then one hour with the windows open and a fan going on high. Nope, my chest just tightened up again and again.

Finally, I tried only painting outdoors. At times, a hysterical sight: long johns, jeans, sweatpants, double socks and ugg boots and that was just the bottom half! That way I could paint outside on the side of the house at night, with a strong cross breeze going. Sometimes, there was no breeze and then my lungs would close up. Boo.

So, I made the ultimate sacrifice and gave all of my oils, cold wax and various potions to a friend in February. I knew if I didn’t, I would sneak out and use them again. So goodbye oil. Goodbye to teaching in oils too. I can’t even be around them, the wicked things. Copd is a rare condition but I developed it. Georgia O’Keefe had the same problem and had to lay off painting for a year. That is impossible for me. A year? Nope!

Art about Agriculture

Here is a painting of where I live. I live in the tiny city of Fillmore, population 37,000. We are know for our avocados, oranges, lemons, limes, honey, antiques, bread, trains and small town feel. Films are shot here all the time because we are so darn cute. So when there was a competition for Art and Agriculture at the Santa Paula Art Museum, I had a lot of places to choose from. I decided to paint my first impression of Fillmore, how I saw it driving by before I moved here.

Paint what you know

So I did. I started with a warm wash of burnt sienna as a sketch. That way it unifies the colors and imparts a warm glow. Painting fruit trees in a simplified manner with rim lighting is what I chose to do. I did three plein air studies of the fruit trees at a friend’s farm to get the grouping and mountains right. Plein air is when you take a small easel and paints out and paint on location. A tradition started with the Impressionists. Before that, artists would do sketches of trees they had seen or remembered and then paint them in their dark studios. It is really quite amazing seeing the Traditionalists, next to the Impressionists, it is really something to see.

Painting on linen is a luxury for me and I will have to do it more often because it is a lovely, pleasing texture. This painting was in the last fully run show at the Santa Paula Art Museum before the coronavirus hit. Aw, how young we were back then! This painting comes framed in an Italian dark wooden frame with gilt edging. The story of the painting is on the back with a certificate of authenticity as well. I enjoy this painting but it is all ready to go to a new home and I hope it will be yours.

This painting was chosen for the 12th Annual Art About Agriculture show pamphlet at the Santa Paula Art Museum, in Santa Paula California. I wish someone had told me my painting would be the cover art because I almost fainted when I came to the reception. I get a little keyed up about showing. Anyways, thanks for stopping by and ask me anything about painting and I will happily answer you.

Keep creating,


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California Surf Painting

California Surf

16 x 20

acrylic on canvas

Here’s what is on my easel today

I made a lot of progress today on this painting. I only stopped because my back twinged. Oh no. How long was I painting? Three hours? Four? Something like that. It is so nice to be able to stand and paint again!

My Process

I don’t work from a set drawing or from one reference photo. I will sketch the overall shape, horizon line and key points as guide posts. My sketch is more of a hand drawn road map. This is because I have to explore my painting, change is always a possibility. I also like to add my own ideas, along the way. It could be as simple as changing the shape of a wave, or creating a different number of waves.

Approaching Realism is how I think of my work.

Well, it’s time for a snooze. Who knows, maybe I can work on this later today.

Thanks for stopping by.