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Painting with Friends

Rodolfo’s Demonstration
Oil on linen
9” x 12”

It is always more fun and motivating to paint with others. Thank you, California Art Club, for scheduling events. I painted this at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center on Sunday September 29th 2019. Not only did they schedule a paint out but they had a duel oil demonstration with Rodolfo Rivademar and Lilliana Simanton. I watched both for a while then I toured The Muck to see the California Art Club’s Autumn exhibit. Both the demos and the exhibition were great. Suddenly, I was no longer tired. I ran to the car (in a dignified manner) and started on Rodolfo’s Demonstration.

Why do you like painting in plein air (outdoors) with others?

I love seeing other peoples’ gear, which mediums they use and loaning out a jacket or a wad of shop towels, so they can continue. The camaraderie is also vital. I know my husband and two daughters are bored by talking about linen vs. canvas or which brand of paint is best, but your fellow artists can tell you what they like and why.

Why not just stay in the studio?

It is important seeing how artists start a painting. I can ask questions at the demonstrations, see how they make their strokes, what mixes they make and even how they hold their brushes. I can talk with other artists and find out how they start. Do they jump right in? Tone their canvas or sketch first? No matter how they start, it allows me to determine if I am painting in the most efficient and joyous way.

Why is it important to stay positive?

Hey, it’s not easy dragging all of your gear out, finding a spot or motivating yourself to paint. Sometimes, nothing works but keep positive about it. Focus on one positive thing, “I made new friends and I did my best” is usually what I keep telling myself, if I am having a crummy day. No matter what, become a cheerleader for yourself and others and guide conversations towards a positive outcome. Why? Because it is easier to stay in bed. It’s harder to become disciplined. Keep doing your best, no matter what you do!

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Cleaning Out the Studio

or one woman’s journey down the rabbit hole of organization

Camp Comfort (working title) 8 x 10 oil on canvas panel

The great artist is the simplifier.

Vincent Van Gogh

The above painting was recently found in my archives. This painting has everything I love about painting outdoors. It is loose, confident and dramatic. This is a sneak peak as I am working on a title and it will soon be entered in an upcoming show. It is low resolution, before the final signature.

Painting is how I express myself. What is your favorite way to communicate? Is it through music, storytelling or baking? By the way, if it is cooking, I could really use some help. Cooking is so boring to me. Apparently, our youngest nicknamed our skinny cat Stir Fry. I thought it is because he is so skittish, “No, it is because it reminds me of your cooking, burnt”. Well, I can’t argue with that, he does resembles burnt rice. Reading about painting while cooking is apparently not the best way to cook, who knew?

Wait, weren’t we talking about cleaning the Studio?

Right, right one of my goals is to become more organized. It is a process. I have attempted this many times but now I am cleaning out the studio. There are a lot of old paintings, sketches and experiments that are no longer where I see my paintings going.

Experimentation used to be a big part of my process but it also slowed me down. My focus is working on composition, mood, brushstrokes, glazing, all to create more interesting paintings. Once I decided that was my goal, it started getting easier. So, now I work primarily in oil, with a little gouache on the side for miniature work. Acrylic is what I use for warm ups and with my students.

So what is the problem?

Focus is my problem! To fight this monster, I decided to go back to the basics and use a combination of low and high tech tools to help me. I know these are simplistic but if I can concentrate on painting, instead of looking for the next submission deadline, or where my notes are on a painting spot, that clears my head and lets me concentrate on what I need to do.

Make a plan!

Here is my super secret formula:

  • Yellow legal pad – write it down and cross it off this is so satisfying
  • Clear out the almosts – some of my old work had to go but anything that started a flood of images, I photographed it before tossing it. It could become a super painting yet!
  • Use the computer for good – creating files, labeling images, blogging and journaling. Basically anything to get me away from loose paper and make it findable.
  • Keep the best of the best -date it, bubble wrap it and take high quality pictures to keep on hand for upcoming shows. Also keep a log of where it is.
  • Develop a critical eye – this is getting easier by asking myself questions. What do I find exciting to paint? What time of day? What type of scenes? Listening to people at receptions and getting critiqued by other artists are all part of the journey.
  • Journaling – self discovery is hard work but writing really helps me focus
  • Enter shows early – I am excited about the next upcoming show to put this strategy in use. My computer was incredibly slow, due to all of my pictures and it used to be full of viruses (6). My husband cleaned it and 8 hours later it works! I missed two deadlines because of it.
  • Use a wall calendar – I resisted this for years but I now have a big ugly calendar and it is helpful.
  • Digital calendar – yeah, it feels redundant but it helps with using the alarms and reminders.
  • Framing supplies – keep extra supplies on hand so in case one frame gets damaged you can use the next one and repair the other one later.

Thanks for stopping by, and share your stories with me, I would love to know how you organize your projects, who knows, it could help.

Take care,


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What’s New with You?

Hello there,

I hope you are enjoying your summer, I know I am. August is almost over and I am looking ahead to tell you what’s coming up. Great things are on the horizon and I am grateful to be doing so much. Here is the run down.

I just made my first logo from scratch! That was a hard one to think of what says YOU in one image. I picked what I wear often, my blue beret. This has started a lot of conversations and says, ta-da, I’m here! Kids love my beret and it is a way for other artists to recognize me and introduce themselves. I try and wear it when I don’t need a giant sunhat. Paint outs can be so hot! I also wear it when I use my iPad to digitally paint in museums, at the park and in a mall. I don’t shop at the mall, unless you count me shopping for figures. I could be drawing you right now.

August News

August 28th- I was lied to! I was told by one ranger, a month ago, that McGrath State Beach was open, since there wasn’t any more rains. So, I scheduled it for my Plein Air Wednesday group. It was not open. It happens unfortunately. Nobody went, phew. I had to run out to Ventura anyways , so I ended up painting at a friend’s house in gouache. Painting with friends is better than painting alone. This is a little gouache painting in under 30 minutes. Later that night I started an oil painting. I am giddy with excitement to share but it is in its ugly duckling stage right now. Tomorrow I will finish at least one oil painting to share with you.

Flowers in bloom

August 30th – I will be painting rural scenes tomorrow! I am hoping to get up early enough to meet some of my neighbors.

Day 1  of a 31 day painting challenge.  I painted this in 30 minutes and was happy eating my cold food because I liked the painting.
My breakfast, one day I had to paint this, 30 minutes and bam I was done. Mostly, I could eat!

August 31st – Gouache on the Go! My Saturday morning class at the Ventura Botanical Gardens There are some spots left, buy the whole gouache kit, or bring a watercolor sketchbook and intense pencils or watercolor pencils and paint with me. I love teaching people how to enjoy painting. Use the link to sign up.

Upcoming in September

Time to paint

September 8th – Lisa Mahony’s Acrylic Demonstration will be at The Depot in Santa Paula. I was asked to demonstrate by the Santa Paula Society for the Arts on September 8th at 2 p.m. Join me if and learn how a working artist starts a painting, keep her energy up and creates something before your eyes. I have been winning awards, get accepted to shows and selling. This year, has been my best year yet. Are you looking for a teacher? This is a great opportunity to see if you would like to study with me. Plus, I will also have some acrylic paintings for sale. You never know what you’ll find, it could be just the piece you were looking for!

Late Night Shopping Trip, Crossing La Loma Bridge, oil on panel painting by flashlight can be quite exciting

September 10th- Old Mill art reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. The link takes you to the official California Art Club Exhibition page, our group show is the second one. I am honored to be showing with this prestigious group. The Old Mill’s address is 1120 Old Mill Rd, San Marino, CA 91108

Come Sail with Me, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ framed $1800.00

September 15th is the last day for our Member’s Show. Come Sail with Me, oil on canvas. This beauty will be on exhibit at Harbor Gallery and Gifts . Come see it in a gallery setting, by far the best way to see a painting. This painting won a merit award and people have been asking about it as well. I suggest, seeing it in person, otherwise it comes home with me. At that point, I will look for another gallery to show it in. My July, Outstanding merit winner, found a new home and also was in The Breeze newspaper. Thank you, to all of my collectors. It is one of the reasons I paint; creating pieces that connect with people.

bye for now