Friday, August 1, 2014


A portrait of my ex-neighbors' fierce little dog. Zoe is a biter but just before I moved away we became pals, or at least I wasn't bitten when I petted her. I've moved to a very hot area so my paint dries extremely fast. It's almost like working with watercolor. I have to know what I intend and do it decisively or the paint starts setting up and becomes unworkable. But with acrylic at least I can do some painting over as long as it doesn't get too thick. So considering the new variables in my working procedures, I am happy with the results and hopefully Zoe won't feed on me out the next time I see her.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blue Cup

This was created as an entry for this year's Marin County Fair. They have a dizzying number of categories and this one was for work no larger than 6"x6" so strangely enough, its dimensions are 6"x6". I've done another smaller work using this same cup so I had that painting beside me as I worked. It's interesting to have a related work done 3 or 4 years ago to see how my process has either changed or remained the same. For the most part, I think I've gotten better, maybe a little looser, which is something for which I have been striving. This also retains a little more of the qualities of a drawing.

I won the miniature category a couple years ago so I'm looking forward to seeing how I do this year. Interestingly, one of the judges is someone I went to art school with. It was so long ago I doubt that he'd remember me or my work since we weren't close and I don't think they see artist entry form.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rosita Conchita, aka Little Pooper

A gift for my niece's birthday--a portrait of her nutty chihuahua Rosita, post cancer surgery and minus two teeth. This piece is tiny--4"x4" and painted on a wood panel so the size and surface were a challenge. Wood is relatively non-porous so whatever you do sits on the surface as opposed to canvas or paper that will absorb paint in a little. It's more difficult to use my usual wash blending techniques as a wash will dry with a hard edge, so I needed to do more dry brushing than usual. There isn't much room for detail in something this size with the exception of the eyes, which are relatively ginormous. I was using my other niece's excellent photo so there was great reference to work from and I got a little lost in all the eye detail. Can't imagine doing this head much bigger. I'd get sucked into those eyes and never make it back out!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Just finished this painting. The obvious challenge of painting Bingo was all the curly hair. A short-haired animal is easier because the anatomical shapes are readily seen and light and darkness define the contours. But a lot of hair disguises the body shape and throws light all over the place. Eyes are always an important detail and his eyes blend into the shadows and hair color so I had to create a very light photo reference to work from and there still wasn't much detail, so I had to emphasize what I could see.

As always, each painting is another step in the lifelong learning curve of being a painter. There's always points where I start wishing there was sat nav for artists to find their way through a painting. My method of dealing with getting lost is to take a break and do something totally different and come back to it or look at it in a mirror or upside down. Sometimes taking a picture of it helps, just anything to see it differently. Despite some moments of freaking out I'm pretty chuffed with how Bingo turned out.