Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Barbie Series

FROM TOP: "Bad Hair Day (Barbie)," 12" square, acrylic on gallery stretched linen; "I've Lost My Head (Barbie)," 8" x 10", acrylic on gallery stretched linen. Both available for purchase; inquiries to .
Friends convinced me to enter some of my toy paintings in an exhibition at a local university. Originally I was going to paint finger puppets, but an afternoon spent sorting through my daughter's closet pushed me into an entirely new direction - Barbies.

These two new paintings are very much part of the "Tags, Toys and Treasures" group. But they have a presence that is oddly unlike the objects I've painted for "Tags, Toys and Treasures," and therefore will become their own entity/series.
Barbie is such a cultural icon that every viewer brings their own bag of memories and feelings to the paintings.

I'm laughing as I play with the dolls in my studio. It's a second childhood, working on these toy paintings, that's for certain! (Having 4 brothers, I didn't play much with Barbies. My oldest brother ripped their heads off to jam firecrackers down their necks. That sort of behavior wouldn't be tolerated these days, but it was pretty common place when I was a kid. We lived dangerously then, riding bikes without helmets and all. Ah, but I digress).

So anyways, here are the two pieces I'll be sending to the show. We'll see how they are received, and what sorts of other compositions I can build from Annie's stash of dolls.

Thanks for your time,


Monday, July 28, 2008


I set out yesterday with high aspirations. I was going to paint outdoors, all day, and complete at least one little jewel in oil paints.

The stars just weren't aligned, though.

I did paint outdoors for most of the day. The light was beautiful and the birds were serenading me. I set up near a building that had intricate cast shadows of foliage.

But it just didn't happen. I don't know if the light changed too quickly, or if I just wasn't in the groove. I couldn't see what it was I was supposed to be painting. My palette had all the right colors, but I couldn't get the shapes down, and the edges eluded me.

I wiped out three panels before packing up and heading home. It was far more enjoyable to join up with Rick and the kids lakeside for the remainder of the day.

I'll have another go at plein air work later this week. Hopefully I'll have better luck this time around!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cranbrook House, Plein Air & Oils Part II

"Cranbrook House," 11" x 14", oil on panel. Inquiries to .
I had every intention of returning to Cranbrook Gardens after my class ended, but so far it hasn't happened. I haven't given up on this idea, but rather, am starting to realize how difficult it is in the midst of summer vacation, when I WANT to have 6+ hours to work on site with an idea.
I wanted to try this composition again multiple times, in the morning, mid-afternoon, and evening. Study how the light's angle changes the color and substance. It'll happen, just not this week.
Anyway, this is my second oil painting from my June plein air class. Unlike the last post, which was done from thumbnail sketches and memory, this one was done in the flesh.
I was drawn to the mullioned panes, and the way they reflected the sky and trees. The tiled roof did the same thing - flashes of pink in the highlights, and dashes of softer violets in the shadows.
I ran out of time to get that level of detail into this painting. But I had a great time finessing my drawing, working those edges, and laying the paint down. I think oils and I will be getting along fine in no time at all.
Thanks, as always, foor looking.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Plein Air and Oil Paints

"Twins," 8" x 10", oil painting on panel, inquiries to .

It's been a while since I last posted to this blog. Guess I have been REALLY immersed in the daily paintings. But I did want to share some of the piecess from the plein air course I took last month.

It was a week long adventure into painting out of doors, working directly from the landscape, and using oil paints for the first time.

And of course, being Michigan, the weather did not coorperate.

Day one we wandered the grounds and did thumbnail sketches, planning compositions and breaking them down into planes, using about 5 values.

Day two was cold, windy, and threatening rain. We convened in the classroom to paint from memory, using our thumbnail sketches as guides.

That's where this piece, "Twin Shrubs" came from. The night prior I was drawn to the negative spaces between the low slung, woven branches, and the way the evening light glowed from behind.
This was a nice exercise for me, and allowed a lot of playing with the oil paint, working across the surface of the panel, lifting areas of paint, rubbing others in. I could have kept on working for hours, exploring the properties of the paint.

When we returned to the gardens the following night, I realized how "off" my painting really was. Just gives me another reason to try the same concept at another time.
Thanks, as always, for looking,