Saturday, January 11, 2020

Get Out There and Sell!

I have been so busy these past few months..happily painting and exhibiting!  I was in two exhibits in November and December and sold four paintings.  Now I am preparing for a solo show at the Paramus Public Library in Paramus, NJ. in February, and at the Westwood Public Library in Westwood, NJ. in March and April.  In my area almost all the public libraries have exhibition areas for local artists. The quality of the spaces is varied and some take commissions while others don't.  Some even advertise your show and some allow you to have a reception. There are also opportunities in coffee shops, restaurants, theaters, hospitals, and even banks. I urge anyone who has yet to exhibit their work to get out there and do it! I know it can be scary at first, but if you have a body of work, go check out your local public spaces and commercial establishments.  Once you start exhibiting you will gain confidence and incentive to keep on painting!
"Snow on the Meadow"

"Mooring at Night"
"Is It Soup Yet?"
Be sure to make your exhibits as professional looking as possible.  All of your work should be well framed and tagged with the name, media, size, and price, (if allowed).  Leave business cards and brochures, with your contact info, website, and pictures of your work and their prices, at the front desk or in the exhibition area.  And most importantly, check on the exhibit at least once a week, if not more, to replenish the brochures and cards and straighten up.  Good Luck!!

I also spent time reworking a few old paintings that I was just not happy with.  One in particular went through a drastic change.  I had always liked the way I had rendered the flowers but I was never quite satisfied with any other part of the painting, (foreground, background, composition).  So I took a totally different approach.  It was a lot of fun and I really like the result...much more dramatic!
Old Painting

Friday, October 25, 2019

Plein Air Landscape Workshop with T.J. Cunningham

At the end of July I attended a Plein Air Landscape Workshop with T. J. Cunningham at the Landgrove Inn in Landgrove, Vermont.  It was fabulous!  I had a great time with a lot of really nice people, a wonderful instructor, beautiful scenery, and great food in a very comfortable and accommodating inn.  Vermont is beautiful, green and has loads of barns and dirt roads.  There is truly a painting around every corner.  Landgrove is in southern Vermont so the ride from North Jersey was an easy 4 hours.  The Landgrove Inn is lovely and a little rustic.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all included and are served in the Inn's restaurant, which is open to the public for dinner.  The food was very good and they have a full bar that is available to guests at any time.
T.J. beginning a demo at a farm down the road from the Inn.
T.J. Cunningham is a young artist who has already established himself as a top contemporary landscape artist.  He is also an excellent teacher.  Each day started in the Landgrove Inn's studio with a short lecture and question and answer period.  Then we would go out on location, which was never very far, and he would do a 1-2 hour demonstration.  His demonstrations were particularly educational.  He explains every step of the way and is very generous with his knowledge and talents.  After lunch we would return to the location and paint.  One of the days we painted first and he did a demo after lunch so that we would have the morning light.  This is one of my plein air sketches from that morning.  I look forward to finishing it one day.
"Hayfields ",  Plein Air Oil Sketch on Panel, 9"x 12"
In his morning lectures he emphasized composition, values, and shapes.  He encouraged us to find the extremes first; the biggest shapes, the darkest darks, the lightest lights, the sharpest and softest edges.  He taught us about other artists, contemporary and from the past, and urged us to read Edgar Payne, Ken Salaz, Carlson, and many others.  His demonstrations were awe-inspiring and his one on one instruction was very personalized.  He was particularly good at honing in on where each of us were at in our varied journey in painting, and he took us all a little further along. Every student there was extremely happy with the workshop.
"Landgrove Inn",  Plein Air Oil Sketch on Panel, 9" x 12"
T.J. is also a really nice guy with a beautiful young family that had come along with him to Vermont.  He was originally from Vermont but lives in Tennessee now.  To see his work and information on upcoming workshops and exhibits, check out his website here.  Cunningham Fine Art .  I highly recommend attending a workshop with T.J.   Most of his workshops are in Tennessee or the Carolinas, but if he is ever back up north I would love to go to another one.  I also really enjoyed the Landgrove Inn.   I am already booked for another workshop there next year with John MacDonald, who I have reviewed in past posts. (Go to my workshop reviews in my menu).

Friday, October 18, 2019


I was away for most of the summer and truly had no time to post.  We sailed from the Chesapeake to Maine and spent 2 months on the boat.  I had intended to paint while on this trip but either we were travelling or sight seeing or taking care of provisioning or laundry.  The few times I had a chance to paint I just wanted to do nothing.  But I am back now and will try to post more often.  And Paint!

My set-up for the "Art in the Park" art fair
The week after I got back I exhibited my work at "Art in the Park", an outdoor art fair in a neighboring town.  I love doing this particular event.  It is free to exhibit and since you are not juried in there is a variety of artists from beginners to professionals.  They do have jurors who award prizes at the end.  I didn't win anything but I sold two paintings and had a great day.

Chinese Lanterns
12" x 16"

11" x 14"

What I find so intriguing about these types of art fairs is that you get to see which pieces people are interested in or attracted to.  Usually it surprises me.  Sometimes work I am not totally satisfied with is the most popular, and paintings I love so much that I am reluctant to sell hardly get any attention at all.  I also love to talk about art and meet other artists.  A lot of the people that come to this particular event are just enjoying a day in the park and come across the show by accident.  But its amazing how much they want to talk about your process and most ask really insightful questions.

I have some tips for anyone just starting out exhibiting in these shows.  First and foremost, even if it is a free event and full of amateur artists, it is essential to make your display as professional as possible.  I like to have everything framed, but I did see one display where the artist had panels hanging from binder clips and that worked well too.  Be sure to label all your work with the name, medium, size, and, most importantly, price.  People are reluctant to ask for a price and may just assume it is out of their price range.  Besides handing out business cards, I print up brochures that are two-sided and show a small image of every piece I have displayed, along with the same information as the label, and of course, my website and email.  This way people have a visual to remind them of what they saw in case they need time to decide whether to purchase something that interested them.  And finally, try to stay at your display as much as possible, and don't just sit and read or mess with your phone when people are actively looking at your work.  Stand up, and without being intrusive, be interested in the fact that they are interested.  Be ready to answer questions or ask questions yourself.  Be engaged!  These events can bring your work to the attention of a lot of people you probably would not reach any other way.

If you are in North Jersey anytime in the next few months come see one of my solo exhibits.
November 2019  Teaneck Library
840 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ
December 2019  Ridgewood Library
125 North Maple Avenue, Ridgwood, NJ
February 2020  Paramus Library
116 East Century Road, Paramus, NJ
March & April 2020  Westwood Library
49 Park Avenue, Westwood, NJ

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Saving paint between painting sessions

I have been reading a lot of posts, comments, and questions on social media about how to save your paints from one session to the next.  This is especially important for those of us who don't paint everyday. Putting unused paint in the freezer works very well for me, but how to do it easily and conveniently is another matter entirely.  I have tried scraping my paints off my palette and placing them on palette paper and then folding the paper in half and putting it in a ziploc bag.  It worked, but I always lost a lot of paint in the process and it took time to take it off my palette and then put it back on before the next session.  I have tried numerous palette keepers on the market, all with the same issue. 

Palette Garage
Then I bought a palette garage.  You can get them at I would clip the plastic paint tray to my glass palette in the studio and stacked them on my strada easel for plein air painting, (go to their FAQs & Hints). When I was done I would place them in their housing and store them in the freezer.  That worked for a while but eventually the plastic tube that houses the paint tray cracked and became unusable.  My husband tried making me more durable housings but they were all too bulky and heavy. 

Bacon Keeper under 12$ on amazon
Finally we came up with a wonderful solution.  I found a plastic container called a bacon keeper on amazon. My husband cut a thin piece of wood so that it just fit into the bacon keeper and then glued little blocks of wood onto it for the paint trays to sit on, (as detailed in the palette garage FAQS and Hints).  He then cut the palette garage paint trays to the same length.  We glued the trays to the wood.  He cut another piece of wood and notched a groove into it so it works as a stand for the palette when I work in my studio.  When painting plein air I clip it to my strada with towel clips.

Palette on stand
Palette on Strada easel

The palette fits perfectly into the bacon keeper that I put into the freezer between sessions.  There is no paint or time wasted and the bacon keeper can sit upright in my backpack or paint bag so paint doesn't slide around.  There is room for 20 colors.  That is enough for my whole palette with room leftover for mixed colors I may need to finish a painting.
Palette in Bacon Keeper

So far this has worked out great!  There really is no need to buy a palette garage.  All you need to do is glue a thin piece of wood, (maybe cut from an old wooden palette), onto the little wood block shelves. You do need to have the tools to cut the wood, but other than that it is a very simple DIY project that should cost under 20$.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Tangier Island, VA

      Tangier Island, VA., located in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, will most likely be gone in the next twenty years.  Climate change and sea erosion have doomed this truly unique place, displacing a people and wiping out a culture that has been there for over four centuries.  The entire island is less than 740 acres, with barely 83 habitable.  It is only 4 feet above sea level at its highest point, and that is changing rapidly.  The only way to get on or off the island is by boat or plane.  There are approximately 450 residents, most of whom can trace their lineage back to the 1700's.  Primarily watermen, crab and oysters, are their bread and butter.
"Tangier Island #1", Oil on Panel, 11"x 14"
"Tangier Island #2", Oil on Panel, 9"x 12"

 We visited the island this past September and it made a lasting impression on me. The roads are very narrow and most people get around on golf carts, bicycles, motorcycles, boats, or foot.  There are very few cars or trucks.  The town has one main street that runs past quaint old houses, a couple of restaurants, a gift shop, a museum, a grocery store, and an ice cream parlor.  There are a few cemeteries, a church, a marina, and one K-12 school. When we were there a good portion of the yards were flooded.  The island is so low that it is mostly marshland with bridges connecting the higher land masses.  We went for one day and I only brought my camera, but I hope to produce a series of paintings from my photographs and my memories.  These are the first two of my series.  Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

More Roses

"Red-Yellow Roses", Oil on Panel, 12"x 16"

I am a little behind in posting.  I finished this one few weeks ago. 

"Roses with Lemons", Oil on Panel, 11'x 14" 

"One Perfect Rose", Oil on Panel, 6"x 8"

And lastly I painted the perfect single red rose my valentine brought me on Valentine's Day.

Roses look very complicated and can be very intimidating.  But the trick is not to see the petals as petals but as shapes.  I start by putting in just a few large shapes.  Shadowed areas first and then go into each of those shapes and break them into smaller and smaller shapes with varying degrees of shadow.  Then add the shapes in the light.  I use cadmium red light , cadmium red medium, cadmium red deep, alizarin crimson, and ultramarine blue.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Roses, Roses, Roses

"Garden Roses", Oil on Panel, 9"x 12"
Just in time for Valentine's Day!
These past few weeks I have been painting roses in class.  Each week I am determined to paint something else but my instructor keeps bringing in the most beautiful bouquets.  I just can't resist!  I was inspired by a fellow student to paint just the flowers rather than the whole setup with the vase and tabletop.  "Garden Roses" depicts a small section of a large bouquet.  It was so much fun to be able to really concentrate on just the roses.  A friend of mine told me he was amazed at the detail in the roses.  I told him to look closer, because in reality, it is not detailed at all.  It is just masses of color and shape. 

"Pink Roses", Oil on Panel, 6"x 8"
"Pink Roses" was painted the week before "Garden Roses".  I am working at loosening up and I feel this painting was definitely a  success in that regard.  It was sort of a break through for me.  I am so excited to be going in this direction.  It is amazing how the most  intricate roses can be depicted with just the proper shape and shadow.

Work in Progress, Oil on Panel, 12"x 16"
This is a work in progress.  I started it in last Wednesday's class and I hope to finish it this week.  It is by far the most challenging of all these rose paintings.  The open petals are a beautiful yellow-green rimmed in red, while the inside is a stunning crimson. 

I wish I had taken photos of the process from the beginning.  I find myself concentrating so intensely that I keep forgetting to take photos along the way.  The process is so important and it's so interesting how masses and shapes morph into recognizable subjects. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Reworking an Old Painting

"Roses & Clementines", Oil on Panel, 12"x 16"

I frame most of my paintings and hang them all over my house.  I spend a lot of time studying them, deciding what I like and what I don't like.  I think we can learn a lot when we take stock of where we were and where we are now in our journey.  One of the things I love about working in oils is the ability to go back and rework a painting even years later.  I just reworked this painting for the second time. The first time I had a very flat background and decided to go wild on it with a palette knife and lighter color.  (See Below).  After a year of looking at it I realized the background was just way to busy and took away from the subject of the painting.  I also saw that the inside of the roses on the right were too large of a mass of one color.  I have done many more roses since I did these and I knew just how to fix them.  While I was at it I figured I might as well fix the the leaves on the left.  They were so stiff and artificial looking. 

Which one do you like better?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Gerbera Daisies

"Gerbera Daisies", Oil on Panel, 16"x 12"

Happy New Year!!  I have been very busy with the holidays and my daughter moving into a new apartment.  So I had very little time to blog.  I did find some time to paint though!

This particular one was a struggle, but I am very pleased with the outcome.  Since the light on the petals was coming from behind some of the flowers, I finally figured out that I should paint the light in the petals first and then the dark over them, (instead of painting from dark to light).  It made all the difference!  Sometimes you have to break the rules.

The tablecloth was just a quick underpainting that I intended to go back and paint properly.  But everyone who saw the work in progress commented on how much they loved my tablecloth.  So I left it alone.
Sometimes less is more.
This is for sale on my website.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Study from the Dock

"Study from the Dock", Oil on Panel, 9"x 12"
This was our last week on the boat.  Time to winterize and haul out for the winter.  I hate this time of year, not because of all the work that has to be done, (and there is a lot), but because it is the end of the sailing season.  We did get in two final glorious days of sailing though, and I got a chance to do one more painting from the dock.  I tried this same view last year.  Maybe if I keep doing it over and over again I might get it right one day.  I am still struggling with boats.  The bright blue in the sky is Williamsburg King's Blue.  I bought it for a workshop with Howard Rose and I am determined to use it.  Might need to tone it down just a bit next time.  The sun was so bright and just an hour into the session it was right in my eyes. I couldn't really see my colors until I packed it in and brought it inside.  It is a little intense.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Revisiting an Old Painting

"Carnations", 6"x 8", Oil on Panel
I was reorganizing my studio storage closet and came upon a few paintings I had stashed away thinking they were worth revisiting someday.  I really liked this one but I had never actually finished it.  I painted it about a year ago when I had just an hour left in class and didn't want to overwork the painting I had just finished.  So I grabbed some leftover flowers and quickly did a palette knife painting.  I never thought much about it until I came upon it again this week.  It looked to me like I just needed to establish the shadows and define the stems and leaves a little more. I have to try this again soon.  I think the fact that I really didn't care about making a great painting helped me make a pretty good one!
P.S. I just sold the painting "Clementines" that I posted here two weeks ago.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Art in the Park

The Annual Bergen County Art in the Park was held yesterday in Van Saun Park, Paramus, NJ.  The event is free and open to any Bergen County, NJ artist.  Although there is no jury to enter, the works are juried and monetary prizes are awarded. Generally there are around 100 artists.  It was a good day but much colder than I expected.  Still lots of people came out and many were buying.  I sold three paintings!  I really enjoyed talking to other artists and potential collectors.
Congratulations to all the winners!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Back to my Wednesday Class

"Clementines", 6"x 8", Oil on Cradled Panel
Yesterday was my first class after being away sailing on and off for the last 5 months.  I am very rusty, so I set up a very simple composition.  I really enjoyed being back and I think the painting was successful.
I take classes every Wednesday at the Ridgewood Art Institute in Ridgewood, NJ.  It is affectionately called 'The Barn', since it is actually in an old barn.  There are so many amazingly talented teachers and students there.  I highly recommend the school if you live in the area.  Check it out here.
My teacher, Patty Nebbeling, is without a doubt once of their best artists and teachers.  Check her out here.  Our class is a particularly wonderful group.  I love coming back after such a long absence and witness how much they have all grown as artists.  They are all so inspiring!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cloud Studies

Labor Day weekend I had an opportunity to do some cloud studies from the back of the boat.  I was inspired by Mary Gilkerson and her 31 day cloud study project. 
It was a very busy weekend on Battle Creek in the Patuxent River, MD.  We had anchored out right in the middle of the creek so we could catch some breeze.  It was brutally hot and we have no air conditioning when anchored out.  The residents there were, for the most part, very considerate and slowed down while passing us.  But there were three groups of water skiers and tubers that buzzed us all day Saturday. To be fair we were right in the middle of the creek.  So it was a challenge just standing upright yet alone painting!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Workshop with Howard Rose

After my workshop with Patti I stayed on at the Greenville Arms for the next workshop.  Howard Rose is an extraordinary landscape and still life artist.  I particularly like his seascapes and beach and dune paintings.  He lives and works in Long Island, NY, and about six of his students from his regular classes came to the workshop.  One in particular, Joan Stevens, is quite talented and assisted him when necessary.  It was a pretty large class, so it was nice having an assistant making the rounds as well. 

Howard went above and beyond the regular class time of 9-4.  He would begin critiques of everyone's work at 4:30.  We barely got done in time for dinner!  He did a presentation after dinner every night.  The first night he highlighted all the various things we need to ask ourselves when critiquing or troubleshooting our work.  The second night's presentation was about all of his favorite contemporary artists. The third night he taught us about all the various phone apps he uses to manipulate his photos. On the last night, Joan treated us to the film "Loving Vincent"!

The first day of the workshop Howard did a short plein air demonstration on how to start a painting.  He identifies the major shapes and is insistent on making sure the drawing is correct before moving on.  Next he fills in the big shapes with an average color in the right value for each shape.  Half the class painted plein air in the morning, but all of us ended up in the studio by the afternoon, taking shelter from the oppressive heat and humidity.  And then the thunderstorms came.  I didn't finish this one yet. Still a work in progress
"The Shed",  Oil on Panel, 6"x 8", Work in Progress
The next morning we went on a field trip to Coxsackie, NY., a little picturesque town on the Hudson River.  There we took iPhone and iPad photos while Howard pointed out subjects and compositions that most people might overlook.  That afternoon we went back and painted from our photos.  As picturesque as the town was I really liked the photo I snapped of the truck bearing down on me.  I didn't finish this one either.
"Dump Truck", Oil on Panel, 6"x 8", work in Progress 
The last morning Howard did a demo painting of dunes.  He had a large photo album filled with small photos of seascapes and dunes.  I was inspired to do one myself.  At least this one is finished!
This was one of the best workshops I ever had!  Howard was able to pinpoint exactly what needed to be done at each stage of my painting.  He is also a lot of fun and a really nice guy.  I would post a link to his website but it is currently unavailable.  Joan Stevens can be found  here.   Lately she has been working on black canvas with wonderful results

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Workshop With Patti Mollica

I just came back from a three-day workshop with Patti Mollica.  She is primarily an acrylic painter and has published quite a few books and you tube videos on both color theory and her technique of painting fast, loose, and bold.  You can check her out at
3 tone value study
Patti has a unique way of teaching how to loosen up in both style and color.  She began by having us break down complicated compositions into large defined value shapes using only white, black, and a middle grey. 

3 tone value study
Then she showed us how to match those values with color, encouraging us to use a variety of colors within each value range.  The idea was to apply color directly onto the value studies.  Patti works in acrylics, and her method works better in that medium.  I worked in oils, so my value studies were not dry enough to apply color on top.  I used my studies as references instead of under paintings.

30 minute painting
She taught us how to use large brushes to apply brushstrokes in a vast array of shapes and sizes.  We practiced her loose painting style with 30-minute paintings and 15 brushstroke paintings. 

Patti is an attentive teacher and very good at getting around to everyone.  Her technique is easy to understand, very well presented, and a lot of fun!  I really enjoyed her workshop as did my daughter, who is a graphic designer but a complete novice at painting.  I highly recommend attending any of her classes or workshops!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Plein Air with Limited Palette

Primary Palettte, 5'x 7"
I finally got a chance to do some plein air painting at our cabin on a small lake in North Jersey.  I had just finished reading Macpherson's "Landscape Painting", and tried two of his limited palettes.  The first is a primary palette of Cadmium Yellow Light,  Cadmium Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, and White. It felt a little constraining but I like the results.  I think I missed having Cerulean Blue and Cadmium Red Medium the most.

The next day I tried his earth tone palette of Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Chromatic Black, and White.  This was a challenge!  It was impossible to get the colors that were actually in the landscape but at least the values were right.  I was surprised at how blue the Chromatic Black was when I added White.  But when mixed with the Yellow Ochre for green it worked more like Ivory Black and produced an olive green that really wasn't what I was going for.
Earth Tone Palette, 5"x 7"

Then I tried a spilt primary palette of one cool and one warm of each primary.  I used Cadmium Lemon Yellow for a cool yellow and Cadmium Yellow Medium for a warmer yellow.  Cadmium Red Light was my warm red and Alizarin Crimson was my cool red.  I used both Ultramarine Blue (warm) and Cerulean Blue (cool), and White.
Split Primary, 4"x 6"

This last painting was late afternoon and I had intended to concentrate on the reflections but the wind wouldn't cooperate.  So I tried to do a closer view of the houses and I added Thalo Green to my palette.  I like Thalo Green and Alizarin Crimson to make rich darks but I think I got carried away with them and got too dark.
Split Primary w/ Thalo Green, 4'x 6"

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pewter & Pears

"Pewter & Pears", Oil on Panel, 11"x 14"
I finally got back to class after a ten week break while I was recuperating from my foot surgery.  It is a good thing I had done some painting in the past two months and I was able to complete this is two classes.
The following pictures are the underpainting and the initial blockin.  The last picture is the finished painting and the set up.
Underpainting in Transparent Red Oxide

Initial Blockin
Finished Painting & Set up
The pitcher in the setup was actually a silver pitcher but I didn't really capture the quality of bright silver.  I liked it anyway, and my instructor thought it looked like pewter, and I couldn't resist the alliteration.
Hence, "Pewter & Pears"
It is for sale on my website.  Click Here To Buy

Friday, April 27, 2018

An Apple A Day

"An Apple A Day"  Oil on Cradled Panel  6"x 6"

I finally got back in the studio after a ten day hiatus.  (I needed to keep my foot elevated and I just can't paint that way.) I had absolutely no inspiration and no idea what to paint, but I knew I had to just DO something!  So I grabbed an apple, put it down and started painting.  I was so rusty I ended up wiping it out 8 times.  But I persisted.

"Another Sunflower Painting", Oil on Cradled Panel, 6"x 6"

I am so excited to be the Spotlight Artist of the week on the DailyPaintWorks site.  Click here to read my interviewIf you have purchased a painting from their website in the last 30 days you are eligible to enter to win this painting.
Good Luck!