Here’s another landscape from Jamestown, RI.  In the fall as the sea grasses dry out, they turn this amazing orange color. This painting was actually from my 365 challenge, but I am only getting around to framing it now.

I’ve had positive feedback from my hand-painted picture frames, so I thought I’d share my process with you.

First, I begin with a completely unfinished pine picture frame.  I decide which colors I’d like to pull from my artwork and select paints accordingly.  I never want the frame to match perfectly.  Matchy-matchy bothers me personally.  I like to go with shades lighter or darker or sometimes even choose a color that compliments but is not actually in my artwork.


OK.  So for this frame I decided I wanted it to be predominantly white.  In order to achieve this, I need to paint a coat of white in between each layer of the other colors.  I begin with a layer of white, next a dark shade in the burnt sienna family, followed by more white…


…then a shade of metallic periwinkle and finally another layer of white acrylic paint.


At this point I have about 5 layers of paint on the frame.

To be more efficient, I generally work on 6 frames at once so that I am always painting one frame while another frame is drying.  For this frame, I put it outside in the hot sun and added a paint layer once every half hour.  The rest of the time was spent picture framing other works of art.


Now, at this point, the frame is dry, I’ve added the colors in a sequential order that I am happy with which means it’s time to pull out the electric sander. I use a heavy grit sand paper and tear through the many layers of paint.

The water-based paints make the grains of the wood swell up.  This is perfect because the sander hits the raised wood grains first unearthing my featured colors while still leaving the white in the lower non-grain areas. All of the knots and wood imperfections make the frame even better!

I complete the process by selecting a clear coat of acrylic polyurethane in either high gloss or matte finish depending on the artwork.


Now not everyone likes “rustic décor”, but I sure do.  It reminds me of the peeling paint on old New England homes, the driftwood and nautical remnants I find on the beach and of furniture well-worn and well-loved.

I will be the first to admit that my artwork is SUPER DUPER BRIGHT;  So, a lot of times these soft, worn frames are the perfect juxtaposition.

Alright, now all of you head down into your basements and check your garages.

I’m sure there is something you can practice on!



I cannot believe my first art show in my entire life is one week away.

I am so excited, so happy, so greatful…and at the same time, I’m a nervous wreck.

 I feel like I’m going to puke!

At age 39 I decided to let go of my fear, anxiety & perfectionism and walk through the fire.  I’ve always wanted to declare myself to be an artist, but I was truly afraid of criticism, failure and good old-fashioned not being liked.

17 months ago it got to the point that not living my dreams felt way worse than any fear I could ever imagine.

It was enough to get me to jump off the cliff and into the unknown.  I guess you would call it a “coming out” of sorts.

My personality is not one to be subtle.  I am sure I could have dabbled for a year in my basement. Locked the door and not let any one know my thoughts and feelings. But, if you are going to jump, you should JUMP BIG. right?  Why not make a public decree that you are going to create a creative work every day for a year and share all of your creative angst about it at the same time?  You know,  share my imperfections, my mistakes, my lessons, my triumphs, my successes…

But through it all, I still kept wondering… why?

I know now. Why would I share this?

It’s because I know I’m not alone and I wanted to shed light on this.

I know there are many of us out there afraid to tell our inner most secrets.  Who we are and what we truly want to be.

My husband sent me this quote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
A return to love
– Marianne Williamson
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Now that I’ve done it, I can give you some words of wisdom.  It’s not as scary as we, ourselves, make it out to be.  Admitting our dreams to ourself is way harder  than declaring it to the world.
Action is tough too.  It takes every morsel of your soul.  Comfort & safety does feel easier, until it doesn’t…. and then you have a choice; act on it or ignore it.
  Listen. Pay attention. Is something inside calling you to action?  It may simply be the time to start asking yourself this question.  The awareness, the very fact that you may not have even thought to ask what you really want, is big.  When we make-do, we sometimes forget what are choices we really have.
So, I am facing my final fear of this entire endeavor on May 4th at 2pm.
It’s the owning of my own declaration.  It is standing in front of my work, sharing  it, allowing the analysis,  allowing the criticism,  exposing my inner self to the world and my peers.
It is in so many ways more difficult than the physical manifestation of the work itself.
But I’m ready.  I feel the catharsis.  When I look around the gallery, It  feels really good.
Everything on the walls is already a part of my past.  It is an experience that has come and it has gone.  It made me richer & stronger as a person.
 I am coming to understand that this is all I truly need to carry with me into the present moment.  The knowledge that I am strong and I am am brave enough to follow my heart.  This is the take-away.
However, I am one to face my fears. I have a fear of not being perfect. It is time to shine the light on it and in doing so hopefully shed it.
I will walk through my mental fire, embrace my journey, be thankful for such a fabulous experience and own it.
Who-wee.  If I get through this exhibition part, its smooth sailing…
because then I will be freed up to embark on a new adventure. Hot diggity dog!


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I am finally getting to the bottom of my picture framing pile.  My first 365 Art Show is May 4th, so I’m in good shape.  I don’t think I’d ever do a 365 again, simply on the principle of what one must do with all the work after!

The photo above is of  a large grouping of miniature water colors I framed in super happy mini-frames.  If you click on the photo, you can see them close up.  Just looking at them makes me yearn to get back to painting!

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I also spent a bit of time sanding old  and new picture frames to look weathered.  I love the old country farm-house look.  I think it pairs with my bright-colored paintings quite well. Here’s the finished product:

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Here’s another bunch of paintings I framed… a bit more modern…

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I have a wedding to go to in NY this evening, so my next challenge is to cram as many of these framed works as I can into my car and get them to The Framing Gallery.

I’ll be sad to see them go, they’ve brightened my day during these cold months.  It’s my hope they will find their way to other people’s homes and bring the same joy.

Plus, I need to free up my space so I can get back to being CREATIVE!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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If Spring Won’t Come – I’ll Force it to!


I am Freezing.

I don’t think I can take another day.  I’m losing it.  really!  I had to help my kids find their snow suits this morning!  In my mind, I have to make it to St. Patrick’s Day and if I can make it to then, spring is just around the corner.  Except for this year.  It’s like winter won’t ever end!!! Ahhhhgh!

I get depressed feeling cold and bottled up in my cocoon all winter.  I joke that us “New Englanduhs” loose our necks in the winter.  We are shuddering with our shoulders above our ears! Being cold physically makes you tense up.  I’d imagine it makes us a little cranky too!

Well, I have found a small solace.  It’s a little patch of my dining room.  As I framed away, preparing for my art show, I broke down, pulled everything off my dining room wall, hung my bird paintings and thought –Wow.  Instantly, I felt better.  It was like the combination of bright happy colors and the thought of nature brought me internally, to a happy warm place.

Oh yeah, that’s why artists need to make art!

  It can physically change the energy within us all.  Some artists explore other emotions like sadness, anxiety, & anger.  Not me.  I’m all full here, I don’t need any more of those feelings thanks.  But a mood lifter, a giddy feeling of spring, a feeling of hope.  Sign me up! That’s what gets me inspired.

It’s going to be hard to part with these bird-beauties.  I just love them.


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I have some fabulous old frames to share, but before I do, check out my back yard…

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Do you see the strange looking weather vanes?  Imagine my amazement when the weather vanes began to move! I’d say they had at least a 6 foot wing span.

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At first I thought they were hawks, but upon closer inspection I figured out they were wild turkeys!

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I wonder what the turkeys were thinking, or the people who live in this house, as I was traipsing through the yard in my pajamas last Saturday morning!

Nature is too cool.

OK. Back to frames…

This week I focused my attention on a wonderful collection of vintage frames I inherited.  My guess is that they range from the 1950’s to 60’s.  My mother sets aside the really cool frames that come into her frame shop.  As people update their homes, they generally do not want any evidence of their crazy retro days (think avocado refrigerator!) But of course there are those of us who simply love the quality, craftmanship and retro-coolness of these objects of yester year.

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This frame is SO WILD!  It has a hand carved eye motif and green painted panel.  It looks Hawaiian to me. I have kept this frame for years, thinking it was way too cool to part with, but my bird woman looks absolutely perfect in it. Here is a link to the day this painting was created:  DAY #9 – The Bird Feeder  I don’t even dare to read the posts myself, it’s like rereading my own diary!

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Next is a little painting I watercolored right on the beach in Block Island .  This is a first, I can’t pull up the day, but I do have many people who sat and watched me paint it that could tell you I did! The old frame looks like it’s right out of a Block Island cottage.  I liked this about it.  I gave the frame a wash of Payne’s Grey paint to give it an extra beachy look.

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This is another one of those old 1950’s frames.  It is solid and has light gold with tarnish that you just can’t duplicate.  It screams “olden days”.   This painting was titled DAY #147- SWEET & SIMPLE Watson Farm, Jamestown RI.  It is of the cow pasture there.  I went with my son on a field trip that week and looking at the painting now, I can smell the fresh air of that farm by the sea.  I can’t wait to get back out there this spring!

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My final frame is quite old too.  In fact, it’s missing moulding in places, but I think it gives it even more of that old barn distressed look that so many of us crave.  This was titled DAY #339 – ROSES AND ROSEMARY  This watercolor was getting towards the end of my challenge.  Around a month left.  There are also some cool photos of the progression of the painting.

I have been making some headway in pottery class as well.   Tomorrow I am going in to glaze a bunch of pieces. Let’s see if I can remember my camera.  I’m getting rusty without a challenge nudging me along!

Enjoy your weekend everybody and I’ll check back in, in a few!


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Having Fun Framing


The Picture framing of my 365 Art Project has begun.  I’m pretty lucky to have 2 picture framer businesses in my family.  As I had mentioned, my mother is framing the “best” pieces and I am framing the pieces she didn’t pick!  It’s funny, but most of my favorites didn’t make the cut, but it wasn’t a personal decision, my mother has a very good eye for what “the masses” will like.  I trust her judgement even though I’ve never fallen into that category!

  I was lucky enough to inherit this black frame due to a measurement error. I recieved the frame with the glass and hand-built shadow box walls already built into it.  Total score! I bought a shocking blue piece of fabric, stretched it on acid free foam core and floated #313 – Ode to Hundertwasser in the center.  I love this gouache painting for its primitiveness and clean bright color.


Next to be framed was the watercolor #157- IN MY GARDEN –The Poppy.  Can you believe someone didn’t like this gold frame because of the lines in the gold-leaf guilding?  For those of you that don’t know, there are finite linear lines in a true gold frame.  It is where the real gold leaf overlaps itself when being applied to the frame.  Here’s a tidbit, if you can’t find overlap marks on your gold frame, it’s most likely painted which means there is a good chance it’s not a  true gold-leaf frame!  So, when you go to have something framed, don’t complain about inconsistencies, it’s most likely an indication of hand-craftmanship and authenticity.


I think that #217- STILL LIFE WITH BOVINE came out so darn sweet.  This frame was a customer’s frame that they no longer wanted.  It had two dings in the finish.  So guess what I did?  I added 20 more dings, literally, with a hammer!  I dented, scratched and sanded the frame until it began to have that “country distressed” look.  Next I found this pretty blue trellis fabric, stretched the fabric and floated my artwork. I just love what a frame can do!  This painting is ready for a country cottage!


#10 – ODE TO THE ORANGE, was from the first week of my 365.  It definitely has some technical issues going on, but it’s still a fun piece.  I went with the look of a “Man’s study”.  Dark plaid says to me “fraternity”, “law office” or “man-cave”!  Thanks again to the customer who wanted a new frame and no longer wanted this gold metal frame. It’s in perfect condition!

The titles of the paintings above are actually links to that particular day of my 365.  You can learn more about the painting and see what I was thinking and feeling at that given moment.

OK.  so four paintings framed and only about one hundred more to go!

I forgot how fun and creative the picture framing process can be.  I’m having fun with it!

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