4 Paintings

Here are the 4 paintings I forgot to photograph :) 3 of them are 12×16 and the smaller 11×14. All of them are acrylic paintings.

This one is of the clay cliffs of Block Island, RI.

Another Block Island painting, this is one of our favorite fields to sit and watch the sunset. Ok. We never sit. It’s more like hike!

There is a tiny little shed near my kids school in Kingston,RI. It’s bright white against the fields and trees. The white of the building always says “haunted” to me. I guess like the famous haunted “girl in the white dress”.

This is a view of the Island of Jamestown, RI from the mainland. The area where I live is blessed with both beautiful farmland and breathtaking seascapes. The juxtaposition of the two is a painters paradise!

My thoughts are to paint a bunch of 12×16 paintings. Reason being the size will allow me to work rather quickly. The more I make the more “gems” I will produce.

I’ve learned in pottery that not every pot comes out perfect. If I make 6 mugs, I can count on really loving 1 or 2. I call those the “gems”. With these four paintings there is only one true “gem” for me.

my favorite is this one. Other people may agree or disagree, but this painting meets my standards of what I deem a successful painting, a gem.

Ahhh…. I guess I am putting it out there (again :). My weakness.

Deep breath…. I have perfectionist issues…. Don’t judge me, we all have something! ;) This one is mine. Not my first mention of it, but I think it’s important to admit imperfections in ALL humans exist. I know I haven’t found that real-deal airbrush app for real-deal-life so until then, the first step to fixing anything is admitting it, one time or apparently twenty times….or maybe thirty for good measure.

I get it. I do. For instance, I’m new to pottery, I am gentle with myself, I know I have to put a ton of time in to master the art form. But with painting, I am not so forgiving with myself, even if I know I haven’t put In a spec of the time needed to master the art form. I create all sorts of stuff. I cross a wide range of mediums. And I feel no anxiety. No cares in the world. It’s all just play for me. Except for painting. Every insecurity and ounce of angst pours out of me. If I go even deeper, to find the source of my angst, it’s probably a childhood incongruent thought. I grew up in an art gallery surrounded by incredible talent. My childhood association with ART and SUCCESS was based on my observation of PAINTERS. As I sat there scribbling with my crayons, they were the unattainable in my mind. Natural talent. Just pure magic. Little me scribbles = big artists come in to frame their masterpieces. I could never be that good. Why did little Mary think that? Beats the shit out of me. I wish I could go back and shake it out of her!

So, in my 43rd year, I am finally putting the pieces together. All the “unattainable” artists I observed as a child with their perfect paintings, were get this -not perfect. What???? Really, they are my people now. I talk to them regularly. Did you know they have a garage full of duds they never show the world? Did you know they have to practice and practice and paint and paint until they find their gems?

Mind blowing. I know. I wish someone could have told me not every piece will be a masterpiece . Then I’d just need to find a way to get the last thirty years of my life back!

So that’s it. I am going to paint a lot this year. I am not going to craft and fill every hour working on craft shows. I am going to practice my heart out painting and heal my little inner-child. Who is going to come out of this year saying “I am not perfect, but I’m a darn hard worker. If you don’t believe me, check out my garage. It’s full. And there may even be some gems in there.”

Making a Mess!

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My favorite part of summer vacation is my morning walks.  Every morning I grab a cup of joe and a couple canvas bags and head out.  It is complete isolation.  An introvert’s paradise.  Not another soul for miles and miles.

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It’s a driftwood paradise.  Too rocky for most people’s taste. To me it’s a playground.

This year I took home 12 bags of driftwood of every shape and size.

Ohh… my poor husband who so cleverly tetris-ed all of it into our car :)

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I had absolutely no intent on searching for sea glass which is the only reason I found the amount I did!  I came home with a gallon-sized Ziploc!

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Now home, the chaos persists :)

It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t occupy that poor husband of mine’s parking space in the driveway.

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But I have slowly begun to tame the chaos.  Small shapes, fin shapes, fish heads, tails… into organized chaos.

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Ideas coming to fruition…


Some final pieces…

I have 8 more giant driftwood fish to complete.

Hee Hee Hee….they’re still in the driveway, but rest assured husband – I am working on it!

Flipped to Acrylic

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Two weeks.

For two weeks I’ve been flat-out on my bum.

  Week one:  Flu. Soar throat, runny nose, muscle aches, joint pain and lethargy.  Week two: In all of my weakness I threw out my lower back.  Now I can barely put my socks on!

I’m pretty sure that’s called a one-two punch.

I’m feeling it.

So anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to… and you?

I scraped myself up, dusted myself off and started painting again yesterday.  I had been working in gouache the past month and decided it was time to switch over to acrylic.  I forget how forgiving acrylic is.  You can add layer upon layer whereas gouache is like watercolors, it’s more of a one-shot deal.

Here’s yesterdays progression:


I started by painting the entire canvas an orange-red.


Then I moved into the sea and sky…

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I left off with the underlying landscape.  Next I will add some foreground interest and a beautiful home by the sea. Stay tuned…

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I’ve also been busy at the pottery studio.  There is a local craft fair in early December and I’ve decided to sell my tea mugs.  They are my favorite creation thus far.  I enjoy my mugs every morning and thought others might enjoy them too.

Here’s their progression:

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I’ve also designed over 75 jewelry pendants to sell at the craft show.  I forgot to take photos though. I’ll try to remember next week.

Well I’m off to a VERY gentle yoga class to see if I can try to stand up straight.

I hope you all are in better shape than me!

Enjoy the rest of your week.


Block Island Salt Pond


Hooray!  Painting complete!  I feel like this painting’s been kicking around forever!

Here is the progression:

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Wow. It was kind of difficult to know when to stop painting. I had in my head to add a bunch of native plants to BI such as bayberry, Rosa Rugosa, ivy, golden rod and wild Astor. It’s what I love about the island.  You can actually see what would grow in our region if we didn’t have all of the development.

Well, this gouache painting got me back in the saddle. I think I’ve loosened up after not painting for some time.  Next I am going to switch to acrylics and canvas…let’s see what comes out!

Painting Update


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I’m still plugging along.  I only use blue, yellow, magenta, black and white paints.  I mix my own colors.

Well, mid-painting, I ran out of the blue gouache.  My local art supply store was out of gouache (because I bought it all!) and I live an hour from any other store that would carry fine art supplies ( I have to get my kids from school, so there is now way I can drive two hours and pick up paint in time!).  I had to special order the paint which means finishing this painting is on hold until I get the supplies… I can imagine it is just like Van Gogh running out of the organic compounds ochre & umber in the middle of Arles… your just stuck right?  Yeah Vincent. I feel your frustration.

I have a long laundry list of other creative projects I put on hold so I could paint.  I guess the responsible thing to do would be to get all my other work done…maybe even some actual laundry – nah, I’m not that desperate!

OK.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress and I hope you are all taking on something uber-creative today!


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Last year at this time I would have already been feverishly painting for three hours.  I’d wake up at 6:30am find a subject and get going on my 365 creativity challenge.

I have quite a few family members to thank for that experience. Because what the viewer didn’t hear was “Can we go now?”…”Are you almost done?” …”It’s almost noon, can we have breakfast?”… “Can we go to the beach before the sun sets???”

Yeah, it wasn’t just a challenge for me.  It was a challenge for everyone around me.

With that said, I only packed a mini pocket-sized watercolor set and some postcard sized watercolor paper.  This year I want to make sure I’m present to spend time with my best friends, my husband, my kids.  Trips to the beach will be spent swimming and digging, not painting.

My other plan was to bring my baby, my Canon EOS Rebel, and photograph all of the island’s majestic beauty.  I don’t know how I did it, but I actually forgot my camera bag.  I am armed with a half dead smart phone.

That is how this year is going to go.  It is going to be a week of rest.  An actual vacation. A pause to catch my breath.

I have a few things to share this week.  More mini paintings I painted for my final big art show ten days from now.

Enjoy your week and when you think of me, envision a 40-year-old lady asleep on the beach, drooling face-first into the sand!

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Quick recap:  For the past week I have been trying to flatten and simplify my artwork in an attempt to better understand the artist Milton Avery’s work.  My sole purpose is to strengthen my own compositions by stripping my own work to its bare essentials, studying line, contemplating good design and then adding detail back in as I see fit.

This was way harder than I ever anticipated.

Here are the past few days paintings:

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The first few days, you can see, I just couldn’t shake the texture and detail. When I finally got to the second to last painting, I had stripped my image of all depth and texture.  I’m telling you, that painting is flat!  But you know what, it was a little too flat for my own personal taste, so I tried it one more time.

Today’s version measures 18 x 24 inches and is a Gouache painting on 140 lb Cold Press paper.

I have to say, I’m not all that familiar with Gouache as a medium.  I’ve only used it once or twice so far during this 365 challenge.  I knew that the gouache paints would be opaque which I wanted, however, I thought I could layer this form of paint.  Meaning, I could paint an area of the painting, let the paint dry and then add another layer over it.  Oils and acrylics you can layer.  watercolor paints become reactivated by the new paint and begin to move and blend on your paper.  Gouache, when I went to add another top layer to an area, would reactivate into something similar to finger paint. Meaning, as I pulled my brush of new paint over dried paint, the bottom layer of paint would release and leave marks similar to running your finger through finger paint.  It begins to look streaky and I could literally carve what ever I wanted into the newly activated wet paint.  I mention this because I fought with this painting for like a day or so,  continuously trying to add paint and instead, mostly removing the existing paint.

I slowly figured out to go with the flow.  For instance, check out the top hillside.  I have streaks of color running through the ochre colored hillside. The paints don’t blend easily, so I finally figured out to purposely not blend them.

 However,  I needed the water to be fully opaque to capture the stillness of the water, so for the water I struggled to paint as fast as I could to add some extra layers without disturbing the underlying paint.

Am I boring you with all this layer talk?  Sorry about that!

I guess what I am trying to say, is I learned a lot this week.  I kept failing and I’d try again, fail, try again…ect.  Each time I’d let go a little more and I’d learn a little more.

I don’t think I will ever be as minimalist as Milton Avery, nor will I ever be a realist.  I lie somewhere in that middle-grey area, a place where I will find my own niche. I’m still searching, still defining, still working that out.

I really like todays painting though, I feel like I captured the key elements of the image without going overboard.  Not too much texture, not too much color, just tranquil, modern and old-fashioned all rolled into one.

A little bit of everything.


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