Second Field of Grass

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Yesterday, I mentioned I didn’t have the attention span for pointillism. When faced with painting tall grasses in this painting, I decided to take a different route. There are probably 30 layers, but instead of hand painting thousands of dabs of paint, I took my palette knife and scratched the paint off to create the line work. When you are standing in front of the painting it looks really life like. As if someone had just trampled through creating a path in the grass.

This technique didn’t drive me as crazy as the pointillism did. I will be adding it to my bag of tricks :)

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.”

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!


#321- One step forward three steps back (1)

Yesterday’s post was all about using my intuition, you know, going with my gut.

Ah yeah, that didn’t go so well.

I was so excited this morning to wake up and complete this painting.  I really liked it yesterday and I thought it would go smoothly today. Nope.

My concentration was completely off.  blame it on the kids running back and forth, blasting their morning cartoons or blame it on me.  I just couldn’t get into the zone.

Do you know what happens when I don’t get in the zone? This:

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I started in one direction, and hours later I was whiting out everything I had worked all day. I just couldn’t find a direction to go in.

I know, I know, some days are like that, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing!

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I printed out my unfinished painting and then used markers to fill it in.  I was hoping to gain some perspective for tomorrow.  Two of these could work, but I am going to rest my eyes and look at it again tomorrow morning.  Hopefully the answer will come.


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Day #320 – Half a landscape

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I started a new 30×36″ gouache painting on 140 lb cold press paper today.

I wanted to try one more time because I felt like yesterday’s painting was a little more planned and calculated then I wanted it to be.

Pattern Hill, yesterdays painting, was mapped out, sketched and deliberated. There isn’t anything wrong with this, in fact, most people would expect that this is what one would strive for.  But what I would like to experience is a painting created purely on gut instinct.  No over thinking. No angst.  Just trusting your gut.

Today I wanted to try again to go the direction of this painting: #313- Ode to Hundertwasser


To many it may look like their third grader’s last art assignment, but it really is not easy to deconstruct the world into lines and wiggles.  Really, your entire life from kindergarten on, teachers are trying to show you the “right” way to paint or draw.  This usually has a heavy emphasis on rendering exactly what one may see, not on using one’s imagination to create that which does not exist.

I fall into this category.  My whole art education seems to have revolved around learning how to draw everything realistic.  I like realistic rendering.  I do. It can be very rewarding, but I don’t ever feel like I get lost in a realistic painting.  My mind doesn’t wander, question or provoke thoughts.  I think  to myself “Pretty apple or very flabby body or yes that looks just like Madonna or wow a tulip and it still has dew on it.” and this is where my thought on the painting ends.  Pretty.

Yet abstracts and impressionism leave room for me to wonder.  Why is that there?  What’s around the bend?  The artist deliberately manipulated that, why?

I love the freedom, the lack of restrictions, no comparisons, no one telling you what is “right”.  It is simply your vision.  People can like it, dislike it, they can not understand, they can not even care.  But there may be a few that gain more insight into your brain, how you think, how you feel, and what naturally flows from your tap.

This year is my first year venturing outside realism.  I’m not sure what my publics response is to it, but I sincerely am doing it for me.  I enjoy it.  When I put paint down without any thoughts, without a script, I feel like I am working purely off intuition.  No angst, no comparison, no get it “right”. I’m simply feeling and reacting.  In this way, I also feel way more vulnerable.  It’s like hanging your soul on a wall for others to see.  Not so many volunteers for that job I’d imagine.

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So for today’s painting I filled up a palette with paint, picked a spot on a large white canvas and began to paint.  From the first spot, I stay incredibly present and simply ask myself “Do you want to go left? right? up? down? Quick! Don’t over think it, choose a color…what FEELS right?” and I simply move from area to area.  No pencil sketch, no itinerary, no struggle to implement all the “shoulds” I’d like to add to my work.  It’s just the inner me. Which apparently is very bright.  I mean LITERALLY!

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Here’s another tidbit about today.

I just love carving. Next year I think I’ll have to try wood cuts, but for now, stamps will suffice!

I created a forest stamp to use in my painting today.  I carved it out of a pink rubber eraser.  It worked perfectly.  It gives an area a “wood cut” look to it which I just adore. Here’s a close up of the stamp in action. It’s from the right top section of my painting:

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There is so much more to do tomorrow.  Day #320 of my challenge and still LOVING it! I have to go to sleep so I can wake up and get busy.

Until then…Nighty Night!

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Day 319 – PATTERN HILL Completed

#319 - Pattern Hill completed (1)

Pattern Hill  30″ x 36″ gouache painting on 140 LB Cold Press paper.

What a fun painting! Well, I had fun painting it for what it’s worth!  It has all my favorite components:

Color, pattern and I was even able to sneak in some of my hand-made stamps.

Did I mention color?

I love the movement created by the curvy black and white fence.  I like the herringbone pattern sliding down the hill.  I love the way the sky just says hallelujah gosh darn it! I just want to put on some running shoes and take to the road like Forrest Gump!

Well, that’s sort of it.  Quite plainly.

This painting makes me feel happy and energetic and don’t we all need a little of that?

Happy Friday everybody!

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Day # 318 – PATTERN HILL


I feel a little bit better today.

Yesterday I was feeling like the painting was embarrassing and weird.  Today it’s just weird which I’m totally fine with!

So judging by the title have you figured out the premise?  I plan on having a blast coming up with all sorts of patterns and designs.


I started the day off simply blocking all the spaces off with color.  It’s great having a computer.  Every once in a while I take a photo and put the painting up on my computer screen.  This allows me to gain some distance from my painting.  Since the painting is large, I don’t have much space to literally “back up”.  It allows me to check the colors and patterns and gain perspective.

I was originally thinking the sky didn’t fit.  It’s a totally different style of painting, but today it doesn’t bother me as much.  I love days when the clouds seem aligned with the sun.  The sunrise and sunset are in a halo of sun-glow.  Somehow it works for me.

It’s pretty cool to see in real life.  It’s large enough that you can focus in on different areas and roam around a bit.  I love that in art, when you’re forced to wander.

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I hope to finish this painting tomorrow. There is still quite a bit to do.  I’ll cross my fingers!

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I had so much fun with the painting #313- ODE TO HUNDERTWASSER this past weekend that I decided to try something similar only really large.  The painting I started today is 30″ x 36″.  That’s about the size of a dishwasher.


Ok. So this is the painting from Saturday.  It is gouache and I did it without any planning.  It started abstract and then I went in the direction my first strokes took me.


Already, I’ve done too much planning on this one.  I created a small sketch or map you might say. I also have been thinking a great deal about color and pattern before I put it down on the paper.

I think it’s bad news.  I should have went from the gut like last time.  The sky is traditional and painterly yet the foreground is more of a 2 dimensional pattern.  The two styles contradict one another.  Tomorrow I will begin the task of flattening the sky and adding more detail to the patterns in the front.

I’m sure something cool will come from it, but already I want to try again without planning, you know, simply intuitively paint.

That is the one thing I hate about this daily blog.  I totally do not want to show my work today.  I feel completely vulnerable.  I’d never show this step of a painting if I knew I was going to scrap it.  I guess that is what’s cool about blogging though.  It’s real.  Not every day is perfect.

We shall see what tomorrow brings to this painting.


On another note, I was complaining Saturday that I ran out of yellow gouache. What was frustrating is that I still have plenty of every other color but yellow.  I guess I’m a little heavy-handed in the yellow department.

Thank you South County Art Supply I mention this because I had the coolest thing happen to me at South County Art Supply.  I went in and bought a new six-pack of gouache paint because I needed the yellow.  I was telling the owner this and the next thing I know, she slipped a yellow paint tube in my bag.  It was yellow gouache from her own personal set.  I think that says so much about Andrea and her mom & pop art supply store.  When I tell her what I like and dislike about certain products, the very next time I come in, she has thought of a solution.  When I need something she doesn’t carry, she orders it lickety-split. She also does a great job educating me about what’s new on the market.  I’m sure I’ve already said this, but I’m so very glad to have S.C.A.S right here in our little town.  It is such an asset. Thank you!

On that note, I’m headed back to the kitchen to put my mom-hat back on.  Got to get dinner on the table ASAP!

See you tomorrow!

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