Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Where’s The Fire

February 28, 2016

Unless you walk a dog ( or two ), or have reason to stand at the curb while the fire department hooks up it’s hose to the hydrant in front of your burning house, you’d likely never take notice of fire hydrants.

Asheville has a preponderance of fire hydrants that are,  aside from being vintage in appearance, all different and quirky.

My newest subjects:

Meet Byron of Forsythe Street-

IMG_3578  8 X 11 oil on panel

Cloud liked him. Showered him with affection too…


We left the Caribbean after 15 years for the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and this remarkable small/big, urbane/rustic ,city/town of Asheville. And took the doggies with us. I think even dogs’ appearances are enhanced by the addition of haberdashery.


Cuba is of the opinion it was more like chicanery than haberdashery.

After tricking them and training them for 3 months with bacon, I was able to get them into the airline approved crates to begin this monumental upheaval from island life to mainland life via planes, vans and cars. It was not easy, it was not swift, but we are here and after all, WHERE’S THE FIRE?

The Face Of The Earth

May 7, 2012


No, I did not fall off of it.

Merely lending my aesthetics and focus to This Old House. Having a house in the Caribbean is a full time job. It’s an environment that never shuts off and caring for a house here is like having triplets that never  leave home.

By the time you make an improvement to one area, it’s adjacent component screams out ” I’m old and suffering too” !

I didn’t attempt this myself- honestly I’d rather move and dump everything than paint. Everything gets displaced and that requires considering whether you keep it, clean it, throw it out or give it away.

You can see why I wouldn’t attempt this myself:


I’d be one of the Falling Wallendas


Michelangelo and house painters deserve high praise and a life time subscription to chiropractic.

Worth it.





These are the triplets I refer to:


I know, they don’t look like that much trouble……

I did manage to paint a portrait of my son for his birthday. He is very kind and much handsomer than his Fallen Off The Face Of The Earth mother’s skill in portraiture would reveal:



With thanks to Ted Davis and Emy Thomas who reminded me that they missed my blog. So did I.

If You Can’t Take The Heat….. A New Painting

May 15, 2010

…Then get a Parasol

” Woman With Parasol ” 8 X 10 oil on panel

A step by step of the determined effort to keep it fast and unfettered.

I had taken the photo of this woman many years ago in NY. Only recently looked at it with new eyes for its Notan-esque qualities. Wanted to see if I could start and finish a piece in a day.

Something clicked for me with this one and Fun became the muse du jour.

Yeah, fun and the following quote, which played an endless loop in my head:

” It takes two to paint. One to paint, the other to stand by with an axe to
kill him before he spoils it.” ~W. Merritt Chase.

Thanks to Randy Higbee – King of Frames, who chiefed this quote from someone else and posted in on FB.

I was fearful of the axe. And stopped.

My husband said it looked like someone else’s painting. Yes, someone who knew when to stop.

These two don’t know when to stop, and have no fears in their limited vocabulary….

Something I just noticed ( don’t flinch Jala and Pat,  the insects are metal ), but two fellow artists and bloggers are represented in this photo in my kitchen. The very large, floral fruit bowl made by my friend Carol King, the watercolorist,  and the Hot Chili Pepper photograph made by fellow islander and photographer Don Diddams.

The gravitational pull of artistry.

Mothers and Others

May 9, 2010

“At The Ag Fair” 8X10 oil on panel

For mothers and others, Happy Mothers’ Day.

I did this one twice. One version was direct- no drawing first, except with paint. The other one, was painted over the drawing from last post. Do you have a preference?

” At The Ag Fair ” 11X14 oil on panel

My nemesis, interpreting white without using white. Tricky.

No, what’s really tricky is how the responsibilities of raising families, which is often  multi -generational, meal preparations, cleaning, shuttling kids to school and back, baking and cooking at night to make extra money, seems an impossible juggling performance but the stalwart women of this island and perhaps the West Indies in general, get it all done. And still find a moment to share an observation with a good friend. And sit for a minute.

A tribute to all Mothers who put love in our pockets, hearts, lunchboxes, and DNA.

Nurturing comes from unexpected places….

Seemed like Motherhood was evident here too…. maybe too soon to cut the cord.


April 30, 2010

When seated, they become your lap. As is the case with these women. Taking in the throngs of people at Ag Fair last February and maybe sharing some thoughts about the changes they’ve seen over the years.

Aside from the one hand ( er, claw, ) in dead center, there was no erasing. You could C.S.I this canvas with a team of forensic experts and not find an erasure. Just that hand ( claw ). I didn’t intend for the sketch to : #1 come out so well, and #2 get this detailed. But it wouldn’t stop so neither did I. Getting to the painting phase next.

There are many, many legs here on St.Croix this week. We host the infamous Half Iron Man Triathlon which translates to this: A one and a half mile swim, jump on your bike and ride 50 miles part of which includes a 21 degree incline that goes on interminably, and then run a 13.1 miles. That hill is known as The Beast. I offer my CAR a sports drink when it takes me up that road.

Check out the survivors’ humorous description of this event- ( I suggest you sit down and pour a cold one  first ):

Unbelievably this event is up to 1,300 + entrants. It’s been unusually hot/humid and will make this course more horrific than it already is.

I’ll be folding my legs into lap formation, myself. Running my own game at the easel.

This guy never has to worry if he sprains an ankle during athletic endeavors.

With forgiveness, Pat , really I am so sorry you had to look at this and I know you’re asking yourself why would she even bother with her name and copyright as if someone would want to HAVE this thing!

Chili Peppers’ languid leg layover is one stretch away from careening him off the precipice of his perch. I couldn’t catch him and grab the camera. He remains to all of you, dignified. And aloft.

Second Cover- Gouache and Ink

August 28, 2009

The second cover completed but shown only in stages. Can’t reveal the finished piece until it’s published in September.

just the sunset

I used gouache for it’s richness of color, washiness similar to water color, and it’s compatibility for canvas board and drying quickly. It had to be finished and photo ready- can’t use oils.

Theme: Sunset Jazz in Frederiksted

. Once a month, the best local jazz performers hold an informal concert as the sun sets on the western end of the island. We bring chairs, blankets, Off, ( what did you think? ), and open ears. Free, and delightful.

I did small studies in a notebook to establish a color story and rescue my watercolor technique from the morgue. The beauty of gouache is that you can water it down or lay it on.

Did a larger sketch to place the key figures and work out details.

color wash sketch sunset jazz

Then I hit the canvas board with pen and ink, ready to place the actual colors on the finished piece.

sunset jazz B&W

So now you’ve got hair and make-up but you can’t see the dress until the not fat lady at the magazine says ” I’m Singing “.

It’s otherwise  summer torpor,


new puppyitis,

with elephant

and watching geckos eating mangos.

One more secret confession: I’ve sold a painting that also can’t be revealed as it’s a surprise from the person who bought it to someone who reads this blog.

More fodder for a September post.

Beating an Inanimate Horse

July 21, 2009

It wasn’t dead until I got my hands and brush on it. Then I really killed it.

full speed sienna

The sienna wash sketch seemed a good start. Trying to minimize painting an outline but a horse’s anatomy isn’t familiar to me. Thought I needed some lines for proportion.

And then! And then, with a few deftly and consistently  wrong swabs of a brush, I kept at it until I ruined it.

The horse is full speed ahead, the young man, bareback, barefoot, confident, slender stick in his teeth.

This is the only section that had redemption.

speedcolor If that.

What started out a steed, ended up looking like the equine version of Carol Channing. Like a carousel horse. With garish make-up and curly mane.

When you start dabbing and poking at it, it’s time to scrape.

Especially after looking at Frank Gardners‘ new painting of a horse called Ben. One brush stroke at a time you can see how he sees color. And the shift from sun to shade. Just go look at this painting and double click to see it close. It is so beautiful.

I don’t have it this week. This might be why.

beautiful beamer

Our beautiful girl Beamer 1/99-7/09. She was just as she looks. My first dog. And never went anywhere without her football purse. A very sad day.

Or maybe THIS is the reason:


Cute? Yes. Claws like Freddie Kreuger? Times velocity? Plus a lower lip ( not mine ), a moving vehicle ( my husband ), all together equals a trip to the emergency room.

Cliff note version: ( so aptly named if you saw the hill I’m on ): walking above cute dog on our hilly road. Daddy passes in pick up truck, stops, and dog, all 58 pounds of him tried to leap like a Chihuahua through the open window and instead makes contact with Kellys’ lower lip. I see spurts of blood, I hear expletives. I know it can’t be good. He drove with one hand, holding his lip together with the other. I ran home with the dog.

With only two people ahead of us, we thought we’d be a quick in and out. That turned into almost 4 hours.

By 10:30 PM we were back home, 8 stitches later. A double cocktail week- both stirred AND shaken.

Decided to read about art instead- another Gardner- Isabella Stewart Gardner and the world’s largest and most mysterious  art theft.  The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser.

Still, none of this really explains why I don’t have it this week. Does it? Anyone??

These Are a Few of My Fauvorite Things…

April 21, 2009

Les Fauves “- The Wild Beasts. A group of modern artists of the early 20th Century. Those wild beasts played with strong color and painterly brush work.


I started this late in the day, outside during the workshop I took here a few weeks ago. The colors reminded me of the Fauvist movement.

I like the top two thirds of the one above this but haven’t found my bliss in the foreground. I’m going to walk away and move on to something new.

Like identifying these vegetables?/gourds?/cucumbers?/ that we carried at the VI Farmers Coop this past weekend.


Since no one was able to really identify it by spelling, it shall forever be known to me as the phonetic vegetable ” Kor-riley”. That’s the best I could extrude from a few local farmers who might have even pronounced it three different ways.

Bitter melon is what it’s known as in Chinese cooking. They sure  were the oddities of the market and despite their curious appearance, no one wanted to buy any. Even the vegetable kindgom has wild beasts, it seems.

Now it looks like we’ll have to monitor the statues too, as this fellow will barely pass the newly enacted Modesty for Statues Statute:


Wild Beasts are everywhere, so keep moving and ducking and painting.

A New Painting using a Limited Palette

March 16, 2009


Solo 8X10 oil on linen panel

Limited palette consisting of : Yellow Ochre, Cad Red Lt., Phtalo Blue, Titanium White and Mars Black ( didn’t have Ivory Black but living on an island, you learn to substitute ). Minimizing colors is good practice to force yourself to see in a simple way, warm/cool, light/dark. I’m not fond of using black and perhaps Ivory would have been softer than Mars. This was a slight variation of the Zorn Palette which you can read more about on another blog I found here and see what Anders Zorn produced with a minimal use of color here at their website.

What was also limited was the amount of time I gave myself to finish this piece. I toned the canvas first in a drippy wash and went right to work with placing darks and mass- no drawing. Drawing with charcoal first is something I’m used to doing to get the figure in proportion. It also encourages the undesired characteristic of painting by ” filling in the lines ” rather than seeing shapes in relation to each other.

I’m taking another workshop next week, here on St. Croix, and wanted to loosen up before the class begins. I’m pleased with what looks like essence and gesture. Not including the wonky bend in the neck of the guitar. I promised myself that I wasn’t ” going in ” to re-do or do-over or fix it a little. This is it.

I also promised I would wash the cat by hand next time……


Early Holiday Present is Making A Mark

December 21, 2008

Making A Mark– authored by Katherine Tyrrell. Her stamp appears on many blogrolls that I scour and is often accompanied by high words of praise for her dedication to her art and the business of marketing art. She’s thorough, extremely knowledgeable and ( so unfair ) very talented. Generous with her readers too. You should have her bookmarked if you don’t already.

I’m a little late in responding to  this wonderful recognition on her blog which she posted last week ( See HERE ).

I was nominated twice for her year end “Best of ” Contest. She called for art bloggers to send in nominations for ” The Best Female Portraitist “, and best all around Portfolio.

Sue Smith of Ancient Artist ( in my blogroll at right ) nominated this one of mine for Portfolio:

From this previous post.

August Sun


Look into Sue’s blog for great motivational musings on keeping all the facets of an artists’ life on good speaking terms with each other. She’s not ancient at all. She’s open eyed wise.

The second surprise for me was a nomination by Paulette ( also in my roll ) of Becoming a Renaissance Woman.

Paulette’s use of colored pencil is wonderful. It was a search for roosters on the web that brought her to my blog where she found:

CaptuREDFrom this previous post and the goose bump story that was its’ narrative.

Thanks Sue, Paulette and Katherine. Really, the mention was  present  enough. The ribbons and bells of the outcome are secondary. What carries heft here is the exposure to fellow artists, and the daily gifts of shared information, support and the variety of creative expression that makes this format  as vital as it is to all of us.

Maybe another post before the new year, maybe just time enough to eat too much cake.

Happy Holidays.