Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Koi Fish and Lilies

Koi Fish and Lilies
8x6in oil on canvas panel  $135.
Purchase  SOLD

I was invited to a cool mountain area
called Cloudcroft, NM.,
only a 90 min drive from where I live.
There is a Lodge with a large
pond filled with Koi fish and lily-pads.
Extra beautiful to my desert trained eyes.

Artist Note.
I took photos of the pond
and had to take areas out 
of several to get a decent design.

It is the lily which stars 
in the point of interest spot, 
yes -
deliberately placed high  middle 
- with the eye 
hopefully moving down the 
sky reflection
to the the fish.
Checking the design following
"every quarter is different"
from 8/23/15 the post

Top Left

Top Right

Lower Left

Lower Right

I enjoyed painting the misty one
and this one very much 
and have already started another.

Miss Daisy won 
so many, many thanks to all you  kind 
bloggers who voted for her.

Artists of Influence - J.M.W. Turner

Rain, Steam and Speed 
- The Great Western Railway
J.M.W. Turner 
painted 1838

I was invited to write about the 
influences which helped me as an artist
 by the company 

I have been enjoying reading some of
the artists who have been sharing
their own stories so I was delighted
to participate.

Standing in front of this amazing
Turner painting (above) was 
definitely the start of realizing 
could give me goose bumps!

My huge emotional response 
shook me up because before that I 
was enamored by technical skill...
not realizing the 
pure genius
of technical skill it took Turner
to do this.

This painting was done 
2 years before Monet was born.
Turner painted outdoors a lot
and colors above are true to the 
part of England I knew so well
because he actually painted
the atmosphere...
 the rain, 
steam trains,
and a very industrial area.

Turners watercolors are a 
delight, but not easily available
to view in the area I now 
live in here in the US
so when the museum in Houston
had a exhibition of his watercolors
 years ago, I flew out to see it
and was delighted to find the 
goose bumps were still there.

Other Influences.
Picasso had a strong impact 
with his many different periods
of style and media. Such
comfort knowing it was 
okay to change focus,
and Cezanne has long been an artist
I turn to when I need inspiration. 

And my love of 
was continued by being 
drawn to some of Monet's more
atmospheric paintings. 
Yes - the waterlilies for sure. 

Seeing we are talking about 
influences in art
there are interesting stories
about Turner's influence on Monet
after Monet visited the 
National gallery in 1870 

The story goes... 
Monet stood in awe in front of
Turner's work and then after
some private visits ...and do you think 
he could have seen this 
during one of them?
(Sunrise is a clue)

Norham Castle -Sunrise
JMW Turner

And when, after
returning to Paris, Monet started to 
try and capture the emotion
he experienced about the atmosphere
as well 
as the brighter colors of 
painting outside.
There is no doubt of the change  
when you see the before and after.

Here is a popular Monet piece
painted in 1867
Garden at Sainte-Adresse
C. Monet 1867

Forgive a little rant here...
Although this is a very popular
piece I dislike this painting for 
several reasons, the
"dibby dabby do" brushwork
in lower half and smooth work
on top with every dang mast
 on the way off horizon
painted in perfect detail!

BUT all is not lost - 
Monet visits Turner 
and look what happens

Impression - Sunrise
C Monet 1872

This is the painting which coined the 
word Impressionism.
How marvelous for Monet
to find an influence
which had such a profound effect.

Sorry this led into such a long post.

I am beholden to all artists 
who get inspired to try and
capture emotion, no matter their
style - but it was Turner who 
gave me my first goose bumps.

It was fun finding out who in turn
influenced the great Turner.
But that's another story.

Thank you, Marietta for the invitation
to participate. 
You must be very proud of 
your mother, Patience...
her work is beautiful.

Please check out the blog

Saturday, August 29, 2015

LilyPond - Misty Morning

Lily Pond - Misty Morning
6x6in oil on canvas panel  $110.

Purchase HERE

Artist Note
Last weekend I was in 
Cloudcroft, NM.
Think of the name...
Cloud... croft. Land in the clouds!
I was lucky enough to enjoy
a misty morning and it was 
truly atmospheric and beautiful. 
So different from fierce colors 
and beauty the dry air creates
here in Las Cruces.

The Lodge Resort has a 
 large lily pond and I was able
to take many photos.
The colors were cool and muted 
with very soft edges.
(The Lodge also has a ghost - can you 
imagine her coming out of the mist!!)

The DPW Challenge has
The FOG Challenge this week
so hoping that the mist will substitute
because fat chance of me seeing 
fog in this neck of the woods.
I checked - there IS a 
difference between mist and fog 
even though they are both 
created with water droplets.

Thank you for visiting.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Like Cats?

8x8 oil on gallery wrap canvas  SOLD

If you like Miss Daisy then there is a vote 
going on which her owner is requesting 
votes because Daisy's sister 
won a couple of years ago
and she would like to keep the family 
tradition intact.
Daisy is a gentle and fun loving cat.
Obviously I really liked her.

You have to have a Facebook account 
to vote but here is the link


Some really cute pics of cats and dogs
but scroll down to Daisy and a "like"
counts as a vote.

Artist Note.
Thanks for all the comments 
on the previous post on design. 
I will be getting round to everyone
soon .

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Solving Design Issues - Barn

Mesilla Valley Barn
6x8in oil on canvas panel $135.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note.
Painting on location is 
valuable as a way to 
record the colors and shapes,
but rarely do you get a really
good composition in your sight-line. 
Taking photos with the 
zoom can help, but even then I find I may 
like part of the pic, but not all 
of it. Here is a 
simple but excellent
way to help focus on getting 
an improved design.

First, divide your surface
(any shape) in half 
horizontally and vertically.
You now have four quarters.

The idea is not to have any of the 
quarters match,  meaning - 
too similar in value
 or color pattern

Below are the four quarters
from my landscape above. 
You can see when split 
this way they are all 
completely different. 
Or in Julie parlance...
No matchy matchy!

This is top left...

Top right

this is lower left

lower right.

The painting below by a fellow 
guild member is a good example 
of a plein air painting which
has captured the place really well
-it looked exactly like this -
but, look at the horizontal
bands of similar
shapes and colors. 
an uninteresting rectangle
exists right in the center.
Lets see if the design 
can be improved.

I took a piece of glass and 
placed it over the painting.
I did a quick line down 
and across the center.


I didn't touch the sky or mountains
but started the changes 
just below them.
Notice how I broke up the 
three similar bush shapes, 
top left, by placing a lighter 
 ground color 
weaving in and out across 
the horizon
Next I  lowered the bottom 
of the green bushes 
near mid center, 
bringing them closer.
Then I placed a stronger value 
of  the front weeds to continue
the strong angle. 

Remember the whole 
purpose is to make 
each quarter a different
pattern of light and dark, or color
than each of the others.

after changes

piece of glass showing 
each quarter with the different

I was taught this at Art School 
in England as part of a course
on Alternation,
but I have not seen or read about
it being used anywhere else. 
I do not know why. 
It is simple and effective
Easy to try this method with an older 
painting you have not been quite 
satisfied with.
Do I use it all the time?
But it sure comes in handy when
trying to figure out a way to improve
a painting.
Hope you try it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Yupo Landscape

Yupo Landscape


My husband and I made a
quick trip to Phoenix - 
nice cool Phoenix-
 (record breaking temps)
to attend a funeral this weekend
and this kept me totally
occupied in the car. 
It is weird, I cannot read 
in the car, but I can paint.
The trip takes over six hours
each way,
and as you probably know,
the beauty of Yupo 
is I can paint - wipe it off
and paint again

It went through several incarnations
and I still consider it unfinished.

I was never trying to make a
painting, but just exploring 
the different mark making 
Yupo allows
I was working from memory
 of an area I had plein
painted earlier in the week 
so I was free to concentrate
on the technique.

I did discover some pigments
will stain Yupo.
Even thick applications of
paint will lift off 
topping over with 
another layer, and 
pooling color within 
boundaries is basically the
 only way to get a smooth wash.

I saw this fabulous post by
Jill Golden on alcohol inks
using yupo. It showed 
all her student's work
and they were great.
Her blog is
 see link here Jill Rae
I was intrigued
by the wonderful appearance 
of alcohol ink on Yupo. 
Jill definitely has 
the heart of a teacher and 
she generously
sent me a couple of links
on her youtube demos
see below.

Thank you, Jill.
They look fun,
I am going to give them a go...
but NOT in the car!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mesilla Adobe

Mesilla Adobe, NM
6x8in oil on canvas panel $135.
Purchase HERE

Mesilla is an historical town next to 
Las Cruces, where I live in New Mexico
It has kept its wonderful Spanish/Indian roots.
Situated in a farming valley
it is an artist's delight.

Artist Note.
Another plein air painting. 
I didn't move my easel from the previous
post of the washing line...
 I just turned my head to the right.

The only thing I took artistic license 
with is the ditch. It runs straight, 
across, (parallel to the wall)
 but I felt a curve 
suited my design better.

 All to often, when I suggest a change 
to an artist's composition, 
they will whip out a
photo to show me they had copied it 
just right...
Then I find myself saying,
"it's a painting you are making, 
NOT a copy of photo."

So, my friends, 
how long did it take me to 
get that through my own head?
A loooong time.

Here is a link to information on Mesilla
Pronounced (meh-SEE-uh)

Monday, August 10, 2015


Wash Day
6x8in oil on canvas panel $135. SOLD

Artist Note. 
I went plein air painting with a couple 
of artist friends and my reward for 
getting up early on a non-working day
was finding this place.
Rare to find someone hanging their
laundry outside any more.

Would you believe there was a 
chicken coop too!
The little cluck clucks were as 
cute as can be.
Dilemma...put them in
or leave them out.
Such a small space so I left them out, 
but will go back and paint them
for sure.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Wild Flowers - DPW Challenge


6x8in oil on canvas panel $135. SOLD

Artist Note.
I have been trying to do the weekly 
Daily Paintworks Challenge,
and I am a bit late with this one.

This was from the photo 
Carol Marine chose.
I decided to do poppies because they 
grow wild in Colorado 
and when I lived there 
I painted them quite a few times

Anyone can enter the challenge.
A new one starts every Sunday
so if you need inspiration
deciding what to paint then I suggest 
you give it a go.

See the other participants

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Linking The Darks - NM Farm

Mesilla Valley Farm, NM

6x8in oil on canvas panel  $135. SOLD
Purchase HERE

Artist Note.
Classes have resumed at
the Artist Guild of Southern New Mexico.
This was one of the demos
on Linkage.

Linking the darks in a painting
was a good way to start 
off the new semester. 
We all need a reminder after vacation 
of some of the basics. It makes it
easier to avoid what I
refer to as "spotty paintings" 
- caused by having light areas
in what should be the shadow pattern.

Starting with a Notan in
transparent oxide brown
with a touch of Ultramarine Blue,
makes it easy to follow the pattern
of light and dark.

Thanks for all the neat comments 
on my previous post about the snails.
Hope you will understand 
why I have not been
able to answer as
I have been rather busy.

The guild studio was all spruced up 
Carpet cleaned
Shelves dusted
Cupboards tidied
Tables scrubbed and easels checked.
Bins of colored papers to test 
shapes and colors -
mannequins, heads, hands, 
and Freddie the skeleton - all got cleaned up
vessels of all types
flowers galore
Fruit and veggies
The drink station.
Lots of different teas
Yes ...that is instant coffee...
No time to waste cleaning 
a coffee pot!

I love it when everything is tidy and clean.
Thanks for sticking around.

Now I am off to look at everyone's