Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Plein Air Show

Punta Gorda Early
8" x 11"
Worked on location until lawnmower drove me away.  Finished in studio.  Now on exhibit along with many other paintings at the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center Plein Air Show in the Goff Gallery. 

Monday, June 28, 2010


4" x 6"
Snake! (Warning, not for the squeamish)
 I’ve had many snake encounters (not including the human-kind) but this was the first time I had to kill one.  Last night a snake was in the front hall.  Red, yellow, and black... could be poisonous!  Home alone, couldn’t call for help!  First thought was for my dogs... they sensed my fear and were extremely obedient as I let them out the back door.  I grabbed a broom and went back to the front hall, relieved to see the snake still in the same spot.  Opened the front door and thought I’d be able to whisk it outside.  Snake only wanted to race towards the clutter of my studio.  I  trapped it in a corner with the broom.  “Red and black will kill Jack, red and yellow, a friendly fellow...?”  Didn’t matter, couldn’t have a snake in the house.  Would give both my mother and myself a heart attack.  Snake was wiggling out of the broom bristles.  I wasn’t brave enough to grab its neck.  Nothing nearby to catch it in.  Couldn’t catch it, couldn’t let it go.  Only thing I could reach was a heavy bronze plaque engraved with “On this site in 1897 Nothing Happened.”  Now I’ll have to add... snake killed here.  Sorry.  It wasn’t the dangerous coral snake after all... it was a non-poisonous, scarlet king snake.  I feel terrible about killing it, but there was no time for research during the moment.   A necessary accident.   For future reference... “Red and yellow will kill a fellow.  Red and black’s a friend of Jack.”  

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dam Ships

8" x 6"
Started in my pastel class as a demo and finished later.  Frank was a student from a previous class and is a good artist buddy.  Have spent many hours plein air painting together.  "Dam Ships" is a term used for Holland American line ships, like Statendam,  Amsterdam, etc.  Frank said, "Damn, you captured the old guy realisticly."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Floridian Pirate

11" x 8"

Experimented with watercolor wash underpainting on pastel paper.  Prepared the paper before I knew what the subject would be.  Splashy effect worked well for a pirate.  Used Rembrant, Nupastels, and Mt. Vision pastels...  perfect red for the scarf.  Pirate modeled at the Venice art center.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


North Jetty
8" x 11"
Steamy, early morning plein air pastel.  Only a whisper of a breeze.  A few fishing boats motored out.  A couple of kayaks paddled by.  A man nearby, shouted obscenities into his cell phone for nearly half an hour.  Another sat a picnic table behind us, belching breakfast beer.  We worked fast and left as soon as we could.  How we suffer for our art.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Floridian Sky

Left On Winchester
8" x 11"
On the way home one night, I took some photos while my husband was driving.   We don't have mountains down here, but the big sky is a wonder.  This was just before sunset, the Golden hour when the fleeting effects have to be captured with a camera.  I liked the way the signs worked... one lighter than the sky, the other dark against the cloud.  Also love the arrows!  Have moved out of Florida twice but have always returned.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Delicious Demo

Pink Cake
6" x 8"
Small demo for my pastel workshop at the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center.  Stopped off at the bakery on the way to class and picked out the most colorful cake I could find.  This one was a lovely hideous pink.  We each got a slice to draw and a chance to use those vivid pink pastels.  When finished...  we got to eat our still lifes.  Yum.  Tasted pink!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ponce Channel

Party Palms
11" x 8.50"
Pastel of a favorite group of palm trees in Ponce de Leon Park, Punta Gorda.  Passed through this channel many times when we first moved to Florida almost twenty years ago.  Great sailing and sunset watching on Charlotte Harbor!  Named this pastel party palms because if you REALLY look at all the colors and shapes going on in the branches, it looks like a celebration of color with dancing, pom-poms, and firecrackers. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pastel Still Life Demo

Sake Flowers
8" x 6"
Workshop demo for the Pastel Experience class I'm teaching at the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center.   Picked flowers for each artist and created personal still life setups for each to work on at their own easel.  Underpaintings for this project were simply dry blended pastels on white Canson pastel paper.  Layers of soft pastels were blended with other soft pastels, Nupastels, or pastel pencils.   Artists at the beginning level often choose pastels to start with.  Maybe because there are no brushes to worry about, or pastels are closer to the crayons used as a child.  Pastels are great for immediate and spontaneous drawing but are really not the easiest medium to master.  My student's enthusiasm for the process and results are inspiring and it's wonderful to see their results.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Venice Portrait Studio

Two Views
9" x 12"
Two quick sketches at the Venice Art Center portrait studio.  As an exercise, instead of drawing one view for the whole two hour session, I shifted position.  Easy to do when the class is not crowded, but would be difficult when we're drawing elbow to elbow during season. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Venice Beach #3

Lunch Sketch
8" x 6"
Scribbled while having lunch and iced tea with friends while sitting in the shade on a picnic table.  Almost abstract, a jungly tangle of lines and color.  Not much more than a doodle on a napkin, only on a scrap of pastel paper, instead.  And third one for the day, thank you very much!  After the other artists left and I was packing up, getting ready to leave, a tourist asked, "What are you making?"  "Oh, nothing," I said, slipping it out of sight.  Sometimes, you just don't feel like showing off what you're not sure of.  But what the heck... here it is.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Venice Beach #2

Path Along the Beach
6" x 9"
This was done the same day as the previous post.  A three sketch day!  Nothing more satisfying than bringing home more than one in one day.  Later in the morning, the storm had passed and we found a shady spot to paint along the path.  People trickled back to the beach to spread their blankets and plant umbrellas.  The heat and humidity rose along with the sun.   Sweat dripped in my eyes.  Fire ants crawled into my Crocks and bit my toes.  How we suffer for our art!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Venice Beach

Morning Storm
8" x 11"
      A group of us got to the beach early and started painting.  The sky and shadows were gorgeous!  Love it when the Gulf looks light green against purple clouds.  Unfortunately, the clouds were heading straight towards us.  A couple of lightning bolts were all it took to chase us off the beach.  We sat it out inside my van while the rain pounded the roof.  When a rainbow bloomed over the Gulf we set out again to paint for several more hours.  Unusual to have morning thunderstorms, they usual happen just in time for cocktail hour in the evening. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

da Vinci?

My La Bella Principessa
after da Vinci?
60" x 40"

Each year members of the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center reproduce historic paintings to be sold at auction to support the center.  Last year it was Lautrec, this year it’s Leo vs Mike...  Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. 
            While researching da Vinci, I came across a beautiful profile of a young woman that had recently been discovered.  Once thought to be a  19th-century painting,  “La Bella Principessa,”  had been purchased in 2007 by a Swiss collector for $19,000.  In 2009, forensic art experts found a fingerprint of da Vinci in the background.   Multispectral scans showed layers of work that resembled da Vinci’s style.  Many leading art experts agreed it was the real thing.  It’s value soared to $160 million.
            “La Bella Principessa,” was painted on vellum with black, red, and white chalk, pen and ink and watercolor.  Mounted on an oak panel, it is only 13” by 9.”   (My reproduction is five feet tall. )  The girl is believed to be Bianca Sforza,  the illegitimate, conveniently changed to legitimate daughter of a duke of Milan.  In 1496, at age 13, she was married off to a captain of the duke’s military forces.  She died a few months later, possibly from an ectopic pregnancy.
            When half finished with my reproduction, I came across an article by Richard Dorment, recently published in the Telegraph, UK, April 12.  Here’s the link.  Well worth reading!
            Richard Dorment lists many reasons why he believes the painting’s a fake.  The detail that stood out to me...  the same expert who used a fingerprint to prove a Jackson Pollock painting which later proved to be a fake,  was the same expert that found the da Vinci print.  I think too many people involved with this painting have financial interests to gain.  
            I finished my reproduction which has been purchased.  It will not go to auction but the art center will gain. 
I now consider My La Bella Principessa a “real” painting of a fake. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Pictorialist

Edge House
6" x 8"
Punta Gorda plein air painters met at Live Oaks Park in the morning while it was still cool.  I painted the house on the edge of the parking lot.  Was in a hurry to finish because I had to leave early.   A couple of tourists walked over and got very excited seeing me working.  
"You must be a pictorialist, aren't ya?" the man said.  "Why you must be a pictorialist.  I'm from Massachusetts and I use ta be a sign painter.  We had pictorialists there too and I use ta hang their pictures.  You're a pictorialist,  aren't ya?" he asked again, this time putting his sunburned face between my face and the painting.
"I guess I am," I nodded, trying to be polite.
"And my sister," whispered his wife, "she was a pictorialist, too."
"Really," I replied, cleaning my brush with a rag.
"How long have you been doing this?" the man asked.
"My whole life."
"Must take a lot of patience," he said.
"Oh, it does," I answered, trying to focus on my work.  They chatted like birds for several minutes more, until finally wandering off to look at the other pictorialists painting nearby.
Next time, remind me to wear my iPod earplugs even with the music off.  Sorry to sound cranky.  But then, on second thought, I never would have learned I was a "pictorialist."