Jun 27, 2012


18 x 24" original oil painting

I had a lot of friends helping me with title ideas. Some of my favorites were Carnival and Lollipop. I am going to save Carnival for one that is much bigger and I'm going to save Lollipop for one with lit stems showing. My sister also suggested Blush and Bashful, a nod to one of my favorite movies of all time (Steel Magnolias). It will get used. I love it. I am saving Blush and Bashful for a painting with some play in the blossoms between open and closed petals, and of course, pink. Brilliant! 

The day I shot this photograph I was at the Children's Discovery Gardens next to the Thanksgiving Point's main gardens. I waited for about half an hour on a bench under a tree for the sun to come out. I wasn't leaving until I had a shot of this group of flowers in the sunlight. While waiting on the bench under a tree, something happened that was a total first in my life, and hopefully a last! A bird in a branch above me totally tagged me and it landed smack down the front of my face, in my sunglasses, down my cheek. Nasty. I was the only one there. I looked around like "Did you see that? Help me!" but no one was there. Ew. It still gives me the shivers to think about. I was close to a restroom and after washing my face and sunglasses, I decided to wait for the sun to come out on the grass, not under a tree. 

It's time to buy more translucent magenta. This color is unstoppable. (It is also uber expensive.) If you are mixing any kind of magenta and it's too brown or too blue, you need this color. I scraped my palette knife into the tube to get what I needed for this painting. I wish Utrecht sold it, but I will have to order it online through Dick Blick. I hate making orders for one thing. I spend as much on shipping as I do the product. Maybe I can sell a painting to pay for this tube of paint plus shipping. ;)

I've said this before, but I love my palettes when I finish a painting. I can look at a pile of colors and remember where on the painting I was working when I mixed them. 

This painting just glows. It's like there's light coming from behind the painting, but there's not. It's just paint. This is one thing I love about being a painter: I can take a flat surface and transform it into a view of something three-dimensional and full of light, and all with a pile of paint and some brushes. It's magic. 

Here is a close-up of the bottom corner. Off the top of my head, the colors I used in these tulips are (in no particular order): cadmium yellow medium, yellow ochre, hansa yellow orange, titanium white, mars black, brilliant green, ultramarine blue, cadmium green, radiant lemon yellow, quinacridone red, translucent magenta, napthol red, radiant turqouise, and I think that's it. I spend as much time mixing my paint as I do applying the paint to the panel, but I wouldn't have it any other way because I want to be able to paint with the colors I see, and custom mixing is the only way I can do that.

Jun 25, 2012

This is the little gem on my easel right now. There are more purples in this painting than I normally get to use. I love the transparent and layered composition. When the painting is in-progress it feels very unbalanced due to the large blank areas, but trust me, it's going to be awesome. Don't you love my palette? I love a full palette. It's satisfying in the same way as seeing a pile of scraps when you've been cutting out paper or fabric...it's evidence that a lot of work has been going on. Sometimes I wish I could save my palettes and display them with the finished paintings at shows. I think it would be cool. I just haven't figured out how to actually do it and have it look good.
It's been hot. One hundred degrees outside hot. My raspberries are growing like champs though so everyday I graze like a bear out in my berry patch.
I got a new vinyl sticker for my car.  I bought it on eBay and it's of a volleyball. It's only a few inches across and it's so cute. A year or so ago I decided I wanted a vanity license plate. State-issued license plates are so boring. My license plate says ARTGIRL and it makes me so happy. And last but not least I have a New York license plate that my sister bought for me at some rock and roll store that says I LOVE U2 and it is displayed in the car's rear window. U2 is my favorite band and has been since 1993 (thanks to older sisters with great music collections).  Now everybody who is tailing me on the roads will see that not only do I play volleyball, but I am an artist that loves U2. I have never really gotten past the "decorate your locker in junior-high" stage when it comes to my car. Who knows what I'll plaster it with next... It does, however, make it easier to find in parking lots. 

Jun 20, 2012

Life Lessons from the Garden

My garden peas are holding on tightly as they grow and climb.

I am not very good at handling stress. I compare my weaknesses to others' strengths and I am very hard on myself. I am not very patient with myself either. I used to think I was really good at handling stress. Either my stresses are getting heavier, or I am getting weaker, but I hope it's not that I'm getting weaker. I am not in the phase of life I used to be in, say college, when you had a 4-year plan mapped out and student loans to make the trip possible. I am now in that thirty-something phase where there is no 4-year plan and there are no student loans. I'm a grown-up now and I need to have it all figured out, right? Well, I know some things that I definitely want: I want a car with power locks and power windows and I want a house with a garage and dishwasher to name a few at the top of my list. I really, really want to be a successful painter. Success is a funny word. There are many definitions. I guess to some I am successful, to others maybe not so much. But I also really want a family. It hasn't been in the cards for me so far in life so I have made with my life what I can: paintings. That is how I create. I dearly love to paint. I love it more this year than I did last year, and so on. Some days are just harder than others.

I have a garden in my backyard that does a pretty good job depending on the year. I plant corns, squashes, cucumbers, peppers, beets, carrots, onions, and potatoes, but my favorite are the peas. I love fresh peas from the garden. Last night I picked a gigantic bowl of peas and shelled them all while watching an old Audrey Hepburn movie. I ended up with six cups of peas. They are all now all blanched and vacuum sealed...safely tucked away in my freezer next to the others I've put up already. I can enjoy the taste of fresh garden peas for the next 12 months.

A few days ago I was working in the garden instead of working on a painting. I was picking peas. I have always loved how their curly tendrils grab the twine as the plant climbs. I decided to try and get a good shot of this so I went inside and came back out with my camera. I took many photos but none showed the depth I was looking for. Then I got the one I wanted. I snapped the photo at the top of this post and I love it; I want to make a large print of it to hang on my wall and be reminded of the lesson I learned that morning while being out in the garden. That lesson is this: to get through life, you have to have something to hold on to that is stronger than you are. Look at that picture I took, and look how tightly those little plants are holding on. Sure the peas themselves are amazing: an entire plant grew from a tiny seed and it will make food for me to eat, but without something to hold on to while they grow, they can't support themselves and they fall down to the ground. I know I need to get through this un-mapped and confusing phase of my life, and thanks to my garden, I now have a better idea of how to do just that. I will just hold on to something that is stronger than me. While I am doing that, I will continue to paint and find joy and fulfillment in that creative process. I am so glad I can paint and that I can share my paintings with others.

Jun 14, 2012

Cinderella II

35 x 52" original oil

I finished this commission late last night. It is for a client who saw the original Cinderella at an art show in which it had already sold. They asked if I could paint it again but larger which I was of course happy to do. I had my husband build a custom panel that next week and then I began the prep work of gesso and hanging wire and getting the picture drawn. Painting began soon after and about a month later it is now finished. There were days where I'd work on it for hours and days where I'd work on it for less, just depending on how hard an area was or what colors I had to mix. I bought a bag of those Wint-O-Green Lifesavers and put it on my painting table so I had a steady source to eat. I always know how hard a painting is by how much gum I chew or mints I go through. I'm kind of an animal that way. Hopefully they don't link Lifesaver mints to cancer some day, or I'm a goner. 
I went to Thanksgiving Point Gardens a week or so ago just to see how different it looks when it's not tulip season. It was really strange to walk through and not see any tulips. The grounds were pretty quiet. I wanted to see poppies but I was too late. Everything is blooming so early this year. There were hardly any hollyhocks as well, but the roses were pretty. It is always a treat to walk around there and get away from busy streets and city noise. The landscaping crew does a top-notch job. It's a crash back to reality to return home to my yard that doesn't even compare. Speaking of, I really need to weed today...my poor garden is getting taken over. I think I will take a couple of days now to catch up in my yard and relax by the pool with a good book. I have some great paintings waiting in the wings, so keep checking this blog to be the first to see them! Happy Summer. 

Jun 1, 2012


14 x 21" original oil

Summertime is a painting full of bright colors and great shapes. Usually I pre-mix the colors I will need in a painting, but on this one I didn't. I mixed with the brush right on the painting. I may also have eaten an entire bag of Lifesavers Wint-O-Green mints while painting Summertime. I love those things. 
I love the depth in this piece with the lit areas behind the stems towards the top. The hardest two flowers were the orange and red-orange ones in the very front. The light on them is very subtle. The red-orange flower in the bottom right corner has petals leaning so that light comes at them three ways: from the back, side and from the front. Those are the hardest because it takes extra mixing and a bit of determination to paint it as I see it instead of just using the colors I have on the palette already. I used a lot of quinacridone red in this painting. That color is a superstar. 

This is a detail of my very favorite area. My eye lands here every time. Strong front-to-back layering, strong edges, strong contrast. 

I took a trip to my Salt Lake gallery, Alpine Art, today. I've been doing business with Alpine Art for a few years but I have never posted about them on my art blog, so here are a few things about them: 

This is me at Alpine Art with Susan and Apryll. Susan and Apryll do so much for all of the artists and for the Salt Lake City art scene. Buttercup, my yellow lab, is in the picture behind me. She loves the gallery. Alpine Art is very dog-friendly and they are the only place one can buy my little 6x6" oil paintings of Buttercup. Click here to see them. Alpine Art has a show every June that benefits No More Homeless Pets and my dog paintings will be available for purchase at that event. Be sure to stop by Alpine Art for that opening on June 15th.

I love the area of Salt Lake that Alpine Art is in. They are up near the Avenues on South Temple in a huge historic building. Giant sycamores line the streets. You would never guess you're in a desert. 
Interestingly enough, on my first trip to Alpine Art to deliver some artwork I was surprised to see that it was two doors down from The Bride's Shop. That is where I bought my wedding dress! 
And if you are a felter, Black Sheep Wool Co., next door to Alpine Art, has great wool and supplies. I love their logo. 

Mmmm. And this store is on the other side of Alpine Art. Mrs. Backer's Pastry Shop, since 1941. I may or may not have gone inside to get something for the freeway drive home...