Saturday, February 01, 2014

Topiary Cats- The Cloud Series

All are 9x12 oil on panel

On the Hill

Space Clouds



Reflecting Pool

New Growth

Moon Clouds

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Topiary Still Life

Here's a cyan magenta and lemon yellow still life.

8x10 on canvas panel.

The egg really was green. I have been safekeeping it since last April (insides blown out) to paint a still life, and in the middle of this painting my cat sat on the egg and broke it.  I had to use a replacement egg.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snowdrops Illumination

We are having a wonderful snowstorm tonight. The plant parade project is snowdrops over at WetCanvas, so I thought I should contribute this month in honor of the snow.  The text is a Hildegard von Bingen verse honoring the Virgin Mary.  I chose it because according to my medieval flower book, snowdrops are associated with her.

The design inspiration was the Prayer Book of Michele de Bezzoso, but the motif is my own creation..

9x12 acrylic, ink, and gold leaf paint on paper

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Illuminated Page

I have been cleaning out my studio and I came across this piece i started sometime last year. Instead of finishing up my studio, I am now finishing a couple of old paintings. 

The text is from a Hildegard von Bingen verse.

Acrylic, ink and gold leaf paint on paper. 9x12

Sunday, January 05, 2014


Here is a quick 1 hour sketch of Margaret, same three color challenge as the landscape.  :)

8x10 oil on canvas panel

Primary Landscape Sketch

Here is a little landscape I did in an hour this morning.  The challenge was to just use a limited palette of three colors plus white.  I used quinacridone red, cadmium yellow light, and pthalo blue.

8x10 oil on canvas panel

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Goodbye Drawing Table

Goodbye drawing table that I have been using since high school!  I have dragged every last bit of usefulness out of you.  Since I can't draw on you anymore because you long ago stopped staying stable at an angle, I have been using you as a taboret to keep my brushes and paints next to the easel.  Now, your definite easing into a downward slope is making me excessively nervous.  My daily prayer has been one of thanks that my paints and brushes amd solvent jar did not suddenly slide off you in the middle of the night.  Or the middle of the day for that matter.

So, it is with fond farewell that I bid you goodbye.

Number of cats that interfered with the moving of the table: 3

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Self Portrait- Five of Cups

I started this in September and finally finished it today!

12x16 oil on panel

Monday, December 30, 2013

It's that time again... set New Years intentions.  I hope 2014 will be better than 2013 which just wasn't all that great.

This year I met all my intentions: I drank a whole lot of tea, meditated quite a lot, and met my unofficial goal of 1 studio painting per month.  I have to date finished 16 studio paintings this year, not counting plein air.  Not all those paintings have been posted because they are part of a series.

So here are my 2014 intentions:
1. Drink a lot of tea
2. Finish 1 studio painting per month (total 12 complete)
    -including 1 master copy (Memling)
3. Finish Through the Tarot in 78 days
4. Fast 2 days a week
5. Art reading: Color by Betty Edwards

Friday, December 27, 2013

This Year's Portrait Swap

Here is the lovely Heather from Wales.  9x12 oil on panel

I have been on vacation this week.  I love vacation.  This week i finished four paintings and got a lot of work done on 5 more.  I'm starting a 6th today.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sketch from Amtrak train

Here is a little ipad sketch done with Inspire Pro.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Topiary Cats

Here are the first 7 paintings from a series I have been working on since April or so.

They are all 8x10 oil on panel.

First Encounter




Plugged In

The Sundial


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Plein Air

Today was an absolutely perfect day to go out and paint.  I went up to the Cloisters to see the unicorn show (amazing!!) and paint.

2 hours 9x12 oil on panel

Thursday, August 01, 2013

It's Pigeon Risk Time again

You don't have to go through the trials of August.

Please join me in the 7th annual Pigeon Risk Time, because August just needs to GO AWAY.

Happy Pigeon Risk Time, may it be completely boring and uneventful.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Central Park Plein Air

Here is a painting from Central Park.   Not my best, but I brought my daughter out painting with me and was teaching her.   She did her first ever oil painting/first ever plein air painting.  Hers came out better than mine.

8x10 oil pn panel

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Second-Weirdest Plein Air

Since I don't feel like re-writing this story again I'm just going to repost what I wrote over on WetCanvas:

Today I went on my annual painting pilgrimage to the rose garden at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Because I really needed some nice painting-in-nature-solitude today, I decided not to paint in the rose garden- there were too many people.

After searching around for a bit, I found a lovely perfect shady tree to stand under, with a lovely composition to paint. And no people or school groups around. I'm sorry if that sounds really grumpy and antisocial but outdoor solitude is so hard to come by, sometimes I don't mind people around but I wanted to be alone today.

Here is a picture of the view:

 Isn't it nice? Aren't those flower bushes pretty?

I started setting up my gear. FIVE MINUTES after I began setting up, a lady with a suitcase and folding chair came over and settled down. I was annoyed. Then I thought "Well, maybe she is another painter too." I grudgingly admitted it was a lovely painting spot so I could understand why she would want to paint there. And I decided that even though it was annoying, another painter around was ok.

Oh, but she was NOT another painter after all.....

She sat herself down under my tree with her back to me and proceeded to open her suitcase which was full of....corn. She was shucking corn. She came to sit under my tree to shuck corn. In the middle of Brooklyn.

This stuff only happens to me.

Well, I moved. I can't paint under such irritating circumstances. And I'm sorry to be such a grump but WHO DOES THAT? WHY did she have to come over to my spot?

Anyhow, I painted this tree. 6x8 oil on panel, about an hour and a half.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Here is what I did today:
  • Stayed up last nite until midnight painting my kitchen.
  • Woke up at 6:30
  • Clipped my cat's claws
  • Got Daya to the bus stop on time
  • Went to the store for the cleaning supplies I forgot to get yesterday
  • Continued painting my kitchen
  • My friend came over and kept me company
  • I was almost finished painting, and I ran out of paint
  • Went to Home Depot (again)
  • Went to Trader Joe's 
  • Went home, continued painting
  • Went out to lunch
  • Went to the post office
  • Went to Bed Bath and Beyond (again)
  • Went to Costco
  • Went home to get my debit card because they don't take credit cards at Costco
  • Went back to Costco
  • Went back home and put my frozen stuff away
  • Went to get Daya from afterschool
  • Went to the ballet studio for ballet picture night
  • Went home, made Daya dinner
  • Continued to paint the kitchen, all done now except the window sill
  • Took a shower
  • Hung new curtains
  • Put Daya to bed
  • Wrote this blog post.
I am going to go crash. Tomorrow I will be at work, which will be a blessed relief from my day off!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Today I went to the baked potato truck for lunch.  The guy who runs makes a pretty good baked potato  but...he's weird and inappropriate.  My friend ordered her potato, but when I ordered mine he gave me the option for a sweet potato.  Which sounded pretty good until he said sweet potatoes are like female Viagra.  That's just so skeevy I have to share it with everyone.

Actually the sweet potato with spinach and cottage cheeze still does sound good,  I have to weigh that against dealing with the skeevy Russian dude...hmmm.

It really is a pretty good potato.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


This painting is a wedding present for my friend/co-worker who is getting married.  She is obsessed with her dog.  I have been working on it for about a month, it took a lot of planning.  The background is a pattern from Victorian wallpaper.  I hope my friend likes it!

I really like Winsor Newton Renaissance Gold paint. It has a lovely sheen.

This painting is difficult to photograph well, unfortunately it's overcast today. I may have to try again with sunlight.

12x16 oil on panel

Thursday, January 03, 2013

New Year Again

It's 2013.  How in the hell did that happen?  Last year was not a very good year.  I hope this one picks up a bit.


1. Drink a lot of tea.
2. Paint more than I did last year.
3. Meditate more often.

Also, I ended up with another cat about a month ago and I still haven't announced it properly.

And if you emailed me and I haven't written back yet I'm really sorry I'm just terribly behind on everything.

Happy Painting!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fwingle Zibs!!

(I did not make this video someone named ellenprutske did. :) ) My friend and I are trying to find the Simlish lyrics because this is just SO. GOOD. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Best Holiday Greetings

Natural Pigments just sent out the best ever holiday email.  It's so good I have to re-post it here.

I'm dreaming of a Lead White Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the highlights glisten,
And the paintings hasten
To dry in time for the art show.
I'm dreaming of a lead white Christmas
With every portrait that I paint
May your paint be stringy and bright
And may all your Christmases be lead white.

May your Holidays and New Year be flaky lead white! guess that doesn't sound so great to most people but a lot of oil painters would appreciate it!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Turtle Pond

 Turtle Pond 6x8 oil on panel, about an hour and a half

I was standing on the dock behind Belvedere Castle. I really wanted to paint the castle, as a week ago I got all set up then the rain started- way earlier than the hourly forecast said it would-  of course I didn't have my umbrella. I would have stayed except the paint wouldn't adhere to my panel, I was so mad. So last Friday I went back to the same spot but the angle of the sun made the castle I painted Turtle Pond instead.

I think I dropped something in the pond by accident but I'm not sure what...I thought it was one of my solvent jar lids- the ones that Ben Haggett packs with his boxes...turns out it wasn't, thankfully- whatever it was sank so fast I couldn't tell what it was....nothing seems to be missing so hopefully it was just an old crusty oil paint-laden paper towel.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown CT

What can I possibly say about what happened in Newtown today?  It is just beyond inhuman and unimaginable.

Newtown CT is my hometown, I haven't been there for years but even so it is definitely one of my most favorite places on the planet. It is a wonderful beautiful peaceful pre-Revolutionary war New England town. Nothing ever happens there, and I am in such shock and grief about what happened today. Every time I hear about one of these tragic shootings I am sad but today I am really grieving, it's hit a very personal nerve. Especially since I have a daughter in second grade.  It's too close to home because, well, it is home. Newtown doesn't deserve to go down in history for something so infamous and offensive to humanity.

I just can't stop thinking about all those families who lost children.

Sunday, December 09, 2012


Here is my portrait swap for this year. This is Clive, he lives in New Zealand.

9x12 pastel on panel

Friday, November 30, 2012

painting and cat

Carey says my blog is too sad and maybe she is right. But I am very sad so it is fitting.

I went out painting today in central park, up at the pool around 103rd street, away from all the tourists.  Here is a little 6x8 I did in just over an hour.

The more I paint the more I realize that painting is really a test of how good one's focus is. I am glad I painted small because I only had about an hour of good focus in me today.

I forgot my rigger and my trees at still a little too fat (WHEN will I get over that) but for an hour's work I'm ok with the painting.

The Pool 6x8 oil on panel

I am still ridiculously sad about my cat.  I still look down and expect to see a kitty, I have to remind myself I can't go and lug the cat to sit or sleep with me.  I have to stop myself from calling out hello to the cat when I get home. It's too empty here.

So last weekend I started filling out applications to the cat rescues to get pre-approved so I can have a new hope cat pulled from the NYC Urgent Cats kill list. I sent my application to Anjellicle Cat rescue, and filled out the NYC Urgent Cats Pre-screener which is sent out to many rescues.  A rescue, K9Kastle, contacted me immediately. I applied with them and was approved. I told them I was looking for a long-haired tortie, young, preferably between 1 and 3 years old who would be ok as a single cat. And...they have one!

I wasn't expecting to find a cat so soon. I go to see her on Sunday, and I'm 99% sure I will take her home.

It's bittersweet- I am so sad about Sigynn and I miss her so badly, but I am really excited to have found another kitty. I hope that having a cat around will lessen the sense of loss- I will miss Sigynn for a long time but it really will be wonderful to have a kitty around again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Goodbye Umber

I said goodbye to Umber today.  But at least he's still alive. Since Ali died, Umber has been really lonely.  My friend Branwen's rat, Mr. Cocoa, died a couple of weeks ago and his snuggle-buddy, Sunshine is all alone and very lonely. Rats are like people in that they require companionship of their own kind.  So Umber moved in with his girlfriend in New Jersey.

Umber was the second-coolest rat I ever had.  He was by far the friendliest, most social rat I ever knew.  He was also immune to stress, including the time he fell into my daughter's bath.  He liked to go out and participated in two medieval faires, trick or treating, trips to the playground, Ali's vet visits, and visits to my friend's home.  He is a great traveling rat and loves everyone pretty much instantly, especially if they scratch his head.

Here is Umber winning a cheese-stick war with Branwen.

I have no pets now.  It's really weird and my apartment feels oddly empty.  I can't believe I lost all of my pets in a single year.

Umber will be missed terribly but I know it ws the right decision and the best thing for him.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What's More Important?

...My life and safety or your photo with the naked cowboy?

Last night I was crossing 7th ave and 46th street. there is a little narrow island in the middle of 7th ave which is a very busy street. I got stuck there with a huge gaggle of tourists and the Naked Cowboy. The tourists wanted to take a picture with the Naked Cowboy, so they were trying to get me to move....INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC. Think speeding buses and trucks.

If you are a tourist in NYC (or anywhere) please do not ask anyone to endanger their safety so you can get a photo with a half naked man who will still be there when the light changes.

He's not worth killing someone for

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goodbye Sigynn

My beautiful, wonderful, evil, lovable, self-important, furry purry cat is gone, it will be one week tomorrow and I am still a wreck. Sigynn was with me for almost 15 years.

199?? - November 8th 2012

Also known as:
Queen of Fur

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Goodbye Alizarin

8 June 2010- 29 September 2012

My rat Alizarin passed on tonight. She was really old.  I had a feeling earlier today that she was dying...she was acting slow (although still eating!) and she felt colder than usual.  Ali couldn't have had a better passing...she went peacefully, painlessly, at home in her hammock with her friend there to soothe her, after a really long and happy life.  I will miss her; she was my special Siamese Beauty Queen.  I had always wanted a Siamese rat, and I adopted her a couple of years ago at Ratfest.

Ali was extremely hyper, addicted to her wheel and chocolate, she was the only rat that bit me more than once, deliberately, although that stopped when she settled in and got comfy in her forever home.

I hope she is there at the Rainbow Bridge with Quinacridone who passed on in March.

Now Umber is all alone, poor guy. :(

Here is a picture of Ali being lazy in her hammock.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pigeon Risk Time Starts at Midnight!

I should have started PRT a month early this year.  Next year I probably will.

Monday, July 09, 2012

In the Cemetery

Well, I finally found a place where I can paint in peace and quiet- the local cemetery! I will never know why I didn't think of this sooner.

I did 2 paintings in 3 1/2 hours.

6x8 oil on panel
After I finished this painting I went to check out the grave up close, it was specially marked as someone from the civil war!

8x10 oil on panel
This angel marks the grave site of four children- with the rest of the family surrounding. The children were between the ages of 9 months to 4 years, from the 1870s and 1880s.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Oasis 1

I started this little sketch while waiting for ballet class to be over, and decided to finish it.  It's just a little practice so I can get used to Inspire Pro on my iPad.

Inspire Pro and Sensu Brush