Friday, December 25, 2009

Oil painting commission

I I finished this oil commission just in time for the holidays. It's 22"x28" and shows a beach on Cape Cod.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Long Island, Maine

4x4 oil on canvas. The inspiration for this painting was a photo that I took a few years ago. It was September and the goldenrod was in bloom all over the island. Working on this was a great way to escape a dreary winter day- even if only for a little while.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Doyle Conservation Center

This peaceful spot is only 5 minutes from my house. Until recently, I used to drive by every day and wish I could paint by the pond. The wish has come true! The estate now belongs to the Doyle Reservation. Last weekend Gerry and I joined a guided tree and shrub themed tour of the grounds, starting at the Conservation Center. To my delight, the tour included this piece of property. It is open to the public year round, seven days a week. There are a few buildings besides the large main house including a carriage house, Cape Cottage house and a quaint dog kennel.
The sketch was done on the opposite side of the bank from where I took the photo. Expect lots of artwork from this area!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving portrait

My niece, Fiona Mary. She is seven and a half, a blonde firecracker. Loves horses and stepdancing. Although a very good model when asked, she is not usually seen sitting still.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Acton Arboretum again

This time I painted the back of the house on the other side of the pond. To finish this painting, I turned it upside down which is a favorite trick of mine. It works wonders when having difficulties with composition or the balance of values.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

two guitar players

Not from the same band, though. The fellow with the fantastic dreadlocks is from an R&B band that I saw in Gloucester, and the cool dude with the glasses is from The Prarie Oysters who play in Holden. There's nothing funner than going to hear live music and sketching the musicians.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sholan Farms

There's still a little color around. I painted this in a field of very tall Queen Anne's Lace at Sholan Farms and I was bombarded by lady bugs the entire time. I felt bad when they flew into my palette. I tried to keep it tilted to prevent them from landing on it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Marblehead sketches

Marblehead is one of my favorite towns in Massachusetts, especially the area near the waterfront where the streets are delightfully narrow and crooked. These two pen and ink sketches were done from life.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Acton Arboretum

This little oil is only 4" square. It's been over a month since I've had time to go out painting. Three part time jobs are keeping life hectic for me! It was great to get out.

Two pieces of news since I've last posted:
1. My pastel "Emma" won second place in the PSNH national show.
2. I have rented wall space in a brand new gallery downtown Leominster. I'll have some pics after we hang our work.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Great Meadows

Yesterday I painted up in the fire tower in Concord, MA. I had a steady stream of visitors up there and everyone was so polite and interested in what I was doing. Most people asked permission to take a peek around the corner of my easel to look at my canvas. The picture didn't start working out until the last ten minutes or so and I was ashamed not to have something better to show them.
A few of the trees were already bright red or orange. This is my favorite time of year!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hurricane Bill

I just returned from Marblehead to see the effects of the hurricane. The water around the Castle Rock area (top photo) was completely white with foam- I've never seen it like that. The waves at Devereaux Beach (middle photo) were tossing rocks and seaweed everywhere, including the road. Both sites were busy with observers. I spotted a few surfers, but none were in the water.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rocky Neck sunset

Last evening's view of Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck. I tried to paint in all the little rocks on the shore but it looked too busy. After a short break, the tide had come in quite a bit and all the rocks were covered. Some pretty little ripples were happening so I repainted the bottom half. The light was changing so rapidly! I need to go back to this area and do a night painting- it's beautiful. I saw a band at the MadFish Grille after it got dark.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fogland Beach

I spent almost the entire weekend in Tiverton, RI. escaping the heat. It's a great place for kayaking, painting, swimming and hiking. I did a little of each. Gerry and I fell in love with the area yesterday and decided that we would head back there today. This scene is looking northwest from the beach.
We stopped at a farm stand and the next time I am in the area, I would like to try and get the nerve up to ask if I can paint there. There's a dirt road that leads towards the water and I suspect a great view at the end of it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Halibut Point

After departing Thatcher Island, I still had some energy left and thought I should take advantage of being on Cape Ann. I ended up at Halibut Point. The park was quite busy and there were even a few other artists at work. The sky was a little more threatening by this time with a band of dark grey clouds, but still no rain.
I find this view of the large quarry with the ocean behind it fascinating every time I see it.

Thatcher Island

Yesterday I participated in the Thatcher Island paint out. I only heard about it on Sat. from an artist friend of a friend but luckily there was a cancellation and I was able to take the last seat on the boat. I've seen this island only from my kayak and it was delightful to spend five hours exploring it. In between paintings, I climbed one of the lighthouses and was enthralled at the dramatic view.
We were all amazed at the amount of gull activity on the island. The screeching was non-stop! I tried not to disturb them, as the parents are busy tending their young. While painting the waves, there was a major gull dispute going on, but I couldn't follow it. It was certainly distracting.
For this paint out, there is usually a show and sale afterwards, but this year there was no venue for it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Salem Willows

After work mon. and tues. it was too hot to drive home (my car has no air conditioning) so I painted for a few hours in Salem Willows to wait out the heat and traffic. I worked on the same painting both days and ended only liking the right side. I am the crop queen! It can take me forever to discover what aspect of a scene that I am really interested in so I usually have several false starts and I still end up cropping.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peabody Essex Museum

Yesterday I was working in Salem again. My friends Jim and Karen joined me for a wander around the city. We had coffee, listened to the street musicians (I did some pen & inks of a cello player. Jim suggested that I throw them into the musician's case with some cash. They weren't very good, but I did it anyway just for fun). Afterwards, we went into the Peabody Essex Museum. It's only a 10 min. walk from work, but I have only been there once. The Golden Age of Dutch Seascapes exhibit was wonderful.
The paintings (most of them on panel) are powerful, but very delicate and fine. My favorites were by Simon de Vleiger: Ships becalmed on a rocky coast and A Dutch ferry boat before a breeze. By Willem van de Velde, I also enjoyed A Kaag coming ashore.

I only had an ink pen with me so I just did one quick sketch during our visit. Usually only pencils are allowed and I didn't want to get reprimanded.

A conservator was there working and answering questions. She gave me advice not to use Damar varnish when mixing a painting medium and cautioned against mixing mediums at all with oils. She suggested that I take a card so that I can give her a call when I have questions. I have many more.
Another exhibit at the museum is Trash Menagerie. There was a huge butterfly made of wire, piano keys, metal, broken china, small plastic toys, etc. It was stunning! In two weeks I will be teaching a week of nature art camp for MassAudubon, and this exhibit provided me with many ideas. I had better start collecting some trash.
One of the things that I love best about living in Massachusetts is the museums. There are at least two more exhibits that I want to make sure I see this summer, one at the MFA in Boston, and the other in Williamstown.
Visiting an art museum always give me mixed emotions- on one hand, they make me feel as if I should throw away my brushes and give up. On the other hand, they are certainly very inspiring and I usually recover a few days later with higher goals.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


After working in Salem on monday, I decided to drive over to Marblehead neck to take some photos of the lighthouse, since I am working on an etching of it and need further details. This was painted near the lighthouse, in Chandler Hovey Park. The large building is called Abbot Hall, and is the town hall. Everytime a boat went by, it left a trail of light reflections, which looked like liquid gold. I would love to be able to achieve this effect in my paintings.

Friday, June 26, 2009


This is the same site as the May 2 painting- The mill building. This view is just a little to the right of that. I love painting to the sound of rushing water.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nashua River

I have kayaked the Oxbow section of the river many times but have never painted it. This is a great spot to look for beaver, Baltimore Orioles, Eastern Kingbird,muskrat, blue heron, and deer. I even saw a ribbon snake swimming past my kayak a few years ago.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

R.I.P. Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily
A.K.A. Lilybug, Miss Lily, Lil-lil
Nemesis of my mom, the neighborhood cats
And most people.
Skilled and dedicated ambusher of her owners, the electrician
And Kayla the poodle.
Mouser, chipmunker
Occasional bug-eater.
Faithful naptime companion
She is hugely missed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The original has a bit more color than what shows here, and is pastel on gray-green La Carte paper. Will is my nephew. I worked from a photo that I took during Easter brunch at my in-law's. Due to lack of space, Will was stuck at the kids' table.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Charles River

Yesterday my husband and I took his father's pontoon boat out onto the river. He fished- I painted. We didn't have an anchor so every few minutes we would start drifting away. Luckily I have a very patient husband who automatically adjusted the position of the boat.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mill building

This old building is in Fitchburg on rt. 2a. and I painted it on friday with a friend. There is a trail that winds all the way around the building and it's very eeerie on the other side by the woods. I don't think I'll be painting back there. I'd like to get a view of the entire chimney the next time I visit the site. A mill series is something I would be interested in working on this summer.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Gove Farm

This is the orchard across the street from the farm stand which is located in Leominster. The peach trees are in bloom and I meant to paint the ones that were in the foreground in this scene, but after I painted the background with the barn, I found that I didn't want to clutter it up.
I'll just have to go back and do another painting!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Montachusett Area Art Exhibit

Two pastels that I entered into the show won two ribbons each. "Carolyn's Window" won First place in the advanced pastel category, and also best of show. "Emma" won Founder's Award and People's Choice Award.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This was painted at Marblehead Harbor right across from Devereux Beach. There is a boat ramp there and a very small beach. Storm clouds were on their way in, and the wind was really whipping up- blowing sand in everything. I was also dismayed to find that, after getting all settled, I had forgotten my paintbrushes! I was too stubborn to give up though- I ransacked my work bag for the fan brush and watercolor brushes that I use for brushing away granite dust, and to paint etchings that are to be in color. While setting up, I spooked a beautiful young garter snake in the tall grasses. It wasn't in a hurry but I resisted the urge to pick it up. I have been musked before.
This painting really has a lot of sand on it from the wind. I once heard an artist say that he dropped his oil painting face down on the sand, and someone told him to place it in a basin of water. Supposedly this method will allow sand will float off. He said it sort of worked.

Salem Willows

I work in Salem, MA and I often stop at a park about 10 minutes away, sometimes bringing sketching or painting materials. I worked on this for about an hour and then realized I was beginning to get very chilly and the clouds were moving in. It's almost always windy at this park. One of the reasons that this is one of my favorites spots is that many islands are visible including Great Misery, Little Misery, and Baker's Island. Another incentive is the very good popcorn and ice cream available there. A few years ago I took a ferry to the Misery islands- they are very beautiful.
I learned a few things during this short painting session:
Don't stop after the first thumbnail sketch no matter how great you think it is. Do at least two more and you'll probably find a better composition.
It is pretty easy to mix up a decent yellow ochre. I forgot my tube.
Pre-mix your palette, there are less chances to muddy up the painting.
Use a small palette knife to pre-mix colors- it saves on paintbrush wear and tear, and no need to use any solvent.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A bit of Graham Greene

I am in a Graham Greene phase again. Read a collection of letters and liked this:

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation.

Something I have often wondered myself.
I was agreeably surprised to find that, like myself, he disapproved of the Shirley Temple franchise, so much as to go public about it for which he was vilified. I, too, have never been charmed by her movies or her beauty pageant outfits. I just thought it meant I must be a bad or insensitive person in some way. Now I feel justified!

And then on to Haiti and the Tontons Macoute. Graham was despised by the dictator"Papa Doc" for having written The Comedians; a fact that delighted him.

My favorite passage:

Next day I sat in a deck-chair on the sheltered starboard side and let myself roll languidly in and out of the sun with the motions of the mauve-green sea. I tried to read a novel, but the heavy foreseeable progress of its characters down the uninteresting corridors of power made me drowsy, and when the book fell upon the deck, I did not bother to retrieve it. My eyes opened only when the traveller in pharmaceutical products passed by; he clung to the rail with two hands and seemed to climb along it as though it were a ladder. He was panting heavily and he had an expression of desperate purpose as though he knew to what the climb led and knew that it was worth his effort, but knew too that he would never have the strength to reach the end. Again I drowsed and found myself alone in a blacked-out room and someone touched me with a cold hand. I woke and it was Mr. Fernandez who had, I suppose, been surprised by the steep roll of the boat and had steadied himself against me. I had the impression of a shower of gold dropping from a black sky as his spectacles caught the fitful sun.

My brother, who paints abstracts, may perhaps be interested in illustrating this scene, if I ask him. I may give it a try myself.
I have the entire week off from one of my jobs, so I have some extra time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

foil wrapped chocolate egg

Oil on masonite 4x5. I had to go out and purchase a special green paint for the foil wrapper. I was torn between emerald and viridian but chose the latter. Placing the egg on white paper resulted in some colorful reflections.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


The leader of the Brazilan Drum Parade. I was photographing various scenes at the Boston JazzFest a few years ago when I spotted this fellow with a great smile and hat, so I followed him around for awhile with my camera. The pastel painting is on a full sheet of watercolor paper and was purchased by a friend who was at the event with me. Yes, my friend has a brick wall in his condo- it's very cool.

Ink well

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NH PleinAir Exhibit

Here are two of the five pieces that I submitted for the NH PleinAire: On the Scene exhibit. The show will run from April 2-May 30 at the Pantano Gallery in the Shapiro Library Southern NH University, Manchester, NH. Aproximately 35 paintings will be on exhibit.
The sunflowers were painted at a farm stand in Harvard, MA and the other is Plum Island from the top of the observation tower (and boy, was it windy up there!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yellow mum

6x8 oil on canvas. The lights are mostly rubbed out with a brush or cloth. Only four more days until it's officially spring! Flowers are tricky- at least for me. The bottle was the easy part.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

two charcoal studies

I drove over to Haverill this morning for a figure and still life set up with the Bradford Artists. The figure drawing is charcoal on 18x24 Rives' off white paper and the still life is charcoal on 8x10 MiTeints white pastel paper. It's so nice to get together with a group of artists and forget about the economy and real life in general for a couple of hours. Even with the frustration and difficulty of the work, it's very calming at the same time. Two artists commented that they were amused to see me going back and forth from one subject to another. One of them gave me a nickname: Speedy. Whenever the model took a break, I hurried over to the still life. When the model resumed his pose, I ran back to my easel. There was some wonderful work being done in this group, as usual.
After lunch I continued up the highway into Newburyport to see if the ice floes were floating down the river yet, but no luck. I hope I don't miss them again this year.

Monday, March 9, 2009


This 6"x6" oil painting has been stolen from my exhibit at the Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Groton, MA. I know I'll never see it again but I thought I may as well alert my readers. I took my smaller works down, and another artist has removed all of her works. It's a shame that an incident such as this spoils the enjoyment for others.

Friday, March 6, 2009


The main challenge here was to paint the part of the apple in shadow while retaining the round shape. I like this painting, but I would like more contrast in the apple. After the paint dries, I am going to try adding a green glaze on the shadow side. I did learn during this painting to add the complementary color instead of merely using a darker red to indicate the apple in shadow.

I used small swatches of color on paper to match to the actual objects and that was a huge help. It's a technique that I can use outdoors as well. A color isolator (i.e. a piece of cardboard with a 1.5" hole in it) is an aid that I need to start using regularly. Sometimes it can be tricky to decide what color something is when there is so much going on in the scene- especially the influence of other colors.
I read that while painting en plein air, Corot was in the habit of throwing a black cloth and another of white right on the ground before him and to do the same farther away. The cloths helped him to judge values.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I painted an onion for my painting session with the Bradford artists but I wasn't happy with it so I started over at home. I like this one much better. I am about to begin two paintings of an apple: one using the grisaille technique and the other wet on wet painted onto a bright yellow background.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gallery Dreams

I just discovered a website which will place any image in a virtual museum gallery This is an almost-finished pastel still life for the PSNH members' show. I should really start to think about completing it. The actual painting is only 19"x20"

Thursday, February 19, 2009


This cheery little radish was such a joy to paint. After a very hectic week with not much time for my art, it was sublime to sit down in my studio and know that I could spend all day on this if I wanted to. The part that gave me the most trouble was the very fine root. I painted it twice, then finally substituted the radish to complete that part of the painting. It still took two more tries but had fun all the while because I find the little threads winding around it fascinating.