"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ending the Year with a Challenge!

What better way than to spent the last day of 2014 painting portraits from life at the Reno Portrait Society - and what a challenging experience it was! We had 3 models - yes, three! - all posing together as a family portrait. This is the first time I have done a portrait of more than one person in a three hour sitting. Whew - it was so intense that at the end of the session I felt like I had run a marathon at top speed! I did not finish but this is what I achieved in the time allotted. I am pleased with all three likenesses and also feel that I was able to catch in paint something more than just images. Dad, Mr. William Shonnard is on the left with 17 year old son Warren in the foreground and  beautiful, sweet Genelle with her floppy gray hat in the back.

Shonnard Family / oil on canvas panel / 16 x 20
 Still in progress on my easel as 2014 draws to a close is a white polo pony - happy with it so far!
Untitled as of yet / 24 x 18 /  oil on linen panel
Wishing everyone a very joyful, creative  and fulfilling 2015!! 


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!

Wishing you a Magically Merry Christmas 
and a Happily Wondrous New Year!

And I want to thank everyone who has followed my blog and taken the time to write their thoughts and comments to me this past year. I appreciate the great support I receive from everyone and the close friendships made and nurtured online always amaze me. In thinking back, I find that I have relied more on these online relationships in the art community than ever before and greatly value all the connections I have made. A big, warm hug and a deeply heartfelt thanks are in order!

I do have some exciting year end news to share and will do so as soon after Christmas as I can. Until then, I hope everyone around the world can celebrate their special holidays in peace, happiness and goodwill toward all.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tis The Season ...

To be jolly and to wish for peace on earth and joy in the world! Once again Santa is in for a wild ride this year. I only hope he can tame this beast long before Christmas Eve!

Wishing you a Magically Merry Christmas and a Happily Wondrous New Year!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Big Thank You to Michael Perchard and to Susan Roux!

Ballerina #16 / oil on linen panel / 18x14 / available at the Roux and Cyr Gallery
One of my most enthusiastic blog follower/ art buddy friends Michael Perchard and his wife took the time and effort to attend the Boston International Fine Art Show earlier this month where Ballerina #16 was displayed. Susan Roux of the Roux and Cyr International Fine Art Gallery in Portland, Maine included it in her exhibit booth.  Michael was able to meet Susan while he was there and was kind enough to write all about it on his blog.

Michael at Boston Show in front of my work and the work of fellow blogger Martine Alison!

Michael is a wonderful artist whose joy of life comes through in every brushstroke that he places on canvas - an amazing quality! You can find his work here: Art by Michael Perchard. I am so grateful to Michael for going to the show and sharing his photos and his thoughts with me. Thank you, Michael! And  I am grateful to Susan Roux at the Roux & Cyr International Fine Art Gallery for representing me and for providing me with the opportunity to participate in this event. Thank you, Susan (and Paul Cyr), and I am looking forward to the Small Works Show in December and to my solo (or semi solo) show in February. You are wonderful!

One of the paintings that I have shipped off to Maine for the December show is this one that I am so happy with and had a hard time parting with:

The White Pony / 12x9 / oil on Arches oil paper

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ballerina #37

Ballerina #37 / oil on canvas / 18x14
A chilly, windy, rainy day - perfect for painting!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Some of This and Some of That

Ballerina #35 / oil on canvas / 20x16

Ballerina #36 / oil on canvas panel / 20x16

Michael Pennington / life portrait / oil on canvas panel / 14x11
Two ballerinas done and I am ready to move on to something else. During Wednesdays life session, Michael sat so still and never changed his expression for the entire 3 hour portrait session. We also had a short demonstration from a representative of Prismacolor on their product line of colored pencils, markers and pastels.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Darcy - Red Haired Woman!

Darcy Kathleen / 16x12 / oil on canvas board
I just LOVE painting red hair and Darcy has it in abundance! I arrived late to the portrait session this morning - only by about 5 minutes - but there were so many eager artists in attendance that I had to squeeze into the corner and attempt a profile portrait once again. Perhaps this will teach me to arrive earlier! Darcy is a striking beauty who sings blues and jazz in local clubs here in Reno and at Lake Tahoe. She had her hair swept to one side and was wearing a pale gray vintage dress with lots of shiny bead-work. I was heartened when she told me she loves the portrait and even took a photo to show her mother!

In my studio, I have 3 unfinished larger paintings in different stages of completion. I don't like going back to a partially completed painting unless I know I have a good amount of uninterrupted time in front of me. This week was filled with chores - changing tires on the cars, dentist appointments, banking and on and on...... Now that they are all out of the way, my intention is to finish at least one painting this weekend. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sukhjit Life Portrait

Sukhjit aka Serj / 14x11 / oil on canvas
What an interesting and challenging model we had at the Portrait Society Wednesday. He has lived in the US for over 20 years but is originally from India. He was elegant, charming and totally likable and I was so excited to paint him. His face was quite handsome with glorious skin tones and wonderful angles and shapes. He held his pose beautifully for the entire session and was a complete joy to paint. As always, I had trouble fitting him on the canvas but decided to go with the flow and am not unhappy with the result.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Boston International Fine Art Show and Portrait of Dutch

Dutch / oil on gessoed cardboard / 12x9
Finally a portrait I am pleased with after several weeks of struggling for a likeness and a painterly result.

I got a big surprise in my email this week when I learned that the Roux & Cyr Gallery has taken a booth at the Boston International Fine Art Show November 13 - 16th at The Boston Center for the Arts. Susan Roux and Paul Cyr have included some of my ballerina paintings in their display along with the work of the other exceptional artists in the gallery. I am thrilled to have this opportunity and to be included in this group of extraordinary artists. And congratulations to Martine Alison whose lyrical figurative work is also included in this show and whose work many of you may recognize. Here is a link to her site: Ma dollhouse joue un grand air du peinture.

Thank you Susan and thank you Paul! If anyone who follows my blog has the chance to attend, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween 2014!

Front Door - ready for Trick or Treaters!
Halloween is a holiday that I really look forward to since our move to Reno. In San Diego we considered ourselves lucky if two or three children came by for candy but now we have dozens and dozens of Trick or Treaters and the costumes are always so imaginative and intricate. It's so much fun and my husband and I actually compete to answer the door when the bell rings!

Currently I am working on a new steeplechase painting but its not quite ready to post yet. . My life portrait sessions the last two weeks have been sad and dreary and ended up being wiped off. Soon I will have something new to show you! In the meantime, a Happy  and safe Halloween to all!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Reno Portrait Society and Quaking Aspens

Russ / Oil on prepared artboard, 20x16

Work in progress

Russ was quite taken with his portrait and I received an email from his wife Toni a few days after I painted this. She has taken it home to give it a trial run before deciding whether or not to purchase it for him.

In the meantime, my husband and I drove up to the Lake Tahoe area hoping to see the aspen trees in their full Fall glory. We were not disappointed:

Even though the days are still warm, our nights are quite chilly now - definitely time to bring forth warm sweaters and jackets! I just love this time of year

Monday, October 6, 2014


Life has been a whirlwind these last several weeks as my daughter decided to accept a transfer of her job from San Jose, California to Amsterdam, the Netherlands! It all happened very quickly - passport, visa, plane tickets were obtained and she moved all her worldly goods to storage here in Reno. Lucky for us, she came to stay with us for a week before flying off to her new adventure. We helped her sell her car, load all her household goods into storage and pack for two years in Amsterdam. She ended up with 5 gigantic duffel bags of clothing and shoes. Monster, her 7 pound miniature Yorkie will stay at her brother's house until Kimberly is settled - then she intends to fly her to Amsterdam. She has been over there for a week now, is still in a hotel in the downtown area but today she rented an apartment with a view over a canal - it is just lovely! I am so excited for her.

Kimberly and Monster - ready for the big adventure!
 I admit to not having as much time at my easel as I normally do but, hopefully, as life settles back down, I will get back on track with painting.

Here are a few of the things I worked on over the last few weeks:

Walt Whitman / oil on masonite / 16x20

Ballerina #34 / oil on canvas / 30x15

Jockey / oil on cardboard / 14x18

Dance Recital / oil on linen / 18x24

Evil Wears a Green Cap / oil on canvas / 12x12

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Surprise on my Doorstep

And look what arrived for me today! A lovely basket of gourmet treats and thank you note from my daughter's boss and his wife. This was to thank me for the painting of Guinness that I did for him! I am so surprised and absolutely thrilled!

And, in case you have forgotten, here is Guinness:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Coeur d'Alene Auction 2014

Each July the Coeur d'Alene Auction of Western Art comes to Reno and I always wait for it with great anticipation as it is a wonderful opportunity to view some really excellent and exciting art. The best part is that I don't have to travel to see it - it comes to me!My catalog and  event tickets arrived in the mail about a week ago with the catalog cover featuring a dynamic painting from 1943 called "Dodging the Lead" by William R. Leigh. Even though I was not familiar with his work, the beautiful brushwork evident in this photo really appealed to me as well as this moment of great action. I could not wait to see it in person!

Friday was the preview day and potential buyers from all over the US came to Reno to participate in and experience the excitement of the auction.

So much art to see - nicely displayed all across the room on long tables with overhead lighting.

  In this photo you can see the magnificent bronze sculpture by James Fraser called "The End of the Trail". It is perhaps the most famous sculpture of the American West and had a pre-auction estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. But when the bidding began there were two very determined bidders and when the dust had settled after about a minute of furious competition, the final sale price was over $900,000!

This is Frederic Remington's "The Story of Where the Sun Goes" which auctioned off at a cool 1.5 million and, on the right, the William Leigh painting sold for $850,000. It was magnificent in person with vibrant color and unrestrained energy and it did not disappoint! I am always amazed at the very high prices these paintings are demanding - amazed but happy as I continue on my own art journey.

  This photo shows the auctioneer with his arms spread wide welcoming the incoming bids and the man in the isle is the Yipper - he yips to alert the auctioneer of a new bid on the piece. The pace is fast and furious!

 And all the while, bids are also coming in over  computers and phones - here, over the heads of the people in the crowd,  you see the auction employees taking internet bids and manning the phone bank.

This large painting by Richard Schmid (36 x 48) titled Still Life with Oranges and Flowers sold for $37,500 and a smaller piece called The Last Roses sold for $17,000. It was a treat to see his brilliant brush work and be able to scrutinize it closely.

I love that the auction has not only old masters of western painting such as Charles Russel and Remington but new masters like Schmid and Robert Kuhn. Bob Kuhn's work hit a new world record here when his acrylic painting of grizzly bears fishing in a stream called "The Spawning Run"  went for well over $300,000.

Already I find myself wondering what delights next years auction will bring to Reno!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wednesday Portrait Studio

Hannah / oil on linen panel / 18 x 14

The lovely Hannah posed so serenely for us yesterday morning. It was a tall order to try to capture her beauty, youth, energy and vitality in paint - but I certainly gave it a whirl!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wild Mustangs

Wild Mustangs / 18 x 24 / oil on canvas panel

Painted using several reference photos that I recently took of wild mustangs. These two posed so beautifully for me!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Renoir as an Old Man

Renoir as an Old Man / 20x1 / oil on artboard
Experimenting with a new support from Canson called Artboard and I like it very much. Renoir was painted from an old black and white photo showinghim seated in his studio. I was fascinated with his hands which were completely crippled and distorted as a result of severe arthritis. I just could not bring myself to paint them however. I read recently that he actually tied brushes to his hands in order to paint when he could no longer hold a brush.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Life Painting

Santos Corral-Bandito with Sombrero / oil on canvas panel / 18x14
 At the Portrait Group session this morning we were so fortunate to have Santos pose for us wearing a very large and ornate sombrero.  I just loved painting him in this 3/4 profile, with the elaborate hat, his tangle of wild dark hair and that fabulous gray mustache and beard! The time just flew by. What a great morning, although the temperature outside had already reached 94 degrees by the time I left the studio around noon. Its a scorcher today!

Me and my Ballerina #33 after a few final tweaks
And here I am in my own studio by the side of my latest large ballerina after a final dab here and there.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ballerina #33

Ballerina #33 / oil on canvas panel / 30 x15

Ballerina #33 in all her glory. This is the largest figurative piece I have done yet at 30 by 15 inches. I have done larger equine paintings but this is my first human of this size. And all that flesh was daunting! I have a new found respect for Lucien Freud since painting her. Small photos of larger paintings tend to diminish showing the vigor of brushwork and texture of the paint so I decided to add a few close ups for your scrutiny.

Ballerina #33 / close up 1

Ballerina #33 / close up 2

Study for Ballerina #33 / oil on paper / 25 x 15

And a quick study on brown paper done as a warm up before attempting her.