Friday, April 30, 2010


"Kelsey" This is my friend Rob's daughter. He had this photo as the wallpaper on his computer and the moment I saw her I wanted to paint her! It took me about a week to ask him, "Would you mind if I painted your daughter? I promise I won't make her naked!" He immediately emailed me the photo with the tongue-in-cheek warning, "Remember, she's only 16." When Kelsey the Human saw Kelsey the Painting her jaw dropped and eyes widened and she said, "Oh my gosh, it's ME!" Which is a pretty awesome compliment, I must say!


"Liani" This is a tribute to a century old painting by Amedeo Modigliani. He was one of those crazy artists who was brilliant, slightly ahead of his time, never sold anything, and died young and impoverished. Now that he's quite dead his paintings are in museums and fetch a fortune at auctions. Aaaah, the glamorous life of an artist!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Good Morning

"Good Morning" I hate to play favorites but, this is one of my favorites! Partly because she was just so much fun to paint, and partly because she's got an incredible sexiness with a dash of virtuosity. She's also about twice the size of most of my paintings - it was very liberating having so much space to work with! (Donate to a worthy cause: send me large canvases!) The title is a rather blatant double entendre: Good morning because she just woke up? Or has she been up awhile and it's been a good morning *wink wink nudge nudge*? The hair-do could go both ways...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


"Beachy" It was the dead of winter and, being Washington, it had been raining for the biblical forty days and forty nights. I was ready for some sun. My pesky bank account wouldn't allow me to go on vacation so I had to get to the beach the only way I could: paint it!

It's Time

"It's Time" is another painted in reverse on glass. This technique looks so cool in person but photos just do NOT do them justice! For example, the window on her cheek is not part of the piece... in case you couldn't tell. This is from a photo of Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. I was in desperate need of a haircut and so was she, hence the title. "It's Time" for a bloody haircut!

She Found It Puzzling

"She Found It Puzzling" Some days are like that... *sigh*

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh, Do Tell!

"Oh, Do Tell!" I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again: I love the 1920s. What's the perfect thing to wear over your bobbed hair? Why a cloche hat, of course! People just do not wear enough hats these days. (I refuse to acknowledge baseball or stocking caps as true hat wearing!) I had done several sketches from old photos and liked how these two went together somewhat conspiratorially. I get the feeling they are gossiping - perhaps about an unfashionable woman without a cloche hat!

"A Gracious And Lovely Queen"

"A Gracious And Lovely Queen" is my grandmother, circa 1950, upon being crowned Prom Queen. (If you know me, you're probably laughing your arse off at the thought that I am a descendant of a Prom Queen!) Apparently, this was newsworthy stuff back then as I have a copy of the article that ran in the local newspaper. The article said she was "a gracious and lovely queen", which actually summed up her personality throughout her life!


"MmmHmmmm..." Never have I had so much fun painting hair! This woman's head seemed to be bursting with springs - somehow tangled and perfect at the same time. The kind of hair you want to touch just to satisfy simple curiosity. Alas, she was a photo. The closest I could get to touching her fabulous hair was to paint it!

Urban Baby

"Urban Baby" was taken from a photograph of my son, Jude, on a trip to New York. This view of Manhattan is from across the Hudson River at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. It was early December and very gray, cold, and windy. Bbbrrrrrr!


"Nani" means "beautiful" in Hawaiian. This one was based on a random sketch, not on a particular person or photo. The palette was not really chosen - just what happened when I mixed some left over paints from another painting! All in all, this is just the culmination of a couple of happy accidents!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Holding Her Own

"Holding Her Own" This girl is modeled after a photo in a book of National Geographic portraits. (I'd love to be able to credit the photographer here but I don't know who it was or what the book was called! So, whoever you are: thank you!) There was such a sense of strength, defiance and fear mixed with the vulnerability of a little girl and I was really drawn to her. She looked about ten years old, but with the worldliness of a much older woman. I painted her on untreated wood and thinned my paints to really allow the grain to come through. As I was painting her my mind kept wandering to woodcut printing so I tried to capture that in the fabric of her clothes and headscarf.


"Doris" Not named or modeled after anyone in particular. I really just wanted to paint the wartime hair-do, but it's too weird to paint hair without it being attached to someone's head! When I was painting this I meant for her to look more coy; but most people comment on her looking jealously at some unseen person or thing. I guess having a green background doesn't do much to dispel that perception.


"Theda" I love the 1920s style bobbed hair, the whole "roaring 20s" look really. Theda Bara was a huge movie (ahem... motion picture) star during that time and, in my mind, embodies the exotic, over-the-top glamour of the day. This was loosely based on a head shot of hers I had clipped out because her hair was so bloody perfect.

Maybe Someday

"Maybe Someday" I usually paint darker, atmospheric, and higher contrast images. But the photo this was based on had so much happiness and, dare I say, bliss that I decided to really let that come through. I achieved a somewhat ethereal look by using pearlized and iridescent paints. The title is a bit of a personal dig. As in, "maybe someday" I'll feel the sort of joy she's feeling.

That Looks Good...

"That Looks Good..." I imagine her looking at someone across the room, working up the nerve to go say hello but feeling incredibly nervous and self-conscious. Maybe if she put some clothes on, she'd have more confidence... Too bad she was painted by someone who really likes painting nudes!


"Venerasti" A complete bastardization of the Italian word meaning "to worship". This is painted on a panel plastered with the stock pages. I won't get into politics here (I don't get into them to much anywhere, for that matter), so I'll just say I was feeling disappointed about the importance our society places on economy while ignoring so many things that make life truly rich. This was featured in the "Myth & Legend" show at North Bank Gallery in Vancouver, WA in March 2010.

Looking Through

"Looking Through" Another self-portrait from a bathroom mirror sketching session! This was painted in reverse on glass and as such was rather hard to photograph. There's tons of depth that you really can only see in person! Rather than putting down your base color and building the painting up from there, you start with your finish details (outlining and highlights in this case) and work your way backward. Painting in this style is a fun break from tradition and really works the brain muscles!

Mary Magdalene

"Mary Magdalene" Inspired by a marble statue from the 1500s called... you guessed it... Mary Magdalene.


"Susie" When I was in first grade I spent recess playing with two girls named Susie (one white, one black) and a girl named Jenny. One day Jenny said she couldn't play with us anymore because Susie was black. I was confused; I had never heard of such a thing! Susie just said, "Okay, well I liked playing with you and I'll miss you." And that was that. Jenny stopped playing with us and the two Susies and I kept having fun. I remember wondering why Susie (the black one) wasn't more upset and it wasn't until later in life that I realized she probably went home and cried about the loss of a friend and that it probably wasn't the first, or the last, time something like that happened to her. This painting was modeled from a 1960s era photo but her sense of resolve and hopefulness made me think of Susie from first grade.


"Nymph" I was curled up on the chair in front of the huge picture window in my living room looking through a library book of photos of dancers. It was a perfect autumn day: crisp and clear and the red and gold leaves from my tree-lined street were dancing in the strong wind. I started thinking of the dancers as fairies flitting around with the fall leaves. So now you know what kind of books I read as an eight year old girl!


"Belief" This was based on a photo of a young Latina woman. I don't know what she was looking at in the photo but I kinda got the feeling she was looking toward the heavens in a "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" sort of way. Like she feels or hopes there's a bigger presence, but is still a little unsure.


"Zula" I have no idea if zula is an actual word in any language. If it is, and means something unsavory, I'm sorry. :-)

You What???

"You What???" This started out as more of a "sexy" portrait with the woman leaning in for a kiss, lips slightly parted. But, what can I say? I was having a bad day, one of those really fuming ones where you just want to yell at everyone. I stepped back from this painting and noticed she had no more love, no more kisses, and was instead doing my yelling for me!


"Sunglasses" is a self-portrait. I felt like I was starting to get bogged down in details and realism - two things I was "trained" to do but don't really want in my work. I thought back to an art class exercise from a million years ago: draw your subject without looking at your paper and without lifting your pencil. So I grabbed my handiest model - myself - et voila a lovely portrait stripped to basic elements.

Finally Coming to My Senses...

I've been blogging for my businesses for several years but, until now, not for my art. That changes today!

My interest in art began at the age of six with a stack of hand-me-down Walter Foster "Learn to Draw" books. My interest in painting really blossomed in high school when Mrs. Garver introduced us to oil paints. Until that point I had only used watercolors and other translucent paints and hated the softness of the results. But oil paints were so different - depth, strength, body, opacity, endless adventures in color mixing, even the smell of turpentine - I loved it all! Today I predominantly use acrylics, but still like to catch a whiff of turp every now and then.

In my paintings I really try to capture the underlying emotions of my subject. Insecurity, vulnerability, doubt, fear... The feelings we all try to hide are the ones I want to explore with my art. Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Painting is how I examine life, my own and that of others; and it's what makes my life feel purposeful and "worth living".

I'll be working on posting my painting archive as well as new works as they are completed. When I look at works by other artists, I often wonder about the back story of the piece. I assume other people wonder this same thing so I'll be including a little back story on each piece. Enjoy!