Jan. 2015 graphic

To See Each Painting Up-close Click Here

(They are found in “Acrylics and Oils” and “Abstracts” categories on the webpage.)

I painted sixteen paintings in the month of January 2015. The challenge was to paint one per day, 30-in-30, but considering life in general, I’m happy with managing sixteen….or 53.3% of the assignment.

If I would have presented that result to an instructor in art school or college, I would have received a failing grade, I’m sure. But out here in the real world, at least this past month, things happen…for example, two laser eye procedures. These procedures were totally painless but still took two days per eye…..one for the procedure, the other day to recover clear vision.

Then, of course, I took time to visit with our Granddaughter who was home for a few days from her studies in London, attend an annual dinner for an orphanage in Uganda we help support, have lunch with friends and dinner out with another group. You know how it is.

I set out to paint only abstracts, but wavered at times into the more representational, even creating four (on the last line of the photo above) in a graphic style, which I enjoy.

The point of the 30-in-30 challenge is to develop the habit of painting regularly.

Of course, even Christmas comes regularly.

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Which Art Wins?

How do we measure what is good art?Which Art Wins- Jan. 22, 2015

Above you’ll see examples of my art: a watercolor , an acrylic landscape, an acrylic abstract, and a realistic oil portrait. No, I’m not asking you to vote on my artwork but to think about  how we measure art.

Here is an interesting excerpt from a book I’m reading titled, The View From the Studio Door, by Ted Orland.

“In academia it’s considered a virtue to frame questions that yield clear, concise and demonstrably correct answers-answers that remain a constant no matter who responds to the question. But equally, there exists another entire universe of questions in which the answer changes as each new person engages the question. Questions that introduce value judgments and shades of meaning and degrees of certainty into the equation engage entire fields of human endeavor that fit poorly (if at all) within the prevailing educational framework. Like the arts, for instance. You can measure to a clear, concise and objective certainty the color of the sky above your head-but what is the color of the sky inside your mind? For Maxfield Parrish the correct answer was a cerulean blue; for Albert Ryder it was midnight black; for Beethoven is was F major. Making headway in the arts is a process of navigation without numbers. How do you measure what is Good? What happens when there are many correct answers to a given question? And what happens when some of those answers are profound, others superficial? Or when some are intellectually abstract, others searingly personal?

Those are not-pardon the pun-academic questions. If a roomful of students all arrived at the identical (and demonstrably correct) answer to a math question, it would be exemplary. But if those same students answered an artistic question by producing a roomful of identical paintings, something would be terribly wrong. Indeed, if the only things that counted were the things you could count, Haydn would clobber Beethoven 106-9 in the symphony playoffs, and the Museum of Modern Art would hang street banners declaring Whoever Paints the Biggest Picture Wins.”

Well, Mr. Orland said it well. Our opinion of any given artwork is subjective. My opinions, too.

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Galveston Island

Day Nineteen-30 Paintings in 30 Days

19-Galveston Island

“Galveston Island”

8″ x 8″ Acrylic on gessobord

Click here for more information

“One day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.’

So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall  came

down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters;

the storm subsided and all was calm.

‘Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another,

‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water,

and they obey him.’

Luke 8:22 through 25

Who is this? He is the King of Glory, the Creator and Lord of the universe.

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Day Seventeen-30 Paintings in 30 Days



8″ x 8″ Acrylic on gessobord.

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When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.  Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

1 Corinthians 13:11 and 12 (NLT)

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A Quick Sketch

Day Twelve-30 Paintings in 30 Days

12-A Quick Sketch“A Quick Sketch”

8″ x  8″ Painting in watercolor, pencil and charcoal on watercolor paper.

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Searching for a quick way to create the day twelve challenge painting, I came across some of my sketches. I chose one I did of our daughter, Karen, back when hair styles were fluffier. Perfect! I sketched it again on watercolor paper and enhanced it with watercolor and charcoal.

Life drawing class was my favorite class in college and art school. We always worked from live models and various mediums such as pencil, charcoal, or acrylics. Once the instructor asked us to bring a stick from our yard. The next day we sketched the model using the stick dipped in a bottle of black ink.

The real fun came when we were limited to sketching very quickly as the model changed poses every 30 seconds, then to a one minute pose, a 10 minute pose, or maybe even a 20 minute pose. We were never given the luxury of dawdling over our masterpiece, which suited me just fine. I like to create my artwork “alla prima” which means “at first attempt” or “all at once”.

“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines…….”

____From Elements of Design by Strunk and White.

It’s good to know those smart guys agree with me.

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Mesa Verde

Day Eleven-30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

11-Mesa Verde“Mesa Verde” 

12″ x 12″ Acrylic on gessobord.

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 One year my husband and I traveled to New Mexico, through the beautiful Chama Valley area, then on to Durango, Colorado. One day while there we took a day-trip to Mesa Verde National Park in Southwest Colorado. We were very pleased we didn’t miss that opportunity. The archeological evidences of the civilizations, who called that area home, are astounding. Yet, the terrain, while lovely and dramatic, seems anything but hospitable.

In those days I used slide film to collect reference material for my painting and still have all of them. I’m one of those “studio artists”, meaning I prefer to paint indoors, in the air conditioned, bug free, atmosphere of my little workroom…complete with a sleeping cat or two for company.  Other artists prefer “plein air”, painting outdoors directly. To each his own.

This is the second time I’ve painted this scene. I want to visit Mesa Verde again. Maybe next year.

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Rainy Morning

Day Ten-30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

10-Rainy Morning

“Rainy Morning”

12″ x 12″ Acrylic on gessobord.

Click here for more information.

It was a dark and stormy morning.

Abby Cat was enjoying being inside and

having the breakfast room windowsill all to herself.

But where was Tomboy Cat?

During our meals the breakfast room windowsill is a highly prized and disputed

location between the cats; worth staging regular window wars to claim.

Not so this morning.

Abby Cat watches the raindrops run down the pane……in peace.

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