Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Feeding Grandpa

I finished this one today, after it has sat around with the drawing done for many days. It's from the same photo as a previous painting, only this one is a half-sheet and cropped while the other was a quarter-sheet and full length. It was a bit scary to start with the paint, but I'm happy with it now. I love Grandpa's hand in this one: it looks just like my father's hand (Grandpa is my father's father). I think this is finished, but as always, I invite critiques. And as always, you'll see better colors and more detail if you click on the picture for the larger version.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


This little landscape was done for a monthly project of an email watercolor group to which I belong. It was inspired by a photo taken by Marci, also a member of the group, although it doesn't much resemble the photo. It's somewhat smaller than a quarter sheet.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Autumn Road

Another pastel. This is the same photograph that I used for the previous, blurry painting. The orange and lavender in the sunlight is really what attracted me to this photo. As usual, you'll see the colors better if you click on the picture here to see the larger version.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two pastels

To make up for that leaf painting that took weeks, I did two pastels this morning. Both are from slides that my father took and that I have been scanning (all 6700 of them!). The autumn scene was done on a piece of red, flocked paper that another person in the studio had found in her old art supplies. If it looks out of focus that's because that's how it looks in person. The paper would only take the softest pastels and sharp lines were out of the question. It was fun to do, but the two of us who tried it recommended that no one buy more.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Catching Up

Well you haven't missed many paintings in the 6 weeks or so since I posted. About a month ago, Fran tripped over one of our dogs and broke her shoulder. As a result, she spent almost 2 weeks in the hospital and had a partial shoulder replacement (the knob on the top of the arm bone). We discovered that the closest hospital to us has improved greatly over the last dozen years or so and Fran got excellent care there, as well as from the ambulance guys who got her there! That means I've taken over all the cooking, as well as the other household tasks Fran usually does, and I haven't gotten much painting done.

I did paint this dogwood tree that grows on our back hill, and these canna leaves from a photo I took at Chanticleer, a local-ish garden where we were taking a plein air class. The leaves took me weeks . . . not my usual finish-in-one-sitting style of painting.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Whte Abstract

This is the same painting as August 23 and September 23! After living with it for a week, I decided to revise it yet again. This time I put white gesso over most of it, using a scrap of foam core for a spreader . . . sort of like icing a cake but messier and not nearly as sweet. I added some things, took away some things, threw some paint and generally made a mess and had fun. As always, critiques welcomed.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I started this pastel yesterday, too, and I'm really excited about it. It has an energy that I like. This needs more work yet than the low country painting, but I'm going to try my best to maintain the energy.

Low Country

I did this pastel yesterday from a photo I took in South Carolina. The marshes of the low country are beautiful with different colors practically every time I see them. I'm probably going to do a bit of this and that before I call it done, but it's close

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Work on Old Work

Today I worked on two paintings from my mixed media workshop in August (see the entry for August 23). If you go back and look, you can see what I did with the blue, gold and white painting. It really needed some darker values and to have some more solid places. The second one here, which I'm calling The Strip for now, was so bad that I only posted a teeny section of it in August. After I cut that section off, I had an almost square, very busy painting left. I covered large sections with black, letting the original mess show through where you see the color. Then I adjusted and added a bit, mostly the touches of blue.
I don't know if either is finished; who can know, when they're so abstact. Click on larger versions for the brighter colors and send me any critiques you feel like.
By the way, both of these paintings are the same height, I just can't get them to look that way here. 14" high

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Catching Up

My goodness but it's been a long time since I posted. Not that I haven't been painting. I guess Life has just gotten in the way. I worked on this start from my mixed media workshop and I like it better, probably because it now has all three primary colors.

I also revisited the photo of the pastel, "Cheryl's Lake" that I posted on July 22. I did two more versions, one with acrylic paints and the other collaged with colored tissue paper. Neither is a masterpiece, but its a good exercise, I think, and makes me realize that the pastel is pretty dull looking. I'll work on that one the next time I put away the paints and get out the pastels. Here are the other 2. As usual, these will look brighter if you click on them for the larger versions.

Finally, I did these two which are called "Dreams" and "Dog Dreams." They were done as the result of a challenge to a small group I'm in. The challenge was to pick 2 colors which are complements to each other (opposite sides of the color wheel), add an earth tone, and paint anything using only those three colors. The colors I picked are a coral and peacock blue for the complements, and a gold for the earth tone. The image slowly formed in my head but it wasn't until I had it, as well as I could, on paper and looked at it for a while that I knew how to do it better. The first one has acrylic mat medium blotched on the paper before any paint . . . which didn't cover the medium. For the second, I used gesso for the texture. That takes watercolor, although differently from plain paper. I also planned the values better with a pencil value sketch.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mixed Media Workshop

I just finished a week-long, mixed media workshop at our local art center. There were 6 of us the first 3 days and then only three of us the last two, plus the teacher (Nancy Barch), of course. Most of us had taken MM workshops from Nancy before and we had a great, if exhausting, time. Nancy did demos and critiques. We each had mounds and mounds of stuff . . . watercolors, acrylics, collage materials, pastels, various drawing implements, glue, scissors, thread, gesso, stuff to make texture such as bubble wrap, meshes, etc. Nancy scheduled this week just at the end of the art center's summer season so we had a room where we could each have a large table and could leave all our stuff spread out and ready to work. I have a few pieces which aren't anywhere near finished, but many that are close enough to share. The paintings are roughly in chronological order, although I often worked on 2 or 3 at a time so they had time to dry.

As usual, these are brighter if you click on a picture for the larger version. And also as usual, comments and critiques are invited.

Most of the paintings are on half sheets (about 14" x 20"). The more square painting is a small part of a larger, definitely unsuccessful, painting and is probably more or less 8" square. The final one, with the dog pictures collaged on, was originally painted on a full sheet but is cropped all around.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I love the red stems 'n stuff on these white peonies. The painting is a combination of two photos.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I have had a photo cropped from a larger one which is of one of the creeks that abound in our area. This crop just shows the water falling over a rock, making a "waterfall" perhaps a foot high. This makes a good abstract shape and I've been working on painting it over the last week. Here's the photo:

First, I painted the picture in watercolor, quickly so as to stay loose. I knew watercolor wasn't the best medium for this project, and I tried anyway. I was right. I don't much like this painting, although when I just looked at it small (it's 10" x 14," a quarter sheet) it didn't seem so bad.

Today I did what I've wanted to do all along, and painted it in pastels. A much better medium for painting the value shifts and blends that are in this photo, and I didn't have to save any whites. I've changed it from the photo, something easier to do with pastels because when I don't like something I can go back and change it easily.

So here's my final waterfall painting, the same size as the watercolor version.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Demo slideshow

I did my demo and I think it went well. Here's a slideshow of some of the photos Fran took. The captions are long, so you may want to go through one photo at a time. You get to the controls by pointing your mouse at the bottom of the pictures. You can also see much bigger pictures on Picassa: http://picasaweb.google.com/janefranphoto/DemoAtMedfordLeas.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Demo of pears

I've had a show hanging at a retirement community in NJ for the last couple of months (Medford Leas in Medford). A couple of weeks ago, they asked me to do a demo for their studio art group when I pick up the paintings. Gulp. I've done one demo in my entire life and that was for a class in which I was a student. So I'm going to do pears, my fall-back subject when I don't feel inspired by anything else. I've done pears in many ways and like the distinctiveness and simplicity of their shape.

So this time, as I stewed over this (no pun intended), I decided to buy pears and see what I could do to arrange them in some pleasing way. Yesterday I set out a large piece of foam core for its whiteness and arranged and rearranged the pears in what I hoped would be a good composition. Then I added a deep cobalt blue glass and a pottery bowl. I moved around the grouping, working on the shadows and the travel of the eye. I took them outside in the sun. I tweaked and fussed, all the time snapping photos from various heights (don't y'all just love digital cameras?). Finally, probably 40 or 50 photos later, I had something I liked. I printed it. I drew it. I did a sketch with charcoal pencil to check the values. I drew in onto a half sheet (14" x 20"). The size of the paper was part of my stewing because I wanted it big enough so people could see, but I didn't want gigundous pears. I like my paintings to fit in the standard frames I keep on hand.

So here's the charcoal sketch which is a little bigger than 5" x 7". The demo isn't until Friday, so you (and I) will have to wait for the actual painting, although I may do a smaller version today, being the impatient sort who hates to have a paper with a drawing and no paint hanging around.

I guess the amount of my preparation indicates my anxiety over how this will go. They've only seen my good paintings, not any of my screw-ups. Oh well.


ne of our painting friends brought lilies from her garden with her the other day. We've both painted them, she in acrylics and me in wc. It took a lot of glazing on the flowers but I think I'm done with this. Comments and critiques invited. Quarter sheet.

Please click on this small version to see the larger one which isn't all grayed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cheryl's Lake

This is a pastel from a photo taken at my friend Cheryl's house in Maryland, just off Chesapeake Bay at its northern end. The lake was once a creek which drained into the bay but was dammed by the Army Corps of Engineers decades ago. This photo was taken from their deck. As usual, colors are bigger in the larger version gained by clicking on the picture here.

Here are a couple of quotes worthy of contemplation:
"Just remember artists don't make mistakes. We make strategic color and compositional adjustments, "impressionism experiments" and color studies." -Harry Perry a member of an email list I'm on.

"Value does all the work; color gets all the credit." shared with me by my friend Siv. This one feels especially apropos for this painting.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On the Deck

This is my third attempt at this painting. The first was done on gesso-coated watercolor paper, painting on all the dark and then lifting the lights. Some of the pigments I used stained the gesso so I couldn't get the lifted areas light enough, nor could I control the lifting as I wanted. I see I didn't post it. Just as well.

The second try hit recycling before it was finished.

I did this one on regular wc paper with successive layers of paint and successively increased masking. I don't know if I'm done or not; time will tell. Right now I'm mightly bored with it. Putting on mask, waiting for it to dry, slopping on paint, waiting for it to dry, all times 5 or 6 or a gazillion, is just not my style. Not nearly enough patience and precision. But I've done it and after I don't look at it for a week or a year or so, maybe I'll like it. You can see a larger version, with more true color, by clicking on the picture here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cheryl's Magnolias

Another pastel. Before I printed the photo of the flower I saturated the colors in Photoshop. Makes for a brighter, somewhat more abstract painting. I was inspired to paint from this photo after I read "Pick A Winner" in the August 2008 Pastel Journal. It's about composition and is applicable to any medium.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Scottish View

This is a pastel. Is it a painting of a moor? I've never known quite what a moor is! Anyway, it's from a photo I took in Scotland and I love the sense of distance and wide open space. As always, critiques welcome, and the picture is better if you click on this one to see the larger version.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Winterthur Glimpses

Here's where I got today on this project. When I looked at the sketch for a while, I began to see changes and finally got to this point.

First I did the architectural elements with my glass pen, liquid watercolor and some washes made from the same color. Then I drew in the flowers and painted them. Finally, today, I did the sky and the greens. I'm not sure I'm happy with it and I'd love some critiques. I can take it, folks.

What I'm really hoping that someone who knows Winterthur will buy it when there's a sale there in the fall. This one is a half-sheet (14" x 22"). As usual, if you click on the picture here you can see it bigger and brighter.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Color Sketch

I took a bunch of photos from Winterthur Gardens and Museum in Delaware, and put bits and pieces together to see how they would work as a sort of collage, only painted, not glued. This is the color sketch that I did in my sketch book. I know I need to do something different on the left, below the chimney, probably another flower. I'd love critiques.

Purple and Gold

Playing with colors and "loose" painting. This is watercolor and Caran d'Ache crayons. The drawing, such as it is, was taken from a photo of somewhere in Scotland, but the colors are not Scotland. Right now the sky is white. I did some computer experimenting with sky colors. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pastels again

Yesterday I picked out two of my photos that I thought would be interesting (or easier) in pastels. The sunset is 10" x 7", more or less, and the photo was taken in Jamaica last January The lily pads are 10" x 14" from the reflecting pool at Winterthur Gardens. Both done on Wallis sanded paper. Critiques always welcome.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Exhibit Award Show

A couple of years ago, I won an Exhibit Award, and finally delivered for the show on Friday. I think this is a slideshow of the show.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Iris and Poppies, again

I had such fun painting the first one of these flowers that I did it again, from a different angle. Do you like one more than the other? Which one? Why?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Iris and Poppies

Today Cheryl brought a bouquet of iris and poppies when she came to paint with us. So I painted them, on a half-sheet of paper with a huge, round brush. The large brush and the fact that I propped up the painting as I worked made delicious, runny colors. I tried to paint pure color and drop in other colors while the first was still wet. Then I went back and added more shadows and darks. When I was done, I drew some of the individual flowers in my sketchbook. It's all the same poppy, just from different angles. Now I have another painting drawn out, from a different angle but I know I'm going to wait until I have more energy before I paint it (and hope I can remember what all those shapes define!).


I've been experimenting with pouring paint, using liquid watercolors rather than mixing up large quantities of tube paint. I often paint pears when I'm experimenting, so that's what we have here. Masking fluid in a random pattern, dry; yellow and orange paint dropped in all over and moved around using a spray bottle and lots of tipping the paper, dry; masking pear shapes, dry; brown, orange and a little ultramarine blue all over, dry; remove masking and glaze some definition of the pears. This is not a technique I will use very often because of all the steps and the drying time, but it was fun to try. Dr. Martin's liquid watercolor is too opaque for more layers than this one: it gets muddy and flat, even using analogous colors.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Early Green

A pastel from several photos taken in the woods yesterday, with the skunk cabbage up and flourishing and just the faintest of green showing in the trees. I don't think it's done yet, and I'm still studying it to see what needs to be done.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Major Experiment

This painting is a (hopefully) pleasing series of overlapping light, mid-tone and dark rectangles superimposed with an image of a creek in the woods. On hot press paper, half-sheet size. All watercolors. I need some serious critiques, please . . . from anyone with an opinion

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Things are blooming here . . . daffodils and forsythia . . . but we've hardly had any sun this spring and I'm heartily sick of gray skies and flat light. I dug out an old photo of tulips I took some years ago and, again, started wet-on-wet. I'm pleased with the brightness of the blooms and the colors I got in the greenery. This is, as usual, much brighter in the bigger version you get when you click on the painting here.


The other day I saw a demonstration by Carolyn Anderson, a watercolor artist from Delaware. She did beautiful roses, starting with wet-on-wet and developing details as the paper dried. So yesterday in class, I decided to try her technique, using a very rough sketch from my sketchbook. The notes with the sketch said "mauve", "forsythia" and "trees". Not much to go on for a painting and it's growing on my as I look at it. I see similarities with the previous painting.