Thursday, January 28, 2010

From the Cottage: Ghost Ranch

"From the Cottage: Ghost Ranch" 14x18" oil

A better photograph but I'll re-take it when the painting is dry. I can see there's still a wash of light across the piece that blanches out the color a bit. Click to embiggen.

Snow Day

It's snowing all across New Mexico today. Ignore the bendy phost in my back yard, it's courtesy of my iphone, which likes to torque things.

Today's starting point on this piece:I'm going to finish this puppy up today and then I swear I'll take a good picture of it when I'm done. I bought a pretty big piece of masonite board yesterday so I'm wanting to get to that ASAP. Now to determine what I'm going to paint on said board. Looks like it's going to be a nice quiet day in the house.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"CoCo" 8x10" oil on board



Starting point for "CoCo" today. I'll put in another picture below when I've made some progress, and as usual, swap that one out as I work. I really like working on this one. She's such a cutie with her sleepy face. Click to enlarge.

* Face is done except for some fiddling. So, no more pictures. I'll post the completed portrait sometime tomorrow. Thanks for playing along :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010


Lot's to do this week. I'm starting out with "CoCo" this morning. Top pic is the beginning point, bottom pic I'll switch out as I progress. Click to enlarge for detail.

So much to work on in this portrait. I don't even bother to call attention to messed up things anymore. I just plunge back in and fix them as I see fit.

I still need to finish the foreground in the desert hills I'm working on and I'm going to start another piece that will be quite different for me, more of a color block/simplistic/abstract art. I'd like to move in that direction, maybe. It's what I love, but I've never just dived in. So, we'll see. I have no idea what I'm going to do yet. Well, I have some idea. Little. Small. Tiny.

*I've done all I can on Coco today. I need to let it sit until tomorrow. I'm going back to this for the rest of today:

iphone picture progress:

Trees and shrubs to go. I'll wrap this one up tomorrow. I want to start something new.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Starting the foreground. This photo sucks and shows almost no detail because of the wash of light splashing across the canvas but I'm to involved (lazy) to get up and shut the blinds, so it'll have to do as a progress picture.

I'm also going to start on a small portrait of a little girl today, just do the raw umber underpainting so it'll be dry by Monday morning when I want to get started on it.

The girl's name is "Coco", cute, no? It's her nickname, I think it suits her. This is going to be a small 8x10" oil. I chose to do a really close up, tight shot that's a little funky because her parents are pretty funky, so I wanted it to reflect their family a little better than a typical head shot would. I've been looking forward to working on this one for quite some time. I've had it sketched out for weeks now.

Also, I'm fully aware I still haven't touched "Jake" and "Roxanne" but there's a method to my madness. I have a line-up of work and am progressing along that path. I figure I'll complete the two portraits that are sketched out below in the month of February. Then I have one I'm doing for my sister-in-law whom I love, but that one is really special and I want to get this line of work cleared out before I start on it. It's a duel portrait so it'll be a time-consuming and I want it to be the best it can be, and so...I do have a plan, my plans make sense to no one but me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm having a hard time getting started today. I had to make out a long, convoluted order for Dick Blick's for art supplies: tons of water soluble pencils and graphite pencils coming my way.

This is my starting point on this piece today, which is, by the way, a view of the hills from Tumbleweed Cottage on Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM.
The hills are done at last. I scraped off the sky because it was just too cartoony vivid. I like this better but it still needs something. Hopefully I'll get this piece completed tomorrow.

The wind is just howling outside, when it does this, I always think of Laura Ingles in "The Long Winter". I feel a little guilty for being inside a snuggly, warm house, but I'll take it.

Monday, January 18, 2010


After a nice long weekend and lots of fun in Santa Fe, I'm back to work. I have 3 portraits to do yet, but I need to get in some landscapes too so back to the canvas.

Here's the starting point for this one:

Progress pic that I'll swap out from time to time. Click to enlarge.

This morning's sunrise. So lovely!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

UNM all day long

What a day. What a long, long, frustrating day. Getting my youngest into UNM is an exercise in frustration and every other icky thing I can think of. Oh, this was a hard day. But, he's done, he's in, has 3 classes, some of the only ones left, and only about 6 zillion unanswered questions, each one crucial. I'm glad I only have 2 kids. Of course both of them are in UNM. Ugh.

Anyway, I didn't have any time to do painting today, only red tape at the college, but I came home to the news that I'd sold a small watercolor through my Etsy shop which is just lovely. It's one of my favorites, so it's hard to let it go, but what a nice thing to have it go to someone who wants to have it around. Makes me happy.

What's with the pictures? I know, odd. I thought I'd throw some pictures up of the open space I walk in every day right by our neighborhood on the West Side, mostly because I couldn't spare much time to get outside today and I miss it.

We're so lucky to live 1 block from the desert and I'm a sucker for dirt roads. I'm quite sure that people get sick of me posting what seems like the same pictures of NM over and over again. They aren't, but yes, the landscape is similar in that it goes on for miles and miles in all directions with little variation in the topagraphy. Which is true, but that's one of the reason why I love it so much. I like the simplicity.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Charlie" completed

Charlie 14x16" oil on canvas board. Click for detailed shot. I'm having a hard time photographing this. First, I just don't have the time right now, second, the light is playing havic with the piece. I need to retake this pic when it's completely dry in a few weeks. In reality the sweater is a dark green, for example. I sometimes hate the light and what it does.

You can actually see the face in better detail in the shot 2 pics below.

Working on completing "Charlie"

Beginning point for today is above. I've already exercised like crazy today and have done everything that needs to be done so I might as well work, no? It's so sunny outside and the windows and doors are open...the birds are singing! The temp is 71 in the house. Ahhh....January in New Mexico.
Fixed the left eye and lips on this portrait from the last time I worked on it. I think this one is going to be a lot of fun because there are some deep, popping colors in it.

Click for detail.

"Aubrey" Completed

"Aubrey" 14x16" oil on canvas board. Click for detail.


I still have the clothes and part of the hair to complete. I've opted to not include the necklace because while it's pretty, it takes away from the beauty of Aubrey's face, so it's going to go. Or has gone already. This is the beginning today, I'll post the update below and as usual, swap them out until I'm tired of working for the day.

It's 53 and sunny today and I feel so blessed to be here in Albuquerque. I walked so much yesterday that I wore myself completely out. So for today, I'm going to sit quietly and work and then do some yoga or take a walk in the sunshine if I just can't stand it.

If you like to exercise or hate it but want to do it, check out Skimble on the web. It's free. You enter in your exercise for the day, even multiple sessions, and you get points for each activity with the goal being to move as high as you can each month.

My husband's nieces are doing it with me as is my husband and sister and our daughter. I find myself wanting to exercise for the points only, so for me, this is a cool trick that makes me do the work. I've lost 13 pounds since Christmas but weirdly, it's the points that mean more to me. My competitive nature I'm sure, not competing with others, but with me.

If you do try it, be PATIENT. It's a little frustrating to figure out what to do, and they aren't super helpful about the process. Once you know, it's so easy. If you decide to try it make sure you add me as a friend so I can watch your progress too. If you do have problems just email me. I would be happy to help you through posting your first "Trip".

Monday, January 11, 2010

Finishing up "Aubrey"

Working again. Honestly, I'm trying to slow down on the working and take better care of myself. I'm working on a big weight loss and that requires a lot of exercise and a lot of rest because a lot of exercise doesn't agree with me all the time! So, I'm trying to find a better balance in my life.

I'm going to complete Aubrey before I move back to Charlie and am going to start working on my New Mexico landscapes a lot more often. I miss them far too much! I need to mix it up a little there too...find balance.

I'll add another progressing shot beneath the Aubrey shot above, switching them out with progress. Click to embiggen the shots.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Be back on Monday

Having some fun right now. I'm taking off until Monday morning, which is when I'll complete the 2 portraits I've been working on. Have a super weekend.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

UNM stuff

No work today. At least not anything fun. However I did get Jeff to the airport so he could fly back to work. The above pic? That's the Albuquerque airport. I don't know who this person is, but they were the only car behind us and there were only about 3 cars in front of us. Sigh. I love the Albuquerque airport. It's just not a crowded place. It's so pretty inside too, it looks like an art museum inside...definately not like any airport I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of airports. It's such a pleasure to fly in and out of here. We flew in on Dec 23 and flew across the nation to get here...4 airports...when we got here there were maybe 10 cars out front. Now THAT'S an airport I can live with.

The rest of the day I've spent doing UNM stuff so we can finally get Phil in for his junior year (first year at UNM). So much red tape. So. Much.

However, after a long day, we have student loans in place, the missing transcripts ordered from WA state, orientation set up, possible classes ready for picking when they allow it. I'm exhausted.

Plus, my tooth that's been hurting broke last night. Not cool. 1/4 of the tooth just fell off, down to the gum line but not the root. Thank goodness. This is what aging is all about I suppose.

On the plus side, I've lost 7 pounds since Christmas, so, yay me, and I had a hot dog with green chilies today. Don't be jealous. You can have one too. Just fly into Albuquerque and you can get green chillies on anything and everything. Yummmmm.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

If it's Wednesday it must be "Aubrey"

Ok, I'm working on "Aubrey" today. I'll leave "Charlie" alone till tomorrow, when I'll do the hair, etc and finish up. Aubrey's picture on the top, is the beginning point today. The bottom picture I'll swipe out and replace every once in awhile as I progress. Click for detailed pic.

My husband is packing to leave on a very long business trip without me so I'll be able to be here in my Albuquerque studio painting my fingers to the bone for the next 7 weeks with no distractions. We always travel together now so it's hard to be apart, but it helps that I get to stay home in New Mexico!

*finished the face. Click to enlarge for detail.

Wednesday rework

"Charlie" face completed for sure now. Unless I change my mind. Click for detailed shot.

I got up at 3 a.m. this morning and figured I might as well start working. I did some rework this morning and am happier with the face, overall. Haven't touched the hair or anything else.

I like doing the face first as that's the most important part, of course, but I like doing it exclusively first without touching the hair, clothes or background, because if I can get the face right then the other elements will work to pull the piece together and the face won't stand out so starkly, calling attention to any imperfections, which of course there will always be because I'm human. When the other pieces are completed, the face retreats and blends into it's surroundings appropriately. So say I.

I'm going to work on finishing Aubrey's face today and then I can get to those other elements I talked about. I should be able to finish both of these by the weekend. Oh to be two people at once. I really do need at least 30 hours in the day to do all that I want to do...or have four arms.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The face is completed on "Charlie". Doesn't he look like a combination of a Roman Soldier and a rock star? He is in a band, actually, it's called A'LE. (Click the link).

I'll go in and change some things over the next few days, I'm sure. I'd like to address the eyes just a bit, perhaps. Now I need to get back to "Aubrey" and complete the face there. Has to wait till tomorrow I think. I'm outtie!

Portrait work

Fixed the mouth but hmmm....too pink? Too "lipsticky"? Have to sit with it for awhile and see.

I have a lot of work to do still on Charlie. I've sketched in his facial hair so I can get a good feel for where it lies. The mouth is still in the underpainting stage so lots to do there plus the shape is all wrong. Making headway however.


Continuing. I got sidetracked for several hours this morning helping our youngest get all his ducks in a row to enter UNM in a few weeks, plus, having to help him obtain health insurance now that he's 25 and is off ours. Not a fun morning but it's almost done. So, back to work.

I'm slowly moving along on "Aubrey" and "Charlie". I'm finding that I AM enjoying the new color palette I'm trying out, though I'm now doing a mix of my old and new. I never mentioned what the new palette is, did I? Flake white, naples yellow and Vermillion Extra (at $35 a tube!), adding ivory black to deepen the skin tone then working with about 6 varying tones of this. In addition, I'm keeping my old palette mix of: burnt umber/burnt sienna/green/red for shadows and details, then greens and lavenders for added spots of color. Why isn't lavender spelled "lavendar?" That makes more sense to my fingers.

Anyway, as usual, click to embiggen the pics for detail. Got to get back to work.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Studio

My studio in Albuquerque. Jeff is working from home for a few days so he's keeping me company while I paint. I have the blinds pulled up so I can flood the room with as much sunshine as humanly possible. Love it.

"Aubrey" and "Charlie"

Well, it's Monday and vacation is over. Time to get back to the painting. I have four portraits and one landscape to complete and then have 3 more portraits in the pipeline-one is a two person portrait, so I have my work cut out for me this month.

So right now I'm working on two different portraits at the same time, This is "Aubrey", 14x18" oil on canvas board:

It looks like I'm creating monsters doesn't it. I know. It'll get better. That's always the hope anyway.

And "Charlie", 14x18" oil on canvas board:Charlie has a beard so here, his chin looks uber long here, when it's not. Patience, patience.

I'm working with a slightly new color palette and I'm not sure I like it. I'm going to mix it up with my usual color palette and get the best of both worlds. I'll post updates on these pieces occasionally. For the life of me, I can't spell occasionally correctly. My computer always corrects me. I hate that.