Sunday, March 30, 2014


A new interest I've developed for sketching is to do local musicians.  This is Anna Tivel, a delightful young woman who traveled to Langley from Portland with fellow musician Jeffrey Martin.  They were at Ott and Murphy last nite.  I did a number of sketches, and gave my best to the musicians.  Here's one I didn't give them.

Last month, I sketched Deja Blues at OM.

Deja Blues:  Ro, David Gregor, and Russell Sparkman


Russell Sparkman

Sketching at Judith's Home

I haven't posted in the longest time.  I tend to post at the Whidbey Island Sketchers website because I belong to the group.  Posting for myself … not so much.  Anyway, yesterday we sketched at fellow Sketcher's Judith's home.  I found her basket of eggs so delightful!  And her chickens … and her orchids.  So, I'm hereby committing myself to keeping this blog up to date with my new work!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lily Looking Up From Her Book

Puurrrr.... This is "Lily."  Quite the reader!  Lily was nominated by the daughter of her owner, to potentially be one of the 2014 Whidbey Animal Star Calendar paintings.  I painted her 11x14 on a deep canvas panel.  I just love her expression, her eyes, the reflected light off the book she's reading onto her ruff.  Voting will take place at Studio 106's First Saturday Artwalk in September, 9/7/13.  I'm having a blast ... it's a joyful process to take these delightful photos and turn them into paintings of love and light.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Whidbey Animal Stars

In early January, I committed myself to creating a 2014 calendar of Whidbey Animal Stars, domestic animals "nominated" by locals by sending photos (or asking me to take photos).  I've gotten dozens of photos, and have painted six potential calendar paintings so far.  Underlying this commitment is my desire to make myself paint more, and thereby learn tons.  It is a totally joyous endeavor, and I'm loving my connections with the Whidbey residents who are participating in this project.  Thank you, all!!!  The first painting I completed was Lady Gregory, a greyhound.

I painted her on a wood panel, 12" x 24".  I love the muscles in her chest, how she's "dancing" lightly on her toes.
Then, I painted Zyphyr, a super fluffy kitty in front of his living room window.  I enjoyed painting the flood of light, the fact that it's an interior "story" (one of my favorite themes to paint), the beautiful yellow eye.  Zyphyr is 12"x12," on a wood panel.

Next came Brandy, a Staffordshire bull terrier.  She was a kick to paint, with her enthusiastic smile, lulling tongue, brindle coat, spiked collar, white toes, half in shadow and half in light.....    I've learned so much with each painting!  Each has had it's own challenges and sometimes takes more than one start to get it right.  But, my challenge to myself is to only complete paintings I LOVE.  If I don't love it, it gets wiped out and started again.  9"x12"

Next came Lou, a super cool Staffordshire Bull Terrier/Akita mix with her huge shades.  I painted her on a 6x12 inch deep (2") cradled panel, which is a very cool way to present a super cool dog painting and it doesn't need framing.  I think it suits Lou well.  I love painting shiny objects, and her sunglasses gave me that opportunity!  What a star!

My next challenge was presented by Sugar, a very bouncy and curly-haired white poodle.  Her owner had presented a couple of photos, but I decided to ask for a chance to shoot some of my own.  I'm glad I did, because I have a fast camera

which shoots fast frames,
catching an active dog in stop action.  This was so helpful in capturing Sugar's enthusiasm.  I'm crazy about her fluffy tail and happy face.  This photo was shot in a grassy spot in front of 1st Street, downtown Langley, near Studio 106, where all these paintings have been done.

Driving around the island, near the local fiber farm (alpaca and llama paintings in the near future!), I came across a man in front of his home with his German Shorthair 3 month old puppy, Casey.  What a cutie-pie!  The challenge here was painting her silky short hair, representing the delightful perk in her ears.  I shot this photo of her, too ... she's curiously checking me out as I cluck like a chicken, meow like a cat, and bark like a dog to get her to perk up like this.  Ain't she cute????

After painting Whidbey Animal Star candidates, I decided to treat myself to a painting for my own home.  This is Manhattan, a cow who's photo I took last year.  I've painted her before, and delight in her image.  This time, I painted her 16" x 20" on canvas stretched on heavy-duty stretchers.  I usually paint on boards. so having the softer surface with the tooth of canvas was a nice change.  This is the biggest animal painting I've done to date, and it leads me to want to go even larger!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I've been painting furiously and have done 3 Whidbey Animal Star paintings.  I'll post them soon.  Meanwhile, I'm away from the Island for a week studying hypnotherapy ... and while I miss being in my studio working on WAS, it's quite amazing to be doing this training.  After today's long session, I chilled by doing a couple of studies for WAS.  I had quickly grabbed acrylic paints, oil brushes, and a pad of paper as I rushed out the door to catch the boat.  I NEVER paint with acrylic, had only a super limited color palette, and the equipment is all wrong.  Oh well!  I used copper and bronze because I had no yellows.  Improvised like crazy, and turns out I like the spontaneity!!!  First is a quick colorful study of Wendy, a WAS kitty.  Second is Boofie in the Snow, another WAS contender.  I am ever grateful to all the wonderful animal lovers who are sharing their photos with me.  I anticipate painting like a fiend, learning a ton, and having loads of fun with all the photos I'm receiving!  Doing these studies are excellent prep for the oil paintings yet to be painted.

Monday, December 31, 2012


I am embarking upon a new project, "Whidbey Animal Stars."  I love painting animals and have committed to doing 12 animal portraits for a 2014 calendar.  I am soliciting local animal model nominations from Whidbey animal lovers/owners.  To show them what I'm made of, yesterday I painted, "Shelton," a steer in Shelton, Washington whom I photographed earlier this year.  I think he's quite compelling.  In fact, I'm in love with him.  Cool dude.  I'm inviting Whidbey residents to come to our Studio 106 opening in Langley on 1/5/13, from 5 til 8 to meet me, Shelton, and nominate their animal photos.  I hope local newspapers may take on this feel good story, because we all love our animals!!!  I think it's a ton of fun project.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


My sister Lynne is crazy about her Irish Setters.  I'm crazy about painting.  I thought ... hey!  why don't I paint a portrait of one of her Irish's?  This spring I asked for a photo ... she sent it ... and for Christmas I surprised her with this oil painting of Cassie.  6"x12" on a cradled panel.  She posted it immediately and got so many "Likes" I was amazed.  Several people suggested I paint their favorite dogs too!  I'd love to!