Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas 20 x 16

While studying the techniques described in a book by Suellen Ross titled PAINT RADIANT REALISM IN WATERCOLOR, INK & COLORED PENCIL, I painted this portrait of Peanut. The photo reference was taken outside without a flash. The use of pillows, background fabrics and patterns was also inspired by the book. Suellen Ross is an award winning domestic animal and wildlife artist and her book is a favorite in my collection. When painting animals I refer to it quite often regardless of the medium I'm using. For me her pet portraits are unsurpassed. My animal portraits now almost always include a background "setting" to better describe a pet's personality. You know just by seeing Peanut on these soft pillows she is loved and pampered.

Often I underpaint in acrylic and then finish the painting in oil. This time I achieved the results I was after using only acrylics.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Feather in her Bonnet

14 x 11 Prismacolor Pencil on RIVES BFK Printmaking Paper

Now settled in and back to painting, my focus is on catching up with commissions. That means posting a few more pieces from the past. The painting above is "one of a kind" in my personal collection created a few years ago in a Jeanne Norman Chase colored pencil workshop held in Sarasota, Florida. The workshop took place in her to-die-for studio, a free standing former residence converted to thrill any artist! Pictured above is my piece in a waterbath being prepared for embossing and I am also showing you her lightbox. I don't even own a small lightbox and Jeanne's is huge! This was used to transfer my original drawing onto the Rives paper.

Source material was my photograph of a period dressed manikin taken at the Canton, N.C. Historical Museum.

First the image was completed on the Rives BFK printmaking paper in Prismacolor pencil leaving space for embossing and cropping. Color pencil is a slow process of layering and blending and the painting took the entire first day to complete. The following day, on a piece of matboard, I traced around a pattern of the image of the face and hat increasing the size about one inch. With ongoing instruction from Jeanne, I then cut out the traced image using a very sharp heavy duty X-Acto knife. After a waterbath to soften the paper, the cutout template was gently placed over the original damp painting which was then scored following the shape of the template to get the embossed effect. Magic! There may have been more steps and I'm sure I made notes (where are they?) and I worked on more than one piece, but this one turned out just the way I hoped it would! Jeanne's very aura whispers "Artist"! She is a wonderful instructor and from this workshop, I happily discovered Rives BKF Printmaking Papers! What a find, not only for color pencil art but the strength makes it a great support for the acrylic mixed media/collage pieces I play with from time to time.

There is a link below to Jeanne's website. Go there...see one of her embossed pieces...you will enjoy her gallery, especially "Patterns".

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Zena's Visit

Roses (in progress) by Therosha King 9 x 12 oil on canvas

Friday was a delightful day with forever-since-high-school-friend, Zena (Therosha) King visiting from Raleigh! Her work in progress "Roses" is from a Cindy Procious virtual workshop. There is a link below to Cindy's website. After giving Zena a quick tour of my studio and new paintings (captive audience), we were off to visit more galleries. First stop, Blackberry Winter here in Maggie Valley where Zena purchased a delft pepper mill (nutmeg grinder) before heading to Leapin' Frog Gallery in the historic Frog Level section of downtown Waynesville. Gallery owner and dear friend, Melissa Burrell, showed us her new pieces - wonderful, colorful creations in fabric incorporating yarn, beads, buttons, twigs, and any other treasure she deems fitting. Larger pieces are shadow box framed and so tempting! We were disappointed co-owner Vickie Beck wasn't there but many of her original handwoven baskets were...more temptation! We couldn't resist purchasing small pieces by Melissa and local artist Silvia Williams! Refreshed by lunch next door at Panacea, Buddha's Belly salads and iced mango tea, we departed Frog Level for Main Street and a visit with Jo Ridge Kelley in her gallery, Ridge Runner Naturals. There is a link to Jo's website below also. Her paintings are breathtaking and most of us own an original or at least a print! She paints our Western North Carolina world in all it's glory as only she can! Had to end the day with our traditional book store stop-and-shop! Full day of eye candy, inspiration and never ending chat...mostly "art-speak"...Fun, fun, Zena! Wish you could have stayed longer...hurry back!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Vegetables

8 x 10 Oil on canvas

This is my entry for the Different Strokes From Different Folks Challenge for weeks 37 and 38. Link to DSFDF blog below. A fun painting from start to finish. As we all should have learned in the first day of Art School 101, look at the subject, squint and simplify, simplify, simplify. So, what did I do? As if the plate Karin gave us was not already overflowing, I tossed on a few more goodies! Growing vegetables has never been a part of my adult life, however, growing up in Canton, North Carolina, a summer garden was a given. My parents had green thumbs and thoroughly enjoyed the growing, harvesting, freezing and canning! My sister, brother and I...well...we did what was required as healthy helpers and most certainly we relished the bounty!

So...for this painting I tossed in a potato for sister, Marcy, who still enjoys them raw with a shaker of salt, some hot peppers for my dad who so appreciated his peppers, and a few radishes for my mom. Brother Lowell and I will have to be satisfied with tomatos, corn and onions! No more room for cabbage or string beans!

Thank you, Karin! I really like my painting!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Last Year's Photos - Maggie Valley, N.C.

Last year we arrived three weeks earlier and what a difference three weeks makes! Turning onto Balsam Shadows Road last May, we found it lined with blooming rhododendron bursting in peak color! Our yard and driveway were breathtaking!

Sadly, this year the rhodies and azaleas are spent. At 3200 feet, we are not on a mountain top. While there is still lots of color at the higher elevations, our only bloomers at the moment are day lilies and mountain laurel. So...today it's off to the Red Barn Garden Center for hanging baskets of ivy geranium for the deck and bedding plants to start the garden! Let summer begin!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Corn Chief

Egg Tempera on prepared Masonite - 20 x 16

Hopefully you will see a face profile and wild headdress in this chief sculpted from Indian Corn!

This piece is an egg tempera painting from past endeavors. Egg tempera was a phase. I passed through it and never returned. The process required much preparation, applying many coats of gesso to a support with lots of sanding in between. Now these supports are readily available in art supply stores! Then came the careful mixing of real egg yoke with gouache and distilled water. I know egg tempera comes in tubes...but I was a purist! This piece was special even though I didn't realize it at the time. During my egg tempera period, our pet was a sweet male German Shepherd named Tanni. Actually his name was "Rosemary's Baby Satan". My late father in law, a Baptist minister, didn't like Satan's name at all! Father Sexton began calling him "Say-Tan"...and then "Tanni". Tanni was much more fitting even though he was more black than tan in color...Tanni sounded gentle and "good". The name stuck. Father was right. While he was my baby, he was much too nice a dog for the evil name, Satan!

When this painting was approximately one-half finished, I had left the studio for a few minutes. Upon returning, Tanni had licked at least two ears of corn and probably four hours of labor off the panel! Guess the egg was tasty or maybe he was just helping me! Soon thereafter the finished painting was entered in a "Faces Show", received an Honorable Mention and sold from that show. Now I would happily buy it back!. Maybe artists shouldn't feel like this or at least not mention that we do? I know others who have felt the same way after letting a special piece go only to regret it later. Every time I run across this photo, my heart floods with happy memories! I trust someone somewhere is enjoying CORN CHIEF.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Detail - oil on canvas 30 x 24

Travel time! Time to leave Florida for the mountains of Western North Carolina where we will stay through the fall. It's such a hassle getting packed and ready to go with the installation of the hurricane shutters being the last step! Art supplies are packed so I am not painting. The home studio in Maggie Valley is as well equipped as this one...but still, there are some tools I simply can't do without and don't have in duplicate, i.e, mat cutter, French easel, etc. There is room for these things in the motorcycle trailer...but Heaven forbid they get too close to the Harley!!

The next few postings will be old pieces that were really fun to create or that are simply dear to me. As you know by now, I paint the family! Daughter Stephanie sat for this oil sketch a while ago! She has it in her home or I would take a better photo today for posting! It's time to paint her again and to paint our son-in-law Bruce for the first time!