Sunday, November 4, 2012

Winston 1996-2012
Our precious Winston went to sleep on October 25, 2012.    
He was deeply loved and will be greatly missed.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Robert Genn...

Self-Portrait of Robert Genn and his dog

If you are not already familiar with Robert Genn, you are missing something really special.  His inspiring and motivating newsletters arrive twice weekly, and frequently give me the little shove I need to pick up my brushes and get busy.  Below is a sample:

Two artists

November 2, 2012

Dear Lee,

Because this is a bit personal, I'm not using their real names. They're both about 40 years old.

"Jack" got a BFA and then an MFA from a Midwestern University. He's visited many of the major contemporary art museums and follows the work of several "important" contemporary painters. He's written articles on Philip Guston and others. He subscribes to several art magazines and is "the most knowledgeable art-guy in any discussion." After university he worked for a while in a commercial art gallery. He sometimes writes me long, well-informed letters. He's painted eleven large paintings (two unfinished) since leaving school. He's not represented by any gallery. He thinks you need to move to New York and "get lucky" with a dealer who "really represents you."

"Jill" took two years of art school and then quit. She pays little attention to other artists. She subscribes to no art magazines but has taken several workshops. Her hobbies include bowling and travelling. At one time she also worked in a commercial art gallery. On two or three occasions she's written to me. She's painted "approximately two thousand paintings" since leaving school. She's represented by four commercial galleries in four, well-separated mid-sized cities.

There's a great story in David Bayles and Ted Orland's Art and Fear. Here it is: 

"The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of the work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: On the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work in the "quantity" group: fifty pounds of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B" and so on. Those being graded on "quality," however, needed to produce only one pot--albeit a perfect one--to get an "A". Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busy turning out piles of work--and learning from their mistakes--the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay."

Best regards,


PS: "Artists get better by sharpening their skills or by acquiring new ones; they get better by learning to work, and by learning from their work." (David Bayles and Ted Orland)

Esoterica: Both subscribers Jack and Jill are thoughtful and enthusiastic artists. Art is central to their lives. And while success and "being able to function as a full time artist" may not be important to some of us, their current situations are quite different. Jack rents an apartment and makes $2150 per month (plus tips and benefits) as an airport porter. Jill works daily in her converted garage in a home she now owns. These days she's averaging $18,000 per month. She has "no benefits."

For more information, and to subscribe to Robert's twice-weekly newsletters, click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Couple of Oldies!

"Mid-Winter"  Watercolor (sold)
"One Stands Alone"  Watercolor (sold)

When I painted these a couple of years ago, I was trying to create a mood with minimal information.  I really like the "feel" of these paintings.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Playing with Pastels

"The Destination"   Pastel

For the past year or so I have been experimenting with pastels...probably my favorite medium (at least for the time being!).  I love having my fingers in there moving the color around and learning different techniques for application and finding ways to create the effects that best express what I'm trying to convey.  Pastels afford the opportunity to be very bold and direct, or quite diffused and soft. 

"Hi, Lily!"   Pastel
"Majesty"   Pastel
"The Path"   Pastel
"Summer at North Park"   Pastel

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

From the heart...

My youngest daughter asked me to paint a rendering of a painting she had seen, to be hung in her living room.  After seven months of sweat and tears, this is the result.  In reality, I had fun doing this painting, experimenting the with blending and trying to depict the movement.  By far the largest piece I've done (24" x 48"), this was painted with water-soluble oil paint and was truly a labor of love.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


#1  Rendering of "Out of the Blue"  Acrylic (sold)

#2  Rendering of the bridge over Bode River,  West Germany   Acrylic (sold)
Trying to find inspiration, I recently started thinking about when I began painting.  My first two paintings were renderings of other artists works, taken from books.  But I had such fun doing them that I was hooked.  I quickly moved on to painting my own subjects, either from photographs or, preferably, from life.

Not having ever painted, I thought perhaps I could try decorative painting on furniture.  I found an instructor in acrylic painting and signed up for a four-week class.  When I arrived at the class, she put a canvas in front of me and told me to choose a painting from one of her books and do a rendering.  Not expecting this, I explained that I thought I would be learning decorative painting, and she explained that she taught fine art.  Fortunately, I decided to stay and give it a try.

My very first painting was the rendering of "Out of the Blue" which is in a lovely book by Carolyn Blish.  I had admired her art for many years, and felt honored to be doing a rendering of one of her paintings.

My second painting was taken from a book on How to Draw and Paint Beautiful Landscapes/2 by Walter Foster.  Believe me, it was a challenge getting the atmospheric effects correct and painting the rocks accurately.

Then my four classes were over and I was on my own.  I have since experimented with various media and different styles of painting.  I enjoy the process of learning and playing with color.  It's truly a journey.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thinking of Spring

"Garden Party"  Oil
It is such a lovely day today...February 29 and it's 70 degrees in Brunswick, Ohio!  I've been enjoying the weather, but just received an email from my sister-in-law, from California, saying that we are under a tornado watch...in February!  I think I'll just continue to enjoy the weather and look ahead to the blooming flowers, and plein air painting.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!

"Winston"  Watercolor

Our beloved Winston!  Winston is 16-years-old and is just as happy and spirited today as he was when the photo for this painting was taken, several years ago.  Truly a loving and gentle soul, he brings sunshine into our lives every day.