Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Peony Painting Frenzy

Each summer for the entire month of June, I drop everything to create paintings of my favorite flower, the peony.  I'm not sure how it became such an obsession of mine. I suppose it started when I chose them for my wedding. But over the years they have become more than just a memory from that big day. To me, flowers--and peonies especially--represent life's transience. This is not a new idea. Artists have used flowers in vanitas  scenes for centuries. At some point each of us has to face our own impermanence, but perhaps for artists, painting flowers can lessen the blow, because they are such a joy to look at. In their prime, peonies take center stage with their dinner-plate sized blooms and intensity of color, but their season is so short, and they leave us wanting more. They remi… Read more »


Monday, May 6, 2019

A Weekend Away - Portrait Society of America 2019

A week ago, I returned home from my tenth Portrait Society of America conference. Each one has been unique and wonderful in its own way. This year, unlike years past, I was there not as a beginning student, a state ambassador, or a faculty member. I was simply in attendance to take it in and enjoy being surrounded by my family in art. It was a pleasure to cheer on some dear friends of mine who were getting their first moments in the spotlight. I was also there for my twin sister Emily, who has only been painting professionally for about two years, but she now has the hunger and drive that defined me throughout all of my twenties, and her watercolor paintings get better and better by the day. She is currently selling them on her website here , so be sure to check her out and support her if … Read more »


Monday, March 11, 2019

Ten Year Glow Up

At the start of the year, you may have seen lots of "ten year challenge" posts all over social media, where people post photos of themselves from ten years ago  alongside a photo of themselves now. I'm sure everyone has a different reason for playing along, whether it be to show how well they've aged, or how much weight they've lost, or how many kids they've had. Some celebrities went so far as to post a "20-year-challenge" instead, boasting at how little they've changed over the years (they failed to mention the thousands of dollars they've dropped on botox, plastic surgery, and other procedures we lowly non-celebs can't afford).  Admittedly, the challenge had me looking back at lots of old photos for the first time in years, and I wasn't … Read more »


Monday, January 14, 2019

New Color Monday: MH Cobalt Violet Light and Brilliant Pink

With the craziness of the holidays, I took a few weeks off from "New Color Monday", but I'm excited to share the latest in my adventures with color. Today I'm focusing on a couple of Michael Harding colors that are new to me, Cobalt Violet Light (series 6) and Brilliant Pink  (series 2). Last week to my great delight, I found my favorite flower at Sprouts, so I paused work on other paintings to do a small 9x6 study of these beautiful pink peonies. Whenever I post a peony painting, I get bombarded with questions about which colors I use to achieve those vibrant pinks. Normally my go-to palette includes quinacridone magenta , alizarin crimson permanent, and Vasari ruby red, which are all quite strong and transparent. This time I decided to try out Cobalt Violet Light and B… Read more »


Friday, December 28, 2018

Reach for the Stars

Merry Christmas and happy New Year! This Christmas we stayed home (normally we make the 1000-mile trek to our home state of Wisconsin), and it was wonderfully relaxing.  My husband gave me the most precious gift of time  in the studio. Over the course of the past week, I was able to gather reference and complete a large studio piece from start to finish. Let me repeat that... I finished a BIG painting in one week's time! For my current stage of life, that's monumental, folks!  I painted it so quickly that the balloons I purchased for it are still afloat (and being enjoyed by my four year old). I love my children dearly, and they are the inspiration behind this newest work... but I'm also incredibly thankful that my husband was able to spend time with them during the many hours … Read more »


Monday, December 3, 2018

New Color Monday: Warm Light Yellow

Today's color for "New Color Monday" is Michael Harding's Warm Light Yellow  Series 2. I first discovered this amazing color this past spring when I purchased the Modern Master  set at an art event where Michael and his team had a booth. (By the way... this is one of the absolute BEST ways to try new colors! Attend an event such as the Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America, or the Plein Air Convention, where art suppliers demonstrate and sell their products. I've discovered some of my favorite things this way. Plus you get to meet the people behind the products and they are always incredibly knowledgeable and helpful!) So anyway, here's my take on Warm Light Yellow. I've shown it here next to Warm White Series 1 (on right) and Genuine Naples Yell… Read more »


Monday, November 26, 2018

New Color Monday: Sennelier Neutral Tint

I am starting a new feature on my blog and Instagram called "New Color Monday." My goal is to share my experiences with oil paints from various brands. While color has become quite intuitive for me, I do enjoy experimenting with new hues. I recommend trying one new color at a time for several weeks or months--seeing how it interacts with other paints on your palette, and deciding whether or not it will become a regular there, or just a visitor when the occasion calls for it. :-) It's also important to try several brands of the same color, as they are often completely different! Today’s featured color is Sennelier “Neutral Tint.” I was given this to try by the awesome folks at Savoir Faire, and the color surprised me, to say the least! I expected something gray, but it's … Read more »

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