Friday, December 30, 2011


This is Jak, my son's roommate, Grant's dog.  Grant took care of the cats (and the mail, and a particulary disgusting hairball) while we were away for our Holiday Journey.  He doesn't like to accept payment, but this year he asked for a portrait of his dog, and I was happy to oblige.  Grant brought him over yesterday and I took photos so I could paint him today.

14" x11"
Acrylic on stretched canvas

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Reflections Challenge

I wanted to do a painting for the Daily Paintworks 'Reflections' challenge, and I wanted to include a horse.  I found an image on MorgueFile I wanted to use, but I also wanted to challenge myself to paint something large.  Thsis one is larger for me, typically I don't go larger than 16"x20" in acrylic.  I had also bought some new acrylic paint I wanted to try.  So, using a 20"x24" deep canvas, four acrylic colors (Australian Sienna, Red Oxide, Prussian Blue and Unbleached Titanium, all from the Derivan Matisse Flow line), and four paint brushes, this is what I came up with.  I love the warm colors!  He's in the DPW Challenge section this week!

Serene Sipper
Acrylic on 1.5 deep stretched canvas

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Commissions? Sigh!

This was the 'practice painting' for a commission - for a black horse.  The pose was right, but the color was too brown, and the mane was too thick.  So I am painting again tonight with lots more blue tones.  I painted over this one - much darker - and now I dont like it as much, but, oh well. 

Practice Pony
10" x 8"
Watercolor on 140# Fabriano paper

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Quiet Sunday Afternoon

Spent the day working on two paintings, but I'm not sure either one is finished yet.  I really liked the values in the reference photo for this one, but the other one was a solid black horse, and I'm struggling with it. 
I may go back and add some more intense color in this one, it feels too quiet.  I love the expression on this one, though.  Hope I don't overwork it too much!

Paint Pony 38
Watercolor on 140# Fabriano paper

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Back from the Big Easy!

Haven't gotten to paint for several days, I was chaperoning 32 college Honors students on a trip to New Orleans.  It was a very busy and exhausting three days, and you can't find free internet in New Orleans, so it was difficult to check email, Facebook, etc.  But everyone made it back in one piece (more or less), and now I can focus on getting a few more paintings done before leaving town for the holidays!

In the Rainforest with John at the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chicago Peony 2

When I visited my daughter this past June we went all over Chicago, and I took hundreds of photos.  Whenever I go, I try to visit the Art Institute, but this was the first time I had visited the gardens next door.  They were in full purple and white flush, with dozens of white peonies in bloom.  I loaded several photos into my iPad, and decided to paint one while I was waiting for my car to be serviced months later.  It brought back memories of a wonderful visit.

Chicago Peony 2
6" x 8"
Watercolor on 140# paper

Monday, December 5, 2011


I decided to paint a picture for the Daily Paintworks challenge this week.  I just took the photo a couple of days ago, and had printed it out to use 'someday,' and when I saw the challenge, I thought the time was now!  The challenge is 'man's best friend and their favorite thing.'  Just so happens that one of Mable's favorite things is her ball, but close behind is her sunspot on my bed.  I caught her with the sun warming her chocolate brown coat, and it looked so inviting, I wanted to snuggle with her!   But I painted her instead. 

Mable's Sunspot
6" x6"
Acrylic on Canvas board

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pixie Paint Pony

I challenged myself to paint four small paint ponies (5" x7") in four different styles.  This one is the third one I did, and I was trying to keep the color really vivid, since the reference photo was another brown horse.  This one turned out so bright, I decided it must be a fairy horse!
Too bad horses are color-blind, if they weren't, they might all approach this brilliance! 

Paint Pony 33
7" x 5"
Watercolor on 140# Fabriano paper

Saturday, December 3, 2011


When I first did this one in September, it got a lot of comments, but I think my favorite was 'Rainbow-headed beauty.'  There are many things I like about this painting, the rainbow hues, the slightly curved mane, and the lost-and-found edges within the mane, achieved by using opaque white.  I like his soft gaze.  And I love his lime-green (Skip's green) upper lip!  This is one of my favorites!

Paint Pony 17
8" x 10"
Watercolor on 140# Fabriano paper

Friday, December 2, 2011

Feeling Blue

I like to paint the horses of friends, but I do search for nice reference photos on public domain sites and the morgue file site that allows use of the photos.  When I saw this photo on, it reminded me of a wild mustang, although the description of the photo was just 'Horse's Head.'  I thought I'd depict him feeling sort of blue, with his down-cast eyes and blue face.  I especially enjoyed painting those white eyelashes!

Paint Pony 15 - Moody Mustang
10" x 8"
Watercolor on 140# Fabriano Paper

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Number 9

This inquisitive fellow was done with some intense pinks and blues to go with his intense gaze.  I especially liked the mouth and chin in turquoise, and the perky ears. 
I was disturbed this evening by the story concerning the slaughter of horses in the US for the export of horse meat.  I'm having a difficult time understanding the reasoning and implications for this legislation, and I know there are a lot of people that can give reasoned debate on both sides.  I don't think I will ever be able to support killing these guys for their meat like we do cattle and pigs. 

Paint Pony 9
8" x 10"
Watercolor on 140 # Fabriano paper

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This guy was one of the earlier paint ponies I did  (in August), and I was very pleased with the way the color values described the form.  I did use some lifting to get some whites, but I also used some white gouache to add highlights.  I have decided that using the opaque paint with watercolor is very liberating, and allows me to paint more spontaneously.  What's good enough for Sargent is OK with me! 
I named this fella Kermit for obvious reasons, and though I like him, I know it's not easy being green!

Paint Pony 8
8" x10"
Watercolor on 140# Fabriano paper

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ol' Blue

I painted this fellow as part of the Small Pony series.  Like many of my ponies,  I started with a quinacridone gold background.  Unlike many of them, I left the pony area  white and filled in with color.  This time I used a very pale blue for the blaze, rather than the yellow that usually ends up there.  I think it gives him a more serious look, but I lightened his mood with a few dashes of yellow in his mane, face, and neck, then brightened him up even more with a bold dash of red on his neck.  Even with all the color, he's actually one of my more subdued Paint Ponies!

Paint Pony #34
7" x 5"
Watercolor on 140# paper

Monday, November 28, 2011

Squeak complete and another pony

The Open acrylics were dry this evening, so I was able to add some finishing touches and put in the background.  I really liked the pink (quinacridone magenta), but I felt it took too much away from the cat, so we thought green might bring out her eyes.  I may still add a few touches but she's pretty much done now.
Acrylic on canvas board

This paint pony was completed a couple of weeks ago.  At 14" x 11" it is one of my larger paintings.
Paint Pony 30
Watercolor on Paper 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

And now for something completely different...

I'm inspired by Kim Santini's work, so I thought I'd try a pet portrait with a brilliant underpainting.  I also wanted to try the Golden Open Acrylics I purchased a while back.  I put in this beautiful magenta underpainting to contrast with the black of the cat.
The good news is, the Open Acrylics do stay wet a long time.  The bad news is, when I went back two hours later to try to add some highlights and more color to the eye, the first layer of paint lifted right up, leaving a very white hole.  Not good.  I went back over it with more paint, but I can still tell it's there.
I'll let it dry over night and see if I can fix it.  I'd also intended to mute the background, but I sort of like the bright color.  I'll think about it tomorrow...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Neon Pink!

This guy was initially painted as a larger 11"x14," complete with an abundantly colorful mane, but the long neck was a little distracting from his vibrantly colored face.  So I did a Facebook poll comparing the full size with the 10"x8" cropped version, and the cropped face view got the most votes, so here he is!
Paint Pony 36
10" x 8"
Watercolor on Paper

Friday, November 25, 2011

Juicy Lucy! (Loose-y!)

This is my first painting in the Small Pony Series.  Following my first outdoor art fair in late October, I took a short break from painting.  I found an 11"x15" sheet I had divided into quarters, so I decided to return to painting by doing a series of small works.  This first one was a very loose style that I love!

The day after I finished this, a woman who had seen my work at the art fair called to commission a painting as a Christmas present!

Paint Pony 29
Watercolor on 140# paper

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Even so, I am Thankful!

My most recent painting was a real trial. I wanted the colors to pop, so I'd planned on it having an orange face with a darker blue neck. The orange was just too much, so I started glazing with other colors, red, more yellow, and finally some blues and purples, and I got... a brown horse. Since there are no brown horses in my pasture, I had to pump up the color in the neck area, thus the pops of red and green. And of course the signature multicolor mane!
Paint Pony 35
Watercolor on 140# Fabriano paper

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hour 10

I took a couple of days off from painting, not because I really wanted to, but because, well, you know, life. I found that I really missed sitting down and losing myself in the paint!
I did this painting from a photo of a friend's horse. It is a gorgeous animal in the photos. Makes me wish I had one!

Thanks, Cheryl, for letting me paint "Hit the Lights," aka Elvis.

Paint Pony 11


Watercolor on Paper

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hour 9

I can't believe I've painted ten paint ponies in the past 12 days! I'm glad I sketched this one the night before, because I was pretty tired when I got home, and wasn't sure if I was going to skip another night, but in the end, I pushed through.
This sad guy was almost all blue, but I changed my mind and tried to perk him up with some brilliant colors. He still looks sad.
He's a little larger than the rest, but I'm not sure his chest and legs translate very well, so I may cut him down. He sure is bright in his face area, though.

Paint Pony 10
Watercolor on Paper

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hour 8

Had class this evening as I will all semester, so I was tired when I got home, and almost didn't paint. Maybe I shouldn't have, pretty sure this one isn't my favorite. The reference photo didn't have much contrast because the horse was almost completely backlit, so it was hard to find any details in the dark side of his face. I also think his jaw is a little small. Oh well, he was fun to paint, and that's what it's all about!

Paint Pony 9
Watercolor on Paper

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hour 7

I was so busy with work stuff this evening that I almost forgot to post! But I did paint!
I got home from work this afternoon and after turning on the computer, it informed me that it was ill and needed more rest, and it shut down. Not being wise in these matters, I decided to let it rest until my tech-savvy mate got home! With nothing to work on, I decided to paint.
I liked the intent look on this guy, as well as his blues and greens. My husband says it looks like he fell in an algae-filled pond!
The computer is all better now, so here he is.
Paint Pony 8
8"x10" Watercolor on Paper

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hour 6

I decided to re-do the #5 Paint Pony today. It's still not quite right, but much better than the first one. I like the colors in this one better, but the proportions are still a little off.
I spent a lot of time cutting paper and getting supplies ready so I can get some painting done this week. I also got all my laundry done!
I may take Sunday to work on class work as classes begin on Monday. So maybe no painting tomorrow. I may try to sneak it in just a little while though!

Paint Pony 7
Watercolor on Paper

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hour 5

I waited until late to get started again, so it was almost 11pm before I completed this one. I like the painting, but I think, except for the colors, that is it tending a little more realist than I originally intended when I started this project.
Time for bed, maybe I'll work on some dogs tomorrow!

Paint Pony 6
Watercolor on Paper

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hour 4

Had a hard time getting started tonight after a long day registering students for classes. Came home tired and hungry, and really just wanted to watch TV. But I didn't, I went to look through my reference photos instead. I finally settled on this Arabian horse, the photo for which was beautiful. I laid in a cerulean background, and had to let that dry, so I printed out my reference photos. When I sketched it, I had a hard time with some of the angles because of the foreshortening, so I think his neck looks a little odd. I love his eyes, though.

Paint Pony 5
10"x8" Watercolor on Paper.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hour 3

I'm glad I found the time to paint tonight, because tomorrow will be a beast!

This painting was derived from a photo of a black horse. I didn't have the extreme contrast of the other photos, and when I started, I thought I was going to have a mess! All the colors were running together and making gray. But I kept adding more pigment, until finally I got some of the colors to stay!

Paint Pony 4
10x8, Watercolor on Paper

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No-time Tuesday

I sold two paintings!

I didn't paint tonight, just too much to do today. Dr. appt, meetings and more meetings, and then I was just mentally tired. I will post one from Sunday though, and try to fit it in tomorrow!

This was one of the two that I sold today - he is a 10x8 watercolor, he was the first I did of this series, so I call him "Paint Pony 1!"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hour 2

This evening my hour started after 9pm. I found that it took me over 15 minutes to get everything together, so in the future, I will get the water bucket the night before, the reference material in advance, and spray down/put out fresh paint before I start to sketch so it has time to get juicy!
This is Paint Pony 3, a watercolor on paper, and is 10"x8." I like the of warm tones in this one..

Sunday, August 7, 2011

An Hour To Paint - Hour 1

I am not a professional artist. Yet. But I consider myself in the transitional phase. I have a full-time job teaching biology at the community college, and I frequently find myself just too darn tired to think about painting.
This summer, I didn't teach for the first time in ten years. But tomorrow, I must go back to my day job. So I decided to commit to finding an hour each day to fit in some painting, so I won't stray too far from my goal of transitioning to full-time artist status. Someday.
The first thing that I decided would help me toward this goal is to get a little more organized. I have cleaned out the art room and located all my painting gear. I have been painting fairly regularly for the past week or two to help me train myself to paint regularly. This weekend, I undertook two tasks to help with both: I organized my freezer, and did some meal planning for the next week, and I prepared some art materials to help me start painting quicker.
My freezer was a disaster, I had much more than I thought (including three packages of frozen tilapia). Now it is more organized and inventoried. Perhaps that will cut down on the time it takes me to decide what to cook for dinner. Every little bit helps!
The art materials were also a disaster. I have sketchbooks and notebooks and palettes (at least six full size and as many travel size, and a few in-between!). What I decided was to cut up some good paper to common sizes - 8x10 inches, 5x7 inches, and card size, so I can take these with me if the only time to paint is while I am away.
I hope to post one painting each day to help me work toward this goal. The paintings may not be complete, but I hope to spend at least an hour each day.
By this time next year, I hope to be 356 hours closer to my goal!

Today's painting: The second "Paint Pony" I have done following watching a video on Art Academy Live by Peter X O'Brien. The first thing I remember drawing was horses. So I thought I'd post one for my first blog!