Saturday, October 31, 2009


Acrylic   6"x6"   Stretched Canvas 

Besides trying to portray the appeal of this old metal and wood utensil, I had fun playing around with the negative spaces in this little painting. I tried to create interesting shapes by having the object go off the edge, which is something I constantly stress with the kids in my art classes. I also tried out some complementary pairs with the blue and orange of the scoop and the yellow and violet of the background. Now I guess I'll go dish up some ice cream.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Monhegan Memories"

These two little paintings were each done in about 15 minutes from photos I took on Monhegan Island, ME. I hadn't painted for awhile, so I was doing some small studies to try to get things working again. They turned out pretty well, I think because I wasn't one bit concerned about how they would turn out. I gave them to my mom because she shared the whole experience with me, from the ferry ride, to hiking the trails, to spending the night at the Island Inn, to sitting on the rocks and watching the waves breaking. Little paintings of a little island.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Just My Type" - SOLD

Acrylic   6"x12"   Stretched Canvas
What was fun about this painting was trying to capture the essence of the vintage typewriter with the fewest possible brushstrokes. I really wasn't going for photo realism...just a believable impression of the working parts. Even this old relic brings back good memories. One summer, we somehow acquired an old typewriter like this which found a home on the table in our sun porch. Someone put a piece of paper in it and we started leaving messages for each other every time we passed by it, coming and going through that room. We all ended up with nicknames with which we signed our little "text messages," leaving comments and "blogging" about the events of the day. There wasn't one bit of technology involved, but it sure was fun. This was 30-some years ago, and look how far we've come.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"You Can Never Have Too Much Chocolate"

Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board  

One day, I was in the mood to paint some of my favorite chocolate candy. I was looking for a surface on which to set up the arrangement when I spotted a shiny tray in my studio. It provided a very fun capture the less intense colors and softer edges of the reflections. And it made it look like I had twice as much candy...which is never a bad thing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"A Break in the Trees" - SOLD

Acrylic   8"x10"   Canvas Board

This was painted on location on a farm along the Red River, south of Fargo. What appealed to me about this scene was the way the trees framed the far off view and added to the sense of space in the picture. Several of us set up to paint that afternoon, some using pastels, some oils, and some watercolors. I, myself, am concentrating on acrylics these days. They're so easy to travel with and are not hazardous to use in my home studio. While I love the look and smell of oil paints, I also love the bright colors I can get with acrylics and the immediacy of not having to wait for them to dry. I find sticking with one medium, and learning to do that well, takes one variable out of this process of teaching myself to paint the things I want to paint.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Dunes" - SOLD

Acrylic   7"x12"   Stretched Canvas  

This painting was done from a photo I took along the outer reaches of Cape Cod. It was early evening and the shadows were getting long and blue. I really like the way this turned out with the warmth of the sun still catching the tops of the dunes. While I know where I was when I saw this scene, others have said it reminds them of the dunes along the Oregon coast. I love it when a painting can be many things to many people.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Potato Salad"

Acrylic   11"x14"   Canvas Board   NFS

I painted this for my nephew who loves potato salad and loves to make it with his grandma. It was fun to try to capture so many different textures. Having the actual objects in a still-life arranged in front of me and painting them from life is a great excercise in observation. I can control the light source, overlap objects to create depth, and then simply paint what I see.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Takeout Pizza"

Acrylic   8"x10"   Canvas Board   NFS

This is a portrait of a "Manhandler" with onions from Pizza Corner in Valley City. Every time my brother and his family come back to North Dakota for a visit, it's usually only a matter of hours until we're all sitting down to dive into a couple of large pizzas from that establishment. Their pizza is awesome, but don't take my word for it. The next time you're in Valley City, ND, stop in and see for yourself. It's right on Main Street. You can't miss it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Got Gum?"

Acrylic   16"x20"   Canvas Board  

The reflections were really the subject of this painting. I set up the gumball machine near the window in my studio and tried to simply paint the colors and values that I saw, without even thinking about creating the look of metal. I was excited when I stepped back and looked at the results. I love the whole "Pop Art" idea... looking at the everyday things around us in a new light and giving them significance by painting them larger than life. The artist, Wayne Thiebaud (whose work I really like), did this with cakes and pies and gumball machines. His influence can definitely be seen in some of the subjects of my paintings.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Lego Man"

Acrylic   6"x6"   Stretched Canvas  

This little Lego structure was left sitting on the table one day after my nephews visited and I decided to paint it. It was much more difficult than I thought it would be...much easier to build with Legos, I think, than to paint them. But this demonstrates my philosophy that anything, insignificant or magnificent, is a worthy painting subject. The 'things' we surround ourselves with are often full of connections to the people we love.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Middle C"

Acrylic   6"x6"   Stretched Canvas  

I may not be very musical, but I did learn to play piano when I was a kid. I'm grateful to the grownups who drove me to my lessons and kept after me to practice. This is a little painting of the actual old upright piano I practiced on back then. I had to include the keyhole because that was the only way I could find Middle C. Now I only play for my own enjoyment (and badly at that), but as bad as my piano playing is, my singing is worse.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"June" - SOLD

Acrylic   8"x10"   Canvas Board  

This is a prairie scene I never get tired of...a hillside topped by trees, set off against a summer sky. There is something so familiar about this landscape. Anyone who's driven along a country road could probably name a place it reminds them of. For me, it's the hills around home and a day in June with the whole summer stretching ahead of me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Bend in the River" - SOLD

Acrylic   6"x8"   Canvas Board  

This little painting was done on the banks of the Buffalo River in Minnesota on a morning in June. The sun was hitting the sandbar across the river from me and turned the middleground of the painting into the center of interest. I've tried to paint this spot many times, and so far this is the closest I've come to capturing the layers of trees going back into the distance and the winding river flowing past me out the right side of the painting. I can look at this and hear the water and feel the breeze. That's one of the best parts of painting on location...the scene is forever etched in your memory and on your senses.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Sunmart Cupcakes"

Acrylic   8"x10"   Canvas Board  

The first time I saw this container of cupcakes in the bakery section of the grocery store, I knew I had to paint them. They represent all the primary and secondary colors...what artist could resist?! This painting is a little more abstract than most of my food still-lifes. I just wanted to communicate the impression of cupcakes and the delightful palette of different frostings.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Strawberry Rhubarb Pie"

Acrylic   8"x10"   Canvas Board  

One day I went to the grocery store with the sole purpose of finding something fun to paint. I thought I'd find some luscious cake or colorful donuts, but I came home with this bright red of my favorites. It was fun to try and capture the reflective look of the filling and the crumbliness of the crust. Just for some contrast, I painted a fork ready to take a big bite. It took longer than usual to paint this slice because I had to stop every few minutes to walk over and take another bite of the remaining pie. It's pretty hard to stare at something this edible and not feel the urge to eat the very subject of the painting.