Friday, August 27, 2021

Mixed Media, PanPastels and Zinnias

 There is a farmer not too far from my house growing zinnias!  You can pick your own at $4 for a dozen!  So beautiful, so I just had to pick a couple of dozen.  I brought them back to my studio to study and make drawings.

I just finished participating in PASTEL LIVE so I decided to try my hand at my pastels again.  Debora Stewart gave an interesting demo using acrylic paint, charcoal and pastels painting flowers in an abstract way.  So, with my zinnias as inspiration, I tried my hand at it.  What fun!!  Watch my progress below. 

So pretty!

Blind Contour drawings of the flowers.

Using Golden Fluid Acrylics, I created some washes on matboard.

Working from my drawings, I used charcoal and created a composition.  Then I brushed a coat of clear gesso on top of everything.  This will darken the charcoal and set the ground for the pastels.

Making drawings from the flowers

I thought I would try a new twist with Debora's technique.  I love gelli plate printing and using stencils as well as PanPastels.  So I thought why not combine the two.  I added a layer of thin blue PanPastel to the background around the flowers.  Then using one of Elizabeth St. Hilaire's wonderful stencils, I pounced pastel into the background before I started working the flowers.

Adding blues to the background

Pouncing the PanPastel through the stencil

Makes an interesting effect in the background.

After working the flowers. 
Now deciding if I am finished with it.

Close up.

What do you think?  Am I finished?  Did I create a new technique?
Let me know what you think via my website:

Friday, May 7, 2021



I just won BEST OF SHOW with this mixed media piece!
After working on this project for a month, I finally completed my DOORS entry for the Turlock Library opening competition. I made 26 ink drawings from real doors around the world. Some doors are old, some new contemporary, some from countries far and wide, some quaint, some historic, some rustic, and some traditional. I discovered that doors are true works of art!
Then using the door drawing as a cover, I created a book to match a letter from the alphabet. For example A = ART HISTORY, B is for BOTANY, C is for CASTLES, etc. I tried to imagine a student doing research in the library and what fun things they might discover in those library books.
My display is an interactive display, meaning you can touch the books and open the doors to be surprised by what is inside. They are not in alphabetical order, so you never know what might be on the other side of that door! Some of the books feature paintings I have created over the last 20 years. I chose a frame that looks like a carved door. The covers are black and white like the letters on a written page. Inside is bright and colorful like the joy you find inside a book. And I wrote a short paragraph describing the alphabet letter subject. Each book has a cloth binding too and a black bead sewn in place for a door knob! There were lots of challenges making those 26 little books!


Opening Doors is a juried exhibition sponsored jointly by the Friends of the Turlock Public Library and Turlock’s Carnegie Arts Center, celebrating the grand opening of the newly renovated Turlock Public Library. Artists from throughout the Central Valley were invited to submit work that is influenced or inspired by the many ways that libraries “open doors” and, as a result, enrich lives.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Afternoon Walk in Pacific Grove

Testing the finished painting in a hand carved gold frame

Finished painting still on the easel and wet

 My painting is finished, pending approval from my patron.  It now needs to rest and dry before varnishing it.

Testing another frame in the finished painting.

Side view of this frame

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Afternoon Walk - day 2 progress

Day 2 work on the painting and I am about half way through.  
The weather was nice enough to get out to my studio and paint today.

Blocking in the green ice plant areas

Working on the path

Blocking in the cliff rocks

Refining rocks, blocking in the fence, figures,
refining grassy areas, water & distant hills, adding sail boat

Mixing palette

So the painting is coming along and about half way finished.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Afternoon Walk in Pacific Grove

Painting "en plein air" on location  - it was cold!

The original plein air painting created in PG

I am enjoying doing a commission painting working from a small plein air painting I painted along the Pacific Grove coast a few years ago.  These nice folks bought a note card of the painting at a bookstore that sells my art note cards.  They liked the painting on the card and asked me to do a larger painting for them.  The storms in California have made it difficult to get to my studio until today, but I finally got a start on the under painting.  I will post my progress as it goes.

Step 1 prep the canvas with red paint
and draw the composition


Blocking in some of the background color

I like working on a red background sometimes,
especially when there is a lot of green in the painting.
The red background will 
sparkle through in a few places, adding interest. 

Here I have started to block in the focal point tree shapes.  

             Hopefully, I will be able to work on the painting again tomorrow!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Painting from Inside My Car!

"Pacific Grove's Point Pinos Lighthouse"    4" x 6"  gouache

It can get pretty cold and foggy along the California coast at Pacific Grove.  When I had a chance to go there I naturally wanted to go painting.  This day was so cold and windy, setting up my easel was not a good idea.   So I tried an experiment ... paint from inside my car!  

Now painting with oils inside a car is not a good idea, but I came prepared!  I bought my gouache paint!  Gouache is opaque watercolor, so I figured if I got some on my car seats I could wash it off.  I was lucky none spilled.  Check out my setup!  I have one of those trays that you can put over your lap.  I have not seen those in the stores in a long time, but when I bought it I thought.... "Hey I can use that one day!"  So the day finally came.  It is great as it holds my water, brushes, paper towels, ceramic palette and a wet palette too.  I was able to straddle it over my console in my new Subaru Outback.  It fit perfectly!

my painting and value sketch on my steering wheel easel 

<  I made a gizmo to fit over my steering wheel and clipped my 4" x 6" piece of archival mat board to it.  It all worked out great!

Point Pinos Lighthouse from my car

My scene was of the old lighthouse in Pacific Grove called Point Pinos Lighthouse.  It is currently closed due to the virus, but a few years ago I toured through it.  It is a wonderful piece of history.  The light still works and it shown bright yellow in the tower.  You might be able to see it from my photo.  

The scene was pretty far away and there is an old wooden fence which I felt blocked the eye leading to the lighthouse.  So I eliminated the fence and added a path.  There are lots of native grasses and some off-white flowers blooming which I enjoyed putting into my scene.  Three hours later, I declared my painting finished!

This little painting is up for auction on Daily Paintworks.
Check it out on my gallery page at

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sloshing Around in an Almond Orchard

 What a fun day sloshing through the almond orchard!  When my friend's family irrigates their almond orchards I come running over with my paint box!  Sam had the sprinklers going and there were large puddles of water under the rows of the almond trees.  Luckily, I was able to set up my paint box on the driveway and saved my shoes from getting soaking wet.  I couldn't wait to get out my paints!  The reflections are wonderful... almost magical under those trees!  I can see so many colors in the water, soil and grasses on the ground alone!  The trees bend here and there in different directions and the soft green leaves on the branches hang down loaded with the almonds.  It is late July and soon the almonds will be harvested in the Central Valley of California where I live.

 Here you can see my paint box.  I started out in the shade, but soon the light dappled through the tree behind me and I had to put up my umbrella.  It is important to see the painting in even light as I am painting it. 

When I got home, worked on the painting a little more, refining some places, adding more color, etc. using my photo references and my memory.

Scroll down to see the finished painting in a frame.

Here are some of the photos I took that day to help me finish my painting. 

Look at those reflections!
"Time To Irrigate" - oil on linen panel - 9" x 12"

Here is what the painting might look like in a frame.

Available for purchase on my gallery page at