Abstract Beginnings

abstract beginnings

Abstract Beginnings

Abstract Beginnings Notes

All paintings have abstract beginnings in my view. From the abstract expressionism so popular again now to the very refined of realism, it is all starts with the abstract. Some are starts, which I enjoy and some are block ins that all painters begin with. I’ve been studying this process for a long time. I am a mass painter in that I see objects in large masses of value and shapes. I tend away for linear form except for fine tree limbs and final details of a painting. It is that gradual transition from the abstract to the refinement that separates a lot of styles. That is the intrigue for me. I’ve never really had any interest in being a true abstract painter. I like the natural world too much to abandon it for vague shapes and colors, though I completely respect those who paint that way.

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Abstract Beginnings

My study method is a beginning in abstract shapes values and colors, moving along in that vein until the end is near. I like to add refinement where I want the attention of the viewer to rest for a moment. My goal is a transition around the painting between abstraction to semi-abstraction and to fine detail where it is warranted. I like clean paint and mud where it is intentional, not by poor brushwork. Perhaps that is why my love affair with alla prima has faded. I don’t like sloppy brushwork whether it is refined or of a loose quality.

Abstract beginnings

It is more of a mindset in the process than any major process changes. In other words, my mental approach to the method is different. I start with the idea of doing a painting, using spare information. Just enough to tell the story and make it viable for my studies. The larger painting is approached in the same way, but varying amounts of detail or refinement are added as needed to produce a finished work. Using this method is making me more accountable for my detail additions. I have to think about what is really necessary, rather than moving forward with detail in an unmeasured way.  I like this process very much. Further study is needed of course, this is just a different method of painting. Shaking up the old dog with some new ideas is always a good idea. I would never want to be a rote or complacent painter. I never want to learn everything. I want the quest for excellence to go on as long as I can hold a brush.

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Abstract beginnings

It is important that painters understand that they may never be a master painter. I never will but it does not deter  or depress me.There will always be painters who can out paint me all day long. I think painters spend too much time thinking about their pecking order or who is better, or who they are better than. The art world has become too much about contests and position. Really! Who cares who is better? No one paints like me and I can live with that. I don’t have to be the best or even good. As long as I have a desire to learn my craft and as long as folks like my work and buy it, I am successful. I am doing what I adore with my life, meeting splendid people who believe in me and my work. I don’t think prestige is all that important. I have a big resume but I haven’t been asked for it in years. Our work is our name. Standing in front of that easel and working at it every day is what counts. As long as I am improving and working hard, I am a success!

These experiments with abstract beginnings are sometimes successful and sometimes not. I have a burn pile on my land a few steps from the studio. Lots of canvases go on it as I progress through various experiments and techniques. Some turn out good, luckily. There is a lot about our world that is from abstract to refined, and all in between. I’ll keep working at it.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe


2 large avocado s, chopped
1-1/2 cups cooked fresh corn kernel s
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion s
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup  Italian Dressing
Combine gently and serve with chips

Transitions Career


Transitions in Career Notes

Sometimes I think back in my career and wonder why I didn’t make transitions sooner. I have found though, that transitions happen when they are supposed to. Perhaps we haven’t the skill set needed yet for some changes. Perhaps we don’t have the resources financially or the relationships yet to make the proper transitions. I think we have the light bulb go off  when we either have to make changes or want to badly enough.

Marketing Can Be Fun

My big transition for this stage of career is redoing my Country Studio. I am investing in my future and slowly giving up my dependence on other galleries to sell my work. It will take a bit of time, but after 40 years of depending on the whim of dealers, it’s time to sell my own work. Who understands it and my mission more than I do?  What better place to spend most of my time than my own beloved studio and on Deer Woods Trail?

My friends, the Junk Yard Girls made the new signs for my Country Studio. They are so cute. What an improvement! I used to have a big ugly plastic sandwich board sign that I drug out to the front gate for parties. Now I have a beautiful, free standing permanent sign installed in front of my gate. It is very easy to see. They made one for the front of the studio building too.

I’ve been doing tiny Fairy House paintings on wood to install along Deer Woods Trail to entertain my trail walking visitors as they stroll along. The trail has been extended twice, and is lovely to stroll. I enjoy a walk there from September-May each year.

I believe my big transition will be successful, but it will take hard work and true effort to get visitors coming out to a rural studio. It will mean more effort toward online sales and better management of my online venues. I may or may not need to hire someone who is more skilled in e-commerce. I will eventually be able to build my collectors club with better pricing advantages for members. Most people don’t realize that artists have to pay steep commissions to art dealers. Sometimes up to 50-60% of a sale. Being self-represented allows me to make adjustments for my regular collectors through the club, giving them a good reason to make the drive out to my Country Studio.

Whatever your situation, transitions to your career can be very positive. If you are able to use creative ideas, you can overcome difficulties, improving your situation. You may not see solutions right away. It may take some time to get good ideas. You must believe that you will, to succeed. It took me about 7 years to see my solutions.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…….

Today’s Recipe

Corn Dip

1 (15.25-oz) can Southwest corn, drained
1 (14.75-oz) can no-salt-added cream-style corn
1 (4-oz) can diced green chiles
1 (1.2-oz) package extra spicy guacamole seasoning
12 oz processed cheese product
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
Pretzels or chips, optional for serving

  1. Drain corn. Place all ingredients in microwave-safe bowl (except cheese and cilantro); whisk until blended. Cut cheese into small chunks; stir into corn mixture.
  2. Cover and microwave on HIGH 2 for minutes; stir, then heat 2–3 more minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes to cool.
  3. Chop cilantro; stir into dip. Serve with pretzels or chips.


Pet Companions


Our pet companions run the studio.

Pet Companions Notes

Pet Companions are the best studio mates. I have a canary named Bubba and a goldfish named Murphy who keep me company in my office. Henry, my French bulldog runs my studio. He is my time keeper and scheduler, knowing when it is time to leave the office in the morning and go out to the studio. He knows exactly when to leave the studio and break for lunch, knows when it is nap time, back to studio time, when I need to take my walks every day and when to go to bed. He keeps me on a tight schedule. I never need a watch at the studio. Henry knows all. He doesn’t like things out of place in the studio either. If I leave a big box sitting around, Henry barks at it until I pick it up and move it.


Henry likes to have his bed right next to my easel and naps while I work. My canary sings and tweets to me while I work at the computer. My fish Murphy does what ever he wants, having no care about my business at all. Pets keep us entertained, they make us work and they love our paintings. We can’t do without them lounging around the business of art.

Pets also become stars in their own right. When I had a loft studio in town, Henry used to go to work with me every Wednesday. He welcomed visitors and gave out dog bones to pet owners and autograph paw prints. He had a huge following. People came regularly to visit with him. I found that he was much more popular than I was and each week, I could count on the most visitors on Wednesday. I really miss that. There is a studio dog at Paddiwhack now named Tulip. She is territorial and doesn’t want other dogs there, so Henry stays home. Someday I hope to be able to have him at my town studio again.

I think pets enhance our lives as artists greatly. I would be lost without my pet companions. They are like a vacation from daily routine. I believe my pets make me a better person and a better artist.

More musings for artists and collectors to come.

Loyal Friends


Loyal Friends Notes

My loyal friends drove out to the studio today to join me for the chili party. When you throw parties out away from the city, you never know if folks will show up. I didn’t have a large crowd, but I had a loyal group of friends who came and almost always do. I met a couple of new friends too. We started small and ended up with a good group toward the end of the afternoon. We went through a pot of chili, so all were fed.

I really enjoyed seeing everyone and we had a lively discussion of literature, including spy novels, sci-fi, Shakespeare, then shifted to various films we have loved over the years. We talked about comic books, werewolves, super heroes and transformers. What an interesting group. The room filled up emptied out and the talk continued like musical chairs with people moving in and out of the discussion. It was a blast! Friends purchased everything from art puzzles and pins to small paintings. Good friends, new friends and art sales. I call that a good party! I’m grateful to all who came.

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The work is yet to come. Tomorrow I must put my studio back together again as a working studio. I have a private student tomorrow at 10 AM. She is visiting from another city. I do have one table ready and set up for her. I decided to get up in the morning and reset the studio enough to paint, and take my time next week putting it back together.  Truth to tell, I’m tired. This has been an incredibly hard week and I’m looking forward to doing several underpaintings next week to glaze for my students, show and tell. We are going to work on Notan studies in two weeks. I’m ready for a bit of down time next week without any students, just painting fun. I’m so lucky to have a career as a painter, so blessed.

More to come…..



Today is the Day


Today Notes

Today started busy and kept going. Today is the day to finish cleaning up my studio, do my sales taxes, pack my painting gear, and finish packing my suitcase. Thanks to my sister for going to the grocery store for me, so I can have a bit of food to take with me to Vero Beach.

It took the better part of the morning to finish the sales tax report and send in the payment, always a pain. Naturally I forgot my password and sign-in info, so I had to dig out my certificate and go through hoops on the web site to finally get it done. I fill face my federal taxes as soon as I get back from Vero, ugh.

Happily, my studio wasn’t too bad. I just had to clean up coffee cups, and clean off tables, the bird cage and the fish bowl. I also spent a fair amount of time picking painting panels, 8×10, paint box and the usual stuff that goes with it. I fit it all into one tote bag. I fit my clothes into another tote bag, and my food into a cardboard box. I basically have two totes and a box for a trip. I am a light packer.

Home Page

Sadly, I am leaving my office in shambles this week. I’m one of those people who like to leave my home world tidy, so I come home with the world under control. I won’t get my tables back until I return so that will be a project waiting for me to face. I also have several unfinished paintings in stages around the studio, but they will wait patiently for me until I’m home.

The painting residency will be quite busy, with several wild spaces, parks, etc. to visit in 5 days. We have a boat ride, curtesy of my dear friend and hostess Judy, at the Pelican Island Nature Preserve. A biologist will lead the tour and I’m very excited about that. I’ll be blogging from Vero Beach as I can during next week.

More to come…..