graceful embrace

Entwined; casein on panel; 8" x 10"

It took seven beets to finally find these special two.  The leaves of the first three never had the turgidity I was looking for - too limp from the start.  The next four had great leaves - but two were missing their long tap roots - a feature that is so enticingly graceful to paint.  So these last two were the winners.

In design, one usually looks for odd numbers of things.  For that reason, I was skeptical about setting up this still life.  So I kind of just plopped them down not thinking much would come of it.  If you'll remember, I had already become beet-weary at this point :)  But after their unceremonious placement the magic started.  I saw the amazing gradient in the shadow where it went from a deep mixture of blues and maroons to a cerulean dazzle.  Graceful lines showed themselves everywhere - most notably in the left beet's stems draped gently over the right beet. 

I still may go over my signature with cerulean blue mixed with white.  That would settle it down on a plane with the beets.  As it is, it juts forward - as if it were painted on the glazing of the painting.  Something to think about as I pack for Cincinnati - and grate beets - recipe to follow soon: Super Slaw.


on ice

Ice Out; casein on panel; 8" x 10"

Another plein air today - done completely outside.  I just added the signature inside when I got back to the studio.

This was on Holland Lake in Eagan, Minnesota.  There is a year-round dock there jutting out into the lake with a railed deck at the end of it.  So while it may look like I was on thin ice, I was actually quite safe and dry.

This was one of those paintings that was a complete mystery to me until I got it to the studio and could look at it under indoor lights.  The snow blindness was a danger today.  It was very disorienting and difficult to paint.  Much to my surprise, I'm very happy with the results.  But next time, I'll bring sunscreen.


out about

March Thaw; casein on panel; 8" x 10"

It was finally time to brave the cold and paint outside today.  The high was a little above freezing around 3:30pm - that's when this painting was done.  This is the bike path by my studio - sans the huge-high-tension tower that was actually in the upper right of this view.  That's the lovely thing about painting - you can take what you see and make it your own.

This is a true plein aire painting - the only alteration I made after coming home was to sign it.  What you see is what I was able to capture with my mitten-ed hands and eyes peeking between hat and scarf.  I'm very pleased with it - if for nothing else than having gotten out and broken the ice on painting outside - no pun intended.

In one week I'll be painting out in Cincinnati with the American Impressionist Society.  What I paint then will go into a special "Wet Wall" exhibition.  I'm excited to participate - and honored to be in such talented company.

little pieces

four 6 x 6 inch paintings - with an apple and sugar dispenser for scale

These four little pieces will be sent out East next month.  First they'll be trimmed to remove the white margins, then varnished and finally their edges will be sealed with black gesso.  Title, medium and artist contact info will go on the back.

They won't be signed, however, as they're destined for an anonymous exhibition in June.  More information forthcoming as the date approaches.


artist's proof

Casein Fine Art Painting (artist's proof) - cover

Casein Fine Art Painting (artist's proof) - last two pages

It arrived today - Casein Fine Art Painting - 7 steps to express your vision.

As in printing, I'm calling this my artist's proof.  It's something I needed to physically see in order to assess my progress and to continue writing.  I've already learned so much having it in my hands.  The font seems far too large and page numbers would be helpful as would a table of contents.  This was an important step, however - and will now lead the way for others. 

We have an amazing resource in Minneapolis called The Loft.  It's a haven for writers and where I hope to find someone who can do a manuscript critique for me.  I may also take one of their many classes on writing. 

An encouraging day - feeling hopeful.


calendar notes

in progress - a little 6 x 6 inch casein on watercolor board
My Year-at-a-Glance calendar is filling up with outdoor painting festivals, outings and competitions.  In a couple of weeks I'll be painting out in Cincinnati.  Then in May, it will be Chippewa Valley in Wisconsin.  June brings both Cedarburg, WI and Red Wing, MN - while August offers Paint the Point in Mineral Point, WI.  Grand Marais, MN is the longest - September 7th to the 15th.  It's also the one that I've already registered for - as the number of painters is limited.

I've yet to paint out with my toned Claybord panels - having used watercolor board for plein air painting up to this point.  Later this week I plan to give the Claybord panels a try and set my easel up outside in a nearby park or forest preserve.  In the meantime, I continue to paint still lifes.  Above is what's on the easel tonight - becoming a vase of sunflowers by bedtime.


studio pintura

three paintings ready to be dropped off for
Studio Pintura's Spring Floral Art Exhibition

A week from tomorrow I'll be dropping these three paintings off at the historic Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413.  Studio Pintura's Spring Floral Art Exhibition will be running there (Suite #293) from March 24th to April 28th.  I'm thrilled that three of my paintings were accepted into the exhibition!

From the top and then clockwise:
If you're local or are in the area, please stop in and see the show!

Exhibition Hours:
  • Opening Reception 6 - 10pm
    • March 24th
  • Saturdays Noon to 4pm
    • March 31st, April 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th
  • First Thursday 5 - 8pm
    • April 5th
  • or by appointment


high key

Pattern Pieces; casein on panel; 10" x 8"

I love painting satin ribbons - and noticing all of the incredible shapes, edges and colors - endlessly fascinating.

I also love to sew and had a chance to dust off my Singer hand-crank today.  It's freshly oiled now with a new bobbin wound - and it's sewing like a charm.  The project today was a canvas cover for my sketchbook with pockets and a flap for my fountain pen and pencils.  It's nothing fancy but does its job well.  Now to reinvigorate my daily sketching habit.

self publishing

on the easel - in progress; casein on board; 10" x 8"

One booklet, titled CASEIN FINE ART PAINTING: 7 steps to express your vision, is on its way here.  I used Blurb - which in turn utilizes Bookify.  It was an amazingly slick process and I'm very excited to see the hard copy.  I proofread it many times and so did my partner - but I have a feeling, when I hold the real thing in my hands, I'll see little things here and there that I may want to change.  If that's the case, it's easy to go back in and edit and then order more copies.  Once I'm super satisfied, I'll order a quantity of them to offer you all.  For now though, one will do.  I'm hoping it will be something I'll want to bring to Cincinnati to share with new friends at the American Impressionist Society's event in a couple of weeks.


many peppers

Mini Peppers - as of 3/5/2018; casein on panel; 8" x 10"

Started and finished tonight - now off to bed - goodnight.
Mini Peppers; casein on panel; 8" x 10"
edited: Apparently, Mini Peppers wasn't finished Monday.  Last night, while painting a still life with a sewing scissors, I added a red line next to the lower left edge of the table cloth.  That edge had gotten out of whack when I added a lighter key there to help round the edge of the cloth.  At the time, I knew there were variations in the line due to the cloth - so I tried to push the skewed line out of my mind.  But it kept nagging at me - until I "red-lined" it.  Feeling better now.


falling down

Cascade; casein on panel; 12" x 9"

My book is coming along - rather, my booklet is coming along.  It will be 20 pages in length and will outline in seven steps how to make a casein painting.  Since this is my first foray into writing anything bound, I thought I'd start small.  My next book will be longer and more in depth.  My hope is this first one will show me the way.

One of the steps in how to make a casein painting is the spark.  By that I mean the seed for the painting - the moment you say 'aha' and begin to realize your creation.  The spark for Cascade was the gorgeous fall of the carrot top leaves and how they gently rested on the counter.  Everything else in the painting supports this idea and gives emphasis to it.  The way to actualize this, is to keep the spark ever present in your mind as you construct your painting.  Hold the spark like an ember and gently fan it into a blaze until the painting is finished.


crazy colorful

Four Apples; casein on panel; 12" x 9"

I'm loving painting larger.  I think it's making me go bolder too - bolder colors, brushwork and subject matter. 

The latest painting on the easel is of carrots with their tops on - soaking in a cylindrical vase - with lighting just so and larger than life.