Baby Hands

Acrylic, 6 x 6 inches

I recently tried these two pictures of baby hands with an orange using two different colored grounds. One was burnt sienna; the other was ultramarine blue. Can you tell which was which?

It’s not difficult to tell–the orange is more vibrant on the burnt sienna, and the rest of the painting is more exciting on the blue background. I found the flesh colors difficult to get correct. I like the top hand on the right the best, as it has the most luminosity.

I think hands are fascinating for their complexity of positions and expressions. I need more practice at painting them though!







Acrylic, 9 x 12 inches

I painted this picture as a gift for my son who has just learnt to skydive this year. He’s completed 26 jumps and graduated with his first certificate. We thought it was a crazy venture at first, but since he’s described the process we’ve been very impressed with the method and responsibility of the process and we’re proud of him.

I watched his you-tube video many times, stopping it every few seconds to find a shot I liked and then I painted from the computer screen.









This is my second adventure in acrylics, a painting of my granddaughter, Lois. I think the acrylic quick drying property makes me work looser and ‘rougher’. There is not so much time to adjust and fiddle! I’ve added layers of course, but the smooth gradations that are easy in oil are difficult here.

I love the vibrancy of the colors.

Dancing for Joy



Acrylic 9 x 12

I decided to try out acrylics as an oil alternative. I was given some Daniel Smith acrylics a few years ago (no longer made) and most of them are still in usable condition.

Over the summer I read Capturing Light in Acrylics by John Hammond, which I found very inspiring. I love his colors! (I found it first in a used bookstore on Portsmouth, NH asking price $30!) I ordered it on inter-library loan and enjoyed reading it.

I painted this picture with a burnt sienna wash undercoat and a burnt sienna monochrome underpainting. For a few days I could not decide how to paint the background, but after considering something much darker, settled on this green pattern of light.

The subject was my daughter, enjoying the feel of her new dress-up ballerina costume!

Experimental Roses


I have recently read ‘Atmospheric Watercolors’ by Jean Haines and I started a background with her methods. It was very loose and I used cling film to create textures. Then I superimposed a drawing of these roses on top and developed them using the colors from the ‘Red-Green ‘ palette in ‘Watercolor Harmony’ by Joyce Washor. They are still tighter and more detailed than shown in eitehr of these books! I don’t know if I can ever paint ‘loose’! (The ‘rose’ in the top left corner is mainly just the cling film pattern; I liked how it looked, so I just left it).

The birds are still singing

imageAs another part of my mother’s 80th birthday gift I collected some of her poems that she’s been writing over the past few years and made a book (using Shutterfly) of them. I used mainly photos to illustrate the poems, but I painted a couple of pictures especially for the book. This was one of them.

Her poem is about the strangeness and loneliness of being on your own after the loss of your spouse (my dad died in 2010), but has a hopeful refrain–‘but hey, the birds are still singing’. As I was musing over what to paint for this poem, I looked outside and saw this lovely bright yellow finch enjoying himself on our echinachea flowers. I quickly snapped several photos of him and then used several shots to compose this illustration. I love the brightness and hope of this idea.

Painting for my mother


Statue, 9 x 12, oil

I am in England visiting my mother for her 80th birthday. A few months ago she asked if my sister or I could paint this statue that she has in her garden. She bought it right after my dad died in 2010. I had a go at it, from a photo I’d taken several years ago, and gave her this as part of my gift to her.


This is the statue as it looks today. The plantings have changed around it, so the foliage and colors look different. I rather like it as it is today, as it has more color and varied, interesting shapes. Should I paint it again?