Friday, November 30, 2012

Still life with photographer

I spent the morning with photographer Kristin Teig.  She was taking pictures of my studio and me in it, and I was drinking a lot of tea and working on a small study of a toy boat. It was a bit of a challenge for me, a reluctant subject of photos most times, to act and paint naturally in front of a camera, but it got easier as the morning progressed. And it certainly was an honor for me and my work to be sought out as subjects. I can't wait to see the finished photographs. 

As I can't share the photos yet, here's the toy boat study.  Oil on panel, 10x10".

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Morning study

I took a break from my daily studies while traveling for the holiday last week.  I definitely felt out of practice this morning as I pushed myself to get as much done in an hour as I could. This is not my favorite painting, but it was a good exercise all the same.

Begonia, oil on panel, 10x10" 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New work at Principle Gallery

I just got back from a lovely trip to Virginia for Thanksgiving. On the way I dropped off a few pieces at Principle Gallery in Alexandria for their holiday season. I'd recommend a visit to the gallery if you're in the DC area, it's always a treat!

New works at Principle Gallery:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Painting shadows is easy, and other lies we tell ourselves

I've actually wanted to paint this subject for a while, but haven't quite known how to go about it.  This morning I was in a hurry to get my daily study out of the way and couldn't decided on a subject.  I was standing in the sun, looking around, and thought, why not just paint my shadow?  How hard could it be?  Famous last words.  I think it definitely is worthy of another attempt--there was quite a learning curve to it, not least as sun through a window sweeps across the floor at quite a clip.  But here it is: my sunny floor.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Busy as a bee...

Just a note to traffic to and from my website, no doubt you've noticed it's a bit outdated.  I'm currently in the midst of the enormous project of redesigning it in its entirety.  To those of you who are extremely savvy in the ways of computers and websites, it is probably not such a huge task, but to those of us whose computer classes began and ended with Typing 101, it's more monumental.  I hope to have it up and running soon.  In the mean time, I'm sure you will have more patience than I do, and you can always buy a postcard of one of the paintings missing from the site to tide you over.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

daily exercise

Well, so far I've been good on my resolutions.  Here's this morning's study: 

Yes, it's a decorative gourd of some sort, but I like to think of it as an octopus enamored of a beach ball.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Ok, so it's not actually the new year, but why wait until January to start on some good new habits?  One of the fabulous things about the Open Studios I participated in last weekend was that it forced me to take a good look at the work I'd done in the last few years.  Any artist will tell you, we're always learning, always growing.  Looking at all my work hung up on my walls, I was reminded how important it is to me to have a goal, a direction, in my work, and how important it is to be always painting.  So, I resolved to paint more, that is, paint daily studies in addition to whatever other work I might have in progress, and to set some time aside each day to plan future paintings.  

First thing in the morning, well, after breakfast, I've dedicated to brief studies.  Here are the first two:

Oil on canvas
oil on panel:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


In case you missed open studios and would desperately like to own some postcards of my work, they are available on Etsy for your purchasing pleasure.  You can also find a few prints (I'm working on getting more works available in that form).  And if you would like to purchase the paintings themselves, of course, please contact me at

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who came out to Open Studios!  It was so lovely to meet you and share my studio and work with so many admirers.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pricing paintings

--A pause between Open Studio shifts--

I've always had a difficult time pricing my work.  How much is it worth?  And what does that mean?   The question of worth is made more complicated by the love-hate relationships I often have with my paintings.  Some pieces I labored and agonized over for months and called them finished without ever being truly happy with my work, others are the result of two days of inspired labor--to me seemingly much better, stronger, more successful paintings than the work of months, but on a price list, often "worth" the same or less.  And, of course, each painting feeds off the paintings and experiences that came before: one inspired painting is often the child of years of uninspired paintings (the ones hidden in the back cupboard, of course).  It only seems fair to charge for the years that went into the culminating work.  It's why someone with a PhD gets paid more to teach than someone with a BA: you're paying for their experience, for their years of study.

So how to price?  You'd be hard pressed to find an artist who can explain their prices well.  Some people just make up numbers. Some people use a price per square inch method, but that often breaks down if your paintings have a large range of sizes, often leaving small paintings costing less than the materials used to make them, or larger paintings costing as much as a house.  And an artist can spend more time creating a small painting than a large one, so what then?.  I try to be fair; when I started out I did a lot of research on the prices of artists with similar styles and sizes and backgrounds, trying to figure out where I fit in the market.  Now, certain sizes and genres of my work have established price ranges from years of showing and selling: those I can't change.  And other work of similar size and quality (ah, such a tricky quantity to measure: quality) get similar prices, plus some adjustments for size and frames.  And I try to extrapolate out from there, but it's tricky: I sometimes worry I've got it all wrong. And I'm always somewhat heartbroken when people who so clearly love my work cannot afford it, so I've tried to make up for that by selling prints and postcards.  

Open Studios has been an interesting experience for me.  Usually dealing through galleries, I've spent more time talking to the people who sell my work than those who buy it (or refrain from buying it).  Letting the world into my studio, I've heard all sorts of reactions to my prices, from those who flat out told me my work was over priced, to the kind lady who asked about my most expensive piece and then told me to stick to the price because I would get it someday, no question.

In the end, I think, the matter of worth is individual to each person. No one is going to pay a lot of money for a painting they do not like, but beyond that, what really matters? I studied for years to gain the techniques and skills I bring to my paintings. They are unique unto themselves. People spend hundreds of dollars on smart phones, which, if treated well, will last them a few years. My paintings are well crafted oil paintings, they bring joy, wonder, beauty, laughter (yes, people laugh at my work--in a good way), if treated well, they can last generations. To me, that is worth a lot.  And how many smart phones is a painting worth, anyway?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Open Studios Tomorrow!

Open Studios begin tomorrow!  It's been a crazy last few days of framing, organizing, hanging, etc., but I'm almost ready.  Here are a few sneak-peak photos:

It just isn't a show without Sebbie.

I'm always amazed how much more "finished" pieces look once framed.  Here are a few I thought worthy of individual pictures: