The Nashville area has become a special place for me. Two of my sisters and my adorable nephew and niece are there, so it’s become a go-to spots for family travel. And just outside Nashville, I have discovered the wondrous Holly Belle on Instagram. Even if you didn’t grow up with a dad that brought home a baby cow in the back of the station wagon (true story!), Holly’s “puppy cow” jumping around in the dining room of her house is sure to make you happy. Her mini cows have inspired my paintings and drawings in the recent past, and I have three paintings of cows started, shown above in various states of completion.
Please visit my Into the Country series to see more paintings of animals.
Shiro in progress
5″ x 5″
oil on aluminum
Robbie in progress
oil on aluminum
17″ x 15″
Painting in a traditional style, takes many layers of paint and lots of time.
Visiting an artist’s studio, you will see multiple painting in the various stages of completion. By first doing a thin coat of paint and mixing more oil medium with my paints for each successive layer (known as working lean to fat), my paintings will last for many hundreds of years without cracking or buckling. Not all artists care about the longevity of their paintings, but for me, I care out of respect for what I’m doing and for the work countless others have done throughout the long history of painting to figure out best practices. It also creates a rich depth that you can’t get with just one layer of paint!
Please take a look at my pet and human portrait galleries and visit my Commissions page to learn more about my commission process!
Octagonal picture frame in progress
Cutting a liner for a custom frame
An artist’s studio isn’t only for painting!
I often hire local framers (my favorite in Seattle is Gallery Frames) but sometimes I like to make and finish them myself. This frame, pictured in multiple parts above, will be for an oval family portrait I made several months ago. It took some brainstorming to figure out the perfect frame! See the post with the completed frame.
I hope you’ll check back soon to see how these pieces progress!
Portrait painting of Robbie in progress
Henry (left) and Corinna (right) miniature paintings in progress
I’m very excited to start off the year with three new commissions
I book out my commissions almost a year in advance, so I’ve had months to look forward to working on these paintings. The miniature of Henry and Corinna should go pretty quickly, but Robbie will take more time because not only is it a much larger painting filled with a wide variety of details, painting people is much more difficult than painting animals. I’m especially excited at how the subjects for this month are varied, but so in tune with what I love to paint.
I hope you’ll check back to see how the paintings progress and you can see some finished pieces in the Portraits gallery and Pet Portraits gallery.
Painting an eye about the size of a grain of rice takes quite a lot of concentration.
Though I usually like to have lots of paintings going at once, this August most of my time will be spent working on a miniature 5″ x 6″ family portrait. Once I had the underpainting finished, I realized this painting would take a lot of focus to finish. I’ve been using every spare minute to move this little portrait along, and as long as I keep holding my breath at just the right times, it looks like it will turn out nicely!
It’s almost done, so check back soon to see the finished piece!
Works In Progress: Monthly Miniatures ‘Rabbit’ and ‘Honey Bees’, each 4″ x 4″ painted in oil on copper
Busy as a bee! Working on two Monthly Miniatures at once.
Being a new mom means I really have to make good use of my limited studio time, and I have to be ready to use any spare moment. Though I am already the sort of artist to work on several pieces at once, it’s now especially useful for me to have several paintings in the works. Working in oils, one layer has to dry before the next one starts, which means lots of downtime where I can’t work, if I’m only working on one painting at a time. The drying time can be up to three days (‘Titanium White’ is the worst, it can take a week to dry if it’s cold in the studio). Though I only plan to finish the bees this month, I already have a head start on September’s miniature painting, and I’m excited to see it take form (‘Rabbit,’ above)!
Work In Progress, Rabbit Portrait, oil on aluminum, 2″ x 2″
Even more rabbits for a group show in October at Childhood’s End Gallery
I’m really excited to be a part of an anniversary exhibition featuring small works at Childhood’s End Gallery in Olympia this fall. This little guy I found has lots of great colors in his fur, and I’m anxious to finish it! It will be displayed along with two portraits of my rabbits, Charlie and Ellie: I’ll post them all together when they’re ready!
Work in progress, Oil on aluminum, 24″ x 36″
Steady as she goes! Progress on my figurative painting series
Somehow I’ve officially been working on this painting for a year! It’s large and detailed, and there has been a lot on my plate. But I am eager to wrap it up and continue with the series, so I have set a deadline to finish it by the end of the year! Expect to see more progress shots in coming months.
Black Cat in progress – experimenting with background treatments
Despite my hungry little bundle joy, (i.e. my adorable, two month old son Isaac), June is off to a great start in the studio. Here’s a peak at four little paintings I’m working on right now.
The first of the lot is of Jolly Rajah, the black cat. I actually started this one months ago as an experiment related to the monthly miniature series (I considered a series of black cats). I had considered this little one finished, and originally it featured a window with a tree in the background. But it didn’t seem right to me, and I ended up going with the Into the Country idea instead. After contemplating it for a while, I’m reworking this little guy. I’m trying out a simplified background now, working to define his features a bit more, and also to create a stronger focal point at his lovely eyes.
I love the beautiful little 1920’s brass and celluloid miniature frame I have for it, so I’m hoping to salvage the painting. I’m also hoping that working through this painting, will help me get a better idea of what will work in the fourteen remaining frames I’ve been collecting in this style. Here’s a link to the finished painting!
Commission In Progress
I love painting animals, but I have to admit to a special soft spot for dogs
This little guy is my top priority in the studio right now. He’s the first of my June Miniature Pet Portrait Specials and will be completed in time for a special occasion. I have added a couple coats of paint since taking this photo, and I plan to have it finished by the end of the week so it can be shipped out to its new home right away.
Rabbit Couple in progress
I told you there would be more rabbits! It’ll be hard to separate these two paintings, and I’m considering selling them as a pair. Once they’re finished, they’ll go in a lovely pair of matching antique frames I’ve been saving for just the right couple. I’m planning on three or four more rabbit portraits and will be on the lookout for new models! Contact me if you have a willing bunny!
I’ve been commissioned to do a portrait of The Bride of Frankenstein from the 1935 film starring Elsa Lanchester. The commission was influenced by a current body of work that I call Mismatched Portraits, and my fabulous patron, Jennifer, who is also an artist, invited me to compose it any way I liked. This is an image showing the very first stages of the underpainting.
I’ve also included some of the first paintings completed in this series below.
Mismatched Portrait (John), oil on aluminum, 3 x 5, 2014
Mismatched Portrait (Louise), oil on aluminum, 3 x 5, 2015