Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to Basics

Because of my surgery in Oct. I feel like I missed Arizona Fall. Tomorrow is Dec. 1st which makes me panic a bit. The hard part is I am slowly back into painting. It was as if I were afraid that I couldn't do it anymore. I have never gone this long away from my easel. SO when a friend of mine asked me today to explain "starts" I realized how perfect her request is. This last week I have been doing "starts" but not giving them the correct thoughtfullness. Starts, are not completed paintings, but decisions in paint on the composition, and values and temperature of the scene before you, They can be completed but for the time being leave them as they are. The most important step in a successful painting is right up front- what are you chosing out of the scene before you to paint, what is your composition going to be? Will this be a dramatic layout or a serene quiet scene. The correct composition choice can make the difference between a boring so so painting and one that holds the eye. Starts are only the lay in of a painting- usually working small is more convient but not important. You will be laying in the lines and layout of the painting in color. Use the values that come the closest to the scene. It's not a bad idea to push the darks a bit. It is hard to go into a painting and try to darken it up and many plein air aritists come home with too much white and not enough strong darks. Get down your darkest darks, and then your lightest lights (sky? water?) When you step back away from your painting does it appear strong? Does it work as an abstract because that is what a start looks like. Just simple puzzle like shapes of darks, shadows, light sky and lighter sides of objects. Use a true to the natural colors as you can, and not thick paint. Use a touch of your medium to lay this in. You will find that you go through a thought process something like this:
Emotional decision of what part of a scene to paint,
Intellectual decision of how to lay it out with the strongest composition
Emotional enjoyment of mixing the correct colors and where would the highlights go?
Intellectual - to be critical of your composition, colors, does it work? if not scrape it.
All of your paintings start this way but it takes longer as you fill in more and more detail up till you have as much as you feel the viewer needs. I have been doing starts all this week, to get my head thinking in the right way- Scene, then composition, then color notes layed out. I can always go back to these starts and finish them up and also learn from them. I often find that my starts were much more interesting, they were stronger than my studio work because of the deepest darks gave them strength- something that I often lack in studio work. Collect up some cheap canvas boards or mark off 5"x7" rectangles on large sheets of canvas paper and have them ready to go. My normal routine for painting outdoors includes a small start worked up first, then I can be critical of it- does it work, is the composition strong? This really helps me make the right call when I put my brush onto the canvas for a completed painting. These little abstracts should make a be difference in how you make artistic decisions in the beginning of any painting.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Arizona Plein Air Painters- 3rd Place

At the Arizona Plein Air Painters "Painters View " show this piece took 3rd Place. This was painted in Tubac last winter. I had made a trip down there to drop off some paintings and was determined to paint while there. It was so cold- I was able to finish up just as the started to sleet on me. My car temp. said 28 degrees, to you guys who live in cold country that's nothing but to a desert girl that is just plain COLD. Phil Starke was the judge so it really menas a lot to me to have his OK. Check out his work and his newsletter that is very helpful to artists at He is one artist who happily gives to other artists rather than try to keep his "secrets of painting" to himself like so many others do. This is an oil, "Arizona Winter Wonderland" .

Thursday, October 29, 2009

American Impressionist Society-Saks Gallery

"Early Frost" 24"x24" oil- "Award of Merit" American Impressionist Society show at the Saks Gallery in Denver

While I was home recovering and moping that I could not attend the reception for the AIS show at the Saks Gallery in Denver-(friends were all there having fun)- I got the word that my painting "Early Frost" won the Award of Merit and the judge of Quang Ho !!! It is a prize that includes paint from Vasari Paints- I am so excited about it. My little painting a snow scene- sold and the proceeds from it go to the Food Bank of Colorado. Funny how when you win an award you just can't wait to go out and paint again. I hope to be up to it this weekend. I am just now feeling like a normal person again- not my usual energy level yet but that will come. I am trying to get caught up now and will have some fun assignments for my students next week. Thanks for your patience-

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Starts- New Beginnings

Back to the real world. Surgery over and now recouping. The down time is forcing me to slow down, to read, see friends and the cancer free state has allowed me to start planning ahead. The Catalina workshop was a blast. Not only did we get to paint on the shoreline, sunshine, cool breezes, all wonderful, but each of the students seemed to connect with each other. They are already making plans to paint together. My goals for that weekend were not just met but went over the top. An art workshop should be more than just skills. It should invigorate you, open up new friendships, move you to see differently and just have fun. For my students: I will be posting suggestions for you or "homework", each is designed to help in one or more the basics of painting. If you do a search on my blog putting in the word "starts" you can begin with that exercise.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Catalina Island beautiful as always

Back from Catalina Island, teaching a workshop, and painting several new pieces. The students could not have been more fun and easy going. Often in a group there is someone who really doesn't want to learn but argue, not in this group. Each one tried to put to use what they were learning, and the views from shoreline of the marina are stunning. The air is clean and clear, sunshine each day, colorful flags & sea kayak, shoppers, frozen bananas- all good. The 51st Art Associations Festival had a nice variety of paintings, jewelry, and ceramics.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Estes Park Paintings /Plein Air in Colorado

Three more paintings done at Estes Park Paint-out at the end of August. The far left is an 6"x8" , the other two are 11"x14" oils on board. Contact the Earthwood Gallery in Estes Park for purchase information.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Colorado Painting-Estes Park Plein Air

Some days you just find the ideal place to set up your easel. Cool air, no bugs, no wind and a wonderful tin roofed old barn. I know this is a cliche motif but I know why artist's love to paint these old barns. They represent lives of hard working people in the past. There are stories and a history with each one that we won't ever know. They are a sign of someones dream and hard work. Each year I come back to the Boulder area I wait to see this barn appear as I come around the bend in the road, always afraid there will be condos instead. I don't care if it's cliche or common place, for me it was full of mystery. That is my new umbrella- it is great. So far it has not blown away.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Estes Park Paintout-Earthwood Gallery

Wow does Colorado do August right! When the daytime temps are around 82 degrees- that makes summer a lot easier to handle. After some serious computer problems now ironed out I will have images of all my paintings that I finished while in the Rocky Mountain National Park to show. They are all at the Earthwood Gallery in Estes Park. At the end of painting period all the artist's came in to turn in their works. A quick draw was held on Saturday morning- with 90 minutes to get down in paint the scene before you. I love and hate these events, very stressful with no time to scrape off and start over. You really have to go with what you know. The pieces are then held up in an auction. What did I learn from this trip? That I need to work on painting figures in the landscape, cars in the landscape and cows. Seems simple enough but each of the subjects are unique and when done wrong they scream off the canvas that you have no idea how to paint them. Painting in a landscape that is so foreign to me was hard, and a struggle to get the greens not muddy and not emerald green, but with subtle value changes. I also identified 4 different types of pine trees- each with branches that hang from the main trunk in a different way- and that silhouette is unique for that type of tree. Not only did I get to paint amazing beauty, I also was able to meet up with other artists and share stories. My next post will have all my newest paintings that you can find at the Earthwood Gallery in Estes Park, Colorado. If you are interested in knowing more about them you can call the gallery and ask for Ron or Ann.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Painting Road Trip

Road Trip 2009

Painting New Mexico, Estes Park-Colorado, and Catalina Island

August 16-18- New Mexico
Albuquerque & Santa Fe

August 19-29th- Estes Park, Colorado
Artists are to paint with in

50 miles of downtown Estes Park. All painting are framed and turned in

on Aug. 28th. A Quick Draw will be held in downtown Estes Park from
8:00 to noon,
then an auction of the wet pieces will be held. My host gallery is the

Earthwood Collections on Elkwood Ave. You can call them with questions

about my freshly finished work. They will also be posted on my facebook
and blog.

Sept. 19, 20th - Workshop on Catalina Island
Always wanted to try your hand at plein air? Here is a lovely

place to start. You can chose one or all 4 sessions of my workshop

allowing yourself time to snorkel, shop, eat, and enjoy the
51st Annual Art Festival in Avalon
Check my website for all the details. For novices and studio painters
looking to paint from life.

While on this summer Road Trip my new work will be posted

on my blog and on my Facebook page. Paintings will be posted as completed.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Lifes Interruptions

I like to be in control, I like to think I have all areas covered and several different plan B's ready to go. Then you find your self waiting for the doctors report and realize AGAIN that we are not in control. I received good news in that a tumor that has to come out- is beguine- I can start planning again, and try to remember- God is in control. Surgery ahead, so I better get to work. Here is "Early Frost" 24"x24" oil on canvas that was selected for the American Impressionist Society juried show in Denver, Colorado. It opens in Oct. In a couple of weeks I will be heading out to New Mexico and then Colorado for painting frenzy. Watch my facebook for updates & photos of my "Road Trip" series.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baby Penny= just bragging

I know, I know you aren't suppose to post personal stuff, not very professional of me. But isn't Penny the sweetest? Now I know what all the fuss is about being a grandma. A good friend of mine gave me a little sign that says "what ever happens at grandmas never happened" When a new baby comes into the family everything else just seems so
meaningless and silly.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Picking a Paint box- Open BoxM, Guerrilla /Judsons Art

Picking the right travel paint box isn't always easy. It is a project that ends up being trial and error, what works for one artist may not be the best for you. I have two favorites. Both are strong, well built, easy to use, and come from great companies. The top picture is my Open M Box. It is so well crafted, light weight, fast to put up. You can get a cool carrying box but that was too heavy for my purposes. This attaches to my tripod in seconds. It will hold fairly large panels too- and if you need a bit large you can use a small bungee cord to keep the panel steady. is the website, all the easels are made by hand so expect a fast turnaround. I think for the quality the price is very fair. This easel should last me my lifetime and then I will pass it down to someone else who better take care of it! This is a family owned small business in Cody, Wyoming. There are all kinds of cool extras you can get too- not needed but fun-
The other easel photo on the right is from Judson Art Supply. It is a guerrilla box and they mean it. This is by far the most sturdy of any paintbox I have seen. This one is the cute thumbox, 6"x8" and perfect for when you want everything to fit into one box, and you are painting on small panels. The little devise you see are what allows you to paint on 4"x6 or 5"x7" or 6"x8". It's great and it hold my wet panels, brushes (cut down) spirits, paint. You can sit in a cafe, paint and no one notice. If you use the spirits from Gamblin called Gamsol no one can smell you either!
If you can try out a friends box, if they trust to enough. But even if you bought one of these boxes and didn't like them you would have no trouble selling them to another artist. But I really think if you plan to paint from life, and you should, you will probably want a couple different types of paint boxes for different scenarios. This summer when I head out to paint New Mexico and Colorado both boxes will be in my truck. When I head to Catalina Island for my workshop both will go on the ferry. Each for a different reason. Check out both website and give them a call with questions, both companies excell in customer service.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Painting on Catalina Island-

On Sept. 18, 19, and 20th the Catalina Art Association will be hosting it's 51st Annual Art Festival. Last year I was asked to be one of the judges for the painting category for awards. We had such a good time so back we go but this time I will be teaching several different sessions of workshops in oils and watercolor. You can sign up for one or all the sessions. This will allow you time to have a great time in the wonderful little village, enjoy the Art Festival, and paint too. The classes are geared for the novice painter and for the more experienced painter who may be used to working indoors in the studio. Painting outdoors is a whole different deal and it can really make your experience a much nicer one with someone to guide you. Check my website for more details or write me with any questions. Sessions start at $45.00 a piece, there will also be a small kit available for those people who might be flying in, or just don't want to buy a lot of art supplies. Let me know your situation and we can make it work. Catalina Island is about an hour off the coast of L.A. and accessible by ferry. You don't need a car, and everyday is casual day. Can't beat that!
Session 1: Friday 9/18 3:30pm-

Session 2: Saturday 9/19 9:00am-11:45ish
S ession 3: Saturday 9/19 3:30pm-
Session 4: Sunday 9/20 9:00am-11:45ish

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Estes Park & Earthwood Galleries Colorado

Estes Park Paint-out - August 29- Sept. 30th on display

After several nervous days waiting I finally heard that I will be going back to Estes Park this August to participate in their fun paintout. The Earthwood Gallery will be my host again which I really enjoy. Ron and Ann Wilcock are just nice people who really care about their artists. The picture above is the piece I finished during the 90 minute Quickdraw. A dear lady in Hawaii purchased this piece. I plan to stop along the way and paint in New Mexico, Santa Fe and Taos especially. If you want to keep up on the pieces that I finish along the way and the paintings that I turn in for the Awards competition in Estes Park keep watching my blog.

Also, it is back to Catalina Island this September. I plan to hold several painting sessions/classes during the Catalina Art Associations 51st Annual Art Festival. the dates are Sept. 18,19,20th, 2009. You can check my website for more information. For those who are flying out or are new to oils I will have kits available for you to use. You can sign up for only one session or all of them, just depends on how much time you have on the Island that weekend. You will still go home with some fine little finished paintings of your trip to Catalina. Cindy's Website

Friday, May 22, 2009

Prints of my Oil Paintings now Available

I am excited to announce that there are reproductions of several of my original oil paintings now available. The prints are of pieces that are not in a gallery or have already sold. The company that handles the orders can send you a print on high quality paper or even on canvas. These are not originals but they are an affordable way to own artwork that has already found home! Check out to find my page and the images. New choices will be going up all the time. I am working on a set of florals to add to the page since those seem to be real popular right now.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Violet" at the Phippen Art Show in Prescott

Because I manage the website for the Arizona Plein Air Painters I get to see all kinds of wonderful artwork. One of my painting friends lives in Prescott on a working ranch. Marla Smith has first hand knowledge of her subjects- cows. When I saw this piece I fell in love, not only with "Violet" (check out those eyes) but with the command of the brush that Marla has. It is better to put down your strokes with confidence, not bit by bit or over and over. This solid brushwork gives the piece real freshness and shows the artists control of her paint and brush. Marla will be showing at the Phippen Art Show at the Courthouse in Prescott on Memorial Day weekend. You can also see more of her work at

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Arizona Does too have Seasons

As our summer is coming down on us fast I have been looking at the winter scenes I completed this year. The desert is amazing in the cold of winter, snow on mesquite trees, ice in the washes, where in a couple of months the dust will rise up from the heat. We do too have seasons, those who say otherwise just are not very observant. Our desert is ever changing it is a challenge to try and get what I see and feel onto the canvas. The next couple of months there will be blossoms on the cactus, white flowers on saguaros, brilliant pinks and reds on the mammalaria. It is getting hot but not hot enough to not be able to paint anytime of day. This painting was done down by Tubac in February. Before I was done sleet was hitting my hat and the fog covered the mountains. Since I am a cold weather whimp I finished up when I couldn't feel my fingers. If you have not been down to The Farm at South Mountain you better head down soon before they close up for the summer. The sweet peas and hollyhocks are in bloom and the sunflowers are reaching up to the sky.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crazy times

I have been most negligent in postings here on my blog. Life has got in the way, and in a good way. As much as we set our schedule, for domestic life, painting, friends- times come up where you just have to toss all that aside and not get frazzled. In the last month I have become a nana to the sweetest little girl (Middle child Michael see his blog) and become a mother-in-law (again this time my oldest son Tony- see his blog). We are prepping for the big wedding and partys that go along with all that. Not much time for painting- that would have really bothered me in the past but now I realize we need to savor the moments with our family while we have them. During one brief afternoon while down at the Farm I did this little piece. The view is from the Artist Studio looking towards Mayas Place- and her organic garden. Sorry for the blur- I was tired. If you don't have time to paint your usual size - don't even try- do starts, or a little piece like a 5"x7" or 6"x8". Don't even try to finish- just get down color notes. You can always go back into them if need be. If your life is just way over the top right now, no time to bring out the paints, then just be very observant. Study your surroundings, layout in your head the composition for a painting, what temperatures do you see. Many times I have put my work over my family or friends, and usually regret it. Do that too often and you will not have any family coming over to see you and you will have plenty of alone time to work. See, I have learned something as I age gracefully!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Portals & Pathways at the Mayo Hospital, Clinic

Much of the time when I paint it is to create good strong paintings that will be entered into competitive shows, hang in a gallery for sale, or done for an event or commission. I recently had the chance to paint for an entirely different reason and it was a wonderful experience for me. The series of paintings are called "Pathways & Portals" and they are hanging at the Mayo Hospital in Phoenix. There is no reception, no ads placed, no judging done and no price tags. The sole purpose is for the pleasure of the patients, doctors, Mayo staff and families that work there. The Mayo Clinic and hospitals are some of the top locations in the country that people come to for medical care, they are beautiful well thought out places with the primary concern being the patients comfort. Even with that, when you have an appointment at the Mayo, it is usually because you are seriously sick and are looking for the best care you can find. Most people are nervous, their family members try to act unafraid and that it is no big deal, and each spends a great deal of time waiting. With this in mind I painted this series of pieces, each one with the idea of taking the viewer away for just a moment. Not trying to make a statement, not trying to force you to see my view or shake you up, just pleasure. What totally surprised me was that it actually was a release for me, a pleasure, many moments of having a different motivation when putting the brush to the canvas. I always love to paint, I am challenged by juried shows, it is total joy to do this as my job. But, to paint with the sole purpose of trying to see through the eyes of the viewer , not mine was amazing. I tried some compositions that are very different for me, perspectives that are not in any of my other paintings, I learned so much. Painting for a non-profit, or a piece that you will not get any sale from, is a very good thing to try. Let yourself focus on what the viewer might bring to the canvas, that it is not all about you trying to express yourself- what I cool thing. If you get this sort of opportunity, say yes. No, you won't get your "moneys worth" but you will find a new direction and a wonderful motivation that is much bigger than you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Desert Wildflowers

Wow what a busy month this has been, it is already spring and the desert is just starting to bloom. My own yard is covered in wildflowers of yellow & gold. If you can go out for a drive the next couple of weeks and see for your self, head up the Hwy 60 towards Superior or down to Picacho Peak to see tons of blooms. This picture is up at Mays Point in the Superior area, taken by Paul Wolterbeek from the Arboretum. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Arizona does too have snow!

We are really getting the snow this year, more than I can remember in a long time. When you paint from life you soon learn that you don't have much control of your subject- a lot like life- and I have learned to paint what is around you. It is not that important what the subject is, but how you handle the subject. Dead looking trees and snow in winter can get real old after several months. But take a fresh look at what might seem ho hum to you and make it wow to the viewer. Knowing a subject toooo well can be a handycap- we put down what we know is there and tend to be much less observant. When ever possible put your self in not the most idea situations- too hot- too cold- too windy- and start and complete a piece in one session. Stay fairly small in size - use larger brushes than you are comfortable with- and really look- notice- if you see the the little cool things about a scene so will your viewer. Turn you canvas in a direction you would not have chosen right off the bat. The artist's that really catch my attentiion seem to be the ones who do a subject just a little differently- they forced me to see new- be one of those artists- remember- not all our paintings are keepers but they are all a learning experience and a good thing. This painting is of the area around Peach Springs up on the Indian Res. it is called "Need Chains?"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hassayumpa River Preserve

There is an oasis in the desert just this side of Wickenburg that you have probably missed. Usually folks are on there way to Vegas, or to Wickenburg and pass right by the sign just 3 miles or so before town. The Hassayumpa Preserve is cared for by the Nature Conservancy and is a natural lush river habitat with colorful changing seasons. For the last several months members of the Arizona Plein Air Painters have been painting there to capture those seasons getting ready for a show to be hung on Feb. 28th. We hope to show visitors some of the visions that we as artists saw and had to stop and paint. This is another example of those lovely places that we need to keep natural, to save from the home contractors. This piece was done by Dawn Sutherland, she has her studio in Jerome, Az. Her work has a light touch, almost like a pastel, sutble value changes and it captures this place so well. Artist's will be out painting the grounds (8:00am) on Sat.2/28 morning, meeting up with wet paintings ready to sell and show at(2:30pm) . Make sure to visit Wickenburg, it has good food, real old west ranches, and incredible scenery. Should be a great day. (paint-outs) .

Monday, January 12, 2009

Snowy Landscapes at Artistic Mystic

"Southwest Winter", that is the title of a show I have comingup to help me celebrate the fact that my work will be in the February issue of Southwest Art Magazine! Am I excited , you bet. I have gone through the pages of that magazine for at least 10 years enjoy and learning from the artist's works and from the articles. To actually be mentioned is just crazy. And they called me, at first I thought it was about my subscription which I thought I had already paid up. To find out they are putting my work in a piece about Landscape painters and Snow was just so great. Deborah Silvis is hosting a show for me at her gallery, the Artistic Mystic in Chandler, AZ. It is inside the center on the NW corner of Warner & Alma School. The painting will be hung up this week with a reception on Saturday, Jan. 24th at 4:00pm- 7:00pm. This slide show ( which I just learned how to create from Tony) shows as example of some of my snow paintings. More will be added by the end of the week. If you have any questions please call me or Deborah. She will have a price list and more info. There will be little pieces at a very reasonable price and several large paintings that are thick with paint. Enjoy and please come by to see the show if you have a chance.
Artistic Mystic Open Tues- Sat. 11Am-6Am 480-917-4566
Reception Saturday, Jan. 24th 4:00pm 480-820-8111

Thursday, January 1, 2009

AZ State Park Plein Air Paint-outs Show

One of my favorite places is the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near my hometown of Superior. As soon as I saw this pastel painting done by my friend Linda Dellandre I knew immediately where it was, I have played under this tree as a child. It is a lovely old giant sycamore down by the picnic grounds. This painting is one of the many pieces that will be hanging down in Tubac at the Presidio State Park for the Gallery show of all the winning paintings from the 2008 Plein Air Paintout series at the Az State Parks. If you are a fan of our State Parks you will love the paintings that have been done this year beautifully displaying Arizona. Tubac is on Hwy 19, south of Tucson. It is a great day trip with lots of history, the San Pedro River, art galleries, good eats, and wonderful views in every direction. The painting below was done by Geri Acosta who lives in Tucson and just loves painting Arizona. The new series of paint-outs will begin on Jan. 10th at the Presidio in Tubac at 12:00pm. All artists are invited to participate in the State Park series. There will be a reception at 4:30 and where you can meet the artists. You can check out the AZ Plein Air Painters website and the calendar page for the locations and dates of all the paintouts. If you have never done one
of these don't be put off by the competition. It is very casual and a great way to push your self. It is great to see how the other artist's saw the view you see but sooooo differently. Start of this New Year by challenging yourself, get out and paint and take the chance of others watching you. Believe me, it isn't as bad as it sounds. And you can't let that stop you. You can also get info at on the Plein Air link.
If you have any questions please write me at Oh, and Happy New Year!