Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Woman World War II Veteran - Honor Flight

World War II Veteran - Honor Flight
12 x 12
Oil on Raymar Panel


I am continuing my series of Honor Flight Veterans visiting the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC.  We are free because of these brave men and women.  Women WWII vets are hard to find.  As Honor Flights visit I look for women to include in my series.  I saw this woman in her group of Honor Flight vets and sought her out for a salute.  She was so surprised!  She is 94 years old and was thrilled to be included in the series.  I am thrilled to have her included...and I thank her and all the vets for their service.

Happy Fourth of July!  As we celebrate our independence I hope everyone will take a moment to honor the all veterans.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Military Salute - Rolling Thunder - Run to the Wall

Salute - Rolling Thunder 2015
14 x 11
Oil On Raymar Panel


I started this "Salute" Series featuring World War II veterans brought to the World War II memorial on Honor Flights.  Honoring World War II veterans is paramount to this series...but honoring all veterans is also important.  

During the 2015 Run to the Wall...Rolling Thunder... I decided to feature veterans participating in the ride.  Rolling Thunder rides across the United States on motorcycles culminating in a parade of motorcycles weaving through Washington DC and ending up at the Vietnam Memorial. It is an amazing sight.  My husband's cousin, Jeff, is a veteran of the US Navy and has participated in the ride for the last two years.  He is the featured veteran in this piece.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Honor Fight Salute. World War II

Honor Flight Salute - World War II
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel


Walking around the World War II memorial in Washington DC is always awe inspiring.  The thought of the war and what these courageous men and women endured is more than I can comprehend.  Honor Flights bring in veterans at no expense to the vet.  Volunteers make sure the vets can get around and see the memorial.  The ceremonies celebrating the men and women are so uplifting.  Swing Dancers join the celebration and make it feel like the 1940's again.  There are lots of smiles, lots of dancing, lots of memories.  

This veteran posed for me happily...he is so proud of his service to our country and so proud to be on this honor flight.  When I looked at the picture I noticed the words etched into the stone on the monument behind him:

Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid, they have earned our undying gratitude.  American will never forget their sacrifices.            President Harry S. Truman

I thought those words were so appropriate...and they say everything I want to say about this series.  

As our nation ages the veterans of World War II will no longer be with us.  I treasure every salute I can get from these fine men and women.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

We Can Do It!

"We Can Do It"
20 x 24
Oil on Canvas


Recently I met Stormy Knowles at the National Gallery of art while I was copying 
Beatrice Townsend by John Singer Sargent.  Stormy was chaperoning a group of school kids as they toured the Gallery.  She asked if I would be willing to donate a painting to raise funds for the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man and Woman of the year Campaign.  While I limit the number of donations I offer per year...I decided that this would be a good cause that I am proud to be a part of.  When Stormy and her daughter arrived at my studio to pick up the painting she was wearing her military uniform.  I immediately asked her if she and her daughter would be willing to sit for me as part of my military life series.  I was thrilled when she not only said she would sit...she was enthusiastic about it.  

Stormy recently wrapped up the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man and Woman of the year Campaign and not only met their goal but exceeded it!  She is a tireless fundraiser. 

I thought this painting was mimics the "We can do it" military campaign and depicts the determination it takes to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks.  Stormy is an amazing person and I am proud to know her.  

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Honor Flight Salute - World War II Veteran

Honor Flight Salute - World War II
14 x 11
Oil on canvas panel


Continuing my "Salute" series I am featuring a World War II veteran.  When I asked him to pose for me with a salute he got this stern look on his face like he really meant business.  He was in a wheel chair with an American flag attached to the back of his chair.  I am sure there will be a larger painting of this guy with his flag.  I think both compositions are perfect for this series.  

This project started in my mind featuring only World War II veterans.  Then, as I visited the World War II memorial and saw the vets from other wars...from other times I realized that the feeling I wanted to convey and the pride for their country and what they had accomplished was timeless.  So I have broadened my "Salute" Series and I welcome veterans...old and young...I ask them to salute and I am amazed by the way their demeanor brightens.  

So I continue...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Honor Flight Salute

"Honor Flight Salute"
12 x 12
Oil on Panel


If you have never been to the National Mall in Washington DC to witness an Honor Flight you are missing an amazing event.  Honor Flights make sure Veterans get the chance to see the monuments erected in their honor.  Veterans come from all over the country at no personal expense.  An Honor Flight is arranged and executed totally by volunteers.  Pilots volunteer their time, airlines volunteer their aircraft, thousands of volunteers make sure veterans from our wars get to see the monuments and are recognized for their service.  It is truly a sight to see.  The Veterans are so proud of their service...there are handshakes, thank you's, and a wonderfully emotionally driven feeling throughout the area.  I love seeing these vets, so proud, so happy.  

Along with the veterans at the World War II memorial there are a group of swing dancers that spend their time dancing and entertaining.  They dance and make sure every vet is given attention with a twirl around the monument...a kiss on the cheek...or a handshake. 

With that in mind and my quest to paint scenes from military life I decided to do a series of paintings based on salutes from these veterans visiting the memorials.  This is my first piece.  He is a Korean War veteran and was very happy to offer a salute for my cause.  

To find out more about Honor Flights, or to help out, you can visit  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Making of "The Adjustment"

The Adjustment
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel


I recently posted this little ballerina adjusting her straps before a performance.  While going over my notes I realized I had taken pictures of each stage of my painting process.  I don't paint all my paintings this way but I would say a majority of them begin very similarly.  

Here I picked out the support that I thought would best suit the composition.  I knew I wanted the arms, body and part of the legs to be in the painting.  I blocked in the approximate composition for placement purposes.  I couldn't resist putting some darks and lights on the arms and that wonderful shadow on her back indicating the shoulder blade.  

I wanted to play with the tutu next.  I blocked in the darks and lights here.  I tried to mix a color of paint...then lay it down and leave it.  I am just indicating folds.  

The hair block in was next.  Again, I just concentrated on laying down color and leaving it.  No blending or noodling with the paint.  Strong, bold brush strokes.  Notice on my final version of this painting the hair is exactly as it is now.  I didn't touch it after my block in of lights and darks.  

While working on each section I have been revisiting the arms and making sure they are placed properly and the hands tugging on the straps of her tutu.  I lightly indicated the legs here.  My decision was...should I try to make the tights fit her legs properly...or make them oversized and a bit wrinkled.  The challenge is to make them interesting without making them a focal point.  

You can see I decided to go with slightly wrinkled tights.  I adjusted the hands some more and made sure the straps were raised to emphasize the adjustment.  I wanted the background to be subtle so I use a complimentary gray/green.  I also added a bit more detail to the dress.