Tuesday, September 8, 2015

U. S. S. John Warner Commissioning

Commissioning of the USS John Warner
24 x 12
Oil on Canvas

I was fortunate to get to attend the commissioning of the USS John Warner in Norfolk, Virginia.  My husband worked for Senator Warner and I found him to be an amazing person.  He began his service to our country when he was only 17 years old joining the Navy during World War II.  After the war he resumed his education at Washington and Lee University and then University of Virginia Law School.  During the Korean War he joined the Marine Corps.  He resumed his studies after his time with the Marine Corps and received his law degree from George Washington University.  He subsequently went on to practice law at Hogan and Harrison before becoming the United States Senator from Virginia.  He is honest, fair and open minded.  I wish we had more politicians like him.  Attending the commissioning of the submarine that was dedicated in his honor was a once in lifetime experience for me...and one I will never forget.  

I love painting white...the many shades of white...and this opportunity to paint these white uniforms was great fun.  My love of painting white and this historic event produced a tangible memory which I will enjoy for years to come I am sure. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Salute - VFW

Salute - VFW
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel


I am back to my "Salute" series.  There is so much I like about painting these veterans.  I love the pride they have in their country.  I love the pride they have that they served.  They made a difference.  I found this veteran at the commissioning of the USS John Warner.  He was sitting in a seat near me.  I watched as he greeted friends and fellow veterans.  He proudly wore his VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) hat.  Sometimes I am a little shy about asking for a salute...I have only been turned down once...but most of the time I overcome my inhibitions and just ask.  This gentleman was very happy to oblige.  I still have quite a few in my "Salute" folder...but if you know of anyone who is willing to participate..please let me know.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Self portrait - Vivi and Miss Sweetieheart

Self Portrait

20 x 24
Oil on Canvas


I have been working on this piece for a long time.  I first painted the source a few years ago and always loved the position of the little girl, Vivian, and her favorite stuffed animal, Miss Sweetieheart.  Once the painting was done...Vivi visited again and I saw her looking at her portrait...holding Miss Sweetieheart in the same way.  I just love the scene.  I have painted Vivi many times...in ballerina outfits, with sunglasses on, in different costumes...She is a wonderful model.  She takes direction well and always gives me a wonderfully soulful look on her face.  I have had this picture for a long time and I always come back to it...so a few months ago I began.  I wanted it to look like she was in the studio checking out a portrait of herself.  I mocked up a studio scene and placed Vivi and the painting in it.  The painting has gone through quite a few iterations but I am happy with it now. 

This is one of the paintings of Vivi and Miss Sweetieheart.  This one is a tiny 6 x 6.  Happily it found a good home!  

The lesson I learned...the lesson I keep learning is to never compromise.  Keep trying different color combinations, change the composition, be open to whatever the painting needs to be successful.  I worked on this piece on and off for months reworking every part of the piece.  I know there are many who would encourage me to do thumbnail sketches, paint a small sketch of the piece and work out any issues before I begin a painting.  I have done that many times...but find when I begin the larger piece I change my mind.  So I will keep working on my process...keep working on my artwork...

Stay tuned...

Friday, July 31, 2015

Value Study - Maria Bennett Hock

I have been wanting to do an exercise using only black and white.  I mixed 9 puddles of paints in progressively darker values.  It was a challenge and I am not sure the puddles at the darker end of the spectrum are different enough in value...but I will work on that.  

I then blocked in my features with a middle value.  I used a photograph I had taken and printed in black and white.  I also used a mirror and made sure the light from my window was the same as when I took the picture.  I wanted to compare what I saw in the picture and in real life.  

I refined features and darkened and lightened as I went.  Working quickly as the light from the window would change soon. 

 This is my final.  I blended the darks and lights.  I am pleased with my first attempt at this.  I will probably work on it some more.  I am always tweaking my paintings to try to improve them.  Sometimes it works...sometimes not....but it is always an interesting learning experience and very fun.   

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Salute - World War II Veteran - Honor Flight

Salute - World War II Honor Flight Veteran
16 x 20
Oil On Panel


I am continuing my "Salute" Series.  I started with World War II veterans on honor flights.  I would meet them at the World War II Memorial and ask for a salute.  Witnessing the pride they feel as they salute makes me feel so good about the series.  These are men and woman that truly preserved our freedom.  Finding male veterans is pretty easy...but actually finding female veterans from World War II is a challenge  

This Veteran was at the World War II memorial on a hot summer day.  She was proud to salute and I was proud to add her to my series...as I said...finding female subjects is not an easy task.   She was also so impressed with the World War II memorial. 

Since I have enjoyed this series so much I have expanded it to include any veteran...the series is meant to honor the vets.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Middle Child

Middle Child
20 x 30
Oil on Canvas


Middle Child, as the title would suggest, is based on how a middle child feels.  It is often written that a middle child gets lost between the older and younger siblings.  I am a middle child.   I have two older brothers and two younger brothers.  Because my siblings are all male I was never really lost in the abyss that many middle children feel.  I was the only girl in a family of men...I always felt special..always felt loved and always felt relevant.  Being the only girl in a family of men helped me in many ways.  I was brought up believing I could accomplish any thing I aspired to.  I am a problem solver, a do it yourselfer, and a self starter.  

In my 50's I decided I wanted to be a portrait artist.  Most of my family was supportive and I believe they have all had portraits painted as I practice my craft.  I constantly strive to improve through daily painting, classes and studying the works of others.  I feel very fortunate to be able to pursue this dream.  I know I have a lot to learn, a long way to go...but I am pleased with my progress so far and look forward to the future.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Flower girl

Flower Girl
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel


This little flower girl stole my heart!  She is adorable.  I love the soft wrinkles in her dress...the gentle way she is pulling at the material and her inquisitive look.

Sometimes I paint with a mission...I paint salutes, I paint military families.  When I create those pieces I want to tell a story that creates an awareness.  I want people to realize the sacrifices our military members and their families face for the love of country.  

With this piece, I still want to tell a story...it is just a story of a happy little girl at a beautiful wedding.  It is her chance to be a princess for a day.  As I said...she is adorable.