Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I've been very neglectful of this blog, even though there's been so much art going on in my house. Things always get a little hectic before the holidays, and we've had the unexpected trial of dealing with a burst pipe that soaked the inside of our garage. As I'm rushing to prepare for a 2 week trip back east, I'd like to leave you with some photos of this Christmas chair. It was commissioned to be a Christmas present for a 7 year old boy in Reno. I love the throwback theme, even though it's not exactly PC. It was a little trickier than I expected to find reference pics for this project! You may remember seeing this chair mid-stripping in an earlier post.
I hope you all have a great Christmas/Hanukkah/Winter celebration!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Sun is Cold.

The tradeoff for a sunny winter day in Seattle is the bitter drop in temperature. Watson and I braved the cold this morning to romp around at the Westcrest off-leash area- a trip that was more than worthwhile since one of his best girlfriends Lucia was there for him to play with. 
When I couldn't take the cold anymore, we headed back home for a day of painting in the warmth of home. I worked on my fifth small floral for the group that will be shipped to California mid-month. My goal is to have 6 paintings dry and framed, with more that will be dry enough to ship after the holidays. Today I was inspired to paint these yellow flowers with abstract filtered sunlight in the background.
Here it is in the early stage:

Quick break for coffee and to admire mums in the afternoon sun:

The finished product: 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Flower Power

Wow- Early October is the last time that I worked on an oil painting, well before our glorious trip to Maui. Since I returned to Seattle I've been so focused on printmaking, and I also felt a little burned out after the SeaMonster mural, as fun as it was. I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to sell some small floral paintings at a gallery in Northern California (details to come once my work is on the walls!) so it's time to get back in the swing of things. I'm painting with the palette knife on 5"x7" canvas boards that I'll frame when the work is dry. Photographer and friend Doug Davenport has generously e-mailed me a ton of reference photos. For now I'm picking from the florals, but I can't wait to revisit the others soon to paint some of the incredible wildlife, landscapes, and waterscapes that he sent. After struggling with two florals, I finally feel like I've reached my stride with my third attempt- this red flower that I painted today:When I paint impastos, I try to paint everything at once with no drying time for the painting. If I try to rework it while it's drying, the paint often becomes crumbly in sections and turns into a big chunky mess. I have let a painting dry completely before working further (Montmartre and Ushidoshi are two successful examples of this) but the wet-on-wet smudges are what I really love about painting with the knife. It's tricky to do this without the paint color getting muddy. My trick is to wipe off the knife after every stroke to keep the colors pure. The paper towel ends up looking like a little work of art in itself! I just cropped a section of this photo to make a new banner for the Etsy store that features my canvas paintings:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

March of the Penguins

I just printed this set of cards to post on Etsy once they dry. I've been printing the penguin on colorful paper and then attaching those cut-out prints to recycled card stock. I'm so into handmade papers lately! I wasn't that impressed with this particular card stock so I decided to test print a penguin on one using Winsor and Newton water-mixable oils in pthalo blue (red shade). I loved how it turned out so I printed a set of 4 using the remaining cards.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The SeaMonster Mural is FINISHED!

This is a difficult mural to photograph and I need to return to get some better pics. Even more reason why you should check it out in person! The McTuff Trio has been playing at the SeaMonster on Tuesday nights and there's never a cover charge. How can you pass that up?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SeaMonster Mural: Day 4

It takes me forever to paint animals, but it's worth the time. I love how this turtle came out.
Day 4

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SeaMonster Mural: Day 3

Today was a slow day for me. I was a little tired after staying up too late last night. I decided to place in the non-fish creatures and struggled a little in the placement. I redrew the turtle three times before I was happy with it! I figured out a few subtle changes I want to do to the very back coral, but I'm saving that type of work for Friday, when the major elements will be finished. I also wasn't really sure how I wanted to paint the coral. It seems so complicated but through experimentation I'm figuring out some simple ways to do it that should come in handy on future jobs. Thank god for the sea sponge! It's pretty funny to use a tool from the sea to paint the sea.
Day 3

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

SeaMonster Mural: Days 1 and 2

I spent yesterday and today working on the new mural at the SeaMonster. This is the first underwater mural that I'm focusing on creating the look of depth in the water, rather than mostly focusing on the fish. I'm very happy with the progress. I have to hold myself back to simplify and tone down the color in the background coral since I tend to make everything bright and with a lot of contrast. I made a darker layer of coral that I'm actually going to add a hint of color to, now that I see how it looks too dull compared to the foreground. Tomorrow's plan is to continue the foreground coral, finish the eels, and paint a creepy octopus on the right side of the mural. If I have time I'll start a ray or a turtle.
Day 1
Day 2

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Exciting stuff.

During my October road trip to California I brought along some Speedball rubber blocks to carve with a cute pink carving tool. I thought that I might have some down time to craft-out, and after bringing watercolors to Maui I wanted to try something new. First I carved a simple tree with 2 hearts, and next a bird and branch silhouette. I didn't know how the plates would hold up, and since one of the types (the pink one) said "won't crumble", I assumed the other kind I brought (yellowy beige) might. Since I got home I've made a ton of prints and all of the blocks have held up really well. I've become addicted to printing- it's all I want to do! I decided to turn the prints into greeting cards that I'm trying to sell through my Noon Moon esty shop. I sold one hot-pink on white "Tree of Hearts" on the day I posted it, which definitely fueled my fire! I found an amazing packaging shop in Georgetown- Packaging Specialties- where I bought cello sleeves for protecting the cards. They make the cards look so pro! Packaging Specialties is one of those stores that a crafter can go bananas in. The ribbons alone are hard to get past, until you see the tower of brightly colored chinese food style boxes in all sizes. It's great!
It's been a while since I worked on an oil painting, and I've actually been procrastinating out of the insecurity in my skill that I sometimes get after time off. I'm hoping to get a few 5"x7" impastos completed to send off to a gallery in Carmel Vall
ey, CA by early December. I have a huge headache, but I just finished the first one and I think it looks pretty cute.Another challenge I'm taking on (starting tomorrow) is an underwater mural at the SeaMonster Lounge in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. This will be my first underwater mural that is not geared towards children, so I've very excited to tackle the task of painting eerie underwater depth. After snorkling in Maui and going to the Monterey aquarium recently, I'm in the zone- hopefully that will translate into the artwork. I also took some great photos for reference on the way home from Califonia in Newport, Oregon. I admire these murals every time I pass through Newport. Most of them are painted by Rick Chambers and they are just incredible. Take a look:

Monday, November 9, 2009


Today I decided to strip a chair before painting it, instead of chipping the loose paint off and sanding the paint to scuff it up for primer. After many a rash, I really hate to use harsh chemicals like turpentine, lacquer thinner, kerosene, etc. That being said, this chair seemed ancient
so I decided that working in some fumes might not be as bad as working in lead paint dust. I ended up buying an aerosol spray can of thinner at the Home Depot. The aerosol turned out to be a bad idea as the spray is thick and wild, but I chose it because I thought I'd use it all unlike the larger container. It was messier than I expected, but the fumes seemed mellow (thinner vapors tend to sink, and I was working outside) and it worked great! There's still a bit of paint on the wood but I think I'm done with the thinner. I may even stain the wood so that I can use some real wood grain amidst the painted design which is to have a Cowboys and Indians theme.

Once I was done with the thinner project, I had the nice surprise of finding out that I'm featured in a treasury on It has the theme "Interior" and is made by Hungarian felt artist Kati Bobaly of Dekorart. She chose my painting "Elvin's Chair" to join the collection. Elvin's Chair is a rare still life (love them but rarely paint them) of one of the first furniture pieces I bought when I moved to Portland. This was a pretty sweet chair and I just sold it to a Miami transplant since it was getting no use sitting in our garage. Please take a look at it on Dekorart's treasury. The collection features some Etsy artists that I frequently check up on.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Indian Summer

this October I...

chased the sun,
had great adventures with my love,
ate breakfast burgers,

painted watercolors in Lahaina,
experienced magical places with friends,
snorkled and
swam with turtles.

I also...
carved rubber blocks (prints soon to come- I'm very excited!),

trusted Watson to have off-leash adventures,
thanked my lucky starts that W survived his cliff-fall,
slept in a mansion by the ocean

a recording studio
a hobbit house,
got into my first California gallery,
saw zebras and jellyfish,
met people who decorate their entire world,
and had the best October ever!
How was yours?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two Loves

Art and Dogs.
If you know me then you probably know that I'm obsessed with Watson- my fiery, funny, adorable mini pinscher. I blame him in part for my procrastination of at-home projects including my canvas paintings. It's hard for me to paint when he's pawing at my arm whi
le my brush is in hand, with big yellow eyes that say things like "please play with me", "let's go for a walk" and "I bet you can't catch me!". I usually reluctantly cave in to his demands, but I'm grateful for those distractions. Our walks around the neighborhood and runs around the yard helped me to really notice nature coming alive this past spring. The local flowers, plant-life and sky of this past spring and summer were direct inspiration for many paintings I completed recently. So many of our neighbors maintain lush gardens- some of which I've admired for a while, but some that I may not have noticed if I wasn't circling the neighborhood again and again with my furry friend. A lot of time and commitment comes with having a dog, but one of the things we dog-owners get in return is a new reason to appreciate the great outdoors. This painting is of Ginger, who's part of Brett's sister's family. I painted this for his sister and brother-in-law's 10th anniversary, as Ginger's been with them longer than their children. The painting took longer than I hoped- in part because in the early stages it looked so good that I was afraid to work on it more! It's all about capturing the personality of the dog, and Ginger is a sweetheart who loves nothing more than fetching a ball. This particular scene comes from a round of "Chuck-it" at the beach in Northern California with her biggest fan, Brett.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I often have to hold myself back from painting more and more when a project is probably at the point of completion. I get so involved in the artwork that I want to keep going, but I know from experience that there can be striking beauty in either the early stages of a painting or from small accents of artwork. This week I painted a relatively simple design of two birch trees and a woodpecker over a great base color in a Seattle bathroom. Because the design was not busy, I was able to give the artwork the attention it deserved to be a uniquely striking statement that reflects the client's creativity and love of nature. While full, intricate murals are amazing, I also highly recommend clean artwork over a unique base color for a modern take on the mural.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Art Weekend!

Thank you to everyone who came out on Friday for my show at the Greenwood-Phinney art walk location Art on the Ridge. I had a great time thanks to the crowd and the fantastic tunes by The B-3tles! This was my first show in Seattle featuring many paintings. My goal was to showcase my recent impasto works which are abstract and impressionistic. After this past long winter, I had a craving for color and nature which is reflected in all of these new pieces. Before the opening show, I picked up my Portland landscapes from another gallery, and was lucky to be able to fit them into the Greenwood-Phinney show.
Photographer Anthony Huss paid a visit to my art o
pening, and wrote a lovely description of the evening on his blog, Seattle Art Walks. Anthony's blog is a must-see for Seattle's artists and art lovers. He has the best compilation of Seattle's art walks, and wonderful reviews and photos of the shows he visits.
The next day I did my first craft show at C&P Coffee in West Seattle. C&P had delicious coffee and is a great place to spend time with a homey setting and great outdoor seating area. It is also dog-friendly indoors and outdoors, which we love!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Great Outdoors

Happy August! We've survived Seattle's heatwave and are now back to gorgeous summer days. Yesterday I woke up to chilly air which felt incredible, and was a perfect start to my day, which began at Camp Long in West Seattle. For anyone who doesn't know, this is one of Seattle's hidden gems. I've driven by it hundreds of times without knowing it was going to become one of my favorite spots to enjoy the outdoors. It has numerous cabins that are available to rent out, a cute little stream, and a real stone rock climbing structure called Schurman Rock.
I ended up there for the first time accompanying fellow artist Cheri Kopp to experience the final day of Mandy Greer's fiber arts installation in the trees along the water. The natural environment is already beautiful, but the artwork transformed it into a magical place that is hard to step away from. The large scale makes you feel like a part of the artwork, but examining it closely, you'll find special tiny intricate accents like beading that make you wonder if you're the only one lucky enough to notice that small detail. The pictures don't do it justice, but here they are!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

I love this holiday, and I'm so excited to see fireworks tonight! We'll be hanging out in the "country" checking out the local talent while making sure nothing catches on fire. Watson has no idea that he's about to spend a long night with his best girlfriend Franny. Since everyone except me will probably be playing music for a lot of the night, I'm going to bring some acrylics to experiment with. I just painted a tiny 3"x3" for a mini-red themed art show, and it was fun to utilize water and gravity in creating the abstraction.
I hope there's an art store open today!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Over the Big Top

This new painting is 16"x20" on stretched canvas. I've had visions of circus stripes running through my head, but once I started putting them on the canvas, they weren't telling me what to do. I began this painting by blocking in color in cloud shapes. I'm a sucker for sky blues and whites so I was reluctant to cover the clouds, although I did cover the original brushwork with the palette knife. I like the peaceful sky over the contained energy of the circus tent stripes, so I may leave it like this, or work it more if a solid idea comes to me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Naming a Painting

I was wondering what to name this impasto painting that I finished today. I usually have a name that comes to me quickly (although they're often straight-forward and unimaginative!). Looking for inspiration, I came across this poem by Robert Frost, and my painting has a name:

Blue-Butterfly Day

It is blue-butterfly day here in spring,
And with these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.

But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.
~ Robert Frost ~

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Face Painting

I spent this afternoon doing face/arm painting at Cribs2Bunks in Tukwila (Southcenter Mall) while they held a child safety event. Cribs2Bunks is a fantastic baby/youth furniture store where I've painted some displays including a great train and forest-themed mural. The last and only time I ever did face painting prior to this was at the Central School Fun Fair when I was in the 6th grade, so I was a little nervous about how it would go. I made a picture chart for the kids to choose from, thanks to Jamie's brilliant suggestion. I thought the artwork looked pretty cute, but I wasn't so sure how it would go on squirmy kids! I practiced on Brett to test out the paint and my skills, and both seemed ok. It turned out to be a blast. The kids were hilarious and a lot more still than I expected!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Back to SF for B

We just dropped Brett off at the airport where he's on the first leg of a California trip. He's on his way to the Bay to perform with LLAWM for the Green Ball at the Conservatory of Flowers (Golden Gate Park) this Friday. I hadn't been in the park before, but happened to spend some time sketching in the sun this last time I was in town. It really brought me back to my high school/hippie days. I haven't been approached by that many guys inviting me to a drum circle (and more!) in a looooooong time. I can't wait to explore the park some more next time I'm there to take some reference photos for my artwork.