Friday, March 17, 2017

A Staci Swider Lesson

I had some fun today!
This is a base painting on 12 x 12 inch cardboard that I prepared using gesso on both sides. 
Following the DVD Lesson by Staci Swider, I added blocks of color using some Liquitex Basics paint and then dripped diluted red acrylic paint on two sides. Gravity did the work for me.

Unfortunately, I got so involved in the next step, I forgot to take a photo. But, I can explain it!

 Being in a relaxed state of mind, you gaze at the surface and imagine what is hiding there. I looked for awhile and found some simple flower shapes and used an oil pastel in a teal blue color to isolate them from the busy background. I knew what I wanted to find: flowers, so I could easily see them. 
I'm sure if I wanted to find houses, or faces, or a city block, I would have seen them too. It's just
a matter of being clear in your intent.
The next step is to get some rather opaque paint on your flat brush and paint around your outlined objects. This is a whole lot of fun to do. Any color is fine, but I love the contrast you get with these primary colors against the white.
Following that, you just get a few oil pastels in coordinating colors and highlight as you wish inside and around your objects. These plants are rooted in soil and are living near a pond, so I painted those spaces in accordingly.
What fun!

Staci Swider is the artist who created this video lesson at  I watched and have tried to play with her techniques today. The video lesson is: Acrylic Painting Studio "Natural Compositions" with Staci Swider. Go here to see more stuff that is available   There are a lot of artists to learn from here. Lots of techniques to try. An excuse to try something new and rattle your brain for a few hours.
  Go to and search for Staci Swider to see her videos. You might have as much fun with her ideas as I did today. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, January 05, 2017

30 by 30 - Floral #2

This is second floral I've made for the 30 Paintings in 30 days Challenge. At this rate I should have them completed by mid June...

Monday, January 02, 2017

First Floral for Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

OK, first painting done. A day late. sigh.

Flora Painting #1-30 day Challenge

First day of the challenge and I'm already behind. I was supposed to start yesterday, but my head was too fuzzy from the martini I had for New Year's Eve dinner. I'm not a good metabolizer.
The Concept or theme for this challenge, I've chosen:
" Is that a Flower in a Pot?" 
Colors chosen for today using the Bob Burridge Color Wheel: red yellow is the main color with purple, blue and green.   I intended to make blue the focal point, but got distracted by my handmade purple collage paper.

The use of several red-yellow and oranges made for a too-bright-for-my-eyes canvas.

I dulled down the oranges and did some negative shape painting with a watery white.

Collage with lots of gel medium and hand made painted and torn papers.

The flower just took on a life of its' own and didn't stay grungy at all. sigh.

Finished for today. I really wanted to make it more grungy and abstract, but that will have to wait for another session. I am finding my attempt to loosen up very difficult. 
I like this better when I take my glasses off...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

30 paintings in 30 days challenge

Leslie Saeta is hosting another" 30 paintings in 30 days challenge" starting January 1st, 2017.  I signed up for it. Gulp!
It takes some guts to do this kind of thing. I am not very good at painting every day. And, I don't like showing anybody my work.
 However, I happened to meet an artist the other day while looking around our new home-to-be city, Littleton, Colorado. He had a small studio in a strip mall advertising classes. There was an old dog sitting at the back of the shop and I just had to go in and say, "hi". I love dogs.
The artist had a lot of brillian fall colors landscapes with big brush strokes and lots of energy. I commented on their beauty and he said he did most in the 30 days challenge.
"It's fun" he said. "Paint flies everywhere and you just get lost in it."
I guess his enthusiasm rubbed off on me 'cause today I got the e-mail invitation to join in the "fun".
go to:

Sign up.
Drive yourself a little crazy for a month.
I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

10252016-Pinks n Pastel

This is a 12 x 12 inch canvas I used to play with my new Holbein acrylic paints. This is a combo of Hansa Yellow Light and Quinacridone Red, mixed with lots of water and some alcohol drips.

This artist grade paint is really easy to use. It's very creamy and has a lot of pigment in the mix. It's my new favorite! 

I used a dry white soft pastel to draw out the flowers and vase, and then painted using some Liquitex Basics white acyrlic paint to do some negative shape painting around the drawing.

After that I get to play with the table. This time I glued some tissue paper I had made that has a nice pattern painted using a stencil and more Basics white paint. The creaminess of that paint is what makes me buy it over and over again. It just glides off my brush and that is exactly why I really like these new to me Holbein paints. Creamy! Soft! Intense Color! Artist grade promise of longevity! What's not to like? 
I really like using tissue paper because when it's glued down with some matt medium, it is translucent, allowing the gorgeous colors of the base painting to show through.
I liked this base coat of colors so much, I just couldn't pick up any tubes of paint to cover over the flowers. So, here I collaged some tissue paper that I had painted with a bright gold metallic paint. Ripping those pieces and gluing them down to highlight the centers was a lot of fun. And, I could see ahead of time what it would look like before I made the committment to a color change.  Not something I can do when I have a paint brush in my hand!
I did the same thing with these stems. Green and gold painted tissue paper collaged with matt medium. I had a video playing while cutting, ripping and gluing and the time went by really fast. I never get tired of the 1996 movie, "Michael" with John Travolta, Andy MacDowell and William Hurt. One of many movies I play over and over while in my studio. 
I REALLY did not want to paint out those flowers, so I did what I usually do: outline with oil pastel.  I wish I could tell you what is so satisfying about using these pastels, but that eludes me. All I can say is that the feel of the big fat crayon in my hand is fun, fun, fun! 
I mean, look at this! It's slick, but has texture. It's shiny. It skips on the surface of the canvas and it looks like a 4th grader had a lot of fun in art class. Who could possibly ask for more of a day in paint?
For this final photo I positioned this canvas on some painted tissue paper, and now I'm thinkin' maybe it should be framed in that splash of rosy color... 

It has a name now: What's underneath is important"

$75.00 plus shipping in the U.S. 
If you are interested in buying this, email me at

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"My vase is compose rose"

OK, so it's been awhile since I even looked at this neglected blog. Retirement gets crazy is all I've got to say. This is a painting done in January 2016.  I totally enjoyed playing around with the idea of "not realistic" vases of flowers. I did some simple water colors at first and had so much fun, I decided to go for an acrylic version.The final canvas is 20 inches by 20 inches and was a pleasure to work on. Here are a few photos of the progression. 
My favorite part of all is the oil pastel outline  I add at the end. It takes me back to fourth grade when everything I drew started with an outline.  The title is based on the name of one of the acrylic paints I used made by the Holbein paint company.
Amazingly, this painting is now on display with about 14 others I did in this series at a recreation center in Lone Tree Colorado.  How did it get there?  We moved! From Florida. In May. This is the crazy part I alluded to at the beginning of this post.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Retirement? What does it look like?

 I made the decision with my husband early in the year that I would remove myself from the daily work as his office manager. This is something that has been on my mind for quite awhile.
I am a good organizer, but I don't like doing it. I'm just not made to do this kind of work as having to balance books, meet requirements created by institutions such as Medicaid, AHCA, CLIA, and other agencies who oversee medical practices are numerous and ever changing.
 The stress of it all over these past ten years put me into the hospital six times as I have a tendency to keep my energy blocked. It's gotta go somewhere, so it ends up back where it started and I get sick. I need to feel that I have certain freedoms and having to answer to agencies who are constantly changing the rules is exhausting, frustrating and seemingly never ending.
 We started out in 2005 with electronic medical record and practice management systems that are supposed to make record keeping easy, accessible and accurate for patient data. At that time, we were in the "forefront" of running a practice efficiently. Since then the insurance companies we deal with have created sets of rules that make it very difficult to file claims and get paid for work done for patients.
 Now running a medical practice is complicated by increasingly tight rules and actually earning a living as a physician has turned into a nightmare of restrictions. Claims are denied over and over again for things as simple as one numeral or character being printed out over the line into the next box on a claim form. Calling the insurance company to ask why a claim is being denied is a nightmare of waiting for a human to answer. Everything is so automated, there are times when it seems as if I am calling a big computer warehouse whose programming is set for continuous transfers and more wait time. There have been times when I did speak with a representative, but they are "unable to answer my question at this time". In other words, if the claim is printed incorrectly and they are even looking at it on their computer screen, they are not allowed to tell me what is wrong. I am just told to go to the company website for instructions on how to file a claim. !!!!
 And, this past year, many times educational or instructional information is offered as a "webinar". That means sitting in front of my computer while someone puts up a seminar in web form with a pointer moving quickly from one place to another in order to teach you what is now required.
 Sigh. So instead of human interaction and help that was there eight or nine years ago, now technology has robotisized (is this a word?) everything.
 I just can't do it anymore. Thankfully we have a wonderful woman who is very capable and strong who will now do that job. I have been training her for the past two months or so and now I am officially retired.
 The first few weeks of not going in to work were disorienting! Now I have what I wanted, but what am I going to do with it?  I was actually dizzy for about 10 days. No, really dizzy. Like bumping into walls and having to be careful when walking around my house. Driving was totally out of the question. The safest thing to do was to nap frequently. And read easy novels. And, try to keep the demons of worry at bay while this change of life followed its' course. I felt like that cat you see hanging on by its' claws: "Hang On!" says the sign.
 Fortunately, life moves on and visualizing just feeling comfortable helps create a new space to live in and make dreams in and find enthusiasm once more. My youngest son is getting married next month and has asked me to make them a Chuppah. Now that I have started, I feel grounded and focused and fully engaged with creative activity that is fun for me. For this, I am so grateful. I'm back to being me again and WoW, does that ever feel good!