Sunday, December 30, 2007

A New Beginning (Not the New Year)

12" x 9" oil on panel

After a few days of playing and socializing, I got back to work last night. I started this new painting and also have another one from the beginning of the month in progress. I look forward to painting tonight as well as on New Year's Eve! (Nope, no partying that night for me...)

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Offering

"The Offering"
14" x 11"

This painting is off the easel until it is dry enough to sign. Some areas will look a bit more saturated and clear once I get a varnish on it, and then I will take a new picture.

I hope everyone has a great holiday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Here's the headdress in progress. More to come hopefully sooner than later!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just for Fun: Ice Pictures

As you may have heard, we've been coated with ice here in the Midwest. Thankfully, KC did not get the worst of this storm. I lost power for a little while a couple nights ago, but nothing dramatic. It all started melting today, and I decided to head out before my run and try to get a few artsy pictures before it was all gone. I am not a great photographer, not even an amateur, but it's still fun to try.

This last one doesn't look very icy, yet ice was falling all around me as I took the photo. I have always wanted to get a picture from this angle that would really emphasize the ice so that it would look like the Crystalline Entity. (Yes, I grew up a Star Trek nerd.) Maybe next time.

After taking these pictures, I went for a 3 mile run at the park. Looking across the park towards the sun, everything looked platinum and glittery. I thought about returning to the park to try and capture it, but by the end of the run most of the ice was gone.

Opening Report - More Painting Progress

The opening at Hilliard last Friday was great. I hadn't planned on staying all the way until 10 p.m., figuring that 4 hours would be a bit much for me, but so may friends came that we wound up closing the place down at 10:30! Thank you to all the friends that showed up last week. You made my evening!

Now that the opening is over, it's back to painting. I am hoping that a few more sessions with this one will do it. As of right now, I haven't touched the feathers or the apple for a second go, and there's still more to do on the hands, face, and background, but for the most part the figure is done.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Holiday Open House Tonight

"Eve, Ashamed"
30" x 20"

Art opening at Hilliard beginning in two hours! At least at the moment, the weather looks clear, and what better way to spend a cold evening than gallery hopping and grabbing a warm bite to eat? Hope to see you there.
  • Hilliard Gallery - 18th and Oak - Kansas City, MO

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Painting Progress

In the picture above, I have added another layer to the chest and upper arm area. You can tell the paint is thicker now, and there is more variety in the hues and values.

I decided that I wasn't pushing the values enough. The figure is lighted almost from the front and above, so the light areas don't necessarily have the variety of values that I like. I want the upper arms especially to recede more than they appear to in this first picture. (See how they appear a little flat and perpendicular to the picture plane?)

To accomplish this, I lowered the relative values there, and used the background color (lamp black) as I darkened the flesh tones. Adding the background color is a great way to get something to recede, as it connects more visually with the background space, and gives a certain feeling of more air being in front of the object... if that makes sense.

You might also notice that I highlighted the chest area, which further increased the contrast. Certainly there is still much more work to be done, but it is coming closer to my vision.

This side-by-side black and white comparison shows the value differences more clearly. You may have noticed that I stopped painting at the hands. As I progress to that area, I will return to the higher values because this is an important area in the painting, and good contrast will draw the eye there.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Art Opening This Friday - Preparations

This First Friday, from 6 - 10 pm, is the opening of Hilliard's Holiday Open House, where a selection of my new nude paintings and drawings will be featured. Stop by if you are local!

Of course, I had to prepare some work to go out the door, including four drawings. Thus my absence from blogging. Matting works on paper is one of my least favorite things to do, but now that I finally have a *real* mat cutter it causes much less agony.

Above are three of the pieces matted, and there they are below, framed. I know it's not very interesting, but it is certainly part of the territory.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Facade - 1st Layer

Except for the background, which will be all black, this now has one layer on it. I'll come back to fill in the background, but otherwise I will have to wait a while to get back to work on this one since it will take a long time to dry on the ABS.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just a Bit of Color

The flesh areas all have one layer, but I have yet to attack the headdress or the background. I need some patience!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Quick Charcoal-Paint Drawing and Website Updates

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I started the day by running a 5K in 22 degree weather (it was fun!) and finished by having a BBQ sandwich, pie, and good company.

Above is a really basic outline painted in, with some charcoal lines still visible. This was originally going to be on a 30" x 24" canvas, but unfortunately when I pulled said canvas out I noticed it was significantly warped. I will have to see if there is a way to fix that or get a replacement. However, I didn't want to wait to start a new painting, so this is on a 20" x 16" piece of ABS mounted on a maple board. I love ABS, but it does take the first layer a long while to dry. Hopefully I will have a full base layer done by tonight, and then I can work on the painting below while I am waiting.

Also, I made some small design changes to my website. Please take a look and let me know what you think! I am always considering getting rid of the red background theme, but I have had it for a while now, and it's my favorite color. In the near future I need to add another demo or two and update a lot of information.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Easy as 1 - 2 - 3

OK, maybe not that easy, but I do try and keep it simple in the beginning. The following is what has occupied my last two evenings.

Here you can still see some of my sketchy charcoal lines in the headdress. I started off by enveloping the figure with the almost black background, the mask, and painting in the totally black thin feathers. For some reason I decided not to dilute with OMS as I usually do, (OK, I have a reason, I want the final product to have thicker paint) so this all took about 50 times longer than it usually does. My hand was a bit cramped after that, so I decided to dilute a little bit when I got to the figure, saving the places with more detail like the face, hands, and headdress for the next session.

The first thing I did last night was model the arms a bit more and break up the warm tone of the chest a bit. Then I moved on to the face and hands, trying not to create a forced expression. It was all done with my smallest brushes as these areas on the painting are only a few inches wide. The painting is on a 16" x 12" panel.

For the apple and headdress, I got a completely different palette because there is so much variety in the colors in those areas and I had no more room on the flesh-tone palette. This will help me keep my colors clean as I progress, too. The headdress will get a lot more detail as time goes on; there are a few speckled feathers and lots of wisps from the peacock feathers that were impossible to add at this stage.

So there you have it; two evenings at the Lewis Studio!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Inward - Finished

14" x 11" Oil on Panel

All done and ready to move on to something new. Please stay tuned.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Slowly Inward

I know there may not appear to be much difference between this image and the last, but trust me that the paint is thicker and much of the painting has been slightly adjusted. I'm pretty much done with the flesh now, and just need to finish the foreground and hair clips.

For the heck of it, I thought I'd throw in another desaturated version of the painting. Much of the time, when something looks wrong in a color painting or drawing, the problem is in the values and not the hues.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Inward and Race Pics

First of all, thank you for all the congrats and well wishes with the new gallery! I really love the encouragement.

Pushing forward on the painting; more details to come in the foreground blanked, which is just a base layer at this point. Some of the flesh needs another layer, where it moves from light to shadow, but most of it is looking good to my eyes.

In completely not related to art news, I ran a 10K (6.2 mile) race last Saturday morning. I finished in 1 hour, 9 minutes, 47 seconds, with an average pace of 11 min 15 seconds per mile. There I am coming through the finish line.

It was a bit chilly out that morning, so my dear husband headed out to buy a new coat while I ran. He was back with plenty of time to see me through the finish line, and there he is in his warm new coat. After a couple miles I had warmed up fairly well, thus the discrepancy in clothing choices between us.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

News, Updates, and More Inward Progress

First, please let me announce that my work is now represented by Hilliard Gallery in Kansas City, MO! This should prove to be an exciting partnership. Look for show dates and openings in the near future.

Also, I finally updated my website with my newest painting and recent drawings. Sometime soon I feel I should add a new demo or two as well, so stay tuned for that.

Finally, here's a little more progress on the painting. I have done a second layer over the light area of the back as well as starting in with the shadows. The lights may require even a third layer so that it appears thick enough in real life. Often the density of the paint does not come through on the screen.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Inward Progress

That's an interesting title for this post. Anyway, I am sure you can see where progress has been made in comparison to the earlier version. This is a pleasant painting to work on; it just seems to come from the brush(es) slowly but smoothly.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Inward - New Beginning

I started a new painting last night! This is a smallish one, 14" x 11". I seem to do really well with small paintings, so it may be a good idea for me to have a small one going at the same time I have large ones in progress.

Wednesday night I started work on reference for another painting, and Sunday a friend has agreed to come and model for me. Soaking up all this inspiration should help me renew my painting vigor! I plan to begin a new drawing and/or a new painting over the next couple days. Stay tuned.

In other less artsy news, running is going well. Last weekend I ran the KC Marathon 5K right through the Crossroads Arts District and set a new personal record for that distance. Next month I am running my first 10K, wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I'm saying this is done, though I would not be surprised if I continue to tinker with it for a while. It seems to be that sort of painting.

Now it's time to look for new inspiration. I have a sketchbook with ideas that I have jotted down over the past couple of months; just have to find a way to make them happen.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Couple More Days

Another couple days, and I should have this one finished. The lower half of the painting looks better in real life; I photographed it with a flash, and so there is a lot of glare towards the bottom especially.

So close!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Still Not Finished

But it's really close! Anyone have any really great ideas for a title? I have a couple in mind, but haven't settled yet.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Article About Danette Velez

Today an article that I authored was published in the Sun about Danette Velez. You can read it online here:

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Back to My Painting

Alright, let me get back to posting about art! Here's the current stage of this painting that I have been slowly chipping away at, like, forever. There's still so much of it that is nowhere near complete, and where the only layer of paint is the thin underpainting. It's coming along, though, and I feel it will be completed sooner than I think. I'm over a hurdle, both with this painting, and also hopefully with recent events. Will I now return to my usual workaholic self?

Also thought it would be interesting to post this; it's the painting, but completely desaturated. Looking at a painting in black and white can give you a lot of great information, and it's important that it all make sense visually when the color isn't there.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

October 2nd - Where am I?

Yes, I am still here! I am still painting, slowly, in between all the other things I have been trying to juggle. I feel a little funny about posting news about Danette between all the nude images, so I am going to wait a while before I post more progress pictures.

Last month took a lot out of me emotionally, for sure. There are a couple projects going on for the Velez family, and I am writing a guest column for the Sun about Danette that will be published next week. I am also training for a 10K, so sleep has become slightly more important to me now, reducing the amount of time I get to spend doing other (more important!) things.

Please stay tuned. More paintings, drawings, and writings are to come, I anticipate at an increased pace!

I the meantime, here's a bit of randomness:

Take a look at that building... there's a house on top of it! I lived just a few blocks from here in Syracuse, NY (where the sky is always gray) as a young child, and there were stories about the mean old man who owned that house, so concerned with his profit that he lived right there on top of the building. I wonder what the real story was.

That brown building right next to the red one was a Key Bank when I was a little girl. I remember going there weekly with my mother, and thinking how magical it was, and how fortunate she was, to go somewhere that the people actually gave away money.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Week Ago Today - Danette Velez

Early in the morning last Thursday, my friend Danette passed away. You may remember her from previous posts if you've read my blog for some time. If not, you can read my first post about her, when I completed a celebratory "I'm cancer free!" portrait. Her cancer returned, and I completed this second painting, and this post has a wonderful image of her portable shrine and an article about her courage and optimism.

Once again, I am without words that can describe how I feel (except maybe denial!), honor her memory, or truly give a hint as to the impact this woman had on so many people. Literally, I have been out in public with her portrait and had numerous people recognize her image and stop to talk about what a 'bright spirit' she is. Children would recognize her face and smile at the sunny image of Miss Danette. People who never even met her would be touched by the image of this happy, optimistic woman who was in the midst of battling cancer. Over at this CaringBridge webpage, that her family set up for her, some 13,000 people have visited, and hundreds have signed the guestbook and shared memories and loving thoughts. You can also read some entries from her journal, which family members have been posting here and there, and just get a glimpse into the kind of woman she was.

Friday at 3pm there will be a 'Celebration of Life' memorial service for her at Unity Church of Overland Park. Danette leaves behind a husband who carries the same 'bright spirit,' and 5 beautiful children who reflect the souls their parents, as well an extended family. A trust fund has been set up for the family; please consider giving if you are moved to do so:

Danette Velez Fund

First National Bank of Olathe

PO Box 1500

Olathe, KS 66051-9901

This woman was simply amazing, and I am so gifted for having known her. Thank you, Danette, for your friendship.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Unfortunately, there is a lot of glare in this photo, especially in the shadows of the thighs. Hopefully the effect of the shadows is not totally lost.

The legs are the least lit area of this figure, and so I am trying to keep a relatively narrow value range here. Also, the value of much of the rest of the painting will come down, too, as I continue to paint. The idea is to allow certain areas and edges to become lost in the shadow, which will cause the lights to have just that much more impact.

Stay tuned as I slowly make my way through this one.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Standing Nude Painting In Progress

Here you can see where I've put another layer on the butt and thigh areas. Seems like a logical place to start to me! This way I have a reference right in the middle of the painting, instead of starting at one end and changing things by the time I get to the other end. There's also a medium value range here, as opposed to the dark range in the legs and the highlights in the shoulders, and there's much less detail to worry about than in areas with more muscle and bone definition, such as the back.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wondering if this is Finished

I think this may be done. I like the gentle rendering, so it doesn't feel over done, but I am also wondering if the graphite is dark enough for the heavily toned paper. Maybe it needs a little charcoal in the shadows? I'll think about it, and concentrate on my painting for a while.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Drawing and Painting and Drawing Some More!

In addition to working on the drawing above and the painting below, I have also put some finishing touches on a couple other drawings. Perhaps I will post those in a day or two, here and/or on my website.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I'm back, and I'm drawing a back! I have been working on things slowly but steadily since I returned home. There have been some events that have left me speechless, and if words come to me about them, I will share. Meanwhile, I have kept myself busy finishing up some drawings, finishing a proposal, starting this drawing, and working on a few other projects. Hopefully now I will be able to get back to my painting full force.

Drawing is fun. I've gathered some new paper to play with and add some variety to the drawings. The color above is galled "Pottery Green." I can't wait to see how the white conte looks on it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

In Loving Memory of My Grandma

From left to right; my mother, my grandmother, myself
at my mother's wedding this summer.

Shortly after my last post, I got a phone call from my mother. This was followed later in the afternoon my another call, and a final call late that night. My grandma had died.

I don't usually discuss personal experiences or thoughts on my blog; generally I stick to the topic of my art and related events, but today I feel like sharing.

For the past several hours I've been trying to write my thoughts about my grandma, and describe what she meant to me and to my family and who she was as a person. Of course, a person cannot be encapsulated in a blog entry, so I have decided instead to tell a favorite story about her.

Growing up, I waited all year every year to feast on Grandma's pumpkin pie. I wouldn't allow myself to eat it at any other time of year, or else I felt like I was cheating. On Thanksgiving day, I had to wait patiently for everyone to finish dinner, and let it settle for a while before breaking into dessert. She knew I loved the pie, and would make enough so that some could be sent home with me.

When I realized that moving away from Syracuse would mean that I may not get to participate in this annual indulgence, I started nagging her for the recipe. Eventually, a year after I had moved and she was visiting KC, she finally shared her secret recipe with me. I believe her exact words were, "Oh, get a can of Libby's and read it!"

I now refer to it as "Grandma's World Famous 'Get a Can of Libby's and Read It!' Pumpkin Pie."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Standing Nude - Beginning the Painting

I'm finally working on a larger canvas again! This is 36" x 18". Of course, it would be more exciting on a 48" x 24" canvas, but I am not sure I have enough room. Maybe next time.

This is all just loosely blocked in with thinned oil paint. Several more layers to follow.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Nude Oil Painting Continued, Again

Inching my way along on the patterned comforter now. It just might take forever!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Standing Nude - Nearly Complete

Getting pretty close with this one. I've worked on the oil painting below as well, but there are a few things I want to change before I post it again. Look for more tomorrow or the day after.

Also, it's way too hot outside. Still. It doesn't look like there is a whole lot of relief in the forecast, but I suppose I should just be happy it isn't in the triple digits anymore.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Standing Nude Continued

Made a couple corrections, and started shading. Still some hard edges in there and other things that need to be adjusted, but I am very happy with where this is going.