Friday, December 16, 2011

Painting Classes....and an end of the week wrap-up

Well it's been an interesting week here. My art show at May Memorial was selected as the Monday "pick of the day" on They used the Poinsettia image from the show and it looked great!

Christmas is approaching; I just taught my last class for the session yesterday. Kids were giddy with excitement already and spontaneously burst into song (Jingle Bells) while playing one of my crazy art games. Crazy last minute art games are what I invent when I know our lesson will not take up the entire length of the class. Of course I hardly ever need to do that with my adult classes, haha.

I am looking forward to the 2 week break from teaching to develop an idea for a theme for my next body of artwork: The Indian River Lakes Suite. That is an area close to my heart; we own a camp on Grass Lake. I have a few paintings ready, but need to paint a few more and find a venue.

Painting classes at the Y Arts Studio will resume after the first of the year. No exaggeration there....The Acrylic Painting class starts on Monday January 2!!! Advanced/ Intermediate Watercolor will be on Tuesday nights, 7:00 - 9:00 starting January 3, and Intro to Watercolors begins on January 4 at 9:30 in the morning, ends at 11:30. All classes run for 6 weeks. As always, all art supplies are included in the reasonable class fee. $68 for YMCA members; $83 for Non-members.
You can register at the East Area Family YMCA in Fayetteville.

Attached is an image from the upcoming Indian River Lakes Suite. It's also the image for our family holiday card this year. It is titled "Winter Twilight".

Monday, December 5, 2011

Set a Spell, Set a Mood

In the grassy, or should I say weedy area behind our camp I plopped our old Adirondack chair. The original intent was to hide the cover for our well, which is bright blue and stands about 2 1/2' high, and doesn't exactly go with the "lake in the woods" rustic setting. We don't do a whole lot of mowing up there so after a few weeks the weeds overtook the area, growing up and around the chair. I took a few photos of the scene and based this painting on the photos.
When working from photos it's important to know when to put away the photo and just let the painting take on a life of its own. Photos are great for reference, helping with placement of objects in the picture, and keeping things in proportion. But photos also give us too much information and it's important to know what we need to keep in our painting and what we need to let go of.
First decide on your focal point. This is where you want viewers to concentrate most of their attention. The focal point can be one object or a group of objects. Everything else in your painting is subordinate to the focal point. But even though areas/objects can be subordinate, they are not unimportant. These areas/objects should enhance the focal point, either by placement, color or lighting.
In the painting pictured here, "Set a Spell", the chair is the focal point. It is painted in a more detailed manner than the vegetation in the background and the other objects around the chair. The photograph that I based the painting on, pictured more details in the background; I chose to leave those out because they distracted the viewer from the focal point. Leaving the background less detailed and more impressionistic lends a somewhat dreamy quality to the painting and invites to viewer to "Set a Spell" and enjoy the moment.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Poinsettias Gone Wild!

For the past two years I have painted a poinsettia for the holidays, so I guess I have just begun a series!!
Last year's painting (the 2010 version) was used as the cover for our family Christmas/Holiday card. The 2011 poinsettia painting will be used as the cover for someone else' holiday card. I'm not at liberty to say will just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, here's a peek at Poinsettia! 2011.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Paintings on display through December 30

My paintings are on display at the May Memorial Art Gallery through December 30. Acrylic paintings, watercolors and pastels are all part of the show, which includes old and new pieces; primarily landscapes and a few watercolor and acrylic florals.
The gallery is located at 3800 East Genesee St. in Syracuse. It's always a good idea to call before going to the show; the gallery space gets used for several different functions during the week including Yoga and Toddler Tango! Here's the number 446-8920.
Pictured here is a seasonal floral: Poinsettia! 2010

Saturday, November 19, 2011

And now for something completely different....Pottery!

Pictured here is the bowl I painted for Alexandria High School's Empty Bowls Fundraiser, held recently. The bowl was made by Ann Donovan of Dragonfly Pottery, just down the road from our camp. After the bowl was bisque fired I painted the designs using brightly colored underglazes. I didn't get to see the bowl after it was glaze fired, but I did hear that the bowl is now on it's way to Arizona with an air traffic controller and that the high school raised about $3000 for the "Backpack Club". The Backpack Club was organized to help combat hunger in the North Country.

Friday, November 11, 2011

To Honor the Veteran

When I painted this in 2008 I had two intentions: to honor the Veterans and to capture the excitement of a parade through color and the illusion of movement. I was thinking of my Dad, uncles and other WWII Vets; the Greatest Generation. They were really the only Vets I knew. Not too many of my generation felt the call to serve. Fast forward now to 2011 and I have two sons in the Military; one in the Marines and one in the Army.I could never have guessed back in 2008 that we would become a Military family.On Veterans Day we fly the Army, Marines and US Flags!(and by the way they are surrounded by the Halloween pumpkins and scarecrows still on the front porch).
The painting itself is based on a photograph of the Veterans Day Parade in Syracuse. Two ladder trucks (but only one is visible in the painting) from the Syracuse Fire Department hold up an enormous American Flag which hangs over Salina St. High school marching bands pass by, in the background the Gridley Building and the old Syracuse Savings Bank Building.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

3 art shows coming up!

Busy weeks ahead. I have three art shows coming up; one is a solo show; the other two are group shows. The solo show is at May Memorial, and will run Nov. 20 - Dec. 30. The group shows are with the National League of American Pen Women at Petit Library, starting Dec. 10 and Associated Artists "Off the Wall" show, starting Nov. 20. More information coming as we get closer to show time. For now...just keep painting, just keep painting. Also, still have Christmas and Hannukkah cards and "Art-to-Wear" scarves and bags at Hartsville Hollow.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jump into the Water...color

Last chance to register for Watercolor classes at Y Arts Studio. Classes start next week. Advanced/Intermediate on Tuesday night 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm and Intro to Watercolors on Wednesdays 9:30 am - 11:30 am. Classes are open to YMCA members and non-members; all supplies are include in fee. Watercolor classes begin next week, Nov. 8 and 9.
For more information go to

Friday, October 28, 2011

Donations of Artwork

As an artist I am often asked to donate artwork for fundraisers. Over the years I have become more selective about which organizations I donate to. I now have a much smaller list of recipients, but each holds a personal connection for me.
Here is one of the fundraisers that have made my list: CLIPTOMANIA Presents VISIONS Hair Show to Support MS, Oct. 29, 6:00PM - 9:00PM, Barbagallos Restaurant.
In keeping with the hair/fashion show theme for the evening, my donation was a scarf from my Art To Wear collection of velvet embossed scarves and bags.

Monday, October 24, 2011


My latest painting titled "Tethered" takes a more conventional approach to watercolor in that I actually used watercolor, not food coloring. (See the last blog for the results of that experiment!) Colors are loose and fluid. The rocks actually started as one big wet, sloppy mass of Payne's gray, ultramarine blue,and a touch of alizarin crimson...and lots of water. I started this painting as a demo in my Watercolor class to demonstrate the wet on wet technique, which I love. This is, I think the beauty of watercolor. There is nothing more fun than watching the colors mix, blend and do their thing. The hard part is that it's kind of like playing chess. You need to plan about 4 steps ahead in order to create that "spontaneous " feel, and to make sure the colors you choose blend nicely.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Experimental Watercolor

I usually favor the more traditional approach to watercolor, but recently I read an article about painting with food coloring. The article of course had painting to go with it. The colors were very rich and vibrant so I thought I would give it a try. I had recently experimented with liquid watercolor, so food coloring was just one step beyond. Before I started the painting I lightly sketched a few leaves around the paper. Then I got my watercolor paper very wet. I dropped bits of red, yellow, blue and green food coloring here and there around the leaves and then let the food coloring and water do its thing. The results were an amazing mix of colors, some very vibrant others deep and rich.
I later went back into the picture and gave another layer of color to the negative spaces around the leaves to add depth. The finishing touch of gold gouache paint came last.
I am planning another experiment with food coloring, this time using cool colors and snowflakes. According to the article I had read, the color does not fade, but only time will tell. For now, I am happy with the results.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good news from The Healing Muse

My mixed media piece tiled "Wishing I Could Remember the Violets" was selected for the 2011 Healing Muse Upstate Medical Center for Bioethics and Humanities literary and visual journal.
This picture was inspired by my mother's Irish family who lived on Tipperary Hill. I also lived in that neighborhood for several years when I was a child. I had the pleasure of frequently returning to the old neighborhood when my daughter Irish Danced (from ages 7 - 18). I spent many happy hours watching the dancers all practice their steps and thinking about my Irish heritage, and listening to sounds outside like church bells, which I never heard at my house out in the 'burbs. And also, for some unknown reason I have always associated my grandmother with violets. That's where the inspiration for "Wishing I Could Remember the Violets" came from.
Now the picture is all the more poignant as my mother has been diagnosed with dementia and my daughter has gone off to college, and so the days of watching the dancers has ended. Life changes, sometimes fast, sometimes gradually.
And I still have no clue why I am obsessing over violets!?????
Anyway, this is a mixed media piece which started with an abstract watercolor background. Images were created with colored pencil and enhanced with metallic paint and markers; de-emphasized with a layer of thin gauzy rice paper. The people pictured in the painting are my maternal grandparents Peter and Mary Enright.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A few more samples of student work

A few more samples of student work from our 3-day landscape painting session at Camp Iroquois.

Neither rain, nor bugs nor fading daylight kept our intrepid group of painters away from our 3-day Landscape painting session at Camp Iroquois last week. For most of them it was their first venture into plein air painting and also a first time using acrylic paint.The group ranged in age from teen to adult.
Here are a few samples of their work.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Landscape painting Workshop Aug. 2, 3 and 4; 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Learn the essentials of landscape painting at scenic Camp Iroquois in Manlius where woodland trails, rustic cabins and boats resting along the waterfront are all waiting to become part of your masterpiece. Each day will begin with an instructor demonstration. After learning basic techniques, beginners will be able to paint subject matter. More experienced painters will be given time to work independently. Each participant will receive plenty of guidance from the instructor and each day will include some basic drawing instruction. All supplies are included; participants are asked to dress for the outdoors. A shelter is provided in case of inclement weather. Meet in parking lot at Camp Iroquois, 4795 Sweet Road, Manlius, 13104.

Advance registration is required for this class. All art classes are open to YMCA Members and Non-members. Fee $49 Members; $59 Non-Members

Register at East Area Family YMCA, 200 Towne Drive, Fayetteville. Hours: Monday - Friday 5:30 am - 10:00 pm; Saturday 5:30 am - 9:00 pm; Sunday 8:00 am - 7:00 pm.

Watercolor Workshop:Painting Flowers and Foliage

Register now for the 3-day Watercolor Workshop scheduled for Aug. 9, 10 and 11 from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm at the Y Arts Studio. The focus is on painting flowers and foliage. All supplies are included in the class fee; classes are open to YMCA Members and Non-members.

You can register at the East Area Family YMCA located at 200 Towne Drive in Fayetteville.
Hours: Monday - Friday 5:30 am - 10:00 pm; Saturday 5:30 am - 9:00 pm; Sunday 8:00 am - 7:00 pm.
Visit Windy Hill Studio Arts

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hot enough for you???

The temperature's been hovering around 90 all day long.I'm working up a sweat just writing this blog........
Here's an image from to help you keep cool today.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I am teaching a 3-day Watercolor Workshop for Adults and Teens at the Y Arts Studio Aug. 9, 10 & 11, 7:00pm - 9:00pm. This workshop focuses on painting flowers and foliage. The description from the YMCA program guide is below. All Arts programming is open to YMCA members and Non-members an art supplies are included in class fee.

Watercolor: Learning To Paint Flowers and Foliage
Learn to capture the beauty of flowers in watercolor; vibrant sun-dappled colors and delicate overlapping petals against lush vegetation.
We will be using various techniques including wet on wet, dry brushing, positive and negative shapes and creating textures.
Each class will also have some basic drawing instruction for those students wishing to improve their drawing skills.

$49 Members; $59 Non-Members

Monday, June 6, 2011

Watercolor Part Three

To finish the painting I added bare tree branches in the foreground, added a few short branches to the fallen logs in the stream and a few reflections in the water. Note that the water was never painted; it is implied by the reflections and the abstractions which were the result of the initial wash over the crinkled tissue paper.
The tree in foreground on the left side was darkened because it's brighter color was distracting to the early morning misty mood that I was trying to create.

Watercolor Demo Part Two

Using combinations of greens, blues and reds and a touch of yellow I created all of the colors used in this painting. I varied the amounts of colors each time I mixed a new shade so that subtle variations are found in each color. The light misty quality was achieved by using very thin washes of color. Gradually a few more solid trees were added closer to the foreground to help create a sense of depth within the painting. Land masses were added as well to "anchor" the trees.

Watercolor Demo Part One

This blog is a continuation of my watercolor demo from the last two classes of the Spring II Session at the Y.

I started with a watercolor wash over crinkled tissue paper, to take advantage of the natural veining which occurs as the watercolor seeps through and then pools around the crinkles. This technique adds abstract areas of interest and texture within a landscape.

After the paper was dry, I lightly sketched in the main subjects; a few bare trees and some large areas to represent groups of trees with foliage. No details.

I added thin washes of colors (greens and blues slightly altered by adding a bit of red to neutralize the colors.) over the main shapes, which are the contours created by the large areas of trees. The washes were thin so that the crinkle pattern would still show through.

The tree trunks were painted with a combination of green, blue and red to create a dark neutral. Dark blue mixed into the neutral to create shadows. The shadows were painted onto the trees when the paper was wet so that the darker tones would diffuse randomly into the lighter neutral.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stop me before I paint this boat again!!!!

I think this boat has appeared in at least 3 of my paintings. Last Spring I did a pastel painting of this boat when I was teaching an Intro to Pastels class at the Y. The same boat is in the background of an acrylic painting titled August Afternoon and another painting titled Sittin' in the Shade. So here is the latest (and probably last installment of the "empty rowboat on the shore series".........well at least with this particular boat). Quick, someone find me another boat to paint!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Well, Spring must be coming because the Arts Shows are all popping up. I'm in the H2O exhibit at the Arts Center in Old Forge. I went to the opening reception this past weekend (yes they still had snow in Old Forge). Also coming up are "A Sense of Place" with Associated Artists at the Manlius Library and the Hecklectic Eklectic Art Show with CNY Artists at the Fayetteville Library both opening April 3. It's time to start thinking of the next big show, one of my favorites, "Along the River's Edge" at the Thousand Island Arts Center in Clayton.
Pictured here is "Adirondack Still Life", an oldie, but one of my favorites for the "A Sense of Place" show.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Down by the Water

This watercolor is a study for a larger piece which I plan on painting this Spring.The use of analogous colors (3 colors next to each other on the color wheel) create a sense of color harmony which helps to hold the composition together.
I was working on this up at camp; no running water yet. I used melted snow to clean my brushes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Watercolor begins tonight at the Y

Intro to Watercolor begins tonight at the Y Arts Studio. Still a few openings in the Tuesday night class; the Wednesday morning class is full with a waiting list!
And it's the first day of March! Spring can't be too far away.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I have been getting back into watercolors in preparation for my Intro to Watercolors class at the Y Arts Studio. Classes are pleasantly full, but still room for a few more people.
I'm really enjoying working with subtle layers of color; a big difference from my style with acrylic paint.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good news yesterday

Just heard yesterday that my artwork in The Healing Muse Volume 10 received a favorable review. In fact the whole Muse Volume 10 received a great review by an online literary magazine source called NewPages. The reviewer described my artwork as restful and healing. Well, timing is everything. One of my paintings in the Muse is based on a photo taken at the waterfront at YMCA Camp Iroquois in Manlius. Five minutes before I took the photo the area was teeming with kids. Clothing, beach towels and camp gear were everywhere ( and I have to admit it was really colorful!!!). After the kids left, the entire mood changed, serenity reigned and I snapped the picture. A few weeks later it became the basis for the painting August Afternoon. Timing is everything!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Southwestern Moment

Despite the 3 feet of snow outside, I guess I must be still under the influence of San Diego.......well at least Old Town San Diego. Lots of warm color here!
This painting was done in the Studio at the Y. I was working along with a few of my students who elected to paint the still life. I didn't realize how Southwestern it felt until I started adding the details on the shawl. Now I can't wait to dismantle the still life and wear the shawl.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

For my Painting Class; paintng in progress part 2

After bringing the painting home I began to work on refining the edges of the pottery, adding highlights where needed and finishing the top of the one piece of pottery (the piece lying at an angle in front of the red mug). I added the shadows behind the pottery and also some shadows around their bottoms. I had underpainted most of the shawl with a purple/magenta color and let it show through in a few areas. Because I liked the effect of the purple/magenta showing through I added a bit more of it in a couple of places on the shawl and in the shadows around the pottery. Using color in this way helps to unify my composition. I haven't started working on the spoon yet, that will be the next thing I do.
The orange table legs were meant to lead the eye up to the focal point, but because they were so long, they were a distraction and took emphasis away from the focal point. I added some dark shadows which toned down the orange table legs and brought emphasis back up to the still life.
The pattern on the shawl will probably stay as is, creating a colorful backdrop which enhances the overall feeling of the still life (kind of Southwestern, I guess) and does not distract from the focal point.

For my painting class: Painting in progress

Hi everyone,
Just before we left class on Tuesday night Carron took a photo of my painting in progress (hopefully she will bring that to class this week so we can compare). Anyway, I stayed another 40 minutes and got to this point with the Still Life.
The next day I took a photo of the still life to use for reference, then brought the painting home to work on. The next blog entry will show my progress and explain what I did and why I did it.