Barney the Basset Hound – A painting a day


Years ago when I was in college, I had a Basset hound. I named him Barney and he was the saddest looking thing you ever saw, huge feet with these toe nails that were deadly and don’t forget those BIG blood shot eyes. He only looked sad, he was actually one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever owned. He wondered into my yard one day as most of my animals seem to have done over the years. That’s where I found him, he was laying in the yard when I got home from class. I gave him a quick pet and my burrito. I knew I would like him right then and there. Any dog that would eat hot sauce was OK by me. It turned out Barney ate everything. Once, I came home to find him eating a head of lettuce I had thrown in the garbage. You had to keep the trash bin off the floor. He wasn’t too keen to climbing or jumping so it was easy enough to keep stuff out of his reach. He did have a couple of other bad habits, one (as some of you already know) was howling. I had never owned a hound before and didn’t know about this howling. There I was all asleep, my new husband laying at my side, I thought I had it made, a new dog, a sweet little house, art classes with great teachers, everything a girl would want. Suddenly, I hear this god awful bellow in the middle of the night, he suddenly lets out a howl that made me sit straight up in bed. Nothing ever broke him of that habit. Another bad habit was his need to roam, he just didn’t seem to loyal. He would wonder the neighborhood, this is before stringent laws kept dogs on leashes. I would find him sleeping on a neighbor’s porch or even laying asleep in car ports or at the local pub. The guys at the local bar would give him beer which of course he loved and he would be too drunk to come home. I’d have to go down in my little blue superbeatle and have the guys load him in the car.
After a few episodes of wondering Barney, I decided to put him in the back yard where the (I’m not kidding) tiny 2 1/2 foot tall picket fence was too tall for him to get out. That just made the howling start up. What was I to do? Finally one day…. no Barney, he had gotten out, there was a school across the street and he loved the kids. They would come by and pet him everyday and feed him their old sandwiches from their lunch boxes, I think they may have also let him out. One week goes by No Barney, two weeks goes by nothing I asked at the neighborhood pub nope hadn’t seen him Did all the usual stuff to find a dog and not one sign of him. Gone just like he had come in one day here then gone. About a month after Barney went missing I get a call about a dog that sounded like my dog. It was a young family with three kids. They wanted to bring him by to see if he was mine. Oh great, Barney’s back ! I tell my husband, he gives me the look, he was never too keen on the dog so it really didn’t matter to him.

They show up and its him. The BIG loony dog. The family said he had shown up at their house and they kept him until they saw my “missing dog” flyer at the grocery store. The mother said the kids had fallen in love with him, and by the looks I was getting from two of the kids I could tell she was right. They looked at me like I was taking their best friend away. The third little girl kept saying they named him Jake, ( I wondered how many names that dog had in his lifetime, he wasn’t young when I named him Barney). After talking for a little bit I could see he was in good hands and when the mother asked me straight away if they could keep him, I said sure, he needed those kids. I gave him a big hug and told her about his drinking problem and his affinity for hot sauce, we all had a good laugh and they loaded him up in the station wagon and he was gone. When the guys at the pub found out they said they would miss him but thought it was for the best, they were worried he would stagger out into the road and get hit by a car. So was I and now I could rest at night knowing he had a family. I just wonder about that howling…. I some how forgot to mention it.
This is 9 by 11 Oil Pastel Framed in 11 by 14 $ 100.00

Nishikigoi – A painting a day


I finished the BIG koi painting as I have begun to call it, it still needs a name which at the moment is alluding me, I guess I’ll have to go back in the archives and see what folks have suggested in the past. I have been given some great suggestions, it seem as there are many creative people out there when it comes to naming things. I’ve always had problems with naming the paintings. Sometimes its because I don’t want to lead the viewer but in the past, I ‘ve found paintings without names don’t do as well as those with names. People respond to the name as much as the image. I have even changed the names of paintings and found paintings sold after I found a better name. Who woulda thunk?

But as you see I’m no wordsmith and at times I wish I had someone who could step in and officially name them all. The names would magically fit the feel and I would be off the hook.

So this one is open for anyone to give me a name, I’ll take in account all suggestions and maybe your name will be selected. I’ll let you know when and what I choose.

Now for my next painting, you can see my new start for my next painting. I laid in the colors and some of the texture. My plan is to work with a male model and back light him to fit into the middle of this piece with the light coming from behind and around him. I won’t have the model till Saturday so this will have to be set aside till I can get the drawing in place to put him into the white area. I ‘ve pretty much decided to have him bare chested but in low rider jeans… we’ll see. Feed back is good so chime in here if you have any ideas.
IT”S BEEN NAMED! Thank you for all of your comments I decided to go with Nishikigoi , it is a japenese word for ornamental carp. Simple but direct.
Shawn Nacona named this painting, Shawn has a blog on wordpress, please check it out.

young boy  work in progress

Sam my best buddy – a graphite drawing


snow sam3
I drew this in pencil mostly an HB, but also a graphite stick in three values…which I like to use for larger areas.

Sam is about nine years old now, and he is a dog of a lifetime. If anyone has ever had a dog like this they know what I’m talking about. Some dogs are just special. He is very intuitive and seems to know me better then I know myself. I have always loved him because he is the perfect dog for me. Gentle yet protective if need be. Aways a quiet dog who silently rests at my feet, never whiny or begs, he has a dignified manner which I seem to respond to.

I will say in his younger days he did bite a few people(nothing bad just a warning bite) all of them men, I think he can be a bit jealous. Also in his younger days he took on almost all male dogs in the neighborhood. I can’t remember one time he ever came out on the bad end of any of those tussles. One was even a pit bull.

He has one little problem…. He likes to chase the occasional cat, possum or raccoon, but I can’t blame him for that, it’s his nature to hunt these things. We have a cat and he leaves her alone, its just every other cat that’s up for grabs. I have to keep my eyes scanning ahead when we’re on a walk , cause Mr. Sam is always alert for varmints. He has pulled possums out from under bushes faster then I have time to react. Not to mention, raccoons down from trees and chip monks out of holes. He’s incredibly strong but listens to me when I tell him to ” drop it”. He gives me that look that says “oh please, let me have just this one”. One time he got into a skunk den and I had to take him to the groomer, he stunk up everything including me and it took all day to get that smell out of the car.

We’ve had some fun times and I’ll never forget him, I know he cannot be here with me forever, so I have drawn him a number of times and taken hundreds of photos. I ‘m just thankful I’ve been given this gift. I’ve had lots of dogs, I have three now, but I’ll never have another Sam.

Here is his drawing, I hope you enjoy it. Also, a picture of him in my front yard a couple of years ago when it snowed here. He’s a real snow dog I call him “nanook of the north” when its cold, his personality shines.

Koi, a work in progress, #2

koi, work in progress #2

I had a couple of things to decide in this second stage. 1. I had to decide how to make sure the fish are a part of the background. I usually will soften or lose some of the edges in many areas so the fish do not look pasted on. I picked several areas and panted across the fish with glazes.
2. I had to decide the focal area, and not make all the fish have the same importance. By the way… before I ever started I had to make some design decisions. When I was designing the painting I drew out a rough value scale with the fish and the water just as blocks of light, medium and dark values. This is done very loose as once the water hits the paper it has a life of its own and I usually go with anything that happens outside of the main focal area. Before I started I had decided to make it a variation of a cruciform (cross) pattern. Thus I was always reminding myself to keep that very important element. I would darkening areas where it would strengthen the cross shape or pulling out paint where the cross needed to come forward. Of course the cross is in the fish, so when I say cross it means the cross shape of the piece. I hope this make sense, its a little after 6 am and I’ve been painting since 4:30 am.

An area, I feel is not working as well as it should is the red and black fish on the left…he is sort of stealing the show, he may get push back into the painting by reducing his chroma or brightness. I may glaze over him some green to not only reduce his brightness, but this may also push him back into the water a little more… we’ll see. The reason he is stealing the show is rather simple, he has lots of color, bright color and his pattern of color is placed in such a direct manner with many small brush strokes. All this movement combined with the contrast of his colors and values makes him really get noticed. also he is a bit animated… I may have to make him less cute.

Any comments are welcome , I understand critique and will not have my feelings hurt if you have some type of opinion which may help, let me know.

A Nude’s back-A life drawing for today


This nude will be my entry for today, I drew this in my life drawing session this morning, it was done with an HB pencil and an Kneaded eraser.

The little something extra… near her bottom is a tattoo, in case you wondered.

This is for sale for $20.00 USD if interested email me at

Size is approx. 8 by 11 inches.

Work in progress 22 by 30 Koi

Koi in progress

I woke up yesterday with this, huh…. lets call it an “urge” to paint BIG again, these small paintings are fun and the discipline it takes to paint them everyday is helping me in many ways but there isn’t anything quite like painting BIG. This isn’t even that big but for most watercolorists it’s a full sheet of paper and is considered large. For those who are not familiar…a full sheet of paper is 22 by 30. After putting water over both sides of the paper, I lay in the first large layers of paint( the brush does not scrub the paper) Then I use clean water to pull out the fish, then I wait… & I called Daniel Smith ( large art supplier in Seattle) and ordered a roll ( $139.00) of 156 lb paper so I can paint even larger. I think I have to go even bigger.

The rolls are ten feet by 51 inches… A little tough to man handle but we’ll see.

I can’t tell you why an artist goes in any particular direction but I value my intuition and place a lot of credence in the direction it takes me. It says paint large and so I will. Instead of putting up a small daily painting I will put up my work in progress so you can see what I get done each day. This is day one. I forgot to mention one step…. I painted the entire piece of paper with clean water. Then I spritz it with water and allow nature to takes it course, before it drys I pull out the paint where I want the foreground objects to appear. Its kind of like fishing (ha ha ) you look at it and look for the fish and they appear. I have plenty of reference material nearby to view so I can get a feel for how they actually swim and hold themselves in water . I use the reference material only as a spark, it’s not there to use as a bible so to speak but only for a direction.
Palette watercolor table

When I paint large I do away with the butcher trays and such and use two things for a palette, small white porcelain tiles for certain colors I wish to keep out of my other mixes, such as the black in the above photo. The second and this is important, as you see here it’s my table top. It has a slick surface. I went to the hardware store and bought this stuff they use it for backspashes and other water resistant areas in restaurants and homes. I had one cut to the size of my library table. I put the paint directly on this surface and just wipe it off with a damp towel when things become too messy. Sometimes I like the table top better then the painting, but not this day.
Today, The painting is just as beautiful.

So far everything is fine and I could have finished it had it not been for some guests that popped in for Pizza.

Well gotta eat so tomorrow is another day. check back with me so you can see its progress.KOI BIG 22 by 30

Are you surprised to see I paint with mostly flat brushes? Its another one of those things, its very individual to each artist. For me its about the feel and these brushes are personal to my touch and are an extension of my voice.
I have a number 10 round I use for smaller areas and a #12 flat that I also use for the smaller areas. Everything else is with these larger 1 1/2 to 3 inch brushes. You may have noticed I use bristle brushes. These are magic and I can only say you may want to try them.