“Books, Again”–SOLD

Books28 x 10 oil on gessoed art board. Click here to bid. Go here to see all eBay auctions.

Another bookish painting. I fussed with this one for several days, which hardly makes it a daily painting, but in the end I was happy with it.

More books to come…they turn out to be a good subject in winter, when there are no flowers in the garden to paint and even the chickens don’t want to stand still and pose for the camera.


8 x 10 oil on gessoed art board.  Click here to bid. Go here to see all my eBay auctions.

Here’s the finished painting. I tried to go easy on it and keep the whole thing fairly loose and sketchy, and I’m happy with the way it turned out. 

I’m going over to the bookstore today to see if I can get some more photos of books in their native habitat for the rest of this series!

One thing that’s tricky about putting paintings online:  getting the colors that you see on your screen to match what’s on the canvas.  I do my best to photograph the paintings in good, clear light and to make whatever adjustments I can so that the painting matches the image, but it’s not always easy.  And believe it or not, sometimes the digital image looks better than the painting–the colors are bolder and more saturated, the lights are lighter or the darks are darker–and I will actually go back and work on the painting a little to make it match the photograph.  It’s as if the colors I see on the screen suggest some possibility I hadn’t considered.


Tansy8 x 10 oil painting on gessoed art board.  Click here to bid.  Go here to see other eBay auctions.

I brought this tansy with me when I moved to Eureka from Santa Cruz seven years ago. In Santa Cruz, it was a reasonably well-behaved plant.  It grew to some sensible height (a few feet? I don’t remember) and then bloomed, and it allegedly wards off aphids and whitefly.  What’s not to like?

But in Eureka, it grows to at least six feet tall before producing these tiny yellow flowers.  The stalks get so tall that they fall over, blocking the paths in my garden and forcing the blossoms to twist and curve to face upward again.  Attempts to stake it have been futile.  It’s a silly plant that doesn’t know how to behave properly, but I like the dramatic red stems and the flowers are interesting.  Finally I realized that it would be fun to paint.

I did this one from life, which is always tricky when you’re painting flowers, because they tend to move around and shed petals and change in the vase.  But this tansy stayed put for weeks.  Finally, it learns how to behave!


I’ve had this idea for a while now that it would be fun to do a series of still life paintings of books.  It sounds simple, but books are tricky.  It’s hard to make a bunch of rectangles look interesting, and getting the perspective just right becomes very important.

So here’s my first attempt.  We start with the photo I used:


and then here’s the sketch, which I thought was pretty cool all by itself.  Usually the sketch is not at all pretty to look at–it’s just a bare-bones outline of what’s to come.  The idea is to rough in the major shapes–get everything placed correctly–before moving on to color and light and detail. 

But this time, I thought this loose, monochromatic drawing was kind of neat just the way it was.That means that from this point on, I’ll be thinking, "don’t mess it up!"  Because really, I could just stop at any time.  If it looks good the way it is, why go further?


But of course I’m not going to leave it alone at this point.  So I worked on it a little more today, but with a very specific idea in mind:  that I’d rough in the darker colors, let it dry, and come back later to fine-tune the edges and really hit it with some light.  This is not exactly a radical idea, but lately I’ve been into the idea of quick paintings that are completed in one session, piling wet paint on top of wet paint, which means that you can’t really build up any layers.  This time, though, I decided to be much more civilized about it and actually take time to let a layer dry before I move on.

So here’s where I left things today:


“Manhattan Window Box”–SOLD

Windowbox8 x 10 oil on gessoed art board.  Click here to bid. Go here to see all eBay auctions.

Ahhhh, New York in spring.  Amazing how one window box full of tulips can say "April" in a way that nothing else can.  The great thing about tulips:  they’re even more charming when they’ve been battered by the rain.  I’ve been wanting to paint this one for a long time; it was nice to finally get around to it.


Strawberriesondish6 x 8 inch oil on canvas board.  Click here to bid.  Go here to see all my eBay auctions.

I’m on a fruit kick.  I used an upside-down Fiestaware dish for this one.  Fiestaware is fun to paint–the colors and shapes are so bold and simple–I should play around with that more.

I think I’ll be moving on to flowers soon…

“New York Fruit Stand”–SOLD

Fruitstand8 x 10 oil on gessoed art board.  Click here to bid.  See other eBay auctions here.

When I go to New York, I take a lot of pictures of fruit stands.  Fruit stands and doorways–that’s my Manhattan oeuvre.  I’ve got another doorway painting on my easel now.

But the thing about the fruit stands is that the stacks of fruit are so orderly and symmetrical, just like the pattern of buildings and streets behind them.  On the other hand, they are these glorious spots of color in what can be a very grey streetscape.  It’s all so urban and interesting. 

Just thinking about it is making me want to jump on a plane and get back there.  Anybody got a line on a cheap Manhattan apartment?  Hmmmm….

“Two Apples”–SOLD


Oil on canvas board, 8 x 8 inches.  Click to bid.  Go here to see all eBay auctions.

Oil paints are the perfect medium for a writer.  Writing is all about revision and reworking, and the same is true of oils.  You try something, you wipe it off, you try something else, you paint over it.  Scrape, erase, cover up, blend. 

That’s what happened with this painting.  I wasn’t happy with the background, so I let it dry and painted over it, letting quite a bit of the old background show through.  The whole thing was kind of an accident, but it worked.

Oh, and in case you’re coming here for the first time and wondering why I’m putting paintings online, go back to the beginning here.   I just found an art supply store that carries the paints I use at a discount, and they accept PayPal (that’s Merri Artist, in case you, too, have PayPal money to burn on art supplies) and thanks to you readers who have bought paintings,  I actually got to  take my ill-gotten eBay  gains and stock up on paints for the new year! 

And now I’m off to paint.  Painting in the morning, writing in the afternoon.  We’ll see how that goes.

“Two Cherries”–SOLD

TwocherriesOil on canvas board, 5 x 7 inches.  Click here to bid.  See all eBay auctions here.

All I want for Christmas is more time to paint! 

It’s been a busy fall.  I’ve been working hard, but in the new year, I would like more time to PLAY!  I have a new easel and I just ordered more boards and paints, so there’s no excuse.

I was so happy with this funny little cherry painting that I held onto it for a while, but now I think I’m ready to let it go.  In fact, I rounded up a stack of paintings that have been sitting around the house–all sorts of paintings I just couldn’t bear to part with for one reason or another–and I’ll be putting them all up on eBay in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned!

“Taos Adobe”

Taos_adobe5 x 7 oil on board. Click here to bid. Go here to see all auctions.

If you spend any time at all looking at art in New Mexico, you realize what a cliche it is to paint adobe buildings.  But they are hard to resist. There’s something about that wonderfully uneven, rounded surface.

This is the vacation home of a friend of a friend–we spent one night out there, painting and looking at the mountains and wondering why it is that we don’t live in Taos.