Monthly Archives: July 2011

“Fiona: A Cautionary Tale”


“Fiona : A Cautionary Tale ”        11″x14″ Canvas 

Acrylic, light modeling paste, Collage papers, charcoal, graphite

I think I put too much texture on the under surface of this painting – but these last few paintings have been purely experimental.  I like painting over the straight edges of paper underneath, the modeling paste got a little too built up and made for a lumpy complexion.

I had my own reasons for painting this particular subject; just some things I didn’t want to forget.


100 Girls


I found this book about a month ago at Powell’s Books in downtown Portland, then I went home and found it used on Amazon.  If you are intrigued by the human face, as I am, I highly recommend it.  Tina Berning used only found paper for this book of ink sketches of women’s faces.  I also found a you tube video of her effortlessly doing a similar kind of  drawing.  She is a German artist, and began when she was very young copying faces from fashion magazines she inherited after her older sisters were finished with them.

 The real Tina Berning drawing

I used india ink,  gouache, and small scraps of paper for my Tina version faces, which I then glued into my 9.5 x 6 inch journal. 

I think this was a good exercise in learning to work loosely, and not think about the outcome, and being immersed in the process!  Lynne Hoppe also found this book and her Tina’s are beautiful, go see here

“Cecillia, a Token of Remembrance”



“Cecillia, a Token of Remembrance.” 18″x24″ Acrylic, collage on canvas.

I am having fun with this collage on canvas and painting portraits over the collage.  I like working fast like this and letting  whatever happens  happen!  I’m trying out all kinds of different techniques I’ve read about – like using a sanding block – that produced the soft effect I was looking for in this piece, which is sometimes difficult with acrylics.  I might have gotten a little carried away with the sanding, but it was fun.  I glued down several pieces of paper before I began and gessoed over them.  I chose to avoid painting over the handwritten date on one of the papers, ‘Friday, 6-48,”  as this was relevant to the time period of Cecillia.  I blocked  in the basic structure of the face and hair and then decided to add the saved piece of canvas (from another project) with the nude figure of a child and framed  it with pieces of  scrap papers to make a little  shrine to childhood.  I think the stairs in the background represent the journey out of childhood where we are essentially helpless to make life changes, into adulthood as we strive to change our lives for the better.


Cecillia was my best friend first cousin.  I have no photos of her, just my own memories of a soft brown-eyed girl with a dimple.  I used to beg my mother to let her come and live with us (forever)!  Cecillia had a wretched  life, and though I was too young to fully understand, I “knew” that she was a fragile child and I loved her all the more.  We kind of lost touch after marriage,kids and grown up life, and didn’t see each other as often as we could have. She passed away  in 1972 from complications of second-hand cigarette smoke.  She didn’t smoke.  She was 28 years old and the mother of three-year-old twin daughters. She grew up with both parents smoking  in the house, around the babies and children, and most other adults in our world did the same thing at this time.  No one really understood how dangerous it could be to their own health as well as their children’s health. Their house was tiny, and the smoke would hang in the air through the whole house, which was a converted garage in the middle of an oil field in southern California.  We used to play hide and seek around the grasshopper shaped oil pumps, and picked dandelion heads for wishing from between the railroad tracks than ran in front of her house.  We always wished for six new dresses each.  That’s how it was back then!



Sharon at 18, a Portrait


“Sharon at 18,” a portrait. 

Acrylic, collage, mixed media, charcoal, found papers, joint compound  on 18″x24″ canvas.

After I finished the last canvas, “Nyx,”  I really needed to loosen up and just paint whatever came into my head without worry about proportions, lighting, corrections.  I began this yesterday by gluing down odd pieces of paper including some copies of other completed pieces.  I gessoed over the papers and painted in some background color – still not really knowing where it was going.  I knew the hand in the upper right corner would be important.  I went back to the backgrounds late last night and drew in a profile with a charcoal pencil, then I added some outline hair.  I began filling in the profile, with white, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, payne’s gray, phthalocyanine blue, and burnt umber.    I worked fast and tried not to think too much about what I was doing.

Near the finish of the painting I “saw” the hand with a lifeline attached and this led to the image of a house, which I think of as a symbol for the soul.  I called it “Sharon at 18,” someone who is always in the background of my mind. 

Nyx – Greek Goddess of the Night



“Nyx”  36″ x 48″ Acrylic on Canvas

Nyx was named by the Greeks as the goddess of the night.  She was said to be mysterious, beautiful, and more powerful than Zeus.   One account I read online stated that she was said to be often wrapped in mist.  I’m not sure why I didn’t give her any hair – she just seemed more powerful and beautiful without hair. The idea for this painting began about 3 years ago from a journal sketch. 

Even a journal doodle can sometimes turn into a finished painting!  Someone had given me the moon stamp and I used it in my journal, then drew the figure in after I had stamped it.

It took me a long time to finish this painting – I just couldn’t seem to find the way.  I always think when I begin a painting that its already there,  just waiting there for me to discover a way to bring it out.   This is the last unfinished painting I set myself to finish for 2011, there were two others.  Now I can begin with new thoughts!

 I only used four colors for this painting.  I tried to set a feeling of night,with  the only light coming from the cool light of the moon.  I used Titanium White (Liquitex), Unbleached Titanium (Liquitex), Anthraquinone Blue (Golden), and Payne’s Gray (Grumbacher), which I like because it has a very blue tint, more so than other brands of that color.

Nyx – Goddess of the Night