Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"The Heart Cannot Lie"

36x36x1.5 acrylic on canvas

I haven't posted since March, but I felt like posting this one. While I was painting it, I was trying to find a figure to work with, but it insisted on being abstract. I'm falling back in love with adding texture to my paintings. Of course, that can change tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


6x6", oil on canvas board

This one came out looking young. That wasn't on purpose. Just the proportions. But it's interesting.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


6x6", oil on canvas board

One of the benefits of working small is that you can go over the top. If this was a 36'x36" painting, it would be too much, at least for most spaces.

Friday, March 8, 2013


6x6", acrylic an mixed media on canvas board

I'm still doing my small paintings of abstract faces, and am still on a roll. I am so strangely fond of these, even though the paintings are funny little things, with weird emotions. Or maybe that's why I'm fond of them.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


6x6", oil on canvas board

I've found that it's interesting to use a 6x6" board that I previously painted on. These are paintings I don't like very much, so using them as a base coat is a great way to make them mean more to me. In some cases, I go in and scribble with oil-based pens (I mostly use Sharpies and some Uni brands). Then I like to let some of the scribble work show through. This one is moving further away from reality, but you can still see that it's a face. Or most people can. Not sure if that matters. I'm also experimenting with pencil and scratch lines.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


6x6", oil on canvas board

So I called this blog "Painting what feels right" for a reason: I want to create works that come from who I am. In fact, who I am today. Not tomorrow. Not when I was in college. And it feels like I'm starting something good with these faces I'm painting.

The way it came about was that I saw the work of Catherine Woskow, and was blown away by her head series. The paintings seem elemental, emotional, yet also have a focus on the surface qualities of the painting, on textures in the paint. Now, I love texture, but at the same time I've been moving more and more toward figurative work. But while I like some of the things I've done, it didn't seem like I had an arc, a direction. But doing these paintings of abstract faces, with a focus on paint and on character, feels right. Maybe I'll do some figures in there, too.

I've started working small, at least at first. I learned from the still lifes I used to do that executing a lot of small paintings, and doing them frequently, makes you learn really fast.

You know what's weird? I still don't know why I love these. I mean, they're not normal. They're not what people usually want on their walls. They're hard for most people to live with. But maybe a head, a face, is the most basic form of a human picture? Could be. Whatever, it feels right! And that's what matters.

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Yellow and Red Onions"

12x10" oil on linen board

Last fall I needed to be in Arizona, so I took a still life class at the Scottsdale Artists' School. The teacher was David Reidel (, who does gorgeous still lifes in a traditional style. In the three-day workshop I did a few paintings and liked this the best. I found my reflexes coming back from my small still lifes, sort of. These were different. I learned about chiaroscuro, edges, and quiet, rich palettes. The eye opener about edges was that you can drag the color of the object into the space around it, softening the edge. I knew painters did this, but I'd never known they would pull the paint that far, so that you saw streaks. But it works. Interesting. This was a big departure from the way I'm painting nowadays, but a fun exploration.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Not Yet II"

30x48x1.5", acrylic and mixed media on canvas

NFS. This one is a bit of an enigma. I built the texture and threw paint hither and yon, then saw shapes and started to paint, and this emerged. In feeling for the title, I saw a sense of waiting, of holding on, but the posture makes it look to me like someone in the starting blocks for a running race. Which fits the title very well. So I left it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


30x30x1.5", acrylic and mixed media on canvas

This was another painting that started differently. I was painting along, fighting with it (as I've said, some paintings are fighters), then got frustrated because it just looked wrong. So I started turning it, looking at it this way and that, until I saw an image I liked. I started to bring that out, and this is what happened. And it's kind of unusual. You don't usually see the eyes out of the frame like this. But that's one thing I like about it. I also like the crackly textures in the face. And the drippies (but then, I always like drippies).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Two More Hours"

20x20x1.5", acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Since I love texture, I'm always trying new things. For this one, I stapled some strips of cheesecloth across the painting. Then I started to paint and didn't like them -- they wanted to take over -- so I cut them apart then used a medium to immobilize them. Then I scribbled with water pens and painted, leaving pieces of fabric at the edge.

In my striving to be loose, I find that I sometimes start a painting, then, not feeling right, I turn it. And turn it. And turn it again until I can see a composition I like, or I can see how my image will fit on the canvas. I did the latter thing here. I also had some cobalt blue and teal on my palette, and they added an element I like. Almost like graffiti.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"The Unendurable Intensity"

24x24x1.5", acrylic and mixed media on canvas

I'm a lot about texture, and this one has a lot of texture material, both gravelly as well as cardboard. Now, I have abstracts that focus on the texture as part of the composition. But in the figurative work, while the texture is present, the focus is on the person. And I like that you can't see her eyes.