Excuse me You’re in my Picture”


If I had come across this photo five years ago it would have been deleted. But working out the kinks with this kind of thing over and over has helped me to mine out the content and ignore the rest.

It all starts with the question…what about this image interests me enough to think it would make a painting?  The light falling on the girl with a rake and the fact that she makes a strong diagonal composition.


A terrific eye path up the right side to her hat, down to the rake and over to the bottom right of her skirt and around and around. It’s important to examine all the elements in the photo and ask .. are they helping to make my point or taking away from it.


I have numbered and circled some areas.

1. This couple didn’t mean to photo bomb my subject but they have to go.

2. This path leads out of the image on the left, conflicting with the triangle composition. It also has a strong contrast to everything else, drawing attention to itself …got to go.

3. There are a large assortment of shrubs of different textures tones and sizes. I feel it makes the area too complicated and does not enhance my motive, the girl.

4. The lone shrub in the front is just a blockade to the flow of the composition.

O.k., so if I remove these things, what do I replace them with? Going back to the original photo and using the basics of what’s there is the answer. The distant foliage can be greatly simplified into two colors of the same value against a large darker mass of green.

In place of the light path the dirt can go further back and the greenery can come forward until they meet. The dark shadows under the shrubs also disrupts the triangular flow of the composition so it’s eliminated.


So what I end up with is the essence of what I wanted to say in “Summer Sun”.

30 Paintings in 30 Days, days 16 and 17


I love the southwest landscape. It’s amazing how different the deserts can look. Ours here is Las Vegas is very textural with very little color, except for our Red Rock Canyon, my husband John calls it a tortured beauty.

This painting is from the New Mexico desert, also very textural but with more subtle color, they do get much more rain than we do.

When I start a painting like this, with lots of grasses and bushes, keeping the painting as dry as possible is important to me. If the paint has too much medium in it, the surface will be slippery causing overlaying textures to turn to mush. The first layer is scrubbed on with a stiff bristol brush. Next a thicker almost pasty layer. The final  layer I like to use a scruffy badger hair brush with painting medium, with the thicker paint underneath I can get some good traction, dragging thin paint on top in a hit and miss.


Today’s painting was from a scene at the local dog park. It’s so fun to see these guys interact and show their personalities .

I always have a hard time with blues at the start of a painting, are they more toward green or more toward violet? Staring with the most neutral blue, Cobalt blue, gives me a good base to go either way. As areas get developed, it becomes very apparent which direction I need to push the blue.