Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Two Amish women walking home in the afternoon were the inspiration for this painting because of their quiet demeanor and the relaxed feeling they evoked. I appreciated the simplicity of the moment, and tried to create a simple painting with the shapes, colors and composition. I wish I'd used a little more paint...I wonder if the spareness of the scene affected my use of paint.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Red Hot

This posting is of an illustration I did for a cookbook....I have been working on this project for the past several weeks and have one more painting to do. Since I paint people for the most part, I have enjoyed the challenge. Everything is shape, value and color, no matter what else it is, but this has been something different and that is always good for me. I get lost in my comfort zone.. I have also got some new paintings of people to post, and next posting will be of a couple of Amish women I recently finished.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Food for Thought

The other night I decided to try something different. I thought it might help to get away from the subject matter I had been painting and do something entirely I went into the house and grabbed two clementines, got some leaves out of the yard and put them on the window sill over my palette. This is the result. What I gained from that exercise is the awareness that painting is all about shapes, value, composition, color and their relationships to each other. That's it. The subject matter can be anything....or nothing at all.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Brain Excersize

I seemed to obsessed with value lately and this exercise called for some observation and analysis on my part. So often I forget that it's not about what I think I know. Shapes and value are plenty to deal with on their own. Add the color and for me at least, I can really get confused about what I think I am seeing. Keeping it simple always seems to help.....

Monday, February 9, 2009

Four Friends

This was a quick oil study. I enjoyed the figures in this picture and although I am not a landscape painter, I enjoyed the limited landscape.

I am feeling a bit stale and have decided to try some pictures that are different for me. The first is some sepia portraits, and some with a limited palette. I feel a need to study values and keep it simple. Maybe some different subject matter will also help keep it fresh. Repetition is a good thing, but I think a change can be invigorating. Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Friend Fran

Fran is a good friend who agreed to pose for me one afternoon. She has a great face and lively spirited eyes. I hope that I did her justice.

The planter fasciitis has healed and my feet are allowing me to stand and paint. I just can't seem to paint sitting down (I need to move back and forth often and a chair is only in the way). Now that I'm actively painting I plan to post at least 2-3 time a week. See you soon.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ohhh my aching feet!

This painting was my contribution to the DSFDF challenge several weeks ago. Although I enjoyed doing the painting, I wasn't thinking of posting it until now. I am at least a week behind on my painting because of an attack of "plantar fasciitis". An evil foot problem if there ever was one. So a pair of shoes seemed appropriate. I am hoping to resume painting soon. If I don't keep it up on a daily basis, it's amazing how quickly I get rusty. Sitting down to paint makes it hard to step back and squint but I may have to try any event, I hope to be painting my heart out soon. I have used the down time to order supplies and do research on the computer. But there's nothing as satisifying as the feeling of dipping my brush in a puddle of my favorite color of paint and pushing it across the canvas!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Husband Parking

I caught these two husbands waiting for their wives in Italy but they could have been anywhere. They seem to be resigned to their situation. Slightly bored and slightly impatient but still able to enjoy some people watching. The gesture and posture was also an attempt to give the viewer a feeling of them being at their "wait" limit.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sharing Secrets

I love New Orleans it is city with a soul. These school girls were having lunch on the steps in front of St. Luis Cathederal and they were as animated as the city. I used color to convey the excitement and intensity of the scene. The composition conveyed how together they were as a group. I couldn't help feeling a sense of how important friends are, and how important it is to share secrets.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Blessing

On a Sunday afternoon in Jackson Square, in front of the St. Louis Cathedral, I observed a wedding party. The children who had been excitedly chasing each other around, were getting "Blessed Out" as we say in the south. They immediately grasped the situation and the solemnity of the event...I tried to show this in the look on their faces, and the posture they assumed. This was an event they would remember, and I will too.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

After Tune

This is from a photo taken in New Orleans of a street musician in a cafe, I wanted to paint the relationship between the two people. I liked the repetition of the vertical lines and the abstract light and dark areas. I used the reds to hold the composition together. But it is the people that make it interesting for me.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Wonder.....

When my husband and I were on vacation in Italy, I loved watching the body language of the people who live there. Italians seem to be open and friendly with no agendas. They seem to appreciate the small and simple things. I caught this scene of a young girl in front of a church, and a nun just watching her as she walked by. I wondered what she was thinking....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Different Strokes Challenge

This painting of Amanda Carder was done for the DSFDF blog. Not knowing the subject and working from one photo definitely gave the project a different twist. It was easier to stay focused on the shapes, value and color. There was no personality to interpret and no pressure, just the enjoyment of doing the painting. Since then, I have enjoyed visiting her website and blog. A real benefit of participating in the challenge has been becoming familiar with the work of the other artists!

Gone to the Dogs

When a good friend asked me to paint her dog's portrait, I wasn't sure what to say, I had never painted an animal, much less done an animal's portrait. If I'm honest, I have to say that there was a little voice in me that wanted to say no. After spending some time around Melody I realized she was my friend's well behaved and sweet furry child. I'm glad I said yes. I had so much fun with this painting. I think Melody actually "posed" for the picture. I'm constantly being reminded that I get the most out of those things that take me out of my comfort zone.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Big Easy Stroll

The photo I worked from on this painting, taken in New Orleans on a cold day, didn't excite me at all. I decided after cropping it that the lighting and the abstract/negative shapes could work. The two main figures suddenly seemed take on a new importance. Once I decided I liked the image, the painting happened fast. I was happy with the effect of the light. To me no matter how realistic a painting is, the abstract and negative shapes are so important. It seems to me that a good painting is more a product of this than actual skill with the materials, or drawing ability. In just the same way that accurate values are more important than the color. What do you think?

The time is right.

It has been two years since I first entertained the thought of sharing my thoughts on painting in a blog. It took me 30 years to give art and the creative process a large enough priority in my life that I could even entertain the thought. Today, it seems, it has all come together and it feels right. So here goes.......

I always thought I loved art, and painted in high school and college. Then, I took a 30 year break while working and raising a daughter. I did putter around with it some, until several years ago. Then I retired. And began to paint, really paint. I thought it would be a great hobby, but soon found out that there is no such thing as an art "hobby" for me. Now, it is all or nothing. I can't seem to get tired or bored with it! After putting some real miles on the brushes, I am just starting to feel I can begin to do what I want with the process, and the world of painting has opened up for me. Exciting and exhilarating and daunting. The time is right. I look forward to sharing my experiences and thoughts with you.
Janet Whitehead