Sunday, November 28, 2010

What's for dinner?

It's that time of year again. When the calendar reaches December, my mind conjures up images of winters past with snow and blowing cold. Even though I live in Florida, come Christmas, I get that "rumbley in my tumbley" for a crock full of homemade soup. Especially now the turkey's gone, and we have plenty of leftover meat filling our freezer.

I don't know about you, but I love soup. I grew up on it. Times were tough, and my dad had to travel to find work. Soup was a staple and our garden and my dad's fishing provided most of the ingredients.

I know soup isn't a guy thing, and nothing like real meat and potatoes, but it's user friendly. No matter what you put in the pot, it comes out smelling and tasting like fine wine or the best in epicurean cooking. And when you're done, you feel like you've accomplished something.

In the winter, soup warms your bones. In tough times, it fills your stomach. When there are many mouths to feed, you can thin and stretch soup to fill every hungry mouth. People who turn their noses up at leftovers sometimes slurp down every sumptuous bite hidden between stirs of a bubbling pot of melding flavors.

Soup is like life itself: a pinch of this, a dab of that, some bittersweet, some sugar, some spice mixed together with faith, hope and love. Simmering through the highs and lows, the combination becomes the essence of a life well lived; a life remembered.

Is it any wonder my favorite T.V. program is the food channel? I believe people who can decorate cakes with sculpted roses, create flavorful recipes and present them with flare and style can match any artist's creativity. Come to think of it, that soup is so colorful I see shapes forming, values changing, and my imagination soaring just like it did over my alphabet soup when I was a kid.

Got brain freeze and writer's block? Get back to basics and warm up with a bowl of hot yummy homemade soup. And you'll save money, too!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Featured Painting – “Anhinga in Paradise”

Here is my finished painting: “Anhinga in Paradise.” I’ve also added small shots of the original photo and my first “work in progress.”

The anhinga in the photo is a female. How do I know this? Because the females have a buff colored head, neck, and chest while the males are black in those areas. The male has a larger wingspan, but this female is fairly large and is probably not a spring chicken or juvenile.

As I’ve mentioned before, my artwork is not completely realistic by choice. I choose to celebrate nature and exaggerate the colors and the beauty that sparks my imagination -- not that nature isn’t beautiful just as she is; but I like to force the viewer to see nature in another dimension.

For example, when most people look at a palm tree that’s all they see. As an artist, I see the lavenders, greens and blues in the shaded areas, and the pinks, and warm grays on the sunlit ones. I enjoy exaggerating the tones of tropical blues and aqua hues in the fronds and the way these colors change with light and shadow.

I sometimes emphasize the shapes of leaves and petals and the way they appear to turn, as if they’re in motion. You can see some examples of this on my online gallery. Prints, giclees, and greeting cards may also be purchased at:

For your enjoyment, I’ve added a few more photos from the Mervil’s Design Center showroom.

The above paintings were done by my good friend, Diane Carmen.

The above painting was done by my friend, Graciela Price.
Both artists are members of:
"Painters & Artist League @ Gateway (PALs)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mervil’s Great Artwork -- Continued

While I’m waiting for “paint to dry,” I’ll share some more artwork and photos from the Grand Opening of Mervil’s Design Center in Naples, Florida.

Another shot of me as I float on a cloud of champagne and ecstasy. What artist doesn’t want to display in a glamorous environment talking shop with the best of them. It was a great event.

Here are two paintings by Annie St. Martin; the first an acrylic painting of water lillies and koi, the second an exquisite pallet knife painting.

One of Mr. Chevalier's famous seaport scenes:

And last, but by no means least; Graciela Price for her "glowing" bouquet.

If you haven't visited my online gallery in awhile, now's the time. Prints, giclees, and greeting cards are available for purchase and for holiday giving:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Great Event -- Wine 'n Cheese at Mervil's Design Center

Since much of my time has been spent jockeying paintings and myself back and forth between Fort Myers and Naples, Florida, I thought I'd share with you some of the great artwork that was on display.

Here is "Yours Truly" taking a breather. The painting behind me is an orange roadwork mixed media painting. Fascinating! An Interior Designer took interest right away, and began selecting shades of blue fabric for draperies.

This sculpture was simply incredible. The message rings loud and clear, and its beauty was enjoyed by all.

The artist, Mr. Chevalier, created other sculptures and realistic waterfront paintings.

Another artist who sculpts wood was injured while working. He sliced his fingertips off, but came to the Grand Opening anyway. He was, to say the least worried about whether his hands would heal, and if he would be able to sculpt again. We send him our prayers and well wishes!

Amazing artists and artwork were everywhere, along with the ultimate in fabrics, upholstery swatches, and trimmings. Definitely not your department store variety.

I displayed six of my paintings. Two of them from my "With These Hands" series were featured in the welcome center: my cowgirl "Wonder" and my contest winner "Love." I was thrilled when many people walked up to view them.

My paintings will be on display for the next three months. Whenever one sells, we have the opportunity to replace it with another.

I was also approached by a designer who is interested in meeting with me about a project. All in all, this has been a fruitful and wonderful experience.

Parker Harlowe, a member of Painters & Artist League at Gateway (PALS), and has taught many classes and given us many opportunities was also featured in the foyer and displayed two of his paintings. Here is one of them.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"In Progress" -- Dainty Diva

I couldn't resist painting another one of my beautiful granddaughters; this time Amelia. Her mother sent me a photo of Amelia in costume in the dance studio. I'm showing the digital printout, my drawing on canvas, and my first session where I brushed in the background.

There may be some color adjustment as I go along, but the background is essentially out of the way, and now I can concentrate on the figure. I'm really excited about capturing Amelia's beauty. She has big blue eyes, fair skin, and blonde hair, albeit hidden in a severe ballet sweep.

Originally, I was going to dub this painting: "Amelia at the bar," but chose instead: "Dainty Diva." I will show you the final painting in approximately two weeks if I'm not interrupted. I'm still trying to complete my watercolor painting on display last week. I have so many paintings I want to do (if I should live so long, ha).

Please preview all of Carol's artwork on her gallery at

Monday, November 8, 2010

MerVil Design Center, Art Gallery Opening

Green and Mean or Kermitesque?

Long before the words: “Feng Shui” or its premise came to America, I was the Queen of Green; a nature lover at heart and most alive when outdoors or surrounded by green and earthy wood tones. I experienced first-hand the effects of green as a healer and stabilizer.

In the 70’s, I was the first one on board with my olive shag carpet, my polyester green pant suit, and my olive green appliances. Back then, “going green” meant you colored your life with the stuff. Recycling was still an idea in some hippie’s head, and hadn’t caught on yet.

Unlike my mother, I had to earn my current green thumb through trial and error. I killed more African Violets with kindness than I care to admit. But I was a whiz kid at philodendrons and spider plants, and I was determined to fill every sunlit corner of our home with living color. When silk plants made their début, I breathed a sigh of relief and dotted my interior spaces with no-brainer color.

My mother still held her own, bragging about her 10 year old violet, and a philodendron that was musically speaking: “15 going on 16.” She teased me about my menagerie of “fake,” and dubbed me the “flower” lady. But I wasn’t intimidated. I still held my own as the green queen with yards of olive green carpeting the floors, adorning the kitchen, and draped and hung over every inch of my avocado loving body.

In this blog I’m sharing some of my green and blue-green paintings with you.

The color green means perseverance, patience, growth and healing. Green is related to work, wealth, and career. In my opinion, green is nature at its best.

A photo of an anhinga that inspired my next watercolor painting and “work in progress” is included below. Remember the watercolor is still in its preliminary stages.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Portrait is a Process

A few blogs ago, I introduced you to my granddaughter and a refresher course I was taking from Richard Kirk at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs Florida of which I’m a member.

Kudos to Richard! This was by far the most informative and helpful course I have ever taken. Richard takes time with each student, answers questions, and shares the problems and questions with the group so everyone learns something new. I feel more equipped than ever to tackle the tough problems of doing portraiture.

The portrait itself is finished, but originally I had intended this as only a study. I used a 12x16 canvas sheet. Now that it’s finished, I’ve decided to mount it on stretcher boards and turn it into a regular canvas. When I finally add it to my online gallery, I may have added some background subtleties and color. I’m going to name the painting: “Daydreams” and add some pastel colors behind her with a butterfly, a small fairy, or a bird(s) representing her daydreams (or I may on a whim leave it alone).

The grid system is great for portraits because it keeps you on track. Every mark you make on canvas is fluid, depending on the width of your pencil lead, the consistency of your medium (in this case oil), and the brush you use. Putting a grid on between layers of paint helps you maintain the proportions of the face and figure.

Kirk’s skin tone formula is hard to beat. You combine one part cad red, and three parts raw sienna for the base. Your choices are endless as you add mixing white in varying degrees to each value change on your palette. Other colors used for mixing into any of these other values are titanium white, burnt umber, ultramarine violet, ultramarine blue, viridian, yellow ochre, etc. These colors add variations for warm and cool shadows, highlights, and reflective light.

When you run out of the base color, you can easily mix more. When one of the values is gone, you can take from the base and add white until you have the exact hue and tone you need. A great system that is easy to use and remember.

The drawing I did of Lyla looks like her, but it is flat. The painting of her may not look exactly like her photograph, but it does look like a real child that could literally peel off the page and walk into your life. The painting has warmth, life, and personality.

To see other portrait work by Carol, go to her online gallery at

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tertiary Colors – Sophisticated Sisters

What are tertiary colors, you might ask? Let’s go back to basics. Remember the song you may have sung in school: “The Primary colors are one two three; red, yellow and blue?” Well, there you go.

Following the Primary colors are the Secondary ones made by mixing two primaries together. A mixture of yellow and blue makes green; a mixture of yellow and red makes orange; a mixture of red and blue makes purple and many other variations in between.

Each of these colors has a complement. Blue’s complement is orange. Red’s complement is green. Yellow’s complement is purple. Place two complements together, and the result is a brighter, truer hue of each. Start mixing these complementary colors and you get a tertiary color (tada!): yellow-orange, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, etc.

In my latest Roaring Twenties painting, the colors of red and yellow are so closely placed and mixed, that they give the impression of orange. I used purple in the figure’s gown and highlighted the folds with orange’s complement (blue). This color combination gave the painting pizzazz. Because of the darkened background and the toned-down staircase, I needed to choose colors that would give the painting life.

Titled “Vamp on a Ramp,” the mixed media painting has glitter on the hat, jewelry, and gown. The figure is holding two real feathers in her hand to add to the Vaudeville persona. Art deco elements are represented in the background and add interest, color and a touch of the cubist elements so popular during this time period.

Here is a small clip of my original drawing to show you how a painting progresses and changes over time as artistic choices are made (some for better, some for worse).

I loved the original art deco elements in the background, but when painted, they became a distraction that needed to be toned down. The dress needed a more "vintage" feel to it than this streamlined version provided. I added the hat because it was soooo Vaudeville!

Next blog, I’ll share the finished portrait of my granddaughter that I did using a digital photo and the grid system.