Dec 22, 2011

Sculpt, relax, paint, give thanks.

This time of year is a time for gratitude for our many blessings.  Too often I spend it rushing around instead of relaxing and enjoying.  I have been sculpting instead of painting as our class ends just before Christmas.  I did a figure of our 8 pound rat terrier (pictures of it later) and one leg has broken off even before firing.  Since I finished that rather quickly, I started a reclining female nude that is 90 % done.  Meanwhile I did do a couple of paintings to keep my hand in before I teach during the month of January.  The flowers and the nude were the result.  I may have to paint the pubic hair on the nude turquoise as my husband thought it was a chastity belt!  Better stick to flowers, Marilyn.

Nov 17, 2011

Let 'er rip!

I saw a photo of a bullfight and did a very fast painting as if it were in motion.  I liked it, but decided I could do better.  No!  The second one was much too controlled.  I need to just "let 'er rip!"

I also did a sentimental landscape of a favorite Boulder hike, Wonderland lake.  I added the squirrel for those who find landscapes boring.

My sculpture class has started again so my painting will slow.  I am doing a sculpture of my rat terrier sitting down.  The ears and front legs are a problem keeping them attached and wet until it is time to dry the whole thing.

Oct 20, 2011

Still lookin' for my groove...

I decided to try another style and had great fun doing "Santa Fe Dog".  Then I tried my old friend, the horse, and let myself use lots of color and a sponge.

I'm going to Tucson, my previous home, to house-sit for the weekend.  Taking the camera and my paints if I can get them past security.  I have my MDS sheets for them (acrylics) but sometimes there isn't time to educate the examiners. Just sayin'.

Oct 12, 2011


I have been looking at paintings and trying different techniques. That was "work" so today I played and just let the brush do it.  The 5"x7" acrylic on board looked like dancers.   I finished a mask class that was fun and will post a picture when the mask is dry.

Oct 9, 2011

A birthday miniature.

Yesterday was our grandson Sam's birthday. He is a good sailor so I painted a 3" square acrylic miniature for him.

Oct 3, 2011

A good day

Today everything went smoothly for a change. My husband's caregiver arrived on time, no one was sharing the art room with me and the acrylic dried on time.  I was able to finish a collage and get an interference coat on it.  Then I finally got to a 5" square that has been slated for a thrift store frame.  That left time to take the dog out.

Oct 1, 2011

Don't go viral...

Going viral is supposed to be a good thing but it isn't when it is really a virus.  One put a hold on my painting for a few days but at least all the tests that were done added up to a full physical.  All I need now is the mammogram.  No need to rush for that, right?

I have finished some  projects that were partly done, "Joseph's Coat" and "Oriental Pagoda" are the latest in my non-realistic efforts.  I am getting more and more comfortable with abstracts but find I really prefer impressionism.  It is nice to have someone's brain fill in the gaps in the painting rather than being a realist.  I am currently working on a field of iris.

My sculpting teacher, John Wilson,  is having a show right now and I appreciate his sense of humor even more now that I have seen his portfolio.  I will try to post a picture of some of his work.

Sep 15, 2011

Took a breather...

Abstraction is fun but strains my composition genes.  I took a break and painted horses again.  It was such a relief I think I will do more.  Yesterday I showed two large abstracts to my hubby that are in progress.  His only remark was, "I'll need to get closer to them." (He was 20 feet away so I didn't let him get nearer!)  He is a realist at heart.

Sep 9, 2011

More Tiny Abstracts

 I put cad. red, cad. yellow and primary blue on my palette along side white, gray and black.  Then I set my page that was gridded to 2" squares on the easel.  Had some space left over so I did some 2"x 3"s.  The morning just whizzed by!

 I'm ready to try a big abstract now.  By big I mean no larger than16"x20".  My last large paintings were 30" x 40 ".  Where the heck can I store them?  These little ones I have been practicing with are easy to store.  My daughter suggested grouping them in threes.  The white mats around them really make them pop.  Look at the miniature page and email me which one you think should be 16"x 20" and which three should be in a group of little black frames.

Sep 4, 2011

An abstract view of a poppy field

Brian Ryder says this second of my studies like his work is an abstract view of a poppy field near his home.  Watching his free video helped me see how to change a regular landscape into colors and shapes.  I am still trying different styles to broaden my perspective and, of course, to have fun.  Newsweek quotes de Kooning as saying "Style is a fraud...(in art) one idea is as good as another."  That is what I keep telling myself as I look at wildly different art works.

Sep 2, 2011


I am trying some of the abstracts by Ryder in a 5" x 5" format.  If and when I get the hang of it I will try something larger.  I think a 16"x20" would be fun, slapping on the paint instead of carefully dragging it around this little area.  It Is freeing to have nothing real as the goal.

Sep 1, 2011

Oh, I remember now...

  Today's session in the studio reminded me why I quit oils. I hate waiting for something to dry.   I finally finished the big "Poppy" painting and felt to free to start something else.
  That said, the many days of glazing were worthwhile as the orange and yellow and red seem to glow, but I was  itching to get on with other projects.
 Yesterday I did four 5"x5" abstracts inspired by Brian Ryder's book, Beyond Realism, and today, after photographing the Poppy, I started a larger abstract.
 When I got back to the apartment and hooked up the camera to the computer, there was the nipple of my power chair very prominently in the lower left. (Yes, that is what that is, and yes, it is called a nipple).  Sigh!  To get the best light in the studio I have to prop a painting on a chair and lean it against a bookcase.  I'll do a permanent photo tomorrow and send that photo to Bart De Laeder whose work inspired "Poppy".
  The picture on the right is one of the abstracts from last week when I was procrastinating.

Aug 28, 2011


Beyond Realism  by Brian Ryder arrived in the mail and I couldn't wait to try one of the exercises, so the poppy was pushed aside. I did take a photo of the almost done flower.   I know I can finish it in one day so that was my excuse. But tomorrow I teach a MAC class here at the wrinkle ranch, and the day after I host my women's group.  Guess it will be Wednesday when I finish it.

Aug 26, 2011

Bit the bullet, knuckled down, got serious

Yes, I worked on the poppy.  I didn't take a picture of today's work because I ran out of time. (My sweet husband appeared in the art room to remind me that it was time for lunch.)  I marveled again at how complex flowers are, especially the sex organs.  The petals are just window dressings around the business package.  I think tomorrow I can finish it.  This is taken from a photo by Bart De Laeter, a talented young photographer from the Netherlands.  Check his work on Facebook.

Aug 23, 2011

Frivolous Fun

To avoid tackling the huge poppy painting again I "played" with my paints.  Crazy, loud, jarring colors on top of the patterned foil board made for a kindergarten look, "Frivolous Fun". I wanted to try using interference colors and mixing some (green with blue).  Got that out of my system and re-worked a 2009 sunset, naming it "Sail".  Now back to discipline and finishing the poppy painting tomorrow...maybe.  Or maybe I will just put it in the closet for a year or two.  Tune in tomorrow.

Aug 18, 2011

Marilyn's Production Company

Wow.  I got so much done this morning I should open a factory. I photographed 3 paintings that I shot crooked before.  Took all the failed paintings I had gessoed to storage,  finished two Tyvek pieces, put epoxy on them and re-worked a 2009 painting.  My son Bob was telling me that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything.  I know the more I paint the more I learn.  At 74 I doubt I'll make the hours but I sure am having fun putting in the time.

Aug 15, 2011

Which to do...

Now that the wedding picture is done I am catching up on other projects.  I put epoxy finish on my picture from Carol Nelson's workshop as well as on my first effort "Copper Mountain" at using her techniques.  Since I had a little left over I poured it on a miniature just to see what it would look like.

With that drying for 48 hours, I went back to the large poppy that has so many coats of glaze.  I am having trouble with the center.  I may leave it alone for awhile.  I have too many hours into it to quit.

Tyvek still looks like fun to me so I have started two small pictures, one with pyrrole red and quinacridone magenta, and the other with yellow green and ultramarine blue.  I have a black background peeking through the holes in the reddish one and blue foil as a base for the green.  Now to look through my beads for possible embellishment.  Carol said after her workshops many people have Tyvek parties to play with this stuff.  I can understand that.  Every time you lift the iron something new appears.

Aug 10, 2011

Hooray for Halloween

The Halloween webbing you buy in a package turned out to be just what I wanted to cover the styrofoam ball with toothpicks in it.  I think it looks like a dandelion in seed.  It was harder to make the stuff stick to the canvas for individual seeds, but medium did the trick.  Now to let it dry.  Then varnish.  How on earth will I wrap it and transport it 20 miles to the wedding?  One day at a time...On sheepish note, while I was buying the webbing I noticed packages of raffia already painted green.

Now I can get back to the huge poppy painting.  I did a little work on it while waiting for the dandelion "seeds'" medium to set.  Tiny yellow gravel should work for the pollen in the center.

Also waiting is a board I removed from a gilded frame that Helen Davis found for me in our surplus store.  The frame is perfect and is large.  She paid $15 for it!  I used Gac100 and gesso on the board since it had a print of a landscape on it.  Wonderland Lake here in Boulder is a beautiful setting with the mountains in the distance.  I think that would be an appropriate landscape for that frame.  Thank you, Helen.

Aug 7, 2011

More disappointments

The substitute for Tyvek not only doesn't take paint well, it resists mediums and glue.  I finally tried Gorilla glue on it so tomorrow I will see if that holds. On a whim, I tried ironing it like Tyvek and found that even with the iron set on linen heat had NO effect on it.  Phoey.  It will work for this picture though as I am making dandelion blooms and leaves from it.  I wanted to glue a wire between two sheets to make the leaves bend.

The greens sprayed well and I finished the landscape with a  brush.  I have the base of the blooms glued on so the petals will stand away from the canvas when I apply them. I still have to decide whether to paint the dandelion at seed or devise some 3D way. Suggestions have been Halloween webbing torn up, or cotton torn up.  If I go 3D I will use a cork for the base of the seed ball.

Aug 6, 2011

Wedding picture hiccup

The collage that will eventually have dandelions above the raffia hit a snag.  At my favorite art supply store they had no Tyvek, but convinced me to buy Lutradur instead. That stuff soaks up acrylic like a sponge.  I managed to get it painted the several shades of yellow that I had planned but needed gel extenders to get it to flow instead of immediately soaking through it.  I am glad I put a plastic shower curtain on the table first.  Back to Tyvek from now on.

I used the same shower curtain when I sprayed the raffia green.  It now needs some real brush painting to enhance the hillside look.

Aug 4, 2011

Raffia curiosity

I am working on a large piece to go over a queen sized bed.  It will have to have dandelions in it per request.  I am doing part painting and part collage. The hillside in the foreground has tan raffia glued to it that I plan to spray paint many shades of green.  It resides in the art room drying rack between work periods and has attracted many questions.  "What is she THINKING!"  "What on earth is that stuff?"  I plan to make the dandelions out of painted Tyvek with many layers to the flowers.  There will be two 3-dimensional ones and many painted in.  Pictures will be showing up here soon.

Aug 2, 2011

Painting outfits

Diane Hoeptner started an amusing conversation in her blog about painting clothes.  My wardrobe comes from Goodwill.  I love being able to wipe my hands or brush on my clothes if I can't reach the paint rag. Since I paint only in the mornings when a caregiver is here for my handicapped husband I put on the paint clothes (usually surgical scrubs) when I get up.  I often drop by the snack bar here at the Wrinkle Ranch (Frasier Meadows Retirement Center) to grab lunch before heading back to our apartment.  Most of the residents know about my avocation but some eyes widen in astonishment. Afternoons and evenings I look just like the other people who live here.

Aug 1, 2011

The end of the show.

My one-woman show ended yesterday and as I was putting paintings away I ran across this one, Butterfly Garden,  in the closet that I had forgotten.   Some of my old paintings embarrass me, but this one I like.

Jul 25, 2011

Up, up, and away.

We drove UP switchbacks to 10,000 feet on Squaw Mountain to Carol Nelson's workshop.  Wrenn Boulton hosted it in her fantastic home/studio.  Carol is a tiny little dynamo generously sharing her wisdom and ideas. I learned that cat litter can be used for more than one thing.  Thanks to Carol, I have the courage to do more abstracts.  Do yourself a favor and attend one of her workshops.  Besides knowledge, you will come away stimulated with new ideas and new friends.

Wrenn has the dream studio.  It is a three story home/studio that her husband, John, has built with classes in mind.  They designed it so each student work station looks out a picture window at Pikes Peak, or downtown Denver, or carpets of multi-green trees.  I included a picture of Wrenn's poppy in bloom in her deer proof (maybe?) garden.

I can't wait to go to work on Tyvek.  I also learned from Wrenn that wiping Yupo with 409 helps.  The enhancement of paintings by the use of clear epoxy is amazing.  I can hardly wait to get to my studio!

Jul 19, 2011

Vermont Wedding

A wonderful weekend with family and new family was unforgettable.  I was able to move my camera from people and shoot a colorful sunset and some plantings outside the Marriott in Burlington, VT.  To be painted, of course.

Back to the studio tomorrow to finish a wedding commission and miniatures of the Boulder flatirons.  Commissions are flattering and provide income but are frustrating when I have other compositions in my head waiting to reach canvas.

Jul 12, 2011

Wedding first, then paint.

The days dwindle down to a precious few...We leave in a couple of days for a wedding in VT.  Happy days.  I am taking a couple of paintings for relatives.  If I have to pay for my suitcase I might as well stuff it.  The when I return I will begin to finish the poppy that has had so many coats of glaze.

Jul 4, 2011

"You've come a little way, baby!"

Today I dug through old paintings from three years ago and was appalled at my technique and choice of colors.  I put an isolation coat on all of them in preparation for new gesso.  Recycle!  I think all my reading and watching free videos on line has had a good effect.  I seldom get disgusted with a painting anymore.  Lots of good advice is available free out there.  Jerry's Artarama has good free videos.  Wet Canvas lets one get questions answered from another artist.

I finished the all white flower arrangement for our daughter, Martha.  That was hard to keep it from being boring.  One needs a LITTLE color.  Thank God for shadows, stamens and pistils.

Jul 3, 2011

It's a good thing..

It's a good thing one can paint over glazing.  The last coat on the poppy was yellow and changed the whole idea.  A couple more coats of pyrrole red and I hope that brings me to where I can begin finishing touches.

Jun 30, 2011

A Bump in the Road.

An artists friend, C.J. Driscoll, sold me his custom cabinet when he could no longer paint. I think I finally overloaded it as one of the casters broke.  This meant emptying it, turning it on its side and removing the broken wheel.  Off to the hardware store--oh, wait, the battery in the car is dead!  By the time I reached the store I had decided to buy heavy duty wheels and did so.  The outside temperature was 89 F and the airconditioner in the car quit for the third time. Both fixes before cost $$$ and were supposed to have solved the problem.  So no painting today.

A dear friend is getting married in August and has asked for a 20 x 30 dandelion painting.  I don't mind painting big canvases as long as I don't have to store them!  I am so pleased that she wants something from me. I'll start on it tomorrow after I put the wheels on the cabinet.  When I can't paint something in me build up until I get really antsy until I can get at the canvas.  Those wheels better go on easily...

Jun 24, 2011

Glazing is like glaciers used to be. Slow!

I have learned patience taking care of my husband who has Parkinson's Disease, but it hasn't translated to my painting.  I am glazing every day on the griseille poppy but the transition to my planned colors is achingly slow.  Another lesson in patience, Marilyn.

Luckily I have some other pieces to work on while poppy dries.   I have an abstract with pastel colors that I blotted with cheesecloth and then spread the multi-colored cheesecloth over the entire canvas.  I let that dry and then put an intermediate clear polymer coat over that until I decide what to do next.

My most popular painting (Snow Horses) from my show has garnered a request for one similar. I have never tried that, but why not?  Of course not exactly like it, although I retain the rights, but similar in mood.

And, the two canvases previously coated with gold foil and then polymer coated are dry so they are ready for the muse to arrive.

Jun 20, 2011

Will I live long enough?

I bought some exciting textured cardboard and strangely patterned paper to use in collages.  I hope I live long enough to try all the things that interest me!

The grisaille is coming ok but is a study in patience waiting for each glaze coat to dry. I am pretty sure it will be worth it.

While I was waiting for drying I did another miniature landscape and a tongue-in- cheek type painting of a llama.  The miniatures in my show are still selling well.  I won't get rich from them but it helps buy supplies!

Jun 18, 2011

Trying new things.

Yesterday I started the grisaille process on a poppy painting.  Now for the glazing.

The coating on the gold leaf board is dry, ready for acrylic painting.

 I just finished reading Rethinking Acrylic by Patti Brady.  She inspired me to try many new techniques.  Not enough hours in the day!!

I often enjoy looking at photos in the National Geographic site and found several photos that looked like art to me.  I looked up the photographer and found he lives in Belgium.  He has only started photography three months ago and is 17 years old.  His name is Bart De Laeter.  Check him out!  His  photo of the center of an opium poppy inspired the grisaille experiment mentioned above.  Bart graciously agreed to being my muse on that one.

Jun 9, 2011

A new beginning.

Life sometimes causes the making of art to take a breather.  I have been caring for my ill husband and preparing for my first show at the same time.  The show was yesterday.  The affirmations are encouraging and sometimes funny.  A dear elderly friend said with the best of intentions, "Some of your paintings are REALLY good."  The guests around her laughed but she was oblivious.  I sold 10 out of the 62 so I was thrilled.

The tiny paintings (2x3) were popular so I will do more of those.  I have done them when traveling as they are portable.

I also showed my three sculptures.  The anatomically correct male torso had a leather loin cloth over his privates as a joke.  I left a card underneath saying, "Trust me, they are there, do not touch." Most of the men looked.

The Frida Kahlo altered post-card book garnered the most comments and the most laughs.  I had created cut-outs that could be folded back to reveal another face or animal.

This July I am going to Carol Nelson's workshop in Idaho Springs.  With a handicapped husband, I am reluctant to leave him for very long and this is only a one hour drive.  I love her work and am thrilled that it is possible for me to go.

Jan 5, 2011

An update

I have been working in my facility's Art room in preparation for having a new floor put in my studio.  I am working on my second sculpted head.

  I wanted to share a story with you of artists kindness.  Since I find I enjoy sculpting I realized a sculpting stand would be easier than piling wood on the desk to elevate the piece.  Since I don't have much money I placed a "wanted" ad in Craig's list for a stand and tools for $15 and $5 respectively.  A month went by with only two smart-alec replies.  Then a lovely lady named Margo emailed to say she had what I wanted.  A friend had given them to her four years ago and she had gone other directions in art and hadn't used them.  She GAVE them to me, saying she was paying it forward.  I shall certainly do the same.

I will post new pictures of the second head soon.