Thursday, April 20, 2017

A funny thing happened at my painting demonstration . . . and, which do you like better?

On Tuesday, I gave a painting demonstration to the Leominster Art Association.  There were about 40 people in attendance and it was a great group with interesting questions. 

Funny story:  I arrived early to set up my easel, palette, paints, etc. and then decided to sit in the audience to conserve my legs as I’d be standing for most of the evening.  People gradually started filling the seats and I could hear chatter all around me.   I overheard a conversation between two women that went something like this:  “Oh, wait, I thought this was going to be a watercolor demonstration. “ “Yeah, me too.  I’m so disappointed.”  “That definitely looks like oils.  I’m so bummed.”  Their comments didn’t bother me and I actually thought it was pretty hilarious.  

I started my demo and initially talked for 10-15 minutes about my process, tools, creating a good composition, etc.  Then, I started painting.  Seriously, you could hear a pin drop in that place.  At one point, I turned around and said, “Gee, it’s so quiet in here I thought you all left!”  They laughed and we continued on.  

After an hour or so, we took a break so folks could stretch their legs and get some refreshments.  I ran into one of those two women and she said to me, “Oh my gosh.  This is the best demonstration.  I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I’ve learned so much already.  I can’t wait to see more.”  Separately, the other woman approached me and said pretty much the same thing on how she was really enjoying the demo.

After the refreshment break, there was much more chatter and side conversations in the audience so I realized that the complete silence during the first hour was because I had captured their attention so well.  Either that or they were all sleeping but I’ll go with my first theory.

In preparation for the demo, I painted the top painting (see below.)  My canvas was already covered with paint from a previous painting that I wasn’t happy with so I painted over it.  For my demo painting (the one beneath it), I made a few modifications to the composition and started with a blank canvas that I toned with bright pink.

I’m wondering which you prefer!?!?!?

Preparation for the demo

Painting demonstration

Monday, April 3, 2017

"Cyclamen" - 16 x 16 inches - oil on canvas

"Cyclamen" - 16 x 16 inches - oil on canvas
Happy Spring everyone!  Here in New England we got quite a surprise with an April Fool's Day snowstorm.  I'm thinking that was the last major snow of the season but we'll see what Mother Nature has in mind.

I only have a few plants in my house and I have to say that I don't give them much TLC.  A few recently found their way into the compost bin as they were hanging by a thread and my resuscitation efforts didn't pan out.  So, on a whim, I picked up this Cyclamen plant and we'll find out just how compatible we are.  

I've always liked painting subjects with back-lighting so when I walked past my new plant sitting on the dining room table, I really wanted to capture the strong afternoon light that created a nice reflection on my dining room table.  I tried hard to stay loose and not worry too much about the details.  Easier said than done!

In other news, "Froot Loops" was interpreted by a floral designer at the "CCA in Bloom" show last weekend.  I had to laugh as the designer did quite a literal interpretation (see photo below) by including actual fruit in the design!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Packed" - 9 x 12 inc hes - oil on canvas - SOLD

"Packed" - 9 x 12 inches - oil on canvas
I really enjoy painting shiny, reflective things so sardines in a tin can made for a perfect subject.  Sardines always make me think of my cousin Billy who claims that King Oscar is the best brand of sardines.  I wouldn't know since I just can't bring myself to eat them!

As with my previous painting, this one came together pretty quickly and easily.  It is a relatively "cool" painting with many shades of gray so I love the warm touches of color in the fins and the gold can lid to provide some balance.

In other news, "Froot Loops" was accepted into the Chelmsford Center for the Arts "CCA in Bloom" gala.  A floral designer is going to interpret "Froot Loops" in a flower arrangement.  It will be fun to see the final result!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

"Pond Brook" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas

"Pond Brook" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas
After a recent snowfall, I set out to a do a plein air painting of a barn on the O'Brien Farm property which is now protected property in Westford, MA.  I was excited to paint the barn but discovered that it was brown and not terribly exciting.  Right near the barn, I spotted this stream and loved how the shadows dipped and curled through the snow.  I was tempted to paint on location but the road was narrow, winding and ice covered so I didn't dare set up my easel for fear of getting hit.  So, I settled for taking some photos as I stood, precariously, on the side of the road. 

The photos sat in my camera for a few weeks but when it snowed again this past week, I was once again inspired to capture a snow scene.  As with most landscapes, I started with the sky and background trees and gradually worked my way to the foreground.  I painted the snow shadows before I filled in the sunlit snow.

The painting gods were with me as this painting flowed quite easily and without much fuss.  I made very few adjustments along the way and am really pleased with the outcome.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

"Muffins on Main" - 12 x 12 inches - oil on canvas

"Muffins on Main" - 12 x 12 inches - oil on canvas
Every time I drive past this muffin shop, I glance inside to see people inside enjoying a muffin and a cup of coffee while chatting with friends.  I've painted this building many times, but this was the first time that I really wanted to capture the warmth of the interior.

This painting took a LONG time to come together and is painted from many different reference photos.  I started taking photos before the shop opened for business which explains the flower baskets that have since been taken down for the winter.  I kept coming back for more photos as sometimes the customers weren't clearly visible as the windows were steamed up, or, I just didn't like their shape or position.  

One of the things I like about this painting, which is a bit cheeky on my part, is that I depicted my artwork hanging inside.  Most noticeable is my "Froot Loops" painting inside the left window.  

I started by painting the shop windows as this is the focal point of the painting.  If I wasn't happy with the windows, then the painting just wouldn't work.  It was a tricky balance to depict the interior while showing the reflection of the sky and surrounding trees.  I worked slowly and purposefully until it came together.

"Muffins on Main" is a 12" square oil on canvas painting that is presented in a wood, floater frame (see additional photos below).  It is available directly from me or at  

Monday, February 13, 2017

"Diversity" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas

"Diversity" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas
Just a box of Dunkin' Donuts in a variety of flavors.   Diversity - makes life so much more interesting.  

I've painted a lot of donuts in my time and they are really, really tough to paint!  I started this painting a few weeks ago and put it away several times before coming back to it to finish.  Sometimes it flows easily and sometimes it doesn't.

"Diversity" is an 8 inch square painting presented in a wood floater frame (see additional photos below).  Available at

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"Celebration" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas

"Celebration" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas
I've been quiet on social media lately.  Somehow, with all the political turmoil, I felt that sharing art was trivial.  With all the important issues we're facing as a nation and as a world it just seemed inconsequential.

I recently ran into an acquaintance who said something like, "I really enjoy seeing your artwork.  Keep up the good work!"  That encouragement reminded me that I can maybe brighten someone's day or make them smile and that's definitely good enough for me.

If you enjoy my art, please share it with a friend...thank you!

"Celebration" is a 6x6 inch oil on canvas painting and is presented in a wood, floater frame. See additional photos below.  It is available at  


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Blueberry Muffins on Main" - SOLD

"Blueberry Muffins on Main" - 8 x 8 inches - oil on canvas
My art is on display at Muffins on Main through the end of this month.  I was commissioned to create a painting with one of their mugs, trays, and muffins on top of one of their tables.  So, they were pretty specific in what they wanted.

As usual, I started by photographing the set up from multiple angles, different lighting, and different arrangements of the elements.  Even though I took 30-40 photos, I still ended up using Photoshop to move some items to my liking.  

At home, I recreated the set up in my studio as I much prefer to paint from a live set up instead of completely relying on photos.

There is a lot of brown/tan/orange color in this set up so I started by painting my canvas with a thin layer of bright, blue acrylic paint since blue is the complementary color of orange.  I allowed little bits of the blue to show through, primarily in the silver tray, to add a nice pop of color. 

This commission was a really nice exercise in color mixing.  You may notice the color of paper that lines the tray is more subdued, i.e. more gray, than the coffee or muffin color.  To get this effect, I added more blue to my mixture (of red and yellow).

Overall, I was really happy with how it all came together.  More importantly, the Muffin on Main folks were very happy too!  I don't have a photo yet but am told it is proudly displayed on their wall.

Monday, January 9, 2017

"Jelly Jar" and other news....

"Jelly Jar' - 8 x 8 inches - oil on canvas

My son is home from college and he finished the last of the strawberry jam.  The jar was sitting on the table and I just loved how the light illuminated the little bits of jam that were still stuck to the inside of the jar.  This was tricky to paint but I worked slowly and deliberately and just tried to make sure my values were correct.   Purchase info is below.

In other news…

I have a handful of 2017 Desk Calendars still available.  They’re on sale for $10 at either Muffins on Main, or, via  Get 'em while you can!

I’m really honored and thrilled to report that “Button Down” was accepted into the Concord Art Member’s Juried Show.   The opening reception is Thursday, Jan 12 from 6 – 8 p.m. and the show runs through February 12.  It is always a really nice show at a beautiful venue in a quaint town so for those who live locally, I highly recommend stopping by.

“Jelly Jar” is an 8 inch square painting presented in a wood floater frame.  It is available at Muffins on Main, or, via

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pottery Bowl with Lemons - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas

Pottery Bowl with Lemons - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas - framed
Happy  New Year everyone!  I spent most of last week in bed with a nasty bug so the holidays were a bit of a blur.   I’m happy to start off 2017 feeling much better!

I have been invited to do a painting demonstration at the Leominster Art Association later this month.  They requested a still life so I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to paint.  I recently had a hankering to paint lemons (why?  not sure!)  so I paired them with this dark pottery bowl (made by my sister, Julie).

I chose a purple cloth because purple is the complementary color of yellow.  Also, the bowl is almost black but I see a lot of deep purple in the glaze.

As always, I started by photographing this set up from multiple angles and multiple arrangements.  At one point, I had lemons stacked inside the bowl.  In the end, I liked this composition the best.  It was very important to paint this from life as the reflections on the bowl are lost in the photograph as the color is too dark.

I started the painting by tackling the pottery bowl.  The base of the bowl reflects the purple cloth so I started with a dusty purple color.  I then added the lemon reflections and finally worked my way up to the rim.  Bowls, cups, plates, etc. can be tricky as it can be difficult to get them perfectly symmetrical.  I think I did a decent job on this one!  I finished with some bright highlights near the top of the bowl as it is quite shiny.

I painted the cloth next.  I first added the shadows to define the form and then the highlights opposite the shadows.  I painted the lemons once the cloth was in place and focused on the shadows first and finally the light side and the highlights.  

Considering I hadn’t painted for a while (between the holidays and then being sick), the whole painting came together pretty quickly so I was really pleased.  I’ll probably paint it once again shortly before my demo which is scheduled for Jan 17.

“Pottery Bowl with Lemons” is a 6 inch square painting framed in a wood floater frame (see additional photos below) and is available at Muffins on Main or directly from me at

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hershey Kiss Series

First off, I hope you are enjoying the holiday season so far.  I'm hosting TWO parties this year which is a record smashing year for me!  Hosting is a good thing since I've now fixed a few things around my house that have been bugging me for quite some time.  I've also done a bit of extra cleaning, de-cluttering and my refrigerator is now filled with yummy stuff.  Let the parties begin!

I painted a new Hershey Kisses series which are currently hanging at Muffins on Main.  

I really enjoy painting these little gems.  They seem to magically pop right off the canvas as I add the bright highlights.  

Each one measures just over 3 inches square and they are already framed.  They are available as a set and are currently on sale for $125 for all 3.  You can either purchase them at Muffins on Main, or, at


With warm regards,


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Muffins and New Beginnings!

I'm pleased to announce a small exhibit of my art the new "Muffins on Main" shop at 40 Main Street, Westford, MA.  This sweet little muffin shop officially opened yesterday and they offer assorted muffins, scones, coffee and tea.  It is a warm and lovely spot to meet a friend and enjoy a sweet nibble. 

Since this photo was taken, three of these pieces have sold so stop by to see the current paintings.  I also have my 2017 Desk Calendars available along with an assortment of greeting cards and copies of my "Paint the Town" book.  Just a reminder, I'm offering special holiday pricing on my paintings at as well as at Muffins on Main.

40 Main Street in Westford, MA has held great significance to me.  It is one of the most charming buildings in Westford center and has an interesting history.  Years ago, it was a general store, a post office, a real estate office and more recently has held several retail stores -- Sweet Peas, Le Gourmet Jardin and The Fashion Truck.  Below is a photo my daughter in front of Sweet Peas where she had her first real job as a sales clerk.

Back in 2009, I partnered with 7 other artists to open Art on Main which was located in the left side of the building.  Here are Frank Winters and Mary Jane Brunelle installing our sign.

I'm so pleased that 40 Main Street has started a new chapter and I look forward to enjoying this lovely spot in the center of Westford.

Friday, December 9, 2016

2017 Desk Calendars are here!

My 2017 Desk Calendars are here!  Each month features a different painting created in the past year (see all images below).  

Approx dimensions: 8 inches wide x 4 inches high x 2 inches wide at the base.
$15.  Price includes tax/shipping.  

Click here for more information or to buy.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Sale!

Pop!  -  SOLD
SOLD - I'm so happy to see"Pop!" go to a good home in Pennsylvania!

My paintings are on sale right now -- you can check them out at

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Posy" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas - SOLD

"Posy" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas - SOLD

I purchased a small bouquet of flowers at Whole Foods (which recently opened in my town).  I was very impressed with their selection and thought they were quite reasonable for $10. This will definitely be my go to place to buy bouquets if I need a small gift for someone!

Thanksgiving is only 2 days away.  I'm traveling to visit family (which is always stressful - the traveling AND the family part) but I am thankful for my family and for many other blessing in my life.  I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving celebration with lots of yummy food and minimal stress :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"Gratitude" - 12 x 12 inches - oil on canvas - SOLD

"Gratitude" - 12 x 12 inches - oil on canvas - SOLD
With Thanksgiving next week, I’ve spent some time reflecting on things in my life that I really appreciate.  Today’s painting is of the Parish Center for the Arts in Westford, MA.  I’ve painted this building many times, but, this time, as I was painting, I was thinking about how central this building has become in my life.  

I started volunteering here over 16 years ago and have met some incredible people – artists, musicians, dancers and many others who support and appreciate the arts.  Many have become close friends.  Thanksgiving is a time to stop and reflect so “Gratitude” seemed like a fitting name for this piece.

On the subject of Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to all the people who take the time to read my words, reflect on my art, comment to let me know when something touches their heart, and, of course, those who purchase my art to hang in their home.  I am grateful to all of you.

"Gratitude" is a 12 inch square oil on canvas painting presented in a wood floater frame (see additional photos below).  

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"Froot Loops" - 20 x 20 inches - oil on canvas

"Froot Loops" - 20 x 20 inches - oil on canvas

“Froot Loops” was inspired by a sketch done by my friend Pat.  Pat had illustrated the quote: “Be a Froot Loop in a bowl of Cheerios” and it stuck in my mind (and I loved her sketch).

To start, I bought an individual serving size box of Froot Loops (I couldn’t bring myself to buy an entire box!) and borrowed a plastic blue bowl and spoon from a friend to create the image I was looking for. 

As I created this painting, I learned a lot about Froot Loops.  They come in 6 colors: the three primaries (red, yellow and blue) and three secondaries: (purple, green and orange).  Who knew?

With a bright pink acrylic base coating my entire canvas, I painted the cereal first – all the red pieces (sprinkling them throughout the bowl, all the blues, etc.  I then moved on to the bowl and noted the subtle reflections on the inside.  I painted the background next and added the spoon and finally the milk.  I allowed the cereal colors to mix into the off-white “milk” paint as the cereal will discolor the milk.

This painting was so fun to paint.  I love the bright colors and the cheerful funky feeling…enjoy!

"Froot Loops" is a 20 x 20 inch oil on canvas painting with the sides painted black so framing is optional.  It is available directly from me.  Click here for more information.  Additional photos are below.