Sunday Painting

Stella, 12" x 12" oil on canvas panel.

This is the painting I did from 1-3 p.m. today with a few good artist friends hanging out to chat with me and with each other. I can see lots to tweak and fuss with.... maybe later. Stella's my sweet, funny and adorable 17 year old niece. The photo reference below was taken February of last year as she was reading.

The 2 video recordings, each an hour long, of this painting are at
Because of David Darrow's help, I'll have much better video quality for future Sunday sessions. Thank you David!

Finish of Mother and Daughter

11"x14" oil on stretched canvas

This painting has such a sweet feeling, it has given me a lump in my throat a couple of times.

Visitors to the gallery today have shifted back to the more familiar- adults on vacation or in San Antonio for a conference. The last two or three weeks it has been a parade of anxious, fast-moving and grumpy (sometimes even thoughtlessly rude) parents with their children. A last dash to have a family vacation? A drop in sales all through La Villita accompanied this parade. But today seems to be more what I'd gotten used to- happy people strolling unhurriedly and enjoying the treasures they come upon. Ahhhhh. I'm enjoying the conversations today.

I hope you'll swing by and keep me company as I paint tomorrow at one p.m. Central.

I'll be painting online Sunday at 1 p.m. Central

Come on by if you can!

Progress on Mother and Daughter

I put in a few hours on this painting today and moved it along a bit. Still some details and refinements to do. Not the best photo, I realize, but good enough to get the idea. The daughter needs her dangley earrings and the mother needs her whisps of hair and her dress needs much. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow.....

Commissioned Mother and Daughter

I got a good start on this 11"x14" oil on stretched canvas today. It's by no means accurate in terms of likeness yet. I'm only about three hours in. I'm going to warm the smile of the mother just a smidge, and close the daughter's eyes completely.
an hour or so into it-

I'm using this reference:
which is this one, rotated.

Completed Peruvian Girl, Blog Workshop report.

Peruvian Girl

Peruvian Girl (Framed)
14" x 11" (35.6cm x 28.0cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas
$900 plus $10 shipping and handling in the US
E-mail me for International shipping rates or other inquiries.

Well. This painting didn't come easily. Isn't it odd that the hardest thing was the background?! I think that my camera or my monitor does something odd with blue. The blue looks a bit more saturated in this photo than in the painting. I had to sign it on the left, as the puppy wouldn't have appreciated my name on its cheek. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of this one. Thank you to those of you who offered your good thoughts concerning the background. I learned from each of you.

The blog workshop was at my house on Saturday and I think it went very well. Seven artists, four of whom already had a website of varying complexities, two of whom already had a blog, all showed up by 9:30 to get the scoop about blogging. Their heads were bulging by 3:45 when we'd worked our way through from basics to whizbangs. I learned a few things, too. I'll be adding their names to my blog list as they get them off and flying. I'm proud of them all.

One of the things I got to demonstrate was placing a PayPal button on a post to sell a painting directly from one's blog. I'd done it a few times over the last year or so, mostly just to see that I could. But using the html generated by PayPal isn't elegant. It takes up far too many lines and its elbows stick out everywhere.

David Darrow, the most excellent portrait artist of Dave The Painting Guy fame, has designed a PayPal Button "Machine" using an Exel spreadsheet. You just fill in the name of your painting, its dimensions, the price, the shipping cost, and your email address used by PayPal. You copy the results in the magic field below and paste it into your post near your painting. Voila! He even has a short video on his site demonstrating how it works. I heartily recommend downloading his PayPal Button Machine and taking for a spin. If you use it even once, you'll agree it's worth the $9.95 he requests as a "thank you." I'll bet that you 'PayPal him' the $ and use it over and over and over again. To show you what it looks like, I'll put a PayPal button on the Peruvian Girl even though she's not dry and not varnished and I have competition plans for her, just so you can see how it looks and works. You can push it and it will take you to PayPal where you can see that the title and price and such are there ready for someone to log in and leap to buy it.

Online Painting I did today from 1-3 p.m.


Well, this was fun. This is a 12" x 12" oil on canvas panel. I captured the reference photo from my monitor by pushing the print screen key and pasting the image into Paint. I took several snapshots like that of a full screen broadcast of my nephew Jake's band from Sedona, AZ last night. His band is called Wine And Alchemy and they do gypsy type music, complete with a belly dancer. I made a few changes from the reference in the position of her arms. This photo seems super saturated in color and I'm not sure it's that intense. I'll try to get a better photo later.
Thank you to the sweet souls who hung out with me on while I painted today. You made it all worthwhile!

Some progress on Peru and a finish

Today I tried this blue stripe and waved the stripes some, but I didn't see until now that I have all the stripes converging on the right. Sigh. I'll take a fresh look on Monday and see what I think then. I think the blue is too saturated... at least it looks so in this very bad photo.

I worked a bit more on her face today, too. I'm not sure the changes would be obvious to anyone but me, but I think it's better.

A family came in today when I was starting work on this one and I told them each of the details I was going to work on. Later, just as I was going to sign it, they returned and checked to see that I'd made the changes I'd mentioned. Very nice folks. And, as always, it feels good to have someone care about my work.
I'm proud of this one, and I'm eager to know how the fellow likes his gift. I don't know how his wife will be able to wait until Christmas to give it to him!

Closing in on the portrait of man and his horse...

I'm inching up on this one. Some details left to do- maybe an hour or two's painting, if I'm guessing right.

I'd hoped to also work on the Peruvian girl's background today, but the moon must be in Mars' armpit today. Everything was wonky and all efforts thwarted.

Here I'm giving this blog workshop for artists on Saturday and I've been neglecting my blog and my bloggy friends all week due to all the preparation. Something about guests coming to one's house makes one FREAKED OUT!

Peruvian Girl's background blues

I only had a little bit of time at the end of the day to work on this, so I tried implementing some of the suggestions I got by asking for advice. Thank you to all those who took the time to offer your good eyes and thoughts. I got lots of suggestions, much of it conflicting. I figure it's just paint and I can try different things until something looks right. I greyed the blanket down a bit by glazing over what was there with its compliment. I first put the fuchsia in the middle stripe and it overpowered the painting. Then I took it way back to a cool greenish ochre. Still looks a bit pinkish, I think. I can see that my stripes don't really match up from side to side and I've lost some of the wave of the fabric. I'll work on it again Thursday.

Sunday self portrait

I had such a good time hanging out with my artist friends today and painting on I took this quick photo in the little mirror to the left of my easel and posted it just before I started painting, so folks could sort of see what my reference was. The surface is an 8" x 10" canvas panel from Utrecht. It was a two hour session, so a bit slapdash. I suppose I could fiddle with the painting to make it more "accurate" but I think I'll leave it as it is.
Thank you to those of you who kept me company and added so much to the fun!

Two paintings' progress, & Sunday online painting

Hi Everyone!

I'm trying out an idea for the background of this painting. I went through some other photos taken in Peru and came across a display of blankets and cloth, this particular piece among them. The center stripe is a fuchsia and I didn't think I could make it with the paint colors I had at the gallery, so left the canvas white and will try to go shopping for paint that will work. Here's the fuchsia 'Photoshopped' in, if badly:

What do you think of this idea? I'm still open to options. Really. If you've got thoughts, I want to hear them!

I painted about 3 hours today on the painting below, moving the horse's mouth to the right a quarter inch and reshaping its nostril and fiddling some with the halter and refining the shading of its face and neck. The changes aren't dramatic, but they made me feel lots better. And that's what it's all about- me feeling good! I still need to work on the woodgrain of the stall wall and do lots of highlights on the mane and forelock, and repaint the dark background so light won't hit the sideways strokes so blatantly. I'm starting to really like this painting.

I'm going to paint online tomorrow at 1 p.m. Central time at and I'd love it if you joined me. You can watch without registering, but if you register on Ustream and then log in, you can chat with the others watching... and with me! When you register, Ustream will send an email which you'll need to open and then click on a link to verify that it's actually you who registered. So go to the show a bit early to take care of that first if you haven't already!
I think I may paint a self portrait from a mirror set up by the easel and I challenge you other artists to do the same... either at the same time as I, or afterward... and post it on your blogs or send me a photo!

Further progress on commission

I worked on the shirt and the horse's face today. Neither is finished, but both moved along some.

Progress on man's portrait

6"x5" detail of 18"x24" oil painting in progress

I painted about three hours further on this portrait. So many little adjustments to make, and still to make, but I do like how it's coming. Didn't focus on the horse much at all today.

I knew there would be an increased portion of my time that would be spent on the business part of art when I opened the gallery. But I spent all of yesterday and more than half of today entering transactions into Quickbooks and doing other office work. It felt so good to pull my palette out of the fridge and settle in front of the easel for the last three hours of the day.

An email arrived yesterday to say that my two paintings, Holding On and A Day To Remember In La Villita, were accepted into Hill Country Arts Foundation's 2-D National Juried Exhibition, Sept. 11 - Oct. 19. Acceptance. Ahh, feels good.

Blog Workshop Saturday, Aug 23 -change of place

On my birthday a couple of weeks ago, in the parking lot of the San Antonio Art Museum.

I'm offering a workshop on starting and keeping a Blog (especially for artists but for anyone, really) on Saturday, August 23rd, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at my home. It was previously announced to be held at the Coppini Academy, so please note the change.

Cost of the workshop is $50. If you attended the first one, you can come for free if you bring someone new!

I believe all artists- new, amateur and certainly professional, whether they already have a website or not- should keep a blog. I believe it's been the most important marketing tool for me over the last three and a half years, and that's only one of its many, many benefits.

Blogs are FREE websites where you can share your images and words. Blogs are interactive- you and others can leave comments, so you can network with and learn from other artists. You can sell directly from your blog if you like, make slideshows of your work, collect email addresses for your newsletter... and much more!

The workshop will cover the basics as well as many of the bells and whistles.

To register, email me at and I can send you a PayPal invoice or you can call the gallery and take care of the registration over the phone. 210-226-3992.
I'd love to have you with us!

Finish of demo doggie, and progress on commission.

Unconditional Love
6" x 6" (15.3cm x 15.3cm)
Oil on Panel
$75 plus $5 shipping and handling in the US
E-mail me for International shipping rates or other inquiries.

(I have frames to fit this painting, too, if you're interested.)

I had so much fun painting with my bloggy artist friends yesterday! Pattie Wall painted along in Kansas at the same time I painted, and Sharon Wright in England painted the same image afterwards. They've both posted their paintings on their blogs, so you can check them out!

Reference photo
I have to say, though, that after painting I got up and left the room and when I came back was horrified to find this on my easel:

The wide, wide head and too-high ear stared me in the face. Sigh. So today I fiddled with it at the gallery and like it better (top image) now. I suppose it's not crucial to be correct since it's not a commission... but my pride demanded a few more minutes spent on it.
I'm going to paint again on next Sunday at 1 p.m Central time. Come join us!

Today I also worked a while on the commission of the man and his horse. Mostly just on the man's face. I made some progress, but there are many more hours of work left to do.

I'm Painting Online Sunday, Aug. 10, 1 pm Central!

I found this photo on in the image library and thought it might make a fun painting.

I'll be painting online tomorrow, Sunday, at 1 p.m., so come watch or even join in the conversation! Click HERE to go to the show. If you'd like to join the chat, you'll need to register on with a username and password, and then verify your email address by clicking on the link they'll send to you by email. Once verified, you can log in and ask questions or tell jokes or just tell us what you've been up to.
The url of the link above is:

I've been busy this week on a commissioned painting of a man and his horse. There are progress images on my blog on Thursday and Friday's posts, if you'd like to see where I am in the process. You can check back in the days ahead to see how it develops, if you're interested.

The gallery has been open six months now, and it's been a blast to be there and to paint (almost) every day. I'm so glad I made this transition from doctor to artist. I'm so glad I didn't wait for some future "righter" time. I went to a memorial for a friend this afternoon and her sister read a poem titled, "Do It Now." I'll copy it here for you:

--Author Unknown

If you have hard work to do,
Do it now.
Today the skies are clear and blue,
Tomorrow clouds may come in view,
Yesterday is not for you;
Do it now.
If you have a song to sing.
Sing it now.
Let the tones of gladness ring
Clear as song of bird in spring.
Let each day some music bring;
Sing it now.
If you have kind words to say,
Say them now.
Tomorrow may not come your way,
Do a kindness while you may,
Loved ones will not always stay;
Say them now.
If you have a smile to show,
Show it now.
Make hearts happy, roses grow,
Let the friends around you know
The love you have before they go;
Show it now.

Man and Horse progress, and Cuddle Cats

18" x 24" oil on stretched canvas.
Well, I had to redraw/repaint much of the horse's head when I looked it fresh this morning. It was too narrow and the eye too high. It still needs a lot, but I like the drawing a bit better. My objective today was just get the white of the canvas covered. Monday I'll dig deeper.

I saved an hour at the end of the day for "dessert." These kitties were very sweet to paint-

6" x 6" oil on Gessobord.
Have a great weekend!

A man and his horse... a start

I got to work on this painting, one of the two commissions I want to finish this month, for a couple of hours today. It's 18" x 24". I think I'm really going to enjoy this one. So far I've just used a small bright bristle brush to get the sketch on, and then a large, wide flat bristle brush to block it out this far. I'm trying the idea of the dark background above the stable wall. The reference has round bars like a jail cell and a window beyond them- not attractive. I think with the rim lighting along the top of the mane, the separation between horse and background might work. I haven't put much effort into the man's likeness yet, so the smile is a bit wide top to bottom and i think the face is a bit long. It's fun to work on something large enough to force me to step back often to even see if I'm getting the sketch right. I didn't want to work from a printed photo, so set the computer monitor up on the counter and faced it into the studio. The control that gives me in the way of size and contrast and degree of brightness is helpful.

Life is good!

Mission Statement and Goals...

I watched Randy Pausch's video lecture on Time Management this week and he pointed out the difference between doing things right and doing the right things. It's over an hour long, but I believe it's time well spent. Check it out.

It's occurred to me a few times lately to wonder if I'm doing the right things to get me where I want to go. That, of course, prompted me to ask where I wanted to go! I tried to peer into the foggy future and picture myself there, but I decided the better question was what I want to do with my time in the Now. Then I thought an even better question is how I want to feel.

I know I want to feel happy. Sometimes excited, sometimes peaceful, but certainly happy. I want to enjoy the entire process of painting and of teaching. I want to feel a postitive anticipation for the next day's work, expecting to learn even more about being a better artist, a better teacher, a better friend, a better businessperson... I want that feeling that I'll keep growing, that I'll find pleasure in building on my skills. I want to feel that I have something valuable to offer to others- paintings, encouragement, help for artists who've not yet surpassed my current skills. Put very simply, I want to be a happy force for good in the world! That's not too much to want, is it?

So, knowing that this mission statement is always up for revision, this is what it is today:

The purpose: (What are the opportunities or needs I wish to address?) To make a good living happily as an ever-improving artist and teacher/encourager of other artists.

The business: (What do I do to address these opportunities and needs?) Paint portraits for people who wish to honor and celebrate their loved ones. Create art that describes and shares the beauty in the world around me. Offer what I know of painting and the business of painting to other artists in such a way that empowers everyone involved.

The values: (What principles or beliefs guide my work?) Belief that the time and effort spent making art that honors and celebrates the beauty in the world, benefits the artist and the viewer and the world. More simply: making art and helping artists helps us all.


Now, these are the things I want to do this month:

  1. Give Blog workshop August 23rd. Continue exploring ways to present it online. (I'm making headway!)
  2. Decide on one painting to do for portfolio to represent higher end of fee schedule. Begin that painting.
  3. Look into opportunities for 2 competitions in the remaining part of this year.
  4. Finish two current commissions.
  5. Paint three small paintings each week and post on eBay or perhaps offer on blog and newsletter.

Next month:

  1. Revamp website.
  2. Give Portrait workshop in Seguin, September 23-24.
  3. Finish portfolio painting from August.

Ok, wish me luck!

Joel and Goals

Fuzzy photo of today's finish of Joel. 6" x 6" oil on Gessobord.

I saved painting Joel for dessert today. I had to do some chores today at the gallery that took so long I was getting anxious that I wouldn't be able to paint after all. Finally got done with all the "have-tos" by 5 p.m, leaving me an hour to paint.
I was pretty embarrassed at the state of the painting at the end of the Ustream session yesterday. The huge eyes, the iffy drawing, the undeveloped shadow side and rim lighting... yikes!
I feel better about it now, and took lots of photos. Even though this isn't a good photo, it's the best of what I got. Now the painting looks like my little guy.

Joel at the end of Sunday's Ustream session:
I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish with my painting. I know goals usually have to do with how we want to feel, so I've been asking myself those sorts of questions, too. I visited Stacey Peterson's blog this evening, partly because she regularly posts updates to her goals. I found a quote from a landscape artist she admires. It reads very much like a mission statement. That's given me an idea that I need less of a list than a mission statement. Then the list would be the steps in realizing one's mission. And Rose Welty offered a great comment (could have been an essay!) about why one might or might not want to share one's intentions with others on one's blog. I plan to share them. I think it should help keep me on track.

Peruvian Girl Progress

I worked most of the day on this painting and I'm still stewing over what sort of background to paint. Her yarn-knit hat is covered in real and wilting flowers... peonies? I painted the hat with a brush, then a palette knife. I had to darken the photo reference quite a bit to even see the flowers. I KNOW the embroidery isn't accurate as to the photo.... I did the best I could without making myself completely nuts. A little nuts is ok, right?

I'm looking forward to hanging out tomorrow with those of you who have the time! Noon on Sunday- Central Time.

I'll be painting my cat online at noon on Sunday!

Come hang out with me and watch me paint on at noon (Central Time) on Sunday, August 3! I'll be painting a small oil (with brushes this time- not a palette knife) of my cat, Joel. (photo references below)
You can just watch and listen, or you can register and log in so you can join in the chat. I'll be able to read your questions and comments and respond aloud as I paint. I hope you'll join me!

Peruvian Girl start, and Pete's painting lesson.

My student and friend, Alicia, went to Peru this spring and came back with wonderful photos- which she's offered to me as references for paintings! This girl is wearing a hat covered with real, cut flowers, a shirt covered with beautiful embroidery and carrying a puppy in her arm. I hope I can paint well enough to live up to all this richness.

I had a wonderful student today- Peter- who had his 14th birthday yesterday. He had never painted before. He can draw very well, though, and sketched this portrait out in pastel pencil on canvas this morning, then painted all afternoon. I'm so proud of his first efforts at painting. The photo he used is one from Happy Birthday, Pete!