Do You Need A Creative Nudge?


LOLA – Ink Drawing

Creativity can be elusive. Comforting when you are surrounded by it. Maddening when your Muse just refuses to guide. Sometimes we need a little nudge in the right direction. And inspiration can come from anywhere.

I am delighted to see that line work is making a comeback. From calligraphy on billboards and restaurant chalkboard menus to the renewed interest in colouring books for both children and adults melting, meandering marks of ink are everywhere. And I couldn’t be happier!

I’ve always loved to draw. It was foundation of my work in years past as it is today. So when I saw the call from UPPERCASE magazine for contribution to their Creative Calendar I couldn’t wait to submit. Their description of the Calendar inspired me: It’s not a day planner but rather a place to encourage creative thinking and dreaming.

So I sent off two drawing and a piece of calligraphy. I recently found out my work will be among the art included for publication. I am delighted to be in such inspiring company.

The image posted is of my cat, Lola. I drew him (Yes, “him”…he was named after the song Lola by the Kinks) with a bamboo brush and ink. I hope Lola inspires someone using the calendar as much as he inspired me.

Available to UPPERCASE magazine readers who subscribe by November 30, 2015, it is to be included with Issue 28 in January 2016.

Do you need a nudge to prompt your creative thinking and dreaming? Why not give The Creative Calendar a place on your wall in 2016?

You’re invited to my opening!

Richmond Public Library on Franklin St. Dec. 4 6 to 9

Richmond Public Library on Franklin St. Dec. 4
6 to 9

I want to hang this new painting at the library but I’m not sure it will be 100% dry. Sometimes I put a painting in a frame for a show, and later it sticks to the frame and  I have to touch up the color on the edge. This time, I’m putting a thin strip of tape on the inside edge of the frame. If the paint sticks to the tape, I think I can get it out of the frame and warm up the tape with a hair drier to get it off without messing up the paint.

I hope you will come down to the library and have a look at my paintings in person. I’d like to hear any suggestions or comments.

This painting is “Richmond in Nov.” looking west over the James from Rocketts Landing.

No Words…


My thoughts and prayer go out to the people of Paris.

Modifying the fan brush

This is a fan brush.

This is a fan brush.

I wanted to use it to soften edges by drybrushing with it, but I got those arch shapes caused by the edge of the brush. I don’t know how other artists use a fan brush, or if they have the problem of creating arched lines where they don’t want an arch. But I used a scissors and cut that curve back to a straight line. Now it’s great and I use the brush a lot.

Then I got an idea to make another brush for painting lines. It’s difficult to paint evenly spaced straight lines. I want to find a way to do it more easily. So I bought another fan brush to experiment with. It was only $4 and change at Plaza.

Good for more than just painting lips.

Good for more than just painting lips.

I separated the brush into evenly spaced clumps of bristles with a comb then cut out every other section, and  cut the top edge straight.  I might be on to something here. I painted 5 lines at once, and they are ok for the experiment, so I’m going to try it on a painting. I’ll tie those clumps together with a thread and see if it makes a thinner line.

If you are an artist and have tried to paint lines like this or another way, please let me know how it works.

Kanawha Canal / oil

This might be my masterpiece. I should probably stop painting and get a JOB!

This might be my masterpiece. I should probably stop painting and get a JOB!

I had this painting on hold for months and finally finished it this week because we had days of rainy cloudy weather. The hardest part was painting the people. I thought the scene needs the people and I didn’t have models. I have some photos of the scene but I h8 working from photos since I’ve been working in plein air and that spoiled me. I looked at my photos and did sketches off and on for days. Then I painted them and still made many corrections.

You might think this painting has a lot of detail. I only painted the detail that I thought was necessary for the composition. Actually, I left out more detail than I painted. There was a tree in my way and the branches were blocking part of the view.

They have a lot of cool old fashioned street lamps there, and I bet they look great at night, but during the day they show up as black lines breaking up the view. The lamps have banners celebrating Richmond’s history. I changed the perspective a little from what your camera would show you. I’m not sure if camera perspective is accurate anyway. I eliminated a black fence and black posts on top of the hill. Plus I left an opening in the fence I painted so the viewer’s eye can go through to the street in between the buildings, which you can’t see because I didn’t paint any cars. Also a lot more people are on the boat than the ones I painted. The boat has a name I decided to not paint. The boats are named “Pocahontas, Maggie Walker, and Martha Washington.” The boats have flags that I didn’t paint. There’s a bench and sign I eliminated.

There’s strings of Christmas lights between the 2 buildings on the left and tables with umbrellas that are open sometimes, but I decided to not paint them even though I think they’re pretty. There’s other details I just forgot.

It was a real challenge and time consuming. I have to keep challenging myself or I won’t get better at this.

People see my art as Realism. I don’t see it that way because I know what it really looks like, but if someone thinks this is Realism, I’ll let them call it that. I might have to put some qualifier like “Contemporary” in front of Realism. But then, there are people who don’t see my work as Contemporary, because that’s Modern Art to them, and they see my paintings as old fashioned.  When you think about it, doesn’t contemporary mean coming from this time and place?  If that’s true, then I can call my paintings “Contemporary Realism”. If any of our readers is an expert on art isms, please weigh in.

Night Shadows by Edward Hopper

etching / 1921

etching / 1921

The VMFA has a show of etchings that are nocturnes. This is my favorite for the spooky look.

I heard nocturnes are difficult to do and I like them so I always wanted to try. I picture so many tints of black and gray, making a very dark drawing, but this etching has large areas of white. And you can tell it’s night.

What Do You Believe?


What do you believe? Do you feel you have a specific purpose in this life? Are you, like all of us, searching for a connection?

Tonight is the first of seven nights, hosted by Oprah Winfrey on the OWN Network, exploring Belief and our search to connect to something greater than ourselves.

For me, it’s all about the story…our personal, unique, passionate, meaningful, sorrowful, joyful, empowering, never-ending search for authenticity. The method of expression is also part of what makes your story individually yours. Do you use words…or images…or as in my case, both? Is music a part of the storytelling? What is part of your ritual?

And every time we share I believe we make a difference. We prove we are not alone but instead are all part of a greater human experience. Most importantly, we live on through the telling of our stories, weaving a pattern of hope for the future and reverence for the lessons gleaned from the past.

I encourage you to take the journey. Share your unique view with someone today. Be part of the programme on the OWN Network tonight.

What do you believe?

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