Fond Memories

October 29, 2017

California Poppies pop up, here and there in the field of Bluebonnets. The intense red-orange blossoms are made with mixes of Cadmium Orange + Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Red Light and pure Cadmium Orange. I gently “Lay” the thickly textured brushstrokes on top of the underlying blues and greens. I don’t want my brush to pick up any of the color underneath, muddying the bright flowers.

After delineating the deep centers of the Poppies I come back with my fine liner brush to add stems and sunlit leaves to the foliage.

The white caps of the Bluebonnets are now made. Pure White is used for those flowers in the foreground so they will come forward. The ones further in the distance are a mix of White + Ultramarine Blue which makes them recede.

Work begins on the rocky stream bed. Mixes of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White are used. A bit of Pthalo Blue is added to some to the mixtures for a little variety. Mr. Chippers, a male Cardinal, perches on one of the large rocks in the foreground.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Waterfalls

Penstemon grows on the rocks in the lower left. The foliage is painted first, opposite from my usual sequence of blocking in the flowers to begin. But since these tall blossoms tower above the foliage it’s easier to rough in the leaves first.

The spiky blossoms are now painted with Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Red Medium and Cadmium Red Light. Again, the paint is lightly “Laid” on top of the background color. I clean my brush between each stroke of the flower petals to insure the red blossoms remain bright and crisp.

The yellow Coreopsis is blocked in following my regular order of “Flowers First, Leaves Last”.

Momma Mrs. Chippers hunts for stray seeds below the Penstemon. You have to look closely for her, she blends in with the rocks. Just click on the image if you’d like to see it larger.

Fond Memories     20″ x 24″

“Fond Memories” is complete! I’m ready to go sit in one of those turquoise Adirondack chairs and enjoy the pretty spring day. Listen closely…..can you hear the splash of the cascading water and the chip, chip, chip of the Cardinals? I appreciate you following along, please feel free to ask questions! With Colorful Smiles and Hugs,

Buella and Bailey

October 28, 2017

The field of Bluebonnets between the cabin and horse is blocked in with various mixes of Ultramarine Blue + White. Closer to the building, patches of flowers made of Ultramarine Blue + Dioxazine Purple + White are added here and there. Please remember, as you read through my blog you may click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

Mixtures of Cobalt Blue + Ultramarine Blue + White and Cobalt Blue + White are used for the Bluebonnets in the area around Buella and Bailey. Cobalt Blue is a little more intense than the Ultramarine Blue, making it come forward. The leafy vegetation is painted with greens remaining from the oak trees and distant hills.

I’ll come back later and do more work on the Bluebonnets. But for now let’s paint that beautiful black horse………

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting Buella Part 1

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting Buella Part 2

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting Buella Part 3

Buella is done. Time to work on Bailey, his companion.


Looking at the photo above I realize I have Buella’s face a teeny bit too long, that will be easy to correct. Jeana’s two babies are having a private conversation, wonder what secrets they share? Thanks for visiting the studio today, hope to see you again real soon! HUGS,

The Cozy Cabin

October 26, 2017

Today we’ll paint that cozy cabin guarded by the majestic Live Oaks. The mixes used for the rusty tin roof are #1. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Red Light. #2. White + MUD + Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue. #3. MUD + Cadmium Red Light + Cadmium Orange. #4. White + MUD + Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Red Light. #5. White + MUD + Ultramarine Blue.

The Bright (square) brush is dipped in several colors at once; then is dragged following the direction of the sloping roof. Having a variety of mixes in the brush at the same time results in variegated color in the stroke on the canvas. This helps to give the feeling of the rusty tin sheets. A few brushstrokes of the bluer #5 mix are made here and there to add interest.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the cabin

Jeana asked me to include an owl sitting on the post of the hitching rail in front of the cabin. Just click on the picture if you’d like to see it larger.

Red Canna Lilies and Magenta Penstemon fill the rock planter beside the cabin.

The Turquoise Adirondack Chairs are painted with a mix of White + Pthalo Turquoise Blue. What is cool is Jack and I had a pair the very same color at our previous studio!

A bench swing hangs on the porch, providing a delightful place to sit and sip a glass of ice tea on a warm spring day. With wrist braced on the mahl stick to steady my hand, mixes of Dioxazine Purple + White are used to paint the swing.

SO……there’s our cozy cabin, patiently waiting for some beautiful spring wildflowers to pop up! Thank you for all of your kind comments, I appreciate them more than you realize. Have a great day and I do hope you’ll come visit our studio again soon. HUGS,


Texas Hills and Live Oak Trees

October 25, 2017

I begin painting with the sky since it is the source of light for our Texas Hill Country scene. The field of blue at the upper edge of the canvas is a mix of White + Cobalt Blue. White + Pthalo Blue is used closer to the tops of the hills. The shadows of the clouds are White + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson), while the highlights are White + a tiny bit of Cadmium Orange + a touch of Ultramarine Blue.

Working forward, the most distant hill is a mixture of Ultramarine Blue + a little MUD + White. The closer ridge is painted with several combinations of White + Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. Brushstrokes of some of the blue remaining from the other hill are made near the tree line for additional coolness. The smoke drifting up from the chimney is some of the darker blue left over from the sky. It’s painted over the wet hillside behind to soften the edges, this helps to give the impression of hazy smoke. You may enlarge the image to see this better, just click on the picture.

Sunlight illuminates the valley at the base of the tallest hill. The smaller hill on the right, sprinkled in Lavender flowers, remains in shadow. Having the bright valley gleaming behind the darker hill gives the painting depth.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Live Oak Trees

Live Oaks snuggle around the cozy cabin. We’ll work on it in our next session. See you then! HUGS,

Beginning Another Commission

October 24, 2017

God has so blessed me, I have several commissions lined up to do. I’m extremely appreciative of my VERY PATIENT Collectors. That’s the only thing I don’t like; they have to wait a long time for their paintings. This piece is based on a collaboration I did earlier in the year called “Tapestry of Spring”. My collector loves the cabin, bluebonnets and stream. Jeana said it reminds her of the Ichetucknee River where her family vacationed when she was a child. How you pronounce that I don’t have a clue, but I imagine it’s an Indian name.

After lightly drawing the distant mountains with a brush dipped in a thin wash of MUD + Liquin I begin shaping the rocks that form the waterfalls in the stream.

With rocks roughed in and the flowers on the bank indicated, work begins on the horse and dog. First I lightly penciled them in; to see this better just click on the picture to enlarge the image. Then I start drawing the animals with the oil wash. My wrist is braced against the mahl stick to steady my hand.

Next the values on the horse and dog are washed in. It’s extremely important to make this drawing accurately, it will provide the details I need to follow when I paint the pair in opaque oils.

Now I begin working on the cabin in the background.

Jeana asked me to add a couple of turquoise Adirondack Chairs by the raised flower garden. What a great place to relax and enjoy the view!

Bluebonnets and California Poppies surround the black horse and Jeana’s sweet fur baby, Bailey. She’s a Jack Russell/Rat Terrier mix and has the most beautiful ears. We’ll begin painting in our next session. Hope you’ll come back to our studio and watch.

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Now for the Groom……

October 20, 2017

We’re ready to paint John. Here are the recipes for the colors I’m using for his skin tones. #1. Three combinations of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + Cerulean Blue + White #2. Several mixes in different proportions of MUD + Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Red Light + Alizarin Crimson + White.


One of the first things in painting the mouth is to establish the corners. This is very important in capturing your subject’s likeness. A mix of Alizarin Crimson + a touch of MUD is used to make the corners of John’s mouth.

In the original picture John’s shirt was light blue. I’ve decided to take artistic license and make it white. Shadows are mixed from White + MUD + a bit of Cadmium Orange + a little more Ultramarine Blue. The pure White where the sun illuminates John’s shoulder and collar adds a fresh crispness to their portrait.

It’s fun adding the highlights on the side of John’s face and nose. You may click on the picture if you’d like to see it larger.

One last thing, her grandmother told me Sara’s eyes are actually blue, the photo I had showed them greenish. A perfect example, you can’t always trust photos! So those green eyes are now blue! The surprise Wedding Gift is done. On August 19 Our Lord brought two hearts together as one. So I’ve decided to call this special portrait “One Heart”. I appreciate all of the help I’ve received from John and Sara’s families in making this project come together. What wonderful teamwork among the in-laws, Sara and John are a very fortunate couple to have such a supportive and loving team behind them. HUGS,

The Bride……

October 18, 2017



Here’s my palette. #1. All of my sky and ocean colors are saved in case I need to go back and work around Sara and John. Much easier to save the paint than to have to remix colors! #2. Four mixes for Sara’s hair. They are all different combinations of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Yellow Medium + a bit of Cadmium Orange + White. #3. Sara’s skin tones are very pink so I’ve made several mixes in various proportions of MUD + more Alizarin Crimson + some Cadmium Red Light + White. It’s amazing the variety you can get by combining just 4 colors!

Work begins by blocking in the shadows on Sara’s face, torso and arms. Please remember as you read through my blog, you may click on any of the pictures to view them larger.

The bracelets on her wrist are first drawn with MUD, then highlights are added with some of the blonde hair color.

The rim lighting on Sara’s and John’s faces is one of the reasons this photograph was selected for the portrait. It’s fun to paint portraits with such a strong source of light.

Now that her face is blocked in, we’ll let Sara’s long blonde hair blow in the gentle ocean breeze. Working wet-into-wet over the background makes it easier to pull the fine strands in smooth lines, as well as soften the edges, to give her hair a natural look.

I realized in the picture I was working from Sara only had her engagement ring! Since they are now married I sent a quick email asking her to take a picture of her Mrs. John Houston rings! Sara was a sweetheart, replying almost immediately with a photo!

Sara has green eyes, it’s a challenge to show the color working this small. And the green doesn’t really show very well in the photo but it is there. Painting on this portrait is quite a change from the larger than life size angels I just finished in my previous project.

Ultramarine Blue + a touch of Ivory Black + White is used for Sara’s dress. I haven’t added the design that was in the original picture; it would be too busy. We don’t want anything to take away from Sara and John. John’s head looks a little small right now, that’s because when painting the background I came a bit over my sketch. I’ll fix that as I paint him. When John is finished I’ll go back over the portrait and do one last comparison to the photograph, making any adjustments needed to completely capture the likenesses of the happy couple. Today’s blog is two days compressed into one session, didn’t have a really good stopping point! So next up is…….Gentleman John! HUGS,

A Surprise Wedding Gift

October 16, 2017

This is a fun surprise. Sara and John got married last August; however…I wasn’t able to do the piece in time because of preparations for my annual collector event in Santa Fe. So…we decided to give the happy couple a BLANK CANVAS as a wedding gift. A card was enclosed saying they would receive a painting, but they would have to wait to find out what it would be until I posted the progress on my blog. SO this is the BIG REVEAL…..A Portrait of Sara and John at the beach! After looking at several different pictures of the couple on Sara and John’s website we selected this one taken by his family, the lighting is wonderful.

John’s family provided me with several photos they took that day; I’ve printed a couple of them and taped them up on my easel. The canvas is framed in our Senkarik White Signature Frame, a heavy duty acrylic that is applied on a gallery wrap canvas. The frame is taped off to keep it clean as I work, when finished I just pull the tape off and PRESTO….the painting is framed. I’ve lightly sketched the couple on the canvas in pencil, then I begin blocking them in with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. You may click on this or any of the other images to see them larger.

I concentrate on establishing the light and shadow patterns on Sara and John. This step is not meant to capture their likenesses perfectly, that will come at a later stage.

I think it’s so cool the way the sunlight illuminates Sara’s hand.

The flow of Sara’s dress is exaggerated, I want the viewer to feel the soft ocean breeze.

Our beachy couple is sketched up on the canvas! We’ll begin painting in our next session, hope you’ll come watch! 

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October 15, 2017


Let’s all get together and pray for the many people in California who are facing such awful fires. Fear and unrest fills your heart when you have to quickly evacuate your home and all you’ve worked very hard for; not knowing what you’ll find upon your return. So many families have lost their homes, and even worse, loved ones. I’ve heard from a few collectors of mine who have lost everything and are living in shelters. For how long? They don’t have a clue. Pray for Our Lord to calm His frightened children, giving them the strength and courage to face this huge upheaval in their lives. In Him,

Christmas Angels

October 12, 2017

Christmas is right around the corner and we are reviving the pair of Angels that hang on either side of the alter in the front of my Church, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran. The originals were made years ago and were looking very tired. So I’m repainting the faces and hands; other wonderful members on our Team are going to be costuming them for a fresh, new look. Please remember as you read through my blog, you may click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

Kelsy, our church receptionist, secretary and overall Girl Friday agreed to model for me. She has the sweetest spirit and is perfect for our Angels.

My colors are mixed, here are the recipes: #1. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a little Cadmium Orange + Cobalt Blue + White. #2. Two shades of MUD + Cadmium Orange + a bit of Cadmium Red Light + White. #3. MUD + Cadmium Orange + more Ultramarine Blue + a touch of White. #4. Mixes #2 + additional White. #5. MUD + Alizarin Crimson + some Cadmium Orange + White.

After sketching the basic details of the face with a pencil, painting begins by blocking in the shadows. The Angels are painted on 1/4 inch Birch Plywood that has been primed with Liquitex Titanium White Acrylic. 

The eyes are next, notice that the whites are not pure White. Since they are shaded by the eyelids, they are made with a mix of White + Ultramarine Blue + a tiny amount of MUD.

The cheeks, nose and ears are pinker than the rest of the face. This is because the skin in these areas is thinner and the blood vessels are closer to the surface. The lower face is a little cooler, or bluer. This is especially prominent in men because of their beards, but is still evident in women.

The long dark hair is mixes of Burnt Umber + MUD + Cadmium Orange. Strokes of Ultramarine Blue + MUD + a little White are added for coolness on the shadow side. The hair will end up being covered with “Faux Hair” that will be glued to the board. But I go ahead and paint the hair around the Angel’s face in case there are places that aren’t fully concealed.


“For it is by GRACE you have been saved.”  Ephesians 2:8

Here’s my painting setup for the second Angel. The plywood is taped to a sheet of double ply cardboard. The reference photo is displayed on the laptop, I’ll move it over to the taboret beside the palette where it’s easy to see as I work.


“You believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY.” 1 Peter 1:8

The hands are taped to the same cardboard for painting. First step is to draw the fingers with a brush dipped in a thin mix of MUD + Liquin.

Light illuminates the side of the hands and fingers, making them easier to see from a distance.

“Thanks”                                       “Praise”

“THANKS be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

“PRAISE Him, all His Angels; PRAISE Him, all His heavenly hosts.”  Psalm 148:2

Each piece is signed and given a name with a corresponding scripture on the back. I’ll also date the paintings. No one knew exactly when our other Angels had been done! 

If you would like to receive an email every time I publish a new post please feel free to subscribe to my blog. CLICK THIS LINK and scroll to the upper right side of the page. You will see a heading EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS. Just enter your email address and click the button “Sign me up!”  It’s easy. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!