Tropical Islands on my mind

This next weekend I will be traveling with some artist friends to the beautiful island of St. Kitts in the West Indies. We plan on painting plein air daily, enjoying the island and its residents. Last year we had so much fun and produced many fun tropical paintings.

Last week, I started a grouping of rather small paintings 12×24 and 10×20″ with a base of modeling plaster. I then added heavy strokes of acrylic paints with brushes and palette knives. The quick light strokes brushing over the raised plaster is actually fun. Try it!!

Since these little landscapes were made up from memories, I had the freedom to invent and imagine.

Pineapple Series

I am starting a series of dimensional paintings of pineapples. I actually went to the grocery to buy a pineapple to sketch from and after doing the octopus paintings with the dimensional plaster carved on the drawing, more exploration was challenging me. Most of the joy in painting for me are the challenges that ensue from ideas and visions I have. I actually plan out the various steps and allow for drying and new layers. To get a certain effect, you need to be patient and allow for the experimentation to occur. You can see how I wiped off the glazes over the dried plaster to create more interest. This is 12×24″ on wood panel and will eventually have a box floating frame.

I do enjoy sculpting into the plaster and using palette knives. AT this time a blue version is in the works.

SYMBOLISM: Any guest who was invited to a party where a whole pineapple was displayed, knew that no expense was spared in guaranteeing the guests’ enjoyment. It was this that made the crowned fruit the high symbol of social events and became the meaning of welcome, friendship, and hospitality.

Terra Cotta Pineapple


San Diego Vacation mixed with painting

I just got back from a great vacation in San Diego with various family members. We stayed with my sister in Pt. Loma and spent time with my brother in La Jolla as well as Nieces and nephews who live in the area. I also wanted to do a painting lesson to my great niece and nephew at their house. They had lost their mom (my niece) last summer in an accident so it was very special for me to spend time with her cool kids.  It turned out that they have talent so I hope they continue.

We had a group birthday party at the end of the trip where some cousins and family from central California drove down and a niece flew in from Denver. Knowing that they were coming, I headed for an art supply store ($140.00 later) for more paint and canvases…and set myself up in the den at my sisters house and painted for a week and a half to be able to give paintings to my family. I knew I would want to paint on this trip so had brought some canvases, paint, and brushes. At the party, they got to choose which painting they wanted. It is difficult to choose what someone else would like so I had to do enough to allow for choices. It ended up that all of them were chosen.

Family giftsPainting areaPaintings chosenteaching kids

Sea Turtles are one of my favorite themes for original paintings.

“Sea Turtles in the Current” is 36×36″ highly texture, palette knife painting that I started several years ago. 2018 arrived and I was determined to finish it. Working this abstractly really forces me to apply paint in a very concise way.  Metallic golds peek out from the heavy paint strokes

Sea Turtles in the Current 30x30

Some of the areas in the painting have gold metallic touches and plaster dimensional knife strokes.


turtle detail gold


Finished the tweaking of these three palm paintings. First one is “Island Sail” is 16×20, next is Palm Golds 4×12″, and the last one is a very calming painting, 24×48″ called Magical Evening. It is part of the Palm Reflections series started a decade ago.

Octopus Blue ~ Painting

Its odd how ideas occur. I was looking at the distressed door to my studio with its paint scratchy and rough looking and had just finished some underwater landscapes in the last few months (between the beach and sandpipers and mermaids)….when an inspiration arose. I sketched out my octopus design and mentally mapped out how to achieve my vision. Many stages of different materials which all have one to three days of drying time between layers needed to be planed for. First I took a white gesso 36″ square gallery wrap.

Painting the entire large canvas with palette knives and modeling plaster (or you can use joint compound form the hardware store) took the good part of the first day. Let that dry for 3 days because it was thick in some areas.

Then I made a mixture of copper and gold acrylic paint and painted the entire dried surface. Before it got completely dry, I took a bunch of towels and rags and gently wiped it back a bit. Then I made a mixture of different whites to dry brush over the dried metallic surface. After that the painting evolved with some large brush glazes of thinned colors over the octopus. Let that dry a few days.

Finally, I spent four days with various palette knives and heavy mixed paints creating the coloring and texture enhancing. With thick paints, let each layer dry a day for nicer jutsapositions of colors.

Enjoy “Octopus Blue”.

Inquire for more information on this piece.

Sand Pipers on the Shore

In the continuing series of sand pipers along the shore, I have created two additional paintings with the recent techniques of palette knife, broad strokes and metallics. The first one is called “Pipers Edge” and is 24×36″ The long skinny one is 16×40″ and called “Three Pipers”. AS you can tell, the metallic golds peak out under the heavy plaster details. The water is finished in a matte varnish which made the metallic golds pop out as a little surprise.

Pipers EdgeThree Pipers 16x40tidal texture