Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day to day

"Fennel and vinegar bottle"
8" x 10" oil on canvas, 2013

The dog days are here.  I have been feeling a bit cagey, and having all of my tech go kaput in unison hasn't helped.  My laptop has been acting kooky, my internet service through Verizon works when it feels like it, and every time it rains, my satellite decides it will go take a vacation.  Go figure!

In spite of that, and the nonstop chatter of my 6 year old studio assistant, I was able to get a painting finished, haha.  So, that's a feat in itself!

Enjoy :-)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Storms and reflections

"Storm over the wildflowers"
8" x 10" oil on canvas, 2013

The heat has been blistering, but I feel blessed to have an air conditioned studio for the first time in years!  For so long I would schedule working in my studio around the cooler parts of the day, or if I was in a time crunch, work through the heat, as if I lived in a tropical region, with the fans slowly and crookedly spinning overhead, flies buzzing my head because I had to keep the doors open to prevent the area from becoming an inferno...yes, I am blessed to have air conditioning now.  It may not be a very strong air conditioner, but it makes the studio 77 degrees versus 100 degrees.  Quite a difference!!

So, that means I can enjoy working at my leisure, and that is a wonderful feeling too.  The summer moves on, and these lazy days give me pause to reflect, not on the negative, but on the positive.  I feel assured that there are still wonderful things to come, and that gives me hope, happiness, and confidence to enjoy these days and the moments, as we move through this corridor of change. Change is uncomfortable, and sometimes downright painful and scary, but this continuing evolution is more quiet, more subtle.  That can either be more maddening or more frightening, but I choose to perceive it more as a respite, and a gift, an oasis in the turbulence that is life.

I am finishing up one last painting in my old series, and then, I will begin a new series, and I am looking forward to beginning that next week.  I feel confident this will also be the genesis of a powerful new part of my life.  That fills me with excitement, and gratitude for all I have experienced, both negative and positive.  Without the negative, there can be no appreciation or positive, like the development of a photograph.

So, with that, I will leave you with this little plein air painting, "Storm over the wildflowers."  It is appropriate for what I am feeling now, for where I feel I am at.  The storms come, yet they are beautiful even in their fearful power, as they water and nourish and foster the beauty of all they drench in their rains.  The wildflowers could never be so beautiful, lush, and fragrant if they were only exposed to sunny days, and that is the same with us.  All of the cool and warm greens, oranges, yellows and violets could never be so vibrant and captivating if the sun shone on them constantly, if there was never storms to cool their glorious colors, rainfall and wind to buffer and batter their stems and petals, making them stronger and more resilient, more majestic to behold...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A taste of Autumn

"Mums and a pumpkin"
oil on canvas, 8" x 10", 2013
Ah, a little taste of Autumn, my favorite season.  I enjoy all of the seasons, but there is just something about the fall that is irresistible to me.  The colors, the weather, the scent of it, and just the feel of the fall always exhilarated and invigorated me, and I definitely need some invigoration with this constant back pain.

So, while enjoying the summer, I also am looking forward to the beautiful weather of the Autumn. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


12" x 16" oil on canvas, 2013
I have finally completed Isaac's portrait.  It was hard to get it finished with Maddie around, because like all little kids, she can't sit still for more than a minute, and I really found it hard to concentrate.  It doesn't matter though now, since it's done.

Now, I will varnish it tomorrow, and then frame it.  It was a sad portrait to paint, but I'm glad to have done it.It helped me to work through some of the sadness and pain, and know that this painting will be something his Mother keeps close to her heart.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

"Isaac" Day 3
12" x 16" oil on canvas
I'm about 3/4ths the way through this painting.  Now I will be adding highlights and deeper shadows, refining the transitions, and fine tuning little things.  I put the painting to dry, because I usually glaze and scumble a lot at this stage of the painting, and I need it to be dry. Of course, getting a photo indoors was next to impossible because my fill lights are in the basement (and I'm too lazy to haul them to my studio) and my tripod is in the car (and I'm too lazy to go out there and get it) but this was not too bad, enough for you to get the idea of where I'm at.  I really enjoyed doing this painting, I feel like I was able to let loose some of my pain and grief associated with his untimely death, in a most positive way.  I felt as if he was guiding me through the creative process, telling me what he "liked" and didn't like, etc.  It was actually very peaceful and comforting.

Well, today of course is the 4th of July, or for those who don't know, Independence Day.  I am looking forward to enjoying this day with some old friends, my family, a ton of little screeching kids, an awesome BBQ and of course, some fireworks.  Have fun all, stay safe and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Work and rain

"Isaac" Day 2
12" x 16" oil on canvas
It's good to record my progress as I go along.  I usually am lazy about photoing my progress, but I decided to be a little more disciplined about it, and it helps me to make changes to the painting as I see it through "different eyes."  The old trick used to be to turn the painting to the wall for a few days, but when you don't have  a few days to take your leisure, this works as well.

I still get teary when I start painting this portrait, but after a little while, I kind of "commune" with him, and it's not sad, but a bit comforting.  I know he is in Heaven, so that helps, somewhat.  I figure a few hours a day for the next few days and the painting should be completed.  This weather is helpful, because I don't have to juggle going outside to do some landscapes, I can just concentrate on studio work.  Maybe I'll be finished in sooner than expected if I knuckle down, haha.  I have a 4th of July party to attend tomorrow so that will slow things up for a day at least.

So, I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July, and stay safe!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


"Isaac" start of portrait, 7/2/2013

I started working on Isaac's portrait today...posthumous paintings are always hard, both from a technical and emotional standpoint, especially this one, one of a person that was so young, one that was so close to us.  I knew this was going to be a heartbreaker, so I kind of avoided doing it, and I just knew, I can't avoid it any longer.

I cried the entire time I did the foundation of the painting.  How could this have happened?  The question that just never can be answered still reverberates in my mind.   He left so many heartbroken people behind.  Yes, he left as a "heartbreaker."  He would have felt  a little smug and proud to know so many women had their hearts broken, but not in a mean way, he was always a "ladies man," haha.  But, he was a little boy in his heart.  I wept as I draw the curve of his nose, exactly like Maddie's, the big eyes, just like all of his precious children.  The thought pains me so deeply of how with his sudden departure he left Gabby so lost, his Mother looking for him in every corner, every glimpse, every young man that walks by, Bronson asking "Where's Daddy?"

I know this painting will help me to work through some of the pain I have for his death, some, not all.  It is therapeutic for me, as I communicate with him through the process.  I hope the finished painting will bring joy to his Mom, and to the other loving family and friends that were devastated by his loss.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cabin fever

"Yarrow and wildflowers by the stream" by Hilary J. England
oil on canvas, 8" x 10" 2013
I feel caged today, I'm not sure why.  I woke up and finished some more mundane stuff, and went to paint, but was rained out, so finished up at home, and for whatever reason, that irritated me.  No particular reason, just in general.  I must be PMSing or something, haha.

I've been feeling a little down in general for the last several days, just feeling frustrated like I'm not getting anywhere, just treading water.  I hate being in a "holding pattern," so that could be it...I always feel that if I'm not "catapulting" forward, I'm going backwards--I'm not the most patient person in the world, so most of my life lessons seem to deal with having to wait on things, and that makes me frustrated still, even after all of this time.  So, I'm just a crab apple for the last day or so.  It'll pass.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my little streamside painting of yarrow and wildflowers, which are some of the very beautiful gifts of Summer I look forward to every year.  Enjoy!

Carry on- Beginning Life in Lockdown

“Study of dramatic back lighting” oil on wooden panel, 16” x 16” Strange Times Beginning Life in Pandemic Lockdown Life in ...