Wednesday, December 29, 2010


18x24 pastel on canson paper
Private Collection

A painting from my past! I found a snapshot of this painting yesterday and was thrilled. I thought I'd never see it again. It was done waaay back in the day, but I'm not sure exactly when, although the feathered bi-level cut screams the eighties. The shot was a tad out of focus, sorry 'bout that.

I think about working in pastels again but I'm just beginning to get comfy with oil. Maybe someday. I like the coverage of oil but the preciseness of pastel if that makes any sense.

Anyway, I'm silly busy and haven't had the time to stop by and see what everyone is up to. And I'll be catching up on thanking everyone who stopped by and left a comment, so please don't think me rude.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


24x36" oil on canvas

This isn't the finished portrait, as I worked on it right down to the wire. The client picked it up after family festivities late Christmas Eve to present to his wife and mother of the subject on Christmas morning.

I'm really beginning to feel more comfortable with the larger format canvas with regard to facial features, brushstrokes, color and value transition. It feels as though a concept is beginning to form. I think I'm looking for the feeling that we, the audience, are watching through a window to the stark white canvas, on which we are all in the process of painting our lives. Every so often, a subject walks by and sees us watching. He or she then steps closer to the window to look back at us. The expression, stance and demeanor of the watched subject give us a quick glimpse into a moment in his or her life and we are open to surmise the details as we choose. If i can hear the echo of the footsteps taken to reach my voyeuristic position, I've succeeded in reaching my goal.

A goal that is still quite hazy but a goal nonetheless. It's a slippery do I take my work more seriously while at the same time smile, non-judgmentally and compassionately, at my need to impress and succeed?

Saturday, December 25, 2010



Tis the season. Again. I've been waiting for something insightful to show up. Been waiting for days now. Nothing. I'm taking it as a sign. No list of emotional, creative or life changing epiphanies this year. No! This year I think the silence from command central can mean only one thing. Listen! I should listen much more than I speak.

And I think the silence also means that striving to be kind, quiet, gentle and compassionate with myself and everyone I come in contact with or even think about might also be a good idea.

I hope everyone had and is having a wonderful day, whether you are observing that very special birthday party or not. And I hope that the new year brings joy, success, good health, new friends, creativity and peace to everyone.

Thank you to everyone who stops by, your comments are a huge part of my process and I appreciate your kind words so very much.

Sleep tight, good night, good health, peace and joy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Tim Berry and Great Great Grandfather, John McClelland

I just had to post this comparison photo I put together. This is himself, circa 1992, juxtaposed against a photo of his great, great grandfather John. The family is putting together a beautiful bound book of its history and when Tim's aunt saw this likeness she sent it along to show us. We were stunned! And Tim's brother, Conor, looks even more like his great, great than Tim does!

Spooky no?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


30" x 10" (76.2cm x 25.4cm)
oil on canvas
$200 plus $15.95 shipping and handling in the US
E-mail me for International shipping rates or other inquiries.

I have no one to blame but myself. The theme this month is entirely my responsibility, and I thought I had this one in the bag...oooo...I could have used that! Anyway, we were to paint our favorite cliche, game or phrase. I even bought this neat reference book of cliches and still managed to be stumped. Possibly because, instead of conceptualizing for the challenge, I stayed up late night painting bugs. Fortunately or unfortunately, I ran out of the larger canvases—they're on back order—so I guess for now, that train has pulled into the station. Another cliche!

And when I did finally decide what I was doing, in hindsight, I noticed that the expressions read—"indifferent, bad or good," instead of "good, bad or indifferent!" Oh well. I really enjoyed doing the floating faces with oil instead of it really that uncool to call it pencil? The shadows were infinitely easier and much more fun to do. Floating faces...larger canvas...hmmm? Yes, I know, my floating faces challenge failed to garner the crowd I was hoping for so, it's on the back burner. Yet, another cliche!

A word about an artist that I've admired and found, recently, much to my horror, that I hadn't added her blog link to my list! I always enjoy a visit to Kelley MacDonald's blog and I'm sure you will too! Toward that end, I've added her link to my list. I covet her spontaneity and brushwork and am particularly in love with her paintings of jelly donuts! And thank you Kelley for your kind words!

Feast on the group paintings for this month's challenge:

“No Time Like the Present” 
Oil on hardboard 6x8” 
©2010 Diana Moses Botkin

“You Can Lead A Horse to Water”
10x8” oil on panel
© 2010 Robin Cheers

“Why Not Queen Me?”
oil on masonite, 6x6”
©2010 Sharman Owings

“DoubleMint Twins at the Paris Metro”
12x6” oil on panel
©2010 Vicki Ross

Friday, December 10, 2010



Help! I'm staying up nights painting bugs! Pugged and bugged, all within the span of two weeks! Hold me, I'm frightened!

I'm very confused. Riddle me this...why, when getting myself to sit down at the easel is usually a daily struggle of gargantuan proportion, why am I now staying up nights, after finishing deadline work, to paint bugs?

Projects and chores that can be done anytime, and usually aren't done at all, suddenly become my reason for living when it's time to man up and sit down to work. Now, however, with deadlines squeezing in on me from all directions like some giant panini press, it seems I've developed an insatiable need to paint bugs on rather large canvases!

Hey, you know what they say about looking a gift horse in the mouth...what does that mean....I'm gonna ride this train till it stops. This has never happened to me before! I've dreamt of being driven, so driven that sleep is an afterthought, but never thought I'd experience it. To be clear here, I'm not that driven, but for me, not stopping to clean up when Tim comes home is driven! And, I get up to work after lights out, in the cozy dimness of my easel lamp, to the gentle strains of three very distinct snores. Sometimes they syncopate  and create some very unique jungle rhythms.

Nice! It's just nice! Must be because I really enjoy painting insects. I'm reprising a few as most were originally done on smaller canvases, so basically, I'm exploring the wide open spaces of a 24x36" surface with some familiar friends.

Of course, the correlation between actually working to realize my dreams and sitting around dreaming about them became painfully obvious...again. Apparently I do need that building to fall on my head.

Sunday, December 5, 2010



Couldn't help myself. The insects were calling. I have so much to do but I really felt like finishing this, so I gave myself a few hours away from my to do list as a present today. There's commissions and certificate work to be done, but of course, being moi, all I wanted to do is paint what isn't time sensitive. Typical.

This is the largest insect I've painted to date. Since I started doing them a few years back, working on a larger canvas has been my goal. If you've followed my blog, you know how long it takes me follow up on my projects, and the insects have been buzzing around in my head for some time now.

I think the negative space makes more of an impact on a larger canvas and by placing the bee's bum just off the bottom and turning him to look as thought he's thinking about taking flight, I think it created an interesting composition.

I wasn't able to put this in the PayPal button copy but if you are interested in owning Bee One, shipping and handling are on me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'VE BEEN PUGGED! or The Pug Mystique from Behind These Eyes

12x12" oil on canvas

Yeah, I know, it seems I just can't stop posting this painting. I confess. It's among what I consider to be, one of my more successful pieces. Did you buy that? Me neither. What I really mean is that I like it! I really, really like it! (this line is an homage to Sally Field's acceptance speech at the Oscars back in the day for those of you too young to know, not any arrogance on my part. Heaven forbid I should be viewed as confident and proud of what I do....thanks mom).

Anyway, I digress...big time. Pugs! Where do I begin? I used to chat online with a Pug parent about four years ago. She was a very nice person, pleasant enough, fun to chat with except this "Pug" thing she had seemed a tad "one toke over the line" for me. And over the years since, I've had occasion to see other Pug people in action, and thought much the same thing. I mean, really, I thought they know...fuggly quite frankly, (fuggly, i'm told, means ugly so much, cute becomes the perception).

So, fast forward to the present. Recalling, for those of you who missed it, the demise of our beloved pup, Devlin the WonderDog and our subsequent purchase of not one, but two Pug puppies last year.

If you had occasion to review some past posts, around this time a year ago, you would see that I felt quite put upon, cranky and downright pissy about taking care of these two little pups while I tried to get some work done. Ok, yes, when I first saw Blu's face at the breeders, I was stunned. He was gorgeous!! I now call him my supermodel. But Raz had that traditional "puggy" face, that, at the time, I thought quite fuggly. I have since come to regard that particular pug puss as anything but. This change in perception, I believe, is part and parcel of the "Pugged!" process.

We were strangers, we didn't know each other. I was just this "thing" that seemed to have replaced their mom and they were adorable, yet devilish and troublesome, little puppies. I thought they were cute but all I could think of at the time was how little trouble Devlin had been and why was it, exactly, that he had to die?

However, as time went on, our bond grew by leaps and bounds. Every minute of the day became enriched by just watching them interact, play, romp, fight, sleep, even poop!... (the reader may recall me publishing snaps of them during their toilette). Their noises became sounds of joy that graced every minute with a glow. It's gotten insane. I mean mornings are a complete delight. Not that they weren't good before, it was nice to see each other again each day and Devlin was fun, but now, now it's beyond anything I could have imagined.

They sleep on you. If they could sleep in you they would, but since nature provided us with a barrier of skin, they curl up, under the covers, on top of your head, wrapped around your neck, nestled under your armpit, anywhere, as long as they're making contact. If there is an urgency for a potty break, Blu wakes one of us up by gently tapping our foreheads with his paw, but usually, it's a slow process with lots of snorting and stretching, punctuated by deep yawns, curled tongues and tightly closed eyes. They spring forth with what we used to call "snot showers" constantly. We now happily anticipate their "short-lived refreshing spritzes"... not unlike those intermittently given the neatly stacked veggies in the supermarket... as a means of waking up to watch them as they lay on their backs, head to head, and proceed to greet each other with wookie-like gutteral grunts, showers of snot and little growls as their paws investigate the frequent folds of each other's face. Their noises are a symphony of sound that we've even discussed recording and jamming to. See!! A bit much, right? Part of the process!

Enough! Unless you've been "Pugged!," all this patter rings hollow. As a somewhat recent convert myself, I remember thinking, pa-leeze, what's not to love, they are pups after all, but, I would never choose to own one! Happily, Tim thought otherwise, and I'll be forever beholden to him for that.

But, I think I know what happens. They come, from the womb, equipped with little pug pods that they deposit under your bed while you sleep. (for those of you too young, this is a reference to that chilling science fiction great "Invasions of the Body Snatchers!," original only please, although the re-make did scare the bejesus outta me too, there's just something about the black and white version with Kevin McCarthy running up and down the streets trying to warn folks in the opening shot). Digressing again.

Don't ask me how the pods get there, let's just put it down to the tooth and or pug godmother fairy thing, besides, we're talkin Pugs here! They are magical! Anything can happen...and usually does. So, the aforementioned pod patiently waits under your bed and matures, quietly morphing into your double, in every detail, except for one. Your brain. Then, one day, you wake up and you are different. You're the same in appearance, you walk and talk the same but your brain has been "Pugged!"

From that moment on your main concern is Pugs. It's that simple. I've been known to sit and watch them play for hours at a time. What pet owner do you know that retires to the back yard, after her husband leaves for work, with a cup of coffee and a camera to watch the dogs romp and play for an hour or two? If you know any Pug owners...a lot I'd say! I need an external hard drive just to contain the Pug pictures we've taken since they popped into our lives. It's sick!

So, those of you without Pugs in your life, heed this warning! I didn't pay attention when they told me that the Pug experience will be unlike any you'll ever have. But, if you do succumb, don't say you weren't warned. They will steal your heart, your dignity, your very soul. You'll be left with nothing, nothing but joy. It's terrifying for humans to be least it is for me...for a sustained period of time that is.

I'd better go, it's time for their lunch. I made crepes. They love crepes. And, I'm dying to try out their new fuzzy harnesess for their afternoon walk and then I'll see if those adorable little jammies with the biscuits on them fit and after.....

Please, check under your beds! This can happen to you if there's even one in your home!