Tuesday, March 12, 2013


18x24" oil on heavy canvas

This is Chloe. She's also kickin' it over the Rainbow Bridge. Lot of that going around. Anyway, she was a pleasure to work on. A great photo and a wonderful, calming palette.

Still working on getting into the studio on a daily basis and trying to figure out how to keep mixed paints usable. I had a real epiphany. Use them more than once a month. Who knew? Still, I bought a ton of those little plastic cups in all sizes and mix the colors I need right in them. When it's time to work I have what I need right there, available and mixed. I store them in the fridge and they keep for at least a week without that nasty covering that forms like the coating on Jello pudding. Even then, just poke through and there's lots of usable paint. So far I think it might work. Again, working daily helps.

I'm also working on a 36x36" portrait of two young women and Chloe, another commission for the same client. The girls are lovely, blond hair for days and Chloe is as cute as she can be but I arrogantly thought I could jump right in after a year of what can only be generously called "sporadic" studio time. Not!!!

Really having trouble getting a likeness of one of the girls. The other one was no problem, but I'm on my fourth incarnation and the canvas tooth is quickly disappearing. I put it away and will take it out in a month or two when I get caught up. I really miss help from himself with likenesses. He was incredible with features. He would stand in front of the painting and in less than a minute make a few notes and instantly the portrait would ring true instead of resembling the subject's first cousin. Another bullet point on an incredibly long list of why I miss that man. Oh well. I'll ask for his help and see what happens. Couldn't hurt.

This is the new studio, formerly our den. We did some serious TV watching in here. Used to be really dark but Jason, the contractor working on the house, thought the windows on the wall you see would help. Genius. I don't even have to use the studio lamps I bought. Shared many a meal on that farmhouse table with Tim and his folks so that's a special addition. Plus the two little furry creatures in the corner on the right are great company, that is when they're not tearing up the fuzzy bed I bought them that's under the table.

Figured I'll keep the space sparse and airy. Some books, a chalk board, music and that chair you see. Good move on my part. I had such trouble finding something that worked until I saw this puppy in Home Decorators Catalog. I love that it looks like a 40's office chair and even though it's made of molded plastic it's a keeper. There's a groove for the hind parts that really fits and it has wheels. The flooring is rubber penny tiles that clean up easy which is a good thing because I do tend to get sloppy.

All in all it was a great day in the studio. Nice music, rain beating on the window pane. The boys running in and out and the distinct feeling that Tim was peering over my shoulder trying to keep me from overworking the painting. Sweet.


  1. A friend of mine used syringe-like containers to keep paint. I have paint that has kept for almost 2 weeks no with no drying. He did it for me when i had a bunch of neutrals mixed up. I'll have him show me again and give me a link to the containers and then I'll message you with the details it's seriously genius!

    Your studio looks beautiful with lots of light. You will have many happy times in there to add to the memories you already have of the space.

  2. You've done it. I took one look at this painting and started to cry. Chloe's body language and face speak volumes. Bravo, my friend, on creating an exquisite and moving work of art!!!

  3. Sweet indeed, my friend. Doesn't get much better than that.
    BIG smile,

  4. I keep my paint in the freezer. It keeps for a really long time.

  5. This Chloe portrait really captures a moment, which gives it so much comforting presence. Beautiful!! It's so great to see your new studio too!! I like the chair, the table, and the great light you have there.
    Here I have great light, but only one window means when it's passed over, it's lamp light only.

    I refrigerate my egg tempera, but hadn't thought of doing this with oils. Have you ever seen those empty tubes that can be filled with oil or acrylic? Pearl Paint used to carry them; probably still do. I remember learning in an S of I lecture by Marvin Mattelson about how he premixes and tubes all his flesh mixes, etc. and thinking, what a concept! I never knew until then that it was possible to buy custom tubes.

  6. You are an amazing artist Suzanne! I love this image of Chloe, and I know that the struggles you are having with the commission will be resolved with time.

  7. Beautiful Suzanne. You do animals so well.

    Also, I keep my oil painting palette in the fridge most of the time, but I also throw away a fair amount of paint too.

    I see those little fat furry troublemakers in the corner :)...........

  8. Chloe is fantastic!! You do animals so well, you do painting soooo well! Love how light and bright your new space is:))

    Carrie Waller

  9. Hi Suz,Raz and Blu!
    All we can say is that the portrait is incredible! It looks like Chloe is laying right there- and does not look like a painting!
    We can see Chloe breathing!
    How can you do this??? You are beyond magical!
    We love your art studio- and we also love the idea of asking Angel Tim for any ideas and tips!
    The chair is fantastic and the window too!
    We love what you do! We love you and the little furry babes too.


  10. I love this portrait of Chloe and your studio space looks fresh, distraction-free and inspiring! Keep on keepin' on! :)

  11. Such a lovely portrait, you are so good!Now that you got yourself a new studio,I do hope that you would spend more time in here and create some more exquisite art.You have a gift.
    Best for the other commission, I know you will do well.

  12. Who are you kidding, dear Suz??? That painting of Chloe is just phenomenal so I have no doubt that the painting of the girls and Chloe will be equally so. Love your new studio space too. I seem to remember a photograph with fuschia or wine colored walls and a clutter you were trying to clean up. LOL I do so love that Mr. Berry is there with you at all times. I can almost feel it myself.

  13. Well The painting of Chloe is incredible! It doesn't look to me like a break has made any difference at all! Wow! It really is amazing :0)
    I keep my mixed oils in an ice cube tray and store them in the freezer (they won't freeze). If it's going to be a long while before I use them, I drop a little linseed oil over the top, without mixing, to help prevent a film forming and then just either mix it in or pour it off when I go back to them. They last for ages that way :0)
    As for the likeness, well sometimes it just takes another pair of eyes to spot something. My Mum is good at that and she's not an Artist. So the next time someone pops in for a cuppa - ask them. You might be pleasantly surprised at how helpful a non-artist can be. I know it's not Tim, but they might still be able to pick up on something... :0)
    Oh and I so enjoyed seeing your photo! That studio space looks so inviting, and light and airy... Ooh - is that a Crystal Cook Portrait I see next to the chalk board? I'm almost certain it is :0D

  14. I love the painting and the extra light in your studio, there is a warmth there and so good a vibe. I hope your next moments at the easel will be smooth, no overworking, and all things just as you'd have them.

  15. That is an amazing painting. I could go on for an hour, but I will let that be 'enough said'. Wonderful. Okay, I said one more thing Now, that will be 'nuff said. Really wonderful. Okay, there. Said that.

  16. I swear you make those paintings breathe! Beautiful work.

    I'm a total slack ass when it comes to storing paint. I let it sit on the palette for days...weeks, then toss it when its dried too much and start again. I use palette paper so not a huge issue. Then again I don't usually have huge globs of paint sitting there unless I'm really covering large areas.

    A second set of eyes is always a good thing when trying to work out likenesses. Barring that, a mirror behind you in the studio helps too.

    Speaking of which....your new studio is fab, light and airy. And clean. Mine looks like the hideyhole of a cave dweller...;) Time for a spring clean methinks!

    Hugs and be well my friend.

  17. Wow indeed on the painting of Chloe. Others have said it all so well, but I will add that you bring a little magic with those colours and brushes of yours. Great looking studio.

  18. Yowza wowza, I say! I haven't checked in on your blog in ages and I'm greeted with this. Fantastic! And I'm glad to hear you in pretty good spirits and perhaps are being visited by pretty good spirits as well. Keep it up!

  19. Lovely, amazing painting Suzanne and your studio looks very inviting and bright. I save my oil paints on paper palette then place it in a rubbermaid container and put it in the freezer. It lasts for a few weeks. So good to hear from you, thank you for stopping by my blog.

  20. Ahhhhh, I finally get to see the studio! It looks like a wonderfully inviting working space. So happy to hear your spending time in there. Chloe is just lovely, as I'm sure your girls will be too in the end. Keep up the great work my friend!

  21. Suzanne,
    As usual...you lift me up with your courage and generosity in sharing your life, your husband and your work with us all. Your painting is as always just perfect. Dogs are wonderful friends and subjects to paint. I am coming up on a year without my studio buddy who was taken visciously last April. But his image keeps me company and his "big"little spirit stays with me as I paint.
    You sound good Suzanne...welcome back!

  22. What a lovely portrait of Chloe, a very sweet looking pooch. Your studio digs are enviable and it looks like a great place to settle in for working and thinking.

  23. As always, this is an awesome painting Suzanne and it's really good to see you back at it. I love that studio ... it looks so light and airy. Great work. ;-)

  24. Hey Suzanne. The painting of Chloe is so wonderful Her sweetness shines on the canvas. Super! I did a commissioned painting of 2 kids a while ago--never again! You get one but the other is off--it was a so much work to get "equal" likenesses. BTW, I store my paints on a disposal paper palette that fits in one of those Masterson paint boxes. I put the lid on and it goes in the freezer. It takes just a minute for them to thaw. Saves $$oo much paint. When one sheet of palette gets too messy, I pull it off and transfer paint to the clean one. Your studio is so cool!

  25. Beautiful painting of Chloe, her coat is so shiny, I just want to stroke it!
    I too store my excess paint in little plastic pots and also put my glass palette into the freezer until I need it, works a treat.

  26. This is so fun to see where you work. One query....why is there an outlet so high up on the wall? Just curious! Couldn't help but notice. I know Tim will guide you with the double (triple!) portrait! What a tall order. Hoping we get to see it! This painting of Chloe is awesome. I know the owners have to be awestruck. High five!!

  27. Chloe is beautiful. I love the bottom of that little rear paw.
    I, too, struggle with saving paint rather than throwing it away. My technique is similar to yours. Like your studio.

  28. chloe looks so peaceful .. super portrait...looks like you've created a good studio space with lots of natural daylight

  29. I just am in love with the way you paint, girl! Chloe is just wonderful in every way. And... your studio is so neat. What the heck? Here I am, saying to myself "Well, Suzanne is a clutter bug, and SHE's OK, so I must be OK, too." Now what? SHAME! But... envy, too. It looks so easy to paint in.... good for you. xoxoxo


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