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!

Monday, November 29, 2010


oil on canvas

This is a commission that I was fortunate to get as a result of the fare last month!  I don't usually do this kind of portrait and felt it would be a real challenge. Happily the client was happy and so, of course, that means I was too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


6x8" oil on canvas

Thought a Thanksgivingey painting would be appropriate for the occasion.

Strange times these. In spite of it all, I hope there is indeed a lot for us all to be thankful for this year. I remember, on New Year's Day, saying to myself...I'm gonna make this year go slow. Ha! In Little Suz time, it's still spring. Time is going faster, I can feel it, there's just no way I can prove it. How did we get here so fast?

Anyway. We're here. I'm dealing. Let's move on. These are a few of my major "thankfuls" this year:

Despite family clashes, misunderstandings and disagreements, I'm thankful that I've finally realized I don't have the slightest idea about what's best for anyone...including and most importantly myself.

I'm thankful that more and more I'm giving up my need to try and control things—an illusion at best, complete delusion at worst—and leaving it all to the Universe...or Yoda...or the Force.

I'm thankful for finally realizing that I don't really know anything. 

I'm thankful that enjoying my life, my family and my work is a choice I must make and has nothing to do with them or it following my directions, ideas or wishes.

I'm thankful that I've realized it really isn't all about moi. I tend to forget that...a lot.

I'm thankful that people have liked my work enough to bring it into their homes...or better yet... thank you so much for buyin' my stuff!

I'm thankful for the many people that read my blog and follow my work. I appreciate it more than I can ever say.

And finally, himself, the boys, our home, our time together.... the very definition of Thanksgiving.

Have a wonderful day and many many thanks.

Monday, November 15, 2010


The Weeper
5x7" oil on canvas
30 minute study

Thirty-minute study! You've just begun reading and I have already called your attention to the fact that the above painting is the result of this month's challenge, a 30-minute study! —three four times!

I can always tell when a challenge is one I need. I'm uncomfortable. Posting this painting in this state—for me— is like having that dream... where you wake up, in various states of undress, in places that, to you, would be the most mortifying, clutching and barely covering our naughty bits! I feel exposed. I feel unfinished.

I love spontaneous, brave paintings. By other artists. Alas, I don't think myself capable of doing them or I do and I don't think I deserve to, or whatever silly excuse I've come up with in the recent past to keep me from even trying to complete a painting in an allotted time...let alone in 30 minutes. Thank you Robin. Good one. Ouch!

It was all I could do to keep my grubby, paint splashed digits to myself when the buzzer sounded the cruel reality that 30 minutes had, indeed passed. In my slightly unattractive but somewhat usual slant toward grandiosity, I felt The Next Iron Chef contestant's pain. This cannot accurately represent my skills! I can't post this!

Histrionics aside, I'm kidding...I think. Obviously, I should do this more often. The results are pleasing and clearly an indication that, despite multiple protestations to the contrary, I would most likely have no trouble posting a daily painting and continuing on with larger pieces in one day. I am so busted!

Please enjoy the challenge group's 30 minute studies...

“Glance Back” 
Oil on canvas board 12”x9” 
©2010 Diana Moses Botkin

“Red Flag”
oil on masonite, 8x10”
©2010 Sharman Owings

“The Critique”
30 minute study
9x12” oil on linen
© 2010 Robin Cheers

"Last Light”
Oil on board, 5x6”
©Aaron Cordell Johnson

 “Thea’s Rock 10-10-2010”
13x13” pastel on clear primed linen canvas
©2010 Vicki Ross

Friday, November 5, 2010


oil on canvas

This is Samson and Delilah. I painted this as a gift for our friend Val who puppy sat for Blu and Raz while we went bi-coastal. Delilah, the cutie on the right, is Raz's sister and Blu's half sister...same dad, different moms. We picked them up from the breeder at the same time.

Despite my constant whining when they were pups, I really do think of my babies as just that, my babies. I'd also like to think of myself as the kind of person who hasn't substituted pets for children, but admittedly, I have been perusing catalogs for winter coats and sweaters for the little tykes. Anyway, leaving them with Val gave us both complete peace of mind while we were away, until our second day in when I became uncomfortable with my pervasive calmness in LA and decided we couldn't reach Val by phone or computer because Blu had somehow gotten out of the yard and she was out searching for him. Tim very lovingly talked me off the ledge and I quieted down until Val returned our call to report that everything was, of course, fine. Guess I was having too much fun and had to run to the familiar shelter of terrorizing myself with my thoughts...a favorite pastime of mine.

Anyway, this is just about finished. I like my work better in real life, the photos seem to be too hot. Tim suggested I change some settings on the camera that would allow the transition of colors to appear softer. We'll see.

Enjoy the weekend and thanks so much for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


18x24" pastel on canson paper

I did this painting years ago when I worked exclusively in pastels. It's been missing since I sent it into the Pastel Society for acceptance. I was subsequently accepted and was thrilled, but I never made it back to pick this up, even after repeated notices from the folks there. I paid dues once and then just forgot about it. Strange. Why wouldn't I want to retrieve this and continue being a member of that illustrious group? I just kept blowing it off until finally it was years later and I thought it was too late to give it a second thought. I have no explanation for this behavior, then or now.

I'd like to think someone liked it enough not to throw it away or hide it in a dark, dusty closet. I certainly showed it no respect, but admittedly, I wish I hadn't been so careless with it.

Oh well. I've got four portraits to do, three pet certificates to paint, two logos to design and I'm still California dreamin. Heavy sigh. Couldn't wait to get home and now the sight of a palm tree on tv makes me swoon. It is my contention that human beings are the strangest species on the face of the planet. Most of the time what we do and say makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


The pool and patio at our hotel known as The Fig on top. In the middle an imposing modern building rising up from the charming cacti growing around poolside. The door to Wolfgang Puck's restaurant downtown.NFDP

I'm back! I joined my husband in Los Angeles for the Adobe Max seminar this past week. We left on Sunday and arrived back home on Thursday. It was very, very interesting. A lot of the classes featured programs I have only recently begun learning so seeing their capabilities first hand was invaluable. But there were three we participated in that really made the flight across the country worth it. Eliminating the background of a photograph in Photoshop is quick, easy and painless and the ability to do so existed in the very early versions, if not the original. Who knew?

Anyway, Tim was asked to attend the seminar this year and was happy to do so, however when he asked me to go with him, I hesitated. Traveling isn't one of my favorite things, especially in a very large metallic object lumbering across the sky. But, I've been working from home for the last five years and I needed to know I could indeed travel, so I agreed to go with him. And it turned out to be a great time. The flights both to and from were delightful if not a little cramped, our hotel wasn't at all what we expected but we adapted and downtown  itself was very cool. Sort of like the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, in a much smaller area, but without the frenzied rushing around vibe and a lot tidier— in spots. And on the creative side, it was invigorating to see what the latest technology can offer and experience it all with my favorite human.

I almost got us into trouble going through security though. I'd emptied all my stuff into the tray to walk through when I remembered I'd left my little pot of lip gloss in my chest pocket. Not thinking, I called to Tim, who had just gotten cleared and I...wait for's worse than you think...tossed the lip gloss to him so that I could then walk through the detector! A very large and burly security guard wrinkled his fleshy forehead and declared—in what I swear was the same vocal cadence Tom Hanks used in A League of Their Own when he told the women there was no crying in baseball— "you can't throw that over to him!" A little excitement ensued and Tim was made to walk through the detector again while I was treated to a thorough patting down by two very large, mint-green gloved hands.

You can imagine the comments I had to endure halfway across the continent. Anyway, on top of a lot of electronic freebies, the Adobe folks gave each attendee, and there were a lot of us, a free Droid 2 and Google TV! I'm so glad I got to share this with himself and that he asked me to accompany him. Thanks dude!

Friday, October 15, 2010


6" x 6" (15.3cm x 15.3cm)
oil on canvas
$100 plus $15.95 shipping and handling in the US
E-mail me for International shipping rates or other inquiries.

Well, I failed. The challenge, given to us this month by our newest member Aaron Johnson, was very simple. Paint anything your little heart desires, however, you must use a 6x8" canvas and a one half-inch brush. My apologies to the group. Due to this past weekend, I had to nip along smartly yesterday and get a piece done asap and in my haste I misread the canvas size requirement. So sure I was right, I was happy to see the everyone else used a 6x8" canvas which meant I wasn't alone in not following the rules. Not! I'm the only one with a 6x6. And before I could begin yesterday, I sat at the easel with a ruler for 15 minutes measuring every brush I own before I realized, to my great surprise, I did not, in fact, possess a one half-inch implement of construction!

Anyway, I used a quarter of an inch and an eighth of an inch brush so if you combine the two I'm an eighth short. Hope I don't get bounced out for this. On the bright side, it was a challenge to get something done in a few hours and I was forced to be loose and spontaneous and I'm ok with the results. I think it would be a good idea to include a size restriction of canvas and brush as some form of a daily exercise. Great idea Aaron, thank you! I believe it would help me on so many levels. I'll put it on the "things to do that will help me improve but i'll ignore them until i'm in pain" list.


“Bright Bales”  
Oil on canvas board 6x8”
©2010 Diana Moses Botkin

“Facing the Morning Sun”
6x8” oil on panel
© 2010 Robin Cheers

Oil on canvas, 6x8”
©Aaron Johnson

“Still Life”
oil on canvas 6x8"
©2010 Vicki Ross

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Top: setting up the second day.
Middle: the trees in back of the booths next to the carnival rides.
Bottom: pausing for a drink.

I am thrilled to report that the fare, it's called the Huntington Fall Fare I believe, their spelling, not mine, was a resounding success for me and oddly enough, not one single painting of mine was sold!

Diane Portigiano and Maria Misko, both members of digho, a custom design/branding firm, offered me some space in their booth this past weekend and luckily for me, I accepted. 

Not only did I snap enough reference to paint from for the next two years but my business cards and information got into more hands and in front of more faces than I could possibly even hope for in a year let alone the two days of our attendance!

Diane and Maria had their work displayed as you entered the booth along the back "wall" of the booth.Their custom invitations, logos, announcements, branding and promotional materials made an incredible display. While Angela, a wonderful new friend who makes, among other things, soaps, balms, salts, and lip gloss in her basement, took up the right side while I occupied the left. It made for an attractive group and we were graced with a lot of visitors during the two day period.

The weather was, in a word, perfect. The crowd, diverse and interesting, was enormous and the painting of my niece, Claire, got more attention than I ever thought possible. I'm still buzzing from the many kind, generous and wonderful comments my work received and have already gotten two commissions as a direct result of attending, with promises of many more! Oh my!

Diane and Maria, thank you so very much for inviting me, it was one of the most fun times I've ever had selling myself! It was painless...especially since Maria and Diane were kind enough to stand out in "traffic" in front of the booth and hand out our information.

Guess it might be a good idea to get outta the house once in a while.

I've been busy getting Claire done and haven't been able to visit my favorite blogs. I can't wait to see what's been going on.

Friday, October 8, 2010


oil on canvas

I had to rush this and I'm not sure I'm happy but...brushes down, time's up, step away from the easel. I've been offered some space in a booth tomorrow and thought drumming up some commissions with a sample portrait might be a good idea. Of course waiting to start it a week before I needed it seems normal to me, I mean who would I be without my drama? And, thank you Maria and Diane, I appreciate your generosity so very, very much!

This is my niece-in-law in her daddy's baseball cap. She is an extraordinary child. Obviously adorable, smart, funny, a spinner of yarns, resident prophet and wise old sage all wrapped up in this freckled-face compact little body. I didn't include them because they weren't that discernible in the reference photo and I felt it wouldn't be a good idea to fake the freckles.

Tomorrow will be my first public outing with some of my work. I'm interested to see how it goes, the weather is slated to be perfect and the function takes place in the park. Should be a fun time.

Anyway, we'll see. Happy weekend and thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

untitled as yet

24x36" oil on canvas  in progress

OK, so I'm breaking my "in-progress" rule. I will finish this! I will finish this!

A few weeks ago we visited The Brooklyn Museum which is in, of all places, Brooklyn, to specifically take a look at the winner of Bravo's Work or Art reality show. His name is Abdi and I believe him to be uber-gifted. It was incredibly inspiring to see his work up close and personal. His treatment of shadow, mid-tone and highlight is, for me, very Sargent-esque. I spent a good deal of time standing in front of his work, just soaking it in.

Anyway I brought my camera along hoping to capture some good reference shots of other visitors, standing casually around gazing thoughtfully at the artwork, sculpture and exhibits. We were in the building all of 10 minutes when I spied this incredible creature strolling around taking in the sights. It is New York after all, one expects to see interesting humans clad in extremely unique vestments, but I was beside myself when I saw this girl. She had a companion with her, equally uniquely attired and I asked them to sit for a a few shots which they were happy to do.

But this girl, just by virtue of walking around, provided the most incredible opportunities for great shots, however the very first shot I took was exactly what I was looking for. I thought perhaps I could combine a few shots to create the perfect composition, but in this particular shot her head is at just the right angle, her toes turned inward as she balanced gracefully on the four inch thick sole of her "bootie/shoes" and most importantly, some really great detail of that glorious Betty Boop jacket.

And to top that all off, the palette is limited! Every shade and hue of her outfit seems to compliment her surroundings. I'm limited by my reference! Who knew? Looks like this might be a good way to slip into the limited palette thing I've been avoiding for 2 months.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


oil on canvas
private collection

This has been posted before I believe, but I'm getting together some peeps work for possible portrait commissions and felt like posting it again. I was terrified, it was my first real commission, post cushy corporate gig and thank goodness the parents really liked it.

"Pugfest" today and a gourmet meal! Our hostess shopped for din-din at the new super classy ra-ta, upscale grocery/restaurants/wine uber-store in Manhattan - Eataly. We're talkin' truffle risotto here folks. She is also the Pug mom of Raz and Blu's sister/half-sister respectively as well as Samson, the king muckedy muck - he is after all the largest and oldest so he is due his props. They'll run themselves ragged while we stuff ourselves silly and sip some tasty wine chosen especially for the truffles.

Enjoy the day and thank you for visiting.

Friday, September 24, 2010


14" x 11" (35.6cm x 28.0cm)
graphite on paper
$85 plus $15.95 shipping and handling in the US
E-mail me for International shipping rates or other inquiries.

In an effort to be a tad more productive I thought it might be a nice idea to post something, so I sat down and found something I wanted to draw before having a seat in front of the canvas today. I am in the middle of 4 different paintings right now, but if I upload a "progress" post on one of them, it's tantamount to the kiss of death for said painting, so I think I'll just go ahead and finish them all before posting instead.

These little chubbettes were snapped while viewing a documentary. The lines of their intertwined bodies along with the roundness of their plump little limbs just made for an irresistible composition. I'm going to get back to drawing and even get the "floating faces" done for the few brave souls who sent their images. Thank you so much for sending them and I do apologize for taking so long.

Garage cleanup is our focus this weekend. That and another Pugfest at the cousins' house. Just watching four little chubby butts and eight little old-man bowed legs runnin around after each other till they drop is a treat I'm so looking forward to.

Happy weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


My new home page at

I'm not a big fan of embedded commercials, but, I just had to share my experience with my web host, Yahoo! I purchased a flash template last year for my home site because it needed an update. This meant that my uploaded files would be managed by staff the flash template folks employed. This also meant that whenever I needed to add to or delete content, I was forced leave it to the the template technicians, and that cost was not included in the initial purchase. So, for the last six months or so, realizing that I not only had fallen out of like with the design, the site itself was woefully behind in showcasing my current work. And so I began my search for a solution. I'll admit to being somewhat severely electronically challenged, so the prospect of looking for a solution that would give me control of content seemed a gargantuan task of biblical proportions.

I'll try to keep this short, although that prospect is becoming a dim possibility at this point.

I went to my email and followed the thread to small business help, typed in my message and asked to be contacted. My phone rang almost immediately! Sort of startled me actually, the speed with which the outside world can intrude into ones' cozy little lair, even if it was at my own request. I was guided, by a patient and friendly technician, to a page where I could choose a design for my site, write the content, upload my work to a slide show and publish all by myself! It took me one full day! I hit the publish button last night. I was astonished!

And I can access my site and control the content whenever it suits my needs! I say a big fat bravo to Yahoo! for being so proactive and user friendly. The mere fact that I was speaking to a human within almost seconds of seeking one out was like a breath of fresh air on a stifling hot day in this age of extensively long and complicated recorded messages. I should also point out that, as soon as I was on the phone and listening intently to his directions, there was a resounding knock at the door and another call was beeping in simultaneously! Why does that happen? I don't think someone has knocked on the front door or beedped in for months!

Please visit and check it out if you'd like. I wasn't bowled over by the design choices but I found one that I was somewhat happy with with only a few changes. The work is everything that is on my blog, but at least now first time visitors can easily view my gallery and it will be kept current! I really think all this tidying is having a really far reaching affect. I realized I was waiting for Tim to solve this problem. I'm grateful I took action and did it myself, it is after all my business. He, I'm glad to report, is very proud of me.

Also, if cleaning your brushes is the bain of your existence give the BrushMate Power Brush Cleaner a try. It's moderately priced and works like a charm, the only drawback being the cleaning fluid is pretty costly and needs replacing frequently. Still, it's worth it to me, cleaning brushes can sometimes take me an hour and I hate doing so with the heat of a thousand white hot suns.

If it seems I'm trying to whine less about being cursed (I'm being sarcastic here) with the truly painful need to create art everyday in the warmth and safety of my own home, you're right. It's time to be grateful and enjoy my gift. One day at a time right?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


16x16" oil on canvas

It's that time again! As usual I want to do more on this, I usually don't leave the paint strokes looking so casual, but it dawned on me that I've been wanting my work to look more painterly so why not leave it looking that way. Yep! Figured that out all by myself!

Still, I feel like it looks sloppy. Why, when I see other artist's works that have that fresh, spontaneous feel, do I think them perfect, but when I try to do the same I feel it's looks unfinished? Painting dysmorphic syndrome rears it's ugly head yet again.

The challenge this month, given to the group by new member Elizabeth Blaylock, is to "do a painting with a red, red violet or red orange color dominance."


“Arrangement on Red”
6x6” oil on panel
Elizabeth Blaylock
©2010 Elizabeth Blaylock

“Red Pitcher on Blue Cloth” 
Oil on canvas board 8x10” 
©2010 Diana Moses Botkin

“Red Dance”
8x8” oil on paper
© 2010 Robin Cheers

“Red Brush”
Oil on canvas, 6x8”
©Aaron Johnson

“La Basilique du Val de Grace illuminĂ©e la nuit”
11x14” oil on panel
©2010 Vicki Ross

Friday, September 10, 2010


20" x 16" (50.8cm x 40.7cm)
oil on canvas

I found this amongst the rubble, half finished, and felt compelled to work on it. As usual I think it needs more work but I'll put it away for awhile and see. I did this same set up a long time ago as a small daily as well.

I want to write something deeply moving about an artist I met online but I don't know how. She is going through a devastating, heartbreaking situation right now that I can hardly bear to think about and yet she finds the time and has the heart to stop by and leave cheerful messages of support. I'm humbled by this incredibly brave woman and her husband. Her situation puts all of my whining and depression so in perspective.

I want to wish you and your husband all luck and love in the world and I hope and I pray with all of my heart that a solution is forthcoming for you both. I don't know what else to say.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WAITIN FOR DAD and the clean-up continues


Having been told that he's on his way, the boys wait patiently at the front door for dad's car to pull in the drive. Such incredible little heads, even from behind. I know Tim doesn't have furry feet, but these two little creatures are, for all intents and purposes, his babies. Yeah, I know, we're gettin into a weird area here, but, really, he is besotted with his two boys, as am I. They are beyond delightful and to all pug moms and dads I'd just like to say...I get it. If I knew them better at the time, I wouldn't have done so much whining when they were pups. I think.

Anyway they continue to amaze and delight. Lately, we've had to resort to spelling out key words like "out," "pee-pee," and "hungry," for our own safety. The other night, hoping to keep two 20-25 pound pugs from literally landing on his chest after hearing the desired word or phrase, Tim asked me if I thought they were— h -u - n- g- r- y— yet. They were at the end of the bed, lazin' about when suddenly, without warning— they pounced! He looked at me, incredulous..."What, they can spell now?" Looks like.

Raz continues to have health issues. He's scratched his right eye and has an ulcer in his left. We're applying and administering antibiotics and considering goggles for Christmas. But with each and every little issue that pops up our love for them just grows and grows.

Ok, enough cheese. The cleaning continues. I got stalled there for a bit and did a lot of wandering around, heavy sighing and yes, believe it or not, feeling sorry for myself. Odd that, considering I bought, ordered, had delivered or carried in every single thing choking the remaining closets and congesting the garage. Arrrgh!

This is what's behind curtain number one...the before and after the studio that I never use. Still working upstairs but as things get tidy I think I have a good shot at actually using this room!

I've got 3 paintings due in less than a week and as usual am waaaay behind. I appreciate your comments, patience and support so much. Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


30" x 30" (76.2cm x 76.2cm)
oil on canvas
$1,200 plus $25.95 shipping and handling in the US
E-mail me for International shipping rates or other inquiries.

There's a name for these ribbons and I cannot, for the life of me, remember what it is! I know when it comes to me I'll be shocked that I didn't remember it. I've been searching my saved receipts but to no avail. Oh well.

Anyway, this is the art club painting for August. The word was, well in this case, the words were: August Steinbuhler, the man responsible for creating ribbon. Don't ask. Our meeting leader has told us that all will be explained at the end of our meetings for the year and that all the word(s) we've been given are connected and will make perfect sense. I'm really looking forward to finding out just what that connection is. It's funny too because a lot of the attendees didn't really feel Augie or his ribbon, but it was an interesting meeting nevertheless. So, in the meantime, as with most of the words we were given, I went straight for the obvious - a representational painting of the subject. More about that later.

So, there I was, faced with a valid reason to buy something. With the new beginning, I'm discovering that I don't need more storage, I just need less crap. Still, I wasted no time, hopped online and searched until I found 3 yard strips of the widest, most reflective ribbon I could find. I was thrilled when they arrived and took lots of shots from above in as many different configurations as I could arrange. I had a great time with the color, the contrast and reflections. Maybe this time a real series is brewing.

As far as going for the obvious, we had a productive chat about conceptual vs. representational art at the meeting. I came to the conclusion that I am and will probably always be a representational artist with not much in the way of conceptual thinking and that's just fine.  As Tim pointed out, no one is complaining, just paint what you want to. It seems the only one with the problem about what I paint is me.

That said, I've been thinking, a lot, and some concepts have actually materialized! Now that I've relaxed and accepted my "limits," I'm realizing the deal is that concepts, if they are to be meaningful, must come from a pure place or they won't be me or to anyone looking at them. Oh my! Growth spurt!

The cleaning continues. Another 15 huge shopping bags of stuff got picked up on Tuesday. I'm still overwhelmed and sink into depression when I begin to sort the stuff, but I have to push through, face my demons and get it all done. I'm feeling so much better and have been very inspired by my progress.

And again, I cannot thank you enough for your wonderful, generous and supportive comments. They help more than you can ever know.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


NFDP Drawings by Tim Berry
from top left: Mathilde 9x12" pen on paper; Heidi  9x12" pen on paper
Harriet 9x12" pen on paper; Violet 9x12" pen on paper

Since I appear to be unabashedly showing himself off, I thought it might be nice to share these drawings he completed recently. I'm still finishing up the art club painting in the midst of "the new beginning," hopefully I can complete it by tomorrow. I received a sample of Faber Castell's Pitt artist pen big brush in the mail recently and thought Tim might have some success with them. Apparently he did! I'm a big fan of anything he does, especially these incredible character drawings that he finds the most interesting and appropriate names for.

On the clean up front, the positive results just keep coming. I like to fuss when I ship my paintings to the very kind people that purchase them, so it takes me some time to prepare them for their journey to their new homes. Now, that I know where everything is, not only was I finished in half the time it usually takes, but I had a good, calm time doing it. No tension wondering where I last saw the tape or knife blades, the postal forms. And, I'm beginning to feel more professional and respectful of my work space which in turn is creating a desire to work more. Seems logical doesn't it?

And, thank you so very much for the wonderfully kind comments about "Himself." I'm also very grateful for the comments on the painting.